In our little book corner of the world, the RoscoeBooks staff has developed a shorthand for everyday life. If we say something was a “slow burn,” that means that it took a little extra push from us or our displays to start moving an otherwise great book. If we talk about “back stock,” we normally are making a joke…after all, we’re FAR too small for any real storage space! And if we say, “that ARC has legs,” we mean that an ARC (Advance Review Copy) we’ve received has made it through not just one or two booksellers, but possibly through everyone on staff, and all our extended family. I’m talking husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, best friends, neighbors, dachshunds…whatever! An ARC gets legs when we all love it so much or are so excited about its impending release that we literally force everyone around us to read it, whether you’re into it or not (Reason #1 why living with or near a bookseller is a mixed bag).
So I wanted to make a list of our most well-loved ARCS that have sometimes reached dozens of readers!
So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson
Have we not talked about this book on the blog before? If you’ve been in the store, we’ve definitely talked your ear off about it! Although I’m a huge Jon Ronson fan (and you should be too!), I was totally blown away by this book! At times hilarious and satirical, at times chilling and political, Ronson’s subject matter could not be more modern. Living in the digital age is great when the system works for you, but what happens when that same interconnected web turns suddenly—and at times viciously—against you? Ronson traces the lives of a number of people who have been publicly shamed and how they reclaimed their reputations…if they even could. This ARC probably went through at least 8 people…and at the time, we had a staff of four. After I read this, I think I could be heard saying, “Literally no one would not like this book.”
Purity by Jonathan Franzen
The one. The only. J. Franz. Some ARCS are unique finds that we push through word of mouth, while some are eagerly-anticipated new books by our favorite authors. I think this one tapped out at 5 readers, but only because so many friends and family of the store just straight up wanted to own their own hard copy. Franzen’s story of a young millennial woman navigating the murky terrain of the modern world was a hit. At a certain point, there was a waiting list for this ARC before it came out. We’ve got two shelf talkers and one extra “love it” heart gracing this book. In the words of RoscoeBooks’ first husband, Jeff, “In certain parts, it’s so good that it hurts.”
Gold Fame Citrus by Claire Vaye Watkins
This ARC is still walking around a little bit. It’s been read by three booksellers, our auspicious owner, and a couple friends of the store already…and looking in the back room, I’ve realized the ARC is missing again. Watkins’ debut novel is one of the most memorable things owner, Erika, says she has read in a long time. It’s a slightly dystopian ecological disaster novel featuring a frighteningly realistic California drought, a mysterious child, and totally lush and delicious language that make us excited to see what Watkins will release next!
Uprooted by Naomi Novak
We’ve talked about this book ad nauseam, so I just wanted to give it an honorary mention. I want to give a shout out to my sister-in-law, who read this book when none of us had given it a second glance and basically told me that if I didn’t read this, I couldn’t call myself a bookseller. Well, three booksellers and a mother have now read this ARC and all have given it the stamp of approval.
All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
This one was definitely featured on our best reads of the year list, and boy does it deserve a place. I have recommended this YA novel to dozens of readers, adults and young readers alike. A gorgeous, sentimental love story that tackles mental illness with the haunting echo of true life. Finn and Violet meet on the top of the high school clock tower, each contemplating what life would be like without… well, them. Slowly, they connect through their extreme fantasies. But as one begins to swim to the surface of teenage-dom, the other sinks below the surface. I LOVED this book, wept like a baby, and have pushed the ARC into so very many hands. RoscoeBooks’ three musketeers of YA (Katie, Alex and Emily) all put it on their best YA of the year list, but it’s just an awesome novel. Period. This is another ARC that is mysteriously missing…but I feel like it might be a case of being too painful to give back.
Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal
Kitchens was recommended by our wonderful Penguin rep, thought he didn’t exactly have to give us the hard sell. Kitchens. Midwest. Girlhood. We were pretty much in from the get go. This novel follows the rise of iconic chef Eva Thorvald from her birth to the height of her culinary fame. Narrated by the people who knew her in different respects, we loved this book because it was sweet without being saccharine, and just so much fun to read. This novel was loved by almost all of us, and recommended to nearly everyone who came in the store for a few weeks there.
My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout (two booksellers and one brother)
In Wilderness by Diane Thomas (two booksellers, and a sister-in-law)
Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon (three booksellers, plus a smattering of local teens)
The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro (two booksellers, but this is our bookclub choice for February, so MANY MORE SOON!)
Slade House by David Mitchell (two booksellers)
Pax by Sara Pennypacker (one bookseller, one teen librarian, and one teacher)
Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo (ONLY ONE SO FAR, but give it time. I’ve got a queue waiting to read this gem–out in April)