"We're not supposed to be friends, you and me.1) BALTIMORE . . . Rebecca Skloot had spent years researching the life of a poor African-American mother of five, Henrietta Lacks. She also spent years gaining the confidence of Ms. Lacks' family, including her granddaughter Deborah, who had one day dreamed of becoming a scientist. Unknown to Deborah, her dead grandmother was already involved in the big business of science. When Henrietta died of an aggressive cancer at the age of 30, the doctor, without her or her family's consent, had extracted cell tissues from her body. These cells, called HeLa cells, not only survived in the labratory, but actually thrived. They would become the initial building blocks for the cure to several diseases, including polio. This remarkable story is told in The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (9781400052172) 26.00. Not only is this one starting to get some press, but it's also beginning to creep up the bestseller lists. Check your stock . . .
We're meant to be enemies. Did you know that?"
--Bruno to The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
2) PROVIDENCE . . . Another title that has been a sleeper is David Dosa's Making the Rounds with Oscar (9781401323233) 23.99. Originally, I thought this title had something to do with movie OscarsTM. Of course, as usual, I couldn't have been more wrong. Oscar is actually a cat who lives at The Steere House, a home for the terminally ill. Apparently the nurses in the facility had noticed that Oscar only chose to comfort the patients who were near death. This title was written by Dr. Dosa, who was not only skeptical, but had a strong aversion to cats. He sought to disprove Oscar's abilities but, instead, became one of the converted. It could be this year's Dewey (9780446407410) 19.99.
3) FRANKLIN . . . I would hazard a guess that Kathryn Stockett's The Help (9780399155345) 24.95 was the sleeper hit of last year (and it is still going strong). To me, it's beginning to appear that Sarah Blake's The Postmistress (9780399156199) 25.95 is shaping up to be this year's sleeper. Set against the backdrop of World War II, this title traces the lives of three women whose stories are loosely intertwined. Much like The Help tackled big questions like racism, Blake's book investigates truth and truth-telling in a time of war. As Aeschylus once said, "In war, truth is the first casualty."
4) ZOMBIELAND . . . I really enjoyed the movie Zombieland, and most of the people I've talked to have felt the same way. So when Teresa from Tuesday Books showed me the title How to Speak Zombie (9780811874885) 14.95, I was immediately hooked. It won't be a bestseller, but it promises a lot of fun . . .
We were saddened to learn that Susan Lowry, the wife of Tom Lowry, passed away yesterday. Tom is the owner of Lowry's Books in Three Rivers, and our long-time friend and customer. Donations in her memory can be made to these Three Rivers charities: The Carnegie Centre for the Arts, Three Rivers Mentoring, and The Domestic Assault Centre. Donations should be sent to the Hohner Funeral Home, 1004 Arnold Street, Three Rivers, MI, 49093-9572. I have had the pleasure of sharing a lunch with the Lowry clan at the GLiBA luncheon, and I know from personal experience that Susan was a sweet and wonderful woman. Our thoughts are with you, Tom . . .