Welcome to the official blog of Third Place Books

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Pulse It & Wattpad Writing Contest!

Know any teen writers who would love to know more about the publishing industry?

Pulse It has partnered with Wattpad.com for a teen writing contest featuring bestselling author Lisa McMann. Wattpad, “the world’s most popular e-book community”, is an online & mobile social networking site where members are able write and share their stories & novels. Members can also rate stories and create a library. 

Wattpad’s Stats:
10 Million members worldwide
100,000 story submissions per month
Over 1 million app downloads per month 
39,000 Facebook Fans
6,600 Twitter followers

The Contest: 

To enter teens must to become a member of the Pulse It and Wattpad communities. Lisa McMann has written a prompt—the first few lines of a story—that users must finish in 2,500 words or less. The contest runs from July 15th to September 15th and the winner will be chosen & announced by Lisa McMann through Wattpad.com and Pulse It. Throughout the promotion, additional content will be released, including videos and excerpts from Lisa McMann’s books: The Unwanteds and Dead To You.  The winner will be flown to NYC and visit the S&S offices to get the inside scoop on publishing.  

If you know any teen writers, let them know about this awesome opportunity!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Musicals Based on Books... and an Upcoming Author Visit!

At 6:30 PM this Friday, July 29th, we will be visited by Misha Berson, author of "Something's Coming, Something Good: West Side Story and the American Imagination." As luck would have it, TPB staffer Kestrel recently read an article all about musicals! Read what she had to say below: 

A great way to really immerse yourself into a reading experience is to read a book, then listen to (or go see live) the musical adapted from it. Last week, wordandfilm.com put together a great list of the 10 best musicals based on books. A few personal favorites are mentioned, including Wicked by Gregory Maguire, which is a lovely book and a smashing Stephen Schwartz musical, and the memoir of Seattle's own Gypsy Rose Lee, adapted by Jule Styne, Stephen Sondheim, and Arthur Laurents into one of the greatest musicals of all time, Gypsy. The list mentions more great shows, but here are a few they forgot:

Voltaire's hilarious Candide was transformed into an equally entertaining musical by the great Leonard Bernstein. Bernstein's overture is probably the greatest in all of musical theater, and then of course there is the nearly impossible-to-sing “Glitter and be Gay” (Kristen Chenoweth does a pretty awesome job though) but my absolute favorite is the finale “Make Our Garden Grow.”

And how could they forget Show Boat?! The classic show by Oscar Hammerstein II and Jerome Kern based on the novel of the same name by Edna Ferber. I'm sure most anyone could hum the tune of “Ol' Man River,” (though maybe not in the original key!) but I also love “Can't Help Loving That Man.”

Seattle’s Intiman developed Elizabeth Spencer’s short story “The Light in the Piazza” into a Tony Award winning musical that features some of the most beautiful music in modern musical theater (in my opinion).

Andrew Lloyd Weber converted Wilkie Collins’ novel The Woman in White into a walloping flop of a musical, but the original novel is a wonderful example of a Victorian thriller, from one of the world’s first crime novelists. 

And let’s not forget Mary Poppins, based on the children’s stories by P.L. Travers, and of course The Wizard of Oz, based on L. Frank Baum’s beloved books. And I must mention Frank Loesser’s Guys and Dolls, based on the short stories of Damon Runyon. Can you think of any others? Comment here, on Facebook, or send us a tweet @ThirdPlaceBooks!

Make sure to come see Misha Berson discuss her book on Friday!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Young Adult Summer Extravaganza!

On July 31st, we will be hosting six local YA authors: Kimberly Derting, Lisa Schroeder, Mandy Hubbard, Suzanne Young, Eileen Cook, and Cat Patrick. Each will discuss her latest novel and we'll have treats and prizes, too! Check out the exciting trailers below or click on each book title to read more on our website.

A trailer was unavailable for this book, but read an awesome review at http://blog.figment.com/2011/07/21/ripple-by-mandy-hubbard/

A trailer was unavailable for this book, but read more about the book at the author's website: http://www.eileencook.com/

Come see these authors at Third Place on July 31st at 4PM! 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Race Weekend!

On Saturday, July 16th, Third Place Books staffers Emily, Wendy and Erin participated in two local events, the Chelan Man and Warrior Dash. 

Emily's race, The Chelan Man, is a weekend full of racing activities held at Lakeside Park in Chelan. The challenges range from a Splash'N'Dash to a Half Ironman. Read more about the race at http://chelanman.com/ 

Emily completed the Olympic Triathalon in 3 hours, 8 minutes and 9 seconds. She went with 20 other people that had also raced with her in Hawaii. This was a great addition, she says, since “both the bike leg and the run were out and back so I got to see everyone I knew multiple times.” One annoyance? “It rained. That was wrong, since it's not supposed to rain in Chelan in July.”

Emily poses for the camera
While Emily was racing in the rain, Wendy and Erin were at the Warrior Dash, an annual 3.5 mile obstacle course race held in North Bend. (Read more at http://warriordash.com/ ) They made their way past fences, braved barbed wire, jumped over cars, dodged hanging tires, crab walked over nets, navigated a balance beam and slogged through a dark pit of “horrible mud that almost sucked your shoes off.” There was even one section of jumping over flames! Amazing.

Wendy (r) with two fellow racers
Erin's favorite aspect of the race was “being really, really dirty,” saying that it was the muddiest she's ever been. Wendy would have liked tougher obstacles. “It'd be cool if they had five walls back to back,” she explained. “The wall was my favorite, for sure.”

Erin (l) gets ready to rock and roll
Wendy summed up by saying, “the race had people from all walks of life, all age ranges, all fitness levels – it was more about personal achievement.” Personal achievement, indeed!

We love having superstar athletes in our midst. Great job, you three!

Monday, July 18, 2011

LFP Reads: Karl Marlantes

Author and Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association award winner Karl Marlantes will be at Third Place Books on July 25th for the LFP Reads program. The Third Place Literary Book Club will be discussing his book at 7 pm. LFP Reads will be hosting additional events on July 28th and August 4th.

Author Karl Marlantes with Third Place Books staff member Robert

Staff member Emily reviewed Marlantes' previous book, Matterhorn:

"Thirty years in the making, this novel of the Vietnam combat experience is gritty, intense, and captivating from the first page. The riveting narrative takes the reader up and down the chain of command, creating empathy with nearly every character. Marlantes deftly demonstrates the ripple effect that small decisions can have, often to the detriment of those they were meant to help." - Emily

If you would like to pre-order Karl Marlantes' upcoming book, What It Is Like to Go to War, head over to the Third Place website. Karl Marlantes will be at Third Place on July 25th - mark your calendars!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Charles Yu Interview

Charles Yu's debut novel, How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe, now in paperback from Vintage, is a creative and evocative time travel story, about a young man searching for his missing father. Along for
the journey are a fictional dog and a time machine with attitude problem. It's a book that equally investigates human nature as it does quantum physics. Charles Yu stopped by Third Place Books to sign books and chat with
Vladimir over at Third Place Press.

V: HTLSIASFU is one of those books that, when you start to talk to someone who's read it, or is reading it, suddenly you end up finding all these different facets to the book. We talk about some of the narrative dynamics, we also talk about some of the world-building; there's so much stuff that we can explore each time, it's kind of prismatic, we all come up with a new thing. And for me, being a life-long science fiction fan, it's amazing: your book is very concise, and with all the ideas that you have in it you could write a book five times bigger. How did you stop yourself from making your book so detailed?

C: Every book starts with fear. I was a little afraid--I would also describe myself as a science fiction fan, I'm still confident in my fandom. I read Asimov when I was in eighth grade and I became hooked--and I wanted to touch on all of these things and then when I got to some of the world-building and, as you said, some of the meta-science fiction stuff and then the
science fiction stuff itself, as I would get too far down the road in any one area, I would get a little afraid that I was getting in over my head. I didn't want to start building a world and then suddenly realize I didn't
Author Charles Yu
have all the tools to make this what it should be. So I would consciously stop myself as say, "O.K. I'm making my world simpler, I'm going to make this smaller," and then on a large scale that's really what I did; the universe in which the book takes place is Minor Universe 31, and I really did want to get the feeling of a place that was pretty compact; it was easier for me to manage and feel like I could do a small world justice, I'll
try for a bigger world sometime in the future.
  V: It's interesting because by the very fact that you didn't have confidence in your world-building, you actually made the book much more accessible to people who don't usually read genre, because sometimes I think when people who don't read genre approach it, they're put off by all the meticulous details. Your book comes off a lot more similar in tone to certain poetry like Alan Lightman's "Einstein's Dreams". I don't know if you've read it-- 
C: Yes, yes I have. I appreciate at comparison. I love that book.
V:--  [your book] is so hard to describe and I had to find a starting point so that people could access the book. It's worked out in your favor in that it will have a broader appeal, because of the fact that you restricted
yourself. You mentioned earlier Asimov; are there any other influences that went into making your book?

C: The other big influence-- Asimov, because in the Foundation series he invents a science called Psychohistory, which was an inspiration for me creating Chronodiegetics- this fake science my book. The other major influence that I kept going back to was Nicholson Baker whose very first book, "The Mezzanine", is a book that takes place basically, during the course of a guy riding an escalator one level. The very first words in the book--I'm afraid I might get is wrong--are 'At almost one o'clock.' So he's already indicating to you that this is a book about being stuck between levels, stuck between moments; it's a book filled with footnotes, digressions, it's a book made from digressions essentially. And it's kind of about thought itself and what it's like to be in-between, and keep slicing more and more finely and more and more thin, the moment, and really look at something so closely. It's a book that takes place entirely in this guy's head. And as strange as it sounds, I wanted to write a book about an entire universe that in a sense, is an interior space. 
V: your thoughts on genre-- some people might say that this is a cross-genre book, but you were heavily influence by genre. How do feel about genre distinctions, how do they apply to writers and the industry. Any thoughts you have on that? 

C: I can't speak for anyone but myself, but I'm going to go ahead and try.
My guess is that a lot of writers who are not hard and fast in the genre,
don't approach the book at all--in terms of thinking in genre. They're
approaching it from a very one-off stance; they're saying, " what is *this*
book going to be?" and from book to book they can go wildly in one direction
or another. So unless you're writing Noir or Hard SF, or Fantasy, you're
probably not super-comfortable with labels. That said, I've now written two
books--the short story collection [Third Rate Superhero], and this novel,
and both have elements of speculative fiction, and I'm working on something
now and if I had to guess, it will also end up having many speculative
fiction elements in it. I don't know why, I'm not really trying to get away
from it, and I'm not trying to do it consciously.

V: They're essentially writer's tools rather than something that people think of as genre: convention-goers and such. It seems like a lot of writers outside of genre seem to be embracing these tools because they make stories more creative.

C: That's a great way to put it. I think with these tools you get to have
the benefit of lots of other stories as reference. There are symbols,
markers that I get to put in the background while you're reading my story,
and I get to cheat, I get to piggyback on some of those other stories.
Science Fiction is very rich with conventions, and I don't mean with
'rules'; people know how to read SF, they are expecting certain things, or
they know that there's this universe of stories told already, so that you
have this mental library of what's been done. And because of that it's
actually not limiting, it's more freeing, because people can go and read
your brand-new story having had some kind of instruction on how to read a
story like it but not exactly like it Did that make sense?

V: Yes, yes it did. That's a great way of putting it. 
Order your copy at Third Place Books.com

Monday, June 20, 2011

Goat Days!

We are very proud to be a sponsor of this community event : Goat Days. If you haven't made it up to the park to see the goats there are still 2 days left. Today there is also a goat petting area for kids from noon-2pm.

Robert Sindelar, Managing Partner of Third Place Books

The Running of the Goats

Saturday, June 18, 2011

A Bookseller Gives Back

One of our outstanding booksellers, Annie, has been spearheading a project to provide books to a great group of people.

Publisher's send bookstores like our Advanced Reader Copies (ARC's) of books that will be published sometime in the next 6 months or so. The idea is that we will read them, love them and then be ready to sell them when the books finally arrive in our store on the publication date.

While many of these books find homes on the shelves of the libraries of our staff, there are often too many for us to take home. We have always struggled with positive things to do with these books. We can't sell them. We can't bring ourselves to destroy them. What to do?

Annie saw this problem and came up with a great solution.
"The idea just sort of came to me randomly. I'd been thinking about all the ARCs in the break room and what the store does with them when the book is released. It occurred to me those ARCs could help a lot of people who are going through treatment for cancer at Virginia Mason Medical Center's Floyd and Delores Jones Cancer Institute. I myself went through treatment there from May 2008 through March 2009 for Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. I still go there for check ups and testing to make sure my cancer hasn't returned.

"The thing that's stayed with me is the kindness of the doctors, nurses, techs, schedulers, everyone there works hard to make a frightening and terrible experience a little easier to bear. These people did a lot for me and they do a lot for all the other patients who come through their doors. So I wanted to help them with their job.

"My treatment would take a full day, during which my family would entertain themselves, and sometimes me. Part of that entertainment was books. But going through chemotherapy also means you - and likely your family and friends - don't have much energy left to seek out comforting things to help you escape what you're going through. So I thought if I could bring these ARCs to the patients and their families, that's one less thing they have to think about trying to do. And one more thing that can provide comfort to everyone, the staff included.

"I bounced the idea off several of my coworkers, who were very positive about the idea. I got in touch with Pat Lively, a social worker who works with cancer patients. Between the two of us, we've got a nice collection of free books in the Meditation Room of the Cancer Institute that people can take. It's an amazing feeling giving back to people who helped me through so much, and provide them with another way to help ease others' discomfort.

"I get teary each time I drop off the ARCs."

A huge thank you to Annie for sharing her story, and our ARCs. A solid reminder that the smallest things in life can make the biggest difference, that we are surrounded by overlooked resources and unrecognized opportunities to pay-it-back and pay-it-forward everyday. More importantly it is a reminder that amidst so many stories of a lack of love in the world there really are just as many, if not more, that demonstrate the opposite.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

10 Sure Fire Father's Day Gifts (Books and More)

Here is our Father's Day gift philosophy : Don't get him a tie. Don't get him socks. Get him something he would never get for himself that once he has it, he'll wonder how he ever lived without it. Here are 10 items we sell that we think fit that description :

For the Carnivore : Steak Saws (set of 4)
Give him the joy of his workshop right at the dinner table.

For the Adventurer : Demon Fish by Juliet Eilperin 
An amazing look at sharks around the world.

For the Grill- Master : Blink Ketchup and Mustard
Why do they close their eyes when you pour these condiments? Is it pleasure? Is it pain? Are they just tired? Having a hot-dog just got philosophical.


For the Inner Geek : The Geek Dad's Guide to Weekend Fun by Ken Denmead
Is he the kind of guy who would enjoy making his own "Mini-Me" out of a lego action figure? Of course he is.

For the Lodge-Man : Moosehead Mobile Device Stand
His smart-phone has never looked classier.


For the Cowboy : The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt
Did he get just a little too into the movie True Grit? This hilarious, violent and action packed homage to the classic western should get him back in the saddle.

For the Outdoors-Man Stuck at Work : Red Snapper Screen Cleaner
His monitor will never look better.

For the Beer Lover : Craft Beers of the Pacific Northwest by Lisa M Morrison
Simple - If he drinks beer, he needs this book.

 For the Envious of His Kids Star Wars Toys : Lego Yoda Alarm Clock
Like it he will.



For the Sports Junkie : Those Guys Have All the Fun by James Andrew Miller
All the ESPN he can handle.

All on our shelves now!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Two More Days for 25 cent ebooks

The great literary publisher, Unbridled Books, has made 25 of their best books available for $.25 each. These books are available for purchase on our website. the offer is good through then end of June 11. Here are some of our favorites from the list (just click on the title to purchase) :

Song of the Crow Layne Maheu

Yes this is a novel narrated by a crow. It is alsoa lyrical meditation on the relationship between humanity and the heavens Recalling both the magical imagination of Richard Adams's Watership Down and the spiritual richness of Anita Diamant's The Red Tent, Layne Maheus Song of the Crow is a soaring debut.

Sometimes We’re Always Real Same-Same by Mattox Roesch

Troubled Cesar is in the middle of nowhere, Alaska, because his Eskimo mother has moved home where she hopes they can both carve out a fresh start. It is the surprising story of a young man finding his way and his place in a world that can seem both too large and too small.

Shimmer by Eric Barnes

This is a thriller set in the tech world where a seemingly unstoppable software genius is on a meteoric rise to the top, except that his entire enterprise is a lie, a Ponzi scheme that is about to come crashing down around him.

Here is the rest of the list :

Conscience Point by Erica Abeel
The Islands of Divine Music by John Addiego
...Panopticon by David Bajo
The Unnatural History of Cypress Parish by Elise Blackwell
Green Age of Asher Witherow by M. Allen Cunningham
Breath and Bones by Susann Cokal
The Journal of Antonio Montoya by Rick Collignon
The Good Doctor Guillotine by Marc Estrin
Wolf Point by Edward Falco
Small Acts of Sex and Electricity by Lise Haines
The Distance between Us by Masha Hamilton
Stranger Here Below by Joyce Hinnefeld
Vanishing by Candida Lawrence
The Evolution of Shadows by Jason Quinn Malott
The Singer’s Gun by Emily St. John Mandel
The Pirate’s Daughter by Margaret Cezair-Thompson
Captivity by Deborah Noyes
Hick by Andrea Portes
The Wonder Singer by George Rabasa
Taroko Gorge by Jacob Ritari
Phantom Limbs of the Rollow Sisters by Timothy Schaffert
Rain Village by Carolyn Turgeon

Thursday, May 26, 2011

You Could be a Character in a Gary Shteyngart Novel !

The character is a dog. If you've read Gary Shteyngart (if you haven't, you should) you know that a dog in his book probably will be treated better than the humans.

How it works: send a picture of yourself reading Super Sad True Love Story with a dog to bluestone@randomhouse.com (mention it came from Third Place Books), and it will post on Bluestone. One winner will be selected By Gary, and he will name a dog in his next novel after the winner. Click here for more details. 

If the picture chosen is from one of our customers, we'll frame it and hang it proudly in our store for all to see. We'll also give you a $50 gift certificate.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Talk About a Double-Header

At our Lake Forest Park store on Saturday 5/21 we have two authors, back to back, that have written what will be two of the most talked about books of the year.

At 4:30pm we have Norwegian thriller author Jo Nesbo for his new novel Snowman. Here is what one of our resident Mystery experts Deborah has to say about it :

"Winter may be a distant memory, but Jo Nesbo's The Snowman will chill you to the core. Oslo detective Harry Hole has battled demons both personal and professional throughout his career, but the emergence of Norway's first serial killer may be the greatest challenge he has faced. Dubbed 'The Snowman' after his calling card left at the scene of grisly murders, this evil and cunning killer has very carefully planned his finale and the role Harry Hole will play in it. Suspenseful and thrilling!"

Trying to figure out who to read after your done with Stieg Larsson?  You just found your new favorite mystery author.

At 6:30pm we have acclaimed historian Erik Larson (author of The Devil in the White City) will be here for his new book, In the Garden of Beasts : Love, Terror and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin. In its glowing review of the book The New York Times says the book is "by far his best and most enthralling work of novelistic history." We agree! its a gripping read and Mr. Larson is a fascinating presenter.

These will likely be two of the most talked about books of the year. Don't miss your chance to meet these authors and hear them talk about their work.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

In a Ship of Her Own Making- Catherynne Valente's Magical World



Author Catherynne Valente may claim she's not September, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland, but as the narrator she has taken us all on a whirlwind, magical journey. A story about growing up, a story she would have wanted to read, a story so well rendered and enjoyed that it reminds us what makes "a story" so extraordinary!

Valente will be at our store May 23rd at 7pm, with musical accompaniment to set the mood of wonderment as we circumnavigate her brilliant new novel!

Our staff member Monica had an interview with the creator of Fairyland:

1. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making is, as some readers may know, a book you originally published as an online serial. How do you think the serial nature of the writing influenced the form and content of the book?

It certainly led to that time-tested structure of having chapters end with a revelation or a tantalizing glimpse of something yet to come. Since I couldn’t go back and change anything, it also made me outline ahead of time and plot much more tightly than I usually do. At no point could I go back and tweak a detail to make later acts make more sense or have more symmetry. Like serial (and comic) writers have for ages, I was stuck with what I had.

I stayed 1-3 chapters ahead of the posting schedule the whole time, in case I made egregious mistakes, and I had the overall plot, including the final revelations, planned out far in advance. It was exciting to see people’s reactions to the events in Fairyland week after week, and really, an extraordinarily pleasant writing experience. It felt like play, for the sheer fun and joy of writing--in front of a very, very large audience, of course.

2. Various reviews have made connections between The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland… and classic books like the works of L. Frank Baum, J R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, C. S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia, and J. M. Barrie’s Peter Pan. Were these early twentieth century books influential in your childhood? Or in your adulthood? Which others would you recommend?

Oh, absolutely. It’s hard to miss the very specific engagement with the themes of Narnia at some points, because they are absolutely intentional. I adored Baum and Lewis as a child, words cannot express my love of Peter Pan, (I know Wendy is given a rotten deal, made to be everyone’s mother, but I never saw myself as Wendy, always as Pan, and I think I am not alone among little girls), and I was a Quenya-spouting LOTR geek by high school. Alice Through the Looking Glass, Seaward, The Phantom Tollbooth, The Neverending Story (book, not film, though I do love the film) The Secret Country trilogy, and McKinley’s Beauty are also favorites.

But many of the classics left me troubled at various points, particularly their treatment of women and girls. The girls are mothering types or victims or just absent entirely, or else they are marked exceptions to women’s “true” nature, or else they are punished, essentially, for being female. That was always a lot for me to swallow as a young reader, as well as the beloved trope of entering the magical kingdom only to be forced back into your normal life like nothing extraordinary ever happened. When I set out to write a book your younger readers, I tried to write something that I would have wanted to read, that would have been what I needed at that age, when all the books around me were telling me that there were only so many ways for me to have an adventure.

3. Most of your published works are adult novels. How was it different to write for a younger audience?

Fewer sub-clauses!

Seriously. On a technical level there’s a lot of shortening my sentences, using less complex words (although I refuse to talk down to kids, especially in the age of your phone being able to tell you what any word means, so there are some fabulous vocabulary prizes in Fairyland), and making the plot move at a faster pace.

Reviews have made note of the direct address going on in Fairyland, where the narrator speaks to the audience--sometimes the child audience, sometimes the imagined parent reading to a child. I did this because a. I think it’s awesome and the original idea of Fairyland was to imitate older children’s books where they did it all the time and b. because it was a way to break the fourth wall and level with the readers, to tell them exactly what I wanted them to pay attention to. I think this helps with younger readers, to draw them in--it’s like a magician showing both her hands are empty before producing the rabbit.

Someone once asked me if I was September, if I saw her as a young version of me. If she was my authorial insert. If not her, who was “I” in Fairyland? I just smiled and said: “Of course I’m not September. I’m the narrator.”

4. You have a sequel planned with September as a teenager. Can you give us any hint about what’s in store for her?

Sure! The sequel concentrates on the fate of September’s shadow, and the mischief she got up to in the underground kingdom of Fairyland-Below after September went home. There will be dark magic and night-dodos and Winds who are Not At All Green and Mad Inventors and a peculiar kind of love triangle and at least one large tiger.

5. What do you wish someone would ask you about this book?
I’m not sure. I can tell you that what I want to say about it is that Fairyland was written with so much love, not only for September and her friends, not only for Fairyland itself, but for the children who would one day read it, and the adults who would find strength in it, and for the little girl I used to be, who looked up from all those beautiful books and said: “Someday I want to tell stories, too.”

Meet the Author! Join us for our in-store event!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Take me out to the Ball Game!

Did you know that Booksellers are real people? That once they leave the stacks, they take their information filled brains and unwind? That's right just like you! One such bookseller is Steve. And also just like you, they unwind by doing the things they like the most, for Steve and a few other booksellers the answer is Baseball! To celebrate the beginning of the season they all ventured out to watch our Mariners! And for your reading pleasure, perhaps for those no-hit, long innings, Steve has assembled some baseball book highlights!

Spring is here again: cherry blossoms, rain showers and of course, baseball! Hope springs eternal and one begins the season with a fresh start and high expectations for the hometown team. Besides the debut of young prospects and the return of experienced veterans, it is also that time of year to check out the new baseball books published this spring and maybe re-visit some timeless classics about America’s pastime. Here are some highlights of what can be found on our shelves now:

Leading off is Pitchers of Beer: The Story of the Seattle Rainiers by Dan Raley (Nebraska). A former sportswriter for The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Raley has written an entertaining and well-researched history of the Pacific Coast League team that captured (and occasionally broke a few) hearts of Seattle baseball fans long before the Seattle Mariners came to town in 1977. Emil Sick of Rainier Brewing bought the minor league Indians in 1937 and renamed them the Rainiers in a bit of shrewd, yet obvious product placement. For the next thirty years, the Rainiers broke PCL attendance records, captured several pennants and became a central fixture of mid-century life in Seattle. Before Felix Hernandez, there was young local pitching phenom, Fred Hutchinson. Before Edgar Martinez, there was Edo Vanni, the face of the team for many years. Before Dave Niehaus, there was Leo Lassen, the radio broadcaster who was the voice of summer and nearly as beloved as the sadly departed Niehaus. Throughout the years, the team had its share of sluggers and aces (and maybe even a goat or two), but the roster was always full of characters. Besides Hutchinson, several other legendary figures from Major League Baseball played a role in the story of the Rainiers at one time or another: Ron Santo, Rogers Hornsby and even Babe Ruth, the Bambino himself. If you are a lifelong Mariners fan, this is a story you need to read—a now overlooked and sometimes forgotten chapter in the history of baseball in the Pacific Northwest and a nostalgic look at a time when minor league baseball was the only game in town. Perhaps you can even raise a glass of the team’s namesake beer in their honor.

Here are another nine baseball books, both old and new, that are definitely worth a spot in your reading line-up for 2011:

Ball Four by Jim Bouton
The once controversial, now classic diary of the ill-fated 1969 season Bouton spent with the expansion Seattle Pilots.

The Boys of Summer by Roger Kahn
The classic and nostalgic memoir of Brooklyn, baseball and those lovable bums--the Dodgers.

Moneyball by Michael Lewis
Economic theory as applied by baseball management to roster construction. Billy Beane and his Athletics of the 1990’s are the focus of this modern classics

Cardboard Gods by Josh Wilker
He captures the experience of growing up obsessed with baseball cards and explores what it means to be a fan of the game.

Willie Mays: The Life, The Legend
by James S. Hirsch  
Willie Mays is arguably the greatest player in baseball history, still revered for the passion he brought to the game. He began as a teenager in the Negro Leagues, became a cult hero in New York, and was the headliner in Major League Baseball’s bold expansion to California. He was a blend of power, speed, and stylistic bravado that enraptured fans for more than two decades. Now James Hirsch reveals the man behind the player.

The Baseball Codes by Jason Turbow
In The Baseball Codes, old-timers and all-time greats share their insights into the game’s most hallowed—and least known—traditions. For the learned and the casual baseball fan alike, the result is illuminating and thoroughly entertaining.

The Extra 2% by Jonah Keri
In The Extra 2%, financial journalist and sportswriter Jonah Keri chronicles the remarkable story of one team’s Cinderella journey from divisional doormat to World Series contender.

Take Time for Paradise by A. Bartlett Giamatti
A philosophical musing on sports and play, this wholly inspiring and utterly charming reissue of Bart Giamatti's long-out-of-print final book, Take Time for Paradise, puts baseball in the context of American life and leisure.

Baseball in the Garden of Eden by John Thorn
Think you know how the game of baseball began? Think again. More than a history of the game, Baseball in the Garden of Eden tells the story of nineteenth-century America, a land of opportunity and limitation, of glory and greed—all present in the wondrous alloy that is our nation and its pastime.

These featured titles (and the many more on our shelves now) should be enough reading material to keep any baseball fan entertained throughout the days of summer and through the long dark winter of the offseason as well. Play ball!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Bookseller with a Mission!

What can Booksellers and Booksales do to fight cancer?

Turns out they can do quite a bit, building awareness, raising money, and promoting healthy lifestyles and communities. One of our booksellers is making such efforts! Emily brought to our attention a great book:

"It's a fascinating book, even for a non-scientist like me, and I'm learning a great deal about the history of cancer research. The author weaves scientific history together with stories from his own coming-of-age as an oncologist, adding a personal touch to the story of humanity's relationship with this disease."

She got us on board, for each copy of The Emperor of All Maladies we sold this winter, Third Place Books gave $6 to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. In late March Emily sent in a check for $396. This was part of her fundraising campaign through Team in Training, and after training for 6 months, the team of 65 athletes from Seattle competed in the Lavaman Olympic distance triathlon in Waikoloa, HI.  Together they raised $315,000, and nationally TNT participants raised $2.8 million as they trained for this race! Way to go!!

Check out Emily's Blog! See her Hawaiian-humanitarian-adventure!

"Completing my first Olympic distance triathlon would have been amazing on its own, but doing it for a good cause with an amazing Emily's Race Re-Cap!
group of people was incredibly uplifting.  Our WA/AK Team raised over $315,000, and Team in Training Lavaman participants nationwide raised over $1,000,000 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society leading up to this race."

For more check out the photos of participants, team fun, and see more of the beautiful course! Triathlon Photos!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Heartwarming Thoughts on a Cold Afternoon

Typically I find comfort in the bookstore, the atmosphere, the other book-minded patrons, the shelves upon shelves of conversation and information authors and publishers want to share with you. Each book is a unique little gift from those collective powers, talent, effort and time. But some days there is even more comfort than others. Days where I run into books like these:

Loneliness is compelling, interesting, and not the least bit depressing! In fact, I was becoming emotional toward the end, which isn't an average response to science writing, but it's because the true aspect of our tendencies lean toward cooperation and affection. This is a fascinating read, study after study in various venues, methods, and even looking at animals, all with a focus on loneliness:

John T. Cacioppo's groundbreaking research topples one of the pillars of modern medicine and psychology: the focus on the individual as the unit of inquiry. By employing brain scans, monitoring blood pressure, and analyzing immune function, he demonstrates the overpowering influence of social context-a factor so strong that it can alter DNA replication. He defines an unrecognized syndrome-chronic loneliness-brings it out of the shadow of its cousin depression, and shows how this subjective sense of social isolation uniquely disrupts our perceptions, behavior, and physiology, becoming a trap that not only reinforces isolation but can also lead to early death. He gives the lie to the Hobbesian view of human nature as a "war of all against all," and he shows how social cooperation is, in fact, humanity's defining characteristic. Most important, he shows how we can break the trap of isolation for our benefit both as individuals and as a society.

I was surprised to see this title on our Bargain table, Hardcover for less than $8!  Considering the number of times my paperback copy has been handed out amongst my friends I really thought about buying two of these Bargain Hardcover editions but looked at the ever-growing stack of books in my hand and thought the better of it. Just seeing the cover again, though so clean and simple, brought back the flood of feelings and real affinity I have for humanity as a whole. And then as I continued to peruse I came across two other books that carried this redemptive theme:

Brooks illustrates a fundamental new understanding of human nature. A scientific revolution has occurred—we have learned more about the human brain in the last thirty years than we had in the previous three thousand. The unconscious mind, it turns out, is most of the mind—not a dark, vestigial place but a creative and enchanted one, where most of the brain’s work gets done. This is the realm of emotions, intuitions, biases, longings, genetic predispositions, personality traits, and social norms: the realm where character is formed and where our most important life decisions are made. The natural habitat of The Social Animal. He reveals the deeply social aspect of our very minds and exposes the bias in modern culture that overemphasizes rationalism, individualism, and IQ. Along the way, he demolishes conventional definitions of success while looking toward a culture based on trust and humility. The Social Animal is a moving and nuanced intellectual adventure, a story of achievement and a defense of progress. Impossible to put down, it is an essential book for our time, one that will have broad social impact and will change the way we see ourselves and the world.

And perhaps this last title won't seem as pertinent to some but I am as much disposed to my relationships and considerations of animals and plants as I am of those I have with and for people. And as far as displays of compassion and examples of love go, I'll take 'em anywhere I find 'em:

Wild elephants walking along a trail stop and spontaneously try to protect and assist a weak and dying fellow elephant. Laboratory rats, finding other rats caged nearby in distressing circumstances, proceed to rescue them. A chimpanzee in a zoo loses his own life trying to save an unrelated infant who has fallen into a watery moat.

The examples above and many others, argues Dale Peterson, show that our fellow creatures have powerful impulses toward cooperation, generosity, and fairness.

This rigorous and stimulating book challenges that notion, and it shows the profound connections-the moral continuum-that link humans to many other species. Peterson shows how much animal behavior follows principles embodied in humanity's ancient moral codes, from the Ten Commandments to the New Testament. Understanding the moral lives of animals offers new insight into our own.

The last two titles are on our New in Hardcover Table. It is always nice to find little reminders that tenderness and love are the default action, and that people are illuminating these truths to uplift those who happen upon them. I will end this celebration of human understanding with some quotes I also recently found that speak to all these hopes and insights:

"Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind." -Henry James

"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other." -Mother Teresa

"A purpose of human life, no matter who is controlling it, is to love whoever is around to be loved." -Kurt Vonnegut

"I'm a human being first and foremost, and as such I'm for whoever and whatever benefits humanity as a whole." -Malcolm X

"it's love that enables him to feel another's pain as if it were his own...we are one another's lesson, one another's duty...replace[] metaphysics with human relationships"- Zadie Smith

Be well!