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How We Assembled Indiespensable #32

When we started Stephen Dau's debut novel, The Book of Jonas, we were impressed. (Kim, Michal, and Jill all raved about the beauty of the language within the first 10 pages.) And by the time we got to the end, we were more than impressed: we were moved to tears by Jonas's story.

Jonas is a 15-year-old boy from an unnamed Muslim country, orphaned by an American military attack on his village. Through a charitable organization, he is sent to the United States to live in Pittsburgh, with a host family, and grows up divided between his present life and his past memories. Jonas's story is interwoven with the stories of Christopher, a missing American soldier who may have saved Jonas's life, and Rose, Christopher's mother, who is trying to make sense of her own life after Christopher's disappearance. In a starred review, Kirkus Reviews wrote, "Dau's novel offers deeply resonating truths about war and culture, about family and loss that only art can reveal. A literary tour de force."

We were excited to include an advance reading copy of Battleborn by Claire Vaye Watkins. Set to be released in August, Battleborn is a debut collection of short stories — a first for us in an Indiespensable package. We thought you'd find her voice to be utterly remarkable; it's garnering comparisons to Denis Johnson and Annie Proulx. Watkins's spare, lovely prose probes the physical and emotional landscapes of the American West, and, in one story, she takes on and reimagines her own history (her father was involved with the Manson Family).

We were thrilled to be introduced to these remarkable new writers, and hope that you were, too.

Lastly, and apropos of nothing, we also included a set of Powell's magnets, for pinning whatever you like to your refrigerator. Or bike rack, car door, desk lamp, cocktail shaker... They look like tattoos, but they won't stick to your arm — unless your arm is made of metal.

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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 Book of Jonas
    Used Hardcover $6.50
  2. Battleborn
    Used Hardcover $8.98

One Response to "How We Assembled Indiespensable #32"

    Gift Giver May 10th, 2012 at 3:54 pm

    For the past 4 years I've given a 3-4 month gift subscription to my folks for the holidays. They have loved it so much and while the book selections continue to be excellent, the "extras" this year are just not on par with years past.

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