Archive for November 2006

More Space For More Good Stuff

November 30, 2006

space.JPGOne thing folks have always remarked about ever since River City Books opened its doors is how nicely the store is designed. From the way the shelves display books to the tables on the sales floor to the authentic, Northfield-historic photographs along the walls, it’s all good. When I walk into RCB I know I am not in just any old bookstore that could be in any town in America. Can’t say the same in a lot of places.

Best thing is that during its five-plus years in business, RCB has continued to retain its look while simultaneously adapting to provide more, even in a limited space, to those of us who shop there. I was in the other night and saw a substantial change made to the interior wall, near where the magazine stand is located. Regulars will recall that this used to be a place for clothing. RCB still has clothing, but it’s been moved downstairs to make room for more books. It’s a terrific move, if you ask me, because several latest-greatest titles on are the wall and it’s hard not to notice them as soon as you walk in the door. A lot of great gift ideas in that mix.

I snapped some shots of this revamped wall, but I couldn’t get it all in. Not even close. So next time you’re strolling down Division Street, consider popping your head in and see for yourself.

Plus, it’s warm inside.

Light the ‘Torch’ for RCB Events

November 29, 2006

torch.JPGI always love attending events at River City Books. Usually they are fun and often I walk away looking forward to the next one. On Tuesday night, I attended the book club bash; a good time was had by all, knowledge about great books was freely distributed, and good cookies were consumed by most (including this bad bird). One lucky guy even walked out the door with a $20 gift certificate. This was the first book club party and likely there will be others in the future. Stay tuned.

Speaking of great events, Tuesday night I also learned that the next Northfield Reads! event is the works. On Sunday, Feb. 18, Cheryl Strayed, author of Torch, will visit Northfield to discuss her book and sign copies. “Torch” is only available in hardcover at this time, but the book will be released in paperback in January, well in time for the event. Both editions, when available, will be on sale at RCB prior to the event. At this point, the site is yet to be determind. I’ll keep you posted.

Obviously, I’ll be writing more about Ms. Strayed’s visit in the coming months. But I just thought you’d like to make note in your calendars, which, shockingly, could be the first scribbles made in 2007 editions. Yikes, the months fly faster than I do.

A Unicorn Sighting

November 28, 2006

unicorn.JPGThis time of the year I am always looking for cheap gifts. Wait. I should probably rephrase that. This time of the year I am always looking for great gifts that don’t cost much. Yes, indeed, that is a better way to put it (especially if you’re a person who might receive a gift from me).

At River City Books, regular customers know, they offer discounts every day of the week. For example, poking around the tables near the front door I spotted The Lady and the Unicorn for just $4.98 and that’s pretty hard to believe. About this beautiful, timeless, and intriguing novel, Entertainment Weekly says: “Tracy Chevalier has invented another juicy backstory to a great work of art … a lively, sexy, and thoroughly entertaining novel.”

Not bad, eh? For those who wish to know more about “The Lady and the Unicorn” (written by the author of the Girl with the Peal Earning) here’s a book description:

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Calling All Book Club Members

November 27, 2006

rcblogos.jpgAll right, I’m back. Did you miss me? Perhaps you had a turkey leg to keep you company. I got my fill as well. Had some of the best apple pie I’ve ever tasted. And I’ve tasted my fair share. I know you know I’m not lying.

So one holiday down, a few more to go. But wait just a second before you zip to the end of next month. At River City Books they are having a holiday-like evening as soon as tomorrow night.

Well, you’ll feel that way if you’re a member of a local book club. Let me set these leftovers aside and try to explain. At 7 p.m., tomorrow night (Tuesday, Nov. 28), RCB is hosting a little soiree for loyal customers who happen to belong to book clubs. The gathering will feature booksellers who will give the lowdown on some book club-friendly titles — fiction, nonfiction and young adult — discounts, treats and more.

River City has always been a supporter of book clubs — by offering discounts to clubs that order their books at RCB and by providing a free venue for meetings. The gathering tomorrow night is just another way to help out local clubs and, if you have time, consider stopping by. Should be a fun event. Like a holiday. Sorta.

Reads With Holiday Spirit

November 22, 2006

holiday-books.JPGNot sure about you, but I just can’t get into the Christmas-before-Halloween mentality that seems to have swept across the nation. One day I turned on the radio and they were playing Christmas carols — and it was September. Didn’t used to be that way. And it still isn’t that way at some retail outlets.

Take my favorite bookstore for example. How did you know I was going there? Ah, I must be getting predictable. There are worse afflictions, I suppose. Anyway, at River City Books they’ve just gotten into the holiday spirit and, it says here, it’s about that time. It’s Thanksgiving Eve and the official start of the holiday shopping season will commence as soon as bellies have been properly stuffed.

If you’d like to get into the spirit there’s nothing better than a great holiday book. As pictured in this post, RCB has created a holiday section that you might want to check out — for gift giving or to treat yourself. There are plenty of offerings especially for the kids as well. In fact, the section is located amidst the recently, and gloriously, expanded children’s section — so not hard to find.

turkey1.jpgIn related news, this bird is going to take a few days off for the holiday. I trust you’ll find other things to do with your time. In case you’re wondering, no, I don’t eat turkey — too close to cannibalism for my taste — but there is some cranberry sauce that I have my eyes set on.

Here’s wishing you and yours have a safe, happy holiday, one filled with even more fun than food. Talk at you on Monday, if not before.

Gift Idea of the Week: Compliments Any Wine

November 21, 2006

wine-guide.jpgMy ongoing effort to help you come up with great gift ideas for the holidays has a new strategy. I’m calling it “Gift Idea of the Week,” but I have no mad fantasies about following any set schedule. I’ll share these ideas as they come to me. I might channel my inner Martha Stewart and post a flurry. Or I might get too deep into the newest Richard Ford novel and let myself go.

This week’s idea: Give a bottle of wine along with one of these tasty books …

Hemingway & Bailey’s Bartending Guide to Great American Writers

Andrea Robinson’s 2007 Wine Buying Guide for Everyone

The Murray’s Cheese Handbook

By the way, feel free to holler if you have bookish gift ideas you’re not keeping under lock and key.

Murdoch Won’t Do ‘It’ After All

November 20, 2006

cheering.jpgThis item was just sent from one of my favorite sources of book news and I figured you might be interested:

News Corp. chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch announced this afternoon that the company is canceling publication of O.J. Simpson’s book “If I Did It” as well as the broadcast of the two-part interview with Simpson that was conducted by Judith Regan and was to air on Fox News.

Said Murdoch: “I and senior management agree with the American public that this was an ill-considered project. We are sorry for any pain this has caused the families of Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson.”

Regan’s imprint, ReganBooks, was to have published the book, which she called a “confession,” on Nov. 30. The deal was estimated to be worth $3.5 million.

The fact that the O.J. book has been acquitted, I assume, doesn’t change holiday gift-giving plans among any of us in Northfield. I know I had no interest in reading the book or even using it to even out an old bookshelf that’s learning too hard to the left. But I am now curious about one thing: What will happen with the already-printed copies? Bet that’s an eBay auction waiting to happen. Though maybe they’ll do the right thing, too.

Sensible Place for Picks

November 19, 2006

bscom-logo.gifThis time of year, we’re all looking for great reads — not just for ourselves (though there’s that), but also for others. While on the hunt, I try to keep in mind that Book Sense Picks, made each month, can be very useful.

I can find Book Sense Picks online or in print form at my favorite neighborhood bookstore. These picks are not necessarily bestsellers and that’s precisely why the list is useful. After all, there are plenty of terrific reads that fly just below the radar for one reason or another — small publisher, lack of publicity, a poorly designed dust jacket, luck of the draw — and Book Sense Picks serve to catch such titles before they slip through the cracks.

These picks have been made my independent booksellers who cared enough about each book to take the time to write positive words about them.

Here are two examples of current picks — one nonfiction, the other fiction:

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Trophy-Winning Titles

November 17, 2006

winnersticker.gifI don’t always read all of the award-winning books. But it’s fun, isn’t it, to see which titles garner the big bounties? The 2006 National Book Awards were just announced and I figured you, like me, would to take a look at the honor roll.

For those who wish to read any of the winning books, links are provided. If you would like to watch the awards ceremony, it’s being broadcast on Book TV this weekend.

And the winners are:

Fiction

The Echo Maker by Richard Powers

Nonfiction

The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl by Timothy Egan

Poetry

Splay Anthem by Nathaniel Mackey

Young People’s Literature

The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Vol. 1: The Pox Party by M.T. Anderson

Club Selections: On Deck and In The Hole

November 16, 2006

acres.jpgThere are times when I am asleep at the wheel. And I don’t drive. So you do the math.

Anyhoo, the River City fiction book club had another terrific gathering recently — they discussed To Kill a Mockingbird so you know they had some great conversation — and I have been remiss not to give ya’ll and update on their happenings. Sue de Malignon, the well-read moderator of the club, has announced (there wasn’t a press conference or anything) the group’s next two selections:

blood.jpgDec. 5 — A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley. Comment: A retelling of King Lear in an Iowa farming community.

Jan. 2 — Blood from a Stone by Donna Leon. Comment: A Christmas-time mystery set in Venice; a quick read for a busy time.

Remember: Participants receive 20 percent off selected books. While there have been a crew of regulars since the group got going a few years ago, new members are welcome.

The club meets the first Tuesday of the month. For more information about the club, contact Sue at 507-646-7754 or sdemalig@acs.carleton.edu


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