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Dave's Reviews

A black and white photo of a seated man wearing "alien eyes" sunglasses, looking backwards towards the camera amongst foliage.

Cool Is Everywhere New and Adaptive Design Across America by Michel Arnaud

Kind of a cross between “how to save your medium-sized city” and “architectural repurposing porn,” this book by an architectural photographer has almost got me ready to head out on the road to see what other kinds of awesome I’ve been missing. Case studies highlight Oakland, Portland, Austin, and Denver in the West as well as Rust Belt jewels and Southern revitalization in action. Cool Is Everywhere discusses gentrification and the unequal distribution of the benefits of urban recovery, but mostly it’s a naked-brick-and-stripped-hardwood-floor blueprint for saving your city, one abandoned factory at a time.

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Cool is Everywhere: New and Adaptive Design Across America Cover Image
$35.00
ISBN: 9781419738227
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harry N. Abrams - June 2nd, 2020

Europe: A Natural History by Tim Flannery

Scholarly, hilarious, and sometimes absurd, this interdisciplinary book is fascinating. I learned that Europe had been an archipelago, and that the apex predator of one island was a giant carnivorous hedgehog. And that such a thing as the giant winged and likely dinosaur-eating Transylvanian pterosaur Hatzegopteryx existed, described elsewhere as a “giraffe-sized, quadrupedal Panzer-stork.” No kidding, look it up. Sometimes it’s the ancient fauna that amaze; other times it’s the protopaleontologists that defy belief. This natural history is about as dry as albondigas soup.

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Europe: A Natural History Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780802148704
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Grove Press - March 17th, 2020

Sigh, Gone A Misfit’s Memoir of Great Books, Punk Rock, and the Fight to Fit In by Phuc Tran

Phuc Tran: Ubergeek. From discovering punk rock egalitarianism to relating The Iliad to girls’ high school sports, Tran is always ready to dive into whatever comes next. He puts it all down to a desperate need to fit in, as a Vietnamese refugee in small-town Pennsylvania, but you can tell that he’s always going to be the one in the deep end of the pool, regardless. He’s a Latin teacher, a tattooist, a TEDx grammar star, and now a touching memoirist. 

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Sigh, Gone: A Misfit's Memoir of Great Books, Punk Rock, and the Fight to Fit In Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9781250194718
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Flatiron Books - April 21st, 2020

The End of October by Lawrence Wright

Wright cowrote a 1998 movie about extremists attacking New York City. With his new novel about a viral pandemic, you might think he’s prophetic. But the real trick is that he writes about what’s most likely to actually happen, researches how it might play out, then writes a book. I’m afraid he isn’t a master of character in fiction, but he does have a heroic scientist trying to save the world and a president who is going to let it go down the drain. That’s pretty realistic. And I still think we should airdrop this to every home in Santa Cruz County.

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The End of October: A novel Cover Image
$27.95
ISBN: 9780525658658
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Knopf - April 28th, 2020

This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar & Max Gladstone

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This Is How You Lose the Time War Cover Image
$14.99
ISBN: 9781534430990
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Gallery / Saga Press - March 17th, 2020

This Is How You Lose the Time War combines war via time travel (think Haldeman’s The Forever War), a love story between agents on opposite sides, and the epistolary novel (Les Liaisons dangereuses / Dangerous Liaisons, Griffin & Sabine). Exciting word play, and the intriguing letter delivery methods, made me look forward to the next epistle as much as the main characters did. —Dave

 


Dragon Hoops by Gene Luen Yang

Gene doesn’t like sports, but he’s fascinated by the basketball program at the high school where he teaches: the stories of the coaches and team members and the history of basketball itself. Each chapter highlights one player and a game where they stood out. I learned a lot: why basketball is a city sport, why so many great teams are from Catholic schools, and how to write about basketball in a way that even non-sports fans can enjoy!

 

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Dragon Hoops Cover Image
$24.99
ISBN: 9781626720794
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: First Second - March 17th, 2020

Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarcruz

Polish literary fiction? Animal rights-oriented crime novel? Astrologically guided former civil engineer with a penchant for Blake? Check, check, check. I wasn’t really sure which bucket to put this beautifully written pastoral in, but really it can fit anyone looking for stellar writing or a meditatively paced mystery. I think I’m going to have to dig up anything else Tokarcruz has available in English. - Dave

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Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead: A Novel Cover Image
By Olga Tokarczuk, Antonia Lloyd-Jones (Translated by)
$27.00
ISBN: 9780525541332
Availability: Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Riverhead Books - August 13th, 2019

Spying on the South by Tony Horwitz

Just prior to the Civil War, Frederick Law Olmsted —later the designer of Central Park—went on a tour of the South as a correspondent for the New York Times. Just prior to today’s civil war, Tony Horwitz, author of Confederates in the Attic, retraced Olmsted’s route from West Virginia to Texas and into Mexico. From plantations and a monster truck mudfest to a New Orleans gospel-rocking church, he documents how much has changed and what’s still strikingly the same. - Dave

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Spying on the South: An Odyssey Across the American Divide Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9781101980286
Availability: Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Penguin Press - May 14th, 2019

The Deluxe Transitive Vampire by Karen Elizabeth Gordon

You’ll want to read this one just for the extravagantly gothic yet entrancingly informative example sentences. This on the past participle: You won’t get far in those corrugated pantaloons, sire. And: Sylvia wantonly splits infinitives, often with unheard-of verbs. This beautiful book is so much fun that you’ll learn some grammar despite yourself. - Dave

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The Deluxe Transitive Vampire: A Handbook of Grammar for the Innocent, the Eager, and the Doomed Cover Image
$26.95
ISBN: 9780679418603
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Pantheon - August 10th, 1993

The New Well-Tempered Sentence by Karen Elizabeth Gordon

Quite certainly the spiciest use of commas in an educational text. An example of commas between independent clauses: I won’t rise to the occasion, but I’ll slide over to it. Even more ambiguously suggestive: He told her he belonged to another, yet his pajamas clung to her tights. Also the probably immoral, yet proper, usage of semicolons, hyphens, apostrophes, and the dreaded ellipses. - Dave

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The New Well-Tempered Sentence: A Punctuation Handbook for the Innocent, the Eager, and the Doomed Cover Image
$10.95
ISBN: 9780618382019
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Mariner Books - September 19th, 2003

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