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How We Assembled Indiespensable #19

With her deeply affecting and magical style, Aimee Bender is truly an original voice. She has a large and devoted (okay, possibly rabid) following here at Powell's, so, of course, we were thrilled at the prospect of featuring her new novel, The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, as our 19th Indiespensable selection. Entertainment Weekly declares — and we wholeheartedly agree — " To curl up with an Aimee Bender story is to thank heaven you ever learned to read in the first placeTo curl up with an Aimee Bender story is to thank heaven you ever learned to read in the first place."

Jill read Lemon Cake first, calling it "an incredibly poignant and unique coming-of-age story that you won't be able to put down. My favorite book of the year so far." Kim and Megan loved it, as well, and with the kind cooperation of Doubleday, Bender's publisher, we designed our brightest and most eye-catching slipcase ever (primary colors!). Jill's interview with Bender, which you'll find in the included author cards, left us even more enamored, if that was even possible. (Editor's note: Read the Powells.com interview with Aimee Bender here.)

It seems as if the stars had aligned for this volume; we couldn't believe our ears when we heard that Doubleday is gearing up to publish a new novel by another of our favorite authors Myla Goldberg. The False Friend is the mysterious and deeply resonant story of childhood friends, the truths that we question, and the lies that we accept as truth. We're pleased to include an advance copy of this highly anticipated novel, over three months before its release!

Given Bender's gorgeous and salivation-inducing food descriptions, we thought it might be useful to include something to help wash it all down. Thus, we present coasters inspired by Bernard DeVoto's The Hour: A Cocktail Manifesto. Our friends over at Tin House Books recently published a handsome new volume of the 1950s classic, complete with an introduction by Daniel Handler.  And, we're happy to report, DeVoto's words still prove an applicable and humorous treatise for the modern drinker... er, reader. Modern reader.

So, there you have it, the recipe for Indiespensable #19. A tasty installment, if we may say so ourselves. We hope you enjoy it. (If you do, feel free to tell us about it — you're in the right place!)

The Indiespensable Team

÷ ÷ ÷

A collective of high muckamucks, the Panjandrums largely spend their time in competitive Bananagram duels and negotiations regarding Pie Friday — not to mention painstakingly designing each installment of Powell's subscription club, Indiespensable, with the help of independent publishers and local merchants. From time to time, they find it entertaining to give you a look at the hows and whys behind the what. But, if you're yearning for more, send questions, suggestions, and random anecdotes to indiespensable@powells.com. (They especially like stories about pets, babies, and pie fillings.)

Books mentioned in this post

  1. The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake
    Used Hardcover $6.50
  2. The False Friend
    Used Hardcover $5.95
  3. The Hour: A Cocktail Manifesto Used Hardcover $10.95

4 Responses to "How We Assembled Indiespensable #19"

    Kurt July 27th, 2010 at 1:09 pm

    Aimee Bender is swell and not to nitpick but how, exactly does Doubleday fit into your definition of an "independent publisher"?

    Donna August 29th, 2010 at 5:13 pm

    Seriously, I wondered the same thing. I'd heard the book discussed on NPR one weekend and was surprised it was an Indiespensable choice.

    I love my indiespensable subscription - I was an original subscriber. It's one of the best gift I've ever given myself. Still, Doubleday?

    Michelle September 5th, 2010 at 12:47 pm

    I hadn't read Bender before, and just finished "Lemon Cake" -- it was heart-stoppingly wonderful. I loved it. Thank you for introducing me to a fabulous writer. And the secondary book, "False Friend," so intrigue me, that I picked it up immediately, and read it right away as well. Also a good one. Very much enjoying being an indie subscriber....

    J September 16th, 2010 at 10:33 am

    I really disliked this book. I love being a subscriber but can't understand this choice. Too little explanation of the supporting characters own abilities. It felt a little like a cop-out. Also I can't identify with a nine year old who in a matter of one bite of cake understands and explains what makes her different.

    Love the subscription, just not this one.

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