Welcome to the official blog of Third Place Books

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

We Will Miss You Cheryl

This week we say a reluctant goodbye to one of our best. Cheryl McKeon, 10 year Third Place Books bookselling veteran, is joining her family in a move to the Northern California this week. If you don’t know her by name, then you will certainly recognize her from the pictures here. For if you ever needed a recommendation for your book club, it was Cheryl who helped you (presenting over 400 personalized “basket of books” presentations to book clubs). If you have attended one of our in store book club discussions, it was Cheryl who kept the group engaged and on track (facilitating over 110 in store book club meetings). If your child came home from school telling you about the great author she me that day, it was Cheryl who made that happen (escorting over 100 children’s book authors to local in school events).
Outside of earning the respect and devotion of our customers, Cheryl has been a prominent and respected figure within the larger bookselling community. She has represented Third Place Books in multiple organizations including as a board member of the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association and the Lake Forest Park Reads Committee.
Beyond this impressive resume, however, is a true friend and colleague who will be greatly missed. Cheryl is family for us here at Third Place. It is hard to say goodbye to family.
Cheryl, we wish you and your family the best in your new home. You have been a huge part of what Third Place Books is at its best and your work and legacy here will be felt well into the future.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Pardon Our Dust

If you've been in the store lately, you may have noticed some alarming changes.  Like entire bookcases removed of their books.  Well, not to worry, we aren't packing up and leaving.  It's just a little in-house rearranging.  There are a lot of sections relocating.  Parenting will now be near Education, and Foreign Language is moving up front by Travel.  Some other sections are being condensed, all to make room for a little Children's Section sprawl.  Those kids need room to grow you know!  This will be a bit of a work in progress, so don't worry if you come in and suddenly find yourself all turned around.  Just ask us at the Info Desk and we'll be glad to help you out!

 Here's Stan helping out with the move.  Go Stan!

Release the Kraken!

We may have too much fun at work...

Video brought to you by Steve, Jason, Mike, and Erin. Maybe we should quit our day jobs and start making book promotions.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

In Memoriam

José de Sousa Saramago, the prolific Portuguese writer and Nobel Prize winner, died last Friday, June 18th, at the age of 88. Saramago is well-known for style, an intersection of the whimsical, fantastical and historical (as in Baltasar & Blimunda), and his hypothetical novels which explore large ideas played against society in an unnamed place (Blindness in which an entire city is struck blind, and Death With Interruptions where Death takes a vacation, leading a momentarily thrilled country very shortly in chaos.)

We are looking forward to this September for The Elephant's Journey, a posthumously published novel,  as well as the promise of works that have not yet been translated into English. Until then, take a look at Saramago's Notebook, a collection of erudite and thoughtful essay-ettes written for a blog during the course of one year.

Saramago is widely considered to be a master of postmodern prose, and has done much to bring Portuguese literature to international attention. He will be sorely missed.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The 39 Steps

Here's another recent re-release; a re-discovered classic, if you will.  Penguin does it once again, with their trademark eye for style.  They are calling this collection of 6 titles Great Books for Boys, but I'm certain they wouldn't dream of excluding girls from enjoying them.

After discovering a dead man in his flat, skewered to the floor with a knife through his heart, when only a few days before the victim had warned him of an assassination plot that could bring the country to the brink of war; Richard Hannay becomes the obvious suspect and goes on the run in his native Scotland. There, on the wild moors, he must use all his wits to stay one step ahead of the game - and warn the government of the impending danger before it is too late...

Greg read and enjoyed John Buchan's, The 39 Steps, here are some of his thoughts, including some movie adaptation advice, and some interesting Canadian history.

Richard Hannay, retired mining engineer, newly returned from Namibia (where he has mostly been since the age of six), is really too young not to have anything to do besides read the papers at his club and spend all nights at frivolous entertainments. He really needs to have the police and a nefarious cabal (who for reasons of their own would like to see a war between the European powers) chasing him over the moors, glens, bens and burns of Scotland, with the fate of the entire British Empire dependent on his not getting caught.

Notes of Stevenson, Kipling, Conrad, with overtones of the muscular Christianity of Tom Brown’s Schooldays.

The 1935 Hitchcock adaptation famously has Hannay negotiate the aforementioned moors and glens handcuffed to an indignant and uncooperative but beautiful young lady. I don’t know why John Buchan didn’t think of that. Hannay in Hitchcock’s film is a Canadian, probably a nod to the fact that Buchan had just been appointed Governor-General of Canada. All the Canadian streets and parks named Tweedsmuir are named after him (King George V had just made him a Peer of the Realm as well, dubbing him Baron Tweedsmuir).

The 2008 BBC film with Rupert Penry-Jones is pretty good, too, closer to the book but with significant nods to the Hitchcock version.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Moomin Mania!

The sun is out and we can finally believe summer is here. This is what happens in Finnish author and artist Tove Jansson’s Finn Family Moomintroll when Snork and Moomintroll spot the first butterfly of spring:

“(As everyone knows, if the first butterfly you see is yellow the summer will be a happy one. If it is white then you will just have a quiet summer. Black and brown butterflies should never be talked about – they are much too sad.)”

I have yet to see a golden butterfly, but keep a lookout!

For those unfamiliar with the Moomin series first published in 1945 in Swedish, the books concern a raggle-taggle bohemian bunch of forest creatures from Jansson’s imagination living in an idyllic place called Moominvalley. The stars of the books are the Moomintrolls, who resemble hippopotamuses in Jansson’s drawings and are “smooth and like sunshine” – Moominpappa, Moominmamma and Moomintroll – and a whole host of guests and friends including but not limited to a Hemulen, Snufkin, Snork, the Snork Maiden (Moomintroll’s beloved), Little My, a Mymble, a Fillyjonk etc.

The Moomintroll books are classics of Scandinavian kids' literature and have been loved worldwide (especially by the Japanese). These charming books have just been republished by Puffin in bright editions perfect for summer trips and reading aloud. 

Start with the first book, Finn Family Moomintroll, which introduces our friends who are waking up after a long winter hibernation with nothing but pine needles in their bellies:

 and move onto Moominsummer Madness!

(From one convert to another, I promise you won't be able to stop...)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Happy Bloomsday!

It's June 16th, which means it's Bloomsday!  And we hope you have a happy one!  Bloomsday is annually observed on June 16 in celebration of  the life of Irish writer James Joyce.  June 16th is also the day on which the events in his novel Ulysses occur.  We are celebrating with an impromtu theme table, featuring Joyce's novels and stories as well as biographies, annotaded copies of Ulysses, and other assorted sundries.  Come on down and enjoy!

Monday, June 14, 2010

James Joyce in Technicolor

I was perusing the New Yorker Bookbench last week when I came across something astonishing found in a post from June 3, No Buck Naked on the iPad by Macy Halford. The post talks about the new iPad app for an internet comic and how creator, Robert Berry, was forced to change his illustrations in order to comply with strict Apple "decency" standards (The New York Times even picked up the story this weekend).  While the post is an interesting look at censorship and the new "clean" Apple ideal; even more fascinating is the comic itself.  It's a graphic adaptation of James Joyce's Ulysses.  The comic, Ulysses "Seen", has been an ongoing internet project since 2008.  I've only tried once to read the massive tome but this website with its beautiful drawings, interesting analysis, insights, opinions, and most importantly, reader's guide- just might make me pick it up again.

In addition to the comic, presented in serialized form as the novel originally was, each episode contains a link to the reader's guide written by Mike Barsanti.  For any of the many times the text wanders into other languages, simply roll over it with your mouse and its translation appears.  And there's also a blog with room for questions and comments from readers.

Altogether it's a grand undertaking and beautifully executed.  No doubt some may claim that taking this monumental piece of literature and in a way simplifying it, providing instantaneous analysis, and a virtual translator, takes away from the struggle that makes reading the novel such an accomplishment.  But I say, whatever opens up a book like Ulysses; makes it more accessible to an audience wanting to read it, but not quite able to on their own (someone like me)- I think that must be a good thing.  In fact, I may just buy my hard copy of Ulysses today and dive right in!  Perhaps this year I will finally be celebrating Bloomsday in proper form.

Posted by Erin

Thursday, June 10, 2010

All Over the Map

Just the other day, author Laura Fraser and staff member Emily Adams chatted about Laura’s new book, All Over the Map. Following An Italian Affair (both her book title and her experience...ooh la la) Laura meets her lover in Mexico, and discovers he has met somebody new. All Over the Map retells her adventures traveling the globe, searching for romance, adventure, and herself.  We've got signed copies!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The End is Near

Our theme tables this month are certainly a cheery lot.  Along with Chilling Tales from the North, the smaller theme table is featuring Dystopian Fiction!  That's right, if you loved The Road, inhaled The Stand, or just can't get enough post-apocalyptic, end-times, run-for-your-life fiction, you know where to come.

Wendy suggests The Day of the Triffids:
This book is fantastic!! Well written, funny, and an all around good read.  Try this first and then read Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde...another great read clearly influenced by Day of the Triffids.

And Erica offers A Canticle for Leibowitz:
Hauntingly beautiful.  I loved the cyclical nature of the world.  Death, rebirth, and ultimately destruction occurring over a plodding time frame, where each life is a drop in the bucket of generations.  Winner of the 1961 Hugo, this is a classic in the post-apocalyptic genre.

Of course these suggestions are just our attempt to whet your appetite for The Passage, which comes out today!  Yay!  It's the end of the world!  Everyone head to REI!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Chilling Tales from the Icy North

This month's "Tree Table" is dedicated to the great mystery novels of Northern Europe, but in particular, Sweden.  With the release of Stieg Larsson's final book; Joyce, used book buyer and mystery aficionado, wanted to celebrate the best of the best, and also offer readers some great alternatives should they devour the last of the Larsson trilogy and still hunger for more.  Joyce says, there are some great authors out there-great novels, and the last of Stieg Larsson's books doesn't have to mean the last of great Scandinavian suspense literature.

If you just can't get enough of Stieg, Joyce suggests Jo Nesbo, who's popular books remind her a lot of Larsson's.  Redbreast, voted the Best Crime Novel in Norway, this novel introduces Harry Hole, a recovering alcoholic reassigned to the Norwegian Security Service.  Highly recommended.

For a different feel, Joyce also suggests one of many female writers featured on the table, Karin Fossum- Norway's Queen of Crime.  This author is especially skilled at writing psychological suspense.  She is best known for her Inspector Konrad Sejer series set in Oslo.  The intuitive, introspective cop who lives alone with his beloved dog and still grieves for his wife is determined on all levels.  Skillful characterization and subtle writing elevate this series above the rest.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Play it Again, Stephenie!

Hey you Twilight fans, you die-hard Edward Cullen devotees, and you too you Jacob Black zealots...guess what comes out tomorrow?!?  That's right, The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner, Stephenie Meyer's new companion book to the Twilight Saga.  Get all the gory details on this briefly mentioned Eclipse character and slake your thirst for vampires and werewolves until the release of the new movie later this month.  We will have copies on sale tomorrow, Saturday, June 5th right when we open at 9:00AM.
Also, when you purchase the book from us this weekend only, you'll be entered to win one of four $25 gift certificates.  What's not to love?

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Outbreak at Third Place Books

If you read Autumn's review of Justin Cronin's The Passage you may already be anxiously awaiting this highly hyped book's June 8th arrival.  If you haven't read her review...here it is.  But I have to warn you, she convinced me to read it and now I don't sleep at night, I'm late getting back to work from my coffee breaks, and I am constantly missing my bus stops...all from having my nose crammed in this book.  That's four Third Place booksellers this book has claimed.

I was browsing around on the book's teaser website
and found this creepy video

Can't wait, right?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Makin' Whoopie

One advantage of working here at Third Place is our fabulous co-workers.  Emily, one of our resident chefs, is always trying out the new cookbooks that come through and mornings are often greeted with delicious treats from Emily's oven.  Recently, she's been whipping up baked goods from the new Booze Cakes by Krystina Castella and Terry Lee Scott.  Besides the clever title, this cookbook is filled with photographs for each cake (a cookbook must) and a "booze-meter" to let you know what you're getting into.  Here is Emily's take on the Rum & Coke Whoopie Pies:

The Rum & Coke Whoopie Pies were a big hit, made better by lots of jokes about makin' whoopie. The cakes didn't flatten out, so the finished product was almost spherical. I used the larger amount of rum in the filling (of course!), and the pies started to slide apart pretty quickly. I added extra powdered sugar to thicken the filling - it was pourable at first - and I refrigerated them soon after assembly. I froze a few too, and they tasted almost like ice crem sandwiches. YUM!

The recipes can be a bit sparse on details (example:"bake 30 minutes" without indicating what the cake will look like when it's done), but the experienced baker shouldn't have trouble making them work. I also like the section at the back that gives recipes for homemade liqueurs and garnishes.

I'll definitely try other recipes from this book.