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Date: 2009-12-18 (22:04)
From: Anagram <anagram@n...>
Subject: Merry Christmas!
Dear readers,

First and foremost we write to thank you for your continuing support and to wish you a healthy, happy and prosperous new year.

2009 year has seen considerable change at Anagram, with the arrival of a few new faces and a whole new look. Christmas elves have been hard at work on our redesigned children's corner, we have added a new releases section and our staff recommendations shelf returns by popular demand.

As per Anagram tradition we will be open every day over the holidays, including Christmas day! So we warmly invite you to stop by, say hello and have a look around.


We include with this message some information on just a few of the many great titles we have in stock, but if nothing catches your eye rest assured we are confident we have something for everyone. As always, we take great pleasure in helping you find that perfect book.

All our best,

Pavel, David, Denis, Bara and Alastair


Wolf Hall (2009 Booker Prize winner)

Hilary Mantel takes a slice of Tudor history and allows the reader to view it through the eyes of Thomas Cromwell, who rose from his origins as the son of a blacksmith to become the chief minister of King Henry VIII. From his humble origins, he manages to become an important advisor to the ill-fated Cardinal Wolsey, who, as everyone knows, started his downhill slide because of his inability to provide Henry VIII with a Church-sanctioned divorce from Katherine of Aragon. It is, ironically, Wolsey's fall that begins Cromwell's rise. Cromwell survives by his own motto, "inch by inch forward. Never mind if he calls you an eel or a worm or a snake. Head down, don't provoke him." His fortune is on the ascendant, throughout the story, but as everyone also knows, fortune is fleeting, and especially in this time, largely at the whim of the king.


Written under the specter of his own death, Roberto Bolano's "2666" is a statement of the capacity of cruelty that resides in the darkest heart of humanity. The novel is really five novellas, thematically tied together, and centered around the fictional town of Santa Teresa (Cuidad Juarez in our world) where hundreds of young women are being raped and murdered. The plot of the novel takes a back seat to the real driving force which is the nightmare landscape of Santa Teresa. There is some great yarn spinning as Bolano is a gifted storyteller, but "2666" lacks any overall narrative with a traditional beginning, middle, and end. In this way the novel resembles "Infinite Jest", as there are multiple characters who interact peripherally and whose meaningful, and potentially fatal, interaction takes place outside of the text as the reader must project more narrative into the end of the novel.

Each character is moving closer and closer to what David Foster Wallace calls "the default setting" of which there is a "constant gnawing sense of having had, and lost, some infinite thing." This is the ultimate reason for "2666" as Bolano was racing against his own death to make a final statement about the world in which we live. When we look back in the year 2666 we will see these horrific acts - the Holocaust, the murders in Cuidad Juarez - not as singular acts of unfamiliar human conduct, but as two examples of the all to familiar trait of human cruelty. And just as today no one remembers 13th century atrocities, in 2666 all the pain, suffering, and questioning of our characters will be dim reflections of the invincible living.

Inherent Vice

Pynchon's first stab at "genre" fiction is a rowdy, rollicking romp through the classic detective noir genre. While it's certainly missing a lot of Pynchon's trademark existentialist mischief, Pynchon proves he's adept at writing a pretty good detective novel; Pynchon does a terrific job of mimicking novelists like Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett, and "Inherent Vice" captures the pace, twists and turns of a work like "The Big Sleep."


Whether you read the first installment of "Freakonomics" or not, grab this book and read with an open mind. Levitt and Dubner attempt to use principles of economics (i.e. statistical analysis) to uncover the hidden side of current and historical events. Although they are practicing economists, they see the fallacy of the premise behind modern economic theory

In this book, the authors cover economic benefits of prostitution, the irrelevancy of global warming, the near impossible hunt for global terrorists and the next to impossible means to measure who is a good doctor and who is not.

The Brain That Changes Itself

Doidge takes the reader on a tour of the latest happenings in the world of brain research and therapies resulting from it. "The Brain That Changes Itself" is a great overview of current neuroscience and an impassioned plea for humans to use the brain's plasticity so that all of us can be successful learners - and unlearners.

New advances in technology over the past few decades have given us a way of mapping living brains, and have shown us the brain has ways of reshaping itself to overcome damage and dysfunction. The brain is, indeed, plastic, and far more adaptable than the current belief in localization allows.

The Pleasures And Sorrows Of Work

Swiss-born, UK-based writer Alain de Botton is the son of the late financial pioneer Gilbert de Botton, who left his family a trust fund of more than £200 million. However, it has been reported that de Botton leaves this vast fortune untapped and lives off only what he earns from writing.

It is thus both ironic and suitable that the title of his latest book is "The Pleasures And Sorrows Of Work": Only one who does not have to work for a living would have the luxury to ponder how and why people spend their lives doing so.

Through his keen observation and lyricism de Botton can make a quotidian occurrence appear noble and even awe-inspiring. He examines the staggering accumulation of effort put in to cater to our various needs - a web of activity which, in today's globalised world, can seem remote, literally unimaginable.

In a bid to expose some of these processes he has traversed the globe, together with photographer Richard Baker. A particularly eye-opening photo essay sees them follow a tuna fish (or at least, a haul of tuna), from its bloody killing in the hands of a Maldivian fisherman all the way to a Bristol, England dining table, where a precocious eight-year-old muses how the fishes' ghosts will "one day gather together to exact terrible revenge on humanity for shortening their lives and transporting their corpses around the earth for supper."