Archive for December 2008

New Year’s Notes

December 31, 2008

new-yearI don’t know about you, but 2008 was a rough year. Seemed like every time I picked up the newspaper there was more bad news and I know every time I picked up my retirement account statements there was. But, thank goodness, we’re putting this one to bed right quick.

Before I ring it in, I thought I would phone it in. Er, um, I mean, send this important note about River City Books’ New Year’s hours. They’ll be there till 6 p.m. tonight (closing two hours early; can hardly blame them) and will be shut down all of the first day of 2009. Note, though, that at 10 a.m. on Friday the big sale resumes!

I hope you have a happy and safe celebration.


Overheard Testimonials

December 30, 2008

bargain-optionA signed hardcover copy of a book written by a Minnesota author who has a National Book Award on his mantle … for $12.99? Plus they’ll take another 20 percent off that? The Star Tribune says of this Pete Hautman book: “Besides being a hilarious, fast-moving read. … Mrs. Million is a first-rate adventure yarn.” And for that price, I fancy that I’ll enjoy it even more.

That book is just one of the many bargains — books and otherwise — I have been scooping up since River City Books started its after-Christmas sale. And I am hardly the only one who is taking advantage. I’ve seen people with tall stacks of books. Others with a full compliment of calendars (wall, page-a-day, engagement) and more than a few were saving dough on DVDs. And as I zipped about I heard a number of remarks from fellow shoppers (not that I was eavesdropping; people just like to tell me things) including a few of the obscenity-free ones I took down verbatim:

“That book is only four dollars and ninety-eight cents! Are half of the pages missing or something?”

“I just bought my wife that Louise Erdrich novel she’s been wanting to read for a year and the cutest puppy calendar I’ve seen since the Labs of 2002, plus that great Feist album, and I only paid $25.76. I’ll say mushaboom to that! My only worry is that she’ll find out. Do you think they’ll tell her at the beauty parlor? They know everything at that place.”

“Wait a minute. Someone told me you could get a bagel around here.”

“Saving 20 percent on bargain books is so November. I brought the blue bag my secret Santa gave me and now I save 25.”

As you can see, some of the deals are simply hard to believe. Get ‘em while they’re still available. When they are gone, they are, as they say, no longer here.

Breaking News: Sale In Progress

December 26, 2008

My sources have confirmed that River City Books will be engaged in a substantial after-Christmas Sale, beginning at 9 a.m. today. This sale will include, I am told, savings that many shoppers typically find agreeable. Savings such as:

• 50 percent off all calendars already in stock

• 30 percent off all holiday books

• 20 percent off the already low price of all bargain books, including those in the store’s swanky bargain basement

• 20 percent off select CDs and DVDs

Disclaimers: These discounts are available while supplies last. The only limits are the self-imposed variety.

I hope this news is of use. The scoop may be arriving the morning after Christmas but, as your humble servant, I’m always on the job. Except when I’m eating.

Pretty Good Gift Idea: Heart By Way of Tummy

December 24, 2008

cookingSo you’re down to the wire and you have no idea what to give the hardest person in the world to shop for. But you just know it can’t be another gift card because you’ve given this person a gift card every year for umpteen years. Here’s one area where you can almost certainly not go wrong: food. Glorious food. Hey, we all gotta eat, right? Most of us even have to (or want to?) make it for ourselves. Especially these days, people are getting back to basics, making meals at home, eating in comfortable settings with those they know and love. So here’s the pretty good idea: Pick up a great book from River City Books’ cooking section — they are not all strictly recipe books — and pair it with, say, a gift certificate from the local food co-op. The book provides the plan. The certificate provides the tools. Many books in the cooking section help us eat healthfully while still inspiring meals that warm the tummy, which is important to many of us. It is important to me, too. Or will be. Right after the holidays.

Note that RCB will be closed tomorrow, Dec. 25. Happy holidays to all!

Pretty Good Gift Idea: For The Best Friend

December 23, 2008

deweyToday’s pretty good gift idea is one you can give to your friend that he or she can in turn give to his or her best friend. Wait. I know what you must be thinking: this bird is batty! No, I am not really suggesting that on top of the shopping list, the cookie baking, the turkey basting, the tree trimming and the shoveling (oh, the shoveling) that you should also volunteer to come up with gifts for other people’s people. Actually, I am thinking of the fuzzy four-legged friends in our lives.

If you are buying for a dog or cat lover you might want to consider perusing River City Books’ pet section for one of the many great books about pet rearing/animal tales and then couple it with a treat or gift certificate to a local pet supplier. A few that come to mind: Dewey, a true story about a cat that saved an entire Iowa town. Or marleyso I am told. I am also told a movie is in the works. Of course, you can go tried and true: Marley & Me, which, of course, already has the movie mojo. One book I picked up the other day is “Do Dogs Laugh?” I haven’t gotten too far into it yet (been a little busy, ya know) but it looks like it will help me figure out a few things about the terrier in my life and about dogs in general (I have much to learn). Not too long ago I saw a Cesar Millan title on one of the store’s many bargain tables. I can’t vouch that it’s still there. But his books are worth checking out. They don’t call him the Dog Whisperer for nothing.

Two more options — just because I’m hot, and you never know when that might happen again. The first is Saved: Rescued Animals and the Lives They Transform by Carleton College graduate Karin Winegar and the second is Merle’s Door: Lessons from a Freethinking Dog. This time of year we all could use more freethinkers, whether or not they are canines.

Pretty Good Gift Idea: Mark the Days

December 22, 2008

calendars2Sometimes I need a gift to wow someone. I mean, really blow them away with my creativity and maybe even show them that my wallet does, in fact, open up. But quite often, especially in these economic times, I want to give a small gift that shows I am thinking of you but not going overboard to the point where the person thinks “gee, I didn’t know we were such good friends.”

In these situations I remember that the old neighborhood bookstore has calendars galore, including wall, page-a-day and engagement options. Themes include (but are not limited to) animals, children, gardening, farming, landscapes, nature, art, photography, quilting, sailing, unique places, and spirituality.

Calendars are a pretty good gift idea because they are snazzy, they don’t cost much and everyone needs at least one (and most need two, — one for home, another for office). On Saturday I was in the store and talked to a gentleman who purchased four of those fancy new Carleton College-produced calendars, the ones that include all kinds of great shots of Northfield. If you haven’t seen them yet, stop on by the store. I know you’ll like ’em. And they are an especially good gift option for the friend who relocated to a lesser place.

Open Later, Longer To Serve Holiday Shoppers

December 20, 2008

Attention. Attention! I have some critical information for holiday shoppers from our friends at River City Books. The store’s holiday hours begin today. Here’s the run-down between now and the start of twenty-o-nine:

RCBlogos.jpgSaturday, Dec. 20 — 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 21 — 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Monday, Dec. 22 — 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Tuesday, Dec. 23 — 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Wednesday, Dec. 24 — 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Thursday, Dec. 25 — closed
Friday, Dec. 26 — 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 27 — 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 28 — 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Monday-Tuesday, Dec. 29-30 — 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Wednesday, Dec. 31 — 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Thursday, Jan. 1 – closed