Book List # 8 - A Hodge Podge of Titles to Get Your Through This Last Bit of March

What is a single scene short story? Here’s how it’s described on the bookflap:

“It is a short work of fiction with a specific remarkable quality – the whole of the story takes place in one scene, one geographical coordinate, one window of time. To think of it dramatically, it is a story presented on a stage with no change of setting or costume, no voice-over summarizing or carrying the viewer from here to there.”

Isn’t that neat?

And this is a collection of some of the best stories by extraordinary writers – Dorothy Parker, James Salter, Raymond Carver and Steve Almond.

This is such fun that you’ll want to get a copy for everyone you know who loves a good story.

The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories
Susanna Clarke

You probably know Susanna from her bestselling book, Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. This is done in the same vein with eeriness and a slight comedic turn amidst all of the magic and endless paths in dark woods. This time ‘round, she’s written short stories with folks like the Duke of Wellington, Mary, Queen of Scots and Jonathan Strange inhabiting her tales.

You know that I am scared of most horror, so please know that there are vengeful owls and scary houses.

Just in case you’re a scaredy-cat like me.

Green Roof – A Case Study: Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates’ Design for the Headquarters of the American Society of Landscape Architects
Christian Werthmann

Imagine having to design a place for architects?

Yeah, no pressure there.

But this is really neat. You’ll see that greenery and gardens really enhance our space and are so much better for our environments.

With all of the focus on aiding our planet and environments, I can’t think of a better book to look to hopefully help push the need for green roofs.

You’ll be so inspired that perhaps you’ll write a letter or ask to leave a plant on a roof somewhere downtown.

I do believe change can come from us.

And it’s book like this that help us along.

The Spanish Bow
Andromeda Romano-Lax

Want something really rich and historical to curl up with on cold nights?

This might be just the thing. Here’s the back copy to give you an idea of what it’s about:

In a dusty, turn-of-the-century Catalan village, the bequest of a cello bow sets young Feliu Delargo on the unlikely path of becoming a musician. Anarchist Barcelona and the court of the embattled monarchy in Madrid teach him his first serious lessons in creativity, principle, and passion—and their consequences. When he meets up with the charming and eccentric piano prodigy Justo Al-Cerraz, their lifelong friendship and rivalry orchestrate a tumultuous course for them both.

Over the span of half a century of creative struggle and international turmoil that sees them paying house calls on Picasso one year and being courted by dictators the next, they make glorious music together, and clash over virtually everything else: love, politics, and the purpose of art. When the tensions propelling a war-torn world toward catastrophe bring Aviva, an Italian violinist with a haunted past, into their lives, Feliu and Justo embark upon their final and most dangerous collaboration.”

I know some people that are going to go crazy for this one!

1.001 Ways to Save the Earth
Joanna Yarrow

This sweet little square book is easy to read or flip through. The colourful graphics and illustrations make it less imposing than some of the books on environmental help on the shelves these days.

Basically, just commit to doing one or two of the 1,001 things suggested in the book and soon you’ll have made a significant difference.

It doesn’t take more than a few seconds to read Joanna’s suggestions and most of the ideas don’t require much effort.

I believe we can do this.

And this little book of big ideas is a great help.

The Scorpion’s Sweet Venom: Diary of a Brazilian Call Girl
Bruna Surfistinha
Interviewed by Jorge Tarquini | Translated by Alison Entrekin

This book is based on a blog of a woman (real name: Raquel Pacheco) that retired from working as a call girl just before her twenty-first birthday. She had started at age 17.

The book has already been translated into 12 languages and being made into a film.

The blog that started the sensation continues but this well-packaged little book is the way to go – you get her rough relationship with her family and the sordid details of high-class call girl sex (note: it ain’t so high class).

Oh, there’s also sex tips, if you’re looking for ways to change it up...

A Three Dog Life: A Memoir
Abigail Thomas

This description will not do this book justice – Abigail’s husband, Rich, is hit by a car and his brain is obliterated so badly that he has to live in an institution and has no memory or memories. Abigail goes forward with the help of three new dogs and good friends.

It sounds mushier than it is. It is poignant and the dogs are as much a part of the story as Rich or Abigail.

I think it’s a good reminder that we don’t have forever and we have to cherish today.

That, and our lovely companions – our dogs.

Stephanie Dickison

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