Archive for January 2009

New Bat Time, New Bat Channel

January 31, 2009

hideawayI almost forgot to remind you that the River City Books fiction book club will meet this Monday night. This is a new meeting date and a new meeting place. The group will gather at 7 p.m., Monday, February 2 (not Tuesday, February 3 as would be the case if things were the same as they usually are) at the James Gang Hideaway in downtown Northfield. I heard a rumor that glasses of wine may be served as the club discusses Divisadero by Michael Ondaatje, who is perhaps best well known as author of the “The English Patient.” If you have questions, call this number — 507-222-7754 — and you shall receive answers.

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Best in Children’s Books of the Year

January 29, 2009

graveyardI’m starting to get a little miffed at the WeatherHeads. Throughout last week/weekend’s obscenely cold spell they said it would warm by Wednesday. It will be much more pleasant on Wednesday. Temps, perhaps in the 30s, on Wednesday. Just survive until Wednesday. Wednesday! Well, I was outside on Wednesday and I can tell you we weren’t any closer to 30 than I am to winning a Pulitzer. Now they are saying Saturday’s the day. I’ll believe it when I feel it.

In the meantime, warmth must be found in knowing that awards season has begun and that means spring can’t be too many months off (can it?). The American Library Association has announced the winners of its major prizes — the Caldecott and Newbery medals, and the Coretta Scott King Award — for the best children’s and young adult literature.

Among this year’s winners:

John Newberry Medal for the most outstanding contribution to children’s literature — The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Newberry Honor Books — The Underneath by Kathi Appelt, illustrated by David Small; “The Surrender Tree: Poems of Cuba’s Struggle for Freedom by Margarita Engle”; Savvy by Ingrid Law; and “After Tupac and D Foster” by Jacqueline Woodson

The Randolph Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished American picture book for children — “The House in the Night,” illustrated by Beth Krommes and written by Susan Marie Swanson

Caldecott Honor Books — “A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever” by Marla Frazee; “How I Learned Geography” by Uri Shulevitz; and “A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams,” illustrated by Melissa Sweet and written by Jen Bryant

The Coretta Scott King Award recognizing African-American authors and illustrators of outstanding books for children and young adults that demonstrate sensitivity to “the true worth and value of all beings” — “We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball,” written and illustrated by Kadir Nelson

And the Oscar Goes To … Books

January 27, 2009

oscarI had to chuckle when I heard which movies had been nominated for Academy Awards. You know, they say people aren’t reading books but someone must be because it seems all good movie ideas come from human kind’s best (and my favorite) invention. Here’s an unofficial summary:

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, based on a story by F. Scott Fitzgerald, was nominated for best picture, best director (David Fincher), best actor (Brad Pitt), best supporting actress (Taraji P. Henson) and best adapted screenplay. It led with 13 nominations.

Slumdog Millionaire, based upon Vikas Swarup’s novel Q&A, was nominated for best picture, best director (Danny Boyle) and best adapted screenplay. Altogether the film earned 10 nominations.

The Reader, based upon Bernhard Schlink’s novel, was nominated for best picture, best director (Stephen Daldry), best actress (Kate Winslet) and best adapted screenplay.

Revolutionary Road, based upon the novel by Richard Yates, was nominated for best supporting actor (Michael Shannon), best art direction and best costume design.

Inaugurate This Book

January 24, 2009

bargain-prezI was so riveted the other day when the author of Dreams from My Father was sworn in as the forty-forth president of the United States. I especially got excited during his speech when the newest president mentioned the first. Like a lot of people that reference reminded me that River City Books has a copy of His Excellency: George Washington on sale for $5.99. The book is a landmark biography of our nation’s first president written by Joseph Ellis, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Founding Brothers. The book is the rare combination of exacting scholarship, shrewd analysis, and lyric prose that has made Ellis, who also has a National Book Award on his mantle, one of the premier historians of the Revolutionary era. Says the New York Times: “Absorbing. … An incisive portrait [that] eloquently conveys the magnitude of Washington’s accomplishments.” The book is available while supplies last. Hint: It probably won’t make to the end of the new prez’s first 100 days.

Book Club Trying Something New

January 21, 2009

hideawayThe River City Books fiction book club meets the first Tuesday of the month in the store’s downstairs meeting area. I must add one word to that statement: usually. In February the club is meeting on a Monday (Feb. 2) and elsewhere (the James Gang Hideaway in downtown Northfield). But the rest remains the same: good folks discussing a good book and all are welcome. This month’s selection is Divisadero by Michael Ondaatje. I think I’ll have a Cobb salad. They make a pretty good one down at the Hideaway.

Prices Slashed Again

January 17, 2009

holiday-booksI have been alerted by River City Books manager Jon Lee about some important news for people who like obscenely good deals: All remaining 2009 calendars have been marked down to 75 percent off the regular price; holiday-themed books are 50 percent off; and selected CDs and DVDs are 30 percent off. Just look for the bright red stickers! The disclaimers: in-stock items only and while supplies last.

They’re Still Pick Them

January 15, 2009

january1At the half-way point in the month it finally occurred to me that I should remind you that the industrious booksellers down at River City Books are still manically reading and recommending great books (and DVDs and CDs!) that you can get for cheap-cheap-cheap (books, 25 percent off; DVDs and CDs, 15 percent off).

Just stop by the store and peruse the display pictured (partially) in this post. Now I better get going. I think I also had some bills due at the beginning of the month.

Happy reading. Or listening. Or viewing.