TREVOR CORSON has a thing for sea life. His first book, The Secret Life of Lobsters, began as an essay in The Best American Science Writing. Now, he’s turning his attention from Maine crustaceans to “the fast food of Old Tokyo” with The Zen of Fish (click for an excerpt). Corson, a reporter and magazine editor who’s fluent in Japanese, presents the cultural history and science behind sushi through the eyes of Kate Murray and her fellow students at the California Sushi Academy.
The lit buzz circulating around Brookline native RISHI REDDI reminds us of the hype that surrounded Jhumpa Lahiri back when The Interpreter of Maladies — a collection she began writing at Boston University’s Creative Writing program that went on to win the Pulitzer in 2000 — was published. Like Lahiri, Reddi uses her Indian background as a cultural setting.
We first became enthralled by Audacia Ray’s new book because it boasted a cover with numerical code arranged in the form of an ass. Bloody brilliant, if you ask us. Of course, the inside worked for us as well. Naked on the Internet: Hookups, Downloads and Cashing In on Internet Sexploration is a seriously painstaking peek into the way that women have/are using the internet to explore their sexuality and in some instances getting paid to do so.
Brookline Booksmith hosts a double bill with both ANDREW O’HAGAN and CLAIRE MESSUD reading from their fourth novels. The Scottish-born O’Hagan’s Be Near Me is narrated by David Anderton, an Oxford-educated Catholic priest who obtains a parish near his elderly mother in working-class Scotland. His “posh” behavior and cultural tastes alienate his parishioners, and then there’s his relationship with a young boy.
"Enjoy every sandwich."
So said Warren Zevon when forced to contemplate his own rapidly approaching death during an appearance on Late Night with David Letterman. Would he have it any other way? The cult of Zevon should be pleased that the musician’s posthumous biography, I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead: The Life and Times of Warren Zevon, has proved to be a fearless, honest portrait, with both high praise and unsavory details.
A regular on NPR’s news and comedy quiz show Wait Wait . . . Don’t Tell Me, writer ROY BLOUNT is the uninformed liberal’s worst nightmare. He was born in the South, has left-leaning beliefs, now lives in the Northeast, and finds it extremely irksome when Yankees assume anyone based below the Mason-Dixon line is a simpleton who voted for Dubya.
Given all the books on Princess Di in the pipeline for next season, it seems fitting that Salon founder DAVID TALBOT has gone against the grain to focus on America’s version of a royal family. Brothers: A Hidden History of the Kennedy Years is an in-depth look at John and Robert that sheds fresh insight on their administration and their ambitions.
Radar's Gutter Report just alerted us to a new media brouhaha revolving around MICHAEL CHABON. The NY Post's Kyle Smith calls out Chabon (who is Jewish) for the supposedly anti-Semitic themes in his latest tour-de-force, The Yiddish Policeman's Unit. It's a 411-page mystery/noir homage/love story/historical mind-bender about the Jews of the Sikta District in Alaska -- a fictional safe haven built after Israel collapsed in 1948.
We’ve had our eye on writer-on-the-verge NATHAN ENGLANDER since devouring his debut short-story collection, For the Relief of Unbearable Urges (click for an excerpt). Englander, a former Orthodox Jew, travels from Jerusalem to read and sign copies of his first novel, The Ministry of Special Cases, in which he weaves humor and desolation into a story of fathers and sons during Argentina’s Dirty War.
Three young writers are forgoing good manners and decent content tonight for “BAD BEHAVIOR 2007.” JAMI ATTENBERG (Instant Love), JANICE ERLBAUM (Girlbomb, A Halfway Homeless Memoir), and WENDY MCCLURE (I’m Not the New Me) have highlighted the smuttiest phrases, dirtiest character developments, and filthiest of plot climaxes in their respective tomes.
WHAT IS THIS THING?
A Circle Is a Balloon and Compass Both: Stories About Human Love is BEN GREENMAN’s third book, and this New Yorker staffer has chosen the most wonderful and infuriating of human emotions for his muse. The current editor of “Goings On About Town,” Greenman has a taste for both the profoundly cultural and the inherently quirky, and the tales he tells in Circle share these themes: romance, sentiment, sex, and heartbreak are extolled with humor and several dips into experimental form.
The author of the bestselling The Perfect Storm turns out another mindbender with A Death in Belmont. SEBASTIAN JUNGER grew up in Belmont, and he calmly inquires into the facts surrounding the murder of Belmont resident Bessie Goldberg and its possible link to the Boston Strangler killing spree. A plot this chilling could be written only by someone who was acquainted with the confessed Strangler himself.
The Nature of Photographs is stuffed with gorgeous prints, from classic images to contemporary pieces and found negatives, not to mention a smattering of work by STEPHEN SHORE, the book’s author and a pioneer in the field of color photography. Nature isn’t merely an collection of iconic pics, it’s a primer on the key elements that make a photograph work.
Every L-train-riding Brooklynite’s favorite author, JONATHAN LETHEM, is back on tour for his follow-up to 2003’s Fortress of Solitude. You Don’t Love Me Yet is a departure from the author’s native New York: this time around, the setting is the smoggy sparkle of Los Angeles, but Lethem’s hipster fan base won’t be disappointed by his choice of character archetypes.