Monday, October 11, 2010

Woah-oah, Here She Comes

In case you haven't heard me say it a million times already, I have the *best* job in the world. And one of the perks of this job is receiving advance reading copies. It's when publishers and authors send us copies of their books before they're released, in the hopes we will read them and get excited, and, in turn, get you excited to read them. And no other non-fiction book has gotten me so wound up in the last five years as John Vaillant's "The Tiger." It is a phenomenal book! I read it back in March and then had to wait *five* whole months before I could start selling it. But that didn't stop me from talking about it to everyone in a ten-mile radius. I talked about it so much that it was driving my coworkers crazy. "Please" said Tom, "please tell people about other books, too. Books we can actually sell right now." I conceded - a little. And in August, when "The Tiger" was released, my enthusiasm was validated! Not only did it get rave reviews, but many of you read it and loved it, too.

If you couldn't already tell from the title, the book is about, yes, a tiger. But not just any tiger - a badass Siberian tiger that decided to make Little Debbie snack cakes out of poachers in Russia in 1997. That's right - it's TRUE. The book follows Yuri Trush, the leader of a tiger conservation unit, whose job it was to find and stop the big cat. There are also appearances by the tiger itself, but Vaillant never over-anthropomorphizes the animal - you won't catch the tiger quoting Nietzsche or updating its Twitter feed. ("Hey, y'all! Just 8 a guy 4 breakfast. Was mostly gristle - for realz. Gave me a tummy ache, LOL. #rawr") But what I really loved about the book is that it isn't just about the tense events in 1997, it's also chock-full of knowledge, like the history of man/animal interactions, Russia, communism, and perestroika. And Vaillant makes everything he writes about, even pine nuts, seem fascinating. I also now have a new irrational fear - being mauled by a Siberian tiger. (Is it really that irrational? I'm awfully attached to my mortal coil.)

Now for EXTREMELY exciting news - John Vaillant is going to be at RiverRun on Monday, Oct. 18th at 7pm, to talk about "The Tiger"! I was thinking, in the spirit of the book, I'll dig a big pit in RiverRun and cover it with branches. Hope to see you there - I'm so excited for the reading, I can barely sit still. Someone had better bring a tranq gun.

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