Signed Books

The Ministry of Utmost Happiness takes us on an intimate journey of many years across the Indian subcontinent—from the cramped neighborhoods of Old Delhi and the roads of the new city to the mountains and valleys of Kashmir and beyond, where war is peace and peace is war. It is an aching love story and a decisive remonstration, a story told in a whisper, in a shout, through unsentimental tears and sometimes with a bitter laugh. Each of its characters is indelibly, tenderly rendered. Its heroes are people who have been broken by the world they live in and then rescued, patched together by acts of love—and by hope.

 

 

 

 

Bruce Cable owns a popular bookstore in the sleepy resort town of Santa Rosa on Camino Island in Florida. He makes his real money, though, as a prominent dealer in rare books. Very few people know that he occasionally dabbles in the black market of stolen books and manuscripts. Mercer Mann is a young novelist with a severe case of writer's block who has recently been laid off from her teaching position. She is approached by an elegant, mysterious woman working for an even more mysterious company. A generous offer of money convinces Mercer to go undercover and infiltrate Bruce Cable's circle of literary friends, ideally getting close enough to him to learn his secrets. But eventually Mercer learns far too much.

 

 

 

Over the course of several years, Poundstone (There's Nothing in This Book That I Meant to Say, 2006) conducted scientific experiments concerning what makes people happy, and she relays them here. She tries to get organized once (make that twice) and for all. She spends a day hugging as many people as she can. She rents that surefire midlife-happiness-bringing vehicle, a Lamborghini, for a day. She tries to reconnect with her many pets, whom she fears she's neglected. A crack writer of uncommonly hilarious observations, she organizes her experiments into clever categories (hypotheses, field notes, constants, conclusions, etc.) and measures happiness gained and lost on her invented scale of heps, balous, and fractions thereof. In between it all, the stuff of life fills in. One gets the impression that Poundstone is either parenting one or all three of her kids, scraping together her formidable, continuously strenuous career, hopping a plane, or sifting a litterbox at all times. As readers may expect, this isn't really science-y. But it is smart, sweet, and laugh-out-loud funny balm for exceedingly stressful times.

 

 

A radiant talent on the brink of making it big in Nashville must confront her small-town past and an old love she’s never forgotten in this engaging novel—a soulful ballad filled with romance, heartbreak, secrets, and scandal from the author of Season of the Dragonflies.