Friday, September 26, 2008

Space History on Saturday + Search & Rescue Ministry on Sunday

This weekend, we have two amazing events going on:

Saturday, September 27, 2008 3-5pm Tea with the Author
Bob Zimmerman will discuss his latest book on space history. The Universe in a Mirror details the controversial history of the Hubble Space Telescope and its mission to broaden our view of the universe.

Sunday, September 28, 2008 3-5pm Tea with the Author
Kate Braestrup discusses her bestselling memoir, Here if You Need Me. Kate became a minister following the sudden death of her husband. Later, she was called to become a chaplain to a search and rescue team in her home state. This is her profoundly moving story.

Fun October/Halloween reading

Tor Books is running a column every Friday from now until Halloween on Better Zombies Through Physics. What a great name, huh? It's all done in comic strip format.


Saturday, September 20, 2008

More titles on Alaska (in honor of Sarah Palin)

We have a couple of other interesting Alaska-related books.

The Entangling Net is an collection of biographies of women working in Alaska's commercial fishing industry. You may or may not know this, but Alaskan waters have some of the harshest conditions on the planet. The chapter titles tell a brutal but determined story: "And then I got a job on a boat;" "People don't work like this;" " "I can't work with this woman!;" "When I got my own boat...;" "I've seen people die;" "I'm still fishing..."

The Collected Poems of Robert Service include all kinds of tales about the Yukon Territory and Alaska. Robert Service was a Scot who came to Canada during the gold rush...albeit to work in a bank. His poems speak of wild characters, beautiful countryside and stories so strange they just have to be true.


What In the World Is Alaska?

To honor Sarah Palin's nomination to Team McCain I thought I should read about Alaska. Winterdance is Gary Paulsen's description of his first Iditarod and made me realize the lonely beauty of Alaska and the toughness of the people to even suggest such a race. Gary Paulsen is also in another league all together - superhuman?

Then I read Sarah by Kaylene Johnson, just to establish a baseline on the lady for myself. This is a friendly biography published in Alaska. I felt the warmth of community which is important in such a large harsh land. Her childhood was school, basketball, hiking hunting,camping with the Wasilla Assembly of God a focal point for the family. As she said the kids I saw in Sunday school were the kids I went to school with. This community later volunteered in her campaigns for mayor of Wasilla and governer of Alaska. She was gutsy enough to challenge the entrenched politicians and straight talking enough to win. FBI corruption investigations into federal and state leaders also helped.
Now she's on the national and international stages. Will she be quickfooted enough to survive a national election is the question. And whether those outsider Alaskan values continue to reverberate with 'mainland' America makes the viewing interesting.

Soho Press has two Alaskan authors. So for a little local color I've started Stan Jones' Shaman Pass. The setting is an Inupiat village with a State Trooper born but not raised there. Nathan Active is having a hard time being accepted, seems a childhood in Anchorage makes him 'soft'.

The Woman Who Married a Bear highlights the Tlingit Indians of southern Alaska. John Straley seems to be writing from personal experience as a private investigator.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo Steig Larsson

This book is set in Sweden with some well drawn characters . Lisbeth Salander is the most fascinating, a very edgy fringe character whose abusive childhood makes her wary of others. We enter the world of magazine publishing and finance with a disappearence to bind them. Michael Blomkvist is a publisher/journalist whose career is brought to a halt by a lost libel case. A retired industrialist hires him to investigate the death of a neice 40 years ago. The plot thickens and Salanger's life converges with Blomkvist's. There enough twists to keep you reading.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Goodnight Goon - Michael Rex

Goodnight Goon, by Michael Rex

Cute, cute, SCARY cute.
The secondary title is "A Petrifying Parody" and yes, it does sorta kinda follow the classic Goodnight Moon - but with a Halloween twist. The illustrations are bright and humorous - and considering the werecub tells the monsters to go to sleep, it's not that frightening. A great find for fans of the movie, "Monsters, Inc."

It just arrived at the shop today,

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Thank you and blogs!

Heather Johnson of Age 30+...A Lifetime of Books blog fame just reviewed our shop for the She is too fond of books blog. Thanks, Heather - lovely review!!

In other blogs, have you discovered the Baltimore Sun's Read Street blog yet? Lots of interesting bits, reviews and literary-related news. I am fascinated by Eleanore Herman's debate with the another responder on the historical accuracy of her latest book. (under "Vandalism at the Pratt") I am also vastly entertained by the conflict: Poe: Northern Writer or Southern Writer? The latest salvo is this bid to move Poe's remains to Philly. HAH.

truecrime Jake Arnott

What can I say about this surprising book? Four voices, an unconventional plot and a moral at the end. Plus this quote from David Bowie right on the front cover - 'Pure gangland bliss.....Funny, fast and brutal.' This is cool Britannia with Tony Blair just assuming office. Britain has discovered its 'villians' and they're cool - at least the way truecrime publishing portrays them. We get to mix with real villains, the wanna-bes and those who make their living writing about them, plus the screenwriters a la' Pulp Fiction. What an interesting unpredictable book this is.

Tea with Cynthia Polansky this weekend

Join us for tea and cookies with Cynthia Polansky . Her latest book, "Remote Control," is about a ghost that attempts to help those she left behind.

Winner of the Indie Excellence Award in the category of New Age Fiction, Remote Control is the story of 30-something Judith McBride, a Jewish control freak with an unlikely last name. When she dies in a medical mishap, she calls upon her supernatural status to "rescue" her widowed husband from the sexy clutches of their gold-digging, thrill-seeking blonde accountant. But interference with earthly events is strictly verboten and the repercussions ripple outward, affecting not only Judith, but the lives of her husband and best friend. Judith's journey from the physical world to the spiritual is peppered with adjustments, choices, and self-discovery, ultimately leading her to the realization that loving sometimes means learning how to let go.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Vote for the weirdest, oddest book title

Some of you may have heard about The Bookseller's Diagram Prize for Oddest Book Title of the Year. Well, in honor of its 30th anniversary, they're running a Best Of contest. The winner was
Greek Rural Postmen and Their Cancellation Numbers.

Catchy, huh?

Wine & Song - Tonight!

Wine and Song, tonight, Friday, September 5, 2008 - 6-9pm
Join us! Wines will be provided by our friends at Vino 100. Vino 100’s motto is “100 great wines for $25 or less.” They use two barometers - Flavor (which runs from Fruity to Dry) and Body (which runs from Light to Full) – to make wine buying easier for the customer. We will have wines, along with munchies, available for tasting.

We will also have live music from folk musician Steve Haug. Steve tells me the rest of his weekend will be spent playing at the Enchantment Faire in Natural Bridge, VA...where they have a replica of Stonehenge made out of foam. Yes, indeed - a full-size-Foamhenge. I did ask if there was a special, druid-type, folk song he would plan to play. He replied that he was thinking about the song from "This is Spinal Tap."
You know which one.
I can see the smiles on your faces now.