It's 2001 and zombies have taken over Tom's town. Meth zombies. It starts small, with petty thefts of cleaning supplies and Sudafed from the supermarket where Tom works. But by year's end there will be ruined, hollow people on every street corner. Meth will unmake the lives of friends and teachers and parents. It will fill the prisons, and the morgues. Tom's always been focused on getting out of his depressing coal mining town, on planning his escape to a college somewhere sunny and far away. But as bits of his childhood erode around him, he finds it's not so easy to let go. Tom begins to see some reasons to stay, to see that even lost causes can be worth fighting for. In A Plague Year (Knopf, $15.99) Edward Bloor – author of perennial favorite Tangerine -- has created a searing portrait of a place and a family and a boy who survive a harrowing plague year, and become stronger than before.
COOKBOOK EVENT: What Mourad Lahlou has developed over the last decade and a half at his Michelin-starred San Francisco restaurant is nothing less than a new, modern Moroccan cuisine, inspired by memories, steeped in colorful stories, and informed by the tireless exploration of his curious mind. His book, Mourad: New Moroccan (Artisan Publishers, $40) , is anything but a dutifully “authentic” documentation of Moroccan home cooking. Yes, the great classics are all here—the basteeya, the couscous, the preserved lemons, and much more. But Mourad adapts them in stunningly creative ways that take a Moroccan idea to a whole new place. The 100-plus recipes, lavishly illustrated with food and location photography, and terrifically engaging text offer a rare blend of heat, heart, and palate. This afternoon’s event is presented in collaboration with The Café at Books & Books by Chef Allen Susser and will include food samples of recipes in the book. Join us for a New Moroccan Tasting/Signing you won’t soon forget!
The ambivalent relationship between Puerto Rico and the United States is the common theme in two recent novels by author Robert Friedman, who will be introduced this evening by Maurice Ferre. Friedman, a veteran journalist who worked for the San Juan Star in Puerto Rico for more than 20 years and as Washington correspondent for the paper until it folded in 2008, will sign and discuss his novels, Under a Dark Sun ($15) and Shadow of the Fathers ($15). The novels explore, among other things, crime, corruption and colonialism on the island. Shadow of the Fathers is based on a true incident that occurred in Puerto Rico—the supposed confession of a stateside doctor that he had killed several of his Puerto Rican patients because he found them members of an “inferior race.” El Nuevo Dia said the novel “meticulously and faithfully recreates the Puerto Rican setting...[and] recognizes Puerto Rico’s complex reality, both the internal struggles and those that come with colonial relations...” The late Puerto Rican novelist Edgardo Vega Yunqué called the work “a masterful literary novel.” Under a Dark Sun explores crime, corruption, drugs and politics in Colón, a Caribbean island stand-in for Puerto Rico. A young woman, returning from New York to the island of her birth, witnesses a murder and is caught in the underside of life on the island. A review of the novel in the Puerto Rico Daily Sun noted: “Friedman sure knows Puerto Rico’s political fauna...and portrays it majestically.”
B&B PRESS BLUE CHRISTMAS PARTY: Merry Christmas! Deck the halls! Joy to the World! Really? Year after year, the forced frivolity, gratuitous gluttony, and crass commercialism of the holiday season pegs Christmas with a kind of fairy-tale sentimentality existing in a world where there is no conflict, no anger, no hatred, and no criticism, a world in which there is no warfare in any form. Readers now can rest easy; there’s no trace of this sugarcoated existence in Blue Christmas: Holiday Stories for the Rest of Us: An Anthology (B&B Press, $17) . Instead, they are offered the gift of candor, suspense, and substance, showing them that Christmas can be both the best of times and the worst of times. Edited by award-winning novelist John Dufresne, Blue Christmas is a collection of 17 original stories written by some of today’s finest contemporary authors exploring a variety of Christmas experiences. Tonight, join Mitchell Kaplan, John Dufresne, Robert Goolrick, Lynne Barrett and Les Standiford, among others, for a celebration of the new B&B Press imprint, a project of Books & Books. We’ll be serving up blue Christmas mojitos, some yuletide surprises and a few blue Christmas stories of our own!