The Nobodies Album - Carolyn Parkhurst

What if you could re-write the endings to all your life stories, changing them to reflect experience and hindsight?  This question is at the heart of The Nobodies Album (Anchor, $15), by Carolyn Parkhurst. Octavia Frost, a moderately successful author, has changed the conclusions of her novels. But that’s not all that is going on in this beautifully written book.  Just as Octavia is delivering her latest manuscript to her publisher, she learns that her son, a famous rock star, has been arrested for murder.   Although they have been estranged for years, and she is unsure of his innocence, Octavia goes to help him. What follows is part murder mystery, part examination of the forces and choices that sculpt our lives.  Perhaps most interestingly, Parkhurst treats us to both the original and the revised endings of Octavia’s novels.

Smart, suspenseful and full of fascinating characters, The Nobodies Album by Carolyn Parkhurst is a literary page turner. Octavia Frost, a moderately successful author, has just put the finishing touches on her new novel (a compilation of her previous novels but with new and different endings). She is in Times Square about to deliver the manuscript to her publisher when she looks up at the news ticker and sees her son, a famous rock star, has just been arrested for murder. The beauty of Parkhurst’s prose drives this complex story of murder, motherhood, loss and reconciliation.

The Nobodies Album By Carolyn Parkhurst Cover Image
ISBN: 9780767930581
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Anchor - June 14th, 2011

Talking about Detective Fiction - P. D. James

Summer is a good time for light reading; maybe a good mystery?  But before you delve into your next whodunit, take a short detour with P.D. James’s TALKING ABOUT DETECTIVE FICTION (Vintage, $14), and you will gain a whole new appreciation for the form. James is enthusiastic and lively, asking what makes the mystery or, as she prefers, the “detective story” such an enduring genre? Why are we fascinated with the most horrific of all crimes, murder?   She takes you on a tour of the detective story from its earliest incarnations to the present, examining the “Golden Age” of British mysteries and comparing them with the hard-boiled stories from America.  As in her fiction, James’s writing is precise and thoughtful.  Reading this will make you want to revisit some of your old favorites: Sayers, Christie, Conan Doyle, Chandler—you’ll see them in a new light.

Talking About Detective Fiction By P. D. James Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307743138
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Vintage - May 3rd, 2011

Pride and Prejudice: An Annotated Edition - Jane Austen, Patricia Meyer Spacks

Every year or so, I make a literary pilgrimage to one of my all-time favorite books, Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.  If possible, this year’s journey was even more enjoyable than usual, thanks to the publication of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE: An Annotated Edition (Harvard Univ., $35), edited by Patricia Meyer Spacks. Austen’s classic has always been a book to take your time with and to savor; that pleasure has only been amplified with this gorgeous new edition.   I probably don’t need to sell you on the book’s plot, but the annotations here give new insight into the story, period, and author. The images show period dress and illuminate interesting aspects of Austen’s life.  All in all, it feels like an old friend has been made new again.  On a cold winter night, open Austen’s classic and rediscover it all over again.

Pride and Prejudice By Jane Austen, Patricia Meyer Spacks (Editor) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780674049161
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Belknap Press - October 1st, 2010