Friday, January 30, 2009
Thursday, January 29, 2009
That being said, my current recommendation is Shaun Tan's Tales From Outer Suburbia (Scholastic, $19.99). Tan is the author/illustrator of the amazingly beautiful and moving The Arrival (which is also worth taking a gander at if you happen to be browsing for something different). Tales is a series of illustrated vignettes detailing fantastical little slices of life from suburbia. The characters and plots that inhabit his strange universe may seem unusual and foreign, but the emotions they arouse will most certainly be familiar. Now, I should tell you this--I am not generally a crier. Sure, I can be sentimental, but rarely do I allow the expulsion of salty moisture to leak from my ducts. However, I will admit to you that one paticular story in this book made me bust out into a serious blubber-fest. (What's even worse is that I was reading it at the store, and there were customers around!--which just goes to show you how affected I was by it.) It's not so much that the story was sad, but that it was just incredibly moving in the simplicity of its message. Still makes me feel a little misty just thinking about it...
My point (circuitous as it may seem) is that it is a spectacularly awesome book that is worth a trip to Broadway Books. And, it's appropriate for big and little people of all ages. What a great deal.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Irish author Sebastian Barry has won the 2008 Costa Book of the Year award for The Secret Scripture, a moving account of one woman's stolen life and her journey to reclaim the past. The announcement was made last night at an awards ceremony in London. The Costa Book Awards recognize the most enjoyable books of the last year by writers based in the UK and Ireland. Originally established as the Whitbread Award in 1971, Costa took over sponsorship of this prestigious and popular book prize in 2006.
Barry, the bookmaker's odds-on favorite, won against one of the most acclaimed collections of finalists in the Book Awards history, beating 91 year-old author Diana Athill for her memoir Somewhere Towards the End, bestselling first-time novelist Sadie Jones for The Outcast, poet and writer Adam Foulds for The Broken Word and popular children's writer Michelle Magorian for Just Henry, to win the overall prize and a check for £25,000.
Matthew Parris, chair of the final judges, said: "Sebastian Barry has created one of the great narrative voices in contemporary fiction in The Secret Scripture. It is a book of great brilliance, powerfully and beautifully written." The Secret Scripture, published by Faber and Faber (published in the US by Viking), is the ninth novel to take the overall prize. A. L. Kennedy was the last author to win the Book of the Year with a novel, taking the prize in 2007 for Day. Since the introduction of the Book of the Year award in 1985, it has been won eight times by a novel, four times by a first novel, five times by a biography, five times by a collection of poetry and once by a children's book. Novels named Book of the Year in previous years include Small Island, by Andrea Levy; The Tenderness of Wolves, by Stef Penny; The Amber Spyglass, by Philip Pullman, and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time, by Mark Haddon.
Here's something I didn't know: Costa, the sponsor of this award, is now officially the largest and fastest growing coffee shop chain in the UK. The chain was founded by brothers Sergio and Bruno Costa in 1971. Hmmmm. I kind of wish I still didn't know that.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Please join us tonight for our annual birthday celebration of the life and work of the wonderful William Stafford. The world-wide William Stafford birthday celebrations are coordinated by Paulann Petersen. Tonight at Broadway Books, Harold Johnson will be hosting our birthday event. Other readers include Casey Bush, Paula Lowden, Joanna Rose, Mazarine Treyz, Stephanie Van Horn and FWS Board Member Tim Barnes. After the designated readings, we'll open the floor to members of the audience who wish to read their favorite William Stafford poems. This event is always joyful, celebratory, and well-attended, so come early to get a good seat! We hope to see you tonight -- festivities will begin at 7 pm.
Monday, January 26, 2009
The National Book Critics Circle announced the finalists for its 2008 awards in New York City Saturday night. I'm particularly excited about the recognition for The Eaves of Heaven, by Andrew X. Pham, author of Catfish and Mandala -- what beautifully written books, two of my all-time favorites. Here are the rest of the finalists:
- Roberto Bolano, 2666 (FSG)
- Marilynne Robinson, Home (FSG)
- Aleksandar Hemon, The Lazarus Project (Riverhead)
- M. Glenn Taylor, The Ballad of Trenchmouth Taggart (West Virginia University Press)
- Elizabeth Strout, Olive Kittredge (Random House)
- Rick Bass, Why I Came West (Houghton Mifflin)
- Helene Cooper, The House on Sugar Beach (Simon & Schuster)
- Honor Moore, The Bishop's Daughter (W.W. Norton)
- Andrew X. Pham, The Eaves of Heaven (Harmony Books)
- Ariel Sabar, My Father's Paradise: A Son's Search for His Jewish Past in Kurdish Iraq (Algonquin)
- Dexter Filkins, The Forever War (Knopf)
- Drew Gilpin Faust, This Republic of Suffering: Death and the Civil War (Knopf)
- Jane Mayer, The Dark Side (Doubleday)
- Allan Lichtman, White Protestant Nation (Atlantic Monthly Press)
- George C. Herring, From Colony to Superpower: U.S. Foreign Relations Since 1776 (Oxford University Press)
- Paula J. Giddings, Ida: A Sword Among Lions (Amistad)
- Steve Coll, The Bin Ladens: An Arabian Family in an American Century (Penguin Press)
- Patrick French, The World is What it is: The Authorized Biography of V.S. Naipaul (Knopf)
- Annette Gordon-Reed, The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family (Norton)
- Brenda Wineapple, White Heat: The Friendship of Emily Dickinson & Thomas Wentworth Higginson (Knopf)
- August Kleinzahler, Sleeping it Off in Rapid City (FSG)
- Juan Felipe Herrera, Half the World in Light (University of Arizona Press)
- Devin Johnston, Sources (Turtle Point Press)
- Pierre Martory, trans by John Ashbery, The Landscapist (Sheep Meadow Press)
- Brenda Shaughnessy, Human Dark with Sugar (Copper Canyon Press)
- Richard Brody, Everything is Cinema: The Working Life of Jean-Luc Godard (Metropolitan Books)
- Vivian Gornick, The Men in My Life (Boston Review/MIT)
- Joel L. Kraemer, Maimonides: The Life and World of One of Civilization's Greatest Minds (Doubleday)
- Reginald Shepherd, Orpheus in the Bronx: Essays on Identity, Politics, and the Freedom of Poetry (University of Michigan Press)
- Seth Lerer, Children's Literature: A Reader's History from Aesop to Harry Potter (University of Chicago Press)
Neil Gaiman has won the 2009 Newbery Medal for The Graveyard Book (Harper Collins) and Beth Krommes has won the 2009 Randolph Caldecott Medal for The House in the Night (Houghton Mifflin), written by Susan Marie Swanson. The awards were announced this morning at the American Library Association's midwinter conference in Denver.
Four books were named Newbery Honor Books: The Underneath (Simon & Schuster/Atheneum) by Kathi Appelt; The Surrender Tree: Poems of Cuba's Struggle for Freedom (Holt) by Margarita Engle; Savvy (Dial) by Ingrid Law; and After Tupac & D Foster (Putnam) by Jacqueline Woodson.
There were three Caldecott Honor Books: A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever (Harcourt) by Marla Frazee; How I Learned Geography (FSG) by Uri Shulevitz; and A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams (Eerdmans) illustrated by Melissa Sweet and written by Jen Bryant.
The Odyssey Award for Excellence in Audiobook Production went to The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian (Recorded Books), written and narrated by Sherman Alexie.
The John Newbery Medal is a literary award given by the American Library Association to the author of the Outstanding American Children's Book. The award is named for John Newbery, an 18th century publisher of juvenile books, and has been given since 1922. The Caldecott Medal, awarded annually by the ALA to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children published that year, was named in honor of nineteenth-century English illustrator Randolph Caldecott. The Caldecott award was established in 1937.
Friday, January 23, 2009
Thursday, January 22, 2009
The nominations for this year's Academy Awards were announced this morning, and local filmmaker Gus Van Sant was a big winner, with his movie "Milk" earning eight nominations. I saw this movie recently and I would say it is deserving of all this recognition and more. Simply wonderful. (But bring tissues.) The eight nominations are for Best Picture, Best Actor (Sean Penn), Best Supporting Actor (Josh Brolin), Best Director (Van Sant), Best Original Screen Play (Dustin Lance Black), Best Film Editing (Elliot Grahm), Best Costume Design (Danny Glicker), and Best Original Score (Danny Elfman). The Oscars will be presented on Sunday, February 22. Congratulations and good luck to Gus!
If the movie has piqued your interest about Harvey Milk and you'd like to learn more, check out the book The Mayor of Castro Street: The Life and Times of Harvey Milk, by Randy Shilts. We've got the book in paperback at the store.
I was surprised to see that "Revolutionary Road," based on a novel by one of my favorite writers, Richard Yates, was essentially shut out of the Oscars. I haven't seen this movie yet, but my friends who have say it is stunning. Interestingly," The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" earned the most awards of any movie this year -- thirteen. The movie is adapted from a short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald, who of course is also the author of The Great Gatsby. When Revolutionary Road was published in 1962 -- a finalist for that year's National Book Award -- author Kurt Vonnegut called it "The Great Gatsby of my time...one of the best books by a member of my generation." If you haven't read anything by Yates (who died in 1992), I highly encourage you to do so -- but don't be counting on anything particularly upbeat; that just wasn't his thing.
www.meetup.com -- then type in "book clubs"
www.readerscircle.org -- and type in your zip code
The local branch of your library might also be able to steer you to a book club that's right for you.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Monday, January 19, 2009
We just received a new shipment of sale books, and our shelves are bursting with great bargains! We only have a couple of each, so hurry in to check out the selection. There are fabulous deals to be had -- cookbooks, art books, gardening books, birding books, children's books, and plenty of good fiction and non-fiction. Grab yourself a copy of Richard Ford's novel The Lay of the Land in hardback for only $6.50, or Daniel Mendelsohn's The Lost for only $7.50. If you're a doggie fan, snatch up a collection of classic dog literature -- Best Dog Stories -- for only $4.50. A biography of Harper Lee, Boris Akunin's mysteries, a book on the history of woodcraft -- all kinds of treasures to be found. But don't delay or you might miss out on your favorites. We've also got some great new music collections at fabulous prices.
Friday, January 16, 2009
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Monday, January 12, 2009
The 2008 Story Prize finalists have just been announced. The Story Prize, in its fifth year, is an annual award for books of short fiction. This year's finalists are Unaccustomed Earth, by Jhumpa Lahiri (Knopf), Demons in the Spring, by Joe Meno (Akashic Books), and Our Story Begins, by Tobias Wolff (Knopf). The winner will be announced at a ceremony in New York City on March 4th. I'm surprised that Nam Le's The Boat, didn't make the list, but I have no quarrel with the ones selected (although I must admit I'm not familiar with Demons in the Spring -- must go check it out). I'm a big fan of good short stories. Are you? Some of my favorite writers are Alice Munro (everything) and Lorrie Moore (sadly no new collection for about ten years or so), and, recently, James Salters' Last Night. Wow. Past winners of The Story Prize include Mary Gordon, Tessa Hadley, Vincent Lam, and Jim Harrison.
On October 5, 2009, the lovable bear known for getting wedged into tight spots makes his return in the first authorized sequel to A.A. Milne's Pooh series. Return to the Hundred Acre Wood will be written by novelist and playwright David Benedictus, who has adapted several Pooh stories for audio CD. The book will be published in Britain by Egmont Publishing and in the US by the Penguin imprint Dutton's Children's Books. Pooh first appeared in 1926 in Milne's Winnie-the-Pooh, followed by the 1928 sequel The House at Pooh Corner. The well-loved books have been translated into more than 50 languages, including Latin. The author says he intends "to capture the spirit and quality of those original books." I sure hope so! The Pooh books, with charming illustrations by Ernest H. Shepard, are classics, along with When We Were Very Young and Now We Are Six. A recent Pooh spin-off I'm particularly fond of is Positively Pooh: Timeless Wisdom from Pooh (Penguin), with favorite quotes from Pooh texts and Shepard's illustrations. With chapters entitled, for example, "For those Bothersome Days" and "For those Hummy Sorts of Day," this book makes a great gift for Pooh lovers of all ages.
Sunday, January 11, 2009
Here are the other books and authors recognized by the PNBA, as described by the Awards Committee:
Friday, January 9, 2009
I've already written about that wonderful series for kids (8-12 or so), The Diary of Wimpy Kid, by Jeff Kinney. It's a hoot! Next Tuesday (January 13th) the third book in the series, The Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw, will be available. Call to reserve your copy today!
Fans of The Shadow of the Wind finally have a new book to look forward to from author Carlos Ruiz Zafon! At least once a week, someone asks me if he has written anything else, because they loved that book so much. And finally I can give them some GOOD news. The Shadow of the Wind, a bestseller in Spain (second most successful Spanish novel ever, with Don Quixote Number 1) and translated into more than 40 languages, was translated into English in 2004. Set in 1945 Barcelona -- Spain under Franco -- the book tells the story of 10-year-old Daniel, who is taken by his widowed bookseller father to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, where he is told to choose one book to protect. He soon learns that the book he has chosen is both very valuable and very much in danger. Part detective story, adventure tale, romance, fantasy, and gothic horror, with a colorful cast of characters and a meticulously crafted plot, the book tells of the perilous nature of obsession in literature and in love.
In June, Doubleday will publish The Angel's Game, which also revolves around the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, this time in 1920s Barcelona. The book is a "dizzingly constructed labyrinth of secrets where the magic of books, passion, and friendship blends into a masterful story."
If you haven't yet read The Shadow of the Wind, read it now before the new book comes out! When asked why he writes, the author says "I am in the business of storytelling. I always have been, always will be. It's what I've been doing since I was a kid." He is also a musician and a composer. In fact, at his Web site (www.carlosruizzafon.co.uk) you can download music that he composed to accompany The Shadow of the Wind.
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Just out in paperback is The Geography of Bliss: One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World, by NPR correspondent Eric Weiner. As a foreign correspondent for two decades, Weiner (pronounced, interestingly, WHINER) has traveled to 30 mostly unhappy countries, chronicling catastrophes and maladies wherever he goes. In this book, however, he chronicles his travels to some of the world's most contented places, including Switzerland, Bhutan, and Qatar. Henry Alford (author of the just-published How to Live: A Search for Wisdom from Old People) says of this book "With one single book, Eric Weiner has flushed Bill Bryson down a proverbial toilet, and I say that lovingly. By turns hilarious and profound, this is the kind of book that could change your life." And Tony Horwitz, author of Confederates in the Attic and most recently A Voyage Long Strange, says "Think Don Quixote with a dark sense of humor and a taste for hashish and you begin to grasp Eric Weiner, the modern knight-errant of this mad, sad, wise, and witty quest across four continents. I won't spoil the fun by telling if his mission succeeds, except to say that happiness is reading a book as entertaining as this."
This is what the author has to say:
"Is this a travel book? Yes, but not a typical one. While I do log thousands of miles in researching this book, it is really a travelogue of ideas. I roam the world in search of answers to the pressing questions of our time: What are the essential ingredients for a good life? Why are some places happier than others? How are we shaped by our surroundings? Why can't airlines serve a decent meal?"
"Place. That is what The Geography of Bliss is about. How place -- in every aspect of the word -- shapes us, defines us. Change your place, I believe, and you can change your life."
As for the subtitle, is he really grumpy? "Yes. I'm not particularly happy, and in that way I'm typical of my profession. Journalists are a sullen lot, perhaps understandably so, given the misery we're exposed to on a regular basis. Still, I've always had a hidden buoyancy. I'm a closet optimist. Please don't tell anyone." But through writing the book, that grumpiness has abated somewhat through the morsels of wisdom he gathered: "One of my favorites is the Thai notion of "mai pen lai." It means basically just let it go. You don't have to solve every problem right now. A simple idea, but a tremendously liberating one. I'm not exactly the Dalai Lama, but I'm definitely less grumpy than I used to be."
Give us a call (503-284-1726) if you want us to save a copy for you!