Archive for January 2008

An Answer to Life’s Persistent Question

January 31, 2008

earth.jpgBecause I know you care, I just heard that A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose, written by Eckhart Tolle and published by Penguin, has been chosen as Oprah’s next book club pick.

“Being able to share this material with you is a gift and a part of the fulfillment of my life’s purpose,” the World’s Greatest Bookseller said in a statement. “It was an awakening for me that I want for you, too.”

Published in 2005, “A New Earth” encourages, Penguin said, “a collective sense of commitment to changing the way we live for people who want to make a difference. With the knowledge that we live in a time desperate for global change, renowned spiritual teacher Tolle’s book answers the question: what can one person do to enact that change? With clarity … he leads readers to a new level of consciousness, awakening them to their lives’ purpose and inviting them to envision a new earth where peace and fellowship are the norm.”

You know where you can get a copy? I know, I didn’t even need to ask.

Sail Away With This Story

January 30, 2008

mayflower.jpgI mentioned recently that I have been trying to read about the past (if I don’t know about history how will I know if I have repeated it?) and I just read a great book, Mayflower by Nathan Philbrick, the story of how this nation was settled and the complex, seamy nature of that story.

I appreciate authors who can make history come alive on the page and Philbrick does that, providing a vivid account of how Euro-Americans came to this country seeking a religiously “pure” society. The book traces the voyage of the Mayflower and the settlement of Plymouth Colony — from the arduous Atlantic crossing to the eruption of King Philips War between colonists and Natives decades later.

This is a well-told epic and I am glad I know a little bit more about this important chapter in our nation’s founding. By the way, Philbrick also delves into the first Thanksgiving. Myth or reality? Read the book to find out!

The Savings Get Even Better

January 28, 2008

annex.jpgMy sources inside the neighborhood bookstore — someone I call Deep Beak — has revealed that the store will soon close down its temporary next-door bargain books annex for the season.

That’s a blow, no doubt. But there’s an upside: From now through Saturday, Feb. 2, all of their bargain books are on sale for 40 percent off the already-low price!

Of course, River City will continue to sell bargain books downstairs. But inventory will be reduced and prices won’t remain this low. So try to stop by the store as soon as you can!

Weekend Reading Material

January 27, 2008

I saw this article in the WSJ and thought it might be one to check out over the Sunday morning coffee. Please don’t read too much into it. I am not suggesting donations to the neighborhood bookstore. I just think it’s cool to read stories about people who really care about preserving local independent bookstores in this bottomline world.

Have You Heard? Racism’s All the Rage

January 25, 2008

racism.jpgI can always use a good laugh and, no, looking in the mirror no longer gets it done. I was tiptoeing around the neighborhood bookstore the other day and I saw a good hardee-har-har-har: A Practical Guide to Racism by D.H. Dalton.

Before you start picketing or calling in the professional protesters you must know that this book is a tongue-in-check look at the “bright future of racism in one handy, authoritative, and deeply offensive volume.” Dalton is a professor of “racialist studies” and a leading authority on “inferior people of all ethnicities, genders, religions, and sexual preferences.”

In the tradition of Birth of a Nation, he is on a mission to clarify the truth about self-supremacy, drawing on eminent scholarship to enlighten a new generation of hate-mongers. Presenting evidence that everyone should be hated (even white people), “A Practical Guide to Racism” contains sparkling bits of useless and hilarious wisdom.

It’s no joke. I mean, this really is a joke. Take a peak and see if you think it’s safe to laugh with the author.

And the Oscar Goes to … Books!

January 23, 2008

no-country.jpgAcademy Awards nominations have been announced and, well, where would movies be without books? Here are some of the many based-on-books-you-can-buy-at-you-know-where movies that received Oscar nominations:

No Country for Old Men, based on the Cormac McCarthy book, was nominated for a bunch of awards including best picture.

“There Will Be Blood,” based on Upton Sinclair’s novel Oil!, earned nominations for a slew of awards, including best picture.

Atonement, based on Ian McEwan’s novel, was also nominated for best picture, among other awards.

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, based on the memoir by Jean-Dominique Bauby, was nominated for two awards, including best adapted screenplay.

Other movies based on books that had major nominations included Charlie Wilson’s War and Into the Wild.

Wonder If They Will Sell Any Copies

January 22, 2008

Take some words on a page. Add a dash of salt. Stir. Let sit 24 hours before serving.

duma.jpgIt’s not that easy for Stephen King and John Grisham to write national bestsellers — it only seems that way. I happened to hear on National Public Radio the other day that, coincidentally, both of these insta-hit writers have new books coming out at almost exactly the same time this week.

I haven’t read either book, but I thought I should scribble a few words anyway as their respective fans would likely want to know and where else are they going to receive notice? (Note: The following are summaries released by each book’s publisher. This does not constitute an official endorsement from this bookish bird.)


Ancient History Lessons

January 20, 2008

empire.jpgI’ve been trying to brush up on some history lately. I simply don’t know everything I should in order to make my old history teacher proud of me. Ancient history is especially a weakness. And, really, I hadn’t thought of doing anything about it until I heard an interview on Book TV, which turned me on to a book I otherwise had overlooked at the neighborhood bookstore.

In Day of Empire author Amy Chua, a woman who is far smarter than I will ever be (hard to believe, I realize), argues that hyperpowers (a select number of countries that have enjoyed world dominance) rise in part because of their tolerance — their ability to attract and retain the world best and brightest — and that one factor in their fall is intolerance.


Speaking of Children’s Books

January 19, 2008

cheep.jpgOne of my bookstore blind spots — yes, it’s true that I have them — is the children’s section. I just don’t always know which are the best books for kids of certain ages. One toughie is the wee tots. Obviously, they can’t read but that’s no reason not to give them books! Anyway, I came across a cool article that might be useful for those of you who shop for the youngest book consumers among us.

Kid Lit Award Winners

January 18, 2008

hugo.jpgThe drum roll please … I have an important announcement: two unconventional books, one by Laura Amy Schlitz and the other by Brian Selznick, have won the most prestigious awards for American children’s literature.

Schlitz, a librarian, won the Newbery Medal for “Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices From a Medieval Village” — a collection of theatrical monologues originally written as a performance piece for fifth-grade students studying the Middle Ages.

Selznick won the Caldecott Medal for The Invention of Hugo Cabret — a tale of an orphan who lives in a Paris train station that is driven primarily by elegant black-and-white drawings, which qualified it for the picture-book award.

Click here for more information.