Thursday, January 31, 2008

New Books - Fiction and Grilled Cheese

Well, we got swamped yesterday with lots of new and classic fiction - most of it trade paperbacks with the nice big print and the $13-$18 price range. The fiction section is close to being complete, with authors from Austen to Vonnegut, and Achebe to Walker. So yesterday was a non-postus-mentos day. (sorry :))

But today! Oh, YUM! Grilled Cheese - 50 Recipes to Make You Melt by Marlene Spieler has everyone in the shop drooling. Everything cheese and bread related, from Auntie Stellie's Open Faced Cheddar with Grilled Pickle to Grilled Eggplant and Chaumes, with Marinated Peppers and Red Chili Aioli... and salads and soups and mustards to go with! There are even sweet recipes like French Toast stuffed with Strawberries and Cream Cheese.

groan, dinner is too far awaaaaaay,

Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Complete Book of Aunts by Rupert Christiansen

This delightful little book would make a great present for the favorite aunt in your life. The author covers famous (and infamous) aunts in history and literature, categorizing them along the way as Mothering Aunts, Heroic Aunts, X-Rated Aunts, Brand-Name Aunts, Fairy-tale Aunts, Damned Bad Aunts (remember Bertie Wooster's aunts? enough said), and Exotic Aunts.

This book is good for quite the snicker - but a sympathetic snicker.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Complete Book of Amber by Roger Zelazny

Yes, this is a classic oldie and it's huge at 1264 pages - but let me tell you, it helps to have all the books in one place so you can keep track of what you've read. It opens with Corwin waking up in a hospital and realizing a) he had partial amnesia, b) someone had deliberately put him in hospital and kept him there, and c) he has the energy and will to change all this.

Corwin, we discover, is part of a royal family trying to kill each other off. They also have special talents like being able to call each other through a deck of cards, walk a mandala-like Pattern that's a source of their power, and travel through parallel universes. They also have a dad who may or may not be dead.


Friday, January 25, 2008

Wine Tasting at the Bookstore on the first of Feb!

Vino 100 is joining us again, this time with a local chef (GREAT munchies!). We'll also have Steve Haug, aka Maugorn, back. You may remember he was here the Saturday between Christmas and New Years...he sang lots of folk - Dylan and Cohen and Denny and it was great!

Friday, February 1st
6pm -9pm

Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Edgar Nominees are Up!

See them at


Dzur by Stephen Brust (mass market paperback)

This latest entry in the Vlad Taltos series has Vlad returning from the East, going to have dinner at Valabar's (the man can review a restaurant, let me tell you!), discussing courage with a couple of Dzurlords - Sethra Lavode and her apprentice Telnan, and helping estranged wife Cawti hang onto South Andrilankha. As usual, someone is out to kill him but this time it's BOTH the Left and Right Hands of the Jhereg. What evens the odds is Vlad's new Great Weapon and his friends - including the Dzurlords and Mario Greymist. Yep, Mario really exists!

This is standard, satisfying fare for those who like the first few books in the series. All the favorite scenarios and characters. Cawti and Vlad are still not together but I'm not sure Vlad-the-character is cut out for happiness...he seems to be too much of an adrenalin junkie to settle down.

Lauretta Nagel

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Best Business Book of the Year

The 800-CEO-READS group has announced their Best Business Book of the Year for 2007 and it's Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath. It attempts to qualify why some ideas last and others don't.

Lauretta Nagel

Friday, January 18, 2008

Christopher Paolini has named his 3rd book!

BRISINGR - the 3rd book in Paolini's Inheritance Cycle, following Eragon and Eldest. It looks like we'll have another Midnight Launch - the pub. date is September 20 at 12:01 am.

Children's Book Awards just announced

There's a nice collection of the latest book awards at

This is for the Newberry, Caldecott, Coretta Scot King, etc, awards.
A special note for our local customers - the author of the Newberry Medal winner is a librarian at our Park School in Pikesville! Go Laura Amy!!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

A large book set in the Indian City of Mumbai(Bombay). A crime boss, a policeman, a procuress, a Bollywood superstar. Their lives are told in the smallest detail through 947 pages. This is an epic woven out of the pieces of daily life. The crime boss, Ganesh Gaitonde is the main character. The brutality of his rise and the nature of his business make for compulsive reading. A lowly police inspector, Sartaj Singh is the mobster's psychological companion through the story, a a bizarre death linking them. I can't call this book just a crime novel, more like a breath of life in all it's complexity and moral dilemma. In the end sacred Games does India justice. You might want to share it with a friend or your book group.

The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett

The cover of this book provides all the clues we need to anticipate an enjoyable read. There is the familiar profile of the Queen from the coins of the realm, and a hand holding an open book. Alan Bennett - the name's familiar - The History Boys, The Lady in the Van, The Madness of King George. Now I know - an astute observer of people, a wit, where's that book again?

So here is the Queen, a dutiful Queen who has served her country for years who suddenly gets the reading bug. Her courtiers notice, Her new Prime Minister is subjected to a barrage of books he should read. Can the country and the Commonwealth survive this new personage? Maybe some quick political intriguing? Ah but the Queen is an old hand at this and she has the final say on appointments.

Her Majesty's devoted servants compare notes on Madam's interactions with her subjects. '" What are you reading?" I mean, what sort of question is that? Most people, poor dears, aren't reading anything. Except if they say that, Madam roots in her handbag, Fishes out some volume she's just finished and makes them a present of it." "Which they promptly sell on eBay."

A gem of a book for Anglophiles and even commoners.


PS Lauretta says the ending is cheeky.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

In Nazi Germany, times are dark but a girl named Liesel Memminger finds sanctuary in books. Books that she steals. In a book narrated by Death, Liesel finds friends in an accordian player, a boy with hair the color of lemons and a Jewish boy hiding in the cellar. Markus Zusak tells a beautiful tale of finding simple joys in hard times.


Shadow of the Silk Road and Gentlemen of the Road

I've been searching for the Silk Road through books. It's geography alone is enough to confuse me. And the peoples and history? I need a series of books plus an atlas. Somehow I was lucky enough to find Colin Thurbon, an English travel writer with no fear of roughing it and a consuming interest in history. Thurbon's Shadow of the Silk Road finally gave me a sense of the road as a series of civilizations. On his journey Thurbon searched for the lasting parts of the civilizations namely their buildings usually mosques and tombs. He climbed a cliff into one tomb.

I found Micheal Charbon's Gentlemen of the Road was a perfect compliment to my travelogue. He has written an old fashioned adventure book set in a medieval Khazar Empire. Our heroes are drifters, moral men in their own way who become involved returning a usurped prince to his throne. but the prince turns out - no I can't tell - this is only one of a few classic twists, This book gave me a feeling for the community the many peoples and religions lived in. The production of the book is a pleasure especially the illustrations.

I've noticed on the bookshop shelves a Penguin series of thin paperbacks titled Great Journeys. Marco Polo on The Customs of the Kingdoms of India would be fascinating. Mark Twain on Can-Cans, Cats and Cities of Ash must be about New Orleans. Ernest Shackelton's own account of his Escape from the Antarctic is a must read on leadership. All his men he brought out alive.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Wednesdays & Sundays - every bargain book $1

Beginning today (Sunday the 13th January), and every Wednesday and Sunday, all the books on the Bargain Bookcart are $1.


Friday, January 4, 2008

Tea with the Authors

Time: Saturday, January 5, 2008 3:00 PM

Our guest authors for tea will be Kevin C. Stewart, author of "The Way Things Always Happen Here" and CJ Cooper, author of "Stab of Intelligence."

In his debut short-fiction collection, "The Way Things Always Happen Here," Kevin C. Stewart takes his readers to the scene of a heinous murder, to the home of an alcoholic single mother, to the 1960s election campaign of JFK through West Virginia, and off the side of the New River Gorge Bridge. With eight stories set in fictional Oak County in southern West Virginia, and one novella, “Margot,” set in the Arkansas Ozarks, Stewart gives us characters who all love and hate where they’re from. Kevin C. Stewart Lives in Cumberland, Maryland and teaches at the Potomac State College of West Virginia University.

An engrossing debut novel of espionage set amid the rich tapestry of pre-9/11 Egypt and Sudan, "Stab of Intelligence" is the first novel in the Falcon Spitzer Trilogy and marks the arrival of a novelist to watch. "Stab of Intelligence" is the winner of the 2005 RockWay International Writing Competition, is Cooper’s first novel. She lives in Maryland with her racquetball-champ husband Bill and her dog Gizmo, and advocates for public education with the Maryland State Teachers Association.

New kids' books off the truck

We received a bunch of books written and/or illustrated by the amazing Kadir Nelson. The age range is about 4 to 8. There's Henry's Freedom Box about a slave that escapes on the Underground Railroad, and Dancing in the Wings (by Debbie Allen) about a too-tall ballet student. Also, books on everything from baseball to a Paul-Bunyon-like little cowgirl named Thunder Rose.

Wonderful stories and illustrations!

Lebanese Cuisine cookbook, yum!

One of our customers recommended I order this one and boy, is it a winner:
Lebanese Cuisine: More Than 200 Simple, Delicious, Authentic Recipes(Paperback) by Madelain Farah

This book covers everything from Bread though Desserts and Beverages, as well as pointing out special menus for various times of the year, with plenty of great-sounding options for the vegetarians among us.

At $15.95, this is a winner or many levels.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Bill Bryson on Shakespeare!

One of the gems fresh off the truck - Shakespeare: The World as Stage(Eminent Lives)
by Bill Bryson.

Bryson documents the efforts of earlier scholars, from today's most respected academics to eccentrics like Delia Bacon, an American who developed a firm but unsubstantiated conviction that her namesake, Francis Bacon, was the true author of Shakespeare's plays. Emulating the style of his famous travelogues, Bryson records episodes in his research, including a visit to a bunkerlike room in Washington, D.C., where the world's largest collection of First Folios is housed. " From BookSense.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

A Decent Dose of Mystery - Science Fiction

Seeker, by Jack McDevitt, is a mix of good, old-fashioned science fiction with the mystery/thriller genre. Thousands of years ago, a group of colonists fled Earth, seeking a planet where they would never be found. They succeeded. Then a cup is presented to antiquities dealer Alex Benedict and his assistant/pilot Chase Kolpath...a cup that carries the logo of the Seeker, one of two ships taken by those long-ago colonists. Are there any more artifacts out there? Is the COLONY still out there? As Alex and Chase pursue their investigation, someone starts taking potshots at them. Is it the detractors who call them grave-robbers or their competition?

This book has plenty of action, a smidgeon of tech, and a decent amount of character development.