Thursday, May 30, 2013

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*A Collection of Antiquarian Curios & Relics*

"Met a man with a rifle in his hand
Been away to battle in a distant land
Taught him to hate taught him to kill
Now he's out on the road with a hole to fill . . ."
--Steve Earle, The Low Highway
1) DISCO DUCK . . . As we segue from Memorial Day into the Father's Day book-buying holiday, I have noticed from high upon the Partners Weather Centre several titles that appear to be rocketing up the bestseller lists. First of all, let the record state that I have never watched Duck Dynasty, and that is neither a good or bad thing it just holds no interest for me. I have caught a few snippets on The Soup, and they have been mildly amusing. If you are unfamilar with their show, in a nutshell, it follows the trials and tribulations of a rednecky type family that has made millions of dollars selling duck calls. Yup, duck calls. As Yakoff Smirnoff once said, "I love dis coun-try!" The patriarch of the family, Phil Robertson, has a new book called Happy Happy Happy (9781476726090) 24.99, and it is selling selling selling. Of course we are waiting for Simon Simon Simon to send send send books to us, and backorders are piling up. In the meantime, Duck Commander Family (9781476703541) 23.99 by the Robertson clan is in stock and it is moving quite briskly. (Mick throws his microphone down, say's 'Word', and strides off the stage.)

2) BOOGIE WOOGIE BUGLE BOY . . . My brother Jay, who is not a huge reader, has been waiting with bated breath for the concluding volume in Rick Atkinson's Pulitzer Prize-winning Liberty Trilogy, The Guns at Last Light (9780805062908) 40.00. It's here and it has Father's Day written all over it. The Liberty Trilogy follows the actions of the American forces in the European theatre during World War II. If you're looking for something a little more off the beaten path, I would suggest a title on the previous World War, The Last of the Doughboys: The Forgotten Generation and Their Forgotten World War (9780547554433) 28.00 by Richard Rubin. Rick tracked down the last surviving American veterans of WWI and interviewed each of them. This is their story. It also includes a CD with a heavy metal version of The Caissons Go Rolling Along. 'Cuz that's just how Rick Rubin rolls . . .

3) BASKETBALL JONES . . . There was a time (specifically the Detroit Pistons Bad Boy era) when I loathed Phil Jackson, the then coach of the Chicago Bulls. Now, he probably wouldn't elicit a 'meh' out of me, but then that's pretty much my opinion of the current NBA in general. His new book is called Eleven Rings (9781594205118) 27.95. It isn't about The Lord of the Rings, which was my initial thought, but the number of NBA ChampionshipsTM that Phil has accrued as a coach. Basketball fans will love it, and as my good friend Nigel Tufnel once said, "But mine goes to eleven . . ."

Odds & Sods

Loreen Niewenhuis is up to her old shenanigans. The author who brought you the bestselling regional book A 1000 Mile Walk on the Beach (9781933987156) 16.95, has been doing some more walkin'. Her new one is entitled A 1000 Mile Great Lakes Walk (9781933987217) 16.95 and it is sure to sell as well as her first one. Beat the rush . . .

Also, Lucas Mann's Class A:Baseball in the Middle of Everywhere (9780307907547) 26.95 would be another great, quirky last minute Father's Day gift. It follows an entire season of the Clinton LumberKings, a minor league team in Iowa. Good clean fun . . .

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Ye Olde Partners Page

*A Collection of Antiquarian Curios & Relics*
"Here I am in the 21st century
Have to say it ain't as cool as I hoped it'd be
No man on the Moon nobody on Mars
Where the hell is my flyin' car?"
--Steve Earle, 21st Century Blues
(Camera pans Double D's studio library and settles on author James Franco seated between Stoner Bill and Double D.)

Double D: If you read the trade publications, you already know that this is our last episode. Thankfully, our show has been cancelled to make way for The Real Housewives of Calico County. Stoner Bill and I will be heading back to Lansing to seek our fortune. I can't say we've enjoyed this experience, but I can say that we are both a bit smarter and wiser now. Well, at least I am . . .

James Franco: Man, I am so sorry to hear that. I'm a huuuuge fan and I was really looking forward to talking to you about my new book, A California Childhood (9781608872022) 29.99. Sounds like a road trip would be in order.

Double D: No! No road trips. The last one got really weird.

James Franco: Like Hunter S. Thompson weird?

Double D: No, weirder. In fact, we have been banned from the entire state of Wisconsin due to our shenanigans. James, I'd like to introduce you to Stoner Bill. He won't tell you, but he has an enormous man-crush on you.

James Franco: (Shifts uncomfortably in his seat) Really?

Stoner Bill: (Shoots Double D the stink eye) Dude, you weren't supposed to tell him that. Don't listen to him. I'm just a really, really big fan of your work. In my opinion, Pineapple Express should have won the Oscar for both Best Picture and Best Actor. And Freaks & Geeks is like the greatest show evar. Right?

James Franco: (Shifts uncomfortably again) Well thanks, Bill. What are you reading right now? I just finished And the Mountains Echoed (9781594631764) 28.95 by Khaled Hosseini. I thought it was outstanding.

Stoner Bill: Dude, you smell really nice. After our criminal charges in Wisconsin, I've been reading a lot of true crime books. I'm reading True Crime: Michigan (9780811707138) 10.95 by Tobin T. Buhk. I likes a good murder mystery.

(The rest of our enchanced interview with James Franco is available at

Odds & Sods

In Michigan, it's canoeing season. And the long anticipated third edition of Jerry Dennis and Craig Date's Canoeing Michigan Rivers (9781933272337) 16.95 is now available. This guide is literally the bible for all Michigan paddlers. 'And a voice from heaven declared, "Let the Michigan rivers teem with canoers, and let Jerry Dennis write the attendant book . . .'"

The good Reverend Gerald S. Hunter is back with his latest edition to his Michigan ghosthunting series, Haunted Michigan 3 (9781933272375) 15.95. Both of these titles are must-haves, if you have a bookstore in Michigan.  Natch . . .

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Ye Olde Partners Page

*A Collection of Antiquarian Curios & Relics*
"I've spent my whole life learning to write very slowly, for maximum expressiveness, and for money. So the idea of writing really quickly, for free, offends me . . ."
--George Saunders on Twitter and Tweeting
"Oh wowsie wowsie woo woo. Miserable day, isn't it.?"

1) 50% OF FIRST MARRIAGES END IN DIVORCE . . . If I were Bad Luck Schleprock, I would invest in both of Michael Maran's new ninth editions of his seminal work, Michigan Divorce Book with Children (9780936343235) 34.95 and hopefully, if there aren't any baby Schleprocks running hither and yon, there is also Michigan Divorce Book without Children (9780936343228) 28.95. These are two titles that every Michigan bookstore should have in stock. Odds are, Mr. Schleprock is probably looking at a future divorce, and these are the books that can save him some money on his exorbiant lawyer's fees. I believe we're all aware that these bloodsuckers don't come cheap . . .

2) ASIAN CARP ARE ALREADY IN THE GREAT LAKES . . . This was news to me, but several recent studies report that this invasive species has most likely infiltrated the Lake Michigan ecosystem. To make matters worse, poor Schleprock has an infestation of Asian carp in his backyard pool. The other day he threw a beach ball into the pool and he was knocked out cold by one of the 'flying' fish. So at least the next day he did the right thing, he bought a copy of Invaders of the Great Lakes (9781591932925) 6.95. From the water chestnut to the sea lamprey, this cashwrap-sized title may be the only thing to prevent our Great Lakes from becoming the Mos Eisley of America . . .
3) DISCO INFERNO . . . It could be worse. Since Schleprock was born in the prehistoric era, which predates Christianity in Dante's Inferno (9781555976545) 20.00, he most likely would not end up in Hell, but instead, he would have a nice long sojourn in Limbo. I'm not sure where he would fall in Dan Brown's Inferno (9780385537858) 29.95. Robert Langdon is back, and this will guarantee Inferno is destined for the bestseller lists. Until Khalid Hosseini's And the Mountains Echoed (9781594631764) 28.95 releases next Tuesday, Mr. Brown has the biggest book of the summer. I actually caught him on The Colbert Report last night, and I have to admit that he came across as a likeable guy. "So he's got that going for him, which is nice." Kelley from Calhoun sent me a couple of Dan Brown oriented links: and As for where he'd be in Sherrilyn Kenyon's Inferno (9781250002839) 18.99, which went on-sale last month, I will leave to conjecture. Is it hot in here, or is just me?

Odds & Sods

Not since Kathy-jo Wargin's The Legend of Mackinac Island (9781585365173) 17.95 have we carried a kid's Mackinac book that I could get behind. That changed today. Thunder Bay Press has released a fresh printing of Jennifer M. Powell's What I Saw Mackinac: A Counting Book (9781933272368) 10.95. This one will be a children's bestseller for years to come . . .

Well, everyone has been picking on Detroit lately (and with good cause). Now it looks like it's Flint, Michigan's turn. Gordon Young's Teardown: Memoirs of a Vanishing City (9780520270527) 29.95 gets the ball rolling. Mr. Young, a Flint native, hasn't given up on his hometown, but the odds are daunting . . .

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Ye Olde Partners Page

*A Collection of Antiquarian Curios & Relics*

"The year, 1994. From out of space, comes a runaway planet, hurtling between the Earth and the moon, unleashing cosmic destruction. Man's civilization is cast in ruin. Two thousand years later, Earth is reborn . . . A world of savagery, super-science and sorcery . . . With his companions, Ookla the Mok and Princess Ariel, he pits his strength, his courage, and his fabulous Sunsword, against the forces of evil. He is Thundarr, the Barbarian!"

In the valley below, beneath twinkling stars against a purple canopy, lies Lancingg, the ancient capital of Michigania. The three mounted travelers carefully negotiate the narrow pathway down the side of the cliff and onto the broken pavement that crisscrosses the aged metropolis. The cracked dome of the capitol building looks like the two halves of a split open Caroc's egg. Princess Ariel's destination, the remains of the wizard's library, squats alongside the opposite side of the road. Thundarr and Ariel dismount from their horses, while Ookla the Mok leaps from the back of his four-legged equort onto the shattered concrete.

Thundarr yells, "Demon dogs! We're too late!"

Ariel shakes her head, "Thundarr, we're fine. We've arrived in plenty of time. Let me search through these tomes for the information I seek."

Ookla howls.

Ariel uncharacteristically chuckles and says, "It's alright, Ookla. He just gets a little overly excited sometimes," she blows the dust off a book, "I was hoping this collection of poetry and new fiction about the upper peninsula in Ron Reikkie's The Way North (9780814338650) 18.95 would help us on our expedition. Hmmm, it does contain works by legendary authors Steve Hamilton, Ellen Airgood, and John Smolens, but I'll have to save it for later . . ."

Thundarr pulls out his fabulous Sunsword and bellows, "Lords of Light!"

Ariel tosses her black locks and looks pained, "Now what, Thundarr?"

He re-sheathes his sword, "I thought I saw the evil wizard Gemini skulking behind those bookshelves."

The Princess turns back to the table of books, "This Great Lakes Cold Case Files: Unsolved Murders of the Great Lakes Region (9781892384652) 17.95 by Wayne Louis Kadar looks interesting, but it won't help us locate the shipwreck that has the Crystal of Prophecy on it. Neither will James Renner's book, The Serial Killer's Apprentice (9781598510461) 14.95 which features a tale of two girls abducted in Cleveland that were found in 2013. These people have been long dead by now."

Ookla howls and holds up a book.

"Good work, Ookla! Wes Oleszewski's Shipwrecks!!: Factual Accounts of Obscure Great Lakes Shipwrecks (9781892384683) 17.95 may just have the information we need!"

Suddenly, holding a magic wand, the two-faced wizard Gemini appears from around the corner, "Not so fast, Princess. Hand over the book!"

Thundarr turns to his cohorts, "Ariel! Ookla! Ride!"

Odds & Sods

On May 12, The Detroit Free Press will be featuring a review of Jaye Beeler and Dianne Carroll Burdick's Tasting and Touring Michigan's Home Grown Food (9781933926315) 29.95 in a full-colour spread. This is a great summer title to have on-hand any way you slice it . . .

Ben Applebaum and Dan Disobo's The Fart Tootorial (9781452105024) 10.95 is a new quirky little Chronicle hardcover that just came in. From cheese-cutting competitions to lighting your farts on fire, this title will clear the air on the rights and wrongs of fartdom. I'm sure you can squeeze a few of these out . . .

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Ye Olde Partners Page

*A Collection of Antiquarian Curios & Relics*
"Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted. That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history . . ."
--Aldous Huxley

Crimea Sixtus had lived in the bookstore by herself as long as she could remember. She supposed she had had parents, but as hard as she tried -- she couldn't conjure an image of them in her mind. They flitted away like ghosts on the edge of her sight. So instead, she settled for the photos she saw on books. Her father she imagined as dashing and debonair as James Patterson on the back jacket of 12th of Never (9780316210829) 27.99, and her mother was surely as beautiful and glamourous as Gwyneth Paltrow is on the front cover of It's All Good: Lots of Words (9781455522712) 32.00 (or the 35 pictures inside of the book in which she is featured). Crimea liked flipping through the cookbooks. The food all looked so good. It didn't look like that now, not since the Time of Troubles.

Her inner timer told her that the bombers would be coming soon. She scuttled into the teepee she had made from her hundreds of copies of Fifty Shades of Grey: Inner Goddess: A Journal (9780345806758) 16.99 by E.L. James. The jets always flew over at 1300 hours and then they bombed, bombed, and bombed. In fact, you could say they had bombed themselves right back into the Stone Age. Her city was nothing but a pile of rubble. She couldn't even remember what they were fighting about. She hadn't seen anyone else in years. Fortunately the bookstore was underground so she would just hear the large booms from above, but sometimes a little drywall and plaster would fall from the ceiling.

Crimea already had her reading schedule planned out. First of all, she wanted to tackle Michael Pollan's Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation (9781594204210) 27.95. There were some recipes in there that she might be able to prepare herself. To lighten her mood, she'd follow that one with David Sedaris' Let's Expore Diabetes with Owls (9780316154697) 27.00. His books would really make her laugh. And finally, for mere entertainment she had Kristin Hannah's Fly Away (9780312577216) 27.99 to round out her day . . .

Her thoughts were cut short by a pulsating sound that seemed to echo around the bookstore. Suddenly, before her very eyes, a giant blue box materialized out of thin air in front of her Inner Goddess shelter.

She jumped to her feet to examine it, but a door cracked open and a man with a garishly ugly sports jacket and a red bow tie stepped out. He was staring intently at a cracked open copy of Nathaniel Philbrick's Bunker Hill (9780670025442) 32.95. He looked at her and said, "Not Bunker Hill. Huh? Who are you?"

"I'm Crimea Sixtus."

"Oh, you're not even human. You're an android. That's alright. I'm the Doctor."

Odds & Sods

For Michigan sleuth fans, Joseph Heywood is back with 20 new stories in his latest short story collection, Hard Ground: Woods Cops Stories (9780762781263) 16.95. This book highlights Grady Service's game-warden friends, but also features a short story from early in Grady Service's career. Fans of smart crime fiction and the woodlands of Michigan will love this title . . .

I'm as sick of young adult Dystopian fiction as much as you are, but I'm willing to give Rick Yancey the benefit of doubt. His new one is called The 5th Wave (9780399162411) 18.99. And we're looking at an alien apocalypse. Don't worry, B. Traven Jr. is on the case . . .