Welcome to the official blog of Third Place Books

Friday, January 31, 2014

Bookseller Spotlight!

Robert is Managing Partner of Third Place Company and you'll usually find him out at our Lake Forest Park store.  He's been a bookseller for 22 years and with Third Place  for 14 years.  He's also a current board member of the American Booksellers Association.  So yeah, he's kind of a big deal.  Robert doesn't have a favorite food (which I've suddenly realized is an odd question to ask a person in a getting-to-know-you-type survey, but we're just gonna roll with it).  He says he'll eat everything but will avoid sea urchin if possible...how picky.  When not reading, and he reads a lot, Robert enjoys spending time with his family, cycling, going to the theater, watching basketball (don't get him started on Seattle not having a basketball team).  He also enjoys cooking, though presumably not sea urchin.

What's your favorite section in the store? Essays.

What book do you recommend most? The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival by John Vaillant. This true account of a man-eating tiger attack in remote South Eastern Russia is an amazing adventure story, an environmental story and great “guy” book. I also recommend it as a strong crossover for teen boys just starting to read adult books.

Favorite bookstore besides Third Place? I love The Strand in New York and Powell’s in Portland. Their size and mix of used books make them places I always stop at when I'm in those cities.

What are you reading now? I'm mid-way through a great non-fiction book by Walter Kirn, Blood Will Out: The True Story of a Murder, a Mystery, and a Masquerade. It’s a creepy fascinating account of the author’s ten year friendship with a con-artist and murderer. It’s coming out in March and will definitely be one of the big books of early 2014.

Can you read more than one book at a time? I’ll read fiction and non-fiction together, but I can’t do two novels at once. A great novel deserves all your attention. I feel like I am cheating the book and myself if I don’t fully commit to it.

Do you have to finish a book once you've started, or do you give up on books? There are too many great books out there to stick with a mediocre one. I will toss books aside after 50 pages if I'm not hooked. My big clue is how long I'll allow between reading sessions. If a few days pass and I'm reading magazine and newspaper articles but not carving out time for the book I've been reading, it’s a sign that it's just not doing it for me.

A book you regret not reading sooner? There are a couple New York Review of Books Classics that I’m surprised I wasn't forced to read in school. The Pilgrim Hawk by Glenway Wescott should be on the same reading list as The Great Gatsby and The Sun Also Rises. Stoner by John Williams is simply gorgeous.

Favorite author, or three, or five? Living : Cormac McCarthy (many authors are compared to him but his voice is truly singular). Dead : Samuel Beckett (reading his novels is like reading poetry, I can go back to them and read a few pages and reignite everything I love about literature)

Least favorite author? Not my least, but I’ll confess to having never liked David Foster Wallace, and I tried.

Do you have an all-time favorite book? I don’t. My favorite novels are too closely associated with who I was when I read them.

Guilty reading pleasure? Listening to celebrity memoirs on audio books. I walk to work and listen to non-fiction audio books on the way. I just finished Dr. J: The Autobiography by Julius Erving which was a lot of fun. The best one I've ever listened to is the Keith Richards memoir, Life. It has three different narrators, starting with Johnny Depp. It’s so conversational, you feel like you’re hanging out it your living room with Keith telling stories.

Do you keep books? Borrow them? Lend them? I had to make a rule some years back to keep our house from overflowing with books. I only keep hardcovers of books that I loved or are by authors I love and am planning to read. I’ll read a paperback but won’t keep it. I have to own my books. I don’t lend them. I’ll buy someone a copy of something I think they should read, but I won’t lend them mine.

How are your bookshelves arranged at home? Living authors and dead authors. Then arranged by country of origin, then by similar writing styles. No alphabetization. I also have a separate section for plays and books about playwrights and theater.

Do you judge books by their covers? I do. There is definitely an aesthetic part of the reading experience. I hate it when a book I heard is good or I was looking forward to comes out with an ugly cover. I’ll avoid reading it as long as possible.

A book you loved that you wouldn't have read if someone hadn't recommended it to you? There are a lot. This past year I read Philipp Meyer’s The Son. I had stayed away because it kept being compared to Cormac McCarthy and that comparison is always bound to disappoint me. But a number of booksellers from other stores kept telling me how great it was, and they were right.

Have you read Ulysses? Yes

All the way through? Yes

Are you lying? No

Currently reading and raving about?
The Infatuations by Javier Marias

I love how this novel argues with itself. It's a novel you read not for plot but for the long, no stone left unturned, passages of thought about the potential motivations behind human behavior. Making it all the more rewarding when you discover that, underneath the philosophical debates the narrator has with herself, there are pieces of a plot that feel like an homage to the greatest Hitchcock films.

Monday, January 27, 2014

2013 Bookseller Top Tens Part Three!

Alright, here are the last of the 2013 bookseller top tens.  And before the end of January.  Yay!  Part one is here and part two is here.  Since I began posting these, I have read two books from the various lists (Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh and Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell) and both were excellent.  I hope these lists lead to equally good reading fortune for you!

Terry at Lake Forest Park
What a diverse and equal opportunity list!  Maybe the only list in the whole bunch that has an equal number of fiction and non-fiction titles.  Great job, Terry!

1. On Sal Mal Lane by Ru Freeman
2. City of Bohane by Kevin Barry
3. Tumbledown by by Robert Boswell
4. Aiding and Abetting by Muriel Spark
5. Mr. Lynch's Holiday by Catherine O'Flynn

1. His Excellency George Washington by Joseph J. Ellis
2. Wolves in the Land of Salmon by David Moskowitz
3. Desire of the Everlasting Hills by Thomas Cahill
4. The Gathering of Zion : the Story of the Mormon Trail by Wallace Stegner
5. Elwha : A River Reborn by Lynda Mapes

Emily at Ravenna
One of our genius kids' books booksellers, Emily's list is jam packed with tons of great kids' books.  All across the spectrum too.  Middle readers, picture books, poetry.  More great diversity!  Here it is.

Breathing Room by Marsha Hayles
Rocky Road by Rose Kent
North of Nowhere by Liz Kessler
The Last Present (and rest of Willow Falls series) by Wendy Mass
The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo
Big Snow by Jonathan Bean
Poems to Learn by Heart edited by Caroline Kennedy
A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip Stead
Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller
One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp

Mark at Ravenna
When Mark gave me his list, he numbered his books, as if there was an order to how much he liked which book.  Then he wrote at the end of the list, "In no particular order."  But they are in a distinctly particular order.  They're numbered.  So I was confused but that's not a difficult thing to do.  Here's Mark's list which is in a particular no particular order.

1. Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood and the Prison of Belief by Lawrence Wright.
2. Fiend by Peter Stenson.
3. The Rook by Daniel O'Malley
4. Barabbas by Par Lagerkvist
5. Harvest by Jim Crace
6. At the Bottom of Everything by Ben Dolnick
7. Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible by Bart D. Ehrman
8. Samedi the Deafness by Jesse Ball
9. Man in the Woods by Scott Spencer.
10. The Lock Artist by Steve Hamilton

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Happy Burns Night

It's Burns Night tonight.  If you don't know what that is, you're not alone.  But a quick Wikipedia search has informed me that it's a holiday celebrated in Scotland and Northern Ireland (and more recently in the UK) honoring the Scottish poet Robert Burns.  How awesome is that?  A place that loves writing so much they commemorate authors and poets and books with holidays and feasts.  Just look at Bloomsday.  Burns Night is mostly celebrated with a Burns Supper, which actually seems pretty cool and elaborate.  I've got half a mind to throw my own impromptu Burns Supper tonight, but I'm not sure I know how to track down a haggis on such short notice.

But back to this literary holiday thing.  Sure, we celebrate things like Banned Book Week, and Library Week, and Childrens' Book Week.  But what about other holidays celebrating individual authors and books.  Well, don't you worry.  There's a bunch.  Here's a cool list.

My personal favorite is Tom Sawyer Fence Painting Day.  We should definitely celebrate that this year.  I know a fence that could really use it.

Oh, and for your Burns Supper this evening...here's a poem about a haggis.

Address to a Haggis

Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face, 
Great chieftain o' the puddin-race! 
Aboon them a' ye tak your place, 
Painch, tripe, or thairm: 
Weel are ye wordy of a grace 
As lang's my arm. 

The groaning trencher there ye fill, 
Your hurdies like a distant hill, 
Your pin wad help to mend a mill 
In time o' need, 
While thro' your pores the dews distil 
Like amber bead. 

 His knife see rustic Labour dight, 
An' cut ye up wi' ready slight, 
Trenching your gushing entrails bright 
Like onie ditch; 
And then, O what a glorious sight, 
Warm-reekin, rich! 

Then, horn for horn, they strech an' strive: 
Deil tak the hindmost! on they drive, 
Till a' their weel-swall'd kytes belyve, 
Are bent like drums; 
Then auld Guidman, maist like to rive, 
'Bethankit!' hums. 

Is there that owre his French ragout 
Or olio that wad staw a sow, 
Or fricassee wad mak her spew 
Wi' perfect sconner, 
Looks down wi' sneering, scornfu' view 
On sic a dinner? 

Poor devil! see him owre his trash, 
As feckless as a wither'd rash, 
His spindle shank, a guid whip-lash, 
His nieve a nit; 
Thro' bluidy flood or field to dash, 
O how unfit! 

But mark the Rustic, haggis-fed, 
The trembling earth resounds his tread. 
Clap in his walie nieve a blade, 
He'll make it whissle; 
An' legs, an' arms, an' heads will sned, 
Like taps o' thrissle. 

Ye Pow'rs wha mak mankind your care, 
And dish them out their bill o 'fare, 
Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware 
That jaups in luggies; 
But, if ye wish her gratefu' prayer, 
Gie her a Haggis!

-Robert Burns

Sunday, January 19, 2014


You know, the Seahawks' game isn't the only thing on television today.  It's not even the best thing on television today because you know who's back?  SHERLOCK!


To get you in the Sherlock mood (as if you aren't already), check out this cool new book:

Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes by Maria Konnikova

No fictional character is more renowned for his powers of thought and observation than Sherlock
Holmes. But is his extraordinary intellect merely a gift of fiction, or can we learn to cultivate these abilities ourselves, to improve our lives at work and at home?

We can, says psychologist and journalist Maria Konnikova, and in Mastermind she shows us how. Beginning with the “brain attic”—Holmes’s metaphor for how we store information and organize knowledge—Konnikova unpacks the mental strategies that lead to clearer thinking and deeper insights. Drawing on twenty-first-century neuroscience and psychology, Mastermind explores Holmes’s unique methods of ever-present mindfulness, astute observation, and logical deduction. In doing so, it shows how each of us, with some self-awareness and a little practice, can employ these same methods to sharpen our perceptions, solve difficult problems, and enhance our creative powers. For Holmes aficionados and casual readers alike, Konnikova reveals how the world’s most keen-eyed detective can serve as an unparalleled guide to upgrading the mind.

Or maybe Downton Abbey is more your scene.  We've got you covered there too!

Secret Rooms:  A True Story of a Haunted Castle, a Plotting Duchess, and a Family Secret by Catherine Bailey

For fans of Downton Abbey: the enthralling true story of family secrets and aristocratic intrigue in the days before WWI.

After the Ninth Duke of Rutland, one of the wealthiest men in Britain, died alone in a cramped room in the servants’ quarters of Belvoir Castle on April 21, 1940, his son and heir ordered the room, which contained the Rutland family archives, sealed. Sixty years later, Catherine Bailey became the first historian given access. What she discovered was a mystery: The Duke had painstakingly erased three periods of his life from all family records—but why? As Bailey uncovers the answers, she also provides an intimate portrait of the very top of British society in the turbulent days leading up to World War I.


Judging by how quiet it gets in the stores on recent gamedays, we're guessing that you're all pretty into this team called the Seahawks.  Perhaps you've heard of them?  Well, how about some theme reading?  Now, it's not pro football, but check out this recent and revealing look at college football.

The System: The Glory and Scandal of Big-Time College Football by Jeff Benedict and Armen Keteyian

College football has never been more popular—or more chaotic. Millions fill 100,000-seat stadiums every Saturday; tens of millions more watch on television every weekend. The 2013 Discover BCS National Championship game between Notre Dame and Alabama had a viewership of 26.4 million people, second only to the Super Bowl. Billions of dollars from television deals now flow into the game; the average budget for a top-ten team is $80 million; top coaches make more than $3 million a year; the highest paid, more than $5 million.

But behind this glittering success are darker truths: “athlete-students” working essentially full-time jobs with no share in the oceans of money; players who often don’t graduate and end their careers with broken bodies; “janitors” who clean up player misconduct; football “hostesses” willing to do whatever it takes to land a top recruit; seven-figure black box recruiting slush funds. And this: Despite the millions of dollars pouring into the game, 90 percent of major athletic departments still lose money. Yet schools remain caught up in an ever-escalating “arms race”—at the expense of academic scholarships, facilities and faculty.

Celebrated investigative journalists Jeff Benedict and Armen Keteyian were granted unprecedented access during the 2012 season to programs at the highest levels across the country at a time of convulsive change in college football. Through dogged reporting, they explored every nook and cranny of this high-powered machine, and reveal how it operates from the inside out. The result: the system through the eyes of athletic directors and coaches, high-flying boosters and high-profile TV stars, five-star recruits and tireless NCAA investigators and the kids on whom the whole vast enterprise depends.

Both a celebration of the power and pageantry of NCAA football and a groundbreaking, thought-provoking critique of its excesses, The System is the definitive book on the college game.

But it might just be possible that football isn't your game.  Well, we have a book for that too!

Inverting the Pyramid: The History of Soccer Tactics by Jonathon Wilson

Inverting the Pyramid is a pioneering soccer book that chronicles the evolution of soccer tactics and the lives of the itinerant coaching geniuses who have spread their distinctive styles across the globe. Through Jonathan Wilson's brilliant historical detective work we learn how the South Americans shrugged off the British colonial order to add their own finesse to the game; how the Europeans harnessed individual technique and built it into a team structure; how the game once featured five forwards up front, while now a lone striker is not uncommon. Inverting the Pyramid provides a definitive understanding of the tactical genius of modern-day Barcelona, for the first time showing how their style of play developed from Dutch "Total Football," which itself was an evolution of the Scottish passing game invented by Queens Park in the 1870s and taken on by Tottenham Hotspur in the 1930s. Inverting the Pyramid has been called the "Big Daddy" (Zonal Marking) of soccer tactics books; it is essential for any coach, fan, player, or fantasy manager of the beautiful game.

Class A: Baseball in the Middle of Everywhere by Lucas Mann

An unforgettable chronicle of a year of minor-league baseball in a small Iowa town that follows not only the travails of the players of the Clinton LumberKings but also the lives of their dedicated fans and of the town itself.

Award-winning essayist Lucas Mann delivers a powerful debut in his telling of the story of the 2010 season of the Clinton LumberKings. Along the Mississippi River, in a Depression-era stadium, young prospects from all over the world compete for a chance to move up through the baseball ranks to the major leagues. Their coaches, some of whom have spent nearly half a century in the game, watch from the dugout. In the bleachers, local fans call out from the same seats they’ve occupied year after year. And in the distance, smoke rises from the largest remaining factory in a town that once had more millionaires per capita than any other in America.

Mann turns his eye on the players, the coaches, the fans, the radio announcer, the town, and finally on himself, a young man raised on baseball, driven to know what still draws him to the stadium. His voice is as fresh and funny as it is poignant, illuminating both the small triumphs and the harsh realities of minor-league ball. Part sports story, part cultural exploration, part memoir, Class A is a moving and unique study of why we play, why we watch, and why we remember.

Orr: My Story by Bobby Orr

One of the greatest sports figures of all time breaks his silence in a memoir as unique as the man himself.

 He has never written a memoir, authorized a biography, or talked to journalists about his past, but now he is finally ready to tell his story.

Bobby Orr is often referred to as the greatest ever to play the game of hockey. From 1966 through the mid-seventies, he could change a game just by stepping on the ice. No defenseman had ever played the way he did, or received so many trophies, or set so many records, several of which still stand today.

But all the brilliant achievements leave unsaid as much as they reveal. They don’t tell what inspired Orr, what drove him, what it was like for a shy small-town kid to suddenly land in the full glare of the media. They don’t tell what it was like when the agent he regarded as a brother betrayed him and left him in financial ruin. They don’t tell what he thinks of the game of hockey today.

He is speaking out now because “I am a parent and a grandparent and I believe that I have lessons worth passing on.” Orr: My Story is more than a book about hockey—it is about the making of a man. 

Friday, January 17, 2014

Bookseller Top Tens Part Two!

I didn't forget about this.  It's just that putting together these lists takes an inordinate amount of time.  So, instead of fitting all the rest of the lists into this post, I'm just going to give you what we have so far.  Wouldn't want you to lose interest.  Besides, you may have already read everything on Part One!

Jessica at Lake Forest Park
Jessica has great taste.  I remember saying this last year too.  Her list this year only confirms it.  I LOVE Kavalier and Clay and I can't wait to try a few of these others.

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon
Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill
Heart and Soul by Kadir Nelson
Truth and Beauty by Ann Patchett
Black Swan Green by David Mitchell
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
The Good Luck of Right Now by Matthew Quick
Relish by Lucy Knisley
The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving by Jonathan Evison

Lish at Lake Forest Park
Lish has got some great little blurbs for why the books on her list rock.  And she is so right about Hyperbole and a Half.

1. Saga (1 and 2) by Brian K. Vaughn - This graphic novel has been one of my vary favorite things this year. The problem with graphic novels is that sometimes I like the story and not the art or vice versa, but in this case, I'm all over both. And just a head's up--it definitely puts the *graphic* in graphic.
2. Spirit and Dust by Rosemary Clement-Moore - How did I miss this author? Humor, adventure, fantasy, horror, all rolled into one. Definitely right up my alley. I loved it so much I went back and read everything she's ever written. So much fun.
3. Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson - There's a reason this book has sold so well. She makes me laugh so hard I choke on my own spit. Which leads me to...
4. Hyperbole and a Half:  Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened  by Allie Brosh - This is a book I recommend to fans of Jenny Lawson (AKA the Bloggess) and vice versa. I've long been a fan of the website and I was thrilled to see this book come out. Again, she made me laugh so hard I choke on my own spit, which, I might add, is really, really attractive.
5. Locke and Key by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez - Another graphic novel series I got into. Again, this one is pretty graphic. And creepy. And awesome.
6. Shades of Milk and Honey Mary Robinette Kowal- it's like Jane Austen, but with magic. I finally read Pride and Prejudice this year (and I loved that, too) and this was a wonderful one to follow up with.
7. Gameboard of the Gods by Richelle Mead- The title sounds more like a series title, and the cover looks pretty bland, but I really got into this one. I'm excited for the follow up. I lost a lot of sleep reading this book.
8. Hounded by Kevin Hearne - Usually I don't go for the "if your a fan of ___" blurbs, but this book said "If you're a fan of Jim Butcher" and they were actually peg on. Lots of humor, mythology and action...and an excellent dog named Oberon.
9. Written in Blood by Anne Bishop - This is the first book I've read by Bishop, and I loved it. It didn't seem to get much attention, but I'm anxiously awaiting the sequel.
10. Grave Mercy and Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers - Assasin nuns sired by death himself. You're welcome.
11. Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo- high vocab, great story, superhero poet squirrel. That is not a typo. Superhero. Poet. Squirrel.
12. The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes - Young Adult about kids that are naturals at profiling and similar skills being trained by the FBI to hunt serial killers. I read this in one night.

I'm stopping there. So many good books this year, I could just keep going...

Michael at Ravenna
Michael is Team Captain at Ravenna.  We love him.  And we love his reading taste.  You will too.

All of It by James Salter
The Maid’s Version by Daniel Woodrell
Benediction by Kent Haruf
The Andalucian Friend by Alexander Soderberg
The Two Hotel Francforts by David Leavitt
The Gods of Guiltz by Michael Connelly
The Tilted World by Tom Franklin and Beth Ann Fennelly
Monument Road by Charlie Quimby
Ghostman by Roger Hobbs
Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin, illustrated by Daniel Salmieri

Jane at Lake Forest Park
Goldfinch. Again!??!  I swear I did not put Jane up to adding it to her list.  I don't have that kind of power.

1. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
2. Frances and Bernard by Caroline Bauer
3. Havisham by Ronald Frame
4. Hold Fast by Blue Balliett
5. Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan
6. The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell
7. Let Him Go by Larry Watson
8. Bellman and Black by Diane Setterfield
9. The Vanishing Act by Mette Jakobsen
10. Revenge by Yoko Ogawa

Tess at Lake Forest Park
Tess could not be more right about Fangirl.  It's really, really good.  In fact, I can't wait to finish writing this so I can get back to reading it.

1. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
2. The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt (ill. by Oliver Jeffers)
3. Journey by Aaron Becker
4. Where'd You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple
5. Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas
6. Mr. Wuffles by David Wiesner
7. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
8. The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith
9. The Egypt Game by Zylpha Keatley Snyder
10. Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs by Mo Willems

Katherine at Ravenna
Katherine refused to put The Goldfinch on her list because she knew that I was putting in on mine twice.  So, her list really has eleven books on it, and one of those books is The Goldfinch.

How Should A Person Be by Sheila Heti
Letters to Monica by Philip Larkin
The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
The Writing Life by Annie Dillard
Civilwarland in Bad Decline by George Saunders
Stoner by John Williams
Leaving the Atocha Station by Ben Lerner
Bluets by Maggie Nelson
Speedboat by Renata Adler
Gilgi by Irmgard Keun

Stan at Lake Forest Park
The titles of the first three books on Stan's list read together sound like a really awesome movie, or a super cool new band.  Stan should write the movie, or form the band.  That would be rad.

Bad Monkey by Carl Hiassen
Big Money by P.G. Wodehouse
Dead Lions by Mick Herron
Jeeves and the Wedding Bells by Sebastian Faulks
Lawrence in Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly and the Making of the Modern Middle East by Scott Anderson
The Lover's Dictionary by David Levithan
One Summer:  America, 1927 by Bill Bryson
The Sleepwalkers:  How Europe Went to War in 1914 by Christopher Clark
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
You and Me by Padgett Powell

Friday, January 10, 2014

Bookseller Spotlight!

New year, new blog features!  A big part of the reason you shop with us is because of our awesome and knowledgeable staff.  At least we hope so.  We thought you might enjoy meeting some of those awesome and knowledgeable people through this new Bookseller Spotlight.  We'll feature a different bookseller every few weeks or so.  You'll get to enjoy their interesting, (hopefully hilarious and weird) answers to questions about the store and books and reading and such.  Plus a look at what they're currently reading and loving right now.  Up first...

Emily A.
Emily has worked at our Lake Forest Park store for seven years.  Phew! That's a lot of bookselling.  Her favorite food is Perohi  or pierogies to the rest of us.  "I love to make food to share, but when I make a batch of perohi, I want to eat every single one. They bring out my inner hoarder."  She also claims she could eat pizza every single day.  Emily has lived at at least 25 different addresses in seven different states.  When not reading (or moving) she likes to ride her bike, bake delicious treats, and bask in the sun.

How long have you been a bookseller? 14 years

What do you do at the bookstore? I shelve cooking and maps. Plus I'm the book club coordinator, and a buyer

Favorite book in your section? I'm smitten with A Commonplace Book of Pie by Kate Lebo, a collection of recipes and delightful prose-poems, like pie-horoscopes, by a local poet and pie-slinger. Jessica Lynn Bonin's gorgeous illustrations make this a beautiful, homey little book.

What book do you recommend most? Depends on who's asking. For bakers, it's The Dahlia Bakery Cookbook or Rustic Fruit Desserts. Sherman Alexie's Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, Haruki Murakami's The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Kurt Vonnegut's Mother Night, anything by Mo Willems but especially the Knufflebunny books and Elephant and Piggie: We Are in a Book!

What's your favorite bookstore besides Third Place? My mother and I met in San Francisco for a weekend of bookstore hopping, and we enjoyed all of the stores we visited. I loved Book Passage's store in the Ferry building. For a tiny space, they have an incredibly well-stocked store. One of the booksellers actually sang Maurice Sendak's Chicken Soup with Rice (ala Carole King) for me.

Can you read more than one book at a time? Rarely. If I put a book down, I rarely go back to it.

Do you have to finish a book once you've started, or do you give up on books? I used to finish compulsively, but that was before I became a bookseller. There are just too many great ones to slog through one I'm not enjoying.

Favorite author, or three, or five? Haruki Murakami, Kurt Vonnegut, Shel Silverstein, Mo Willems, Richard Brautigan, Sherman Alexie, Bonnie Becker, Barbara Kingsolver, just scratchingt the surface.  

Do you have an all-time favorite book? What is it? Where the Sidewalk Ends. I will never forget listening to I'm Being Eaten by a Boa Constrictor and Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout Who Would not Take the Garbage Out in my 6th grade reading class. Is there anyone alive who doesn't love this book? If so, they probably just haven't met it yet.

Guilty reading pleasure? Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series. They are a fast paced, detailed, addictive, genre-bending mashup of romance, swashbuckling adventure, time travel, and all the best elements of historical fiction. I'm excited that the new installment comes out June 10th, and we will be hosting her at the LFP store on July 1st.

How are your bookshelves arranged at home? I have a few shelves of things a won't part with, an overflowing and constantly rotating shelf of cookbooks, stacks of recently acquired books and cookbooks on the kitchen table (I really need to deal with that pile. There's not much room left for eating), and a big bookcase of random stuff that is shelved variously by size, author, kid-appropriateness, and subject. I desperately need to build another bookcase. To anyone else it probably looks like complete chaos, but I know where everything is. I also have a box of old falling-apart mass market paperbacks that I unearth every now and then. Oh, I just remembered there are big teetering piles in the bedroom that I should probably go through....  

Do you keep the books you buy?  I pass most of my books on to my mom and my friends. My partner jokes that no one else is allowed to bring books into our apartment, they are only allowed to take them away. I often buy used Vonnegut paperbacks just to have around in case someone comes by who hasn't read him. I'm a Vonnegut pusher. 

Favorite movie version of a book? Smoke Signals (Alexie) and Mother Night (Vonnegut), the first Harry Potter (owl post!) and the Fellowship of the Ring (the Shire!) for their movie magic 

Favorite book as a kid? In the small town in Maine where I lived until age 7, the Carnegie library was the only authorized stop on the walk home from school. I checked out all of the forest tales of Thornton W. Burgess and read them sitting on the floor in the hallway between my bedroom and the kitchen. The only book that I kept through all of my moves is a copy of One Morning in Maine.

Have you read Ulysses? Nope. Not a word. 

Currently reading and raving over?  
Under the Wide and Starry Sky by Nancy Horan

Before I read this book, I didn't give a fig about Robert Louis Stevenson and had only read his poetry as a child. Now I want to read all of his books and journals! Nancy Horan (author of Loving Frank) brings the colorful Stevensons to life in this vibrant work of historical fiction, full of bold characters who buck the conventions of their time, following their hearts wherever they might lead. From France to California and from Scotland to the South Pacific, they are plagued by illness and must balance the demands and expectations of family with the need to make a living and an appetite for adventure.

Also, read The Goldfinch. It's awesome. Erin was right.

So, that's it from Emily. Now that you know a bit about her, come out to LFP and ask her tons of questions about biking, baking, and books!

(I would just like to take a moment to clarify that I did not solicit the "Erin was right." comment...though I often am, and definitely in this case...Goldfinch plug!!!!...I should be getting commission for this)

Friday, January 3, 2014

2013 Bookseller Top Tens!

Adding to the avalanche of end of the year lists, it's time for our annual bookseller top tens.

THE RULES:  None really.  The only rule that must be followed is that any book on the list must have been read in 2013.  Otherwise anything is fair game.  Fiction, non-fiction; kids books, adult books; published last year, or any other year.  Even audio books are allowed!

This annual list is one of our favorite things to do, so we hope you enjoy them as much as we do!  I've gotten quite a few responses so this will be a multiple-post feature so as not to inundate you.  Here we go!

Erin B. at Ravenna
I'm starting with me because I went last last year.  Also because I can.  I'm a power-hungry blogger. 

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
Stoner by John Williams
Battleborn by Claire Vaye Watkins
Amor and Psycho by Carolyn Cooke
A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
Unmastered: A Book on Desire Most Difficult to Tell by Katherine Angel
New York Stories Everyman's Pocket Classics edited by Diana Secker Tesdell
The Maid's Version by Daniel Woodrell
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt- Yes, I know it's on here twice, but I read it twice and I really did love it that much

My list only has eight books because there just weren't ten that I LOVED.  But don't feel bad for me; Stoner and The Goldfinch landed on my very elite, all-time favorites list.

Erin J. at Lake Forest Park
Keeping the Erins together for no other reason than that our names are the same.  Also I think her lists are super interesting.

1. A Time for Everything by Karl Ove Knausgaard
2. Buzz Aldrin, What Happened to You in All the Confusion by Johan Harstad
3. Life is Elsewhere by Milan Kundera
4. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
5. The Greenlanders by Jane Smiley
6. The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton
7. Italian Folktales by Italo Calvino
8. A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra
9. Vampires in the Lemon Grove by Karen Russell
10. The Night Guest by Fiona McFarlane

Alex at Ravenna
Alex had to redo his list because he's not so good with directions.  For as much as he talked about Independent People this year, I was surprised when I didn't see it on his list.  I asked him about it, and he said, "Oh, I thought they had to be published this year." His revised list is below, starring Independent People.

1. Independent People by Halldor Laxness
2. Hild by Nicola Griffith
3. Monument Road by Charlie Quimby
4. Wandering Goose: A Modern Tale of How Love Goes by Heather Earnhardt
5. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
6. Everything Happens As It Does by Albena Stambolova
7. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
8. Americanah by Chimamanda Adiche
9. Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh
10. The Riyria Revelations (Books 1-3) by Michael J Sullivan

Emily A. at Lake Forest Park
Emily's list is like gazing at the future in a crystal ball.  She really took the "not many rules" rule to heart...five of her books haven't even been released yet.  That's just being a bit of a tease really.  AND her top ten has eleven books.  Again!  She did this last year too!

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd
Under the Wide and Starry Sky by Nancy Horan
Love Water Memory by Jennie Shortridge
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
The Crane Wife by Patrick Ness
The Illusion of Separateness by Simon Van Booy
The Universe Versus Alex Woods by Gavin Extence
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett
Saint Monkey by Jacinda Townsend

Jim at Lake Forest Park
Jim is a new addition to the Bookseller Top Ten.  He's not a new employee, he just didn't give us a list last year.   Maybe he didn't read ten good books in 2012.  Maybe he read too many good books in 2012 and just couldn't decide.  Maybe he forgot.  Well, whatever the reason, we're glad to have his list this year...even if his top ten also has eleven.

The Drunken Botanist: The Plants That Create the World's Great Drinks by Amy Stewart
The Illusion of Separateness by Simon Van Booy
How To Think More About Sex by Alain De Botton
The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer
Memories of a Marriage by Louis Begley
This Is Between Us by Kevin Sampsell
Middle Men by Jim Gavin
At The Bottom of Everything by Ben Dolnick
A Marker To Measure Drift by Alexander Maksik
Nine Lives: A Chef's Journey from Chaos to Control by Brandon Baltzley
In the Body of the World by Eve Ensler

Patti H. at Ravenna
Patti's the coolest.  She got to meet one of the authors on her list this year.  Matthew Kirby!  He was also on her top ten list last year with Icefall.  Patti really likes Matthew Kirby.  Patti would like to apologize to Matthew Kirby for acting like a somewhat starstruck, and blithering idiot (her words).

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Lani Taylor
Days of Blood and Starlight by Lani Taylor
The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker
The Lost Kingdom by Matthew Kirby
Welcome to Mamoko by Aleskandra and Daniel Mizielinska
Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde
How to Train a Train by Jason Carter Eaton

Annie at Lake Forest Park
Annie has a most awesome list this year.  She's got one of my ALL-TIME favorites, The Shipping News, and she's also got the mid 1990's kid's series Animorphs.  Oddly enough, Annie is not the only Third Place employee to re-read Animorphs this year.  Ami at Ravenna also read them.  Weird.

1. The Shipping News by E. Annie Proulx
I read it in college, and decided I needed to reread it this year. It was just as beautiful and gut-ripping as I remembered.
2. Allegiant by Veronica Roth
I know readers had conflicting feelings about the ending to the Divergent trilogy, but I absolutely loved every page of this final book!
3. The Animorphs Series by K.A. Applegate
Technically a full series, but I've only read the first few of 54 (plus supplemental books...). This is a series I read as a kid and absolutely adored. I've been plotting my reread for a while, and so far, the books are holding up to my adult expectations of science fiction.
4. Texas Gothic by Rosemary Clement-Moore
One of the funniest teen supernatural writers ever! This is my favorite of hers outside the Molly Quinn vs. Evil series.
5. Origin by Jessica Khoury
A superb YA that takes place in the near future involving an immortal clone and set in the rainforest of South America
6. The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas
High fantasy YA style with a splash of 1920s Britain added in for fun.
7. Wild by Cheryl Strayed
I hardly ever read nonfiction, and I read this at my mom's urging. It was stupendous, and it made me want to get outside.
8. Where'd You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple
Also totally different than the fiction I usually read, but I still loved every minute of it.
9. Don't Want to Miss a Thing by Jill Mansell
The newest book by my favorite chick lit author. Hysterical and romantic, I feel like she gets better with each new book.
10. Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan
Another reread from my college years. David Levithan is my all time favorite contemporary YA author. Reading this book again was like remembering what being in love as a teenager was all about.

Ami at Ravenna
Speaking of Animorphs and Ami.  Here is Ami's super cool list.  Sadly she read ten other books that were just slightly better than Animorphs, so the series didn't quite make her list.  But I'm willing to give them an honorary eleventh spot.

1. Speedboat by Renata Adler
2. I Love Dick by Chris Kraus
3. Stoner by John Williams
4. Are You My Mother? by Alison Bechdel
5. Tenth of December by George Saunders
6. I Await the Devil's Coming by Mary Maclane
7. Taipei by Tao Lin
8. Spectacle by Susan Steinberg
9. Mr Fortune by Sylvia Townsend Warner
10. What Purpose Did I Serve in Your Life? by Marie Calloway

Robert at Lake Forest Park
As Managing Partner of Third Place Books and our fearless leader, perhaps I should have posted Robert's list first.  But his list is so detailed and well organized that it just didn't seem fair to make someone go right after him.  Last year Robert had Stoner on his top ten.  I read it and it ended up on my 2013 top ten.  I'm hoping the same thing happens with Infatuations for my 2014 list.  Here it is...

In putting together this list I found some interesting similarities in the books I loved from the past year.

Novels That Should Have Been on The National Book Award Short List (or at least the long list for crying out loud)
    All That Is by James Salter - This book is so rich in its humanity. It basks in the simple yet extraordinary pleasures and pains of what it is to live a life. Easily my favorite book of the year.
     The Son by Philipp Meyer – This is an amazing epic story. Brutal.

Novels About Time and Place and the Unexpected Scars that History Leaves Behind
     The Sound of Things Falling by Juan Gabriel Vasquez – This outstanding Colombian novel is a moving tale about the balance between choice and fate and how memory and the way we tell the tales of the past can influence how we live.
     Double Negative by Ivan Vladislavic – This novel of South Africa gives a window into that country’s recent history that is fresh and unexpected.

Mystery Novels for a Non-Mystery Novel Reader
     The Infatuations by Javier Marias – This is a novel you read not for plot but for the long, no stone left unturned, passages of thought about the potential motivations behind human behavior. Then it turns into a bit of a Hitchcock film (in a good way).
     The Night Guest by Fiona McFarlane – This is a wonderfully unsettling tale of solitude, dependency and the tricks the mind can play on itself.

Odd Fiction
     Hawthorn and Child by Keith Ridgway – This is one of those books I selectively recommend, but for the right reader it is incredibly powerful. It’s like Harold Pinter and David Lynch collaborating on a novel.
     The Tenth of December by George Saunders – In the past I always thought of Saunders’ stories as too self-conscious. But this collection really surprised me in how deep these stories were in their feeling and emotion.

Books That Don’t Seem Like They Belong on the Same List
     Dr. J by Julius Erving – Yes, basketball fans will love this book. But its surprising insights and candor about fame, wealth, and growing up as a black kid in the 50’s and 60’s, makes is a much bigger book than a typical star memoir.
     The Great War by Joe Sacco – I’ve been a fan of Sacco’s graphic journalism for a while. But this work of art on the Battle of Somme is truly a masterwork. Sit with the book for 10 minutes and you’ll find yourself still sitting an hour later going back and forth over these incredible images.

So that's it for the first installment of 2013 Bookseller Top Tens.  Stay tuned for more soon!