Liz and Gianna are two of a dying breed--traveling sales reps for book publishers--who sell books in Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, and the Deep South. Since we're constantly on the road hawking books, we must find ways to amuse ourselves. So here we've decided to share our anecdotes, adventures, favorite books, and efforts in making the world (or at least these few states) a more literate place to inhabit.
Cody is the buyer at Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi. Square Books is a gem of a store, the cornerstone for Oxford and a destination for all book lovers. Oxford is a literary Mecca, Faulkner's home, and Square Books? It was the PW Bookstore of the Year this year. As for Cody, he's one of our favorite people (other than that he didn't name his daughter "Little Liz." I keep score).
Here's Cody's pick:
A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra
Every few years there comes along a debut novel that just steals my heart because the work is so transcendent and such an unexpected joy to read. I'm thinking of Tea Obreht with The Tiger's Wife or Jonathan Safran Foer's Everything is Illuminated for example. Well, now it's Anthony Marra with his remarkable A Constellation of Vital Phenomena. Set in contemporary Chechnya against a back drop of war and insurgency, it is a testament to Marra's skill that the novel is heartbreaking but ultimately uplifting. It even made me want to read up on Chechen history and that's something that I never thought I would say. Do yourself a favor and check out this splendid new writer of whom Ann Patchett says, "If this is where Anthony Marra begins his career, I can't imagine how far he will go."