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January 11, 2010 / schulerbooks

Presenting Schuler Books’ Top Picks of 2009!

Now that we have finally caught up after the holiday craziness, allow us to present Schuler’s Top Picks of 2009!  We asked our managers and promotion staff to pick their favorite read of the past year and tell us why they loved it so – check out our raves below! (and don’t get caught in the snow… don’t wanna be late for the show… Now I’ll stop being a rhyming lame-o. hee hee!)

FICTION

Chronic City by Jonathan Lethem.

Set in a not too distant future Manhattan, this book features Chace Insteadman, a child star grown up, and his unlikely friendship with Perkus Tooth, a down on his luck former rock critic. The rest of the plot is two convoluted to easily summarize; suffice it to say, Lethem is a great writer and you will enjoy the ride.  —Rhoda Wolff, General Manager, Lansing

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese.

This is one of the handful of novels I read this year.  I picked it up on a whim, read the first page, and I was instantly hooked.  This book takes the reader to four continents, explores the complex relationships that exist in a family that must grapple with tragedy, and gives a cultural history of Ethiopia through the lens of a doctor trying to make peace with his past.  An excellent first novel. —Tim Smith, General Manager, 28th St., Grand Rapids


The Leisure Seeker by Michael Zadoorian.

Ella and John Robina hit the road from Detroit in their battered travel trailer for one last road trip in the latest novel by Michigan author Zadoorian. She has cancer, he has dementia, but her funny and wise voice keeps this book from being sappy or predictible. —Rhoda Wolff, General Manager, Lansing

Pride & Prejudice & Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith.

Some books just never die. The classic novel has been reanimated and re-released in a deluxe heirloom edition (now with 30% more zombies!), pairing a creative new slant towards the zombie genre while keeping its timeless battle of wits, classes and genders among higher society. This book does a wonderful job of juxtaposing the well-bred with the well-dead. You never feel that the zombie aspect is forced, but rather that it has belonged with the story all along. —Mark Bolek, Promotions Coordinator, Grand Rapids

The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood.

This book simply rocked me with its greatness. At turns hilarious and harrowing, Atwood’s new novel proves that she is the modern master of speculative fiction, following in the steps of her previous book Oryx and Crake in depicting a dystopian future that seems all too plausible for comfort. —Whitney Spotts, Promotions Coordinator, Lansing

NONFICTION

The Greatest Show On Earth by Richard Dawkins.

Another one of his brilliant, logical and inspiring books on the truth and beauty of evolution. The descriptions of the processes that have been at work since the beginning of life on Earth are mind-boggling and wondrous. Like brilliant science fiction, but true. —Neil Rajala, General Manager, Downtown Grand Rapids


The Jazz Loft Project
by Sam Stephenson.

Stephenson compiled The Jazz Loft Project from photographs and transcribed sound recordings of legendary photographer/hipster W. Eugene Smith. In the late 50s – early 60s Smith holed up in his New York City loft, wired the entire room for sound, and opened the place up to all of his “fellow cats.” The result is an incredibly intimate look into the jazz culture of New York City during the hard-bop era. —Trevor Rowe, General Manager, Alpine Ave., Grand Rapids

YOUNG ADULT & KIDS

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins.

In the second installment in her Hunger Games trilogy, Suzanne Collins returns us to the dystopian world of our heroin Katniss, who is publically fighting for her survival once again, this time in the arena of politics. Any misstep as a celebrity will bring the power of the Capitol crushing down on her, and it seems any move is the wrong move. Riveting from start to finish, this book made me cry out in surprise more than once as I raced to the end to find out if the characters I loved would make it there with me.
—Emily Galer, Promotions Coordinator, Okemos


Skippyjon Jones, Lost in Spice by Judy Schachner.

I LOVE to read this book aloud to my daughter!  (great for ages 3-10) It is muy, muy, bueno because it reads phonetically, and includes some Spanish!  And, it is lots of fun for both of us.  (Hardcovers include the cd of the author reading which is fantastic!) —Emily Stavrou, Promotions Coordinator, Grand Rapids

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