January 6, 2009

A Bevvy of Books from Barnes & Noble

Greetings gentle readers, today you'll be introduced to a small assortment of the many books which Barnes & Noble currently has on sale in their "Buy 2, Get the 3rd Free" Sale. I've tried my best to keep a fairly decent range of books, but am trying to limit my list to at least books I'm moderately familiar with so that I can recommend them in good faith. I've really got my work cut out for me here, so I'll just cut to the chase.


curious incident.jpgThe Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

This fascinating story of a young man with Aspbergers (a form of autism) will both tug at your heartstrings and fascinate you at the same time. Full of mathematical allusions (such as the insistence of numbering all chapters in prime numbers) and small idiosyncrasies, this is a quick but compelling read.

maltese falcon.jpg The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett

Quite simply put, this is one of the best and the most important detective novels ever written. Perfectly capturing the noir fiction style and set in San Francisco, this story jumps off the pages. Sam Spade, Hammett's protagonist is chasing not only a murderer, but also a statue believed to be of incalculable value. I don't want to give much away, but just suffice it to say there is a reason this book is still popular and recommended now nearly eighty years after it's initial publication.


proust.jpg Proust was a Neuroscientist by Jonah Lehrer

I'll admit that this one is one I have never read or even heard of before today. However, I've always found Proust fascinating and my soon-to-be-brother-in-law is pursuing a PhD in Neuroscience, so it seems like it could be not only a compelling read, but also a good conversation piece. Plus, it's focus is the ever-complex meeting place between philosophy and science. More impressive is the fact that the author penned this work at the tender age of 25.

white people like.jpg Stuff White People Like: A Guide to the Unique Taste of Millions by Christian Lander

If I'm going to do obscure science/thought recommendations, I figure I also need to toss in a book that will have you laughing out loud rather than scratching your chin. A published collection of the finer points of the eponymous blog, this guide will tell you what all those Volvo-driving, arugula-eating white folks like, and more importantly, why they like them. Please, before you all get up in arms, remember: it's comedy. Treat it as such.

idiot girls.jpg The Idiot Girls' Action-Adventure Club by Laurie Notaro

She's clumsy, she drinks to excess, she bounces from job to job. From what I've heard from friends, this book is essentially the female version of the vast majority of the books I read for pleasure. While I won't go as far as to call it a "feel good read" this does seem to be the type of book that makes you feel a tad better about yourself after you finish it. To put it more succinctly, if someone like myself, who favors die-hard masculine writers like Hemingway, Bukowski, and Raymond Carver can be tempted to buy this book for himself, there must be something there beyond the usual "girl feeling okay about herself" stories.

devil in the white city.jpgThe Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

It's dark, it's twisted (as the title should hopefully give away) but man, is it fascinating. This book tells the real story of the development of the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago, as well as the one sociopath who used the fair and all of its attendees as basically an all-you-can-murder-or-torture buffet. It's certainly not for the weak of stomach, but then again, most people who read historical accounts with the word "Devil" in the title seldom have to concern themselves with that. Erik Larson is considered to be one of the masters of narrative history novels, and I have a number of friends who consider this to be his masterpiece.

under the black flag.jpg Under the Black Flag by David Cordingly
We all know that Pirates are about the coolest thing on two legs (or one leg and a peg) next to ninjas and possibly vikings. However, for the majority of our society who realize that there is much a much greater significance to the Flying Dutchman or Davey Jones' Locker than just really stellar CGI, there is a book like this. This is the true, honest-to-goodness, not watered down by Hollywood, kinda makes you a little squeamish but you can't help but keep reading tale of what it really meant to be a pirate. If you pick up this book you will either be admired by your less devoted pirate enthusaists or scorned for being "that person with the way-too-graphic pirate stories". The choice is yours, but the book is definitely worth the money and the read.


heat.jpg Heat by Bill Buford

Unfortunately, I'm sure that most of you don't know who Bill Buford is. Suffice it to say that he's a phenomenal journalist and has worked as an editor at a number of influential magazines and literary journals. He also wrote the book Among the Thugs which I am currently re-reading for about the fourth time. So now picture this: you have this talented writer working in the kitchen of Iron Chef and Italian eccentric Mario Batali. Chances are no truer look at the inside story of kitchen lackey has ever been given, and I can all but gaurantee no kitchen tale has ever been quite so entertaining. So if you like to read about food, eat food, or just read (or eat) good books, this should be right up your alley.

into the wild.jpg Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

Chances are, most of you know this as book because of the movie. While Emile Hirsch does a great job in his role, there is little that compare with the book that originally inspired the film. Jon Krakauer relates the true-life tale of a dreamer who gets caught up in an adventure that he was, quite frankly, horribly unprepared for. Krakauer is able to relate his protagonist's journey to one he took as a younger man, and does an amazing job of excavating the facts to reveal the truth behind why a college graduate would donate all the money in his savings accoutn to charity and hitchhike to Alaska. No writer captures the spirit of the outdoors quite like Krakauer, and this book is really his defining work.

Phew... so there you have it. Remember, all of these books are Buy Two, Get the Third Free, so you can mix and match. I can't say for sure whether or not you can buy four and get two books free, but I can't imagine why not. Either way, search through the sale, and perhaps I've overlooked something you'd really like to read. Regardless of what you get or what price you get it for, you know you can rest assured that you'll be getting your 4% cash back when you use your Ebates account.

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