Monday, September 29, 2008

Cover Your Ears, This Book Is Banned!

Join the Little Book House's Kathleen Carey, along with other local bibliophiles, when they take part in the Banned Books Read Out on Friday, October 3rd at Tess' Lark Tavern, from 6:oo-7:30. Participants will celebrate the right to free speech by reading passages of classic books--with titles for both children and adults--to an eager audience that will hopefully include you! The event is being held to close out the annual Banned Book Week, which runs from September 28th to October 4th. Kathleen will be reading from Maurice Sendak's shocking classic In The Night Kitchen, which, according to the ALA's Banned Book Resource Guide, has been challenged at a Minnesota school in 1992 because reading the book "could lay the foundation for future use of pornography," and at a Texas public library in 1994 because "the little boy pictured did not have any clothes on and it pictured his private area."

Signing: Scratch Beginnings by Adam Shepard

Did you read Nickel and Dimed or Bait and Switch by Barbara Ehrenreich? Author Adam Shepard did, and he felt the need to respond. Not long after graduating from Merrimack College in North Andover, MA, Shepard set out on an experiment of his own. With the clothes he was wearing, $25 in cash, and a sleeping bag and tarp in his gym bag, he arrived in Charleston, SC--randomly chosen from a hat full of cities--to see what he could make of himself in one year.

"Socioeconomically speaking, my story is a rebuttal to Barbara Ehrenreich's Nickel and Dimed and Bait and Switch, the books that spoke on the death of the American Dream," Shepard writes in the intro, which you can read in full on Shepard's website, here. "...my story is a search to evaluate if hard work and discipline provide any payoff whatsoever or if they are, as Ehrenreich suggests, futile pursuits."

Shepard set goals for himself. Within one year of striking out for Charleston, he would:
1. own a functional car;
2. live in a furnished apartment;
3. have $2500 to his name; and
4. be at a point where he could either go to school or start his own business as a way of bettering his situation.

Scratch Beginnings is an account of his experience. You can see Shepard talking about the book on YouTube by clicking here. Originally self-published, the book is now being published by Harper Collins and will be available in October (hardcover, $19.95). As with most new books, the author will be on tour. Guess where he's coming?

That's right...to The Book House! On Wednesday, October 22, at 7pm, Adam Shepard will be at The Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza to sign and discuss Scratch Beginnings. Of course, you are warmly invited to attend!

In addition, in anticipation of the signing event, we've asked Shepard to make a guest appearance on our blog. Keep an eye out for his post!

Shocking Culinary Theft! Frankenstein Takes the Cake!

In a shocking turn of events, Frankenstein has been found to have taken the cake! (Yes, all you Mary Shelley fans out there, I know it should really be Frankenstein's Monster-Frankenstein was the name of the doctor, not the creature. But Frankenstein's Monster just doesn't scan as well. What can you do?) In any case, Frankenstein has been caught in flagrante delicto with icing all over his hands on the cover of Frankenstein Takes the Cake by Adam Rex . Frankenstein first become known to the public eye in Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich also by Adam Rex. Alas, it would seem that Frankenstein was not content to merely create sandwiches. It is necessary for all well informed citizens to read this account in order to understand this scandalous episode and the motivations behind it. Would be readers are warned that they might be at risk of injuries resulting from falling out of their chairs laughing. Indeed, an excess of hilarity has been witnessed whenever someone has read the account. There has been much favorable comment on the variety of styles of the hilarious illustrations. The natural audience for this epic would be 5-10 year olds with wacky, Pythonesque senses of humor, although fans of any age of monster movies run a close second!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Bats Abandon Belfry-Seek Library Instead!


Bats are forsaking their natural habitat of belfrys and caves for the wondrous world of the library! In Brian Lies' new book , Bats at the Library , a window is left open at the local library and the bats swoop in after dark to enjoy the books. At least, the older and more mature bats do. The younger ones go a bit wild mucking about with the copier and the fountain-they've never learned proper library etiquette, you see. (That never happens in the human world.) But, thankfully, at storytime, the little ones get drawn into the lovely, incredible land of books and imagination. My absolute favourite parts of the book are the wonderfully clever illustrations of children's classics reinterpreted with bat characters and titles. Bats at the Library is obviously an excellent choice for library storytimes, but the different levels of humor will appeal to a wider audience of both kids and adults as well. Enjoy!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Top Ten New Fiction Books of September

Here's a list of our best-selling hardcover (new) fiction titles for the month of September. Click on each title for more information!

1. The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Society by Mary Shaffer & Annie Barrows (hardover, $22.00) Staff Pick!
2. The Garden of Last Days by Andre Dubus III (hardcover, $24.95)
3. The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein (hardcover, $23.95) Staff Pick!
4. American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld (hardcover, $26.00) Staff Pick!
5. Indignation by Philip Roth (hardcover, $26.00)
6. The Other Queen by Philippa Gregory (hardcover, $25.95)
7. Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri (hardcover, $25.00) Staff Pick!
8. The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski (hardcover, $25.95) Staff Pick!
9. Last Night at the Lobster by Stewart O'Nan (hardcover, $19.95)
10. World Without End by Ken Follett (hardcover, $35.00) Staff Pick!

A Brief Renovation Tour

Renovations here at the Book House are coming along nicely. Here's a quick tour of what we've done so far:

The biggest project underway at present is the new counter. The Little Book House's counter has been partially dismantled, and a doorway has been cut to connect it with the new Book House counter.

The new Book House counter, which will be joined to the Little Book House counter, is starting to come together. It should be beautiful when it's done!

This is the beginning of the new entry way on the Book House side. There will be double doors instead of the single one we currently have, and you'll come straight in instead of at an angle.

The Little Book House has been getting a fresh coat of paint over the past few weeks. This means moments of chaos as the books find short term homes wherever they fit! Bear with us--it's only temporary! And we're happy to dig through the stacks to find what you're looking for so that you don't have to.

Entire walls have been dismantled to get the painting done!
The end result, however, is very clean and fresh-looking. As more of the store gets painted, we think it will really start to come together.
That's all for now. Check back periodically for more updates as the renovations move forward!

LBH Review: The Princess and the Hound


We're trying out video reviews by some of our staff members to see how they work. Here's Sarah giving an impromptu review of The Princess and the Hound by Mette Ivie Harrison:

video

Friday, September 26, 2008

Top Ten Mysteries of September

Ever wonder which mysteries your fellow Book House customers have been reading lately? Here's a list of our 10 best selling mysteries for September 2008. Some are national bestsellers, but some are from our own local authors! You can click on each title for more information.

1. Book of the Dead by Patricia Cornwell (paperback, $9.99)
2. Sweet Revenge by Diane Mott Davidson (paperback, $7.99)
3. In the Woods by Tana French (paperback, $14.00) Staff Pick!
4. Friends in High Places by Donna Leon (paperback, $7.99)
5. In the Bleak Midwinter by Julia Spencer-Fleming (paperback, $6.99) Staff Pick! Local Author!
6. On the Ropes by Tom Schreck (paperback, $13.95) Staff Pick! Local Author!
7. TKO by Tom Schreck (paperback, $14.95) Staff Pick! Local Author!
8. Out of the Deep I Cry by Julia Spencer-Fleming (paperback, $6.99) Staff Pick! Local Author!
9. The Careful Use of Compliments by Alexander McCall Smith (paperback, $13.95)
10. Knitting Bones by Monica Ferris (paperback, $6.99)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

What's happening at the Book House?

Many of our wonderful customers have asked us why we've boarded up our front window, installed a large translucent sheet of heavy plastic where the best seller wall used to be, and begun playing obnoxiously loud construction sounds instead of nice calming music. The answer is that we're undergoing a face lift!

There are actually many things we're planning to have done, but there are four main ones:
1. First and foremost, we (well, not we personally...) are moving the sales desk on the adult side to the other side of the store. The end result will be a horseshoe-shaped counter area that will be shared by the Book House and Little Book House. Which will open up space for...

2. ...more seating plus room for events! We are hoping to have more chairs, as well as a larger open area where we can hold things like signings and readings.

3. Since we've taken out the window to fix up the counter area anyway, we'll also be changing our front entrance from a single door to double doors. We're going for something a little easier to get in and out of with strollers and wheelchairs, plus an entrance that feels more welcoming to all our wonderful customers.

4. Finally (this is a big one!), we'll be getting new carpet throughout the store. Yep, that means moving all the books and shelves so that the carpet can be installed, then putting everything back. Should be...um...fun.

So that's what's going on at your local independent bookstore. Please bear with us through the construction. We're still here, still knowledgeable, and still eager to help you find that book you're looking for. Come in and pick our brains!

Calendars are here!

The number of calendars arriving daily has been increasing over the past weeks. They aren't all here yet, but we have enough in stock that they've taken over several racks and a couple of shelves of bargain books. Wall calendars, desk calendars, planners, page-a-day calendars...you name it, we're starting to get it in!

My (Erin's) personal favorites are the Moleskine planners. That's right, they're starting to arrive! They come in three different sizes and a ton of formats: weekly on one page, weekly on two pages, monthly, daily...you name it, they've got a format to match. Some of them have built-in notebooks, some have reference pages, and the bright red academic planner even comes with stickers. And of course, they all have the handy Moleskine pocket inside the back cover. I may be a bit obsessed with Moleskines, but it's just because they're awesome. Come in and check them out.

Oh, and academic planners (the kind that start in July or August of 2008 and run until the end of 2009 or so) are now on sale! It's never too late to get organized!