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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

National Poetry Month!

April is nearly upon us - indeed, it may be April by the time you read this - which means that it's time for one of my favorite months of the year: National Poetry Month. Every year (well, for the past two years) I celebrate by sharing a poem each day with my friends and family. Since I can't commandeer this blog every day all month, I'll direct you to a poetry anthology that has provided many of my picks for 2008 and 2009: Good Poems, a collection developed from Garrison Keillor's "Writer's Almanac" show on Public Radio. That means that these poems feel good in your ear, and in your mouth.

So pick up a copy of Good Poems, or some other anthology or collection, and celebrate National Poetry Month with us. Read a poem aloud at breakfast or dinner; keep a book of poetry on your desk for those moments when you need a little break; stop by our Information Desk and ask for some recommendations. All our poetry is 20% off for the entire month of April. There's never been a better time to explore some poems.

Posted by Monica

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Everyone's a Critic

How do you decide what to read next?  Well, Zachary Mason's debut novel, The Lost Books of the Odyssey, has received two pretty great reviews in the New York Times recently.  One review from Adam Mansbach and the other from Michiko KakutaniAnd it just so happens that we have our very own, locally-grown critics right here.  The reviews are in:  this one is a must-read!  Mike, Greg, and Adam have all read and enjoyed this gem which features alternative episodes, fragments, and revisions from Homer's original epic.
Adam says:
A blending of the Borges literary legacy with Zoran Zivkovic’s mode of “mosaic novel” writing, The Lost Books of the Odyssey refracts the story of The Odyssey and the person of Odysseus down a long corridor of funhouse mirrors--44 chapters of jazzy improvisation. And, at least on a first reading, Zachary Mason seems to never hit the wrong note; at once evoking with considerable skill the Time of Myth and a limbo-like atmosphere where post-modern narrative play is the most natural thing in the world.
Somehow, through the multiple short narratives, Mason also entirely avoids the triteness and tedium common to so many authors who’ve decided to “screw with the classics.” So, here is one of those conceptual novels that could have gone wrong in countless ways, and a considerable part of the enjoyment comes with watching Mason sustain his daring high-wire act. This is an ideal bedside book, as every story/chapter is only a few pages long and is also likely, late at night, to put you in a dreamy altered-state, frame of mind.
And Mike adds:
Reading this short work reignited my love for myth and legend.  Mason's must-read debut collects a series of "what-if" and "what-could-have-been" scenarios inspired by Homer's classic.  Each chapter is a wildly imagined fable, twisting the familiar into something new and amazing.
So come on in and check it out.  Three Third Place booksellers can't be wrong (oh, and those New York Times people probably know what they're doing too).

Friday, March 26, 2010

Gifts Galore

Sure, we know you love our books here at Third Place, but what about all the unique impulse buys you can't seem to resist on your way out the door? Well, we've got a whole crew in charge of those awesome gifts and cards. Wendy, Patti, and Rene work really hard to keep our Sidelines section fresh and exciting. Check out some of the fabulous new finds they've brought in recently

Gnomes, mushrooms, and chocolate covered Corn Nuts...Oh my!

Beautiful necklaces made from Scrabble and Mah Jong tiles.

Lovely journals; hand-carved, wooden birds; coaster sets; and Japanese opera mask key chains.


What color Moleskine would you like...we have them all.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Updated Pulitzer Hopefuls

Here is the newly updated list of Pulitzer Prize for fiction predictions from PPrize.com.  It doesn't look too different from their initial list except one less Joyce Carol Oates title, and the order is a tiny bit different. 
  1.  My Father's Tears: And Other Stories by John Updike 
  2. Lark & Termite by Jayne Anne Phillips 
  3. Homer & Langley by E.L. Doctorow 
  4. The Humbling by Philip Roth 
  5. Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann 
  6. The Maple Stories by John Updike 
  7. American Salvage by Bonnie Jo Campbell 
  8. Spooner by Pete Dexter 
  9. Generosity: An Enhancement by Richard Powers 
  10. In Other Rooms, Other Wonders by Daniyal Mueenuddin 
  11. The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver 
  12. A Good Fall by Ha Jin 
  13. The Red Convertible by Louise Erdrich 
  14. Chronic City by Jonathan Lethem 
  15. Dear Husband by Joyce Carol Oates

    My progress through the Pulitzer possibles has been disrupted by a recent bout of American Lit. Classics that I have been unable to put down.  But, I have read a few of the remarkable short stories in American Salvage by Bonnie Jo Campbell.  Stark, vivid, and compelling, these are not for the faint of heart.  Set in Michigan, Campbell's stories chronicle the decay of morality and the American Midwest.  Abuse, drug use and poverty abound, and should it win the big award, I think American Salvage will make the perfect compliment to last year's far sunnier winner, Olive Kitteridge.

      Monday, March 22, 2010

      Take a Trip to Seven Roads

      We really do have to nicest, most interesting, well-rounded co-workers here at Third Place Books.  Greg, who shelves the history section, is our go-to-guy for all things Everyman's Library.  Greg is an Everyman aficionado, and has almost 300 titles in his collection!  Crazy!  He also keeps a current listing of the Everyman titles on his website, and his little corner of the world wide web gets quite a lot of traffic.  Greg says that you would be pretty hard pressed to find another more, concise, complete listing of the Everyman titles out there.  Even the Everyman homepage lacks a complete listing.  For shame!

      In addition to his Everyman's Library, Greg also has quite a collection of book labels.  So many in fact that he has chronicled these beauties on his website, Seven Roads.  Here is what Greg has to say about book labels...

      "Anyone who handles old books will have come across these small and sometimes beautiful labels pasted discreetly (more or less) into the endpapers. Booksellers, binders, printers, publishers, importers, and distributors of books used to advertise in this way their part in bringing the book to market. Most of the earliest examples shown here belong to binders (e.g., the Marcus Ward ticket, ca.1841); these were a continuation of binders' earlier practice of sewing into the binding a small ticket with their signature.

      "This collection began with labels found in our own books, but now it is mainly a virtual collection -- each entry is digitally scanned from books found in the excellent research library to which we repair in our spare time. We must admit to having gone from "coming across" the labels in our book-browsing to actually searching for them. Contributors from around the world have added a wonderful diversity to the collection."

      Check out his fabulous website and marvel not only at the little scraps of beauty that Greg has searched out and cataloged, but also at his amazing organizational skills. My particular favorites are the animal and ship labels.  Bravo, Greg!

      Posted by Erin

      Wednesday, March 17, 2010

      Beautiful Books Part 2

      The new Penguin Hardcover Classics Set 2 are here!  Come and get yours today...though they may be a bit moist as Jessica, Christy, and I have drooled all over them already!
      -posted by Erin

      Body Book

      Long-time bookseller Autumn is a whiz on the computer and with the "interwebs".  She frequently leads us to various, fabulous book blogs, articles, viral videos, and cute pictures of cats (see below).  But perhaps her greatest find is the Corpus Libris Blog, hosted by those zany folks at Skylight Books in Los Angeles.  Here is our very own Autumn, in what Corpus Libris says is their best submission yet...
      Check out more of their great pictures here.

      And here's a cute picture of a cat, as promised.

      Friday, March 12, 2010

      Erica's Secret Garden

      Being a pretty large store, you can bet that we have just about every reading interest, genre, and sub-genre covered.  And the same is true for our non-literary pursuits.  We have musicians, jugglers, weight-lifters, knitters, cyclists, runners, carpenters, dancers, baseball nuts, and movie buffs.  And do we ever have gardeners!  It's not uncommon to waltz into work during harvest time, and find a veritable cornucopia of home grown treats patiently awaiting staff consumption. Among our many Farmer Johns and Janes, Erica stands out for her recent commitment to transform her backyard into a self sufficient, urban farmers dream (this adorable baby chick is one of the recent additions to her flock of 7).

      Here are two books she swears by in her pursuit of agricultural Nirvana.

      Growing Vegetables West of the Cascades: The Complete Guide to Organic Gardening, by Steve Solomon

      Growing Vegetables West of the Cascades is my indispensable guide to planting vegetables on my 1/4 acre plot in Shoreline. Steve's honest assessment of what will grow well (not melons) and how to induce ideal conditions for the on-the-cusp plants (like peppers) is pragmatic and ideal. The timing charts for when to get seeds in the ground has been my best friend year after year. When I first started out, I would always mistakenly plant too late then wonder why I wasn't getting any harvest. Benefiting from Solomon's direct experience, now, I know to always make a planting chart, and to start in the beginning of March.

      If you have any remote interest in urban farming and jumping on the self sufficiency train, then pick it up, check it out and get excited for Spring!

      Gaia's Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture, By Toby Hemenway

      Permaculture is the practice of designing habitats that mimic natural ecology systems. It is integral to making a small plot of land as productive as possible in an urban environment while adhering to sustainable practices. Gaia's Garden is an exemplary look at integrating wildlife, domestic life, rainwater caching and plant guilds to create an oasis of sustainability and practicality. It is a great look at the possibilities of permaculture and ideas for getting started creating your own garden. It is an inspiration to read and use and I hope to implement almost all of the ideals into my yard and garden.

      Wednesday, March 10, 2010

      Justice is Served

      The blog posting has been a bit sparse as of late, but with good reason, I just finished serving as a juror down at the King County Courthouse.  Although I am happy to do my civic duty, I won't lie and say that during the 6-day trial there weren't a few boring moments.  Actually, there were several boring moments; so many in fact, that I was able to read three books in the down time.  I enjoyed the books I read, but looking back I think I might have chosen my reading material with a bit more foresight.  With that, I humbly offer my reading picks for sequestered jurors:

      Here are two fabulous plays... 
      Twelve Angry Men, by Reginald Rose
      Inherit the Wind, by Jerome Lawrence & Robert E. Lee
      ...what better way to compliment the drama of the courtroom than with a little courtroom drama!

      And along with Inherit the Wind, try...
      Summer for the Gods, by Edward J. Larson
      ...This Pulitzer Prize for History winner recounts the famous Scopes Trial immortalized in the Lawrence & Lee play.

      Greg suggests...
      Bleak House, by Charles Dickens
      ...incidentally he also says that every lawyer should read this novel about a court case that lasts several generations.

      Looking for a little nonfiction about the Supreme Court of the land...
      The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court, by Jeffery Toobin
      Lazy B: Growing Up on a Cattle Ranch in the American Southwest, by Sandra Day O'Connor

      Cheryl suggests last year's...
      Jarrettsville, by Cornelia Nixon
      ... beginning in 1869, amid chaos and confusion in the moments following Martha Jane Cairnes's murder of her fiance in front of 50 witnesses and former Union militia members.

      Of course there is always John Grisham, may I suggest...
      A Time to Kill, by John Grisham
      ...I know most have read this, but I still remember sitting in my high school home room class, on the edge of my seat, racing through this legal thriller.

      And my personal pick...
      To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
      ...I recently re-read this, having not read it since middle school, and I was floored.  There's not much I can say about it that hasn't already been said.  But if you haven't picked up this masterpiece since you were a kid, I think you too will be stunned by the beautiful story of childhood innocence, racial inequality, and the bravery of one man's fight for justice.  Additionally, a new 50th anniversary edition is being released with this beautiful new cover art.

      Posted by Erin

      Monday, March 1, 2010

      Beautiful Books

      If you love books, or if you are are aesthete - or both - you will find it difficult to resist these!


      Penguin has published a line of elegant hardcover cloth-bound classics creator by London designer Coralie Bickford-Smith. These books are made in simple but rich shades, with a repeated design embossed over the cloth. These are books that look and feel like books - a collector's item and a book-lover's dream.

      We have the following:

      Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen (mustard & gold, with swans)
      Sense and Sensibility, Jane Austen (dove-grey blue & crimson, with flowers)
      Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte (slate & cerulean, with thistle flowers)
      Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte (charcoal & red, with poppies)
      Great Expectations, Charles Dickens (navy & cream, with chandeliers)
      Cranford, Elizabeth Gaskell (light green & dark green; with peas)
      Tess of the D'Ubervilles, Thomas Hardy (oatmeal & red; with sheaves of wheat)
      The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde (black & white; with peacock feathers)

      These current eight titles will expand in March to include Emma, Madame Bovary, the Odyssey, Treasure Island, and Lady Chatterley's Lover.

      I am deep into Gaskell's Cranford (the one on top of this pile below) and as happy as a clam in that story of a provincial English town filled with spinsters and gossips, where everything has its proper place and ceremony.

      So splurge a little and treat yourself to a well-bound classic. It's worth the temptation.

      Posted by Christy