Archive for June 2006

Just Countin’ the Books

June 29, 2006

Jon Lee, store manager at River City Books, asked me to pass along a note — just in case:

On Friday, June 30, River City Books will be doing its annual inventory. The process will begin early in the morning and should be completed before the store is scheduled to open at 10 a.m. So this note may be moot. But it’s possible the process may slightly delay the store’s opening that day. Sorry for any inconvenience.

In Case You Didn’t Know …

June 28, 2006

knight1_index.gifSometimes when I tell folks that River City Books is owned by Carleton College they are surprised. Sure, they see the college influence in the illuminated photographs on the wall and in the clothing section. But, still, it’s not widely known. Well, it should be!

River City Books is in fact provided by Carleton College as a service and benefit to the Northfield community. The college believes strongly in a vibrant downtown Northfield and the store is one important way in which Carleton shows that support.

River City has been a fixture downtown for more than four years and will continue to remain your friendly neighborhood bookstore into the foreseeable future.

If you’re like me and you love spending time at River City, thank Carleton College for making the store possible.

The Lure of the Tables

June 27, 2006

table2.jpgI was gabbing with a customer the other day and we were both in agreement. There is something strangely mysterious and powerfully appealing about the display tables at River City Books.

Let me explain: Customers walk in the door and, unless they have a specific book in mind, they are inevitably drawn to one of several tables of books located in the main area of the sales floor. These tables, adroitly arranged by store manager Jon Lee, are like powerful magnets. People linger and so often — especially if they walked in not knowing what they were in the mood to read — they find answers among the stacks of books on these tables.

Oh, sure, they usually take a gander at the national bestseller display and they peruse the local bestseller area as well. They may walk along the neatly aligned stacks or check out the line of fresh reads sitting at the counter. Yeah, customers look all around. But the tables have rare powers to draw the attention. It’s a phenomenon as yet unexplained by scientists.

As the friendly young woman I was chatting with said to me, “I am not sure what it is but there’s something about the tables. I always find at least one thing I have to buy.”

Friendly Reminder: Attend, ‘Unless’ You Can’t

June 24, 2006

unless.jpgIf you’re like me you have to write things down or else you’re liable to remember 12 days too late that you forgot to attend something you thought would be fun. The July meeting time of the River City Books fiction book club is especially hard to remember because, well, it’s taking place in June!

The club usually meets on the first Tuesday of each month but because of the July Fourth holiday the club decided to meet a week early. This means the group will convene at 7 p.m., June 27. In other words, this Tuesday. Like many, I am flabbergasted as to how fast this month has flown by.

Early returns from group members are that this month’s selection, Unless by Carol Shields, is a terrific read and likely to generate a lot of stimulating conversation. By the way, the August pick has already been made.

Remember: Members of the club are eligible for store discounts on selected books. For more information about the River City Books fiction book club, contact Sue de Malignon at 507-646-7754 or

Hot Read: Suskind Book Getting Buzz

June 23, 2006

one-percent.jpgOne of the more insightful and important books I read two years ago was Ron Suskind’s The Price of Loyalty, which at the time garnered a great deal of attention among readers and the press. This summer Suskind, an award-winning journalist, just may once again have the hottest political book on the shelf.

Just released, you’ve likely already heard quite a bit about The One Percent Doctrine. The book’s receiving a lot of buzz because Suskind relies on unique access to former and current government officials and reveals for the first time how the U.S. government — from President Bush on down — is frantically improvising to fight a new kind of war.

You’re not likely surprised when I tell you that River City Books has this book for sale — $27 in hardcover.

Here’s more information from the book’s dust jacket:


This Just In: Shoppers Saving Bundles

June 21, 2006

summer-sale.jpgYou’ve been reading about River City Book’s Summer Solstice Sale and now I have posted a picture (right) to prove that it’s true: The sale is in full swing. At RCB, they don't put the blue sale signs up unless they mean business.

Shoppers are saving substantial sums — on regular trade books, bargain books, clothing, magazines, you name it and I have seen a customer buy and receive a discount on it.

On Tuesday night I was there as an industrious young lad brought an ambitious read to the register. Unaware of the sale — he was from out of town, not hip to this blog as of yet — he was so pleased with the discounted price that he returned to the shelves and picked out another, this time going with a favorite mystery writer.

Seriously, at these prices why wouldn’t you buy more than one item?

For example, another customer picked up four remainders, three of them hardcovers. Her total bill: $21.26. She looked at the receipt and was flabbergasted.

Friends, the wonderment continues — till 9 p.m. each night — through Thursday at RCB.

Extended Hours for Summer Solstice Sale

June 20, 2006

In case you needed another reason to stop by River City Books this week, I’ll give you one: They’re open even later.

sun_shine_small.gifIn honor of the longest day of the year, for which the Summer Solstice Sale is named, RCB is open till 9 p.m. tonight (Tuesday), Wednesday and Thursday. So that’s 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. rather than 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., as is usually the case on weeknights.

On Monday night I took a jaunt through the neighborhood. Anyone else see that gorgeous red sky around 8:30 p.m.? Wow. No doubt, evenings are a treat in Northfield these days. Hope to see you one of the next few nights.

An Everything’s On Sale Sale

June 19, 2006

RCBlogos.jpgJon Lee, trusted manager of River City Books, has let me in on a secret and, frankly, I cannot help but share it with you, dear devoted readers: RCB is having a huge sale this week. Huge!

That’s right. From Tuesday, June 20, to Thursday, June 22, River City is having a sale in celebration of the Summer Solstice and, well, have I mentioned yet that it’s a really, really big sale?

In fact, though I have been flying through the bookstore’s doors for more than four years, I cannot remember a larger sale. It’s not just that books are at discounted prices — as cool as that is — it’s that everything is on sale. Everything. As in, there’s nothing for sale that’s not on sale.

Here’s a complete run-down:

30 percent off all clothing

20 percent off all books, including bargain books

10 percent off CDs, DVDs, magazines and gifts

I don’t ever remember a discount on magazines before. That’s how you know it’s a big sale — even the magazines are being marked down.

Summer Reads Make Me Feel Fine

June 17, 2006

The official start of summer is nearly upon us and the unofficial signs of the season have been evident for weeks: road construction (someday Highway 3 will be finished, I just know it), high heat, and, of course, great reads at River City Books.

Here are five fresh books that look especially enticing, titles you just might want to take with you to the beach or cabin, and quickie summaries of each:

Strange Piece of Paradise
By Terri Jentz

strange.jpgIn the summer of 1977, Jentz and her Yale roommate make a cross-country bike trip. They pitch a tent in central Oregon. As they are sleeping, a man in a pickup truck deliberately runs over the tent and then attacks them with an ax. No one is ever arrested. Fifteen years later, Jentz returns to the small town where she was nearly murdered and makes an extraordinary discovery: many people in town say they know who did it, and he is living freely in their midst.

The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana
By Umberto Eco

eco.jpgA fascinating, abundant novel — wide-ranging, nostalgic, funny, full of heart-from the incomparable Eco. The story is about Yambo, a 60ish rare-book dealer who lives in Milan, has suffered a loss of memory; he can remember the plot of every book he has ever read, every line of poetry, but he no longer knows his own name, doesn't recognize his wife or his daughters, and remembers nothing about his parents or his childhood.

The Pale Blue Eye
By Louis Bayard
From the critically acclaimed author of Mr. Timothy comes an ingenious tale of murder and revenge, featuring a retired New York City detective and a young cadet named Edgar Allan Poe.

The Book of the Dead
By Preston Douglas and Lincoln Child

dead.jpgContinuing the breathtaking story begun in the New York Times bestseller Dance of Death, Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child present the ultimate showdown between good and evil — set against the backdrop of an ancient Egyptian curse.

By John Updike

terror.jpgThe ever-surprising John Updike’s 22nd novel is a brilliant contemporary fiction that will surely be counted as one of his most powerful. It tells of 18-year-old Ahmad Ashmawy Mulloy and his devotion to Allah and the words of the Holy Qur'an, as expounded to him by a local mosque’s imam.

‘Full’ of Bargains

June 16, 2006

full1.jpgThis evening I was in River City Books and I started counting all of the tables they have devoted to remainder books. It’s something like 126 tables. OK, OK, I was never very good at math in little birdie school. So there many not be quite that many. But the point is that RCB has remainders in multiple locations – upstairs and downstairs – within the store and I just love checking out their tables because there are so many great deals. I don’t have to wait for a sale in order to save.

One steal I found tonight: The Full Cupboard of Life by Alexander McCall Smith, another installment in the bestselling No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series. That Alexander McCall Smith writes faster than I can eat. He seems to have a new book on the shelves each month and, amazingly, they all draw loud applause.

Says the Wall Street Journal of the “The Cupboard of Life”: “The greatest mystery in this witty and charming book is whether Mma Ramotswe will succeed in getting her fiance to name a date for their long-anticipated wedding. It’s hard to conceive of any reader not being just as eager to find out as she is.”

Oh, I almost forgot. This terrific read is currently on sale, in hardcover, for just $7.99 at River City Books.

That’s a small enough number that even I can keep track of it.


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