Welcome to the official blog of Third Place Books

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Bookseller Spotlight!

Ami has been with Third Place at the Ravenna location for a year and a half.  If you've been in the store in the past year, you've no doubt heard her spontaneous and resounding laughter at some point. 

Ami is pretty hip and awesome.  I am forever intimidated by her interesting and unique reading taste.  She's also pretty well versed in loads of social justice matters.  Her favorite food is, in her words, "probably all sandwiches." 

When she's not reading or being generally hip and awesome, Ami enjoys playing Pokemon.  (that's not a joke)

What do you do at the bookstore? I shelve biography, drama, film, music, home, garden, homesteading. (editor's note: Ami also works on returns to publishers, she puts the Ravenna calendar together, and she makes sure that all of us choose a book for our monthly staff picks.  She should probably be given a medal for that last one; we aren't the most cooperative bunch)

The most underrated book in your sections? I Await the Devil's Coming by Mary MacLane.

What book do you recommend most?  I Love Dick by Chris Kraus (editor's note: she really does love this book... see)

What's your favorite bookstore besides Third Place? Book Thug Nation in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

What are you reading right now?  Cubed: A Secret History of the Workplace by Nikil Saval.

Can you read more than one book at a time?  I'm usually only reading one novel.  But I can read more than one nonfiction book at the same time. I'm currently (still) reading The Noonday Demon and Open Veins of Latin America. And I'm occasionally reading from Kay Ryan's The Best of It: New and Selected Poems.

A book you've given up on recently? The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. (editor's note: GASP!)

Favorite author, or two, or five? Top five favorite authors: Lorrie Moore, Ann Beattie, Lydia Davis, David Foster Wallace, Alice Munro.

Least favorite author?  Jonathan Safran Foer.

Guilty reading pleasure? The Animorphs Series.

How are your bookshelves arranged at home?  I have NYRB books together and the Vintage Contemporaries together, the rest of them are just wherever, on the floor, holding up other things, etc..

A book you loved that you wouldn't have read unless someone recommended it to you?  Pan by Knut Hamsun, which Mark B. recommended. I rarely read books in translation.

Favorite book as a kid?  Harry Potter (duh).  Also So You Want to be a Wizard? by Diane Duane (just the first one though).

Have you read Ulysses?  Nope.  Probably never will.  Oh well.

What's your favorite movie version of a book? (editor's note: Ami responded to this question in two additional emails after her initial responses to the above questions.  This is how those emails read...)

Email #1:  OH favorite movie version of a book:  American Psycho.

*two minutes later*

Email #2:  NO WAIT it's TWILIGHT (just the first one)!!!!  DEFINITELY TWILIGHT!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

New Release Tuesday

Yay!  My favorite day, and we haven't posted one of these in awhile!  Here are a few of the great books out this week:

Bark: Stories by Lorrie Moore

A new collection of stories by one of America’s most beloved and admired short-story writers, her first in fifteen years, since Birds of America. These eight masterly stories reveal Lorrie Moore at her most mature and in a perfect configuration of craft, mind, and bewitched spirit, as she explores the passage of time and summons up its inevitable sorrows and hilarious pitfalls to reveal her own exquisite, singular wisdom.

Here are people beset, burdened, buoyed; protected by raising teenage children; dating after divorce; facing the serious illness of a longtime friend; setting forth on a romantic assignation abroad, having it interrupted mid-trip, and coming to understand the larger ramifications and the impossibility of the connection . . . stories that show people coping with large dislocation in their lives, with risking a new path to answer the desire to be in relation—to someone . . .

Gimlet-eyed social observation, the public and private absurdities of American life, dramatic irony, and enduring half-cracked love wend their way through each of these narratives in a heartrending mash-up of the tragic and the laugh-out-loud—the hallmark of life in Lorrie-Moore-land.

The Future of the Mind: The Scientific Quest to Understand, Enhance, and Empower the Mind by Michio Kaku

The New York Times best-selling author of Physics of the Impossible, Physics of the Future and Hyperspace tackles the most fascinating and complex object in the known universe: the human brain.

For the first time in history, the secrets of the living brain are being revealed by a battery of high tech brain scans devised by physicists. Now what was once solely the province of science fiction has become a startling reality. Recording memories, telepathy, videotaping our dreams, mind control, avatars, and telekinesis are not only possible; they already exist.

The Future of the Mind gives us an authoritative and compelling look at the astonishing research being done in top laboratories around the world—all based on the latest advancements in neuroscience and physics. One day we might have a "smart pill" that can enhance our cognition; be able to upload our brain to a computer, neuron for neuron; send thoughts and emotions around the world on a "brain-net"; control computers and robots with our mind; push the very limits of immortality; and perhaps even send our consciousness across the universe. Dr. Kaku takes us on a grand tour of what the future might hold, giving us not only a solid sense of how the brain functions but also how these technologies will change our daily lives. He even presents a radically new way to think about "consciousness" and applies it to provide fresh insight into mental illness, artificial intelligence and alien consciousness.

With Dr. Kaku's deep understanding of modern science and keen eye for future developments, The Future of the Mind is a scientific tour de force--an extraordinary, mind-boggling exploration of the frontiers of neuroscience.

The Spinning Heart by Donal Ryan

In the aftermath of Ireland's financial collapse, dangerous tensions surface in an Irish town. As violence flares, the characters face a battle between public persona and inner desires. Through a chorus of unique voices, each struggling to tell their own kind of truth, a single authentic tale unfolds.

The Spinning Heart speaks for contemporary Ireland like no other novel. Wry, vulnerable, all-too human, it captures the language and spirit of rural Ireland and with uncanny perception articulates the words and thoughts of a generation.

Technically daring and evocative of Patrick McCabe and J.M. Synge, this novel of small-town life is witty, dark and sweetly poignant. Donal Ryan's brilliantly realized debut announces a stunning new voice in fiction.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

New Luncheon Series at Ravenna Third Place Books

We love our author events.  We love meeting new authors, introducing them to you, and giving everyone a chance for a great experience.  Recently we've introduced an exciting new luncheon series at our Ravenna location and have already welcomed such great authors as Jonathan Lethem, Ann Patchett, and Ishmael Beah.

For the price of the ticket, each attendee receives a copy of the author's book and a delicious lunch provided Vios, Cafe at Third Place.  The luncheon series takes place in the warm and inviting Third Place Pub.  The Pub provides a private, intimate setting for the authors to read, speak, and answer questions from a small audience limited to about 40 people.  It's a wonderful alternative to the larger format readings that many authors and readers are traditionally used to.  We've had a great response from those who have already participated.  It's been an exciting series for us, and we hope that you'll be equally pleased.

Up next, we welcome Nancy Horan, author of Loving Frank.  Nancy's new novel, Under the Wide and Starry Sky is already a hit with many of our booksellers.  Emily A. at Lake Forest Park has this to say about it:
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.
Under the Wide and Starry Sky tells the improbable love story of Scottish writer Robert Louis Stevenson and his tempestuous American wife, Fanny.

At the age of thirty-five, Fanny Van de Grift Osbourne has left her philandering husband in San Francisco to set sail for Belgium—with her three children and nanny in tow—to study art. It is a chance for this adventurous woman to start over, to make a better life for all of them, and to pursue her own desires. Not long after her arrival, however, tragedy strikes, and Fanny and her children repair to a quiet artists’ colony in France where she can recuperate. Emerging from a deep sorrow, she meets a lively Scot, Robert Louis Stevenson, ten years her junior, who falls instantly in love with the earthy, independent, and opinionated “belle Americaine.”

Fanny does not immediately take to the slender young lawyer who longs to devote his life to writing—and who would eventually pen such classics as Treasure Island and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. In time, though, she succumbs to Stevenson’s charms, and the two begin a fierce love affair—marked by intense joy and harrowing darkness—that spans the decades and the globe. The shared life of these two strong-willed individuals unfolds into an adventure as impassioned and unpredictable as any of Stevenson’s own unforgettable tales.

Nancy Horan will join us on Wednesday, March 26th at 1:00 PM.  Call us at Ravenna Third Place, 206-525-2347 to reserve your spot.  Seating is limited, so don't miss out!

And don't miss the rest of the series...

Wednesday, April 9th at 1:00 PM
Blood Will Out:  The True Story of a Murder, a Mystery, and a Masquerade by Walter Kirn

In the summer of 1998, Walter Kirn then an aspiring novelist struggling with impending fatherhood and a dissolving marriage set out on a peculiar, fateful errand: to personally deliver a crippled hunting dog from his home in Montana to the New York apartment of one Clark Rockefeller, a secretive young banker and art collector who had adopted the dog over the Internet. Thus began a fifteen-year relationship that drew Kirn deep into the fun-house world of an outlandish, eccentric son of privilege who ultimately would be unmasked as a brazen serial impostor, child kidnapper, and brutal murderer.

Kirn's one-of-a-kind story of being duped by a real-life Mr. Ripley takes us on a bizarre and haunting journey from the posh private clubrooms of Manhattan to the hard-boiled courtrooms and prisons of Los Angeles. As Kirn uncovers the truth about his friend, a psychopath masquerading as a gentleman, he also confronts hard truths about himself. Why, as a writer of fiction, was he susceptible to the deception of a sinister fantasist whose crimes, Kirn learns, were based on books and movies? What are the hidden psychological links between the artist and the con man? To answer these and other questions, Kirn attends his old friend s murder trial and uses it as an occasion to reflect on both their tangled personal relationship and the surprising literary sources of Rockefeller's evil. This investigation of the past climaxes in a tense jailhouse reunion with a man whom Kirn realizes he barely knew a predatory, sophisticated genius whose life, in some respects, parallels his own and who may have intended to take another victim during his years as a fugitive from justice: Kirn himself.

Combining confessional memoir, true crime reporting, and cultural speculation, Blood Will Out is a Dreiser-esque tale of self-invention, upward mobility, and intellectual arrogance. It exposes the layers of longing and corruption, ambition and self-delusion beneath the Great American con.

Friday, May 9th at 1:00 PM
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr From the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning

Anthony Doerr, a stunningly ambitious and beautiful novel about a blind French girl and a German boy
whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.

Marie Laure lives with her father in Paris within walking distance of the Museum of Natural History where he works as the master of the locks (there are thousands of locks in the museum). When she is six, she goes blind, and her father builds her a model of their neighborhood, every house, every manhole, so she can memorize it with her fingers and navigate the real streets with her feet and cane. When the Germans occupy Paris, father and daughter flee to Saint-Malo on the Brittany coast, where Marie-Laure's agoraphobic great uncle lives in a tall, narrow house by the sea wall.

In another world in Germany, an orphan boy, Werner, grows up with his younger sister, Jutta, both enchanted by a crude radio Werner finds. He becomes a master at building and fixing radios, a talent that wins him a place at an elite and brutal military academy and, ultimately, makes him a highly specialized tracker of the Resistance. Werner travels through the heart of Hitler Youth to the far-flung outskirts of Russia, and finally into Saint-Malo, where his path converges with Marie-Laure.

Doerr's gorgeous combination of soaring imagination with observation is electric. Deftly interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, Doerr illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another. Ten years in the writing, "All the Light We Cannot See" is his most ambitious and dazzling work.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

We're All in Love With Rainbow Rowell

Okay, maybe not all of us...but a good number.

Perhaps you've heard of Rainbow Rowell.  She's the amazingly talented author of the amazingly good Eleanor and Park.  And here's a secret, all of her other stuff is just as amazingly good.

While she might be best known for her young adult novels, Rowell dabbles in adult fiction as well.  In fact, I was lucky enough to get my hands on her new adult novel coming out this July.  It's great.  I devoured it in two sittings.  Seriously, you must put it on your summer reading list.

Weirdly, I hadn't even heard of Rainbow Rowell until last fall, when her new book, Fangirl  caught my eye.  I finally got around to reading it in January, and I loved it. Then all of a sudden, I had read everything she's written. I couldn't help myself.  She's great.  Like, really, really great.

She also has a really great website with tons of extra stuff about her novels and upcoming projects.  One of those projects is a graphic novel. YAY!!!!!!  There's playlists, and fan art, and blog posts.  Really, it's a great website.  Seriously, I can't say great enough.

Anyhow, here is a little bit of what we have to say about the wonderful Rainbow Rowell and her wonderful novels...

Eleanor and Park

Patti at Ravenna says:
To say this book was amazing or that I loved it just feels inadequate. I listened to the audio book and spent whole trips in the car from West Seattle to work crying. Other days I cracked up all the way. When I was done with the audio I bought the book and started reading. I wasn't ready to be done. The story is incredibly real and raw. Eleanor and Park are both complicated, interesting and wonderful. But the real reason this book has become a part of me and why I haven't fallen in love with a book like this in years is kindness. It permeates every part of their relationship, gives me hope and causes me to try harder in my own life.


Tess at Lake Forest Park says:
It's impossible to describe what this novel meant to me, personally, so forget it. Instead, here's why YOU should read it. You get not one, but TWO novels woven together - as you're reading the story of awkward but lovable identical twin Cath, off to her first year of college, you're also reading the epic seven-novel adventure of boy hero and magician "Simon Snow," (if he seems strangely familiar ... well, that's deliberate! and actually quite clever). Rowell breathes magic into ordinary people and places and events. There is something for everyone in her novels and, although Cath may be eighteen, her story speaks to anyone who has been a teenager (so every adult out there), reminding us of taking those first steps away from home and what it felt like to encounter that feeling: Now what do I do with the rest of my life?

And here's my two cents on Fangirl:
Rainbow Rowell has done something magical. She's written a delightful book for young adults that will charm and captivate regular old adults too. A love story; an honest look at mental health; family drama; loyal friendships; and nerdy, Harry Potter-esque fanfiction all wrapped up in the exciting, heady first days of college. Rowell pulls all of it off in this one perfect novel.  It's a marvel of a balancing act that many "masters" of adult fiction couldn't do.

Smart, funny, sweet, and dizzingly romantic.  The love story alone will have your stomach flip-flopping with memories of your own first love. These characters leap off the page and I desperately wish that they were real. That's how lovely they are. She writes them with a kindness and genuineness that never wavers into sentimentality.

All of her books are wonderful, but Fangirl is my favorite. 

I know a lot of you hesitate to read young adult fiction, but when something this good comes along, it's time to challenge your biases and open yourself up to something inspiring and wonderful.
Here are her adult novels:

"Hi, I'm the guy who reads your e-mail, and also, I love you . . . " 

Beth Fremont and Jennifer Scribner-Snyder know that somebody is monitoring their work e-mail. (Everybody in the newsroom knows. It's company policy.) But they can't quite bring themselves to take it seriously. They go on sending each other endless and endlessly hilarious e-mails, discussing every aspect of their personal lives. 

Meanwhile, Lincoln O'Neill can't believe this is his job now- reading other people's e-mail. When he applied to be "internet security officer," he pictured himself building firewalls and crushing hackers- not writing up a report every time a sports reporter forwards a dirty joke. When Lincoln comes across Beth's and Jennifer's messages, he knows he should turn them in. But he can't help being entertained-and captivated-by their stories. By the time Lincoln realizes he's falling for Beth, it's way too late to introduce himself. What would he say . . . ?

And coming in July:

Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble. That it’s been in trouble for a long time. She still loves her husband, Neal, and Neal still loves her, deeply — but that almost seems besides the point now. Maybe that was always besides the point.

Two days before they’re supposed to visit Neal’s family in Omaha for Christmas, Georgie tells Neal that she can’t go. She’s a TV writer, and something’s come up on her show; she has to stay in Los Angeles. She knows that Neal will be upset with her — Neal is always a little upset with Georgie — but she doesn’t expect to him to pack up the kids and go home without her. When her husband and the kids leave for the airport, Georgie wonders if she’s finally done it. If she’s ruined everything.

 That night, Georgie discovers a way to communicate with Neal in the past. It’s not time travel, not exactly, but she feels like she’s been given an opportunity to fix her marriage before it starts . . . Is that what she’s supposed to do? Or would Georgie and Neal be better off if their marriage never happened?

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Heading to the Picture Show!

I put up a new display at our Ravenna location this weekend.  It was time to say goodbye to Valentine's Day and hello to The Oscars.

In a way at least.

We're celebrating all the great books that have been turned into movies recently, or will be soon.  Sure, we all know about Monuments Men and nobody can wait for Divergent, but in the course of putting up the display, I came across a ton of books that I had no idea were bound for the movie house.

Did you know Wild is going to be given the Hollywood treatment?  Starring Reese Witherspoon.

And Lois Lowry's The Giver...with Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep, and *gasp* Taylor Swift?!?

And Gillian Flynn has not one but two books being turned into movies.  Gone Girl AND Dark Places!

Unbroken is going to be a movie before it's even released into paperback!

And of course, The Fault in Our Stars.

There's loads more.  Here's a really great list.  You better get started, you've got a lot of reading to do!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Valentine's Time

Go Seahawks!  Well, now that that's over, we can get back to February.  Which means Valentine's Day is just around the corner.  But don't worry, you've still got a few more days, and we've got some great ideas for you.

Check out Ravenna's lovely, lovey-dovey, book display. And Lake Forest Park has tons of cards and the perfect gifts for your sweetheart.  Don't forget the Theo Chocolate!

Here are a couple romantic reads to warm your heart...

Love Stories edited by Diana Secker Tesdell

An anthology of literary love stories—in a beautiful hardcover Pocket Classics edition—perfect for Valentine’s Day.

Here are nineteen stories from a rich array of writers, and here is every kind of romantic entanglement: from the raw, erotic passion of D. H. Lawrence and Colette to the wickedly cynical comedy of Dorothy Parker and Roald Dahl, from the yearning of unrequited romantic illusions in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “Winter Dreams” to the agonizing madness of jealousy in Vladimir Nabokov’s “That in Aleppo Once . . .” The objects of passion in these stories range from a glamorous silent-movie starlet in Elizabeth Bowen’s haunting “Dead Mabelle” and a faithful ghost in Yasunari Kawabata's "Immortality" to a heart surgeon in Margaret Atwood’s “Bluebeard’s Egg” who spends his days penetrating the mysteries of the human heart but who seems oddly emotionally opaque himself. Jhumpa Lahiri plumbs the despair of a husband and wife sundered by tragedy while Lorrie Moore movingly portrays a couple brought together by it. Katherine Mansfield, Tobias Wolff, and William Trevor explore the intricacies of long-term relationships, while Guy de Maupassant, Italo Calvino, and T. C. Boyle portray the elemental force of love in extremely different ways.

As alluring, moving, and intoxicating as its timeless theme, this collection makes an enticing gift for lovers at any stage of life.

What Makes Love Last:  How to Build Trust and Avoid Betrayal by John Gottman and Nan Silver

In this insightful and long-awaited book, celebrated research psychologist and couples counselor John Gottman plumbs the mysteries of love and shares the results of his famous “Love Lab”: Where does love come from? Why does some love last, and why does some fade? And how can we keep it alive? Based on laboratory findings, this book shows readers how to identify signs, behaviors, and attitudes that indicate a fraying relationship and provides strategies for repairing what may seem lost or broken.

Or maybe you're not such a romantic...

Crap Dates: Disastrous Encounters from Single Life by Rhodri Marsden

A good date can be exhilarating: a shared joke, an improbable spark, long moments of gazing fondly into each other's eyes. Not so for the dating disasters featured in this collection of laugh-out-loud actual tweets about the most terrible evenings imaginable. From seriously unwelcome confessions, to dousing dates in wine, to bringing them back to creepy apartments to meet favorite stuffed animals, here are the funniest and most alarming reports from dating's front lines. Along the way, author Rhodri Marsden offers tips on how to identify and avoid the worst of the bad daters, including married men, blatant liars, deluded optimists, and more. This harrowing collection of real nightmare dates will amuse anyone who's suffered through one of cupid's off nights.