Friday, December 12, 2008

Holiday Message from Roy Blount Jr.

Roy Blount Jr., president of the Author's Guild and author of Alphabet Juice: The Energies, Gists, and Spirits of Letters, Words, and Combinations Thereof; Their Roots, Bones, Inners, Piths, and Pips, has issued the following holiday message on

Holiday Message from Roy Blount Jr.:
Buy Books From Your Local Bookstore, Now

December 11, 2008. I've been talking to booksellers lately who report that times are hard. And local booksellers aren't known for vast reserves of capital, so a serious dip in sales can be devastating. Booksellers don't lose enough money, however, to receive congressional attention. A government bailout isn't in the cards.

We don't want bookstores to die. Authors need them, and so do neighborhoods. So let's mount a book-buying splurge. Get your friends together, go to your local bookstore and have a book-buying party. Buy the rest of your Christmas presents, but that's just for starters. Clear out the mysteries, wrap up the histories, beam up the science fiction! Round up the westerns, go crazy for self-help, say yes to the university press books! Get a load of those coffee-table books, fatten up on slim volumes of verse, and take a chance on romance!

There will be birthdays in the next twelve months; books keep well; they're easy to wrap: buy those books now. Buy replacements for any books looking raggedy on your shelves. Stockpile children's books as gifts for friends who look like they may eventually give birth. Hold off on the flat-screen TV and the GPS (they'll be cheaper after Christmas) and buy many, many books. Then tell the grateful booksellers, who by this time will be hanging onto your legs begging you to stay and live with their cat in the stockroom: "Got to move on, folks. Got some books to write now. You see...we're the Authors Guild."

Enjoy the holidays.

Roy Blount Jr.
President Authors Guild

When asked if booksellers could post and forward this message, Mr. Blount's response was this:

"Yes! Forward! Yes! Post! Sound the clarion call to every corner of the Internet: Hang in there, bookstores! We're coming! And we're coming to buy! To buy what? To buy books! Gimme a B! B! Gimme an O! O! Gimme another O! Another O! Gimme a K! K! Gimme an S! F! No, not an F, an S. We're spelling BOOKS!"

You can see the original post here. We here at the Book House are grateful to Mr. Blount for his support and encouragement. Every one of our customers makes a difference. We hope you'll think of us this holiday season and come support your local independent bookstore!

Which Guide Should You Buy?

Traveling this holiday season, but not sure what travel guide would be best for you? Our travel guide expert has put together a short and sweet list to help you choose the right guide for your trip. Here's what she has to say about the various options:

Fodor's, Frommer's
These are inclusive, general guides that are considered standards in the field. If you're looking for a good all-around guide, go with one of these.

Lonely Planet Guides, Rough Guides

These guides are inclusive as well and are better for the independent traveler, as they're slightly less mainstream.

Michelin Green Guides
"Concise yet encyclopedic," these guides include good town maps.

DK's Eyewitness Guides, Fodor's "Experiencing" series
Although slightly heavier to carry, these two series are great if you're more visually oriented. They are fully illustrated, with color photos throughout.

The "Best of" or "Top 10" Series
These small guides cover various cities worldwide. They are best if you only have a few days to spend in a place and plan to stay in the area.

Culture Shock!, Culture Smart series
These guides are great if you'd like to know more about the people and culture of a place. They work well paired with one of the more geographically oriented guides.

Let's Go (by Lonely Planet)
Students and backpackers will find these handy guides especially useful.

Have further questions? Give us a call or stop in and see us. We'll be happy to help you find all the reading material you need for your trip...from travel guides to books for the plane!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Signing 12/11: Seven Stones by Peggy Nelson

On Thursday, December 11th, 2008 at 7pm, local author Peggy Nelson will be signing her new book, Seven Stones: A Collection of Poems and Thoughts on Surviving Breast Cancer. The book is being printed by The Troy Book Makers and will be available at the signing.

From the back of the book:

"Peggy Nelson developed breast cancer in 2006. She went through chemotherapy and radiation, and is now in remission. Within these pages are the thoughts and feelings she experienced during that time, from happiness to depression, pain and recovery. Her highs and lows are written to express her feelings and to hopefully connect with those fighting cancer of all forms.

"Peggy is the mother of three and the grandmother of four. She lives in Delmar, New York with her husband of 38 years, Dr. Gary Nelson, a Delmar dentist."

We hope you'll join us in welcoming Peggy Nelson to the Book House on December 11th!

Signing 12/13: When I Grow Up by Jessica Loy

On Saturday, December 13th, 2008 from 1-2:30pm, local author Jessica Loy will be at the Little Book House signing When I Grow Up: A Young Person's Guide to Interesting and Unusual Occupations. Geared toward the 8 & up age group, this fun book teaches children about fourteen occupations that are a bit off the beaten path.

Ever thought about being a kite designer? How about a pet photographer? Maybe a Chocolatier, or a Lobsterman, or an Alpaca Farmer? When I Grow Up gives you details, facts, and photographs about these and many more interesting occupations. The people profiled have made their interests and dreams into realities, and the book encourages children to do the same.

The book also includes a list of resources and summer camps at the back so that parents can help their children pursue various interests.

The book, which is published in hardcover from Henry Holt & Company, is $16.95 and is currently available at the Little Book House.

We hope you'll join us in welcoming Jessica Loy to the Little Book House on December 13th!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Amazing Peace by Maya Angelou

Amazing Peace: A Christmas Poem by Maya Angelou is my favourite new Christmas book this year as well as my gift of choice! I have loved Maya Angelou and her writing since I first read I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings in middle school. My respect & admiration for her has only increased over the years so I was thrilled when I saw that she was coming out with a kid's book. The illustrators, Steve Johnson, & Lou Fancher, have created such beautiful textured images to match her glorious, resonant words. This is an absolutely gorgeous book with a message of hope & community that reaches across boundaries to our common humanity. The book also comes with a CD of Maya Angelou reading the poem. The best audience for the book would be 5 & up to adult. Let's all "speak the word aloud. Peace."

Signing 1/17: Dakota: A Work in Progress by Bill Rosencrans

On Saturday, January 17th, 2009, from 1-3pm, local author Bill Rosencrans will be signing his new book, Dakota: A Work in Progress at the Book House. If you enjoy dog books, check this one out!

Several well-known authors have great things to say about Dakota. Stanley Coren, author of How Dogs Think and The Intelligence of Dogs, wrote, "Dakota: A Work in Progress is a cheerful and amusing romp through the life of a manic but sweet and endearing dog. If you love dogs and need a smile this book is for you."

Sonny Brewer, who wrote Cormac, The Tale of a Dog Gone Missing, and The Poet of Tolstoy Park, had this to say: "Bill Rosencrans' book about his wonder-dog Dakota is a long love letter, really. It's a treat for the rest of us that we get to read of Dakota's doings over Bill's shoulder, reminded on every page why we ourselves love our own doggies."

The book is forthcoming from Diversion Press and will be available at the signing.

About the author:
Bill Rosencrans, a member of SUNY Albany's New York State Writers Institute, lives in upstate New York with his wife, son, and (of course!) Dakota. In addition to Dakota: A Work in Progress, which is his first book, Bill has written eight screenplays and a stage play. He also served as the story consultant for the award-winning Inside the Blue Line - Leadley's Legacy, a documentary aired on both WMHT and PBS. Bill's current project is Dakota:Still a Work in Progress.

We hope you'll join us in welcoming Bill Rosencrans to the Book House on January 17th!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Holiday Sales!

Lots of things at the Book House are now on sale!

First, bargain books (the ones with the orange stickers) continue to be 20% off. That's 20% off what's already the bargain price, so they're double on sale!

Second, our Holiday Picks have been announced! These are nice gift books that the staff has chosen to discount 20% for the holiday season. There are adult and children books, covering a wide variety of topics, all hand-picked by the Book House booksellers. Come in and look for the red tags to find them!

Third, our holiday catalog is out, which includes a 20% off coupon for any book in the catalog. Stop in and pick one up today!

Finally, we're trying something new this year. All books in the store that are originally $50 or more are 20% off as well. That means all the cool gift books, like customer favorite Birdscapes (the singing pop-up book), will be discounted from now until Christmas.

In addition, as always, we offer no fee, no expiration date gift certificates in any amount you desire, plus lots of gifts under $10! Stop in and see us for your holiday shopping!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Signing 12/3: Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney

Bestselling author Jeff Kinney will be at the Little Book House on Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008 from 10:45am to noon to sign Diary of a Wimpy Kid! Kinney has also written a sequel to the book, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Roderick Rules, as well as the Diary of a Wimpy Kid Do-It-Yourself Book, which kids can create themselves.

All three Diary of a Wimpy Kid titles are currently available at the Little Book House. The fourth book in the series, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw will be out in January 2009 and is available for preorder.

The novels, told from main character Greg's point of view, are told through cartoons. They chronicle the everyday adventures of an average kid growing up. With school, his older brother Roderick, and his parents, Greg certainly has his hands full! A signed copy would make a great holiday gift.

We hope you'll join us in welcoming Jeff Kinney to the Little Book House. We're excited to have him, and we hope you are, too! We'll see you on December 3rd!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Signing 12/18: Diners of New York by Michael Engle

Looking for a great Christmas gift, either for yourself or someone else? On Thursday, December 18th, 2008, at 7pm, local author Michael Engle will be signing copies of his new book, Diners of New York. Diner fans and New York residents can all rejoice. This book is great!

Spanning Long Island to the Great Lakes, Diners of New York covers the entirety of the Empire state. Organized by region, it features maps, descriptions, photographs, contact information, and bits of history. It even includes a section on diner manufacturers and styles!

Published by Stackpole Books, Diners of New York is available at the Book House in paperback for $19.95.

This book is truly a treasure for anyone interested in diners (and who isn't?). We hope you'll join us in welcoming Michael Engle to the Book House on December 18th!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Signing 11/22: Confusion on the Farm by L.D. Campbell

On Saturday, November 22nd, 2008, from 1-2pm, local children's author L.D. Campbell will be at the Little Book House to sign her book Confusion on the Farm. The book is now available in paperback for $12.95.

The book is the first in L.D. Campbell's First Readers Collection. When Farmer Bill wakes up sick and can't feed the animals on his farm, a hungry fox decides to step in and "feed" them. Chaos ensues, as a confused dog tries to help the animals escape. Farmer Bill gets out of bed at the last minute to save the day. The story contains enough repetition for children to help read the story, yet enough action to keep them interested. Alexander Florence's illustrations provide a fun and colorful accompaniment to Campbell's text.

The About the Author section of Confusion on the Farm explains that Campbell is a science teacher who recognizes the importance of reading. She began writing books as a gift for her daughters.

We hope you will join us in welcoming L.D. Campbell to the Little Book House on November 22nd!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Signing 11/22: Lincoln's Veteran Volunteers Win the War by D. Reid Ross

We've just learned that D. Reid Ross will be at the Book House on Saturday, November 22nd, 2008 at 4:30 for a signing. Ross's new book, which is of great local interest, is entitled Lincoln's Veteran Volunteers Win the War: The Hudson Valley's Ross Brothers and the Union's Fight for Emancipation (whew!).

We have very little information about the book, which is due out from SUNY Press just before our event. Our database states simply that the book "Chronicles the Civil War experiences of four brothers from New York's Hudson Valley." SUNY Press has a slightly longer description on their website, here.

Stay tuned! We'll post more information as we get it. We hope to see you on November 22nd to welcome D. Reid Ross to the Book House!

New Local Interest Calendars

Over the past few days, some of our new local interest calendars have arrived! Here are a few about the Capital District that benefit local organizations:

2009 Quadricentennial Commemorative Calendar
This calendar is made up of beautiful photographs from all around the Capital District and was put out to commemorate Albany's 400th year! It is available at the Book House for $20.00, with all proceeds going to the Downtown Albany BID. The organization's mission, as stated on the back of the calendar, is "to restore, promote and maintain the character and viability of downtown Albany and improve the quality of life and overall image for those who live in, work in and visit the Capital City." If you'd like to support the Downtown Albany BID and have a great calendar, stop in today and pick one up!

Into the Kitchen 2009: Recipes from our Favorite Capital District Chefs
Each page of this scrumptious calendar features a recipe from a local chef next to a mouthwatering photograph of the finished product. Recipes cover everything from soup to main course to dessert. Yum! Even better, the proceeds from the calendar sales benefit Food Pantries for the Capital District. At just $12.95, this calendar is a great way to support a worthy cause, plus get a calendar and cookbook in one for yourself!

2009 Cutest Pets Photo Contest Calendar
Animal lovers will adore this collection of cute local pets put together by the Mohawk & Hudson River Humane Society. It features photographs of contest-winning Capital District pets, including a variety of dogs and one adorable cat. The calendar is available for $12.00, and proceeds go directly back to the Humane Society so that they can continue the great work they do.

Other Local Favorites

We also have many local favorites in stock, including the Guilderland Historical Society, Vermont Life, Adirondack Life, Adirondack Mountain Club, Lake George Vistas, and Hudson River calendars!

Friday, November 7, 2008

New Newsletters Are Here!

We've recently added more newsletter options for Book House customers! In addition to our main newsletter, News from the Store, you can now sign up for seven other lists, depending on what information you'd like to receive.

Like to stay up-to-date on which authors are in town for signings? You have four list options, depending on your location(s) of choice:

Events at Book House: Receive invitations to signings and other events being held at the Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza

Events at Little Book House: Receive invitations to signings and other events being held at the Little Book House

Events at Market Block Books: Receive invitations to signings and other events being held at Market Block Books in Troy

Special & Offsite events: Receive invitations to offsite events, such as the SUNY Writers Institute author series or Children's Literature Connection events, where the Book House will be selling books

Are you in a book group, or would you like to be? Check out these two lists:

Book Groups this Month: Looking for suggestions or just curious what other book groups are reading? Find out through this list created just for our many book groups.

Official Store Book Group: Over the years, we've started and stopped book groups officially run by the store. We're thinking of starting one up through the Book House in January. Want to stay up to date? Sign up for this list.

Like to hear about books that have been in the media recently?

Check out the Books on the Air newsletter to hear about a selection every week.

If you're interested in signing up for any of these new newsletters, or if you'd like to sign up for News from the Store, check out our website here. We hope you enjoy our new selection of newsletters!

Signing 11/19: Blown to Bits by Harry Lewis

On Wednesday, November 19th, 2008 at 7pm, former Dean of Harvard Harry Lewis will be signing and discussing a book he recently co-authored, Blown to Bits: Your Life, Liberty, and Happiness After the Digital Explosion. The book provides a way for us to understand the digitization of our lives that happens constantly, whether we realize it's going on or not.

From the inside of the book's jacket:

"Every day, billions of photographs, news stories, songs, X-rays, TV shows, phone calls, and emails are being scattered around the world as sequences of zeroes and ones: bits. We can't escape this explosion of digital information and few of us want to--the benefits are too seductive....But the same engineering marvels are shattering centuries-old assumptions about privacy, identity, free expression, and personal control as more and more details of our lives are captured as digital data....This book is a wake-up call to the human consequences of the digital explosion."

Also from the book's jacket, Reed Hundt, former Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, has this to say:

"If you want to understand the future before it happens, you'll love this book. If you want to change the future before it happens to you, this book is required reading."

The book was published in June of 2008 by Addison-Wesley Professional and is available in hardcover for $25.95.

We're looking forward to a fascinating, informative, and lively discussion. We hope you'll join us on November 19th in welcoming Harry Lewis!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Signing 11/13: Light by David Campano

On Thursday, November 13th, 2008 at 7pm, local author David Campano will be joining us here at the Book House to sign his new book, Light: A Book of Solace.

We don't have too much information about the book yet, as it's not yet available. However, here is the quote from the back of the book:

"A beloved cat who teaches a life lesson. A crystal necklace with magical powers. The gateway to eternal life through ones’ breath. The power of nature, and the beauty of art. These are just a few peeks into the world of Light: A Book of Solace, a collection of joyous literature celebrating the joys of animals, nature, spiritual thought, and numerous other things the reader is sure to enjoy.

"David C. Campano has spent over ten years writing various forms of literature, including short stories and a novella. Aside from a budding writing career, he works as a Spiritual Advisor in the Capital District area of New York. He hopes to someday write full time. He lives in Schenectady, New York with his frisky cat, Luna, but he swears he’ll be living near palm trees sooner rather than later. He is currently working on his next book, and looks forward to releasing it soon."

We hope you'll join us in welcoming David Campano to the Book House on November 13th!

Signed Copies of Champlain's Dream!

David Hackett Fischer, well-known historian and author of the Pulitzer Prize winning Washington's Crossing, among many other books, was at SUNY's Writers Institute last night. He graciously signed some copies of his newest book, Champlain's Dream, for us! We only have a limited supply, so come and get your copy soon!

The book is an in-depth study of Champlain's life, focusing on his exploration of America. Not only is it interesting, but it's beautifully written, making it a pleasure to read. It's a book with plenty of local appeal as well. Christmas is right around the corner...a signed book would make a great gift!

We also have a few copies of two other of Fischer's books, Albion's Seed and The Great Wave. Come on in and check them out!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Signing 11/8: The Narcotic Farm by Nancy Campbell

On Saturday, November 8th, 2008 from 1:00 to 3:00pm, Nancy Campbell, author of The Narcotic Farm: The Rise and Fall of America's First Prison for Drug Addicts will be at the Book House for a signing.

The book tells the story of the United States Narcotic Farm in Lexington, Kentucky, over the span of 40 some years during which it was operational. Full of fascinating photographs, informative text, and historical documents, The Narcotic Farm offers an absorbing portrait of this unique establishment.

On the back of the book, David Courtwright, author of Dark Paradise, Addicts Who Survived, and Forces of Habit, is quoted as follows:

"The Narcotic Farm works its magic by recapturing, in images and words, the lost world of 'Narco,' the sprawling federal prison-hospital for drug addicts in Lexington, Kentucky. It's the details that get you, from the disheveled misery of withdrawal to the uninhibited joy of performing in the house jazz band."

The book, published by Abrams, is $29.95 in hardcover and is available now at the Book House.

We hope you will join us in welcoming Nancy D. Campbell to the Book House on November 8th!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Signing 1/24: Made from Scratch by Jenna Woginrich

Have you ever wondered about keeping bees? How about dreamed of eggs fresh from the chicken every morning? Maybe imagined making your own clothes? Jenna Woginrich did. Not sure where to start? Jenna can help. Her new book, Made from Scratch: Discovering the Pleasures of a Handmade Life is just what you need.

The setting: a farm in Idaho. The cast: two working huskies, a hive of bees, a tiny flock of slug-eating chickens, a couple angora rabbits, an encouraging homesteading mentor, and one girl who longs to farm. The plot:'ll just have to read it!

The book is set up in sections, with one for each of the homesteading skills discussed. First, Jenna tells the story of her own experience of trying her hand at the skill. Immediately following, you'll find a how-to section so that, if you are inspired by her example (and it's hard not to be), you can jump right in and give it a go yourself. There's also a fantastic appendix at the back listing all sorts of further reading on your topic(s?) of choice.

From gardening to sewing, from the kitchen to the barn, if you're looking for a taste of the simple life and some inspiration, this is the book for you. And there's no need to wait until spring to get started. There are plenty of projects in the book that you can start in on right away.

Interested? Jenna Woginrich will be at Market Block Books from 11:00am to 12:00pm and the Book House on Saturday, January 24, 2008 from 1:30 to 3:00, so you'll have plenty of chances to pick up the book and meet the author. The book will be published at the end of December and will be available at both stores (Storey Publishing, $20.95 in hardcover).

Please join us in welcoming Jenna Woginrich to the Book House and Market Block Books!

Signing 12/7: The History of the Snowman by Bob Eckstein

On Sunday, December 7th, 2008, from 4:00 to 5:30 pm, Bob Eckstein will be at the Book House signing his delightful wintry book, The History of the Snowman.

From the publisher's comments (you can see more by clicking on the link above):

"Who made the first snowman? Who first came up with the idea of placing snowballs on top of each other, and who decided they would use a carrot for a nose? Most puzzling of all: How can this mystery ever be solved, with all the evidence long since melted?"

Curious? We are. For the answers to these questions and many more, stop in on December 7th and talk to Bob Eckstein!

Signing 11/20: I'm Going to Dance by Erika Kirtoglou

On Thursday, November 20th, 2008, at 7pm, local author Erika Kirtoglou will be signing her memoir, I'm Going to Dance: A Memoir About Traumatic Brain Injury.

In August of 1993, Kirtoglou was involved in a head-on car collision that left her in a coma. I'm Going to Dance is her story of the crash and its aftermath, which still affects her today as she lives with post-traumatic brain injury. It is an honest look at her journey through recovery.

Her website,, includes the following quote from Liz Tuccillo, author of He’s Just Not That Into You and Staff Writer for "Sex in the City":

"This is indeed a story about the triumph of the human spirit. Yet, Erika tells it with an unflinching honesty and humor that makes you unable to put her book down. This is the real deal, not the sugar-coated version, and we, in the end, are left dreaming Erika's dreams with her."

Please join us in welcoming Erika Kirtoglou to the Book House on November 20th!

Signings 11/15: Buy Local Day!

On Saturday, November 15th, 2008, Capital District Local First will be sponsoring Buy Local Day, a day that encourages shopping locally and supporting area businesses. In honor of Buy Local Day, the Book House will have three local authors signing their books throughout the day! All books will be available for purchase the day of the event. Please help us in welcoming the following local authors to the Book House:


From 1:00 to 2:15pm, Christine Auclair will be signing her two books. One of her books is geared toward adults and one is written for children.

Living in New York as a Red Sox Fan: Tips & Topics from Within Enemy Lines is packed with pictures, quotes, and stories that will bolster any NY resident/Boston fan's resolve. Inside the book you'll find everything from merchandise to children's drawings, tips to tidbits, all in support of cheering for the Red Sox. Funny, sarcastic, and informative, this one belongs on any Red Sox fan's bookshelf.

You Can't Find a Rainbow in the House, teaches children the joy and importance of being outside. Accompanied by drawings and photographs, the book discusses all the wonderful things you can do outside. A portion of the proceeds go to The Magic Foundation, which offers help to children dealing with rare diseases.

COLEEN PARATORE: 1:30-3:00pm

From 1:30 to 3:00pm, Coleen Paratore will be signing her books. A local favorite with the middle reader age group, Paratore has written both picture books and chapter books. Among her many titles are the following:

In Willa By Heart, Willa (from The Wedding Planner's Daughter) and her boyfriend, Joey, seem to be the obvious choices for the lead roles in the town's production of Our Town. However, competition from a talented new girl, combined with some dancing under the stars, shake things up for Willa and Joey.

In The Funeral Director's Son, Kip Campbell longs to move far away from the family's funeral home business. The problem is that the dead talk to him, telling him what must happen before they can move on. When someone offers to pay him his weight in gold for discovering what old Billy Blye needs before he can rest in peace, Kip can't refuse!

26 Big Things Small Hands Do is one of Paratore's picture books. It works its way through the alphabet, listing all sorts of kind, friendly, generous, and helpful things little hands can do. The sweet story is accompanied by Mike Reed's beautiful illustrations.

WINIFRED ELZE: 2:30-3:30pm

From 2:30 to 3:30pm, Winifred Elze will be signing her new book, The Borgia Prince. It's a mystery set in Schenectady, NY, where a murder in the local theatre during opening night of "The Borgia Prince" leads one box office employee into a potentially dangerous confrontation.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

October Mystery Extravaganza

With Halloween just around the corner, it's a great time to read a gripping mystery! Here are the most popular mysteries on our shelves this month. Clicking on the title will take you to a page with more information, a picture of the cover, and an opportunity to order the book(s) for in-store pick-up!

1. Where Are You Now by Mary Higgins Clark (Simon & Schuster, $25.95 in hardcover)
2. Zapped by Carol Higgins Clark (Simon & Schuster, $24.00 in hardcover)
3. In the Bleak Midwinter by Julia Spencer-Fleming (Local author! Staff pick! St. Martin's, $6.99 in paperback)
4. Friends in High Places by Donna Leon (Penguin-Putnam, $7.99 in paperback)
5. Now and Then by Robert B. Parker (Penguin-Putnam, $9.99 in paperback)
6. The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie King (St. Martin's, $14.00 in paperback)
7. A Fountain Filled with Blood by Julia Spencer-Fleming (Local author! Staff pick! St. Martin's, $6.99 in paperback)
8. Book of the Dead by Patricia Cornwell (Penguin-Putnam, $9.99 in paperback)
9. Sweet Revenge by Diana Mott Davidson (Harper-Collins, $7.99 in paperback)
10. I Shall Not Want by Julia Spencer-Fleming (Local author! Staff pick! St. Martin's, $24.95 in hardcover)

In addition, our booksellers have some favorite mysteries of their own. Here are some of our series picks:

Arnaldur Indridason's Reykjavik thrillers
This international mystery series starts off with Jar City, followed by Silence of the Grave and Voices, all available in paperback. The fourth in the series, The Draining Lake, is now available in hardcover (St. Martin's, $24.95). Marggie's could be, too!

Ariana Franklin's "Mistress of the Art of Death" series
Susan T. and Erin adore this historical mystery series. The best way we can describe it is 12th century CSI! Follow Adelia, a female physician from Salerno, as she solves mysteries for the King of England. Mistress of the Art of Death is the first in the series, followed by The Serpent's Tale. And look for the third, Grave Goods, coming in March from Penguin-Putnam ($25.95)!

Jacqueline Winspear's "Maisie Dobbs" series
Looking for a good British mystery series? Lots of Book Housers would show you Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear. After serving as a nurse during World War I, Maisie starts working as a private investigator. There are five books in the series so far, with the sixth due out in February. From second to last (the first being Maisie Dobbs, link above), the series runs: Birds of a Feather, Pardonable Lies, Messenger of Truth, Incomplete Revenge, and Among the Mad.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Event 11/14: SUNY English Department Party

On Friday, November 14th, 2008, from 6-8pm, the SUNY Albany English Department will be holding their annual party at the Book House. The following authors will be in attendance, with the following books being available:

Author: Branka Arsic
Book: Passive Constitutions; or, 7 1/2 Times Bartleby
Publisher: Stanford University Press

Author: Glyne Griffith, et. al.
Book: Color, Hair and Bone: Race in the Twenty-First Century
Publisher: Bucknell University Press

Author: Helene Scheck
Book: Reform and Resistance: Formations of Female Subjectivity in Early Medieval Ecclesiastical Culture
Publisher: SUNY Press

Author: Charles Shepherdson
Book: Lacan and the Limits of Language
Publisher: Fordham University Press

Author: Alifair Skebe
Book: El Aqua Es la Sangre de la Tierra: The Water is the Blood of the Earth
Publisher: Finishing Line Press

Signing 10/30: No Room for Democracy by Richard Rosenbaum

On Thursday, October 30th, 2008, at 7pm, local author Richard M. Rosenbaum will be at the Book House signing his new autobiography, No Room for Democracy: The Triumph of Ego over Common Sense. Born in upstate New York in the '30s, Mr. Rosenbaum has spent many years in politics. As a former New York State Republican Party Chairman and State Supreme Court justice, Mr. Rosenbaum has plenty of stories to tell.

The book is published by Cary Graphic Arts Press in Rochester, NY. The publisher has the following kind words for Mr. Rosenbaum's book on its website:

"Dick Rosenbaum narrates each moment with his characteristic booming enthusiasm and candid anecdotes, while sharing thoughtful insights derived from witnessing the shakeups of some 45 years of American political life. Rosenbaum’s journey is a unique portrait of self-made success."

In addition, Sam Roberts of the New York Times recently reviewed No Room for Democracy. Roberts recaps a portion of the book:

"Mr. Rosenbaum recalls flying over South Dakota on Mr. Rockefeller’s private jet in 1974, eager to see Mount Rushmore, but disappointed when the plane arrived after dark. Mr. Rockefeller left his seat briefly, and by the time he returned, the monument was bathed in floodlights. 'One of the most powerful men in the country,' Mr. Rosenbaum remembered, 'had just worked a miracle of sorts for my pleasure.'"

You can find the rest of the review here. Scroll down below the political cartoons to read the relevant review.

No Room for Democracy is now available at the Book House for $17.95 in paperback. We hope you will join us in welcoming Richard Rosenbaum to our store next Thursday night!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Looking for a spooky read? You'll find it in the Graveyard. Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book is a deliciously chilling, yet also quirky story. Nobody Owens escaped death by a hair's breadth as a baby, saved by the denizens of the nearby graveyard. He is raised by kindly if unconventional guardians who teach him the ways of their world. The graveyard has its own dangers & pitfalls that Nobody needs to learn to navigate as he grows older. His greatest peril, however, comes from the mysterious and deadly man Jack who never quite gave up the hope that he would be able to find and deal with Nobody. Neil Gaiman, (who also wrote Coraline, Stardust, & The Anansi Boys-to name a few of my favorites) is such an incredible storyteller. His worlds are an enthralling mixture of suspense, humor, and adventure that are filled with engaging characters. This particular adventure of Nobody Owens is good for 10 & up.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Guest Post: Adam Shepard

As of today, Adam Shepard's book Scratch Beginnings is available for purchase! We're thrilled to have him joining us at the Book House a week from tomorrow, on Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008 at 7pm. If you missed our first announcement about the event, you can check it out by clicking here.

In preparation for the signing, and to help us launch our new blog, Shepard has written a guest post for us. Here's what he has to say in anticipation of his night at the Book House:

"Man, a lot of people in my generation are spoiled. A lot of us got EVERYTHING we wanted growing up, most of us turning a blind eye to the great opportunities that we’ve been given.

"Rather than continuing to debate about it, though, I decided to act. After reading Nickel and Dimed, a well-written but flawed account of Barbara Ehrenreich’s own search for the American Dream, and after taking a good, hard look at the materialistic individualism that appeared to be brewing around me with my peers, I decided to go out and test the theory of this “American Dream” on which our great country has been founded. I started with $25 and the clothes on my back in a randomly chosen city to see if, in one year, I could have $2500, a car, and a furnished apartment at the hands of hard work and frugality.

"And, of course, things didn’t go as planned from the start. I spent 70 days in a homeless shelter, got hurt, got sick, and got my butt kicked by my roommate. Maybe I reached my goals, maybe I didn’t, but that turned out to be less important than the journey itself that I took—the process of taking control of my future every morning when I woke up, or not—and the people I met along the way. Given $25, am I going to stand up, face adversity, and fight to reach my goals or am I going to dig a hole, crawl in, and wait for somebody to come rescue me?

"Of course there is PLENTY of criticism for this story, and when I come to the Book House on October 22nd, I’m going to be ready and willing to address it.

"But, for now, I’m relishing the idea that my generation, in particular, has to step up. Put down the Playstation controller, suck it up, and go out there and make something of your life!"

We all look forward to seeing you on Wednesday at the Book House!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Signing: Weeping Under this Same Moon by Jana Laiz

On Saturday, November 1st, 2008, at 3pm, Jana Laiz will be at the Book House to sign her new novel, Weeping Under this Same Moon. Laiz has also written a beautiful children's picture book, Elephants of the Tsunami.

Weeping Under this Same Moon tells the story of two teens from different cultures. Mei, an artist in Vietnam, is forced to escape as one of the refugees known as "Boat People." Hannah, a student in America, learns about the refugees' struggles and feels she must help. The two girls are ultimately brought together across cultural lines.

From the back of the book: "Weeping Under this Same Moon is a testament to the power of love and the spirit of volunteerism; affirming that doing for others does so much for one's self."

Please join us in welcoming Jana Laiz to the Book House!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Presidential Election (Fictional)--2 Wonderful Novels

If you're not already registered to vote (you are, aren't you? the deadline in New York is tomorrow, October 10th), do so immediately or forfeit your right to complain for the next 4 years!

After you've done that, pick up one of these worthy novels about fictional elections. Both have pie-in-the-sky, idealistic, impossible-to-realize visions of how politics, government and society could be run, but if we want our country and the world to be a better place, don't we need to imagine and work for the changes that will get us there? In the words of George Bernard Shaw:
"Some men see things as they are and ask why? I dream dreams that never were and ask why not?" Why not indeed?

American Savior by Roland Merullo has a simple premise. Jesus has returned to 21st century America because he is worried about the direction the USA is taking and how his words have been used to support various political agendas, none of which have anything to do with faith, hope or charity. His solution? He decides to run for President of the United States. Narrated by a cynical television reporter who becomes the security chief for the campaign, we hear all the reasons why Jesus can never win--he won't fight dirty, he won't badmouth the other candidates, he won't hire a PR firm to produce glitzy television commercials in swing states. You know, he runs a clean campaign, just like our current candidates . And yet--somehow, Americans are listening to his message, understanding his solutions, and finding the best in themselves, which translates into supporting the surprise 3rd party candidate. I recommend this book--I think McCain and Obama should both read it, too. Yes, it is a political fairy tale, but don't fairy tales exist because they illuminate our archetypical desires? Read this and aspire to a better country.

Janet Tashjian is a young adult author who has written 3 books about Larry, the alter-ego of a young man named Josh. Josh's life ambition is to contribute and make the world a better place.
The first book, The Gospel according to Larry, is the story of Josh's (Larry's) Web site, in which he posts anti-consumerist sermons. It's great--read it! This post concerns the second book, Vote for Larry. Josh is back in business and looking for a new way to contribute, so he decides to run for President. (Do you sense a theme here?) Yes, he is too young to be elected, but he wants to bring attention to the issues that really matter to kids his age--the environment, the war, unemployment, education, social justice. His campaign starts with himself, his best friend Beth (on the ticket as Vice President), her boyfriend Simon, and his stepfather Peter as campaign manager. After a disastrous beginning, the campaign starts to pick up steam, and soon Josh is speaking to huge crowds of supporters across the country and his Peace Party campaign is s power to be reckoned with. Interspersed with the story (love triangle, campaign skulduggery, general angst), are pages of factoids about the environment, the increasing gap between rich and poor, quality of life, America's youth, and quotes from well-known iconoclasts from Edward Abbey to Martin Luther King, Jr. NOT JUST FOR TEENS!! If you are feeling hopeless about politics and convinced nothing will ever change, read this book--it will inspire you to be the change you want to see, right here, right now.

Keep inspiring, educating and entertaining yourself--READ!

Your vote is your voice--the only person who can silence you is you.
On November 4th, be radical--VOTE!

Monday, October 6, 2008

The Renovations Continue!

The renovations continue at the Book House & Little Book House. The Book House's new counter is looking sharp with its new lights (we think they look like cheesecakes...yum!):
Meanwhile, the Little Book House is getting a new coat of paint in all kinds of fun colors!

Stop in and see us (and the renovations!)...we'd love to see you!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month!

Since October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the Book House staff wanted to do a special post with some related news and, of course, books.

First off, the news: Marggie of the Book House recently returned from San Francisco, where she walked in the Breast Cancer 3-Day with her two daughters. They, along with almost 2,000 other participants, walked a total of 60 miles over the 3 days of the event. Together, their team of 15 (the Boob Brigade) raised $43,308, and the entire event raised $4.8 million to fight breast cancer!

Now, on to the books! There have been many breast cancer memoirs published over the past few years. We here at the Book House wanted to highlight a few.

Erin's pick is It's Not About the Hair by Debra Jarvis (Sasquatch Books, $16.95), which just came out in paperback this fall. Jarvis works as a chaplain in the general oncology department of the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. The book tells of her experience of going through treatment for breast cancer while helping others undergoing similar experiences. Erin's Staff Recommendation card for the book in the store reads: "I read this book and passed it along to my mother, who read the first 50 pages and promptly bought 2 more copies for friends before finishing it herself. It's warm and honest, funny and heartbreaking. I'd recommend this book to anyone dealing with, affected by, or interested in a survivor's experience with breast cancer."

Rachel's favorite is Cancer Vixen by Marisa Acocella Marchetto (Random House, $22.00). It's a graphic memoir, told through cartoons, about battling breast cancer while living in New York City. Rachel's Staff Recommendation card reads, "This is a wonderful memoir, filled with biting humor and poignancy, of cartoonist Marisa Marchetto's battle with breast cancer in graphic novel form. I really loved it!" You can browse Marchetto's website by clicking here.

In addition, the Little Book House staff has some favorite children's books that deal with cancer. Here are two of their recommendations:

The Lemonade Club by Patricia Polacco (Penguin-Putnam, $16.99) is, as Kathleen writes, is "a look at how cancer affects a classroom--both students and teacher--as only Patricia Polacco can tell, with grace, sensitivity, and humor." When both a student and the teacher are diagnosed with cancer, their classroom comes together to support them. Kathleen continues: "Once again, Polacco delves into her rich history to share with us a beautiful, life-affirming tale--be sure to have Kleenex on hand!"

Hair for Mama by Kelly Tinkham (Penguin-Putnam, $16.99) is described by Rachel as being "simply lovely!". She goes on to say that "Marcus' mom doesn't want to be in the family photograph this year because she has lost her hair to chemo. Marcus' solution doesn't come out the way he thinks bus is the perfect answer!" It's a touching story about a child struggling to understand his mother's illness and to find a way to express his love.

Signing: The River Lock by Stephen Haven

Author Stephen Haven will be joining us here at the Book House on Tuesday, October 21 at 7pm to sign copies of his memoir The River Lock: One Boy's Life Along the Mohawk.

A few lines from the inside jacket flap:
"After a fourteen-year absence from his home in Amsterdam, New York, Haven returns in the week before Easter, 2003, to the town that molded his character....Through memories of adolescence, Haven reveals how a growing understanding of art, culture, friendship, spirituality, family, and class melded to create a man able to live fully in two distinct worlds."

The River Lock was published in hardcover earlier this year by Syracuse University Press.

Haven has also written several books of poetry. He is currently the director of both Ashland University's MFA in creative writing program and the Ashland Poetry Press.

Signing: Bikeman by Tom Flynn

On Saturday, October 25 at 2pm, Tom Flynn will be at the Book House to sign copies of his book Bikeman: An Epic Poem. The book is based on his experiences with September 11, 2001:

"On September 11, 2001, journalist Tom Flynn set off on his bike toward the World Trade Towers not knowing what he was riding into. Bikeman is one man's journey back to the horrors of that day and to the humanity that somehow emerged from the dust and the death. Both heartbreaking and haunting, his words will stay with you like that 'forever September morning.'" (Meredith Vieira, NBC's "Today")

The book published by Andrews McMeel Publishing was released in September. The publisher has an excellent press release online about the book, which you can read here. The same web page also includes a brief bio about Flynn.

We hope you will join us in welcoming Tom Flynn to the Book House!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Signing: Mordicai Gerstein

On Friday, October 24, 2008 at 3:15 pm, children's author & illustrator Mordicai Gerstein will be at the Little Book House to sign copies of his many books! He will be in town for the Children's Literature Connection's Fall Symposium (The Art of the Book), as well as several school events, and is graciously spending some time at the Little Book House as well.

Gerstein's best known children's book is probably The Man Who Walked Between the Towers, which he both wrote and illustrated, and for which he received the Caldecott Award in 2004. The book tells the story of Philippe Petit, a French funambulist who, on August 7, 1974, walked a tightrope wire stretched between the two towers of the World Trade Center. The story is accompanied, of course, by beautifully rendered illustrations.

Another older but still popular book by Gerstein is The Mountains of Tibet. It tells the story of a Tibetan woodcutter who, at the time of his death, is given the choice between remaining in heaven or returning to a new life. The words I found most used in reference to the story were "gentle" and "tender." You can read what two people had to say about it by clicking on the title link above.

My personal favorite of the books Gerstein has illustrated is one that came out just last December. It's How to Paint the Portrait of a Bird, written by Jacques Prevert and exquisitely illustrated by Gerstein. The story is one in which reality mingles with a child's imagination, and Gerstein's whimsical illustrations capture the magic perfectly. Just glance through the pages and you'll fall in love--I did!

Gerstein has also written and/or illustrated a slew of other books. You can check out the full list on his website, here. Other well known titles include Leaving the Nest and Three Samurai Cats.

We invite you to join us in welcoming Mordicai Gerstein to the Little Book House on October 24th!