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Friday, June 20, 2014


Lately it seems to me that my library has become a living, breathing thing. A monster really.  You see, earlier in the spring I did a major clean up; I'm talking serious culling.  I got rid of so many books it was a little terrifying.  Books I would never read again, and books I didn't like.  And then there were the books that at one point I thought I would read, but then my reading tastes abruptly shifted and I realized they weren't the kinds of books I wanted anymore.  That's sort of what I mean by my library being alive.  It seemed like all of a sudden, my books decided they weren't for me.  It felt like a totally unconscious decision.

And that's the other thing that makes me think my library is its own sentient being.  In the midst of this purging, I had started bringing home books that I never would have dreamed of reading.  Except now I couldn't wait to get my hands on them.  Non-fiction, books in translation, short stories, graphic novels- all stuff that would not have been in my house a year ago.  And sometimes I look around at these piles of books with no small amount of surprise, and wonder how the heck all these strange books got here? My library has a mind of its own.

I guess all of this is to tell you that during the culling and the subsequent rebirth of my library, I have unloaded tons of books at Third Place.  All good books, but just stuff I'm not interested in anymore.  And that's the beauty of used books; buy them, read them (or in my case, don't read them), sell them back, and buy all new books with the credit.

And this weekend is the perfect time to give your library a face lift because it's the Used Book Sale!  40% off all used books at both stores!  Come buy some used books, maybe even some of my old books.  Give your library a rebirth, but be careful, it might take on a life of its own.

Just a reminder, the Lake Forest Park store will continue to buy used books during the sale.  However, the Ravenna location will not be buying books again until Monday.  Heads up!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

New Release...Thursday?

Yeah, yeah, yeah, normally new releases come out on Tuesday, but that doesn't really apply to the World's best selling-est author.  That's why Robert Galbraith/J.K. Rowling's latest book in the wildly popular Cormoran Strike series is coming out today.  Some of you preordered from us and you may even be anxiously awaiting your super-special, Amazon-fighting, hand delivery at this very moment.  But for those of you who didn't preorder, not to worry, we've got loads of The Silkworm, plus the first book in the series, The Cuckoo's Calling just waiting for you at both of our stores.

When novelist Owen Quine goes missing, his wife calls in private detective Cormoran Strike. At first, Mrs. Quine just thinks her husband has gone off by himself for a few days-as he has done before-and she wants Strike to find him and bring him home. 

But as Strike investigates, it becomes clear that there is more to Quine's disappearance than his wife realizes. The novelist has just completed a manuscript featuring poisonous pen-portraits of almost everyone he knows. If the novel were to be published, it would ruin lives--meaning that there are a lot of people who might want him silenced. 

When Quine is found brutally murdered under bizarre circumstances, it becomes a race against time to understand the motivation of a ruthless killer, a killer unlike any Strike has encountered before... A compulsively readable crime novel with twists at every turn, The Silkworm is the second in the highly acclaimed series featuring Cormoran Strike and his determined young assistant, Robin Ellacott.

And don't forget, there are other authors without the Thursday-release-date heft belonging to the creator of Harry Potter.  Here are a few other new books that came out this past Tuesday.

Your Fathers, Where Are They? And the Prophets, Do They Live Forever?
by Dave Eggers
OK, two things about this book.  One: Does Dave Eggers ever sleep? And two: this book will probably win just about all the awards...I base this solely on my love of punctuation in a title.

From Dave Eggers, best-selling author of The Circle, a tightly controlled, emotionally searching novel. Your Fathers, Where Are They? And the Prophets, Do They Live Forever? is the formally daring, brilliantly executed story of one man struggling to make sense of his country, seeking answers the only way he knows how. 

In a barracks on an abandoned military base, miles from the nearest road, Thomas watches as the man he has brought wakes up. Kev, a NASA astronaut, doesn't recognize his captor, though Thomas remembers him. Kev cries for help. He pulls at his chain. But the ocean is close by, and nobody can hear him over the waves and wind. Thomas apologizes. He didn't want to have to resort to this. But they really needed to have a conversation, and Kev didn't answer his messages. And now, if Kev can just stop yelling, Thomas has a few questions. 

All Fall Down by Jennifer Weiner

Allison Weiss got her happy ending--a handsome husband, adorable daughter, a job she loves, and the big house in the suburbs. But while waiting in the pediatrician's office, she opens a magazine to a quiz about addiction and starts to wonder...Is a Percocet at the end of the day really different from a glass of wine? Is it such a bad thing to pop a Vicodin after a brutal Jump and Pump class...or if your husband ignores you? The pills help her manage the realities of her good-looking life: that her husband is distant, that her daughter is acting out, that her father's Alzheimer's is worsening and her mother is barely managing to cope. She tells herself that they let her make it through her days...but what if her increasing drug use, a habit that's becoming expensive and hard to hide, is turning into her biggest problem of all? 

With a sparkling comedic touch and a cast of unforgettable characters, this remarkable story of a woman's slide into addiction and struggle to find her way back up again is Jennifer Weiner's most masterful work yet.

The Quick by Lauren Owen

For fans of Anne Rice, The Historian, and The Night Circus, an astonishing debut, a novel of epic scope and suspense that conjures up all the magic and menace of Victorian London 

1892: James Norbury, a shy would-be poet newly down from Oxford, finds lodging with a charming young aristocrat. Through this new friendship, he is introduced to the drawing-rooms of high society and finds love in an unexpected quarter. Then, suddenly, he vanishes without a trace. Alarmed, his sister, Charlotte, sets out from their crumbling country estate determined to find him. In the sinister, labyrinthine London that greets her, she uncovers a hidden, supernatural city populated by unforgettable characters: a female rope walker turned vigilante, a street urchin with a deadly secret, and the chilling “Doctor Knife.” But the answer to her brother’s disappearance ultimately lies within the doors of the exclusive, secretive Aegolius Club, whose predatory members include the most ambitious, and most bloodthirsty, men in England. 

In her first novel, Lauren Owen has created a fantastical world that is both beguiling and terrifying. The Quick will establish her as one of fiction’s most dazzling talents.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Colbert Bump!

Give California the Colbert Bump 
to the New York Times 
Bestseller List

The Hachette-Amazon kerfluffle is heating up, and the King of Outrage has finally weighed in. Last week Stephen Colbert, himself a Hachette author, put his foot down and called Amazon out on their "scorched-earth" tactics used to bend Hachette to their demands. 

Amazon's attempts to force Hachette's hand include suggesting alternate books, removing the buy button, delaying shipments, and even raising prices. Additionally, Amazon is refusing to take pre-orders on Hachette titles. Of course this affects huge authors like J.K. Rowling, Malcolm Gladwell and Stephen Colbert, but particularly concerning is what these actions could mean for first-time authors. Amazon is responsible for 40% of all print book sales and their sudden refusal to sell could be catastrophic for new and unknown authors. 

But don't worry! Stephen has a plan!

Last week Colbert, and special guest Sherman Alexie, called on the Colbert Nation to pre-order California, the new novel from debut author, Edan Lepucki, through Powell's Books in Portland. After an astounding response that had orders pouring in and crashing Powell's website, Stephen has Colbert-bumped it up a notch. Now he wants California on the New York Times Bestseller list, a feat nearly impossible without the monstrous weight of Amazon. But he's determined, and he's asking you to pre-order California from ANY Independent bookstore. 

Lucky for you, we just happen to be an independent bookstore, and we are definitely ready to take your order for California or any other book you might want. Together we can show Amazon that we will not, in the words of Stephen Colbert himself, "lick their Monopoly boot...or any of their Monopoly pieces!"

Or call either store
Lake Forest Park (206)-366-333
Ravenna (206)-525-2347

California by Edan Lepucki
The world Cal and Frida have always known is gone, and they've left the crumbling city of Los Angeles far behind them. They now live in a shack in the wilderness, working side-by-side to make their days tolerable in the face of hardship and isolation. Mourning a past they can't reclaim, they seek solace in each other. But the tentative existence they've built for themselves is thrown into doubt when Frida finds out she's pregnant. 

Terrified of the unknown and unsure of their ability to raise a child alone, Cal and Frida set out for the nearest settlement, a guarded and paranoid community with dark secrets. These people can offer them security, but Cal and Frida soon realize this community poses dangers of its own. In this unfamiliar world, where everything and everyone can be perceived as a threat, the couple must quickly decide whom to trust. 

A gripping and provocative debut novel by a stunning new talent, California imagines a frighteningly realistic near future, in which clashes between mankind's dark nature and deep-seated resilience force us to question how far we will go to protect the ones we love.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Father's Day!

You've got one week until Father's Day.  And we've got plenty of dad-approved book suggestions.  Plus we've got greeting cards, and tons of fun gift ideas. It's one-stop shopping at Third Place. Here are just a few fabulous suggestions.

For the World's Best Dad:
Confessions of the World's Best Father by Dave Engledow

In an attempt to create an image that his new daughter would one day appreciate, Dave Engledow took a photo in which he’s cradling eight-week-old Alice Bee like a football and doctored it to look like he’s squirting breast milk into a "World’s Best Father" mug. Friends and family clamored for more. After Dave’s humorous attempts to capture the sleep-deprived obliviousness of being a first-time dad went viral, he and Alice Bee found themselves bona fide Internet and television celebrities.

 Merging a Norman Rockwell aesthetic with a darkly comic sensibility, Dave pairs each side-splittingly funny image with a log entry describing the awkward situation that the World’s Best Father has found himself in. Readers of Sh*t My Dad Says and Awkward Family Photos will devour the artful and hilarious Confessions of the World’s Best Father.

For the Current Events Dad:

Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Picketty
We couldn't keep this one on the shelf with all the hubbub.  But now we've got plenty.  Supply and demand, you know it!

For the Literary Dad:
Stories of Fatherhood by Everyman Library

I have loved all of these perfect collections in Everyman's Pocket Classics Series. The story selection is never what you'd expect.  Nothing obvious or sentimental in these pages, and they just look so nice lined up all together. This particular collection is perfect for new dads, especially those literary, new dads.

For the DIY Dad:
Made by Dad: 67 Blueprints for Making Cool Stuff: Projects You Can Build for (and With) Your Kids! by Scott Bedford

From the Snail Soup Can Decoy to keep the candy stash safe to the Customizable Keep Out Sign to deter meddlesome siblings and parents, Bedford presents 67 unique projects that will turn any dad with DIY leanings into a mad scientist hero.

For the Financially Savvy Dad:
Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt  by Michael Lewis

Flash Boys is about a small group of Wall Street guys who figure out that the U.S. stock market has been rigged for the benefit of insiders and that, post financial crisis, the markets have become not more free but less, and more controlled by the big Wall Street banks. Working at different firms, they come to this realization separately; but after they discover one another, the flash boys band together and set out to reform the financial markets. This they do by creating an exchange in which high-frequency trading source of the most intractable problems will have no advantage whatsoever. 

The characters in Flash Boys are fabulous, each completely different from what you think of when you think Wall Street guy. Several have walked away from jobs in the financial sector that paid them millions of dollars a year. From their new vantage point they investigate the big banks, the world s stock exchanges, and high-frequency trading firms as they have never been investigated, and expose the many strange new ways that Wall Street generates profits. 

The light that Lewis shines into the darkest corners of the financial world may not be good for your blood pressure, because if you have any contact with the market, even a retirement account, this story is happening to you. But in the end, Flash Boys is an uplifting read. Here are people who have somehow preserved a moral sense in an environment where you don t get paid for that; they have perceived an institutionalized injustice and are willing to go to war to fix it."

For the Stylish Dad:
The Mr. Porter Paperback: The Manual for a Stylish Life by Jeremy Langmead

It's Back!
The second volume of The Mr Porter Paperback is the next must-have title for the modern man looking to get the best out of life. From interviews with style icons and profiles of well-known men to advice on mastering the latest trends, this charming paperback helps define a new generation of men. Editor Jeremy Langmead presents favorite features from MrPorter.com including The Knack, The Look, and Men of Note, alongside new sections: The Gear, The Knowledge, and The Trend. Whether you are looking for tips on how to ace a best man s speech, how to come out strongly in an encounter with a bear, or simply how to perfect your personal style, Mr Porter is a witty and useful guide." 

For the Sitting-On-the-Edge-of-His-Seat Dad:
I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes

This astonishing debut espionage thriller depicts the collision course between two geniuses, one a tortured hero and one a determined terrorist, in a breakneck story reminiscent of John le Carre and Robert Ludlum at their finest. 

PILGRIM is the code name for a world class and legendary secret agent. His adversary is a man known only to the reader as the Saracen. As a young boy, the Saracen barely sees his dissident father beheaded in a Saudi Arabian public square. But the event marks him for life and creates a burning desire to destroy the special relationship between the US and the Kingdom. Everything in the Saracen's life from this moment forward will be in service to jihad. 

At the novel's opening, we find ourselves in a seedy hotel near Ground Zero. A woman lies face down in a pool of acid, features melted off her face, teeth missing, fingerprints gone. The room has been sprayed down with DNA-eradicating antiseptic spray. All the techniques are pulled directly from Pilgrim's book, a cult classic of forensic science written under a pen name. In offering the NYPD some casual assistance with the case, Pilgrim gets pulled back into the intelligence underground. What follows is a thriller that jockeys between astonishingly detailed character study and breakneck globetrotting. 

Monday, June 2, 2014

New Release Tuesday!

There are tons of new books coming out this week. Tons. Our new release tables will not be able to withstand the weight. I'm serious. You think I'm joking. I'm not.

Here are just a few...
New Hardcovers

Summer House with Swimming Pool by Herman Koch
Here's the latest from the author of The Dinner.

When a medical procedure goes horribly wrong and famous actor Ralph Meier winds up dead, Dr. Marc Schlosser needs to come up with some answers. After all, reputation is everything in this business. Personally, he’s not exactly upset that Ralph is gone, but as a high profile doctor to the stars, Marc can't hide from the truth forever. 

It all started the previous summer. Marc, his wife, and their two beautiful teenage daughters agreed to spend a week at the Meier’s extravagant summer home on the Mediterranean. Joined by Ralph and his striking wife Judith, her mother, and film director Stanley Forbes and his much younger girlfriend, the large group settles in for days of sunshine, wine tasting, and trips to the beach. But when a violent incident disrupts the idyll, darker motivations are revealed, and suddenly no one can be trusted. As the ultimate holiday soon turns into a nightmare, the circumstances surrounding Ralph’s later death begin to reveal the disturbing reality behind that summer’s tragedy. 

Featuring the razor-sharp humor and acute psychological insight that made The Dinner an international phenomenon, Summer House with Swimming Pool is a controversial, thought-provoking novel that showcases Herman Koch at his finest.

China Dolls by Lisa See
A new one from the author of Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

It’s 1938 in San Francisco: a world’s fair is preparing to open on Treasure Island, a war is brewing overseas, and the city is alive with possibilities. Grace, Helen, and Ruby, three young women from very different backgrounds, meet by chance at the exclusive and glamorous Forbidden City nightclub. Grace Lee, an American-born Chinese girl, has fled the Midwest with nothing but heartache, talent, and a pair of dancing shoes. Helen Fong lives with her extended family in Chinatown, where her traditional parents insist that she guard her reputation like a piece of jade. The stunning Ruby Tom challenges the boundaries of convention at every turn with her defiant attitude and no-holds-barred ambition. 

The girls become fast friends, relying on one another through unexpected challenges and shifting fortunes. When their dark secrets are exposed and the invisible thread of fate binds them even tighter, they find the strength and resilience to reach for their dreams. But after the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor, paranoia and suspicion threaten to destroy their lives, and a shocking act of betrayal changes everything.

Problems with People: Stories by David Gutterson
A new collection of short stories from the author of Snow Falling on Cedars

Ranging from youth to old age, the voices that inhabit Problems with People offer tender, unexpected, and always tightly focused accounts of our quest to understand each other, individually, and as part of a political and historical moment. 

These stories are shot through with tragedy—the long-ago loss of a young boyfriend, a son’s death at sea; poignant reflections upon cultural and personal circumstances—whether it is being Jewish, overweight and single, or a tourist in a history-haunted land; and paradigmatic questions about our sense of reality and belonging.

Spanning diverse geographies—all across America, and in countries as distant as Nepal and South Africa—these stories showcase David Guterson’s signature gifts for characterization, psychological nuance, emotional and moral suspense, and evocations of small-town life and the natural world. They celebrate the ordinary yet brightening surprises that lurk within the dramas of our daily lives, as well as the return of a contemporary American master to the form that launched his astonishing literary career. 

Midnight in Europe by Alan Furst

Paris, 1938. As the shadow of war darkens Europe, democratic forces on the Continent struggle against fascism and communism, while in Spain the war has already begun. Alan Furst, whom Vince Flynn has called “the most talented espionage novelist of our generation,” now gives us a taut, suspenseful, romantic, and richly rendered novel of spies and secret operatives in Paris and New York, in Warsaw and Odessa, on the eve of World War II. 

Cristián Ferrar, a brilliant and handsome Spanish émigré, is a lawyer in the Paris office of a prestigious international law firm. Ferrar is approached by the embassy of the Spanish Republic and asked to help a clandestine agency trying desperately to supply weapons to the Republic’s beleaguered army—an effort that puts his life at risk in the battle against fascism. 

Joining Ferrar in this mission is a group of unlikely men and women: idealists and gangsters, arms traders and aristocrats and spies. From shady Paris nightclubs to white-shoe New York law firms, from brothels in Istanbul to the dockyards of Poland, Ferrar and his allies battle the secret agents of Hitler and Franco. And what allies they are: there’s Max de Lyon, a former arms merchant now hunted by the Gestapo; the Marquesa Maria Cristina, a beautiful aristocrat with a taste for danger; and the Macedonian Stavros, who grew up “fighting Bulgarian bandits. After that, being a gangster was easy.” Then there is Eileen Moore, the American woman Ferrar could never forget.

New Paperbacks 

Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris

A guy walks into a bar car and...

From here the story could take many turns. When the guy is David Sedaris, the possibilities are endless, but the result is always the same: he will both delight you with twists of humor and intelligence and leave you deeply moved. 

 Sedaris remembers his father's dinnertime attire (shirtsleeves and underpants), his first colonoscopy (remarkably pleasant), and the time he considered buying the skeleton of a murdered Pygmy. The common thread? Sedaris masterfully turns each essay into a love story: how it feels to be in a relationship where one loves and is loved over many years, what it means to be part of a family, and how it's possible, through all of life's absurdities, to grow to love oneself.

Last Words From Montmarte by Qui Miaojin
Here's some NYRB action for you.  Man, I love these.

When the pioneering Taiwanese novelist Qiu Miaojin committed suicide in 1995 at age twenty-six, she left behind her unpublished masterpiece, Last Words from Montmartre. Unfolding through a series of letters written by an unnamed narrator, Last Words tells the story of a passionate relationship between two young women—their sexual awakening, their gradual breakup, and the devastating aftermath of their broken love. In a style that veers between extremes, from self-deprecation to pathos, compulsive repetition to rhapsodic musings, reticence to vulnerability, Qiu’s genre-bending novel is at once a psychological thriller, a sublime romance, and the author’s own suicide note. 

The letters (which, Qiu tells us, can be read in any order) leap between Paris, Taipei, and Tokyo. They display wrenching insights into what it means to live between cultures, languages, and genders—until the genderless character Zoë appears, and the narrator’s spiritual and physical identity is transformed. As powerfully raw and transcendent as Mishima’s Confessions of a Mask, Goethe’s The Sorrows of Young Werther, and Theresa Cha’s Dictée, to name but a few, Last Words from Montmartre proves Qiu Miaojin to be one of the finest experimentalists and modernist Chinese-language writers of our generation.

I'll Be Right There by Kyung-Sook Shin

Set in 1980s South Korea amid the tremors of political revolution, I’ll Be Right There follows Jung Yoon, a highly literate, twenty-something woman, as she recounts her tragic personal history as well as those of her three intimate college friends. When Yoon receives a distressing phone call from her ex-boyfriend after eight years of separation, memories of a tumultuous youth begin to resurface, forcing her to re-live the most intense period of her life. With profound intellectual and emotional insight, she revisits the death of her beloved mother, the strong bond with her now-dying former college professor, the excitement of her first love, and the friendships forged out of a shared sense of isolation and grief. 

Yoon’s formative experiences, which highlight both the fragility and force of personal connection in an era of absolute uncertainty, become immediately palpable. Shin makes the foreign and esoteric utterly familiar: her use of European literature as an interpreter of emotion and experience bridges any gaps between East and West. Love, friendship, and solitude are the same everywhere, as this book makes poignantly clear

Bad Monkey by Carl Hiasen
Michael loved this one!

Andrew Yancy-late of the Miami Police and soon-to-be-late of the Monroe County sheriff's office-has a human arm in his freezer. There's a logical (Hiaasenian) explanation for that, but not for how and why it parted from its shadowy owner. Yancy thinks the boating-accident/shark-luncheon explanation is full of holes, and if he can prove murder, the sheriff might rescue him from his grisly Health Inspector gig (it's not called the roach patrol for nothing). 

But first-this being Hiaasen country-Yancy must negotiate an obstacle course of wildly unpredictable events with a crew of even more wildly unpredictable characters, including his just-ex lover, a hot-blooded fugitive from Kansas; the twitchy widow of the frozen arm; two avariciously optimistic real-estate speculators; the Bahamian voodoo witch known as the Dragon Queen, whose suitors are blinded unto death by her peculiar charms; Yancy's new true love, a kinky coroner; and the eponymous bad monkey, who with hilarious aplomb earns his place among Carl Hiaasen's greatest characters. 

Here is Hiaasen doing what he does better than anyone else: spinning a tale at once fiercely pointed and wickedly funny in which the greedy, the corrupt, and the degraders of what's left of pristine Florida-now, of the Bahamas as well-get their comeuppance in mordantly ingenious, diabolically entertaining fashion. 

See, tons.