Friday, August 01, 2008

Two Book Recommendations from Vroman's Book Buyer Marie Du Vaure

Marie Du Vaure is Vroman's head book buyer. She offers a couple of recommendations of what to read right now:

The Diving Pool, by Yoko Ogawa
A perfectly disturbing trio of novellas. These unsettling stories get under your skin and won't let go. Ogawa disrupts every reference to normalcy from the inside out, to the point that readers find themselves actually responding to the call for cruelty! Quite an experience...

Six Frigates: The Epic History of the Founding of the US Navy, by Ian Toll
This is a lively and wholly absorbing narrative that will please both history buffs and readers who love a good yarn laced with solid research. I am not particularly drawn to books about early American history, but I thought I would just read the first few pages, curious as I was about how such a great institution did start. I was hooked right away. The writing is colorful, clear, and full of energy. As a young country, the United States had no real navy to speak of after the Revolution, but constant threats from the British and the French, and attacks from the Barbary pirates made the issue of a maritime force a hot topic of debate among the Founding Fathers. In 1974, Congress finally approved the building of 6 heavy frigates (smaller than a battleship and bigger than a sloop, it was of an innovative design that combined power and speed). Thus began the campaign against Tripoli, and the book continues to the War of 1812. Ian Toll does a marvelous job of evoking that era: the places, the battles, the smells, the mercantile activities, the diplomatic world. A great find, and it should sit prominently on any history shelf!

Thanks, Marie!

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