Books to Keep You Eyes Out For

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Books to Keep You Eyes Out For

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Jul 30, 2008, 11:04am

Hi everyone, so August is right around the corner and so is the release of some new Algonquin titles and some now-in-paperback titles.

Titles coming out in paperback are:
Heart in the Right Place by Carolyn Jourdan: If you want a funny read, check out this memoir about a city lawyer returning to the Tennessee hills to help out her father, who is a country doctor. (August 19)

Breakfast with Buddha by Roland Merullo: Road trips can be a blast or a nightmare, depending on who your traveling companion is. Otto Ringling has different concerns; his traveling companion claims to be Buddha, but Otto's skepticism won't allow him to buy into that...yet. (August 26)

New release:
American Savior by Roland Merullo: Fed up with the current state of things, Jesus decides he needs to be the next President. I have to say, I was hesitant to read this book. It just didn't fit into my reading tastes. BUT, I was surprised at its boldness and its ability to remain unbiased both politically and religiously. It truly is a great read! (August 26) Check out Roland's other titles, Golfing with God and Breakfast with Buddha (see above).

New Stories from the South, 2008 edited by ZZ Packer: Yes, THAT ZZ Packer. Contributors include Kevin Brockmeier, Bret Anthony Johnston, and Ron Rash. (August 12)

Tomato Girl by Jayne Pupek: Eleven-year-old Ellie is on her own when her mother's mental illness worsens as a result of Ellie's father taking in the Tomato Girl, a young beauty both innocent and manipulative. A couple of Algonquin Readers Round Table members have had the luck of having a few exchanges with this debut novelist. I LOVE this book. As I got to the end of one page, my fingers were at the ready to turn to the next. A heartbreaking story, for sure, but style I've rarely encountered with characters that invoke both anger and empathy make this an intense and wonderful read. (August 26)

Jul 30, 2008, 6:34pm

Thanks for your praise of Tomato Girl. I've enjoyed getting to know a few readers here who also read and liked the book.

I look forward to New Stories from the South, 2008. ZZ Packer is awesome.

Ago 1, 2008, 6:45am

Jayne - Can't wiat to read your book. I tried to get an ARC but wasn't successful so now I will have to go buy it when it comes out.

Ago 1, 2008, 8:13am

Thank you, Nan. Sorry you couldn't find an ARC, but at least the wait for the book's release is not far away--less than four weeks now! I look forward to hearing your thoughts when you have a chance to read Tomato Girl

Ago 3, 2008, 5:22pm

Tomato Girl is wonderful! I absolutely loved it. It is in the finest tradition of Algonquin Press. I was lucky enough to get an ARC, but I am going to buy several copies of the hardback. This is one of those titles I give to my friends, because I do not want them to wait until they get around to buying it. It also inflicts the slightest tinge of guilt -- they had better read this soon!! :-> Mudbound by Hilary Jordan is another title along the same lines.


Ago 3, 2008, 5:24pm

I agree, that was a wonderful book.

Ago 4, 2008, 8:50am

Thank you both. As a writer, it means so much to know that Tomato Girl is finding its way into the hands of readers who appreciate it.



Ago 4, 2008, 11:24am

Ah! Mudbound! That is a book I hesitate to compare to To Kill a Mockingbird, but I can't help it! Both books conjured the same feelings for me. Although not the first Algonquin title I had read, Mudbound was the first book I read as an official Algonkian and was quickly reassured that I had made the right decision to come work for them. I truly believe we may see this book taught in the classroom someday as an important work of literature. If you haven't read it, I strongly urge you to do so. Time well spent and a great reminder of how far we've come.

Also, Hillary Jordan had no idea how popular her book had become among booksellers until she came face-to-face with hundreds of them at a conference back in February. I had the opportunity to stand with her as person after person came to her to tell her how fantastic Mudbound was and how they couldn't wait to start selling it. Hillary was so shocked and gracious at the attention she was receiving. It was a perfect moment witnessing this author, who assumed no one would know who she was, realize that she really had created something wonderful.

Ago 4, 2008, 11:27am

this is playing hell with my book buying moratorium

goes off to just LOOK at Mudbound again.

Ago 4, 2008, 6:37pm

It will be money well spent. Come on, a moratorium on book buying is no fun. I know, I'm a bad influence. (I've been told that a few times.)

Ago 5, 2008, 1:28pm

When I worked in a bookstore and people would say something along the lines of, "I have to get out of here, otherwise I'm gonna keep buying books," I'd always say, "There are worse habits to have." Books look so pretty on a shelf, they're great for conversation, and good filters for meeting significant others (hee-hee).

Ago 5, 2008, 3:45pm

look at you two! enablers, the both of you.

At this very moment there is a stack of fifteen books in front of me that have no home. I have zero empty shelf space. There is a box with about the same number on my dining room table. I am trying to disguise it as a box going out.
I have hidden books under the throw pillows from my sofa and loveseat.

Despite the fact that you are both correct.... there is also the problem that all of my books seem to arrive when the husband is home... why is that?

Ago 6, 2008, 8:00am

oh and I meant to ask.. what bookstore did you work in ?
my dream job......

Ago 6, 2008, 8:48am

I work at McIntyre's Fine Books in Pittsboro, NC. It's this tiny store that is tucked inside this little community and it's perfect. I started working there because I missed the bookselling atmosphere when I came to publishing. They were kind enough to hire me for a measly two hours a week, just so I could appease my bookselling urges. For how far off the beaten path they are, they still wrangle an amazing author events program and have their following of customers, which is key in independent bookselling these days. (

Ago 6, 2008, 9:16am

We have zero indie stores in my area. It sounds like bliss.

Ago 6, 2008, 11:58am

What a beautiful store! I love the fireplace.

Two hours a week there must seem like only minutes.

Ago 11, 2008, 10:43am

Wow! I've got to get Mudbound after reading lmcguirk's opinion of it. To Kill a Mockingbird is one of my all time favorites. It's one of those books I have to re-read every few years.

Ago 11, 2008, 12:11pm

Breakfast with Buddha was one of my favorite books last year. Fantastic!! I'm a fan of Roland Merullo and thought Breakfast was really great.

Ago 11, 2008, 12:39pm

I just finished American Savior by Roland Merullo and liked it a lot. I was very surprised by what I found woven into the story. I plan to look for more of his books.

Set 24, 2008, 10:54pm

mckait: I agree. American Savior was recommended to me by a fellow bookseller, and it wasn't at all what I was expecting. I mean that in the very best possible way. I read Breakfast with Buddha earlier in the year, and though it's rather different from American Savior in scope, it was still really good.

3 cheers for Mudbound! My store (Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza) had Hillary Jordan in for a signing a few months ago, and she was delightful. I can't wait to see what she puts out next.

Has anyone read The Music Teacher by Barbara Hall yet? It's not out until next February. I snagged an ARC from my bookstore and absolutely loved it. To me it was less about the story than it was about the narrator, Pearl. She was such a unique character, and I loved it. Look for it in a few months. It's great!

Set 24, 2008, 11:18pm

Ooh, The Music Teacher sounds great. I really, really need to acquire Mudbound too, I've heard so much praise for it.

Actually, most of the books mentioned are now on my TBR list. I hope I get a chance to acquire them soon!

Set 25, 2008, 8:42am

I cannot speak highly enough of Mudbound. I truly want everyone to read it--it's an astounding novel written in such an amazing way. It's a novel that made me feel, and very few novels do that for me. I can recommend good books, but Mudbound surpasses anything that's simply "good." You really just have to read it to understand the place this book has in literature.

Editado: Set 25, 2008, 8:32pm

I ended up with two copies of Heart in the Right Place by Carolyn new hardback and a used trade paperback.

( don't ask)

I am going to put the softcover copy on mooch.. but thought I would mention it here first. Anyone interested?


post on my profile okay?

Set 26, 2008, 8:42am

#22-- I absolutely agree, Lindsey. After Ellen Foster, my favorite Algonquin Book is Mudbound. It is a hauntingly good read.

Set 30, 2008, 3:04pm

I forgot to comment on The Music Teacher by Barbara Hall--I liked that book too. It's gonna be a great book group book--lots of characters to discuss, plus the always pot-stirring question: What would you have done in that situation?

Set 30, 2008, 3:55pm

# 25 - Do you still have The Music Teacher and are you willing to trade it for anouther book?

Out 14, 2008, 11:33am

Hello everyone! My name is Lisa and I'm new to the group. I'm so glad to hear people talking about Hillary Jordan's MUDBOUND. I LOVED that book! I've been telling everyone I can about it and talking about it on my blog. I'm going to be reading TOMATO GIRL next. I'm so excited since I've heard nothing but great things about it! I love Alongquin books. They are the best!

Out 15, 2008, 11:25am

# 20 I just got my arc today in the mail for the Music Teacher. I was reading the back of the book and it sounds really good. Its such a cute looking book.

Out 16, 2008, 1:16pm

#27 Welcome, Lisa! I loved Mudbound, too. In fact, I've been asked to review it, so I'm currently reading it again. I'm so glad that Tomato Girl is next on your list. Of course, I'm biased.

#28 I'm eager to hear what you think of The Music Teacher, Cindy. It sounds good!

Out 16, 2008, 3:15pm

Thank you Jayne - The Music Teacher sounds interesting as well. I'll keep my eyes open for it. :)

Out 16, 2008, 3:21pm

#28 Once you are done with The Music Teacher, I would be interested in trading something for it.