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Friday, August 30, 2013

Bookstore Perils

The other day I was at the cash register, and heard a terrible crash.

Looks like Mark shelved one too many books. Sorry the picture is a bit blurry, I was finding it difficult to laugh and hold the camera steady.

This incident got me thinking about the weight of books. So I googled "weight of a library" and found this great little piece on Snopes. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

New Harry Potter Covers

Harry Potter got a face lift this week. He is 33 years old after all (though the first book about him is only 16 years old). Sure, it's hard to count how many times these books have been issued in different formats. But these have got to be the coolest. The cover art is done by Kazu Kibuishi, author of another popular series, Amulet. The new HP looks a little more dark and dangerous than old HP, and it works. Plus, when you line them all up, the spines make a picture of Hogwarts!

I might just buy this beautiful new set myself. But then I realize that I already have my original hardcovers, and then a few years back I got a British set in paperback. So maybe three sets is crossing a line...but then again, I do own four different versions of Moby Dick. Hmmmmm...

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


I had not realized how long it's been since I posted a new release Tuesday post.  My profuse apologies, and promise to do better in the future. Here are a few of the new and notable out this week!

New Hardcover Fiction:
How the Light Gets In: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel by Louise Penny

Christmas is approaching, and in Québec it’s a time of dazzling snowfalls, bright lights, and gatherings with friends in front of blazing hearths. But shadows are falling on the usually festive season for Chief Inspector Armand Gamache. Most of his best agents have left the Homicide Department, his old friend and lieutenant Jean-Guy Beauvoir hasn’t spoken to him in months, and hostile forces are lining up against him. When Gamache receives a message from Myrna Landers that a longtime friend has failed to arrive for Christmas in the village of Three Pines, he welcomes the chance to get away from the city. Mystified by Myrna's reluctance to reveal her friend's name, Gamache soon discovers the missing woman was once one of the most famous people not just in North America, but in the world, and now goes unrecognized by virtually everyone except the mad, brilliant poet Ruth Zardo.

Claire of the Sea Light by Edwidge Danticat 

From the best-selling author of Brother, I’m Dying and The Dew Breaker: a stunning new work of fiction that brings us deep into the intertwined lives of a small seaside town where a little girl, the daughter of a fisherman, has gone missing.

Claire Limyè Lanmè—Claire of the Sea Light—is an enchanting child born into love and tragedy in Ville Rose, Haiti. Claire’s mother died in childbirth, and on each of her birthdays Claire is taken by her father, Nozias, to visit her mother’s grave. Nozias wonders if he should give away his young daughter to a local shopkeeper, who lost a child of her own, so that Claire can have a better life.

But on the night of Claire’s seventh birthday, when at last he makes the wrenching decision to do so, she disappears. As Nozias and others look for her, painful secrets, haunting memories, and startling truths are unearthed among the community of men and women whose individual stories connect to Claire, to her parents, and to the town itself. Told with piercing lyricism and the economy of a fable, Claire of the Sea Light is a tightly woven, breathtaking tapestry that explores what it means to be a parent, child, neighbor, lover, and friend, while revealing the mysterious bonds we share with the natural world and with one another. Embracing the magic and heartbreak of ordinary life, it is Edwidge Danticat’s most spellbinding, astonishing book yet.

New Young Adult Non-Fiction:
 The Boy on the Wooden Box: How the impossible became possible on Schindler's list by Leon Leyson

Leon Leyson (born Leib Lezjon) was only ten years old when the Nazis invaded Poland and his family was forced to relocate to the Krakow ghetto. With incredible luck, perseverance, and grit, Leyson was able to survive the sadism of the Nazis, including that of the demonic Amon Goeth, commandant of Plaszow, the concentration camp outside Krakow. Ultimately, it was the generosity and cunning of one man, a man named Oskar Schindler, who saved Leon Leyson’s life, and the lives of his mother, his father, and two of his four siblings, by adding their names to his list of workers in his factory—a list that became world renowned: Schindler’s List.

This, the only memoir published by a former Schindler’s List child, perfectly captures the innocence of a small boy who goes through the unthinkable. Most notable is the lack of rancor, the lack of venom, and the abundance of dignity in Mr. Leyson’s telling. The Boy on the Wooden Box is a legacy of hope, a memoir unlike anything you’ve ever read.

And, now in Paperback!

NW by Zadie Smith

 Winter of the World by Ken Follett

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Bringing Law and Order to Political Science...at least order, anyway

Look at how beautiful my Political Science section is! It's SO beautiful. Please note the patriotic red, white, and blue display. Now check out some of the more recent political science, law, and related humor titles. You'll learn a lot, laugh a little, and most likely find yourself bemoaning the current state of our political system. Enjoy!

The Oath: The Obama White House and the Supreme Court
by Jeffrey Toobin

From the moment Chief Justice Roberts botched Barack Obama's oath of office, the relationship between the Court and the White House has been a fraught one. Grappling with issues as diverse as campaign finance, abortion, and the right to bear arms, the Roberts court has put itself squarely at the center of American political life. Jeffrey Toobin brilliantly portrays key personalities and cases and shows how the President was fatally slow to realize the importance of the judicial branch to his agenda. Combining incisive legal analysis with riveting insider details, The Oath is an essential guide to understanding the Supreme Court of our interesting times.

This Town: Two Parties and a Funeral-Plus, Plenty of Valet Parking!-in America's Gilded Capital
by Mark Leibovich

Tim Russert is dead. But the room was alive. Big Ticket Washington Funerals can make such great networking opportunities. Power mourners keep stampeding down the red carpets of the Kennedy Center, handing out business cards, touching base. And there is no time to waste in a gold rush, even (or especially) at a solemn tribal event like this.

Washington—This Town—might be loathed from every corner of the nation, yet these are fun and busy days at this nexus of big politics, big money, big media, and big vanity. There are no Democrats and Republicans anymore in the nation’s capital, just millionaires. That is the grubby secret of the place in the twenty-first century. You will always have lunch in This Town again. No matter how many elections you lose, apologies you make, or scandals you endure.

In This Town, Mark Leibovich, chief national correspondent for The New York Times Magazine, presents a blistering, stunning—and often hysterically funny—examination of our ruling class’s incestuous “media industrial complex.” Through his eyes, we discover how the funeral for a beloved newsman becomes the social event of the year. How political reporters are fetishized for their ability to get their names into the predawn e-mail sent out by the city’s most powerful and puzzled-over journalist. How a disgraced Hill aide can overcome ignominy and maybe emerge with a more potent “brand” than many elected members of Congress. And how an administration bent on “changing Washington” can be sucked into the ways of This Town with the same ease with which Tea Party insurgents can, once elected, settle into it like a warm bath.

Outrageous, fascinating, and destined to win Leibovich a whole host of, er, new friends, This Town is must reading, whether you’re inside the Beltway—or just trying to get there.

Me the People: One Man's Selfless Quest to Rewrite the Constitution of the United States of America
by Kevin Bleyer

You hold in your hands no mere book, but the most important document of our time. Its creator, Daily Show writer Kevin Bleyer, paid every price, bore every burden, and saved every receipt in his quest to assure the salvation of our nation’s founding charter. He flew to Greece, the birthplace of democracy. He bused to Philly, the home of independence. He went toe-to-toe (face-to-face) with Scalia. He added nightly confabs with James Madison to his daily consultations with Jon Stewart. He tracked down not one but two John Hancocks—to make his version twice as official. He even read the Constitution of the United States. So prepare yourselves, fellow patriots, for the most significant literary event of the twenty-first, twentieth, nineteenth, and latter part of the eighteenth centuries. Me the People won’t just form a More Perfect Union. It will save America. Praise for Me the People

“I would rather read a constitution written by Kevin Bleyer than by the sharpest minds in the country.”—Jon Stewart

“I knew James Madison. James Madison was a friend of mine. Mr. Bleyer, you are no James Madison. But you sure are a heck of a lot more fun.”—Pulitzer Prize–winning historian Doris Kearns Goodwin

The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America
by George Packer

A riveting examination of a nation in crisis, from one of the finest political journalists of our generation.

American democracy is beset by a sense of crisis. Seismic shifts during a single generation have created a country of winners and losers, allowing unprecedented freedom while rending the social contract, driving the political system to the verge of breakdown, and setting citizens adrift to find new paths forward. In The Unwinding, George Packer, author of The Assassins’ Gate: America in Iraq, tells the story of the United States over the past three decades in an utterly original way, with his characteristically sharp eye for detail and gift for weaving together complex narratives.

The Unwinding journeys through the lives of several Americans, including Dean Price, the son of tobacco farmers, who becomes an evangelist for a new economy in the rural South; Tammy Thomas, a factory worker in the Rust Belt trying to survive the collapse of her city; Jeff Connaughton, a Washington insider oscillating between political idealism and the lure of organized money; and Peter Thiel, a Silicon Valley billionaire who questions the Internet’s significance and arrives at a radical vision of the future. Packer interweaves these intimate stories with biographical sketches of the era’s leading public figures, from Newt Gingrich to Jay-Z, and collages made from newspaper headlines, advertising slogans, and song lyrics that capture the flow of events and their undercurrents.

The Unwinding portrays a superpower in danger of coming apart at the seams, its elites no longer elite, its institutions no longer working, its ordinary people left to improvise their own schemes for success and salvation. Packer’s novelistic and kaleidoscopic history of the new America is his most ambitious work to date.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Animals Coming At You!!!!!

Ravenna is going crazy over ZOO 3D! Clearly, Ami can't get enough!

And Emily says ZOO 3D is, "way better than those other 3D books. It's got 3D pictures on every page! Not just on some pages!" And this month, ZOO 3D is 20% off (along with the rest of the August staff picks) at our Ravenna location.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Reading and Travel

What's the best thing about going on vacation? Taking off work? Seeing sights? Relaxing? NO!  The best thing about going on vacation is the vacation reading list. Maybe it's the latest beach read or something that's been sitting and waiting on your shelf for ages, but nothing beats getting your vacation books together.

Later this month I'm taking a trip to New York City. And since it's my first time there, I put together a list of New York City reads to get me up to speed. I've never done a themed vacation reading list, but New York City is the perfect subject. The sheer number of literary options is astounding, and narrowing my list proved a bit challenging. But here are the final four:

New York Diaries: 1609 to 2009 edited by Teresa Carpenter
-I am completely in love with this book.

New York is a city like no other. Through the centuries, she’s been embraced and reviled, worshiped and feared, praised and battered—all the while standing at the crossroads of American politics, business, society, and culture. Pulitzer Prize winner Teresa Carpenter, a lifelong diary enthusiast, scoured the archives of libraries, historical societies, and private estates to assemble here an almost holographic view of this iconic metropolis. Starting on January 1 and continuing day by day through the year, these journal entries are selected from four centuries of writing—revealing vivid and compelling snapshots of life in the Capital of the World.

“Today I arrived by train in New York City . . . and instantly fell in love with it. Silently, inside myself, I yelled: I should have been born here!”—Edward Robb Ellis, May 22, 1947


New York Stories, Everyman's Pocket Classics edited by Diana Secker Tesdell
-This series is perfect, and this volume is no different. Perfect story selection, perfect size, and so perfectly lovely all lined up together on a bookshelf.

An irresistible anthology of classic tales of New York in the tradition of Christmas Stories, Love Stories, and Stories of the Sea. 

Writers have always been enthralled and inspired by New York City, and their vibrant and varied stories provide a kaleidoscopic vision of the city’s high life, low life, nightlife, and everything in between. From the wisecracking Broadway guys and dolls of Damon Runyon to the glittering ballrooms of Edith Wharton, from the jazz- soaked nightspots of Jack Kerouac and James Baldwin to the starry- eyed tourists in John Cheever and Shirley Jackson to the ambitious immigrants conjured by Edwidge Danticat and Junot Diaz- this is New York in all its grittiness and glamour. Here is the hectic, dazzling chaos of Times Square and the elegant calm of galleries in the Met; we meet Yiddish matchmakers in the Bronx, Haitian nannies in Central Park, starving artists, and hedonistic yuppies—a host of vivid characters nursing their dreams in the tiny apartments, the lonely cafés, and the bustling streets of the city that never sleeps.


The New York Stories of Elizabeth Hardwick selected by Darryl Pinckney
-I have yet to be disappointed with NYRB. Expecting to be equally pleased with this one.

Elizabeth Hardwick was one of America’s great postwar women of letters, celebrated as a novelist and as an essayist. Until now, however, her slim but remarkable achievement as a writer of short stories has remained largely hidden, with her work tucked away in the pages of the periodicals—such as Partisan Review, The New Yorker, and The New York Review of Books—in which it originally appeared. This first collection of Hardwick’s short fiction reveals her brilliance as a stylist and as an observer of contemporary life. A young woman returns from New York to her childhood Kentucky home and discovers the world of difference within her. A girl’s boyfriend is not quite good enough, his “silvery eyes, light and cool, revealing nothing except pure possibility, like a coin in hand.” A magazine editor’s life falls strangely to pieces after she loses both her husband and her job. Individual lives and the life of New York, the setting or backdrop for most of these stories, are strikingly and memorably depicted in Hardwick’s beautiful and razor-sharp prose.


The New York Trilogy by Paul Auster
-Finally, the perfect time to tackle this classic.

The New York Trilogy is the series that made New York Times-bestselling author Paul Auster a renowned writer of metafiction and genre-rebelling detective fiction. The New York Review of Books has called his work “one of the most distinctive niches in contemporary literature.” Moving at the breathless pace of a thriller, these uniquely stylized detective novels include City of Glass in which Quinn, a mystery writer, receives an ominous phone call in the middle of the night. He’s drawn into the streets of New York, onto an elusive case that’s more puzzling and more deeply-layered than anything he might have written himself. In Ghosts, Blue, a mentee of Brown, is hired by White to spy on Black from a window on Orange Street. Once Blue starts stalking Black, he finds his subject on a similar mission, as well. In The Locked Room, Fanshawe has disappeared, leaving behind his wife and baby and nothing but a cache of novels, plays, and poems.

Where are you going this summer, and what will you be reading?

Friday, August 2, 2013

Can You Help?

Lake Forest Park Bookseller Annie has a brief message for you:

As a cancer survivor, I am always interested in getting involved with programs supporting patients, survivors, and their friends and families. When the American Cancer Society contacted me about a new, far-reaching study they're conducting, I jumped at the chance to help promote it. 

The study is for non-cancer survivors/patients between the ages of 30 and 65. It's really easy - involving a 30-45 minute survey and a blood draw - and it could impart a lot of knowledge and scientific data to doctors and scientists. Every few years participants will be contacted and asked to fill out a new survey. If they've developed cancer since the last time, ACS compares all the surveys said participant has filled out and studies the blood sample that person gave. This research has the potential to mine more information about this terrible disease than any other before it. Which is why I'm doing my best to encourage my friends and family to sign up for one of the study dates. For more information or to make an appointment, please visit here

Annie has also complied a short list of great reading material for patients, survivors, family, and everyone in between:

Crazy Sexy Cancer Tips and Crazy Sexy Cancer Survivor by Kris Carr

As a patient and survivor, I turned to books for comfort while in treatment and recovering from it. I counted especially on Kris Carr's "Crazy Sexy Cancer Tips" and later "Crazy Sexy Cancer Survivor." Both are full of Carr's own experiences and the people she meets along the way who are struggling with cancer. All of her stories illustrate perfectly the terror, shock, and absurdity that is the diagnosing, treatment, and recovering process of a cancer patient/survivor. Mixed in are tips and places to write your own suggestions, what helps you get through a chemo treatment, radiation, or surgery. I found great comfort in both of these books, as stepping up from patient to survivor has its own kettle of emotions to go along with it. Carr's spot on humor helps with it all.

The Emperor of all Maladies by Siddhartha Mukerjee

Winner of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Nonfiction, "The Emperor of all Maladies" is a mash up history and biography of the disease itself. For the last 5,000 years, cancer has plagued humanity and humanity is finally starting to fight back in earnest. Mukherjee notes how the illness and mankind has been entwined for centuries, and much of the book is dedicated to what the future of treating cancer patients might be. "[The book] is a chronicle of an ancient disease - once a clandestine 'whispered-about' illness - that has metamorphosed into a lethal shape-shifting entity imbued with such penetrating metaphorical, medical, scientific, and political potency that cancer is often described as the defining plague of our generation" Mukherjee writes in the prologue. It is a well thought out historical and modern account that I feel most anyone can relate to.

The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe

A wonderful biography of how Will Schwalbe and his mother, Mary Anne, became closer during her two-year fight against pancreatic cancer. As I said before, reading is something I did (and still do) a lot of during my own treatment, so this story of mother and son bonding and connecting over shared books brought tears to my eyes. My own family and I shared movies during my treatment sessions as I was too nervous, tired, and stressed out to focus on a book while receiving my chemo therapy. But the idea is similar, and "The End of Your Life Book Club" will shine a light on how Will and his mother, and how others, turned the horrific experience of cancer and treatment into something wonderful.