Archive for September 2006

Don’t Forget … And Please Remember

September 30, 2006

memory.jpgSorry it’s been a few days since I last posted. No, I haven’t been watching football. Or frolicking in the fall colors (OK, maybe a little). Rather, I was attending the Midwest Booksellers Association’s convention in St. Paul, an annual treat for those in the book biz.

While I was away several items (including an upcoming sale at River City Books) piled up on my desk and I will start plowing through those things right away. First things first: Don’t forget that the River City Books fiction book club will meet at 7 p.m., on Tuesday, Oct. 3, in the downstairs meeting area at River City. The book to be read is The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards, a title that has drawn rave reviews from many literary corners.

The club meets the first Tuesday of the month. For more information about the club, contact Sue de Malignon at 507-646-7754 or


Oh What a Night

September 27, 2006

jane1.JPGIt’s events like tonight’s that make me feel fortunate to be a book reader in Northfield. Renowned author Jane Hamilton delighted a large crowd at Olin Hall on the Carleton College campus as part of the Northfield Reads! communitywide book club.

Hamilton, author of Disobedience, The Book of Ruth and A Map of the World, read several passages from her newly published and quickly praised novel When Madeline Was Young. Hamilton was personable and accessible, thoughtfully answering every question tossed at her from readers. She talked about the writing process, her career, characters in “Madeline” and her other novels, books she enjoys, and she welcomed friends from her alma mater. She also did a wonderful job of reading (not all authors do).

After the reading and discussion, Hamilton signed every book in the hall, as readers lined up in front of the signing table while munching on a complimentary cookie (or, in my case, two). For those who could couldn’t make it, Hamilton kindly signed some books for stock at River City Books.

RCB manager Jon Lee asked me to thank Ms. Hamilton for her willingness to participate in the event. We couldn’t have asked for more from a featured guest for Northfield Reads! What a terrific way to spend an evening.

Programming note: Barring issues caused by my technologically challenged bird brain, audio from Hamilton’s reading will be posted in the coming days.

Warm Up Pitches

September 26, 2006

madeline.gifI just looked at my clock and realized we’re less than 24 hours away from Jane Hamilton’s appearance as part of Northfield Reads! For those who haven’t heard — welcome back to town by the way — here are the particulars:

The event will be at 7 p.m., Sept. 27 (tomorrow), in Olin Hall, Room 149, on the Carleton College campus.

Jane Hamilton, the award-winning author of The Book of Ruth and A Map of the World, will read from her just-released novel, When Madeline Was Young, and sign copies.

For those who can’t wait, here are links to a Q&A with Hamilton about the book and another review.

Northfield Reads!, a communitywide book club that is free and open to the public, is sponsored by River City Books, the Carleton and St. Olaf college bookstores, Northfield Public Library and Monkey See Monkey Read. Information: 507-646-7754.

See you there!

Week Worth Marking

September 25, 2006

“Restriction of free thought and free speech is the most dangerous of all subversions. It is the one un-American act that could most easily defeat us.”

-Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas

bbwweb80x80_2006.gifI am interrupting my reading of Madeline to remind you — as I needed a gentle slap myself — that this week, from Sept. 23-30, is Banned Books Week.

Banned Books Week has been observed during the last week of September each year since 1982. The week is intended to celebrate the freedom to choose or the freedom to express one’s opinion even if that opinion might be considered unorthodox or unpopular. The idea is to stress the importance of ensuring the availability of those unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints to all who wish to read them. After all, intellectual freedom can exist only where these two essential conditions are met.

For more information about Banned Books Week visit the American Library Association’s Web site, which provides lists of books that have or are being challenged as well as other useful information about why this week is worth noting.

Now back to my regularly schedule programming er, um, reading.

Site Also Worth Checking Out

September 23, 2006

jh_home.jpgMy favorite part of Northfield Reads! events is always the Q&A near the end. The back-and-forth between writer and reader sparks interesting conversation about the writing process, the book’s characters, and a career that, let’s face it, must be interesting otherwise we probably wouldn’t be there.

Readers of When Madeline Was Young are likely to want to discuss any number of plot points and character details, as Jane Hamilton’s books are the kind you can sink into and pull out all kinds of real-life issues. In addition to straight-up reading of this fine, new novel — have I mentioned it’s on sale for 20 percent off? Yeah, I probably have — another source of interesting information that may spur thought-provoking questions is Hamilton’s personal Web site.

If you have a minute, it’s worth checking out.

‘Madeline’ Has Arrived

September 22, 2006

madeline.JPGLike a meteorologist in San Diego, I always have good news. Here’s today’s: Copies of Jane Hamilton’s new book, When Madeline Was Young, have arrived at River City Books. Stop by today — RCB is open seven days a week — to pick up this Northfield Reads! selection.

As I’ve mentioned one or eight times before, Hamilton will appear to discuss and sign copies of “Madeline” at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 27, in Olin Hall, Room 149, on the Carleton College campus. 
If you need directions to Olin Hall, stop by River City for a complimentary map.

By the way, my forecast calls for a terrific event.

Ode to the Independent Bookseller

September 21, 2006

The other day I clicked on something that I think is pretty cool and when you read it maybe, just maybe, you’ll think of a bookseller down at River City Books. If not, at least you’re likely to get a good chuckle.

It comes from an acceptance speech by Libba Bray, whose Rebel Angels recently won the New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association’s award for children’s literature. Upon accepting the award Bray read something she calls “Ode to the Independent Bookseller”: