Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Ye Olde Partners Page

*A Collection of Antiquarian Curios & Relics*
"Everywhere I go I'm asked if the university stifles writers.  My opinion is that they
don't stifle enough of them.  There's many a bestseller that could have been
prevented if they had a good teacher . . ."
                                                                                     --Flannery O'Connor

Dearest Mick--

  As a pip, Chip, my loyal manservant, had ventured onto the intrawebs and purchased a bottle of White Silk 2012, which the label claims was inspired by E.L. James' Fifty Shades of Grey (9780345803481) 15.95.  It also states, '[Our wine offers] floral aromatics of lychee, honey and pear tempered by flavours of grapefruit with a faint hint of butterscotch.'  Humph.  I should have reined in my enthusiasm, but being the intrepid explorer that I am, I instead thumbed my nose at good sense, and apprehensively put glass to lips.  It did not end well.  In fact, Chip is still attempting to remove wine stains from our lampshades, our Plume Blanche Diamond Encrusted sofa, and any other furnishings that were in my immediate field of fire. 

  So when your package arrived via the parcel post, Chip and I certainly welcomed the diversion.  On one hand, I was initially shocked by the premise of Steve Luxenberg's Annie's Ghosts (9781401310196) 15.99, but I will admit that mental health issues were treated quite differently in my youth.  On the other hand, I am pleased that the Michigan Humanities Council has chosen it as the Great Michigan Read for this year.  Point of interest, I was knighted by the Grand Duke of Luxenbourg for saving his life during an avalanche in the French Alps in the 1950s.

  Ten years ago, my friend Mary Casanova wrote the now classic One Dog Canoe (9780374356385) 17.99, so I was pleased as punch that you included her new companion volume, One Dog Sleigh (9780374356392) 16.99.  I am glad that I mentioned our storytime at a nearby fountain with the youngsters of Napoli and this title is definitely apropos.  Also, much like Moliere, Chip has quite a penchant for miming along with the stories, and it needed to be encouraged.

  I also noticed that you snuck in one of your liberal polemics, Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privitization Movement and the Danger to America's Public Schools (9780385350884) 27.95 by Diane Ravitch into the box.  Well played.  Fortunately, I attended the Deerfield Academy. 
  ("Chip, how many times have I told you not to use $20 dollar bills to light the fire in the fireplace?  Use the $100 dollar bills!  They are not as combustible and they are much better as kindling!")
  As always, I would like to thank you for the care package.    

                                                                                    Warmest Regards,
                                                                             Charles Edmund Wilson III  

Odds & Sods

Mark Twain, my second favourite cantankerous author has a new release, The Autobiography of Mark Twain Voume II (9780520272781) 45.00.  You may recall that two years ago his first volume sold like gangbusters; I don't expect this one to do much worse . . .

 Stephen Hawking, who was the original Hoverround guy and a world reknowned physicist to boot, shares his memories and the genesis of his seminal work, A Brief History of Time (9780553380163) 18.00 in his new autobiography, My Brief History (9780345535283) 22.00.  His nickname in college was Einstein.  Go figure . . .


Thursday, September 19, 2013

Ye Olde Partners Page

*A Collection of Antiquarian Curios & Relics*
"Music is everybody's business.  It's only the publishers
who think people own it . . ."
                                                                                     --John Lennon

Hey boys and ghouls, you're listening to classic rock W4.  Bippity-bobbity-boo, it's Biff Buster yakking at you from my secret location deep in the bowels of the Michigan Capitol building.  Coming up, we'll be motorin' on a 30 minute free ride, but first, Terry McMillan and The Who have something you really want to know:   Who Asked You? (9780670785698) 27.95:

"Who asked you?  Ooo ooo ooo ooo
I woke up on a L.A. roadway
The policemen knew my name
They said, "Rodney, you can sleep at home tonight
If you can get up and walk away . . ."

  Long time fans of the Biff Buster Show know that I have a little Biff Busterette at home, and boy, does she love herself some Sandra Boynton.  When I get home, we start with Snuggle Puppy (9780761130673) 6.95 and move onto The Going to Bed Book (9781442454095) 7.99 and then Doggies (9780671493189) 5.99 etc. etc.  So you can imagine my excitement when I received a copy of Frog Trouble (9780761171768) 16.95 with a CD of Sandra's songs performed by some of music's biggest stars.  They tend to have a C&W bent.  "We've got both kinds of music:  Country & Western."  I'm talking Alison Kraus, Mark Lanegan from The Screaming Trees and Queens of the Stone Age, and the Fountains of Wayne.  What in the heck ever happened to Fountains of Wayne?  And then there's Dwight Yoakam.  You may recall that Mr. Yoakam is the director, producer, and star of one of the greatest movies ever made, South of Heaven, West of Hell.  It's so bad, it's good.   Well, let's give his I've Got a Dog a spin:

"Well, he won't win a prize for being dog-pretty
at a fancy show in the big city.
He's a mix of hound and I-don't-know-what.
A hundred percent pure Junkyard Mutt . . ."


  Me too Dwight, me too.  We'll close out this commercial-free block with an obscure gem from John Cale, he of The Velvet Underground from an earlier epoch and Pulitzer Prize winner A. Scott Berg's presidential biography (Mr.) Wilson (9780399159213) 40.00:

"And every time I hear your music,
                                                               You're still thousand of miles away . . ."

Odds & Sods

Ya know, I like to bust on James Patterson as much as the next bookseller.  He's big; he can take it.  But then he comes along and does something that totally screws it up.  If you've read any of the industry rags in the past few days, you've heard that he has established a million dollar fund to help out struggling independent bookstores.  He's putting his money where his mouth is, and I can't help but respect that.  Thanks, James, and keep it up . . .

Maybe I should have gushed more the first time around, but I absolutely loved The Day the Crayons Quit (9780399255373) 17.99 by Drew Daywalt.  I said this was going to be huge before it was cool and Penguin is reprinting.  Order up . . .


Thursday, September 12, 2013

Ye Olde Partners Page

*A Collection of Antiquarian Curios & Relics*
"If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician.  I often think in music.
I live my daydreams in music.  I see my life in terms of music . . ."
                                                                                     --Albert Einstein

Hey boys and ghouls, you're listening to classic rock W4.  I'm Biff Buster yakking at you from high atop my perch at the Board of Water & Light building in downtown Lansing.  If you're looking for stax of hot trax on wax, I'll be here all afternoon as your personal buffoon.  Let's start out this 30 minute free ride with my bestus friend, Bobby Zimmerman aka Bob Dylan, who asks the eternal question:  what would really happen If Dogs Run Free (9781451648799) 17.99 . . .

". . . If dogs run free, kids books must be,
Sell me, Scott Campbell,
True pictures are all we will ask
Something something something
(Unitelligible) If dogs run free."

Oh Bobby, Bobby, your vocals are nearly incomprehensible, but we love you anyway.  Somebody call The Police!  They've lost their synchronicity, but David Wilcock has found The Sychronicity Key (9780525953678) 29.95 and he's darn proud of it . . .

"Daddy see stars in the distance,
There's only so much more he can make,
Many miles away something crawls from the slime from the
Bottom of an astrological fake."

   I lied.  There is one more bill to pay before we can continue with our WWWW 30 minute free ride.  If you've been jonesing for a book that is 50% memoir, 25% cookbook, 25% Russian history, and 25% watchdog, I have the perfect title for you.  Rife with delicious recipes like gulag stew and fermented sauerkraut, Anya Von Bremzen's Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking (9780307886811) 26.00 would have made Julia Child blush with envy.  Sign me up, what other country's cuisine would classify vodka as a condiment, eh?  And now back to the music with Pink Floyd's and Catherine Coulter's The Final Cut (9780399164736) 26.95 . . .

"Through the fish-eyed lens of a jeweler's eyes,
I can barely define the shape of this diamond in rhyme,
And who knows where The Fox still lies,
But Inspector Drummond will surely find him in time . . ."

And this is Biff Buster signing off.  We're all in this thing together, whatever it is . . .   

Odds & Sods

Do you remember Dan Fountain's Michigan Gold?  It went out of print, but it was a steady backlist seller for Partners.  Well, I have good news.  He's put together an updated edition called Michigan Gold & Silver:  Mining in the Upper Peninsula (9781938229169) 16.95, which covers the history of the mining of these minerals in our great state . . .

Hey and how about those Detroit Lions?  I think Super Bowl is within their grasp.  Read about me and other delusional fans in Paula Pasche's 100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die (9781600787294) 14.95.  Reggie, Reggie!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Ye Olde Partners Page

*A Collection of Antiquarian Curios & Relics*
"A good science fiction story should be able to predict not the automobile
but the traffic jam . . ."
                                                                                     --Frederick Pohl

1)  FUTUREWORLD . . . Much like Hercules lamented slaying his six sons, I was saddened to learn that Frederick Pohl passed away on September 2.  Most of my teen geeky science fiction writers have died, and I believe the 93-year-old Mr. Pohl may have been the final holdout.  Like Isaac Asimov, I didn't read Frederick Pohl for his scintillating prose or well-developed characters, but instead, I read him for his 'Big Ideas.'  His book Gateway (9780345475831) 14.95, which won the Hugo and Nebula Awards for Best Novel, had me hooked.  Mankind has found a giant hollowed-out asteroid, which was home to hundreds of small spaceships that had been left behind by a long forgotten race called the Heechee.  The Gateway Corporation runs an operation that leases the ships out and then rewards the survivors who return with alien artifacts.  The only catch is that sometimes the ships leave on one way trips and the pilot has no control over the ship's final destination.  It's a bit like playing the lottery.  The protagonist relates his story to a Sigmund Freud AI in therapy, and an Einstein AI would appear in later books of his Heechee Saga.  Dan Simmons would later use this technique effectively with a John Keats AI in his own Hyperion Cycle.  Mr. Pohl was also the only winner of the ill-fated National Book Award for Sci-Fi with his novel, Jem (9781857987898) 14.95.  He also acquired and edited Samuel Delaney's brilliant book, Dhalgren (9780375706684) 18.00, which should be worth some kind of award in of itself.  Whether as an author, editor, agent, or just as a plain ol' fan, Frederick Pohl personified science fiction and he will never be replaced.  Finally, I find Pohl's First Law to be as apropos today as it was then: "No one is ever ready for anything."

2)  WESTWORLD . . .  Speaking of sci-fi, I just watched Tom Cruise's Oblivion  and it was good.  As my wife stated, "It's not destined to be a classic, but it was worth a $2.80 rental."  So this leads us into another starring role vehicle for Mr. Cruise with the latest Jack Reacher novel, Never Go Back (9780385344340) 28.00, which released yesterday.  Everybody loved Tom Cruise in the first Jack Reacher movie (Ha!) that I'm sure there will be many more to come.  This leads us to Pohl's Second Law: "Nothing is so good that somebody, somewhere will not hate it."

3)  BEYOND WESTWORLD . . .  John U. Bacon's last bestselling book was Three and Out (9781250016973) 17.00, which chronicled The Champions of the West's football program during the Rich Rodriguez regime.  John's back and this time he's tackling the larger subject of the college football world in Fourth and Long: The Fight for the Soul of College Football (9781476706436) 26.99.  And don't even get me started on Johnny Manziel . . .      


Odds & Sods

Oprah's taken a break from purchasing $38,000 purses in Switzerland to star in her latest blockbuster, The Butler.  We have the book the movie is kinda of based on The Butler (9781476752990) 18.00 by Wil Haygood back in stock.  I don't know if it's just me, but I find the whole idea that a handbag could even cost that much repugnant . . .

In further Oprah news, Ms. Winfrey gifted a copy of Michael Singer's Untethered Soul (9781572245372) 16.95 to Lindsay Lohan during her interview a few weeks back.  Hopefully, this will prevent Ms. Lohan from becoming a tethered soul in the future . . .