Kent's Take 10

Kent edits the QuailMail and QuailEvents newsletters, wrangles staff picks, assists in the Publicity Department, is the book clubs liaison, answers store email, and works the sales floor. In previous lives he's been a computer programmer, an ecologist, and a midcentury modern collector! He loves history, biography, and anthropology.

Psstt, there's 11 books on this list. We won't tell if you don't. 

The Gods Themselves Cover Image
ISBN: 9780553288100
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Spectra Books - September 7th, 1990

This science fiction novel was supposedly Asimov's answer to critics who said he was poor at writing about mature love stories and relationships. Never mind that the relationship that he satisfied those critics with turned out to be a triad union of gaseous beings living in a parallel universe.

Jitterbug Perfume Cover Image
ISBN: 9780553348989
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Bantam Books - April 7th, 1990

A crazy quilt of entertaining characters strives for immortality and enlightenment across time, the key to which may just be a perfume based on beet root or jasmine. Robbins somehow weaves the themes of fragrance and transcendence together into a tale that will transport you too.

Fallingwater Rising: Frank Lloyd Wright, E. J. Kaufmann, and America's Most Extraordinary House Cover Image
ISBN: 9780375710155
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Knopf Publishing Group - April 19th, 2005

 It's the story of the comeback of Frank Lloyd Wright, of modern architecture, of Pittsburgh and the Kaufmann merchant family--and of course the house itself--all fantastically woven together.

Samuel Pepys: The Unequalled Self Cover Image
ISBN: 9780375725531
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage Books USA - November 11th, 2003

Pepys rose from minor civil servant to assistant to King Charles II. He lived through the English Civil War, the Great Fire of London, and the bubonic plague. He kept a secret diary, not just of all that, but also of the everyday peccadillos of people, from the king down to his chambermaid, and especially his own. This is unvarnished, you-are-there history.

Literary Life: A Second Memoir Cover Image
ISBN: 9781439159941
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Simon & Schuster - May 10th, 2011

Recounts his path to becoming an accomplished writer. He discusses his own reading life, friendships with other authors, and becoming "a man of letters." He will lead you to other great authors to read. 

Books: A Memoir Cover Image
ISBN: 9781416583356
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Simon & Schuster - July 14th, 2009

Based on his life as an antiquarian bookseller and collector. His chapters are short and accessible, and his plain speaking and humor easily draw you in.

The Mezzanine Cover Image
ISBN: 9780802144904
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Grove Press - July 13th, 2010

This is a novel about the odd thoughts and mental digressions that you thought nobody else but you had--you'll appreciate yourself and humanity a little bit more after this. 

The Hare with Amber Eyes: A Hidden Inheritance Cover Image
ISBN: 9780312569372
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Picador USA - August 2nd, 2011

Traces the inheritance of a collection of exquisite Japanese figurines known as netsuke down through his illustrious family, ultimately to himself, uncovering an incredible history of achievement, grandeur, and staggering loss.

The Swerve: How the World Became Modern Cover Image
ISBN: 9780393343403
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - September 4th, 2012

In 1417, ex-papal secretary Poggio Bracciolini discovered a copy of a humanistic book written by Lucretius in the 1st century BC. The text was key, Greenblatt says, to inspiring the Renaissance and shaping our modern world.

The Piano Shop on the Left Bank: Discovering a Forgotten Passion in a Paris Atelier Cover Image
ISBN: 9780375758621
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House Trade - March 12th, 2002

You will be rapt by this beautiful exploration of pianos: their past, how they work, and how pianos and people are matched.

Rebel Souls: Walt Whitman and America's First Bohemians Cover Image
ISBN: 9780306822261
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Da Capo Press - September 2nd, 2014

 In the 1850s Whitman and a circle of eccentric, experimental writers and artists began meeting in a Manhattan beer cellar, determined to challenge the establishment. A wonderfully juicy account.