Welcome to the official blog of Third Place Books.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Book News and Other Miscellany

Here are a few random book related articles, blogs, pictures, and what not from all the corners of the internet.  Okay, maybe not all the corners, but a fair few.

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Are you in love with Cormoran Strike and J.K. Row...I mean Robert Galbraith? Well, you are in luck. Rowling says she loves writing under her pseudonym and is already half done with the third novel.  She  even claims that this series could be longer than that other series she wrote. She'll keep giving her private eye cases (and novels) as long as she keeps him alive. Ha! Keeps him alive! Easier said than done, Rowling...have you actually read Harry Potter? Read more here.

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Here is a lovely little piece from Esquire.
How to Quit Amazon and Shop in an Actual Bookstore by Stephen Marche
A good seller in a bookstore is infinitely superior in every way to a personalization algorithm. Even by entering a bookstore, you're faced with literally a thousand choices that you've never been faced with before. Somewhere in there is something that's entirely fresh to you, and will reward your soul by exposure. That's what good books do, and good bookstores, too. They let you step out of your algorithm.
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Our new favorite website: Today in Literature ... never miss an important day again.


On July 23rd, 1846, Henry David Thoreau is jailed for not paying his poll tax. I guess he should have stayed in the woods.


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It's probably time for you to take this book quiz.

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Awesome trailer for the movie version of Unbroken out later this year. Go ahead, try not rushing out and buying this book after you watch the trailer. You won't be able to stop yourself.


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Cool Blog Alert! You may already know about this great book blog, but I just stumbled upon it this week. Musing is the official blog for Ann Patchett's bookstore, Parnassus Books in Nashville. It's got great articles, lists, and staff picks. Particularly awesome are the Authors In Real Life segments, and of course the Shop Dog Diaries.

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And this super important picture of a cat and some books from The Literary Cat. Because, you know...cats.

You are welcome.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Read This Book

Men Explain Things to Me is a must. You can actually read the the original essay here. But don't stop there. The hilarious and troubling titular essay is just the beginning of the genius and relevance crammed into this slim little volume. Really, you must read this.

Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit

In her comic, scathing essay "Men Explain Things to Me," Rebecca Solnit took on what often goes wrong in conversations between men and women. She wrote about men who wrongly assume they know things and wrongly assume women don't, about why this arises, and how this aspect of the gender wars works, airing some of her own hilariously awful encounters. 

She ends on a serious note-- because the ultimate problem is the silencing of women who have something to say, including those saying things like, "He's trying to kill me " 

This book features that now-classic essay with six perfect complements, including an examination of the great feminist writer Virginia Woolf 's embrace of mystery, of not knowing, of doubt and ambiguity, a highly original inquiry into marriage equality, and a terrifying survey of the scope of contemporary violence against women.
Where opponents would argue that feminism is humorless and superfluous, Men Explain Things to Me is a compelling argument for the movement's necessary presence in contemporary society. It approaches the subject with candor and openness, furthering the conversation and opening a new Pandora's box that's apt to change the way we talk about women's rights.
-Shelf Awareness
And just for laughs...check out this website,  Academic Men Explain Things to Me.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Boys in the Boat at Lake Forest Park

A customer came in a few weeks ago who had recently bought Boys in the Boat.  I asked him how he liked it, and he said, "Oh, it's fine. A little slow getting started." I took a step back... an alarmed step back. This was officially, the first even slightly negative thing I had heard about this nonfiction juggernaut. And when I say juggernaut, I do not exaggerate. It's been a bestseller for us for months upon months upon months. And even though the paperback has been released, we are still selling the hardcover at a pretty good clip. Juggernaut.

And so I was not surprised when that same customer rushed up a few days later and exclaimed, "Boys in the Boat is so good! And sad! And such a remarkable story! I love it! It's just so, so good!"

So, he likes it. Just like everyone else on the planet who has read it. Men, women; young, old. You don't even have to be interested in history, or World War II, or the Olympics, or crewing. Seems like all you need to be is interested in a really good story.

This summer, Lake Forest Park has chosen Boys in the Boat as its annual Lake Forest Park Reads selection. And Third Place Books and Third Place Commons are lucky enough to welcome Daniel James Brown, author of this much-loved juggernaut, to the Commons Stage on Monday, July 28th at 7PM.

Many of you have already read and fallen in love with this gripping and emotional story. Please join us for what is sure to be a very special evening.

Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown

Out of the depths of the Depression comes an irresistible story about beating the odds and finding hope in the most desperate of times—the improbable, intimate account of how nine working-class boys from the American West showed the world at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin what true grit really meant. 

It was an unlikely quest from the start. With a team composed of the sons of loggers, shipyard workers, and farmers, the University of Washington’s eight-oar crew team was never expected to defeat the elite teams of the East Coast and Great Britain, yet they did, going on to shock the world by defeating the German team rowing for Adolf Hitler. 

The emotional heart of the tale lies with Joe Rantz, a teenager without family or prospects, who rows not only to regain his shattered self-regard but also to find a real place for himself in the world. Drawing on the boys’ own journals and vivid memories of a once-in-a-lifetime shared dream, Brown has created an unforgettable portrait of an era, a celebration of a remarkable achievement, and a chronicle of one extraordinary young man’s personal quest.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Beating the Heat

The most popular phone call question we've been getting these last few days has been, "Do you have air conditioning?" We do.

We have air conditioning!

In fact, both stores have air conditioning, and food, and coffee...iced coffee.  Oh yeah, and both stores have lots and lots of books.  So you could conceivably hole up at either Third Place Books and just wait out this blistering hot, heat wave. Books, food, and cool air.  Sounds nice, right?  Oh, and here's a little secret, the Pub at Ravenna Third Place has, hands down, the best air conditioning in the entire city. They don't open til 3:00, but that's just the right time to cool down your sunburned skin with an arctic blast, and nice cold beer. Now, it simply can't get better than that.

In honor of all the the hot weather, here are a few of our latest hot sellers...

Worst. Person. Ever. by Douglas Coupland (perfectly punctuated title!)

Raymond Gunt likes to think of himself as a pretty decent guy—he believes in karma, and helping his fellow man, and all that other good stuff. Sure, he can be foulmouthed, occasionally misogynistic, and can just generally rub people the wrong way—through no fault of his own! So with all the positive energy he’s creating, it’s a little perplexing to consider the recent downward spiral his life has taken…Could the universe be trying to tell him something?

A B-unit cameraman with no immediate employment prospects, Gunt decides to accept his ex-wife Fiona’s offer to shoot a Survivor-style reality show on an obscure island in the Pacific. With his upwardly failing sidekick, Neal, in tow, Gunt somehow suffers multiple comas and unjust imprisonment, is forced to reenact the “Angry Dance” from the movie Billy Elliot, and finds himself at the center of a nuclear war—among other tribulations and humiliations.

A razor-sharp portrait of a morally bankrupt, gleefully wicked modern man, Worst. Person. Ever. is a side-splittingly funny and gloriously filthy new novel from acclaimed author Douglas Coupland. A deeply unworthy book about a dreadful human being with absolutely no redeeming social value, it’s guaranteed to brighten up your day.

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Emily at LFP loves this one.  Here's what she has to say:
I'm absolutely enchanted by this book. The imagery is so vivid, the characters so human, their circumstances so perfectly rendered - I wanted to wallow in the gorgeous prose and bathe in the words. 2014 is a great year for ficition so far, but since I read an advance copy last summer, this novel has ruined me for all other books.


Robert (Everyone knows you're JK Rowling) Galbraith

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt 
(I believe I've said all there is to say about this book)


What are the grand dynamics that drive the accumulation and distribution of capital? Questions about the long-term evolution of inequality, the concentration of wealth, and the prospects for economic growth lie at the heart of political economy. But satisfactory answers have been hard to find for lack of adequate data and clear guiding theories. In Capital in the Twenty-First Century, Thomas Piketty analyzes a unique collection of data from twenty countries, ranging as far back as the eighteenth century, to uncover key economic and social patterns. His findings will transform debate and set the agenda for the next generation of thought about wealth and inequality.

Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris

A guy walks into a bar car and...

From here the story could take many turns. When the guy is David Sedaris, the possibilities are endless, but the result is always the same: he will both delight you with twists of humor and intelligence and leave you deeply moved. Sedaris remembers his father's dinnertime attire (shirts
A guy walks into a bar car and...
From here the story could take many turns. When the guy is David Sedaris, the possibilities are endless, but the result is always the same: he will both delight you with twists of humor and intelligence and leave you deeply moved.
Sedaris remembers his father's dinnertime attire (shirtsleeves and underpants), his first colonoscopy (remarkably pleasant), and the time he considered buying the skeleton of a murdered Pygmy. The common thread? Sedaris masterfully turns each essay into a love story: how it feels to be in a relationship where one loves and is loved over many years, what it means to be part of a family, and how it's possible, through all of life's absurdities, to grow to love oneself.
- See more at: http://www.thirdplacebooks.com/book/9780316154703#sthash.b5YqTmvx.dpuf
leeves and underpants), his first colonoscopy (remarkably pleasant), and the time he considered buying the skeleton of a murdered Pygmy. The common thread?

Sedaris masterfully turns each essay into a love story: how it feels to be in a relationship where one loves and is loved over many years, what it means to be part of a family, and how it's possible, through all of life's absurdities, to grow to love oneself.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Bookseller Spotlight!

Michael

Get ready. Drum roll, please. You're about to meet Michael, one of my all-time favorite booksellers.  And I'm not just saying that because he's my boss. Michael has been with Third Place for about six-ish years. He's the fearless leader of our Ravenna location. He really didn't want to answer this next question, but Michael has been a bookseller for 44 years. In addition to wrangling us unruly Ravenna booksellers, Michael shelves the art books, the cooking section, and the bargain tables. In his free time he likes taking long bike rides and hanging out with his cats.

What's your favorite book in your section? James Beard's American Cookery

What's your favorite section in the store?  Fiction, art, cooking...it changes everyday.

What book do you recommend most?  Right now I'm recommending All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. It's the best book I've read this year, the best book I've read in a long time actually. My old stand-by recommendation is anything by Flannery O'Connor.

Favorite bookstore besides Third Place? Three Lives & Company in New York City.

What are you reading right now? I just finished Euphoria by Lily Tuck, and really enjoyed it. I'm also reading Neverhome by Laird Hunt. It's a new title that will be released in August.

Can you read more than one book at a time? Yes

Do you have to finish a book you've started it? NO!

What book do you regret not reading? Anna Karenina.

Favorite author, or three, or five? Flannery O'Connor, James Salter, Raymond Carver

Guilty reading pleasure? Mysteries.

Do you keep books? Borrow them? Lend them? I keep books.

How are your bookshelves arranged at home? Fiction is arranged alphabetically by author.  Biography is arranged by subject.  And art and photo books are arranged by theme.

What book have you loved that you wouldn't have read unless someone recommended it to you? Who recommended it? All the Light We Cannot See. It wasn't something I was really interested in, but
then I heard from so many booksellers that it was just phenomenal.  They were right.

What's your favorite movie version of a book? East of Eden with James Dean. (editor's note: seconded)

Favorite book as a kid? The Black Stallion series by Walter Farley.

Have you read Ulysses? No, and it is not on the list of things to read anytime soon.

What is a book you've recently read and are raving about?
I am Pilgrim: A Thriller by Terry Hayes

This is the perfect beach read- smart, fast-paced, and impossible to put down.  The fact that the author is a screenwriter is evident, but while the novel is cinematic, it is by no means an extended screenplay.  Hayes has created three-dimensional characters, including a villain who is somehow understandable in his single minded effort to bring down the United States.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Third Place Books (Un)official Summer Reading List

The other day during a lull at the used book counter, Katherine and I were talking about looking forward to summer. And how that giddy feeling of freedom at the end of a school year still lingers in our minds even though it's been years since we were in middle school. Somehow, when the days get longer and hotter, we're reminded of those hectic last weeks of school and all the expectation and glee over an entire endless summer stretched out before us.  I'm sure that back then we were more interested in camping and swimming; maybe a family road trip, slumber parties, or late bedtimes.  But, there was also summer reading.

And not the lists of classics brought home from school to be read before the next year started.  I'm talking vacation reading. Knowing I had three solid months to cram with as much Beverly Cleary and Judy Blume as possible (I was also obsessively into Fear Street)...well, for a lifelong bibliophile, summer reading meant pure joy.

Not much has changed. I still feel a little lightheaded with happiness when I think about spending a lazy day, lounging in a sunny park, and reading away an afternoon. Here are some perfectly evocative books to get you through the warm weather days.

The Summer Book by Tove Jansson
In The Summer Book Tove Jansson distills the essence of the summer—its sunlight and storms—into twenty-two crystalline vignettes. This brief novel tells the story of Sophia, a six-year-old girl awakening to existence, and Sophia’s grandmother, nearing the end of hers, as they spend the summer on a tiny unspoiled island in the Gulf of Finland. The grandmother is unsentimental and wise, if a little cranky; Sophia is impetuous and volatile, but she tends to her grandmother with the care of a new parent. Together they amble over coastline and forest in easy companionship, build boats from bark, create a miniature Venice, write a fanciful study of local bugs. They discuss things that matter to young and old alike: life, death, the nature of God and of love. “On an island,” thinks the grandmother, “everything is complete.” In The Summer Book, Jansson creates her own complete world, full of the varied joys and sorrows of life.

Tove Jansson, whose Moomintroll comic strip and books brought her international acclaim, lived for much of her life on an island like the one described in The Summer Book, and the work can be enjoyed as her closely observed journal of the sounds, sights, and feel of a summer spent in intimate contact with the natural world.

I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
I Capture the Castle tells the story of seventeen-year-old Cassandra and her family, who live in not-so-genteel poverty in a ramshackle old English castle. Here she strives, over six turbulent months, to hone her writing skills. She fills three notebooks with sharply funny yet poignant entries. Her journals candidly chronicle the great changes that take place within the castle's walls, and her own first descent into love. By the time she pens her final entry, she has "captured the castle"-- and the heart of the reader-- in one of literature's most enchanting entertainments.

East of Eden by John Steinbeck
In his journal, Nobel Prize winner John Steinbeck called East of Eden "the first book," and indeed it has the primordial power and simplicity of myth. Set in the rich farmland of California's Salinas Valley, this sprawling and often brutal novel follows the intertwined destinies of two families—the Trasks and the Hamiltons—whose generations helplessly reenact the fall of Adam and Eve and the poisonous rivalry of Cain and Abel. The masterpiece of Steinbeck’s later years, East of Eden is a work in which Steinbeck created his most mesmerizing characters and explored his most enduring themes: the mystery of identity, the inexplicability of love, and the murderous consequences of love's absence.

Sag Harbor by Colson Whitehead
Benji Cooper is one of the few black students at an elite prep school in Manhattan. But every summer, Benji escapes to the Hamptons, to Sag Harbor, where a small community of African American professionals have built a world of their own.

The summer of ’85 won’t be without its usual trials and tribulations, of course. There will be complicated new handshakes to fumble through and state-of-the-art profanity to master. Benji will be tested by contests big and small, by his misshapen haircut (which seems to have a will of its own), by the New Coke Tragedy, and by his secret Lite FM addiction. But maybe, just maybe, this summer might be one for the ages. 

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
A moving coming-of-age story set in the 1900's, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn follows the lives of 11-year-old Francie Nolan, her younger brother Neely, and their parents, Irish immigrants who have settled in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. Johnny Nolan is as loving and fanciful as they come, but he is also often drunk and out of work, unable to find his place in the land of opportunity. His wife Katie scrubs floors to put food on the table and clothes on her childrens' backs, instilling in them the values of being practical and planning ahead.

When Johnny dies, leaving Katie pregnant, Francie, smart, pensive and hoping for something better, cannot believe that life can carry on as before. But with her own determination, and that of her mother behind her, Francie is able to move toward the future of her dreams, completing her education and heading oft to college, always carrying the beloved Brooklyn of her childhood in her heart.  

Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury
The summer of '28 was a vintage season for a growing boy. A summer of green apple trees, mowed lawns, and new sneakers. Of half-burnt firecrackers, of gathering dandelions, of Grandma's belly-busting dinner. It was a summer of sorrows and marvels and gold-fuzzed bees. A magical, timeless summer in the life of a twelve-year-old boy named Douglas Spaulding—remembered forever by the incomparable Ray Bradbury.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy "Independents'" Day!

Man, I love a good pun!  And, it's an actual thing...in Ireland and even England!??!!?  I know, strange.  But apparently, "Independents' Day – which coincides with the July 4 celebrations in the United States – turns the spotlight on the future of our independent stores.  It encourages consumers to buy at least one item from their local shop today, and is aimed at highlighting the positive contribution which independent retailers make to their communities." I have to say, that's displaying a pretty good sense of humor over the whole Revolutionary War thing.

Well, here at Third Place, we are celebrating Independents' Day too.  We are open, and ready to help with all your Fourth of July reading needs (Lake Forest Park until 6PM, and Ravenna until 4PM). Here a few suggestions if you're looking for some American History-themed reading:

Our Declaration: A Reading of the Declaration of Independence in Defense of Equality by Danielle Allen

In just 1,337 words, the Declaration of Independence altered the course of history. Written in 1776, it is the most profound document in the history of government since the Magna Carta, signed nearly 800 years ago in 1215. Yet despite its paramount importance, the Declaration, curiously, is rarely read from start to finish much less understood.

Troubled by the fact that so few Americans actually know what it says, Danielle Allen, a political philosopher renowned for her work on justice and citizenship, set out to explore the arguments of the Declaration, reading it with both adult night students and University of Chicago undergraduates. Keenly aware that the Declaration is riddled with contradictions liberating some while subjugating slaves and Native Americans Allen and her students nonetheless came to see that the Declaration makes a coherent and riveting argument about equality. They found not a historical text that required memorization, but an animating force that could and did transform the course of their everyday lives. With its cogent analysis and passionate advocacy,

Our Declaration thrillingly affirms the continuing relevance of America s founding text, ultimately revealing what democracy actually means and what it asks of us.

A People's History of the United States: 1492 - Present by Howard Zinn

Known for its lively, clear prose as well as its scholarly research, A People's History of the United States is the only volume to tell America's story from the point of view of -- and in the words of -- America's women, factory workers, African-Americans, Native Americans, working poor, and immigrant laborers. This P.S. edition features an extra 16 pages of insights into the book, including author interviews, recommended reading, and more.

Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin by Jill Lepore

From one of our most accomplished and widely admired historians, a revelatory portrait of Benjamin Franklin’s youngest sister and a history of history itself. Like her brother, Jane Franklin was a passionate reader, a gifted writer, and an astonishingly shrewd political commentator. Unlike him, she was a mother of twelve.

Benjamin Franklin, who wrote more letters to his sister than he wrote to anyone else, was the original American self-made man; his sister spent her life caring for her children. They left very different traces behind. Making use of an amazing cache of little-studied material, including documents, objects, and portraits only just discovered, Jill Lepore brings Jane Franklin to life in a way that illuminates not only this one woman but an entire world—a world usually lost to history. Lepore’s life of Jane Franklin, with its strikingly original vantage on her remarkable brother, is at once a wholly different account of the founding of the United States and one of the great untold stories of American history and letters: a life unknown.

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West by Dee Brown 

Immediately recognized as a revelatory and enormously controversial book since its first publication in 1971, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee is universally recognized as one of those rare books that forever changes the way its subject is perceived. Now repackaged with a new introduction from bestselling author Hampton Sides to coincide with a major HBO dramatic film of the book, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee. Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee is Dee Brown’s classic, eloquent, meticulously documented account of the systematic destruction of the American Indian during the second half of the nineteenth century. A national bestseller in hardcover for more than a year after its initial publication, it has sold over four million copies in multiple editions and has been translated into seventeen languages.

Using council records, autobiographies, and firsthand descriptions, Brown allows great chiefs and warriors of the Dakota, Ute, Sioux, Cheyenne, and other tribes to tell us in their own words of the series of battles, massacres, and broken treaties that finally left them and their people demoralized and decimated. A unique and disturbing narrative told with force and clarity, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee changed forever our vision of how the West was won, and lost. It tells a story that should not be forgotten, and so must be retold from time to time.

Bunker Hill:  A City, a Siege, a Revolution by Nathaniel Philbrick

Boston in 1775 is an island city occupied by British troops after a series of incendiary incidents by patriots who range from sober citizens to thuggish vigilantes. After the Boston Tea Party, British and American soldiers and Massachusetts residents have warily maneuvered around each other until April 19, when violence finally erupts at Lexington and Concord. In June, however, with the city cut off from supplies by a British blockade and Patriot militia poised in siege, skirmishes give way to outright war in the Battle of Bunker Hill. It would be the bloodiest battle of the Revolution to come, and the point of no return for the rebellious colonists.

Philbrick brings a fresh perspective to every aspect of the story. He finds new characters, and new facets to familiar ones. The real work of choreographing rebellion falls to a thirty-three year old physician named Joseph Warren who emerges as the on-the-ground leader of the Patriot cause and is fated to die at Bunker Hill. Others in the cast include Paul Revere, Warren’s fiancĂ© the poet Mercy Scollay, a newly recruited George Washington, the reluctant British combatant General Thomas Gage and his more bellicose successor William Howe, who leads the three charges at Bunker Hill and presides over the claustrophobic cauldron of a city under siege as both sides play a nervy game of brinkmanship for control.

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

Once in a great while a book comes along that changes the way we see the world and helps to fuel a The New Jim Crow is such a book. Praised by Harvard Law professor Lani Guinier as "brave and bold," this book directly challenges the notion that the election of Barack Obama signals a new era of colorblindness. With dazzling candor, legal scholar Michelle Alexander argues that "we have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it." By targeting black men through the War on Drugs and decimating communities of color, the U.S. criminal justice system functions as a contemporary system of racial control—relegating millions to a permanent second-class status—even as it formally adheres to the principle of colorblindness. In the words of Benjamin Todd Jealous, president and CEO of the NAACP, this book is a "call to action."
nationwide social movement.

Called "stunning" by Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David Levering Lewis, "invaluable" by the Daily Kos, "explosive" by Kirkus, and "profoundly necessary" by the Miami Herald, this updated and revised paperback edition of The New Jim Crow, now with a foreword by Cornel West, is a must-read for all people of conscience.

Have a safe and happy Fourth!