Friday, May 30, 2008

Historic Moment - Water for Elephants falls off #1 on Book Sense Bestsellers List

After 59 weeks on the Book Sense Bestsellers List, Water for Elephants fell from #1 to #3. I should point out that it spent most of its 59 week tenure at #1. The replacement? Out Stealing Horses, combined with The Yiddish Policemen's Union.

The Book Sense Bestsellers list is also growing and changing. It was created by the American Booksellers Association as a way to track bestsellers at Independent Local Bookstores across the country. It still forms that purpose - but it is turning into part of a revolution. This revolution represents Buying Local, Buying Fresh, Buying Organic, Buying Independent. The name is now
IndieBound - and you can find more information at

Join the revolution!!!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Bloomin' Art Fest this weekend!

Constellation Books plays host to the Buffalo Soldiers as they participate in this Saturday's Bloomin' ArtFest. Every spring, Reisterstown throws this fabulous festival - juried arts and crafts, food, live music, and children's activities. This year, the Buffalo Solider re-enactors will march in parade down Main St, left on Bond Ave (the bookstore porch is a great place to watch) to St. Luke's cemetery, where 20-something Buffalo Soldiers are buried. One of them - Augustus Walley - has a Congressional Medal of Honor! Who knew?

The festival is 10-5 on May 31st and promises to be a blast!

Friday, May 23, 2008

The Day the Myth Died - Robert Asprin, RIP

As reported on, Robert Asprin passed away yesterday. Aside from the wonderful Myth, Inc. books, he was also author of the Phule's Company series, and a variety of stand-alone novels. He also collaborated with Jody Lynn Nye, Mel White and Linda Evans. He had a sick sense of humor (I mean that in the nicest possible way) and a knack for a well-told tale.

He will be sorely missed.

PS Follow-up - someone said he died peacefully on the sofa, reading one of Terry Pratchett's books. That's the way I want to go.

Sequel to "The Coldest Winter Ever"!

Publisher's Weekly reports -

The Sequel to ‘Coldest Winter Ever’ Slated for October
Atria Books has announced plans to publish Midnight, the long-awaited sequel to Sister Souljah’s bestselling 1999 novel The Coldest Winter Ever (ISBN 074327010X $15.00) , which is in its twentieth printing and has more than one million copies in print. Midnight (ISBN 1416545182 ) is slated for an October release and will have an announced first printing of 500,000 copies.
World rights for the sequel were acquired by Emily Bestler, v-p and executive editorial director of Atria Books. Bestler originally acquired The Coldest Winter Ever, which she describes as an “evergreen” for the company. “For everyone who has read it,” she said, “there’s a new crop who haven’t.”
The Coldest Winter Ever, a gritty tale about the tumultuous street-ridden life of the daughter of a nortorious drug dealer, is usually regarded as the predecessor of the urban lit genre. Bestler credits the book’s success to Souljah’s raw, yet message-driven storytelling and said that Midnight follows in this tradition. “People who love The Coldest Winter Ever,” she adds, “will devour the story.”
The sequel centers on Midnight, a secondary but intriguing character from The Coldest Winter Ever. For this book, Souljah conducted extensive research and traveled to three continents, a fact that Bestler said accounts for the long break between the two books.
Ernesto Martinez, buyer of African-American titles for Borders, said that customers have been asking about the sequel. “The Coldest Winter Ever is a perennial bestseller of the category for Borders,” he said. “We certainly have high hopes for Midnight, and have all the confidence that this book will be everything and more that fans of Sister Souljah have come to love.”
Although there isn’t an official embargo on Midnight, Atria is concerned about piracy and is being careful about how it rolls out the national marketing campaign. Judith Curr, S&S executive v-p and publisher, said “We’re going to make sure that everyone who bought and loved The Coldest Winter Ever will know that the sequel is arriving.” The company plans to use Internet marketing, strategic advertising in major urban areas and summer reading promotions with bookstores to spread the word.

Thanks to Bookazine ( for passing the good word.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

What to do with 30,000 books

The New York Times has a lovely little essay written by Alberto Manguel (author of “The Library at Night"). His selection of books may be bigger than ours, and contain more non-English titles - but his stories speak to many of us. For example, how many of you have at least one title you used to read as a young child?


Friday, May 16, 2008

Tea with the Author this Sunday 3-5pm

Sunday, May 18, 2008 3-5pm

Join us for tea and cookies with our authors...this week it will be local author Skip Stover. His new novel is Dangerous Love, 2010.

Friday, May 9, 2008

To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis

The only reason To Say Nothing of the Dog is considered Science Fiction is because it deals with Time Travel. The rest of it reads like an homage to Victorian-era mysteries, comedies of manners, and Jerome K. Jerome's Three Men in a Boat, To Say Nothing of the Dog. Ned Henry is a historian at Oxford University, where they are trying to re-build Coventry Cathedral as it once stood. (Not WHERE it once stood - that's now a shopping mall.) In Ned's future, a researcher can go back in time to locate various items - but! cannot bring them forward. One of the last pieces to be located is this large ornate, ugly vase called "the bishop's bird stump." Ned and his colleagues keep going back to the time of the Nazi bombing that destroyed the original Coventry Cathedral, trying to watch who carries what out of the burning church.

It is not going well. Ned is exhausted. He gets ordered to bed rest by the Infirmary but the folks re-building the Cathedral are determined to find him and send him on more 'drops.' His boss decides the best place to recuperate is Victorian England, just up the river from Oxford and several decades before Coventry is bombed. In Victorian England, Ned meets quite a cast of characters: a retired Colonel who collects very expensive goldfish; his wife who is enraptured by spiritualists; her very silly daughter who owns this dainty kitten with a taste for expensive goldfish; an Oxofrd don who gets into fights with Darwin (THE Darwin); a hapless young undergrad named Terrence and his canine Cyril; plus assorted village folk and spiritualists. The reader starts out as confused as exhausted Ned, but we quickly come up to speed as he gets some sleep.

This is a beautifully written book, with a great climax.

Note that Connie Willis is visiting Baltimore at the end of May for Balticon. She will also be discussing and signing her work at the Southeast Anchor Branch on May 22 at 6:30pm.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Nebula Award Winners are out

The Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America have posted the Nebula Awards winners here.


Playing for Keeps by Mur Lafferty

Note: Mur is actually coming to our Tea with the Author this Saturday, 3-5pm.

What defines a superhero? Is it just your powers, or does a conscience and compassion a must also? Keepsie lives in a world where you are not allowed to be a 'superhero' unless your genetically-modified powers are politically correct and, well, powerful enough. Otherwise, you are a source of condescension and suspicion. Irritating, yes?

Suddenly, one of the 'villians' gives Keepsie an item that both sides want - and Keepsie and her friends are thrust into a tug-of-war no one is comfortable in. Anyone who likes the X-men will like Playing for Keeps. However, it goes MUCH deeper - there are lots of layers to this book.

Mur Lafferty is an American podcaster and writer based in Durham, North Carolina. She attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and graduated with a degree in English. She was, until July, 2007, the host and co-editor of Pseudopod. She is also the host and creator of the podcasts Geek Fu Action Grip (on hiatus) and I Should be Writing.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Boomerangs in Space

No, really!

I was enjoying BoingBoing's blog and found this story on a Boomerang Test Flight on the International Space Station.


Friday, May 2, 2008

The Edgar Mystery Awards - blow by blow

The Mystery Writers of America have a blog with the Edgar Awards described, blow by blow.


Thursday, May 1, 2008

Happy Birthday to us!!

May 4th - Sunday - is our first Birthday.

Last year, it was the Friday we turned on the OPEN sign at 7pm and made 3 sales before closing at 9pm. It had been a crazy-busy period from moving the bookshelves in on Friday, April 13th, to unpacking/shelving 5 skids of books (~6000 titles) the next week, to sorting out a computer/register network, decorating and setting up a credit card processor.

This year, we celebrate noon- 5pm with cake and 10% off everything in the store. Thank you to all the customer-friends we met this year!
and Harry, Anne & Joel