jfine@northshire.com's blog

Jonathan Fine - Receiving/Shipping Dept Manager in Manchester

Jon is the receiving manager and unofficial wellness director at Northshire and has worked here since 1998. He loves all things guitar- and listens mostly to blues, classic and selected contemporary rock, and most of all, music that defies genre- most especially The Derek Trucks Band. He loves the Maine coast and most frequently finds himself reading sports non-fiction, music memoirs and selected contemporary lit fiction. Personal gods include guitarist Derek Trucks and writer Ann Patchett.

Crossroads: A Novel by Jonathan Franzen - Book Review

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$30.00
ISBN: 9780374181178
Availability: Click Title for IN STORE Location
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - October 5th, 2021

A new novel from Jonathan Franzen is typically a significant event in the world of American literature- and with good cause. Franzen's strength has always been his ability to portray the minutiae of humanities' ego, id and superego, most specifically as regards the writhing, twisting tortured wranglings beneath the surface of an American family. This is a novel set in the flower-child world of the early 1970s and a family headed by a deeply conflicted associate pastor. Herein lie near-all-consuming religious zeal, horrendous sin, the rippling scars of personal history, and the ever-present power struggles that play out between siblings, spouses, and parents and their children. ~ Reviewed by Jon Fine


The Greatest Beer Run Ever: A Memoir of Friendship, Loyalty, and War by John "Chick" Donohue - Book Review

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$17.99
ISBN: 9780062995476
Availability: Click Title for IN STORE Location
Published: William Morrow Paperbacks - September 28th, 2021

A U.S. Marine veteran is "drafted" by his friends to undertake a dangerous and unprecedented journey to deliver local beer- and best wishes and familial greetings- to neighborhood “boys” serving in Vietnam. Donohue's travel log features countless tales of his remarkable luck at actually finding his old friends at their war posts without somehow getting himself killed. Along the way, he refreshes our collective memory regarding how poorly enlisted men were treated stateside and, through his first hand account, fills in details of the war itself that many readers may have long since forgotten or never even known. ~ Reviewed by Jon Fine


All That She Carried: The Journey of Ashley's Sack, a Black Family Keepsake by Tiya Miles - Book Review

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$28.00
ISBN: 9781984854995
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Published: Random House - June 8th, 2021

In her detailed, heartfelt and heartbreaking analysis of "Ashley's Sack", the slave-era artifact passed down amongst three generations of enslaved women in South Carolina, Tiya Miles shines a blinding, microcosmic light onto the inhumane darkness of slavery in the "Old South". One fundamental truth revealed being how little history actually survives of slaves and their culture given that the keeper's of "American History" are, first and foremost, white Americans. While there are no known written records left by Ashley, her mother or her daughter, Miles brilliantly uses the simple text on the sack itself to piece together, bit by bit, from the historical record and the records of female slaves that did end up a part of our historical records, what it truly meant to be a slave and, specifically, a female slave in and around Charleston at the peak of this long, dark chapter in American history. It is not a pretty picture, but is a significant one that all Americans should make time to "view". ~ Reviewed by Jon Fine


Turbulence: A Novel by David Szalay - Book Review

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$15.00
ISBN: 9781982122744
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Published: Scribner - June 8th, 2021

From airport to airport (chapter names are all laid out as "YYZ- SEA" etc), Szalay etches fine-line impressions of the loves, disappointments and mortality faced by a series of individuals, one per chapter. A character who we've been introduced to in the course of the previous chapter, becomes the feature player for the next one. It is a compilation of compelling and concisely drawn short stories laid out, end to end, each one linked by tales of human connection. ~ Reviewed by Jon Fine


The Bomber Mafia: A Dream, a Temptation, and the Longest Night of the Second World War by Malcolm Gladwell - Book Review

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$27.00
ISBN: 9780316296618
Availability: Click Title for IN STORE Location
Published: Little, Brown and Company - April 27th, 2021

This is Gladwell's first foray into straight historical expose, yet his trademark incisive revelation of unexpected truths is on full display. I was mortified, actually, physically revolted by the truths revealed here. Gladwell's editorial self-control is commendable- his thematic elements regarding the beginnings of the Air Force in the years immediately before and then during WWII draw the reader into these “founding aviators” abiding goal to use aerial combat as a significant force towards the benefit of all, including combatants; ie. to shorten wars and lessen overall casualties through the use of targeted aerial assault. What actually happened, in spite of these goals, will stay with me forever, Hirosihma and Nagasaki perhaps not being the worst violence ever inflicted on an enemy by the U.S. Military. ~ Reviewed by Jon Fine


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