Archive for March 2008

The Crowds Love ‘Em Anyway

March 19, 2008

great-reads.jpgIt’s been awhile since I pointed my authoritative wing — shut up! — at River City Books’ national best seller section. Some folks miss it, in fact, since it’s not too far inside the door and by the time they get that far their eyes are seeing so many good options it’s hard to focus. But, as you can see in this picture, it’s worth checking out from time to time. The current crop is especially interesting, I think, as you have young adult books, humor, historical nonfiction, novels (of course), essays, political biographies and even thrillers. If you’re in between books, stop on by, and check out this wall. You might not have to look anywhere else in the store. Though you probably will anyway and I won’t blame you if you do.

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That’s Not A Book!

March 18, 2008

bargain-puzzle.jpgSometimes when I am browsing River City Books’ bargain book tables I see something that blows my mind. Like, for starters, an item that is not a book. The other day I came across this cool floor puzzle that’s perfect for my nephew. It’ll help him learn the states and while it’s brand-new it’s only $8.98. I’ll show up at the upcoming holiday with the puzzle under my wing and he’ll think I am the coolest uncle in town. OK, maybe not the coolest because it’s not made of chocolate. But I figure the bunny will take care of that.

For St. Patty’s Day

March 17, 2008

shamrock03.gifThere was a bird down at the store
Who wanted to be something more
But he ran into a some kind of trouble
Because his brain was the size of a bubble
And so he could be nothing but a bore.

‘Burning’ for A Good Book?

March 16, 2008

burning-bright.jpg“A novel teeming with the complexities of life … Chevalier has a fine eye for detail and delightfully captures the sights, smells, and sounds of an earlier time.”
 That’s what the Chicago Sun-Times said about Burning Bright. They are not the only ones to heap praise on this new-in-paperback bestseller by Tracy Chevalier, author of “Girl With a Pearl Earring.”

Personally, I think this story looks even more fascinating than “Pearl.” It’s another historical tale, this one set in the waning days of eighteenth-century London. Poet, artist, and printer William Blake works in obscurity as England is rocked by the shock waves of the French Revolution. Next door, the Kellaway family has just moved in, and country boy Jem Kellaway strikes up a tentative friendship with street-savvy Maggie Butterfield. As their stories intertwine with Blake’s, the children navigate a confusing and exhilarating path to adolescence, and inspire the poet to create the work that enshrined his genius.

This photo was snapped at the old neighborhood bookstore just the other day. So if that description tempts you as much as it does me you know where to find a copy.

Marching In With Some Staff Picks

March 14, 2008

march.jpgI may not be punctual but I do clean my plate at dinner. Sometimes I also clean Mrs. Raven’s plate. In fact, usually I do.

In any event, it’s a bit past the usual time, but I wanted to let you know that the River City Books staff picks selections have been updated for March. The online list is partial. The full list — which includes DVDs and CDs — is available inside the neighborhood bookstore.

Remember, these are highly recommended titles that also come at a deep discount. They are monthly staff picks so that means they’ll change again in early April. But you probably understood that.

Hey, you going to finish that biscuit?

Book On Cable

March 12, 2008

adams.jpgI don’t have HBO. Heck, I don’t even have Headline News. Writing is not a business to get into if you want, say, an income. Then try getting gigs as a bird. There is, my friends, a discrimination story you’re not hearing about on Dateline.

Anyway, I know I will watch at least one HBO show in the coming weeks (if not live, at least on video). Beginning Sunday (March 16) HBO will air the two-part premiere of “John Adams,” based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning biography by David McCullough.

The seven-part series stars Paul Giamatti and Laura Linney. I like both of those actors. A lot. And Adams is a compelling figure. As sale of the McCullough book have shown. So this should be a good one. If you don’t have a copy yet, pick one up at the neighborhood bookstore.

He Must Have One Persuasive Publicist

March 9, 2008

bender-jacket.jpgBias alert. Don’t read this post thinking I am offering an objective announcement. Tom Swift, a Northfield-based writer and the River City Books employee I go to when I want a book that will allow me to really find myself, has a new book out of his own that, well, maybe you’ve head about. Not surprisingly, he’s booked an event at the old neighborhood bookstore.

Here are the details: Swift will read from and sign copies of Chief Bender’s Burden, at 3 p.m., Saturday, April 5, at River City Books, 306 Division Street. The book is and will be on sale for 20 percent off through the event.

“Chief Bender’s Burden,” published by the University of Nebraska Press, is the story of Charles Albert Bender, Minnesota’s first representative in the National Baseball Hall of Fame and the greatest American Indian baseball player of all time. Swift is a St. Olaf College graduate and a longtime resident of Northfield.

Says Library Journal in a starred review: “Signal thanks to journalist Swift for this authoritative biography of Charles Albert Bender. … Swift sets aside the myths about this most famous American Indian player while vividly describing him. … [This book] is for all interested in the First Nations, quite apart from baseball.”