The Maples Stories, My Father's Tears and Other Stories, & Endpoint and Other Poems - John Updike,

Suddenly, without foreshadowing, he died.  I mean John Updike, whose carefully crafted flow of adjectives and adverbs, bursting with resonance, continue to give so much aesthetic pleasure.  He wrote movingly about his mother’s death but seemed to leave us with a blank canvas at his own sudden exit.  But then Random House surprised us with three volumes put together in the year before his final deadline.  The author and publisher, it appears, stealthily planned this canonical bequest.  

From his midlife, The Maples Stories (Everyman, $15), those poignant linked short fictions of a disintegrating marriage, originally—30 years ago—titled Too Far to Go, has been reissued with a new addition, “Grandparenting,” along with Updike’s reassurance that the Maples are “both still alive and look well, considering.”  My Father’s Tears (Knopf, $25.95), Updike’s last short story collection, is quintessential Updike: thinly veiled autobiography. The volume’s final story leaves us with a benediction as a toast is drunk to the visible world, “impending disappearance from it be damned.”  Finally, Endpoint (Knopf, $25) is a book of poems Updike wrote in the last seven years of his life. I loved all of them, especially Updike’s own valedictory farewell, “Requiem”: For life’s a shabby subterfuge,/ and death is real, and dark, and huge,/ the shock of it will register/ Nowhere but where it will occur.”

The Maples Stories (Everyman's Library Pocket Classics Series) By John Updike Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307271761
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Everyman's Library - August 4th, 2009

My Father's Tears: And Other Stories By John Updike Cover Image
ISBN: 9780345513809
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Published: Random House Trade Paperbacks - May 25th, 2010

Endpoint and Other Poems By John Updike Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307272867
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Published: Knopf - March 31st, 2009

The Calligrapher's Daughter - Eugenia Kim

In Homer & Langley (Random House, $26) E. L. Doctorow uses the true story of Manhattan’s eccentric Collyer brothers and re-imagines it to take the reader on a tour of 20th-century America. From World War I through the Summer of Love, Doctorow brilliantly and poignantly writes in the voice of Homer, the blind younger brother, discussing the changes in the larger world while he and Langley continue to erode inside their smaller one, searching for love and companionship in a society they understand less and less with each passing year.
The Memory Keeper's Daughter: A Novel By Kim Edwards Cover Image
ISBN: 9780143037149
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Penguin Books - May 30th, 2006

Border Songs - Jim Lynch

Border Songs is an engaging, satisfying and immensely entertaining story. The appeal stems largely from the novel’s main character, Brandon Vanderkool. Brandon is six foot eight, severely dyslexic and has an uncanny affinity for the natural world. Working as a border patrol agent along the U.S. Canada border in Washington state, he indulges his passion for bird-watching while keeping an alert eye to potential terrorists and pot smugglers. The forests and farms of northern Washington are beautifully described and play a key role in the story. It’s in this landscape that Brandon’s father Norm operates a dairy farm. His struggle to maintain his business and look after his animals is described with unerring detail. The plot’s satisfying twists and turns largely focus on industrial marijuana production in British Columbia and its importation into the lower 48, but the most lasting and compelling aspect of Border Songs is the characters–-their originality, vitality, and freshness make this a truly stand-out novel.

Brandon Vanderkool is a gentle giant, a dyslexic border patrol agent working the northern border of Washington and western Canada.  More at home in the woods with animals and birds than he is with people, he’s a natural tracker but somewhat clumsy with bureaucracy.  Border Songs (Knopf, $25.95), by Jim Lynch, tells Brandon’s remarkable, eccentric, and ultimately heroic story.  After 9/11, the once barely-observed border is heavily monitored by cameras and planes, and cross-border neighbors eye each other warily. Add to this a marijuana-smuggling operation based in British Columbia, and Brandon and his fellow agents have a lot on their hands.  With a graceful regard for the natural world and a motley cast of characters, Border Songs is an utterly original and unforgettable novel.

Border Songs (Vintage Contemporaries) By Jim Lynch Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307456267
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Vintage - July 13th, 2010