Monthly Archives: June 2011

The Two Deaths of Daniel Hayes by Marcus Sakey

The Two Deaths of Daniel HayesIn an interview last week, Chicago novelist Marcus Sakey said ideas for his books emerge from “sheer panic” and called the challenge of finding an idea to write about every day for a year “daunting.”  When he does choose an idea to work with, however, you can be sure it’s a good one, and that his execution will do it justice.

In that same interview, Sakey cites his inspiration for the driving force behind his newest thriller, The Two Deaths of Daniel Hayes, as coming from fellow Chicago author Sean Chercover.  Apparently Chercover quoted Negro League baseball player Satchel Paige (1906-1982), who once said: “How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?”  Sakey explains, “I just took that and I thought, who would you be, if you didn’t know who ‘you’ was?  …I really tried to keep that front and center, [that] this guy is literally inventing himself as he goes along.”  The Two Deaths of Daniel Hayes revolves around a man who finds himself nearly dead with no memory of himself or his life prior to that moment.  As he finds clues to his identity, however, and learns more about the circumstances that left him mostly drowned on a beach in Maine, he begins to wonder if he is really capable of the acts others claim he has committed.

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The Practical Napper by Jennifer Eyre White

The Practical Napper

The Practical Napper

Napping is one of the finest pleasures in life.  The idea of stopping everything in the middle of the day and crawling into bed, or onto the couch, or perhaps just putting your head down on the steering wheel for a few moments, is intoxicating.  So many napping possibilities, so few napping hours in the day.  Yes, I am decidedly pro-nap.

Now there is a book to support nap enthusiasts like myself: The Practical Napper (available on Tuesday, June 7th).  This volume is a hardcover, but its small, gift-book size ensures that you will not sustain blunt force trauma from dropping it on your face when you doze off in the middle.  (Beware the corners, though – those are still sharp and pointy.  I added foam padding to mine.)

Each page contains a quotation, fact, illustration, or anecdote, all revolving around the ancient art of napping.  Take this one, for instance: “A nap makes a fine Mother’s Day or Father’s Day gift for your weary spouse, the beloved parent of your young children.  Because nothing says ‘I love you’ like letting your partner check out for awhile and forget all about the life the two of you have built together.” (120)  That’s some sound advice right there.

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Posted by on June 6, 2011 in Book Reviews, Humor


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Printers Row Lit Fest 2011 Live Tweets

Printers Row Lit Fest 2011As our Twitter followers know, we live-tweeted the proceedings at Printers Row Lit Fest today.  Here is a compilation of the tweets from a truly wonderful day!  (Tweeted by Recidivist Reader via @BksellerExpats.)

Printers Row Lit Fest 2011

June 3rd, 5:45pm:  As unemployed booksellers, we didn’t make it to #BEA11, but some of us will be at @chicagotribune‘s #PRLF on Sun! Tweet us if you’re there.

June 5th, 8:05am:  Getting ready for #PrintersRowLitFest! Tweet us if you’re there today.

June 5th, 9:34am:  We know that #YAsaves and love that it’s trending!

June 5th, 9:36am:  (Take that, MTV Movie Awards. All the way down there.)

June 5th, 10:17am:  Remember how I wasn’t going to buy any books at #PRLF..? What made me think that would work??

June 5th,10:41am:  John Kass talking about Chicago politics says he thinks Blago will do time in prison. TribNation tent erupts in applause. #PRLF11

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Posted by on June 5, 2011 in Events


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2 States: The Story of My Marriage by Chetan Bhagat

This is the first book I have read written by an Indian author for an Indian audience still living in India. Chetan Bhagat is quite a famous writer in India. Aside from selling many copies of his novels, two of them were made into Bollywood (Indian Hollywood) movies. One of those movies – 3 Idiots – had cross cultural success, with Indian-Americans going to theaters in droves to watch it. I would actually recommend it to non-Indian-American audiences as well. It is a wonderfully directed/written movie, the actors are good, and the songs are entertaining. Did I mention that all Bollywood movies have songs and dance routines? Yea, they do.

Anyway, back to the book. Me thinks this may be based on Chetan Bhagat’s life. I mean, aside from the title saying “the story of my marriage,” the characters bear a striking resemblance to people in his own life. Before I can really get into the story told in this novel, it is important to have an understanding of arranged marriages. And I don’t mean the superficial understanding that leads people to say stuff like, “How can you get married without loving somebody?” or “You’re letting someone else choose your life partner for you?” I’m not saying these aren’t valid questions. I just want to give you a fuller picture of the concept. At one end of the marriage spectrum is the historical context of two people getting together in matrimony. Marriage often served a political purpose. People exchanged heirs to maintain peaceful relationships with foreign powers or tribes. Many people are involved and the two people in the center of this exchange aren’t so much consulted as told of the impending match. Two people coming together for love is on the complete other end of the spectrum. Here, nobody except the two people involved consult about the match. Arranged marriages are somewhere in the middle of this spectrum. These marriages involve the coming together of two families that share common beliefs, cultural practices, languages, etc. The bride and groom are consulted, but everything is seen through a familial lens: how will this person fit in with my family?

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Five Minutes with Marcus Sakey

Marcus Sakey

Marcus Sakey

Marcus Sakey is the award-winning author of five crime novels, three of which have been optioned as films.  That leaves two titles still available, if you act quickly and outbid the hordes of Hollywood people who are surely planning to snap them up.  His newest book, The Two Deaths of Daniel Hayes, is set to be released on June 9th.  (Our review will be posted early next week.)  Sakey lives in Chicago, where he will be celebrating his book release at Printers Row Lit Fest on Saturday, June 4th, and at The Hidden Shamrock on Sunday, June 12th.  He was kind enough to spend some time with us to talk about his new book, his forthcoming TV show, and more.

[Booksellers Without Borders]: Why should anybody buy your book?

[Marcus Sakey]: Because my mother will publicly shame you otherwise?

Although that’s true, I owe you a better reason, or at least one that doesn’t require Mom to travel so much.  To me, a good book manages to do two things — first, entertain, and second, leave you thinking.  Now, I’m not sure I accomplished those things, but they were at least my goal.

Also, the novel has no f@#&ing vampires in it.  In this day that should be worth something, right?

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Book Trailers Worth Watching

In case you weren’t aware, the 2011 Moby Awards were presented last night.  I know what you’re thinking: the what awards?  The Moby Awards are only in their second year of existence, commemorating both the very best and the very worst in book trailer videos.  Winners receive a gold sperm whale to celebrate their superb or superbly bad book trailers.  Formal attire is recommended.

I’m fairly ambivalent on the subject of book trailers.  I can’t remember a single instance where I saw a book trailer online and thought, wow, now I really need to buy/read that book!  This is probably because I never seek them out; I am most likely to stumble across one while looking up information about a book I know I’m already interested in, or already own.  I’ve certainly seen some entertaining book trailers, and we periodically post them with our reviews on this blog.  But the best advertisement for me is the book itself or a trusted friend’s recommendation.  I don’t look to YouTube for additions to my TBR.

So I am not certain how useful book trailers are in the first place.  Feel free to weigh in if you never buy a book without watching its trailer first, or if that is your main source of reading recommendations.  But I’m willing to bet that’s not the case.  You see, we’re readers.  We don’t need to watch a video to convince us to read a book; we simply pick up the book (or read the summary, sample page, and reviews online) and decide if it speaks to us.  And when it does speak to us, it most often says, “Take me home with you!  I’m cute and I like to snuggle.”

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Posted by on June 3, 2011 in Industry News


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