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From Larry's Bedside Stand

Proprietor-manager as well as master barista, Larry works a 60+ hour week, listening to customers, reading The Economist and four daily newspapers, making lattes and incendiary comments, and paying bills.  So, the time he really gets to read books for pleasure and recommending to customers is right before he closes his eyes and falls asleep.


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To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914-1918 By Adam Hochschild Cover Image
ISBN: 9780547750316
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Published: Mariner Books - March 6th, 2012

The perfect book to read in 2018, 100-year anniversary of the end of the war to end all wars. If you are not thoroughly depressed about Man's inhumanity to Man, already, we recommend your visiting Ypres/Ieper or "Wipers" and St George's Memorial Chapel and reading all the plaques commemorating all the young people (especially boys) lost to these horrific battles.

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Mothering Sunday: A Romance (Vintage International) By Graham Swift Cover Image
ISBN: 9781101971727
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Published: Vintage - January 10th, 2017

Graham Swift is one of my favorite writers (Last Orders, Waterland, Light of Day).  When I first started Mothering Sunday, I thought, "This isn't going to be as good as his others."  But, I read on and finished it, thinking, "I love this book, maybe even better than the others."

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The Story of a New Name: Neapolitan Novels, Book Two By Elena Ferrante, Ann Goldstein (Translated by) Cover Image
By Elena Ferrante, Ann Goldstein (Translated by)
ISBN: 9781609451349
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Published: Europa Editions - September 3rd, 2013

This is the second title in Elena Ferrante's "Neapolitan Quartet," written in first person by Elena about her frenemy Lila after Lila disappears.   I liked the first one, My Brilliant Friend, well enough to keep reading, but my advice to those who were a little daunted after the first one is, "Try the second one; it's much better than the first."

Don't Point That Thing at Me: 2015 Edition By Kyril Bonfiglioli Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781468311631
Published: The Overlook Press - January 20th, 2015

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The Last Will and Testament of an Extremely Distinguished Dog By Eugene O'Neill Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781429096072
Published: American Roots - October 28th, 2014

Destined to become the little tome of allegorical advice on life for this decade (as it was in the 1940s and maybe in another one or two into the future), this sweet little volume brought a tear to my eye, as I read it.  Concisely written and surely evocative of a dog's voice, this is the last testament of Silverdene Blenheim ("Blemie") O'Neill, beloved elderly dog of Eugene and Carlota O'Neill. He starts by asserting that he has nothing material to leave as dogs are smarter than humans, not losing sleep worrying about how to keep what they have or obtain what they don't.  Contrary to his Mistress's assertion that she could not have another dog after him, because she loves Blemie so well, getting another dog is the best way to honor him, as he hopes that he is not so selfish as to deny his Mistress the love and comfort of a good dog.  Besides, his successor's obvious defects will serve to keep his own memory green.  This is a humble dog who knows his own worth and gladly leaves his most important possessions, his love and faith.

This Town: Two Parties and a Funeral--Plus Plenty of Valet Parking!--in America's Gilded Capital By Mark Leibovich Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780399161308
Published: Penguin Press - July 16th, 2013

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Lincoln's Ladder to the Presidency: The Eighth Judicial Circuit By Guy C. Fraker, Michael Burlingame (Foreword by) Cover Image
By Guy C. Fraker, Michael Burlingame (Foreword by)
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ISBN: 9780809332014
Published: Southern Illinois University Press - October 26th, 2012

Author Guy C Fraker spent time at Nachusa Grasslands researching and writing this book while absorbing just how the Illinois prairie must have been like in Abraham Lincoln's day, as he travelled for twenty-three years around the Eighth Judicial Circuit, being either defense attorney or prosecutor in criminal cases, taking one side or the other in a civil case, and sometimes even sitting as judge when His Honor did not show at court time.  Lincoln was the only practicing attorney who visited and worked every county in the Circuit, impressing potential backers and making influential friends along the way.  Packed full of fascinating history, this book is for those interested in Illinois, in Lincoln or in the art of making friends and influencing people, all the way to the Presidency of the United States of America. 

Farmer's Almanac: A Work of Fiction By Chris Fink Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780983693277
Published: Emergency Press - March 12th, 2013

You just missed a great program here with novelist Chris Fink, essayist Joe Bonomo and poet John Bradley.  However, you can still pick up their books here at BoF.  I highly recommend Chris Fink's Farmer's Almanac.  I would describe it as having been written by Flannery O'Connor who had to milk cows and hated every minute of it.  Fink's novel about a fictitious Wisconsin dairy community in the 1990s when California surpassed The Dairy State in milk production is full of dark truths and true characters.    

How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia By Mohsin Hamid Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781594487293
Published: Riverhead Books - March 5th, 2013

I loved the author's two other books, Moth Smoke and Reluctant Fundamentalist.  Mohsin Hamid's newest showcases his inimitable voice in a clever device in using the second person voice to guide the reader through life of a boy from the countryside who grows up to be a successful businessman in an unnamed "rising" Asian city (Mumbai? Kurachi? Jakata?  Every and any overcrowded city in Asia, still growing and with modernization pains) in all its wealth, poverty, filth, beauty, corruption, innocence, ambition, despair, violence, tenderness, life and death.

Canada By Richard Ford Cover Image
ISBN: 9780061692031
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Published: Ecco - January 22nd, 2013

Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War By Karl Marlantes Cover Image
ISBN: 9780802145314
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Published: Grove Press - May 10th, 2011

Painful as parts are to read, this is as authentic as it gets. Written over the course of thirty years in the tradition of James Jones's Thin Red Line, the author presents from personal experience on the theme of "war is hell" and Vietnam is not much better.