Thursday, October 22, 2020

Paperbacks: Bringing Paper Back

A Land More Kind Than HomeRecent releases now available in paperback are a good compromise between hardcover and digital books

By Emily Gatlin

emilygatlin@bellsouth.net

There is something to be said about a physical book. The way it feels. The way it smells. The way it weighs down your purse. The way you can use it to cover your face if you want to take a nap. And smell it. I would be afraid of doing that with an e-reader because it can burn your face.

I don’t want to open up the “e-book vs. physical book” can of worms, but if you would like to discuss it please feel free to contact me. I love hearing what other people think.

I have absolutely no problem letting my nerd flag fly.

With the price of hardcover books ranging between $25 and $40, I completely understand the avoidance.  Paperbacks skirt around the same price range as an e-book, and some of my 2012 favorites are now available. Lucky you!

Wiley Cash’s A Land More Kind Than Home actually made me feel sorry for other books. Cash’s debut novel centers around brothers Jess and Christopher Hall (everyone calls him “Stump” because he has never uttered a word). It has everything: a crooked church pastor, snakes, an affair, a “healing” gone wrong, a jealous husband, gunshots—SO GOOD! The story is enough to keep you entertained, but what impressed me the most was Cash’s ability to use words in a way that will give you goosebumps. If you can’t wait until this October for Tom Franklin and Beth Ann Fennelly’s The Tilted World (I sure have ants in the pants about it), Wiley Cash’s book might be a good way to tide yourself over. He is currently on tour throughout the South.

A Good American by Alex George is one of those beautifully crafted generation spanning books that makes you want to put on your comfy pants and curl up with it. In 1904, Frederick and Jette are newly married and find themselves on a boat to New Orleans to start a new life together in America away from disapproving family members. It is such a well written novel and I think anyone would enjoy it because kind of like a gumbo, it has a little bit of everything: prohibition, illegal prize-fighting, jazz music (Oh! The jazz!), gumbo (really), and a love story.

If you are a Hemingway fan, don’t miss Erika Robuck’s novel Hemingway’s Girl. Mariella is hired by Hemingway’s second wife, Pauline, as a maid. She develops a special bond with Hemingway, and I won’t lie, it kind of made me fall in love with the guy. If you are more of a non-fiction fan, I highly recommend Hemingway’s Boat by Paul Hendrickson. It is very dark, but almost necessary to read.

Also, I am still on my short story/essay bender and I’m really enjoying Birds of a Lesser Paradise by Megan Mayhew Bergman. It’s available in paperback.

emilygatlinEmily Gatlin spent four years as the manager of Reed’s Gum Tree Bookstore in Tupelo. Her frequent book reviews in the Mississippi Business Journal and her Bookseller Barbie blogs on the book trade have become well known to aficionados. Her author events at Gum Tree helped the store become a regular on the tour circuit. In 2012, she was nominated to serve on the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance Board of Directors.