16 May 2014

Imprint Friday: What's Hot at Ecco

Imprint Friday: EccoWelcome to a special edition of Imprint Friday and today's featured imprint Ecco. Although my usual format for Imprint Friday is to introduce you to a single title, Ecco has so many great books coming out this season, I decided to highlight six titles I'm particularly excited about.

One reason I love the Ecco imprint is the great variety of genres they bring to press. The group I highlight here spans most of their range, meaning you're sure to find at least one book to call your own.

Probably Not Your Reality

The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells by Andrew Sean GreerAndrew Sean Greer's The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells, now available from Ecco in paperback, was an Indie Next pick for July 2013. Grieving the loss of her twin brother and the breakup of a long relationship, Greta Wells undergoes treatment for depression. One surprising result is the fracturing of her psyche into three different lives: the woman she thinks she is, a sexy 1918 bohemian, and a devoted World War II wife and mother. As Greta learns the pros and cons of each situation, she is left with the haunting question of what will happen if her treatment is successful: Who is the real Greta Wells? This novel explores depression, choices, homosexuality, social norms, and love.

The Bees by Laline PaullOut just this month, The Bees by Laline Paull imagines the ebb and flow of life in a regimented bee hive. Flora 717 was born a sanitation bee but manages to rise through the ranks from nursemaid to queen's attendant to forager. The journey is not easy, and Flora must fight not only the strict class system and social expectations but attacks from wasps and mice before she finally understands her true destiny. This novel will appeal to animal lovers, fans of books like Watership Down, and anyone looking for an entertaining read. Paull explores individuality, repressive societies, bravery, sisterhood, and fulfilling one's dreams. I favorably reviewed the audiobook edition (read by Orlagh Cassidy) for AudioFile magazine, so don't hesitate to listen.

It's a Man's World

Nothing Gold Can Stay by Ron RashTwo years ago, I couldn't say enough good things about Ron Rash's The Cove. I'm so pleased that Ecco is continuing to work with Rash, and I was happy to see that the paperback edition of his Nothing Gold Can Stay is now available. If you haven't yet read Rash, you won't go wrong starting with this short story collection. Most of the pieces share both their setting (Appalachia) and the exploration of violence or trouble, but the time frames range from contemporary back to the Civil War. The plots include misplanned get-rich-quick schemes, elopement, life on a chain gang, hunting, depression, racial issues, culture clashes, and war. Although the themes have a definite dark side (but some are funny), Rash's characters and descriptive prose are not to be missed.

The DiMaggios by Tom ClavinAs you know, I love biography, and I can't wait to sink my teeth into The DiMaggios by Tom Clavin. I got a hint of the personalities of two DiMaggios when I read The Kid because of their association with Ted Williams. Almost all of you will remember Joltin' Joe, but did you know that Dominic (the Little Professor) was an All-Star player for the Boston Red Sox and that Vince also made the All-Star team and played for the Pittsburgh Pirates? Clavin, a journalist, introduces us not only to the brothers' lives as ball players but also to their relationships within the family and with America as a whole. I love the period photographs and the fact that Clavin relied on as many firsthand sources as possible, including the DiMaggio family. You don't have to be a baseball fan to appreciate this examination of three talented brothers.

This and That

A Bintel Brief by Liana FinckDid you know that Ecco publishes graphic novels? I was fascinated with Liana Finck's A Bintel Brief: Love and Longing in Old New York, a graphic novel about emigration, old New York, and the struggles of making a new life while having to leave loved ones behind. Finck drew on letters submitted to the advice column of The Forward, one of the world's leading Yiddish newspapers of the turn of the last century, to write a series of graphic short stories. She imagines that the ghost of the paper's editor has been awakened and begins to remember the letters. The topics cover a wide range of issues: love, parenting, life in America, faith, and stretching a dollar. This is a touching look at tenement life in the Lower East Side.

Visitation Street by Ivy PochodaVisitation Street by Ivy Pochoda, just out in paperback, is a Dennis Lehane book, an imprint of Ecco. This Brooklyn-set novel is high on my must-read list. The mystery focuses on the disappearance of a fifteen-year-old girl and eventually involves many members of the local, multi-ethnic community. Two girls take a nighttime raft trip into the bay but only one returns, washed up on the shore. I'm intrigued because reviews indicate that the story focuses more on the citizens of Red Hook than on the investigation, giving us a look at a neighborhood in transition as professionals and foodies set up household in the traditionally blue-collar town. The novel has earned several starred reviews and has been praised for its beautiful prose. This is at the top of my summer reading list.

9 comments:

JoAnn 5/16/14, 7:41 AM  

Several of these look really good! I read Greer's previous novels, so am especially interested in The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells

rhapsodyinbooks 5/16/14, 8:01 AM  

Definitely interested in Nothing Gold Can Stay and A Bintel Brief - thanks for highlighting them!

Sheila (Bookjourney) 5/16/14, 8:37 AM  

Looks like I need to read Ron Rash!

Vasilly 5/16/14, 10:05 AM  

I need to read The Bees soon! Your description of Greta Wells is the best I've read, so now I want to read it. Great post.

bermudaonion 5/16/14, 10:20 AM  

I just pulled out a couple books to take to work with me this morning and Bintel Brief is one of them! Great list of books!

Beth Hoffman 5/16/14, 10:50 AM  

Several of those books are new to me. I'm curious about The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells.

(Diane) bookchickdi 5/16/14, 11:14 AM  

So many great titles here; The DiMaggios and Visitation Street appeal to me most.

Daryl 5/16/14, 11:31 AM  

these all sound like good reads … thanks!

Amy 5/16/14, 2:41 PM  

lists like these are the worst tbh, why is there never enough time?

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