Thursday, January 26, 2012

Ye Olde Partners Page

*A Collection of Antiquarian Curios & Relics*

"I've got a job, I like to explore, I follow every little whiff
And I want my life to smell like this
To find a place, an ancient race . . ."
--The Tragically Hip, Looking for a Place to Happen

B. Traven Jr. here. You may remember me as a guest star on Animal Planet's Finding Bigfoot. I was the one dressed up in the Sasquatch suit. Ha, ha! Actually, I was exploring the ruins of Nan Madol, which is also known as the 'Venice of the Pacific' in the present day Madolenihmw district of Pohnpei state. Unfortunately, I contracted malaria and I had to be airlifted out of Micronesia. Since I'm laid up anyway, Mick suggested that I write this week's Partners Page. So I'm taking a break from examining the internet for clues to whether President Obama really is a reptilian-human hybrid and if he is preparing the world for an alien takeover of Earth by the Greys. I may toil in obscurity, but I'm making the world a safer place. Ha, ha!

The Caldecott and Newbery Awards were announced Monday and once again the librarians of America have conspired to find titles that nobody has in stock. The Caldecott winner was Chris Raschka's A Ball for Daisy (9780375858611) 16.99. The Caldecott Honorees were Blackout (9781423121909) 16.99 by John Rocco, Lane Smith's Grandpa Green (9781596436077) 16.99, and my personal favourite, Patrick McDonnell's Me . . . Jane (9780316045469) 15.99. (A quick aside: I don't think the blackout in Rocco's book was purely accidental.)

The Newbery winner was Dead End in Norvlet (9780374379933) 15.99 by Jack Gantos. The two honorees were Thanhha Lai's Inside Out & Back Again (9780061962783) 15.99 and Breaking Stalin's Nose (9780805092165) 15.99 by Eugene Yelchin. Thanks again, librarians!

I just thumbed through Mark Levin's Ameritopia (9781439173244) 26.99 and I can sum it up in two sentences for you: SPOILER ALERT! Conservatives good. Liberals bad. You see I just saved you $26.99. Ha, ha! Of course his fans will lap this up and buy the book, so make sure you have plenty of copies for the initial rush on this one.

I don't have any concrete evidence, yet, but I think the NFL conspired against the Green Bay Packers. It seems more than a coincidence that both teams playing in the Super Bowl are east coast franchises. And I have never seen Packer receivers drop so many balls. Could the referees have smeared a slick substance on the Packer's football on offensive series? I know if Vince Lombardi was still coaching the Pack that those receivers would have been smacked upside the head with a copy of Dave Robinson and Royce Boyles' The Lombardi Impact: Twenty People Brushed By Greatness (9780983933403) 24.95, repeatedly. Ha, ha!

Odds & Sods

A plethora of hard to get titles are back in stock, including:

Catching Fire
(9780439023498) 17.99 by Suzanne Collins

(9781451627282) 35.00 by Stephen King

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest
(9780307269997) 27.95 by Stieg Larsson

Star Wars: Darth Plagueis
(9780345511287) 27.00 by James Luceno

The Invention Of Hugo Cabret
(9780439813785) 24.99 by Brian Selznick

By the way, the last Stieg Larsson book comes out in paper on February 21 . . .

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Ye Olde Partners Page

*A Collection of Antiquarian Curios & Relics*

"The book salesman should be honored because he brings to our attention,
as a rule, the very books we need most and neglect most . . ."
Dearest Mick--

Chip, my beloved manservant, and I were on our RascalTM scooters when your belated Christmas package arrived via the parcel post. Much like Medieval times, we had been using our RascalsTM as steeds on my Napoli estate and we were attempting to unhorse each other with lances. It is great fun. Personally, my lance and armor had been used by Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa in a ceremonial capacity. Chip's spear was from English King Henry V and his suit of mail was from Henry IV. Chip, unfortunately, had already suffered a black eye from our shenanigans and he was ready for a rest. We set down in the solarium, Chip poured us each a goblet of Piper Heidsieck 1907 champagne, and we examined the books you had sent in your care package.

I am a fan of Downton Abbey. In fact, Downton Abbey is where I first met Chip during the War. I was a guest of the Earl and the Countess of Carnarvon and Chip had been assigned as my footman. So I was a pleased as punch to see The World of Downton Abbey (9781250006349) 29.99 by Jessica Fellowes, and Margaret Powell's Below Stairs: The Classic Kitchen Maid's Memoir that Inspired 'Upstairs, Downstairs' and 'Downton Abbey' (9781250005441) 22.99 in your Partners' box. It was the last idyllic moments I was to spend with their family before the dreaded 'Day of Days.'

I was nearly bowled over by Arrived On This Ship (9781933272306) 19.95 by Hudson Keenan. What a gorgeous book! I remember steaming about the Great Lakes in many of the fine ships pictured in these pages. As I flipped through this book, I could almost smell the smoke and feel the soot alighting on my suit. I could also hear the whistle of the City of Alpena at the dock in Detroit and feel its gentle roll as the ship finally got underway for St. Ignace. Mick, I'll tell you that it was a good time to be alive.

I know the Green Bay Packers were upended by the New York Giants in the NFL playoffs, but I really appreciated your copy of of Dr. James Hurley's Green Bay: A City & Its Team (9780615444642) 39.95. I recall that Vince Lombardi was one of the 'Seven Blocks of Granite,' the nickname for Fordham's offensive line when I was an underclassman at Big Green. We struck up a friendship soon after. Later on, we were both assistant coaches at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. I never met a more competitive man in my life. Thank you again, Mick.

Warmest Regards,
Charles Edmund Wilson III

Odds & Sods

I'm always on the lookout for a good fantasy series and I think I might have found one. First, the Riyria Revelations by Michael J. Sullivan was published by a small press, then he self-published it, and now, Orbit Books has released all six books in a three volume set. The first volume is Theft Of Swords (9780316187749) 14.99, the second one is Rise Of Empire (9780316187701) 14.99, and we received the third title Heir Of Novron (9780316187718) 14.99 yesterday. This series is more in the tradition of David Eddings than the gritty realism of George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice & Fire cycle. It's pretty good so far . . .

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Ye Olde Partners Page

*A Collection of Antiquarian Curios & Relics*
"I'll say God seems to have a kind of laid-back management style I'm not crazy about.
I'm pretty much anti-death. God looks by all accounts to be pro-death.
I'm not seeing how we can get together on this issue, he and I . . ."
--David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest

So yeah. You would like to think that when you write you are examining the big questions in life. Life. Death. Love. Etc. Most writers strive for a unique way to present information, and perhaps, their inner thoughts, mores, and beliefs without alienating their audience. As Mr. Wallace once said, "The job of the first eight pages is not to have the reader want to throw the book at the wall, in the first eight pages." No truer words have been spoken.

Yesterday, Walter Dean Myers, author of The Cruisers (9780439916332) 5.99 and We Are America (9780060523084) 16.99 was sworn in as the National Ambassador for Young People's Literature. It is an inspired choice. He wants parents to read to their babies and said in part, "Read to children at three months, six months, nine months old . . ." I have a newborn on the way, and that kind of carrying on is nothing but music to my ears.

Also, in March, the National Education Association is featuring Dr. Seuss' The Lorax (9780394823379) 14.95 and everything else Seussian in their signature program Read Across America. This program generally kicks off every year on March 2, which is Dr. Seuss' birthday. Another nice title to highlight in your display would be the new Cat in the Hat Book and Hat (9780307930446) 24.99. The hat is kid-sized, and it will go perfectly with the game that the Cat calls 'FUN-IN-A-BOX'.

Speaking of life, death, and love, John Green tackles all of those topics in his latest young adult book, The Fault in Our Stars (9780525478812) 17.99. Hazel has terminal cancer and is only sixteen years old. She meets a kindred spirit named Augustus at her cancer support group and they fall in love. Much like Jay Asher's Thirteen Reasons Why (9781595141880) 10.99, it addresses questions that most teen-oriented books avoid. Will I be loved? Will I be remembered? And will I leave a mark on this world?

Continuing my cavalcade of happy-go-lucky kid's titles, Charlotte Moundlic's The Scar (9780763653415) 14.99 is a '5 and up' title that dwells on a young child coming to grips with the death of his mother. The illustrations by Olivier Tallec expressively capture the grief and loneliness of losing a loved one. This is a topic that every bookseller will be asked for periodically, and every store should have a copy on the shelf.

That's all I have for this week. By the way, American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History (9780062082350) 26.99 is back in stock. Americans dig books about war . . .

Odds & Sods

Thomas Frank, author of What's the Matter with Kansas? (9780805077742) 15.00 has a new one called Pity The Billionaire: The Hard-Times Swindle and the Unlikely Comeback of the Right (9780805093698) 25.00. In hard economic times, Mr Frank expected to find American discontent, but he didn't expect to see a call for punishment for the victims and more tax cuts for the rich. For the other side of the coin, Mark Levin's Ameritopia: The Unmaking America (9781439173244) 26.99 blames liberals for everything from the Spanish Inquisition to the sinking of the Titanic. It will release on January 17 . . .

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Ye Olde Partners Page

*God Save The Queen Edition*

"The one thing we're all waiting for
is peace on earth and an end to war
It's a miracle we need -- the miracle . . .
That time will come one day you'll see when we can all be friends."
--Queen, The Miracle
1) ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST . . . My friend Melissa was in my office last week. She noticed my copy of 40 Years of Queen (9781250005687) 35.00, and she said, "I would have loved to have seen Queen live." That was her first mistake. Suddenly, I became Charles Edmund Wilson III and replied, "Actually, the first concert I attended was Queen on 'The Game Tour' back in 1980. I don't know if you remember it, but the Detroit Lions had won their first five games that year and they had been using the Queen song Another One Bites the Dust as their unofficial anthem. So needless to say, Joe Louis arena erupted like Krakatoa in 1883 when John Deacon played the first distinctive bassline notes to that song. Everyone was dancing in the aisles and I thought to myself, 'Man, I hope every concert I go to is like this.' They weren't. This concert would become the yardstick that I used to measure every concert afterward. Good times." I shook Melissa awake and said, "Yeah, you would have loved seeing them."

2) THE MILLIONAIRE WALTZ . . . My friend Neal has a new book called Chicago's Classic Restaurants: Past, Present & Future (9780985273316) 29.50 tp and (9780985273309) 39.50 hc. It came out right before the holidays and was a surprise bestseller for us. I don't know about you, but I have never had a bad meal in Chicago. Two summers ago, I took my family to my favourite Greek restaurant, The Pegasus. We were seated, placed our order, and received our meals quickly. About halfway through the meal, my daughter Holly says, "Dad, why do you keep closing your eyes after every bite?" I set my fork down for a moment and responded, "Because this chicken is so good, I am savoring every single mouthful." One day she will understand . . .

3) WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS . . . It is a great time to be a sports fan in Michigan. Both Michigan and Michigan State won thrilling bowl victories in overtime. We still have stock on Three and Out (9780809094660) 28.00 by John U. Bacon, which chronicles the dark years under former Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez. Also, we have done well with Michigan Heisman Trophy winner Desmond Howard's I Wore 21 (9780984134717) 21.00. And finally, for the first time since 1999, the Detroit Lions have made the playoffs, so I need to talk to my friend Brad Epstein and see if he's publishing a new Detroit Lions 101 book. Even though the Bears haven't won squat since 1985, Brad has the Chicago Bears 101 (9781607301059) 11.95 and now, the new Chicago Bears Doodle Book (9781607303053) 9.95. Hey Brad, the Roar has been Restored!

Odds & Sods

Shockingly, there are still some titles that are MIA since Christmas. The latest update on Brian Selznick's The Invention of Hugo Cabret (9780439813785) 24.99 is that Scholastic will have stock on January 22. If only someone had warned the publisher that there was a movie coming out . . .

And how about Chad Harbach's Art Of Fielding (9780316126694) 25.99? The publisher is expecting stock on January 12, so maybe we'll have some copies in before the pitchers and catchers report for spring training . . .