Something You Probably Knew But Never Thought About…
Trust the creative minds at Flavorwire to offer a fresh context to media. Their list of 10 Great Movies Based on Poems seemed an appropriate ending to Poetry Month, though I have to agree with the author of the post: Beowulf isn’t what I’d classify as a great movie.
This Book Is Full of Fondant (Seriously,Dude, Don’t Bake It)
Librarything has announced the Edible Book Contest winners, giving first place to the creator of this tableau featuring David Wong’s John Dies At The End and This Book Is Full Of Spiders. I love it. White chocolate spider web, anyone?
The A.V. Club recently posted a Q & A on willful cultural ignorance, and I have to admit, I haven’t thought much on those things.events and people in popular culture I’ve avoided with careful gum-on-the-sidewalk indifference. Thinking about the 50 Shades phenomenon was painful enough. I don’t need to think about Honey Boo-Boo or Duck Commander. But now, well, I’ve been forced to think about all the pop culture I avoid.
No. Wait. Sorry. Can’t do it. It’s not that I don’t have a long list, or that I don’t enjoy a good snark about the enigma of why some things are popular, I want a fresh perspective on snarkiness. Let me know, especially if it’s about the books or movies you avoid with indifference,distaste or downright contempt.
In the meantime, I’d like to share something that is tasty. Enjoy.
“There comes a time when you realize that everything is a dream, and only those things preserved in writing have any possibility of being real.”
-James Salter’s epigraph for All That Is
I recently waited on a customer who insisted James Salter was dead, in spite of the release of his first work of fiction in almost 40 years. After a moment or two, I realized there was no advantage to be made in attempting to dislodge this notion. I simply handed him a copy of All That Is. This man wanted to read the latest novel of an author who writes on the quotidian with graceful savagery; was not an individual who- as happened in the case of one of my fellow booksellers- asks for a copy of “Lionel Ritchie’s Wardrobe” instead of C.S. Lewis’ classic. No, there must be a certain grace applied to furnishing the intellectual and imaginative needs of others.
Several years ago, an acquaintance introduced me to a group of her friends as a”…service worker.” ”I’m actually a bookseller.”, I replied. My acquaintance (now former acquaintance) looked at me as if to say, “Really? You felt a need to elaborate?”
I didn’t have the time to explain the difference. So, finally, here it is.
No, I’m not a librarian. I didn’t spend long years obtaining a degree in the sciences. I apply the years of life learning and my insatiable curiosity to the task of connecting others to their needs for facts and/or fantasy. I imagine myself on a par with librarians, cybrarians and other defenders of the word in that I feed the process for free thought and free speech. I work with others who are tireless in their attempts to make connections with our community through their love of the word. If that job description is romantic only eighty percent of the time, then one-fifth of my work life is spent serving an ideal intregal to the functions of democracy. Not too shabby.
Yes, I do sell the commodity of the mind, unlike the librarians of the world. My best and most satisfying work moments are those in which I find the perfect fit for a reader’s needs and wants, and, as every bookseller knows, the hours of physical labor are performed in support of those moments.
No, I don’t posess Salter’s ability for the beautiful turn of word in character constructions that can, in the hands of a lesser writer, seem tedious. I know something of who I am, and I want you to share this knowledge: there are worlds of mind undiscovered, and the quotidian must serve discovery. Otherwise, labor is just labor.
Every true bookseller out there knows what I’m talking about.
Enthusiasm for World Book Night has grown by leaps and bounds, as witness to Carl Lennertz sharing a camera with Al Roker on The Today Show. In libraries, bars, convenience stores- indeed anywhere and everywhere those with a passion for books could share the love- there was someone to share the passions of the printed word. The center photo shows how the Vernon Area Public Library District, Illinois, shared copies of Population: 485 with the Lincolnshire-Riverwoods FPD, and finally, an empty box sitting in front of a YMCA. Well done, everyone.
David Cartwright Discussing & Signing Achiever Fever (Telemachus Press $15.99) Saturday 4th at 2:00 PM
Achiever Fever is your ticket to make it! You’ll find this book to be an inspirational, yet practical guide, helping you step your way to success one step at a time. Whether you need assistance in one part of your life or all areas covered in the book, you have the tools necessary here to get what you want. Now go ahead, catch the fever and be an achiever!
M.M. Vaughan Discussing & Signing The Ability (Simon & Schuster $15.99) Tuesday 7th at 6:00 PM Delve into the extraordinary abilities of the twelve-year-old mind in this thrilling start to a middle-grade series that expands the possibilities of power. No one has any confidence in twelve-year-old Christopher Lane. His teachers discount him as a liar and a thief, and his mom doesn’t have the energy to deal with him. But a mysterious visit from the Ministry of Education indicates that Chris might have some potential after all: He is invited to attend the prestigious Myers Holt Academy. When Chris begins at his new school, he is astounded at what he can do. It seems that age twelve is a special time for the human brain, which is capable of remarkable feats–as also evi-denced by Chris’s peers Ernest and Mortimer Genver, who, at the direction of their vengeful and manipulative mother, are testing the boundaries of the human mind. But all this experimentation has consequences, and Chris soon finds himself forced to face them–or his new life will be over before it can begin.
Daniel Wallace Discussing & Signing The Kings & Queens of Roam (Simon & Schuster $24.00) Wednesday 8th at 6:00 PM From the celebrated author of Big Fish comes an imaginative, moving novel about two sisters, their dark legacy, and the magical town that entwines them. Helen and Rachel McCallister, who live in a town called Roam, are as different as sisters can be: Helen, older, bitter, and conniving; Rachel, beautiful, naive–and blind. When their par-ents die suddenly, Rachel has to rely on Helen for everything, but Helen embraces her role in all the wrong ways, convincing Rachel that the world is a dark and dangerous place she couldn’t possibly survive on her own . . . or so Helen believes, until Rachel makes a surprising choice that turns both their worlds upside down. In this new novel, Southern literary master Daniel Wallace returns to the tradition of tall tales and folklore made memorable in his bestselling novel Big Fish. Wildly inventive and beautifully written, The Kings and Queens of Roam is a big-hearted tale of family and the ties that bind.
Herman Parish Discussing & Signing Amelia Bedelia Means Business (Harper Collins $4.99) Thursday 9th at 4:00 PM With Amelia Bedelia, anything can happen! Little Amelia Bedelia wants a new bike–a shiny, fast one just like Suzanne’s. Amelia Bedelia’s mom says that a bike like that is expensive and will cost an arm and a leg. Amelia Bedelia can’t give away one of her arms and one of her legs! She needs both arms to steer, and both legs to pedal. What Amelia Bedelia needs is a job. Look out! Here comes Amelia Bedelia, and she means business!
Delta Magazine Discussing & Signing THE DELTA: Landscapes, Legends, and Legacies of Mississippi’s Most Storied Region (Coopwood Publishing, $45.00) Thursday 9th at 6:00 PM THE DELTA is the ultimate coffee table book on the beauty, mystique and legacies of the most unique region in the South, “the Delta.” This colorful 200-page book is an edited collection of essays, features, interviews and pas-sages selected from the first 60 issues (six volumes) of Delta Magazine, starting with July/August 2003, when Lee and Pup McCarty of McCartys Pottery graced the first cover. Combined with beautiful photography of the Delta landscape, it’s the first book of its kind to capture in one source the very essence of the Delta, by telling the stories of its people and places.
Wayne Drash Discussing & Signing On These Courts: A Miracle Season That Changed a City, a Once-Future Star, and a Team Forever (Simon & Schuster $26.00) Friday 10th at 6:00 PM Former NBA star Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway grew up in Binghampton, one of the roughest sections of Memphis. Due in no small part to the self-discipline and strong values his grandmother instilled in him, plus his singular tal-ent, Penny beat the incredible odds and made it to the NBA. He was such a special player that it seemed inevitable that he would win at least one championship and end up in the Hall of Fame. But dogged by injuries, Penny was never able to live up to his full basketball star potential. After retirement Penny returned to Memphis and struggled with the question most professional athletes face when their bright-lights careers come to an end: What now? The unexpected answer came from Desmond Merriweather, one of Penny’s oldest friends. Desmond had recently been diagnosed with colon cancer and needed someone to replace him as head coach of the Lester Middle School basketball team in the same dangerous neighborhood where Penny grew up. Without hesitating, Penny said, “I’m all in.” On These Courts is the moving story of Coach Penny helping his young players navigate their way through impossible circumstances: failing grades, incarcerated fathers, gang pressures, and the crime-ridden streets of Memphis. But Penny never shied away. He selflessly provided on-the-court coaching, helped kids with homework, and became a positive role model who is committed to staying involved in their lives. But this is not just a story about Penny; the true stars are the kids on the Lester Lions team–Robert Washington, Reggie Green, Kobe Freeman, and Desmond’s own son Nick Merriweather– who rewarded Penny with his first championship season, winning the state title by one point. A penny. A story of hope and inspiration, struggle, and triumph, On These Courts reveals the importance and power of taking a stand in a community and learning what it truly means to give back. A portion of the proceeds from this book will be donated to Penny’s FastBreak Courts, part of Penny Hardaway’s ongoing efforts to help at-risk youth in the Memphis community.
Vince Vawter Discussing & Signing Paperboy (Random House $16.99) Tuesday 14th at 6:00 PM For fans of The King’s Speech and The Help comes a textured novel about a boy who stutters and the summer that changes his life. An 11-year-old boy living in Memphis in 1959 throws the meanest fastball in town, but talking is a whole different ball game. He can barely say a word without stuttering, not even his own name. So when he takes over his best friend’s paper route for the month of July, he knows he’ll be forced to communicate with the different customers, including a housewife who drinks too much and a retired merchant marine who seems to know just about everything. The paper route poses challenges, but it’s a run-in with the neighborhood junkman, a bully and thief, that stirs up real trouble–and puts the boy’s life, as well as that of his family’s devoted housekeeper, in danger.
Hot Off the Presses Become A Publisher’s Insider Wednesday 15th at 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM You’re invited to The Booksellers at Laurelwood’s first ever addition of our Hot Off the Presses series! Come join your favorite booksellers as we enjoy a special presentation by representatives all the way from Random House as they share with us the hottest titles set the release this upcoming season. This is a free event open to book clubs, book lovers, and books aficionados! While the evening will be geared towards adults, there are sure to be books for eve-ryone ranging from leisurely readers looking for the next breakout hit of the summer, to educators searching for the perfect title to get their kids excited about reading! VIP attendees (everyone in attendance) will enjoy complimentary wine and finger foods and have a chance to win advanced copies of the night’s featured titles.
Offsite Event at Church of the Holy Communion Richard Paul Evans Discussing & Signing A Step of Faith (Simon & Schuster $19.99) Thursday 23rd at 6:00 PM “Life is not lived in the long, downhill stretches of expressways, but in the obscure, perilous trails and back roads where we stumble and feel our way through the fog of our unknowing. Life is not a run. It is just one step of faith after another.” Alan Christoffersen lost his heart when his wife was killed in an accident almost one year ago. He lost his trust when his business partner stole his advertising business. He lost his home when the bank took his house. So Alan decided to leave his painful memories behind and walk from Seattle to the farthest point on the map, Key West, but in St. Louis, he is forced to stop. Because his severe vertigo is diagnosed as the side effect of a brain tumor, Alan must go to Los Angeles for treatment. He is surrounded by those who care most for him: his father, who is happy to have Alan back in his childhood home; Falene, who has been by his side through his most difficult times; and Nicole, who helped him recover from a mugging in Spokane. One by one, Alan alienates them all, and he resumes his journey in angry loneliness. The people he meets as he walks the dusty southern back roads have lessons to teach Alan about accepting love. He just has to have faith that life can be worth living again–and that the woman he rejected will be willing to forgive him. Line tickets are required for this event and will be available with a purchase of A Step of Faith beginning May 7th.
John Scalzi Discussing & Signing The Human Division (Tor Books $25.99) Tuesday 28th at 6:00 PM Following the events of The Last Colony, John Scalzi tells the story of the fight to maintain the unity of the human race. The people of Earth now know that the human Colonial Union has kept them ignorant of the dangerous uni-verse around them. For generations the CU had defended humanity against hostile aliens, deliberately keeping Earth an ignorant backwater and a source of military recruits. Now the CU’s secrets are known to all. Other alien races have come on the scene and formed a new alliance–an alliance against the Colonial Union. And they’ve invited the people of Earth to join them. For a shaken and betrayed Earth, the choice isn’t obvious or easy. Against such possibilities, managing the survival of the Colonial Union won’t be easy, either. It will take diplomatic finesse, political cunning…and a brilliant “B Team,” centered on the resourceful Lieutenant Harry Wilson, that can be deployed to deal with the unpredictable and unexpected things the universe throws at you when you’re struggling to preserve the unity of the human race.
Beth Hoffman Discussing & Signing Looking for Me (Penguin $27.95) Wednesday 29th at 7:00 PM A Southern novel of family and antiques from the bestselling author of the beloved Saving CeeCee Honeycutt Beth Hoffman’s bestselling debut, Saving CeeCee Honeycutt, won admirers and acclaim with its heartwarming story and cast of unforgettable characters. Now her unique flair for evocative settings and richly drawn Southern personalities shines in her compelling new novel, Looking for Me. Teddi Overman found her life’s passion for furniture in a broken-down chair left on the side of the road in rural Kentucky. She learns to turn other people’s cast-offs into beautifully restored antiques, and eventually finds a way to open her own shop in Charleston. There, Ted-di builds a life for herself as unexpected and quirky as the customers who visit her shop. Though Teddi is sur-rounded by remarkable friends and finds love in the most surprising way, nothing can alleviate the haunting uncertainty she’s felt in the years since her brother Josh’s mysterious disappearance. When signs emerge that Josh might still be alive, Teddi is drawn home to Kentucky. It’s a journey that could help her come to terms with her shattered family–and to find herself at last. But first she must decide what to let go of and what to keep. Looking for Me brilliantly melds together themes of family, hope, loss, and a mature once-in-a-lifetime kind of love. The result is a tremendously moving story that is destined to make bestselling author Beth Hoffman a novelist to whom readers will return again and again as they have with Adriana Trigiani, Fannie Flagg, and Joshilyn Jackson.
In case if you have not heard, Haruki Murakami is out with his new book 'Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage.' This is Murakami's first long novel in the past three years since last releasing his widely acclaimed book '1Q84,' which I absolutely adore as have reviewed in previous entries.
As a self-professed Murakami fan who went on my little ‘Murakami literary pilgrimage’ when I went to Tokyo (
David McCandless is an author and information designer who has worked for The Guardian and Wired Magazine. His work on data visualization is so elegant it’s been featured at the Tate and MOMA. I’d love to show you some of his work on translating verbal information into visual information, but Mr. McCandless sells these wonderful image/ideas. You can get a closer look, and purchase these amazing works at Information Is Beautiful. Please take a look. And thanks to Kate McCune at Harper Collins for putting me on to the wonderful synergy of David McCandless’ work
By now anyone with a modest interest in reading and books has heard about Amazon’s purchase of Goodreads, the online social network for readers. Once again, Amazon attempts sole ownership of the holy grail of bookselling-personalized recommendations-and I have to admit it’s one hell of a move. By the way, does anyone remember Amazon’s purchase of Shelfari back in 2008? Yeah. If you think Amazon will take a hands-off approach to ownership of Goodreads, I’d like to discuss the color of the sky on the world where you live.
Hugh Howey, whose book Wool took off after being self-published via Amazon, was quoted as saying Amazon’s puchase of Goodreads was,”like finding out my mom is marrying that cool dude next door that I’ve been palling around with”. Certainly. If the dude happens to own the mega store right across the street from your older brother’s fledgling organic market , sends employees in every day to take pictures of your brothers attractive produce, blocks your brother’s delivery entrance with his own delivery trucks and files lawsuit against your brother’s vendors, then it is indeed just like that.
Think I’ll give Bookish a try.
For those of us who enjoy non-fiction writing, there are a couple of engaging and informative works I’d like to share with you this week; works which cover little-known events in history.
The Year Without Summer: 1816 and the Volcano That Darkened the World and Changed History- William K. Klingaman- $27.99
In 1815, Mount Tambora in Indonesia erupted with a fury unseen for almost 2000 years. Black ash and sulfuric acid spread over China and the Indian subcontinent. The authors, a father and son team of William Klingaman (historian) and Nicholas Klingaman (meterologist) begin their recount of events in the winter of 1815-1816, when the toxic aerosol cloud had traveled crop-failure and famine in Europe and the Northern United States. France was already reeling from depleted food stores brought on by the Napoleonic Wars. Many believed the cold, sunless summer of 1816 foretold the end of the world. The British government was more concerned about open rebellion than the deaths caused by starvation. There was mass migration from New England to the Midwest. Snow fell in the summer; some of it traveling as far south as Kentucky. In this sweeping panorama, the Klingamans make note that this was the year Mary Shelly wrote Frankenstein, and point out Turner’s dazzling sunsets; sublime artistry inspired by this poisonous cloud. An amazing account of the effects of global climate change.
The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II-Denise Kiernan-$27.00
Everyone recognizes Rosie The Riveter as a symbol of ”can-do” womanhood, but few of us know about the women of Oak Ridge, Tennessee. These women unwittingly and unknowingly played a large part in the most crucial moments of World War II.
The Tennessee town of Oak Ridge was created from scratch in 1942. One of the Manhattan Project’s secret cities, it didn’t appear on any maps until 1949, and yet at the height of World War II it was using more electricity than New York City and was home to more than 75,000 people, many of them young women recruited from small towns across the South. Their jobs were shrouded in mystery, but they were buoyed by a sense of shared purpose, close friendships—and a surplus of handsome scientists and Army men!
Against this vibrant wartime backdrop, a darker story was unfolding. The penalty for talking about their work—even the most innocuous details—was job loss and eviction. One woman was recruited to spy on her coworkers. They all knew something big was happening at Oak Ridge, but few could piece together the true nature of their work until the bomb “Little Boy” was dropped over Hiroshima, Japan, and the secret was out. The shocking revelation: the residents of Oak Ridge were enriching uranium for the atomic bomb.
Though the young women originally believed they would leave Oak Ridge after the war, many met husbands there, made lifelong friends, and still call the seventy-year-old town home. The reverberations from their work there—work they didn’t fully understand at the time—are still being felt today. In The Girls of Atomic City, Denise Kiernan traces the astonishing story of these unsung WWII workers through interviews with dozens of surviving women and other Oak Ridge residents.
Help Soulsville Academy
Now, for Soulsville Academy: Take a good look at the following picture. This is a book case at the Soulsville Academy. People, this is unacceptable. Booksellers At Laurelwood is working to remedy this situation. Come in and buy a book for these empty shelves, and we’ll give you 20% off on the price of the book. A few dollars to invest in the future of a child is the best investment you’ll ever make. Period.