Archive for February 2007

Sign Up for the RCB E-newsletter

February 28, 2007

rcblogos.jpgIt’s been a while since I posted a reminder to those of you who don’t read this blog daily (the punishment will come unexpectedly) but who want to stay abreast of all the sales, bargains, reviews, book news and store events that I scribble about. There are two options: The first is to walk up and down Division Street asking everyone you see. The second is to sign up for River City Book’s e-newsletter.

The e-newsletter, sent periodically to voluntary subscribers, is free and painless. Simply visit RCB’s Web site, scroll down about half way on the very left-hand side of the home page. There you’ll find a blank. You insert your e-mail address and voila!

Note: Your address will remain confidential. It will never be sold or shared with anyone at any time and you can opt out at any time. Best part is you’ll never miss an event or sale.


Now That’s An Achievement

February 27, 2007

everyman.JPGSure, the academy awards involve beautiful people in ungodly costumes babbling on for five hours, but for my money the PEN/Faulkner award is more prestigious. In case you didn’t hear the acceptance speech, this year’s winner made history as Philip Roth, one of my favorite writers, won the award for fiction for his novel Everyman, his third PEN/Faulkner award.

According to wire services, judge Debra Magpie Earling commented: “It’s such a slim volume, and the book haunts me, its simplicity and brutishness, the unflinching look at life. Roth never looks away, never trivializes, never shrugs. He manages to wrestle with grief, the immensity of losing self.”

Runners up were The Dead Fish Museum by Charles D’Ambrosio, Twilight of the Superheroes by Deborah Eisenberg, The Collected Stories of Amy Hempel by Amy Hempel and All Aunt Hagar’s Children by Edward P. Jones.

Roth’s other PEN/Faulkner winners were Operation Shylock in 1994 and The Human Stain in 2001.

If you haven’t read “Everyman,” stop by River City Books and pick up a copy. Or pre-order a paperback copy.

Starting the Week Out Right

February 26, 2007

spragg.JPGAs I’ve always said, Mondays are good days for bargains. A fresh week. Full of promise. What better way to begin again than by picking up a great book and saving a few bucks in the process? I don’t think there’s an argument against that way of thinking. And if there is, keep it to yourself. I am not sure I want to hear it.

At River City Books they keep ordering more and better bargain books. It actually tips my head back when I go in there to browse. Seems like every day there’s something exciting and new. Like Mark Spragg’s The Fruit of Stone. The fiction debut of the man who wrote An Unfinished Life is the story of the lifelong friendship between two men and their love for the woman who eludes them. The book received such praise that at the time it was named a Book Sense pick:

“After reading Spragg’s exquisite collection of essays about his boyhood in Wyoming, I knew there would be a novel from this hugely talented writer. And here it is, a beautiful work of fiction. It is about regret and redemption in the vast American West, and Spragg’s prose is masterful.” -Stan Hynds, Northshire Bookstore, Manchester Center, Vt.

The worst part is not the price, either — just $5.98 in hardcover. Not a bad deal for a Monday.

No Snow Down Here

February 23, 2007

powers.JPGIs it just me or does the possibility of a winter storm make us scurry now more than it used to? I can’t count the number of conversations I’ve had with people who are nervous about the snow that’s supposed to hit this weekend. My guess: We’ll all survive! Hey, get a few extra snacks, pick up a great read at the old neighborhood bookstore, and sit back and relax. But don’t forget one other thing: There’s a special event happening on Saturday morning and I don’t think you’ll want to miss the chance to speak with Jonathan Powers.

Powers served his country in war, and now this U.S. soldier is on another kind of mission. Founder of War Kids Relief, an effort to help the thousands of Iraqi orphans created by the war, Powers will appear at River City Books at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 24, to talk about his efforts and sign copies of What Was Asked of Us: An Oral History of the Iraq War by the Soldiers Who Fought It.

Powers is one of the soldiers featured in the book, which is a gritty, authentic and uncensored history of the war written by Trish Wood. River City is discounting the book 15 percent through the event. And if you can’t make it but want a signed copy anyway, give them a call (507-646-7754).

My forecast calls for 100 percent chance of enjoying this event.

RCB ‘Friend’ Publishes New Book

February 22, 2007

nest.JPGIn case you haven’t heard, local author Catherine Friend, who treated readers to a lovely evening of reading and reflection when she visited River City Books earlier this winter, has a new children’s book out. The Perfect Nest, illustrated in full color by John Manders, is the story of a flustered cat on the verge of crying fowl in a farmyard story that’s rich in detail with a sweet final twist that will crack young readers up. The book is on sale at River City Books. Stop by and take a look. Says here any book with the word nest in the title is a going to be a winner.

Best of all: No controversial mention of human anatomy!

Listen to Strayed Discuss ‘Torch’

February 20, 2007

strayed21.JPGAh-ha — we have audio! Just click below (or subscribe via iTunes) to listen to Cheryl Strayed, author of the acclaimed novel Torch, read from and discuss her book. Strayed appeared Sunday night at the Northfield Arts Guild as part of the Northfield Reads! community-wide book club.

I wasn’t sure my otherwise trusty iPod would do the trick, but sure enough. Enjoy!

Another Nice Northfield Reads! Night

February 19, 2007

strayed.JPGThose who ventured out on a cool Sunday night to listen to Cheryl Strayed read from and discuss her acclaimed novel Torch really got a treat. Strayed talked about growing up in small-town Minnesota (“in a county with one stoplight,” she said), the way her own life influenced the novel, discussed the writing process and fielded questions from readers. She also read the first chapter and I don’t know how anyone listening to it wouldn’t want to read the rest of the book. It grabs you by the collar (if you’re among those who wears collars). Afterward, Strayed signed copies of her book and I have included a photo of such an exchange (click on to enlarge). I may be able to post some audio in the next couple of days as well so check back.

Thanks to Ms. Strayed for participating in Northfield Reads! She was an excellent presenter of her novel — witty, engaging and gracious — and we were lucky to have her visit.