Thursday, October 30, 2008

Edgar Allen Poe's 200th Birthday Celebrations

Baltimore is throwing lots of events for Edgar Allen Poe's 200th birthday and the details may be found here. The father of American Horror was not born in Baltimore, but he certainly died here and his body rests in the wonderfully creepy Westminster Burying Ground. There will be readings by John Astin, posters by school kids, music with the BSO and Paula McCabe, plays and puppets, amontillado wine tastings, and all sorts of fun. The actual birth date is January 19.

Just as an it's-a-small-world-aside: Paula was my voice teacher before I became a bookseller and she has an AMAZING voice.

Nevermore 2009! Forevah!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Vampires v. Zombies for the Fiction Heavyweight Title

One of my book distributor colleagues reckons that Zombies are the Next Vampires. For those of you looking through every section of the modern bookstore, you know Vampire stories have infiltrated just about every single fiction section and a couple of the non-fiction sections. While Zombie stories are definitely on the rise, can I really see them staggering into a) Romance - no(?), b) Westerns - well, maybe, c) Mysteries - OK, maybe, d) Poetry - yeah, Poetry is pretty inclusive, e) Young Adults - hmn, f) Middle-School - yes, they dig the Yuck Factor, g) Elementary Kids - maybe, h) Kindergarten/Pre-School - depends on whether the illustrators can make Zombies cute?

OK, maybe the distributor has a point.

The first Zombie book I ever read was The Laughing Corpse by Laurell K. Hamilton. Man, that made me scared to go to sleep. Then there's all the Walking Dead graphic novels and World War Z. Most recently, we received an anthology called The Living Dead, by John Joseph Adams...all zombies, all the time. Methinks George Romero was onto something. Something messy and drippy and gross and menacingly unstoppable.

I'm going to go wash my hands now.


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Tea with the Author - Harry Olson

Join Reisterstown author Harry Olson for a discussion of his book, "Power Strategies of Jesus Christ." Tea and cookies will be served.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Never Suck A Dead Man's Hand By Dana Kollmann

Let me just say that this has got to be one of the best books I have ever read.. Yes i said it..The best.

It's the stories of what Dana got into after she made the decision to go into the Crime Lab. There are so many short stories, and things that both you and i can relate to. She draws you in the moment you pick up the book. With her great sence of humor and her great out look on every situation that she is placed, you will want to keep reading.

She writes about things that you and i don't commonly think about, but when she does you know exactly what she is talking about.

If you like Humor, ready to learn about things, and have an open mind..This book is for you. And Lets just say..You will never be able to watch CSI on Tv the same again.


Thursday, October 9, 2008

Nobel Prize for Literature

From Sweden:

The Nobel Prize in Literature for 2008 is awarded to the French writer Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio “author of new departures, poetic adventure and sensual ecstasy, explorer of a humanity beyond and below the reigning civilization”.

Le Clezio is known most recently for Wandering Star and The Round and Other Cold, Hard Facts.


Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Hardly Knew Her Laura Lippman

Laura Lippman has written some wicked, wicked stories, full of verve and sly, twisted humor. The women characters always seem to prevail - in any situation.

Take Mona of the five husbands who is asked to star in porn films for a 'niche' audience. She wins out by maneuvering into a bigger and more powerful role and husband number six.

She has also written three Tess stories. One is an interview of Tess conducted by Laura Lippman of the Beacon Light. You see how clever she is? Her writing seems more varied and colorful than her novels. Different genre maybe? There enough 'heroines' here to inspire us for a long time.

Take Heloise,a madam who accidentally meets a client at her son's soccer game. He turns out to be a bully intent on blackmailing her. How Heloise 'disposes' of him is a revelation.
Laura Lippman , lady of the main chance, please write some more short stories.

The Likeness Tana French

I was blessed two weekends ago, remember all that rain? I had Tana French's latest book right beside the bed. You might remember her first book - "In the Woods" is still on the Indie Best seller's Paperback List. Cassie is the narrator as she goes undercover again. Is she mixing with drug dealers again? No, just a group of graduate students in a old house. One of them has turned up murdered and the surprising thing is she could be Cassie's double. Plus she is using the identity Cassie created for her first undercover job. After some coaching Cassie assumes this woman's life while her boss tries to uncover the stranger's real identity. Cassie is still unsettled by her experiences in the first book and she's unhappy in the domestic violence unit. To belong to this close knit group of students gives her the support she could have used before. Will Cassie shift her alliegance and let this cozy world envelop her?

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Katniss Everdeen lives in a harsh future. The state of Panem keeps its 12 districts under control by a) limiting the food available to the districts and b) requiring each district to send one boy and one girl, between ages 12 and 18, to the annual Hunger Games. The Hunger Games are a fight to the death on live TV...imagine Survivor with death-fights instead of voting. The kids are chosen by lottery and Kat's baby sister is chosen in the first year she is eligible. Prim is NOT a survivalist: she would much rather heal creatures rather than shoot them. Even for food, even if she was starving. Now Kat was taught to poach by her dad and she has kept the family from starving in the wake of her dad's death. Kat volunteers to replace Prim in the Games, knowing it is probably a death sentence.

This is a powerful story that follows Kat through her selection and the Game itself. It is a profound demonstration of what one sixteen year old will do when she is hungry and is supporting her family. It is a 21st century "The Running Man," with overtones of "1984" and "Brave New World."

Suzanne Collins is known for her series on Gregor the Overlander and this new series promises to be just as striking. Because of the subject matter, this book is recommended for grades 7 and higher --- this is not for younger kids.