Thursday, January 27, 2011

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*News From the Glamorous World of Bookselling*

"The leaves begin to scatter
As the North wind calls their name
Folding gently back into
The silent earth from which they came . . ."
--Autumn, The Strawbs

B. Traven Jr. here. And if you don't know who I am by now, then you can't read. Ha, ha! Brad Metzer, author of The Inner Circle (9780446577892) 26.99 and my tinfoil hatted helper, was at the lakehouse discussing The Vril Society Conspiracy. In case you're not familiar with this conspiracy, it touts that a secret form of energy (Vril) is controlled by a secret subterranean society of matriarchal socialist utopian superior beings. We laughed. Everyone knows that it's a secret subterranean society of patriarchal conservative aliens. Ha, ha!

The day before, I had purchased a copy of Zombie Spaceship Wasteland (9781439149089) 24.00 by Patton Oswalt and to say I was disappointed would be an understatement. There were no zombies. There were no spaceships. And definitely, no wastelands. Apparently Mr. Oswald is a comedian and his new book merely features his comedic stylings in a series of essays. Talk about false advertising. Ha, ha!

The Oscar nominees have been announced, and let me tell you, there have been some serious conspiracies regarding these awards over the years. For example, in 1977, Annie Hall won Best Picture over Star Wars. The real travesty was that Close Encounters of the Third Kind was not even nominated. Several movies with book tie-ins have been nominated this year for Best Picture, including Charles Portis' True Grit (9781590204597) 14.95, Daniel Woodrell's Winter's Bone (9780316131612) 13.99, Aron Ralston's 127 Hours (9781451618501) 15.00, and finally, The Social Network, based upon Ben Mezrich's The Accidental Billionaires (9780307740984) 15.95. My favourite is Winter's Bone since it involves a conspiracy by the entire town to mask the death of the main character's father. You could say that the townsfolk were hiding a skeleton in their closet. Ha, ha!

Theoretical physicist Brian Greene, author of the bestseller The Elegant Universe (9780393338102) 15.95 has a new one called The Hidden Reality (9780307265630) 29.95. Hidden Reality, eh? Tell me about it, Brian. In a nutshell, Mr. Greene, in his quest to find a unifying theory to explain everything, has become one of the biggest proponents of string theory. String theory hypothesizes that there are an endless multitude of universes. For example, in one universe I am mocked for believing that JFK was shot from the grassy knoll (this one), but somewhere there is an alternate universe where it is an accepted fact that JFK was shot from that location. And I am acclaimed as a genius. Ha, ha!

Odds & Sods

We have signed copies of the National Book Award winner, Jaimy Gordon's The Lord Of Misrule (9780929701837) 25.00 available on a first come, first served basis . . .

Remember Roseanne Barr? She had a TV show and she was married to Tom Arnold. Well, she's back with a new book, Roseannearchy: Dispatches from the Nut Farm (9781439154823) 26.00. Normally I wouldn't bring it up until she hit Celebrity Rehab or one of those shows, but she is taping an Oprah Winfrey appearance on February 10. It will air within two weeks of the taping. Oh, and there will also be a reunion of the original cast from 'Roseanne.' Which would be kinda cool . . .

Thursday, January 20, 2011

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*News From the Glamorous World of Bookselling*

"Beneath these branches
I once wrote such childish words for you . . ."
--Curtains, Bernie Taupin

The term 'hero' seems to be bandied about a lot these days. I have two stories at the bottom of the page that compare and contrast the use of this title, but first, let's get to the books. We have a lot going on . . .

1) GROW SOME FUNK OF YOUR OWN . . . Since Brad Meltzer's Decoded and Ancient Aliens both aired on Wednesday night on the History Channel, it was known around our household as tinfoil hat night. There's a new episode of Decoded on tonight, but you may be aware that host Brad Meltzer has a real job too. He writes bestsellers. Brad's new book is called Inner Circle (9780446577892) 26.99 and I hear that you receive a free roll of aluminum foil with every purchase. (It's already the #1 Fiction title on the Barnes & Noble bestseller list.)

2) SHINE ON THROUGH . . . I have to hand it to the publishers of the Newbery and Caldecott winners. Clare Vanderpool's Moon Over Manifest (9780385738835) 16.99, which won the Newbery, is already back in stock. And the Steads, who hail from Ann Arbor, MI, will have their Caldecott winner A Sick Day for Amos McGee (9781596434028) 16.99 in our warehouse tomorrow. Albert Bitterman's Fortune Cookies (9781416968146) 14.99, which should have been nominated for some sort of award, is in stock. Albert Bitterman is the pseudonym for Pete Puma, who is also the owner of the children's bookstore The Reading Reptile. Show a little support for your fellow independent bookseller and please stock his book, too . . .

3) I'VE SEEN THAT MOVIE TOO . . . I saw True Grit (9781590204597) 14.95, which was outstanding, but then I love everything the Coen brothers do. However, one of the trailers for upcoming movies featured Sara Gruen's Water For Elephants (9781565125605) 14.95, which intrigued me at first, and then I saw that the lead is Robert Pattison, and I was like, 'No thanks.' Both of these titles are selling well and are back in stock. We had Roslund & Hellstorm's Three Seconds (9781402785924) 24.95 come in too, and from what I understand, they are bigger than Steig Larsson and the Beatles in Sweden . . .

Now back to the 'hero' thing. According to the New York Times, there was a security camera that videotaped the shooting in Tucson, AZ. Apparently, in the video, it shows Judge Roll moving between the shooter and one of Giffords' aides, shielding the aide from the bullets. Now that is a hero. In contrast, this link leads to two celebrities that some people consider heroes and 'ugh' says it all:

Odds & Sods

After years of waiting, Paul Clemens' new book, Punching Out (9780385521154) 25.95 is finally available. You may recall that he wrote Made In Detroit (9781400075966) 13.95, which I feel is still the most realistic unflinching portrait of the city of Detroit. (The movie Grand Torino is pretty good too.)

You may recall that some time ago a Catholic priest in Miami was caught in photos on the beach with a woman and they were obviously more than just friends. The priest was Albert Cutie and he tells his side of the story in his new book Dilemma (9780451232014) 25.95. With a name like Cutie and his obvious good looks, I think he may have chosen the wrong vocation . . .

Thursday, January 13, 2011

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*News From the Glamorous World of Bookselling*

"I asked them, what do you think about the [Beatles] songs? And a handful of them said, 'I have never heard of a Beatles songs (sic) in my life . . ."
--Ryan 'The Imp' Seacrest on American Idols' Beatles' week
Granted, on the above quote, John Lennon's In My Life is probably not one of their more popular tunes, but I can't believe these young whippersnappers haven't heard of I Want to Hold Your Hand, Let It Be, or at the very least, Hey Jude. Now get off my lawn before I throw an onion from my belt at those damn kids!

1) THE NICKELODEON BOOK AWARDS . . . I've never been a huge fan of book awards. It's all very subjective. Nobody is better at being obscurely subjective year after year than the American Library Association. My children are older now so I'm not exposed to a lot of the young children literature anymore, but I don't think I could have predicted first-time author Clare Vanderpool's Moon Over Manifest (9780385738835) 16.99 to win the Newbery Award, or that first-time illustrator Erin Stead would win the Caldecott Award for A Sick Day for Amos McGee (9781596434028) 16.99. There were other awards in an ever-burdgeoning series of categories that you can see at and then click on the awards link. Let's face it, the majority of people are only interested in the Newbery and the Caldecott. We are expecting more copies of Moon Over Manifest tomorrow, so get your backorders in promptly. We're still waiting to hear when we'll see more copies of the Caldecott winner. I dunno, maybe someone should write a children's book on the Beatles . . .

2) NEVER THE TWAIN SHALL MEET . . . Censorship and Mark Twain do not go hand in hand. In fact I wish that Mark Twain or at least a zombie-like fascimile were around right now to address the recent news that NewSouth, Inc. is publishing an expurgated version of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (9780553210798) 5.95. I imagine that he would be none to happy about this recent turn of events, and we would probably hear him cussing all the way from Hannibal, MO. And rightly so. Apparently, NewSouth feels that the 'N-word' and the 'I-word' should be removed, which detracts from the point Mr. Twain was making about how bad these words are, and, of course, it is used in the context of the times. Humph! And by the way, we do have copies of The Autobiography of Mark Twain (9780520267190) 34.95 in stock . . .

3) BORK! BORK! BORK! After the success of Stieg Larsson's books, it seems that every publisher is searching for the next blockbuster Swedish mystery/action/suspense/thriller. The latest entry is Three Seconds (9781402785924) 24.95 by Roslund & Hellstrom. As Mac from It's Always Sunny in Philly would say, "The authors look really badass on the backcover."

Odds & Sods

I was saddened to learn from Sandy, the long-time manager at Best Books in Jackson, MI. that they will be closing their doors in two weeks. We wish Sandy and her staff the best of luck in the coming days . . .

KCI's holiday sleeper 365: The Best Wisconsin Sports Stories Day By Day (9780984388288) 27.95 by Dale Hofmann and Cliff Christl are back in stock. From Borchert Field opening in Milwaukee in 1889 to Brett Favre's return as a Minnesota Viking, everything you wanted to know but were afraid to ask about Wisconsin sports is here in one volume. Order yours today!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

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*News From the Glamorous World of Bookselling*

"I feel like it could definitely be a movie . . ."
--Nicole 'Snooki' Polizzi, author of  A Shore Thing (9781451623741) 24.00

"Trouble shouldn't be his nickname, thought Bella. It should be tattooed on his forehead."

"Gia said, 'The club will not run out of tequila before I get my hair right. So shut the f**k up!'"

"'But we're hot girls,' Gia pointed out. 'We don't need to pay for anything.'"

If that doesn't satiate your need for all things 'Snooki', you can read more here: Oh, and thanks again, Pocket Books.

Also, on our failure blotter today, we are featuring RNC head honcho Michael Steele. As you well know, Michael Steele is a veritable verbal gaffe machine. The only other politican I can think of who produces more gaffes per day (GPD) would be our own Vice-President Joe Biden. However there aren't many that are book related and this one's a 'classic.' Mr. Steele was asked what his favourite book was and he replied that it was Tolstoy's War and Peace (9780451530547) 9.95 . . . waaait for it . . . waaait for it . . . and then he quoted, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times."


I am a huge Charles Dickens fan, so I thought I might take the liberty of signing him up for Oprah Book Club #65 (9780142196588) 20.00, which features the book, A Tale of Two Cities from whence the quote actually came, but let's face it, I'm sure Mr. Steele has never read War and Peace either. You can read the full article at

Odds & Sods

January means it's diet book time. And like cream, there are already a few titles rising to the top. Timothy Ferriss' 4 Hour Body (9780307463630) 27.00 has been selling like crazy. Also, Liz Vaccariello, who wrote The Flat Belly Diet (9781605295626) 15.99, has a new one, 400 Calorie Fix: The Easy New Rule for Permanent Weight Loss (9781605294940) 25.99, which has been flying out of here . . .

Laura Hillenbrand's movie rights for Unbroken (9781400064168) 27.00 have been acquired by Universal. They are expected to hire the director of Water for Elephants (9781565125605) 14.95. Let us pray that Robert Pattinson is not cast as the lead in this one . . .
1) WELCOME TO FAIL . . . Thank you, Pocket Books. It was bad enough that I had to deal with this little orange troll, er, Snooki in brief snippets on The Soup. Now, not only do I have to see half of her head on the book cover of A Shore Thing on a daily basis, but, and this is a big but, she could quite possibly have a movie deal. And before you poo-poo that likelihood, after the success of Little Fockers by the American movie-going public, this is not out of the realm of possibilities. I can hear it now, "Oooo, Mick, you're just being a book snob. It can't really be that bad." Okay, if that's the way you're going to be, here are a few excerpts for your edification: