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September 4, 2007

On My Nightstand

So, I think I'll post a list of the books I'm in the middle of right now.

Then I can just update the list, change the date and top it.

At least I think that is how it will work.

After that I can post individual discussions of the books as I either finish them, or don't as the case may be.

I find that there are a lot of books I don't finish any more. Maybe it is my advancing age. I just don't have time to spend, reading something I don't just love. Or maybe it is because I spend my days surrounded by more than 100,000 books. Too many temptations to keep me from remaining loyal to the book at hand.

So, from the bottom up, here is what is currently stacked on my nightstand (top of the stack is what I'm most recently focusing on):

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I Remember Nonna, by Eleanore Berra Marfasi - Combination folk wisdom, superstition, homage, photo album and cookbook.
A Year in the World, by Frances Mayes - I KNOW, I'm the only person left on the planet who hasn't read it yet. Other books keep finding their way on top of it.
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, by Barbara Kingsolver - I'm really enjoying this book. I especially like the way I can put it down and come back to it without an impact on my enjoyment.
Little Heathens, by Mildred Armstrong Kalish -- Think Little House on the Prairie only in depression era Iowa farm country.
The Amateur Gourmet, by Adam D. Roberts -- A book version of his great website. www.amateurgourmet.com. Just because I identify myself is "untrained cook" with gourmet aspirations.
the seems: the glitch in sleep, by John Hulme and Michael Wexler (coming out in October) -- One of the advanced reader copies I need to get through. And YET another attempt to create the next Harry Potter phenom. Actually, the first three chapters are pretty interesting, in a 10 year old boy kind of way.
Fablehaven, by Brandon Mull, Another HP wanabe. Book one, with book two also in print. I've got a signing with the author in a few weeks, so this one is tops on my priority list. Good thing I'm REALLY enjoying it.


February 12, 2008

Too many book clubs

I'm participating in three book clubs right now. Add to that the fact that I have to read the books associated with all the events we have in the store and I've got more on my night stand than I'll ever be able to finish.
All I can say is, I'm grateful for the Evelyn Woods Reading Dynamics course I took when I was in high school in the 1960's.
Anyone out there remember Evelyn Woods? What ever happened to her and her speed reading course, anyway?
Here's my nightstand at the moment.

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From the bottom up:
Umberto Eco - He is one of those authors that you really want to brag about reading and understanding. I've been slogging my way through this book for 6 months. I really enjoy it, but it is such hard work to read. I can only manage a couple of chapters at a time. However, I feel so superior after reading and comprehending every chapter.

Italia Calvino - This is such fun reading. Folktales are so universal. The themes are the same no matter what country they come from. It is really fun to read something from Italy that sounds like it came right out of Grimms fairy tales.

Philosophy Made Simple - This looks like a good book. Just haven't gotten around to even cracking the cover yet.

In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan - This is my "Foodie" book group selection for February. PLEASE Everyone- Read this book. You will never look at the food you buy in a grocery store the same again. I promise!

A Version of the Truth - This is for my "Views from Venus" book group. I don't lead that group. I just read what they pick. haven't started it yet. Views from Venus is a book group that reads books with a strong female central character or a female author. We've read some very cool books. My favorite so far was Twelve Little Cakes by Dominica Dery.

A Stranger's Supper - I'm reading this because of our upcoming trip to Montenegro. A professor from one of the Ivy League Schools on the East Coast went to her native Montenegro and interviewed several dozen women who were each over 100 years old about their lives. It is a facinating book!

Realm of the Black Mountain - Another book about Montenegro. Haven't started it yet.

No Vulgar Hotels by Judith Martin - About Venice

April 30, 2008

Buddha, Nelly, Diagnosis Murder, & Magic Milk

The retail book business, even though we don't think of it as hectic, IS. Sometimes, in a single day, I find myself struggling to switch gears. Once in a while, I feel like I'm in a Twilight Zone of disorientation.

On Monday, I spent the morning driving more than 70 miles to deliver book and gift card orders to several of my school accounts.

Then I rushed back to the store to finalize the arrangements for a book signing I have coming up on May 7th. A reading & signing for the book "Buddha and the Terrorist" by Satish Kumar.

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I am beyond excited to be hosting Satish in our store. I don't expect a huge turnout because midwest USA is not a hotbed of nonviolent Buddhist thought - even in a city the size of St. Louis. I'm honored to have Professor Kumar in my store and the story of how we met is worth a blog entry of its own. Please click the link below and check out his organization.
http://www.resurgence.org/satish/index.htm

After those arrangements were complete, I turned my attention to getting a shipment ready to be delivered for a dinner event downtown that evening. I had staff members going down to set up and I would join them as soon as I could. (I still had an author event in my store before I could leave)

What was the downtown event? Oh, just a little dinner party hosted by rap star, Nelly and his charity 4Sho4Kids to celebrate the dedicated women who are foster mothers.

His keynote speaker was actress Victoria Rowell, whose wonderful book "The Women Who Raised Me" was being given as a gift to each attendee at the dinner. My job was to supply the books and assist Ms. Rowell at the signing table.

Here is a pic of Nelly introducing Victoria ....

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And another of Victoria with our store's assistant manager, Mary and me.

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OK --- Back to the author event I was doing before I headed downtown to the dinner.....
The most exciting new author on the scene (in my humble opinion), with a chance to fill the void left by the end of Harry Potter in the children's fantasy genre, is Brandon Mull and his series: FABLEHAVEN. You really need to check out his website!!! http://fablehaven.com/

Fablehaven is about a magical creature preserve in the woods of Connecticut. Book one is in screenwriting at the moment, having been purchased by New Regency Pictures and producer Avi Arad (the same people known for screen adaptations of Marvel Comics). The great thing about this series. like the Potter series, has readers from 8 to 80 who have become diehard fans.

Brandon was at my store last year for book two and again this year for book three. He will be coming back in October to visit some of my area schools and then do another signing. The attendees at this event, were educators from all the schools who were all hoping to have their name drawn to win one of the free school visits we are sponsoring.

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If you want to know what magic milk has to do with anything, you'll just have to pick up a copy of Fablehaven for yourself.

May 15, 2008

My May Night Stand

It's been a long time since I took a picture of my night stand. I decided to take the picture before I went back to my last blog entry to see how much it had changed.

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So here we go...from the bottom up...

IN THE WAKE OF THE PLAGUE, The Black Death & The World It Made, by Norman F. Cantor
Every since I watched the movie, "Dangerous Beauty" I've been interested in learning more about the Plague. So I bought the book a couple of months ago, I just haven't been in the mood to read it yet. That's why it has ended up on the bottom.

SALT, A World History, by Mark Kurlansky
I read Salt when it first came out in 2002, so when our Foodies book group was looking for something more about the history of food to discuss, I thought "What can be more basic to food history than salt?" (Plus, I didn't have to work very hard to re-read it.)

BASILICA, The Splendor and the Scandal: Building St. Peter's by R. A. Scotti
Like all booksellers, I've succumbed to the syrene's call to try my hand at writing the next great novel. This book is research.

Philosophy Made Simple by the author of Sixteen Pleasures, which I liked. But I haven't gotten around to this one yet.

So Brave, Young and Handsome by Leif Enger
This was a promotional copy sent to me by the publisher. Once in a while they send me hardcover books that don't have the advance reading copy caution plastered all over them. So if those look interesting I bring them home, even if I don't have to read them because the author is coming to my store.

The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen. (Advance reader copy)
This is the follow-up to her NYT bestselling debut, Garden Spells. I loved Garden Spells and am hoping Sugar Queen will be sprinkled with the light touch of everyday magic that made Garden Spells such a hit.

Found by Margaret Peterson Haddix (Advance reader copy)
This is by the author of the Shadow Children series. I'm so enamored with the Fablehaven series, it is really hard for me to get interested in any of the other "next great kid's fantasy" offerings. Haddix is a good solid young reader author. So I'm hoping that this will be the first of another hit series for her. We shall see.

The Groom To Have Been by Saher Alam (Advance reader copy)
Saher is having her release signing in my store in late July. She is an amazing writer and I'm really honored to host her debut. The Groom to Have Been is about a young Indian Muslim man who is facing the choice of a traditional arranged marriage or a love match. with the backdrop of NYC shortly after 9/11. This is a love story inspired by Wharton's "The Age of Innocence"

God's Middle Finger by Richard Grant
My Armchair Travellers book group is reading this for our May selection. It is quite a page turner memoir written by a British journalist who decides to travel the entire 900 mile length of lawless Serra Madre mountains in northern Mexico. The book begins with the account of the end of his trip, with him being chased for sport by a couple of killers who are gorked out on cocaine. Then it goes back and tells the tale of how he got himself into that situation.

The Recipe Writer's Handbook by Barbara Gibbs Ostmann
Someone told me about this book because the author was the food editor for the St. Louis Post Dispatch and lives in the St. Louis area. This is actually a style reference book and is a valuable tool used by many famous cookbook authors. Who knew?!?
I have no intention of becoming a professional recipe writer -- the field is way too crowded already. But, this is a great reference book for recipe READER's too.

June 5, 2008

GIVE ME A BREAAAK !

I'm going to take a major karma hit here, I know. The only thing I can say to defend myself is that I am being careful not to show anything that can identify either the book or the author. Plus, I'm not using any words that the author is likely to google and find my blog entry.
I really don't want to hurt his feelings. I know his life and identity are poured into this book, and from the looks of the marketing materials, his fortune as well.

But, my friends, I present to you a textbook example of how NOT to market your book to a bunch of jaded booksellers. We get dozens of advance reader copies a month. We read what immediately appeals to us. And believe me this is not appealing.

Exhibit One: The packaging. A Tiffany blue box with a white silk ribbon and a card warning me that this book was going to break my heart. Excuse me, please. It takes a heck of a lot more than a tear-jerker story to break my heart. Besides, what is wrong with a nice simple bubble padded manila envelope with a short and direct cover letter of introduction?

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Exhibit Two: The contents.
1- A sappy letter about the epiphany that led him to write the book. Including a glaring typo in the first sentence of the third paragraph.
2- A package of tissue, for Pete's sake! With the line "Cry me a river? You will." printed on it.
3- A 4x6 color photo of the author in his best GQ pose. Not a bookmark, mind you, a professional photograph suitable for framing. What is this supposed to be? Something I stick on my vanity mirror to moon over while I put my makeup on? Ugh.
4- The book. Oh, yeah. Don't forget this is supposed to be about promoting a book.

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I could probably forgive the silly Tiffany box. Even the typo in the cover letter. Lord knows I'm about the worst speller I know. But the tissues for my dainty tears and the come hither egotistical photograph are over the top.

Still, I'm not into censorship. We sell all kinds of crap in our store. And this might actually be a really great book. So, on the employee's breakroom table it went. Anyone who wanted to could grab it and take it home to read. And maybe fall in love with a beautifully crafted novel.

It's been there a week. People come in and say "What's that?" or "You've got to be kidding!" Or they simply laugh.

The next "To Kill a Mockingbird" may be languishing in our back room without a single one of our booksellers cracking the cover. That means none of us will be out on the bookfloor handselling the great new book we just read.

All because some marketing genius decided schmaltz sells.

September 3, 2008

The Forty-Three MEME

We have this book into our bargain department for only $12.95. I just spotted it today. A tall narrow coffee table picture book by Maria Teresa Feraboli, an architect from Milan. City%20Squares.jpg

It feature forty-three city squares, plazas and piazzas, with interesting photographs - some of them from unusual perspectives and well written descriptive text about the history of the square. Since the author is an architect, the text leans toward discussion of construction and buildings.

It is a beautiful, beautiful book that makes me want to visit every single one of those city squares. She seems to have listed them loosly based on chronological order from oldest to newest, rather than any preferential order on her part.

So, for fun, I've decided to list them as a meme so all my SlowTrav friends and travel blog readers can count the ones they've visited.

I've chosen to highlight my list by putting an asterisk next to the ones I've had the honor to stroll through. With only 15 of the 43, my list is entirely too meager. I have a lot of travel to do!

Copy this list into your own blog and put an asterisk after each city square you've actually spent time in. (Riding past in a taxi or bus doesn't count.) Please include the link back to my blog in you own entry and don't forget to come back to and leave me a comment so I can find your blog and admire your count.

The Forty-Three MEME from Old Shoes, New Trip
1- Piazza Del Campo, Siena, Italy *
2- Piazza Della Signoria, Florence, Italy *
3- Staromestske Namesti, Prague, Czech Republic
4- Markt, Bremen, Germany
5- Grote Markt, Brussels, Belgium
6- Piazza and Piazzetta San Marco, Venice, Italy *
7- Piazza Del Campidoglio, Rome, Italy *
8- Krasnaja Polscad, Moscow, Russia
9- Sultanahmet Meidani, Istanbul, Turkey
10- Piazza Navona, Rome, Italy *
11- St. Peter's Square, The Vatican *
12- Place Des Vosges, Paris, France
13- Place Vendome, Paris, France
14- Place Des Terreaux, Lyon, France
15- Place Stanislas, Nancy, France
16- Plaza Mayor, Madrid, Spain *
17- Schlossplatz, Stuttgart, Germany
18- Plaza De La Constitucion, Mexico City, Mexico
19- Praca do Comercio, Lisbon, Portugal *
20- Trafalgar Square, London, UK
21- Gendarmenmarkt, Berlin, Germany
22- Konigsplatz, Munich, Germany
23- Winter Palace Square, St. Petersburg, Russia
24- Piccadilly Circus, London, UK
25- Piazza Duomo, Milan, Italy *
26- Piazza Dell'Unita D'Italia, Trieste, Italy *
27- Theaterplatz, Dresden, Germany
28- Maria Theresien Platz, Vienna, Austria
29- Hosok Tere, Budapest, Hungary *
30- Plaza De Mayo, Buenos Aires, Argentina
31- Times Square, New York City, USA *
32- Tian'anmen Square, Beijing, China
33- Praca Dos Tres Poderes, Brasilia, Brazil
34- Nathan Phillips Square, Toronto, Canada *
35- City Hall Plaza, Boston, USA *
36- Plateau Beaubourg, Paris, France
37- Tsukuba Center Square, Tsukuba, Japan
38- Place Du Nobre D'Or, Montpellier, France
39- Placa Dels Paisos Catalans, Barcelona, Spain
40- Parliament Square, Canberra, Australia
41- California Plaza, Los Angeles, USA *
42- Schouwburgplein, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
43- Potsbamer Platz, Berlin, Germany

February 15, 2009

Reading Goal

The other day, all of the calendars in the store went on clearance for $1.00. There is one calendar in particular that I like to get every year. But I'm too cheap to pay even my employee discount price, so I wait for the February clearance.

It is the hardcover, Barnes & Noble Classic First Lines Desk Calendar.

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I like it because it lists the birthdays of of famous contributors to arts and literature. It's fun to start the month by checking out who was born that month.

Here is the list for February:
1st - S. J. Perelman, 1904; 2nd - James Joyce, 1882; 3rd - James A. Michener, 1907 & Paul Auster, 1947; 4th - Bet Friedan, 1921; 6th - Francois Truffaut, 1932; 7th - Charles Dickens, 1812; 8th - Kate Chopin, 1851; 9th - J. M. Coetzee, 1940; 11th - Joseph L. Mankiewicz, 1909; 13th - Grant Wood, 1892; 15th - Alfred North Whitehead, 1861; 16th - Iain Banks, 1954; 18th - Andre Breton, 1896 & Toni Morrison, 1931; 19th - Carson McCullers, 1917 & Jonathan Lethem, 1964; 20th - Richard Matheson, 1926; 21st - Ha Jin, 1956; 22nd - Sean O'Faolain, 1900; 25th - Anthony Burgess, 1917; 26th - I. A. Richards, 1893; 27th - Irwin Shaw, 1913; 28th - Ben Hecht, 1894.

Most of the people listed are authors of books. But some are composers, playwrites, and even screenwriters. For the purposes of my new reading goal, however, I'm sticking to books.

At the beginning of each month for the year 2009, I'm going to pick one author from that month's birthdays with whom I'm unfamiliar, and read something he/she wrote.

Even though I only have half the month left, I'm still going to tackle February. I've chosen J. M. Coetzee, a Nobel Prize winner with almost a dozen titles on our shelves. It appears I'm about the only person on the planet who hadn't heard of Coetzee or read his books. So, yesterday I started reading:

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Since we're planning a month in Scotland this summer, I must read Robert Burns, right? But the 250th anniversary of his birth was January 25th. So it's already past. But, that's OK. I'll add him to my reading one month this spring. I want to read some of his poetry anyway - just to prepare for the trip.

February 19, 2009

The Oldest Bookstore In the Western World

When we were in Lisbon a few years ago, one of my must-dos was to visit Livraria Bertrand.


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It was almost a religious experience for me to walk through the door of a bookstore that was established in 1732.


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Although it was destroyed in the great Lisbon earthquake of 1755, it was moved to the very location it still occupies in 1773. It has been open and continually operating in that same location for 235 years -- three years longer than the United States has existed as a country!

Bertrand has expanded to become a big chain store company with 56 locations throughout Portugal. however, the one we visited on Rue Garrett, just a few blocks from our apartment is the original.

There is a bookstore in Paris - the Galignani that claims to be the oldest, but Bertrand predates it by 30 years.

While looking for the specific dates and statistics, I ran across this web site:
http://www.bookstoreguide.org/
Pretty informative for anyone travelling throughout Europe and in the need of a bookstore.

February 28, 2009

I've Picked My Book for March

Checking my calendar for authors with March birthdays, yielded interesting names. But the one that really grabbed my attention was Budd Schulberg, March 27th, 1914.

I've seen "On The Waterfront", of course. And I'm really not interested in reading screen plays as part of this monthly reading mission.

But, somehow, I didn't know he had written novels as well. The most noteworthy being "What Makes Sammy Run?", 1941. So, that's the book I decided to read.

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October 15, 2009

Kevin Connolly Discusses Print Book vs E-Book

About three or four months ago, I received an ARC of a new book that would be coming out in October -- Double Take: A Memoir by Kevin Connolly.

As the CRM of a Barnes & Noble Bookseller, I get dozens of ARCs every month. It takes a lot to get me to actually read one. It needs to grab me. I don't like gimmicky package or marketing letters that promise the book will be a life-changing experience for me. (Note to all of those marketers who are beginning to send out books with packets of tissue promising that I'm going to need them when I read their tear-jearker. I promise YOU that not only will I not read your client's book. I may be 'lost' before it ever gets to the breakroom bookshelf.) Case in point this blog rant from a couple of years ago: http://www.slowtrav.com/blog/deborah/2008/06/give_me_a_breaaak_.html#comments

When I opened the envelope containing Double Take, I was fully prepared to toss it in the communal bookshelf for our booksellers to pick through.

As I fanned the pages with my thumb, I saw pictures of people in Croatia. "Oh, wait." I'd just returned from that part of the world. "Maybe I need to find out what this guy had been doing there." So I read the cover letter, and a few random pages. And I was hooked.

Double Take went home with me; finished it in a day; and even took the extraordinary step of emailing the publisher's rep for the book to tell her how much I liked it. AND...here's the true test...I started following Kevin on Twitter.

On Tuesday, the book arrived in the store. It is on our new releases table. I've been handselling it to every employee. Last night, I had a couple of romance authors in the store for a booksigning. While they are signing their new book and visiting with their fans, the author's escort and I are wandering through new releases as she points to books by authors she will be seeing in town soon. Big names, everyone knows. I give her Kevin's book and tell her that I won't be impressed until she can add his name to her list. :grin: Time for Kevin to leave the comfort of Montana and come test his board on the streets of St. Louis!

And finally, to address the subject line of this blog entry. Here is an amusing send-up by Kevin on print versus e books.

November 28, 2009

One Good Dog

I get several ARCs on my desk during the course of a week. The pace is picking up right now because advance readers' generally come out 3-4 months prior to pub date, and March is a popular month.

Day before yesterday, I got this.


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I liked the cover art. I skimmed the marketing plan. I read the peer-praise snippets. Although understanding how the system works keeps me from putting much stock in those. Then I read the introductory letter from the publisher. I liked that it was written by the author herself rather than by an editor.

For some reason, instead of tossing the book on the staff reading table, I opened it to several random pages to see if anything grabbed me.

What grabbed me was the dog's voice as he told me about his life in the hell-hole world of dog fighting. The subject interests me, since St. Louis is the epicenter of pit bull rescue right now. Thanks to the Humane Society of Missouri, 500 dogs breed to fight, aren't.


I brought the book home and read it cover to cover in one 5-hour sitting. That doesn't happen too often.

I wish Susan Wilson and her book about One Good Dog the best of success. I predict that Chance is about to give Marley a serious run for her money.

December 16, 2009

WILLIE MAYS: The Life, The Legend

Ok, Professor Hirsch, I think I'm ready for my final exam.


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If you leave out the epilogue, the author's note, the career stats, the citation notes, and the bibliography it's 532 pages. If you include them, your one page shy of 600.

How could one person, even a public figure, live a life that produces enough material for a book with that heft? Even if that person is a legend the size of Willie Mays.

In the hands of James S. Hirsch, the amazing career of the Say Hey Kid is a framework around which is built a story of baseball, civil rights, human nature, & America's national character. But the focus always stays on Mr. Mays.

I'm not a scholar, I'm a reader. So, if you're like me, when you hear that a book is being called "scholarly" you'll stifle a yawn. It's as if in our minds scholarly and entertaining can't possibly coexist.

But, trust me on this, your education in the life and times of Willie Mays will be a page-turner. All 600 of them. What you learn about the times is as important a lesson as what you learn about him.

Come February, when this book hits the stores, there are going to be people standing in long lines at the few lucky bookstores that will host Mr. Hirsch's signings. Many of them will be memorabilia hunters, eager to add one more autographed, plastic-protected item to their collections. But it is the history buffs, and the students of human nature, and the people who just love the thrill of an amazingly crafted story, who will be the lucky ones. Because they will actually read it.

March 20, 2010

Babe Ruth and Goat's Milk Soap

I've gone a couple of months without any ARCs hitting my desk that grabbed my attention.
Now the spring ARC season has begun. This week, not one, but two very promising books arrived.

I'm not really too good at getting interested in fiction - at least not fiction that seems to be made of whole cloth.

If I read fiction, I like the story line to revolve around a gripping bit of history especially if it is a sub-genre of historical fiction I call bio-fiction. In bio-fiction, an author takes an intriguing person from history, with little or no surviving documentation about that person’s life, and then creates a life for them that might have fit within the times they moved.

The first book in the picture below - Diamond Ruby, by Joseph Wallace - falls into the category for intriguing historical central character. And by my lights, it doesn’t hurt that the backdrop is baseball. Diamond Ruby is based on was a female footnote in baseball history. A girl named Jackie Mitchell, who in the spring of 1931, struck out Babe Ruth and Lou Gerhig in an exhibition game between the Yankees and a minor league team called the Chattanooga Lookouts. Jackie’s status as the first woman to break the gender barrier in baseball, didn’t lead to fame. Instead it led to obscurity via those two strikeouts. The commissioner of baseball couldn’t face the prospect of women in his beloved sport – especially if they proved able to strike out a legend or two. He ruled that women should be banned from baseball on the grounds that the sport was too strenuous for them.

Wallace takes the spirit of Jackie Mitchell, and creates in Diamond Ruby, a girl who managed to accomplish all the things Jackie had dreamed of. I’m looking forward to reading it.

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The other book that caught my attention is another of my favorite kinds of read - memoirs that don’t take themselves very seriously. The title and the cover photo of Josh Kilmer-Purcell’s new book would have won my interest, even without reading the blurbs. Two of the most non-farmer looking guys in suits and muck boots hanging out with some goats. The blurbs sealed the deal, and it came home with me.

Diamon Ruby is due to publish in May, and The Bucolic Plague in June.

April 27, 2010

Oh, no. Not another one!

If you remember this rant from a couple of years ago about an ARC I received, you'll understand my reaction when I walked into my office and found THIS in the mail...

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Dear, God. Not another cutesy attempt to get my attention? Not another silly promo scheme? Where's the trash can?

Wait. This looks like a greasy, wrinkled brown paper bag. That label looks like a deli label. Ewweee. Is that a blood splatter?

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Well, maybe not so cutesy. Certainly not romantically schmaltzy like the one I wrote about a couple of years ago. But still, gimmicky. And by my lights, that is just as great a sin.

I had to admit, I'm intrigued by the blood splatter on the label. I was betting that it was a gruesome murder mystery where some deranged butcher starts filling the local Piggly Wiggly meat case with ground human.

I decided to look inside just to satisfy my curiosity. But I was determined NOT to reward gimmick marketing by reading the contents. Now way was I going to abandon my principles.

As I turn toward the trash can, I tear open the faux brown paper. And there, staring back at me is the the bad boy of food writing. The man who has no peer when it comes to edgy poetics about food. If they started giving a Pulitzer Prize for food writing, he would be its first winner.

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I think I'll just pretend this came in a nice clean manilla envelope with a traditional introductory letter.

April 30, 2010

The Wild Vine

This book pushes a number of my buttons. History, Wine, Intrigue, and most of all - the button that gets me started on a rant about how underappreciated Missouri is.


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In The Wild Vine, Todd Kliman has focused his skills as a researcher and writer on the Norton grape. And, since he couldn’t write about Norton without dedicating a considerable amount of the book to Missouri, I’m a happy reader.

First, for those who like to know the credentials of a writer -- who is Todd Kliman? He’s the food and wine editor and restaurant critic for The Washingtonian and a James Beard Foundation Award winner for his writing. He’s a regular contributor to The New Yorker, Harpers, Men’s Health, National Geographic Traveler, The Washington Post Magazine, and NPR.org. He’s a literature professor at American University and Howard University.

Questions Todd answers in this book:

What’s so great about Norton?
How do a bunch of Germans in the immigrant settlement of Hermann, Missouri save it from obscurity?
Who was Henry Vizetelly, and how did he bring Norton to the world’s attention?
How did Norton save the wine industry in France?
How did Norton survive prohibition?
Who is Jenni McCloud, and why do I want to be her new best friend?

The book will be out in May. It’s my Foodies Book Group’s June selection. Here is what the actual cover will look like. (I personally like th ARC cover better)


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Now, I have to go pour myself a glass of Norton and re-read The Wild Vine.

May 14, 2010

More About Norton

The previous post tells of an ARC I recently read:
The Wild Vine by Todd Kliman.

He just came out with this great YouTube trailer about the book.

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Old Shoes - New Trip in the Books, books, and more books category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

Being a Traveller is the previous category.

Budapest, Montenegro, Italy 2008 is the next category.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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