Friday, October 26, 2012

Fiction, Craft, Health, Thomas L. Friedman, & Other Selections From Our Best Sellers of the Week

Our bestsellers are an eclectic and ever-changing lot. These few are selected from our top 50 sellers this week. 

The Lost Books of the Odyssey: A Novel, by Zachary Mason -- Mason retells Homer's epic with modernized themes, humor, and imagination as readers experience vignettes from the Odyssey in a whole new light. Discover how numerous characters, villains, and exploits were dramatically embellished in this hilarious deconstruction of a timeless classic.

Everything Alice: The Wonderland Book of Makes and Bakes, by Hannah Read-Baldry and Christine Leech -- Children and parents alike can enjoy this Wonderland-themed compendium of handmade crafts and homemade confections. From paper dolls to cupcakes and cookies, this book is indispensable for any young Lewis Carroll fan.

The Gene Smart Diet, by Floyd H. Chilton -- Decoding the human genome has taught us tons regarding human nature and biochemistry, but what about nutrition? In this thoroughly informative diet guide, Dr. Chilton explains how your genetic structure determines the effects that certain foods have on you, and how to tailor your own personal menu based on recommendations hardwired into your DNA.

Hot, Flat, and Crowded, by Thomas L. Friedman -- As nonrenewable energy sources dwindle, we need to start thinking of sustainable solutions for more than one looming crisis. Friedman lays out how a "green revolution" can turn America's economic and infrastructure woes around, before we reach a breaking point.

SEAL Target Geronimo: The Inside Story of the Mission to Kill Osama bin Laden, by Chuck Pfarrer -- While we know that Osama bin Laden was killed in a confidential military operation, details aren't always easy to find. Pfarrer interviewed Navy SEALs directly involved in the mission, and has used that information to generate a compelling account of what exactly happened on that fateful day.

The Little Book of Indoor Golf Games, by Adrian Winter -- For those who don't have the time to make it to the driving range every day, Winter's nifty handbook of around-the-house golf games is a coffee table treat. The book's games not only entertain, but also train golfing fundamentals for those who go to the green.

The Rubber Stamper's Bible, by Francoise Read -- Read's extensive guide to rubber stamping is valuable to newcomers as well as veterans. Fledgling rubber stampers will learn everything about the basics, the materials, and the techniques, while more advanced hobbyists will learn about Read's seasoned designs and take on her more ambitious projects.

The Perfect 10 Diet, by Michael Aziz -- Cutting-edge scientific research indicates that your weight loss is controlled by 10 hormones, virtually all of the time. Aziz takes readers step-by-step through what hormones they are, how they function, and what actions you can take to make those hormones work for you instead of against you.

Now... Build A Great Business!, by Mark Thompson and Brian Tracy -- The two business brainiacs that authored this book boiled down most successful businesses to 7 no-nonsense principles that you can apply in your own ventures. Thompson and Tracy illuminate how those 7 principles manifest in the workplace, and how you can use these principles to maximize profits while minimizing stress.

Bounce, by Natasha Friend -- In this touching young adult novel, Friend examines the rigors of adolescent life through Evyn, a quirky and intelligent girl in one of the most pivotal times in her life. Her father is going to marry into a completely different family, full of new people, new problems, and new responsibilities that Evyn must learn how to maneuver in order to keep her sanity intact.

Ask us for a list, and we can set you up with some bestsellers of your very own.

Monday, October 22, 2012

In Depth Look at the Books the Book Buyers Are Buying

This week, we're zooming in on some of our most recent bestsellers:

The Limits of Power, by Andrew J. Bacevich -- Mired in international conflict and economic recession, the United States of America stands at a pivotal crossroads. Bacevich contends that for the US to move forward in the right direction, both regular citizens and policy makers have to re-evaluate the way they perceive their country and themselves, before a legacy of American exceptionalism drives us down an even more troubled path.

War of Gifts, by Orson Scott Card -- This tale takes place in Card's bestselling "Ender's Game" sci-fi universe, where the great military minds of tomorrow are trained and molded at the Battle School. Religious holidays are taboo at the academy, so when one older student leaves behind a gift as a small gesture, it sparks the school into a frenzy of conflict that draws in the students and faculty alike.

Appetite City, by William Grimes -- Grimes offers us a whirlwind tour of New York City's illustrious restaurant history, complete with menus and photographs from eras past. The book not only illuminates years of culinary culture, but also places it within the context of the people and events that shaped New York City throughout the ages, making this book a delight for food lovers and history buffs alike.

Make sure to check the Best Sellers section of the blog for any other selections that are flying off the shelves. 

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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Mysteries, Thrillers, Crime Fiction, Police Procedurals: The Suspense is Killing Me!

What with Bouchercon, the crime-and-thriller fiction convention, all wrapped up, now seems like a good time to ask why is it that we find tales of murder so captivating. Is it just the suspense of a good mystery, the need to uncover the truth that a skillful writer keeps just beyond our reach? Or is there something deeper at work? Many crime writers have had various opinions on the subject throughout history:

"The conventional view of mysteries, as explained by Auden, for example, is as an essentially conservative genre.  A crime disturbs the status quo; we readers get to enjoy the transgressive thrill, then observe approvingly as the detective, agent of social order, sets things right at the end.  We finish our cocoa and tuck ourselves in, safe and sound… But what this theory fails to take into account is the next book, the next murder, and the next.  When you line up all the Poirots, all the Maigrets, all the Lew Archers and Matt Scudders, what you get is something far stranger and more familiar: a world where mysterious destructive forces are constantly erupting and where all solutions are temporary, slight pauses during which we take a breath before the next case."  --David Gordon

"I am talking about the general psychological health of the species, man. He needs the existence of mysteries. Not their solution." --John Fowles

"I have never felt the slightest inclination to apologize for my tastes; nor to shrink from declaring that mystery or detective novel boldly upholds the principle, in defiance of contemporary sentiment, that infinite Mystery, beyond that of the finite, may yield to human ratiocination: that truth will “out”: that happiness is possible once Evil is banished: and that God, though, it seems, withdrawn at the present time from both Nature and History, is yet a living presence in the world—an unblinking eye that sees all, absorbs all, comprehends all, each and every baffling clue; and binds all multifariousness together in a divine unity… Thus, in emulation of God, the detective aspires to invent that which already exists, in order to see what is there before his (and our) eyes.   He is the very emblem of our souls, a sort of mortal savior, not only espying but isolating, and conquering, Evil; in his triumph is our triumph." --Joyce Carol Oates

"The most curious fact about the detective story is that it makes its greatest appeal precisely to those classes of people who are most immune to other forms of daydream literature. The typical detective story addict is a doctor or clergyman or scientist or artist… I suspect that the typical reader of detective stories is, like myself, a person who suffers from a sense of sin… The phantasy, then, which the detective story addict indulges is the phantasy of being restored to the Garden of Eden, to a state of innocence, where he may know love as love and not as the law. The driving force behind this daydream is the feeling of guilt, the cause of which is unknown to the dreamer. The phantasy of escape is the same, whether one explains the guilt in Christian, Freudian, or any other terms. One’s way of trying to face the reality, on the other hand, will, of course, depend very much on one’s creed." --W.H. Auden

Makes me feel kinda lame for reading old hardboiled detective stories because I like the way they talk. Reasons regardless, we've got some great crime fiction to offer, including A Dangerous Return by Rique Johnson, A Job to Kill For by Janice Kaplan, and A Drunkard's Path by Clare O'Donohue. And your customers can read them for any reason they want.

Current (June 11, 2013) best sellers (me selling to my customers, that is) include:

William Kent Krueger
Boundary Waters

Harlan Coben
Best American Mystery Stories 2011

Benedict Carey
Poison Most Vial: A Mystery

Mary Higgins Clark
The Lost Years

Qiu Xiaolong
When Red is Black


Paula L. Woods
Stormy Weather: A Charlotte Justice Novel


Timothy Hallinan 
The Fear Artist


Stan Jones 
Village of the Ghost Bears: A Nathan Active Mystery Set in Alaska


Susan Wittig Albert
The Darling Dahlias and the Naked Ladies
Cleo Coyle
Brew to a Kill
Daniel Suarez
Kill Decision
Jesse Kellerman
Jan Wallentin
Strindberg's Star
Laura Childs
Postcards from the Dead
Nancy Martin
No Way to Kill a Lady
Lyndsay Faye
Gods of Gotham
Adam Mansbach
Rage Is Back: A Novel
Lee Goldberg
Mr. Monk is a Mess
Carol O'Connell
The Chalk Girl

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


Today is October 2, which happens to be the fateful day on which Peanuts was first published in nine newspapers, 62 years ago. You can no longer say that this blog hasn't taught you anything.

Trivia aside, it seems like a good day to share with you some of the graphic novels that have recently become a part of our collection:

The Color of Earth, by Kim Dong Hwa -- First in a graphic novel trilogy, The Color of Earth charts a young girl's journey through adolescence as she grows up alongside her single mother in the rolling fields of rural Korea. Elegant illustrations accompany this historical, heartfelt coming-of-age tale that can appeal to both younger and older readers alike.

Orcs: Forged for War, written by Stan Nicholls and illustrated by Joe Flood -- Based in the mythos established by Stan Nicholls' Orcs novels, the story turns conventional fantasy on its ear by portraying the classically bloodthirsty orcs as a calloused and persecuted people. An orcish warband fights for their freedom in a narrative comprised of unapologetic gore and violence, with enough intelligent dialogue and storytelling to satisfy readers looking for more cerebral fare.

Ball Peen Hammer, written by Adam Rapp and illustrated by George O'Connor -- This darkly unsettling comic follows four people as they maintain tattered lives amidst the ruins of a post-apocalyptic world. They struggle, they hide, and they commit unspeakable atrocities, all in the name of fragile survival. A harrowing tale with breathtaking art, for those who can stomach it.

There are plenty more graphic delights where these came from, so ask for lists on this most auspicious of days, Peanuts Day.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Banned Books

"As the Americans learned so painfully in Earth's final century, free flow of information is the only safeguard against tyranny. The once-chained people whose leaders at last lose their grip on information flow will soon burst with freedom and vitality, but the free nation gradually constricting its grip on public discourse has begun its rapid slide into despotism. Beware of he who would deny you access to information, for in his heart he dreams himself your master."   ---Commissioner Pravin Lal, "Alpha Centauri"

Heavy stuff, and topical as ever what with this week being Banned Books Week, that tract of time where everyone across the globe bites their thumb at censorship in our schools, our libraries, and our bookstores. With that in mind, here are a couple of our current offerings that you may never have known were banned at one point in history.

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll -- Carroll's timeless tale of childhood whimsy and logic run amok was forbidden in the Hunan province of China in 1931, since the government believed that the notion of animals speaking like humans was potentially dangerous to the fragile-minded youth. The book would teach children to equate common animals with humans, an apparently insufferable idea. 

Madame Bovary, by Gustave Flaubert -- For scenes of adultery and other various "obscenities," Flaubert's masterpiece was literally put on trial, just months after the work was published in a French literary magazine. Flaubert was later acquitted, and legal battles aside, the entire situation was excellent PR for his classic, and may have contributed to its smashing success after the whole thing was bound into a singular tome.

For these literary outlaws and more, ask us for lists before the censors get to them first.