September 21st, 2010

Not all biases are created equal. For example, if our aquaintance Ralph is found to have discriminating taste in wine we feel that Ralph is a person of culture. If, on the other hand, we learn that Ralph discriminates against Asian Americans we feel that Ralph is a bigot. Book buyers, naturally, have biases of all kinds, political, social and cultural. Our topic today is a Maine specialty, regional bias. Let us take one instance of it and explore it in detail. In Maine, we are entirely for Moose, especially in books. Having a moose as a lead character in a picture book trumps all other concerns. A book entitled Lawrence, the Coroner Muskrat, would immediately arouse our critical displeasure. "This graphic two page spread of Lawrence performing an autopsy on a murdered badger, is that really appropriate for a toddler," we would ask? If the book before us is Edmund The Coroner Moose, we are ready to suspend all critical judgment, however. "Look at him use his antlers to hang his tools while he's embalming the forest critters," we exclaim, "how cute." It doesn't stop there though, because we want to know where Edmund lives. Is he in Maine? He can do no wrong! Is he in some unnamed place that might be Maine? That's close enough, he's all right! Is he in Minnesota or Canada? It's disappointing but we can more or less deal with it. We like him but we don't love him anymore. Is he in another New England state? That's not all right. What's wrong with him? Why isn't he in the Maine Woods? They were good enough for Thoreau but not for Edmund? To the devil with him. I mean a book about a coroner for young children is a terrible idea to begin with!

Let's consider a recent book by Dave Horowitz, Duck, Duck Moose. The book is a humorous and entertaining account of a Moose's road trip to Florida. We're looking golden so far. Let's turn to the first page and see what we're dealing with. Oh no! He's wearing an I Love New Hampshire T-shirt! Instant dealbreaker. After that we're quick to note the factual inaccuracy on the facing page. The Great North Woods are in Maine, not New Hampshire. It's too bad, because the book is a lot of fun, but...

All right then, so let's look at Nicholas Oldlan's new book called Making The Moose Out of Life, which just came out. We have high hopes because Oldland's last book, The Big Bear Hug, was completely wonderful. Turning the pages we find a delightful story of a Moose who lives in the wild but is afraid of taking chances and being adventurous. We're a bit worried because Oldland lives in New Brunswick, Canada, but the upside is that New Brunswick is on the Maine border, and as long as there's nothing to mark it as being somewhere else the setting looks very Maine like. Yes! We've finished the book and noted that, apart from it being a great story, with engaging illustrations, just the right amount of humor for young children, and a winning storyline, this book is  set in an unmarked place that clearly must be be Maine! Phew, or rather Huzzah!!

Here they are! Our weekly picks for the two best: two hardcover, two paperback, and two children's books. The very best new arrivals to leap out of the box and onto our shelves this week. Call or email us if you want more information on any of these titles, or to have us hold you a copy. Or stop in and check them out in person. We'd love to see you. Thanks as always for sharing your reading with us!

 

 

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Presents Earth (the Book): A Visitor's Guide to the Human Race

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Presents Earth (the Book): A Visitor's Guide to the Human Race
By Stewart, Jon
2010-09 - Grand Central Publishing
9780446579223 - Hardcover   See Other Formats
List Price $27.99 - Your Price: $22.39


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Finally, a travel guide for aliens visiting the earth. John Stewart's second book should amuse the locals too. Why? It's hilarious! ...More

The Secret History of Mi6

The Secret History of Mi6
By Jeffery, Keith
2010-09 - Penguin Press
9781594202742 - Hardcover
List Price $39.95 - Your Price: $31.96


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This comprehensive history of Britain's secret agency looks to be absolutely fascinating for anyone interested in espionage and hidden determinants in history. ...More

Even Silence Has an End: My Six Years of Captivity in the Colombian Jungle

Even Silence Has an End: My Six Years of Captivity in the Colombian Jungle
By Betancourt, Ingrid
2010-09 - Penguin Press
9781594202650 - Hardcover   See Other Formats
List Price $29.95 - Your Price: $23.96


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Here's a memoir highly praised as beeing as inspirational as it is harrowing. The publisher blurb reads..."Betancourt tells the story of her six and one-half years of captivity in the Colombian jungle, sharing powerful teachings of resilience, resistance, and faith. In 2002, while campaigning as a candidate in the Colombian presidential elections, she was abducted by the FARC. Chained day and night for much of her captivity, she never stopped dreaming of escape." ...More

New York: The Novel



New York: The Novel
By Rutherfurd, Edward
2010-09 - Ballantine Books
9780345497420 - Paperback
List Price $17.00 - Your Price: $13.60


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New York Rutherford's latest historical city saga easily earns The Weekly Top 2 DBBTONIP (Deserving Big Book That's Out Now In Paperback) rating. ...More

I Am the Dog

I Am the Dog
By Pinkwater, Daniel Manus
2010-10 - HarperCollins
9780060555054 - Hardcover   See Other Formats
List Price $16.99 - Your Price: $13.59


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Daniel Pinkwater delivers a picture book here full of his trademark humor in young boy trades places with his dog and learns to appreciate his own life. ...More

The Last Newspaper Boy in America

The Last Newspaper Boy in America
By Corbett, Sue
2010-09 - Puffin Books
9780142416969 - Paperback   See Other Formats
List Price $6.99 - Your Price: $5.59


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Huzzah! Sue Corbett's delightful middle grade novel is out today in paperback. Here's our full feature on it! ...More

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