Welcome to the official blog of Third Place Books

Friday, August 20, 2010

Dead Writers We Like: Part II

Our new blog feature continues with sewing sensation Jessica who easily chose a lifelong favorite: Roald Dahl. Though this British author is beloved world round by children for his many books starring odd children with fantastic destinies pitted against nasty grown-ups (and candy factories and bone-crushing giants), he has also written for the grown-ups themselves. In fact, though the writer's life is often one of solitude and contemplative effort, Dahl was not without an exciting (and surprising) past... 

(A picture of a young Roald Dahl in uniform with that Sean Connery look-alike, Ernest Hemingway.)

Q. When did you become aware of Dahl?

Jessica: Sometimes I think I was born loving Roald Dahl. I have no distinct recollection of “discovering” him. I do remember associating him very closely with his typical illustrator Quentin Blake and being really thrown off by the books that didn’t feature his unique, scribbly watercolors. It took my mom a while to convince me that Charlie and the Chocolate Factory came from the same author as my beloved BFG. But once I got a few pages in and found the now familiar recipe (2 parts whimsy + 1 part epic comeuppance,) it was clear that the magic was not in the images but in the words and thus an impermeable bond was forged.

Q. What is your favorite work by him?

Jessica: I think James and the Giant Peach may be my favorite children’s book by him when all is said and done. The unapologetic surrealism combined with the lure of exotic travel continues to appeal to me even as an adult. It undoubtedly formed the foundation for many of my adult tastes like Shirley Jackson and Haruki Murakami. Now that I’m grown, I find it interesting that he mainly wrote short stories for grown-ups and managed full length books for kids. It’s almost like he couldn’t be bothered to go on too long if you were going to insist on his making any sense at all. His adult work features delightfully unsettling stories, often highlighting how mankind makes a better monster than anything that one could make up. It’s a weird world out there and Mr. Dahl knew that well. My favorite of these is called Skin and relates the fate of a tattooed man whose tattoo artist is revered as a master artist after his death.

Q. What else?

Jessica: Though Roald Dahl is sadly gone, the reading pleasure to be derived from his life is far from over. His biography is a truly extraordinary tale filled with terrible tragedy, great love and intrigue. September 14th will see the release of Storyteller: The Authorized Biography of Roald Dahl by Donald Sturrock. Highlights include his rocky but glamorous marriage to actress Patricia Neal, the medical tragedies and accidents that befell their family, his success as a flying ace in WW2 and, of course, his time working for British Intelligence with fellow spy and writer Ian Fleming. That’s right, I said HE WAS A SPY! A SPY! If that isn’t one of the most phenomenally stupifying thing to find out about your childhood hero, I don’t know what is. For those who can’t wait for Storyteller, The Irregulars by Jennet Connant, elaborates on his adventures in deception on our unsuspecting shores. If you’re ready to introduce your tot to Roald Dahl, or if you're ready to revisit him yourself, there’s no better time. September 13th is Roald Dahl Day! He would have been 94.

Q. Favorite quote?

Jessica: “A person is a fool to become a writer. His only compensation is absolute freedom. He has no master except his own soul, and that, I am sure, is why he does it."

Friday, August 13, 2010


More video high jinks, capers, and antics! Thanks to Erica, Eric, Rene, Greg, Jason, Erin, and our star, and book devourer...Emily!!!

Cookbook Review

Yes, we have an in house bakery, and yes, it's very yummy.  But sometimes nothing beats the free food brought in by co-workers, especially when it's delicious.  Last week Emily brought us cherry almond scones baked from the Macrina Bakery & Cafe Cookbook... they didn't last long.

I admit it. I make excuses to go to past Macrina Bakery. They make yummy potato bread, and the cherry almond scones are to die for. Even better, the recipes for these coveted goodies are included in Leslie Mackie's Macrina Bakery & Cafe Cookbook. I tried my hand at the scones and brought some in to the bookstore to share. They were hastily devoured. By the time I thought about taking a picture, only crumbs remained.      -Emily

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

New Steampunk Hot Off the Press!

Fresh from that steamy, punky, future-past world, it's Cherie Priest's latest!  We've just received a small shipment of the new short novel of the Clockwork Century, Clementine.  Although it takes place in the same world as her tremendously popular, Nebula and Hugo Award nominee, Locus Award-winning, Boneshaker; it's not exactly a sequel.  Clementine is more of a tangential stand-alone story featuring Boneshaker alum and supporting cast member, Croggon Hainey.  Stolen airships and their pirate captains become entangled in the top-secret mission of a former confederate spy.  Gasp!  Whether you're looking for some summer fun or need something to satisfy your steampunk fix until the release of Priest's next novel, Dreadnought (September), this is the book for you.  And for you collectors, this is a relatively small print run from Subterranean Press.  Once they're gone, they're gone.
Here's Steve, enjoying a sneak peek...with the proper eye wear of course!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Dead Writers We Like: Part I

We've decided to start a new feature on this blog called Dead Writers We Like, in which Third Place booksellers can highlight favorite (dead) writers who we believe merit attention - whether because they've faded from the public eye or just deserve more fans!

Our guinea pig is Eric McDaniel, night manager at Third Place Books, who chose none other than his namesake Eric Arthur Blair. (You might know him as George Orwell.)

                                                             George Orwell 1903-1950

Q. How did you first  learn about George Orwell?

Eric. I'm not sure when I first became aware of George Orwell. I know that my Grandmother read to me from Animal Farm when I was still too young to understand it's political message, but enjoyed the idea of talking animals. Perhaps it was Apple's famous Macintosh launching Superbowl commercial which first brought 1984 to my attention. I didn't read this famous dystopian novel until my early teens. But it was neither of these iconic works that cemented my love of Orwell.

Q. What did it?

Eric. His early autobiographical work, Down and Out in Paris and London, gave him a permanent place on my bookshelf. It first came to my attention when I was staying just around the corner from the rooms Orwell kept in Paris. A fellow traveler, who was reading Down and Out at the time, pointed out the address as we walked by and I had to admit that I hadn't even heard of the book. Having now read and re-read this chronicle of scraping by in two of the world's greatest cities, I think that it's an essential read for any lover of travel.

Q. Favorite Quote?

Eric. "Men can only be happy when they do not assume that the object of life is happiness."

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Staff Picks

Some recent staff reviews:

Legend of a Suicide: Stories, by David Vann
The humor in the first few stories caught me off guard. The bulk of these stories evoke the Alaskan landscape, both physical and emotional. The survivalist, the disgruntled, the independent, and the unorthodox all surface in this beautiful collection.

Super, Sad, True, Love Story, by Gary  Shteyngart
This hilariously satiric sneak peek into our country’s potentially not so distant future frightens as much as it amuses. Shteyngart’s brutal re-envisioning of our world where our fates lie in our credit scores, books are artifacts and youth and sex dominate every corner of society will keep you up at night, first laughing, then worrying about what you were laughing at.

World Made Straight, by Ron Rash
A sparsely written coming of age tale set in North Carolina, where the past lingers amongst the inhabitants of the present. Rash's evocative landscapes and detailed description of wildlife bring the novel to life, using them both to reflect the inner turmoil of Travis, the young protagonist. It's one of those books that reminds us: the past doesn't go away, especially if you try to ignore it. In this case it's the Bloody Madison massacre during the Civil War. Look forward to reading more by Mr. Rash.

Dogs, by Emily Gravett
From one of my favorite illustrators, this book is sure to be a hit with any dog lover. I particularly love the ending when you realize the story is narrated by a cat. "But the dog that I love best? Let's see...is any dog that won't chase me!

Niki: The Story of a Dog,by Tibor Dery & Edward Hyams
Wonderful story of a dog and the couple she adopts. Set in and around Budapest during the Rakosi regime, this short novel follows the antics of Niki, the falling out of favor of her engineer, and the sad fortunes of his wife in the aftermath of his "disappearance." The closely observed evolutions of character (human and canine), fine moral distinctions, and a full freight of history and its human toll made this an entirely satisfying read.

Tinkers, by Paul Harding

Anything I write about this book will undoubtedly diminish it. So I will just say that there is a passage, about 3/4 of the way through that makes this entire novel worth it -- no, that's not severe enough... this particular passage is the reason we learn to read.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Bookseller Twin Alert!

Kid's Booksellers Patti and Sarah in matching purple!  They sell kid's books and they dress alike!