Archive for September 2008

Banned Books Week

September 29, 2008

Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read is observed during the last week of September each year. First recognized in 1982, the annual event reminds us not to take our precious democratic freedom for granted. This year’s celebration also reminds me that there’s a great new book out — they have it down at the old neighborhood bookstore — about efforts to ban, of all books, The Grapes of Wrath. Until I spotted “Obscene in the Extreme” by Rick Wartzman I didn’t know that not long after this American classic was published the book was burned publicly and banned from library shelves. “Obscene” tells the remarkable — and chilling — story behind this fit of censorship. Whether or not you pick up this book, I hope you will consider picking up a banned book this week. The American Library Association offers great resources about the most frequently challenged books.

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You’re Invited to the Party

September 25, 2008

I love parties (as too many of you well know) and I love books (duh). I especially love good books written by authors will local ties. So you know I won’t miss the bookish party River City Books is throwing this weekend.

RCB will host a book-release party for Laura Goering, author of the children’s book Whistling Wings, at noon on Saturday, Sept. 27, at the store. 

Goering is a professor of Russian at Carleton College.

“Whistling Wings,” published by Sylvan Dell, known for its fictional tales with educational themes, is the story of Marcel, a young tundra swan, who is tired from the first half of winter migration. One thousand miles is a long way to fly — too long for Marcel — so he hides in the rushes to stay behind while his parents and the flock continue south. But with the lake nearly frozen over, he soon realizes he is not cut out for life on ice. Other animals offer advice about how to survive the winter, but their ways of living aren’t right for the swan. Hungry and scared, he falls asleep only to be awakened by a big surprise.

The party is free and children of all ages are invited.

Oprah Likes Edgar

September 24, 2008

I was just reading about the fact that the world’s greatest bookseller had chosen the next pick for her book club and then — whoa! — I walked into the old neighborhood bookstore and saw copies of The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski with the Oprah seal of approval already stamped on them.

“I think this book is right up there with the greatest American novels ever written,” Oprah said. The Oprah Magazine gave reasons behind that assessment: “Wroblewski’s plot is dynamic — page by page compelling — and classical, evoking Hamlet, Antigone, Electra, and Orestes, as Edgar tries to avenge his father’s death and his paternal uncle’s new place in the affections of his mother. The scope of this book, its psychological insight and lyrical mastery, make it one of the best novels of the year, and a perfect, comforting joy of a book for summer.”

Spreading the News about ‘Wings’

September 23, 2008

I just want to thank Northfield News staff writer Brenda Ward for her piece on this Saturday’s book release party. Bring the kiddies!

Bargain Monday

September 22, 2008

There are a lot of great bargains down at the old neighborhood bookstore today. Then, now that I think of it, there are a lot of great bargains down at the old neighborhood bookstore every day.

Here’s one that nearly blasted off the table: Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded by Simon Winchester. In this book the New York Times bestselling author of The Professor and the Madman examines the legendary annihilation in 1883 of the volcano-island of Krakatoa, which was followed by an immense tsunami that killed nearly forty thousand people. Click here for the rest of the book summary.

The most powerful part: “Krakatoa” is on sale for just $5.99. While supplies last.

Fine Groove Customers Welcome

September 18, 2008


I was sad to hear that Fine Groove is closing its Division Street doors after 26 years as the music authority in Northfield. I know I join a long list of people who wish owner Brian Kenknight the best on his future endeavors. The store will be missed.

If you’re Fine Groove customer who is looking for a new place to turn for music, consider stopping by the old neighborhood bookstore. That’s right. River City Books has a pretty sold collection of music you can’t find anywhere else in town and the inventory always seems to be expanding. What’s more, if there’s a CD you’re interested in but don’t find in stock, they can special order it for you at no extra cost to you. They even pay the shipping charges!

September Staff Picks

September 14, 2008

Man, wasn’t it just August? I looked up and realized that we’re almost half way through the month! So I quickly set down the remote, gathered my book bag and headed down to the old neighborhood bookstore to see the latest batch of monthly staff selections. Better later than never, I always say, and this trip to RCB did nothing to assuage that nugget of wisdom. They have picture books, important political books, great novels, DVDs, CDs and more. All staff selected books are on sale for 25 percent off. All DVDs and CDs are 15 percent off. While supplies last and/or until the month of September expires. Which, come to think of it, don’t blink!