Big shipments. Really big shipments.

Much staff attention has gone into the fiendishly complicated task of rounding up funds to put what may be the nation’s last exclusively paper card catalogue into databits, but the grant application was shipped off at the first of the month, allowing the Collector to get back to the business of buying books, which he has done, which means great whacking cartons of the books America Wants to Read have been arriving and will continue to arrive for while longer until we are caught up. Here, then, are a few of the hotter titles from what may be the largest invoice we have ever had to pay. We do know, by the way, that some of you take these recommendations over to the Public, which is all well and good, but when you do that, you are missing out on the chance to chat with Norm and Ed and Nemo and the non-blogger, any one of whom would be more than delighted to drop whatever it is we’re doing to chat and advise and commiserate, none of which pleasant tasks or distractions are in the job descriptions over at the Public.

And none of that whining about parking, thank you very much. The bus comes to the door.

Steve Coll’s The Bin Ladens tells all you can bear to know about Osama’s family. But even before you get into that, you might want to take out Noah Feldman’s The Fall and Rise of the Islamic State which is erudite but, at 151 pp. a book you can fit into your schedule. Then you might want to try Breaking News, a memoir by Martin Fletcher. You know him. NBC’s Bureau Chief in Tel Aviv, the one with the semi-Aussie accent and a good reporter.

Over to fiction: Start with The Finder by Colin Harrison. It’s a very tight New York thriller involving rogue Chinese capitalists, New Jersey sewage, a craven pharmaceutical executive, and a Jack Reacher-ish (very tough, very quiet) hero. The hero of Steven Pressfield’s Killing Rommel is also very tough and very quiet but very young and very English. The detail-crammed story is all about brave little detachments of British commandos lurching back and forth across the North African desert in search of and being sought by Hitler’s best general.

We have been pushing Michael Gruber at you with good reason. He’s absolutely brilliant, very much his own creation, writing hugely entertaining stuff (The Book of Air and Shadows – did you read it? Did you read his steamy Miami detective series? Maybe you should stop reading so many blogs and go back to books) The new Gruber is The Forgery of Venus. Hallucinogens and Diego Velasquez figure in it. Read it in preparation for the forthcoming publication of the excellent Valfierno by the Argentine Martin Caparros which is something of the same theme but not quite the same vein.

Not here yet but maybe in the next box: Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith. Serial murder in the last days of Stalin. Fabulous.

-Nemo Wolfe

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Published in: on May 7, 2008 at 12:07 pm  Leave a Comment  

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