Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Lisbeth mania

We just received a box of goodies from the good people at Knopf and inside, along with a Ha Jin book and a nice copy of Cormac McCarthy's "Blood Meridian", were some Lisbeth Salander trinkets. We got some temporary tattoos, a few "Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" themed drink ideas and WWLD? bracelets which are featured here on my wrists. We also got some Swedish fish. We'll be handing the stuff out to Lisbeth fans until the supplies are gone.

Photo credit goes to Casey Peterson. Taken on Tom's iphone.

How to start something new--or old, again.

I can't quite decide if certain book trends are like fashion in that everything old is new again or if it's more like the current fascination with knitting/crochet and things skip a generation. Whatever it is, it is being shown in publishing trends. Books on beekeeping, canning, local and/or organic food, slow-cookery and all manner of 'green' living have been popular for a few years now. So much so that we finally decided that these books didn't really fit best in our Cookbooks, Current Affairs or Nature sections. So we have a new Sustainability section. It is a lot like Cultural Studies in that it is a mixed bag.

The interesting question, to me, is what caused this surge in interest? Was the recession(over? almost over? in the middle?)the tipping point that forced a large percentage of people to re-think their monthly costs and how they shopped and consumed both goods and food? Is the Do-It-Yourself movement simply a part of that or a larger desire for people to be more connected to their homes and the items within? Is it part of a fad trending all things Americana: music, fashion, design, etc. I'm no cultural anthropologist, but it seems to be some combo of all of the above.

So our new section combines elements of all these categories and it happily combines some new, young, voices with older, respected, ones like Wendell Berry and Wes Jackson.

Yes, we have sold several copies of the cheese book. Skyhorse Publishing has a nice series of self-sufficiency books for $12.95 in hardcover. You don't have to make too many pounds of cheese to get that kind of money back.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Good Books for a Good Cause

On October 12th we hosted an event that was a benefit for the Jeremiah Program which is a local program that provides services for single mothers looking to better their lives. I encourage people to take a look at their website for more information.

We had desserts donated by Lesley Powers who caters events and sells her wonderful granola at several local retailers under the brand name Bliss.

And I briefly discussed 15 books we're excited about this Fall. Here's the list--

Homer and Langley by E.L. Doctorow
Room by Emma Donoghue
The Sky Below by Stacey D'Erasmo
The Balcony of Europe by Aidan Higgins
The Quickening by Michelle Hoover
The Report by Jessica Frances Kane
All the Living by C.E. Morgan
One Day by David Nicholls
The Mountain Lion by Jean Stafford
Going Blind by Mara Faulkner, OSB.
River House by Sarahlee Lawrence
A Paradise Built in Hell by Rebecca Solnit
The Tiger by John Vaillant
The Geometry of Pasta by Caz Hildrebrand and Jacob Kennedy
Atlas of Remote Islands by Judith Schalansky

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

One that got away...

Lots of fiction readers are dealing with a problem that booksellers face on a regular basis: how to read a book that is talked about constantly? I've heard from several customers that they can't read the Franzen book right now. There's simply been too much chatter from lovers/haters.

It is difficult to read something without hearing all the voices--which is the biggest reason I've never read "The Kite Runner" or "The Lovely Bones" or "The Elegance of the Hedgehog". It isn't snobbery. I've simply heard too much about all of them to read them fairly.

All of that is really just prologue to my actual point. Which is that I was thrilled when I got into the store today and saw Joseph O'Neill's "Blood-Dark Track" sitting on the paperback table. O'Neill is the author of the much ballyhooed novel "Netherland". President Obama loved it, every major book review loved it, your book club probably loved it. Me? I thought it was fine. Maybe it was the cricket. Maybe not. I kept waiting and waiting for that aha moment and it never came. Had I heard it was brilliant too many times? However, his earlier memoir about his two grandfathers is the real deal. It is brilliant. I love it. Love it so much, in fact, that I paid way more than I normally do for any book to get a hardcover copy when it was out of print.

Both of his grandfathers, one Irish and one Turkish, were imprisoned during WWII for suspected subversion. On the one hand it is a great family history. And on the other it's a great look at two different cultures during world war. I am so pleased to be able to sell this book. And if you want "Netherland" that's great too.

Want another skip the famous book but read the previous one? Elizabeth Gilbert, pre-insane fame, wrote a fantastic book entitled "The Last American Man". That book is a joy.

Final thanks must go to local book wizard Jay Peterson, of Magers and Quinn, for obtaining the out-of-print book for me.

The cover with the young boy is the newer one, fyi.