There is a connection between what's happening in the world and what books sell. With the current headlines about events in Libya and Japan, some of our recent sales have been Escape to Hell and Other Stories by Qaddafi; Americans At Risk: Why We are Not Prepared for Megadisasters and What We Can Do; and Fighting Radiation and Chemical Pollutants with Foods, Herbs, and Vitamins. If we suddenly receive simultaneous multiple orders from different bookselling websites (we sell on ten) for a single title or author, that usually means that book or writer has been in the news recently. Sometimes, sadly, a rash of orders is an indication the author has died.
I have been remiss as to updating this blog with what I've been reading, so my list is a bit long this time:
Breast Cancer: Reduce Your Risk with Foods You Love by Robert Pendergrast
A Short History of the Printed Word by Warren Chappell
Rick Steves' Istanbul
Time Out Istanbul
Strolling through Istanbul
Lonely Planet: Turkey
Out Backward by Ross Raisin
The Pendergrast book really didn't have much more to say about diet and health than I've already read in books by Dr. Andrew Weil (eat a variety of organic vegetables and fruit, omega 3 fatty acids, real food, not processed food; exercise) but it was refreshing to see a publication that talks about breast cancer as a preventable disease; not something that can only be screened for, as the mainstream medical establishment seems to believe.
Out Backward is a novel I picked from a pile being culled from our shelves to make room for the new. It's the first person story of a 19 year-old social outcast (and accused molester) sheep farmer on the English moors who becomes obsessed with a 15 year-old neighbor girl who moves with her family from London--a definite clash of cultures and class. The language is full of lively, expressive sheep farmer slang: "glegg" for look, "tidgy" for frail or spindly; "sprog" for child; "trunklements" for things. The Harper Perennial trade paperback of this book has essays and interviews with the author at the end, and there's a nice essay on the state of farming in the U.K. The same old story about consumers wanting cheap food prices and agribusiness putting small farmers out of business.