Monday, November 26, 2012

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*A Collection of Antiquarian Curios & Relics*

"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend.
Inside of a dog it's too dark to read . . ."
--Groucho Marx

I'm walking down the street to Double D's house with my little brother, Henry, and my new beagle puppy, Lucy, in tow. The good Doctor and I had a great plan to take the new 2nd edition of Wisconsin's Best Beer Guide (9781933272344) 16.95 by Mr. Revolinski and take a tour of their finest establishments. It sounded like a foolproof scheme. However, my Mom had added several stipulations and much to my chagrin, they are both following me now. My little brother is like ten or twelve years old, and he's wearing a pink -- oh I'm sorry -- a salmon colored button down shirt, gray slacks, and dress shoes. He sucks. Now Lucy is as cute as the dickens. She might, however, be a logistical nightmare.

In more ways than one, Double D's baby blue '74 Ford Pinto is all fired up. First of all, it's running. Yay! Second of all, I open the creaky passenger side door, and smoke spills out of it like Spicoli's van in Fast Times at Ridgemont High. We're engulfed in an aromatic hazy fog. Nice.

Double D's like, "Dude, what's up with the entourage?"

"Well, I thought Henry here could be our designated driver . . ."

Henry interjects, "I don't have my driver's license yet."

" . . . and Lucy here is a hound dog so she can sniff out the good bars for us."

Double D chuckles, "So your Mom made you bring them. Whoa, what's in the duffle bag?"

"Dude, I brought all kinds of cool reading material for Lucy. Let's see here. We got Seth Casteel's Underwater Dogs (9780316227704) 19.99. It's mostly pictures, but Lucy is just a puppy so I thought she would like to look at 'em. I got Robin Layton's A Letter to My Dog (9781452114422) 24.95. It's mostly celebrities writing to their dogs. I'll have to read that one to her. Oooo, here's a good one: Bruce Cameron's A Dog's Journey (9780765330536) 24.99. It's got a beagle on the cover. And finally, The Oatmeal's How to Tell if Your Cat is Plotting to Kill You (9781449410247) 14.99 because Lucy needs to learn how nefarious those creatures can be. What'd ya bring?"

I sling the duffle bag into the back seat, nearly hitting Henry. Man, I'm a terrible shot.

Double D points to two books at my feet on the floor mat, "I figured we'd be partying a lot so I just brought Robin Sloan's Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore (9780374214913) 25.00, which is kinda cool 'cause it takes place in a bookstore, and Jon Meacham's Thomas Jefferson (9780374214913) 35.00."

"Well, why don't you get in the back so you can read them and let Henry drive?"

Henry complains, "I told you I don't have my driver's license yet!"

Man oh man, this is going to be a long trip.

Odds & Sods

With the plethora of new books about Detroit coming out, it won't be long until the Motor City has its very own section in every fine bookstore. Dan Austin's new one Forgotten Landmarks of Detroit (9781609498283) 22.99 has just come in. He had previously written Lost Detroit (9781596299405) 24.99, which was a snappy little seller last holiday season. Mark Binelli's Detroit City is the Place to Be (9780805092295) 28.00 was also recently released. In this title, Mark tries to figure out where it all went wrong. Good luck on that . . .

W. Paul Young, the guy who wrote The Shack is back with Cross Roads (9781455516049) 24.99. He might just save your afterlife . . .

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Ye Olde Partners Page

*A Collection of Antiquarian Curios & Relics*

"We're living in science fiction, but don't realize it . . ."
--Terry Pratchett

George R.R. Martin (9780345538543) 40.00

I haven't been this excited about anything in the whole wide world since Farmer Todd planted a field full of parsley last year. Mmmmm, parsley. I can peek down the spine through the shrinkwrap and see tons and tons of maps inside, and it makes me want to go outside and run around our rabbit hole as fast as I can, over and over again until I tire myself out. Hmmmm, I might wait until Christmas to tear it open. At least that way I'll have one cool present to open. Otherwise I think I'm just getting another stupid button from Santa Claus . . .

Rating: *****

Ross King (9780802717054) 28.00

Jonathan Jones (9780307594754) 35.00

Sometimes when Farmer Todd plants his carrots too close together, they grow together and end up looking like Chang and Eng. These books are sorta like that. The Lost Battles is about both Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo and their competing paintings (which of course, neither one completed) at the Great Council Hall in Palazzo Vecchio. Da Vinci was at the height of his powers and had just finished The Last Supper, which Ross King goes into great detail in this book. Mr. King (watch out Giorgio Tsoukalos) also debunks many of the myths that have sprouted up around this famous biblical painting. But then the real story is even better . . .

Rating: ****
Rating: ****

Eben Alexander (9781451695199) 15.99

Remember in Richard Adams' Watership Down when the rabbit dies? It's kinda like that but the rabbit comes back to life . . .

Rating: **

Odds & Sods

Last year, it really didn't seem like we had any great selling cookbooks for the holiday season. This year it appears that we have two different ones that are selling well right out of the gate. Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa Foolproof (9780307464873) 35.00 looks like it's shaping into a good default present for Christmas.

The other cookbook is from the crew at 'The Chew.' The Chew (9781401311063) 19.99 will appeal to shoppers who are casting about for an inexpensive gift for the chef in their life. And finally, another horse in this race could be Rachael Ray's My Year in Meals (9781451659726) 29.99. She has been a proven performer every holiday season. It goes on sale November 13 . . .

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Ye Olde Partners Page

*A Collection of Antiquarian Curios & Relics*

"But the Israelis caution that a bigger threat to Middle East serenity -- not to mention their own country's security -- lies in Tehran, whose regime they say is sure to become a nuclear power in a few years unless stopped . . ." 
--New York Times, November 1992
Dearest Mick--

Chip, my beloved manservant, and I are flying over southern Portugal's Alagarve region in Donald Trump's personal jet as I pen this missive to you. I do believe the big game trophies interspersed between the airplane windows are a bit over the top, but nobody has ever accused him of being parsiminous. Speaking of old friends, I was devastated to learn that my old friend Jacques Barzun passed away last week. He was only 104 years old. I remember him as a fresh-faced pupil back when I was teaching English Lit at Columbia, and I could see his latent potential even then, which I feel was finally realized in his brilliant treatise, From Dawn to Decandence (9780060928834) 20.00.

As I mulled over my memories of Jacques, Chip pulled out some of the treasures that we had acquired at the Heartland Fall ForumTM and spread them across the table. I lifted my head from my revelry, and I was immediately struck by the crisp lines and the shrinkwrap on George R.R. Martin's The Lands of Ice and Fire (9780345538543) 40.00. First of all, I thought to myself, this is the type of book that won't be easily reprinted, and secondly, his fans will be starved for anything by Mr. Martin since it will probably be ten years before he completes his next book. The maps do appear suitable for framing so I'll have my friend Anke Doberauer take a look at them.

I thumbed through several spiritual books, including Proof of Heaven (9781451695199) 15.99 by neurosurgeon Eben Alexander. It seems that the life after death genre has become quite the cottage industry in the book business these days. And as my friend Kurt Vonnegut once said, "It's a mixed blessing to be brought back from the dead". Which reminds me, I really need to have Chip read me Kurt Vonnegut Letters (9780385343756) 35.00. I imagine I would get more practical advice reading one of his letters than a whole shelf of these spirituality books, Michael Singer's The Untethered Soul (9781572245372) 16.95 included.

Speaking of recently departed authors, one of Mr. Vonnegut's progeny, David Foster Wallace, has a new collection of essays called Both Flesh and Not (9780316182379) 26.99. The last few nights, Chip has been putting me to bed with an essay from his book and a hot toddy. It has been delightful.

Well, once again, Mick, I would like to thank you for being such a gracious host while I've been in the States.

Warmest Regards,

Charles Edmund Wilson III

Odds & Sods

I can't think of a better time than Halloween to release Jonathan Rand's latest American Chiller. And apparently, neither can he. As of today, we have American Chiller #36: Carnivorous Crickets of Colorado (9781893699687) 5.99 in stock . . .

I fear Sylvia Day's second book in her Crossfire trilogy, Reflected in You (9780425263914) 15.00 would have been a bit too salty for Charles Edmund Wilson III, so I'm listing it on the sidebar. The first title in the series, Bared to You (9780425263907) 15.00 was a blockbuster, and the second one is shaping up to do the same. (We'd already sold out on the first shipment.)