Prairie Dogs and Shrimp Salad Sandwiches: A Peek Inside Two Staff Favorites of 2015

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2015 is winding down, and we’ve been reflecting on our favorite books of the year. For most of us on staff, these are new books published in 2015, but some of us have chosen books that we’ve been meaning to read for years and finally had a chance to fall in love with this past year. 

Our staff picks are comprised of as many distinct tastes as there are distinct humanoids; hopefully, whenever you’re in the store you find a voice in the shelftalkers that resonates with your sensibility. Or, you take a chance on something entirely new, something you might not pick up on your own (Science-fiction? Food writing? Literary surfing memoir?) because of the beautiful properties of kindred humanoid osmosis (sharing of worldviews and experiences).

Sometimes when a customer is deciding between a pair of unknown books, I invite them to sit in a comfy chair in the shop and spend some time with the prose. Here are a couple of peeks at picks from booksellers and Literati Event-Lords Mairead and John: page 1 of Claire Vaye Watkins’s Gold, Fame, Citrus, followed by Eileen Myles’s opening lines of Chelsea Girls.

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One of the reasons I loved this novel so much is the music of its language–I wasn’t expecting a dystopia of the parched future West to be written in such gorgeous sentences, but oh, baby, baby, I should have known better.  I finished the book while flying over the Rocky Mountains on my way to visit family in California, looked out the window, grateful to see snow on the mountains.

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Do you feel what John aptly terms the “buzzing joy” in Myles’s opening lines?

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Myles’s book, a fictionalized poet’s memoir, built of startling, nearly comma-less prose, was just re-issued to commemorate the launch of her collection, I Must Be Living Twice, New and Collected Poems 1975-2014, another great one for the Second-Wave New York School Poets reader on your list. (Don’t tell her, but I picked up Chelsea Girls and Not Me for one of my sisters.) Also, FYI, the poem “Peanut Butter” is a great thing to read when, gosh-darn-it,  you’ve turned up out of luck. A sandwich can be a kind of constant love, in my opinion.

Partridges, Pear Trees, Party on,


p.s. Have you read this essay by our local friend and Gold, Fame, Citrus writer Claire Vaye Watkins? As the kids are saying these days, it’s fire. (Sorry, kids.)


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