Anne's Take Ten Picks for November
Anne is one of our booksellers and has many book lists. She’s a Mississippian who could have done a list of her ten favorite books by Mississippi authors. She shares her life with Blanche DuBois, a drama-queen chihuahua, and could have done a list of her ten favorite plays. She even has book lists for different seasons and occasions. She shares her books and reading lists with her four adult children, three grandchildren, and many friends. It was hard to limit her favorites to only ten, so she chose books that she owns either in more than one version or format. Unfortunately, her very favorite book, The Contented Little Pussycat by Frances Ruth Keller, published in 1949, is out of print.
We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson, Thomas Ott, illustrator (Penguin Classics $17). This is Jackson at her best. It is a mix of mesmerizing child-like prose with a true horror tale. I read this every Halloween, and I am creeped out anew each time. I usually give up sugar for a while after reading this one.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Other Stories by Lewis Carroll, John Tenniel, illustrator (Canterbury Classics $24.99). This is one of my favorite childhood books, and I continue to delight in the words and the pictures. I memorized all the poems, explored the absurdities, named pets for some of the characters, and sometimes dressed like Alice, even into adulthood. Did I mention that I also have a lifelong love of rabbits?
Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances by Neil Gaiman (William Morrow $16.99). The stories in this collection are both engaging and disturbing. Neil Gaiman can make you shiver when he wants, but he always seems to respect his reader. What I love about this book is that the first few pages of the book are devoted to Gaiman explaining why, where, and how he wrote each story. This is one of the most interesting insights into a writer’s process that I’ve read.
The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty by Eudora Welty (Mariner Books $17.95). As I read these stories, I hear Miss Welty’s voice. I don’t know of a writer who can better capture those Mississippi characters with such clarity and kindness. She just makes me smile…and sometimes cry. I’ve acted in dramatizations of several of these stories, so I can say without doubt that I resemble some of these folks.
Last Chance to See by Douglas Adams and Mark Carwardine (Ballantine Books $17). I’ve read most of Douglas Adams’ fantasy books. This book is about things that are true—and important. In 1989, Douglas Adams accompanied a BBC film crew across the globe to provide narrative for a documentary about species on the brink of extinction. With his clear insight and quick wit, he makes observations we might ordinarily miss. Why, for instance, do humans prefer being eaten by a mammal rather than by a reptile?
Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen by Mary Norris (W W Norton $15.95). Mary Norris is a copy editor for The New Yorker. This memoir/grammar text has laugh-out-loud moments as she recounts some of the errors she has found and corrected. I also confess that I read this with some embarrassment at my own writing errors. If you are a lover of language, this book will inform and entertain you. Or should that be inform you and entertain you? Or should that be inform, and entertain? Or…?
The Bible: A Biography by Karen Armstrong (Grove Press $14.95). This book doesn’t deal with content or meaning of the Bible. Karen Armstrong, a masterful historian, traces the history of where and how the Bible was written and how it has come forward to the present day. I often give it to friends who are traveling in Turkey, Israel and the Mid-East region as a retro travel guide.
In the Sanctuary of Outcasts: A Memoir by Neil White (William Morrow $14.99). What a story this is! A white-collar criminal sent to a minimum-security prison in Louisiana finds that the prison shares the facility with the last leper colony in the U.S. White tells his story and the stories of some of the lepers he met. He explores the nature of incarceration and confinement for medical reasons. There is more than one way to live as a prisoner.
Still Life: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel by Louise Penny (Minotaur $16.99). I am an ardent fan of Inspector Gamache and the inhabitants of the village of Three Pines. Penny has built these characters and their relationships with such kindness and respect. I don’t read a lot of books in series, but I am reading #14 now, and hoping for a fifteenth next year.
Nobody’s Fool by Richard Russo (Vintage $16). I believe that Richard Russo writes some of the best prose around. Sully has consistently made bad life choices, yet he is one of the most likable characters I’ve ever found. His friends (or maybe they are enemies) put up with him, his ex-wife and son resent him, and now he is trying to deal with a grandson who needs—well he doesn’t have a clue. I read and re-read this book to remind me that there is grace even when we mess up. And when you finish Nobody’s Fool, there is Everybody’s Fool, the sequel.
Shirley Jackson's beloved gothic tale of a peculiar girl named Merricat and her family's dark secret
Scurry down the rabbit hole and step through the looking glass with this luxurious compilation of works from Lewis Carroll. Don’t be late--it’s a very important date!
Witty, whimsical, and often nonsensical, the fiction of Lewis Carroll has been popular with both children and adults for over 150 years.
Multiple award winning, #1 New York Times bestselling author Neil Gaiman returns to dazzle, captivate, haunt, and entertain with this third collection of short fiction following Smoke and Mirrors and Fragile Things—which includes a never-before published American Gods story, “Black Dog,” written exclusively for this volume.
With a preface written by the author especially for this edition, this is the complete collection of stories by Eudora Welty.
Including the earlier collections A Curtain of Green, The Wide Net, The Golden Apples, and The Bride of the Innisfallen, as well as previously uncollected ones, these forty-one stories demonstrate Eudora Welty's talen
New York Times bestselling author Douglas Adams and zoologist Mark Carwardine take off around the world in search of exotic, endangered creatures.
Mary Norris has spent more than three decades working in The New Yorker's renowned copy department, helping to maintain its celebrated high standards.
As the single work at the heart of Christianity, the world's largest organized religion, the Bible is the spiritual guide for one out of every three people in the world. It is also the world's most widely distributed book and its best-selling, with an estimated six billion copies sold in the last two hundred years. But the Bible is a complex work with a complicated and obscure history.
"A remarkable story of a young man's loss of everything he deemed important, and his ultimate discovery that redemption can be taught by society's most dreaded outcasts." —John Grisham
"Hilarious, astonishing, and deeply moving." —John Berendt, author of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
Winner of the New Blood Dagger, Arthur Ellis, Barry, Anthony, and Dilys awards.
This slyly funny, moving novel about a blue-collar town in upstate New York—and in the life of Sully, of one of its unluckiest citizens, who has been doing the wrong thing triumphantly for fifty years—is a classic American story.