Thursday, February 27, 2014

Ye Olde Partners Page

*Good Luck to the Winter Paralympics US Sledge Hockey Team*
"As he spoke my spirit climbed into the sky
I bid it to return
To hear your wonderous stories
Return to hear your wonderous stories . . ."
                                                                    --Yes, Wonderous Stories

1)  FRINGE . . .  First of all, I anticipated Alice Hoffman's Museum of Extraordinary Things (9781451693560) 27.99 to be her big breakout book.  In my opinion, she was on the cusp.  I wasn't expecting her book to have numbers like new-found Indie darling James Patterson, but hey, I thought that Clive Cussler-type sales was an attainable goal, especially since her last release The Dovekeepers (9781451617481) 16.00 did really well for us in tradepaper.  She's done everything right.  The reviews have been glowing, she did the obligatory Q&A for the author interview in the NYTBR, and coincidentally, American Experience aired an episode on the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, which is the centerpiece of her new book.  So what gives?  I did see that Ms. Hoffman chooses the images for her bookcovers, and I don't want to go all Occam's razor on you, but the cover is the most important part of any book, and just maybe, that's the obvious answer.  I've always thought that an author should be involved in this process, but perhaps there is a good reason that publishers hire professionals to handle authors' cover art.  Hopefully, this one will build by word of mouth, instead.  Stay tuned . . .


2)  THE X-FILES . . .  I'm nursing a Winter OlympicsTM hangover.  It took me four years to forget how biased the scoring can be in figureskating, how boring it is to watch the 50,000 km crosscountry skiing, and just how much I really despise Vladimir Putin in general.  And I missed the %&$#@ curling events, so I was kinda ticked about that, too.  However, next Sunday, we can segue into the OscarsTM and feel pretty darn good about ourselves.  As long as cinema has been around, there has been an odd symbiotic relationship between books and movies.  There are movies based on books, and there are books based on movies.  (I'm looking at you Peter David.)  This year is no different.  The movies with the most nominations are based on books, such as Jordan Belfort's The Wolf of Wall Street (9780345549334) 16.00, A Winter's Tale (9780544320420) 15.99 by Mark Helprin, Michael Sixsmith's Philomena (9780143124726) 16.00 with the incomparable Dame Judi Dench in the starring role, and of course, Solomon Northrup's Twelve Years a Slave (9780143125419) 16.00.  And then there are the movies that may not be OscarTM calibre but continue to sell like gangbusters, such as Robert Edsel's The Monuments Men (9780316240055) 17.00 and Marcus Luttrell's Lone Survivor (9780316324106) 17.00.  Finally, John Feinstein's new title Where Nobody Knows Your Name: Life in the Minor Leagues of Baseball (9780385535939) 26.95 released yesterday, and I believe it could be a great movie.  Oh wait!  It's already been a TV show called Eastbound and Down. 



Odds & Sods

I spoke to Sonny Longtine a long time ago when he was living in Grand Rapids and still self-publishing a couple of titles about Native Americans in Michigan.  He is one of the nicest guys you'd ever meet.  Now, Sonny has a new book with History Press called Murder in Michigan's Upper Peninsula (9781626193550) 19.99. We've already sold out, but we should have stock in a few days... 

You wouldn't know it from the weather, but I believe Spring is supposed to be right around the corner, which means it's almost time for The 2014 Great Lakes & Midwest Catalog.  You can check it out online:      


Thursday, February 20, 2014

Ye Olde Partners Page

*A Collection of Antiquarian Curios & Relics*
"In a Gadda Da Vidi, baby . . ."
                                                                                --Iron Butterfly

Bob Costas:  Hi, Bob Costas here.  I'm coming to you from beautiful downtown Lansing, Mi.  Normally, I would handle most of the announcing duties for these upcoming events, but as you can see, I am covered in bedbug bites of almost biblical proportions, so I'm going to sit here and scratch.  Here's Al Michaels.

Al Michaels:  Good luck, Bob.  I'm sure the folks at home are familiar with the format, but here's a refresher course.  Unlike the Sochi Winter Olympics, our competitors are not fresh from a photo shoot for GQ or Vogue, but, in fact, are the entire opposite -- they are published authors.  The first competition is called the 'Ice Storm.'  Participants will be randomly selected.  Four competitors will be locked in a house indefinitely without electricity and limited toiletries.  There will be hidden cameras.  Whichever team does not go all Lord of the Flies (9780399501487) 9.99 on their teammates will be declared the winner, and then they will move onto the next competition, which is the 'Lansing almost never plows their residential streets, but this one time they did, and now I am stuck in my own driveway' event.

 Bob Costas:  We've let the teams settle in, and we've moved ahead to Day 3.  Unable to brush his teeth, Joel Osteen, author of Break Out (9780892969746) 26.00 has been driven to the proverbial edge.  We can see him unsuccessfully trying to fashion a toothbrush from broom bristles, carpet fibers, and a #2 pencil.

 Al Michaels:  Heh, just wait until he finds out that the coauthors of The Second Machine Age (9780393239355) 26.95, Erik Bryjnolfsson and Andrew McAfee, have absconded with all four of the toothbrushes and have divvied them up amongst themselves.  Uh-oh, it looks like McAfee is handing a toothbrush to Robert Gates, author of Duty (9780307959478) 35.00, and Joel has seen the exchange.  Oh no!  What's Joel doing with that broom?!  They better send in the security squad before it's too late.  Too bad.  Team One has been disqualified.


 Bob Costas:  While you were sleeping, La La Anthony, author of The Love Playbook (9780451466440) 24.95 and wife of NBA superstar Carmelo Anthony, broke into the makeup drawer and applied Adam Ant-esque warpaint to the faces of her sleeping compatriots.  Doctor Sleep (9781476727653) 30.00 himself, Stephen King, actually looks a lot better with makeup.  However, I don't think Charles Krauthammer, author of Things That Matter (9780385349178) 28.00 is going to be amused.


 Al Michaels:  Well, in La La's defense, I don't think Mr. Krauthammer has ever been amused by anything.  We'll be right back after these commercial messages.  

Odds & Sods 

Do you like Shakespeare?  Do you like insulting people?  Then have I got the book for you!  Sarah Royal & Jillian Hofer's Thou Spleeny Swag-Bellied Miscreant (9780762453214) 12.95 is a flip-book for creating your own Shakespearean insults.  Buy it now, you plume-plucked lily-livered popinjay!

 Don't you just hate when somebody asks you, "Is blah-blah-blah the sixth or the seventh book in the series?"  Well fret no more, I have been alerted to two sites by my friend Deb that can answer that question in a couple of clicks.  For most general fiction, check out: and for mysteries:

You're welcome.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Ye Olde Partners Page

*A Collection of Antiquarian Curios & Relics*
"A small and sinister snow seems to be coming down relentlessly at present.  The radio says
it is eventually going to be sleet and rain, but I don't think so; I think it is just going
to go on and on, coming down, until the whole world . . . etc.  It has that look . . ."
                                   --E. Gorey, Floating Worlds (9780764959479) 35.00

  It is so cold.  Using metaphors and similes, I could go into a long winded description of just how cold it really is, but I just don't have the energy to even try.  Suffice it to say, it is cold.  For over six months, I have been trapped at this U.S. Navy listening post near Whitefish Point in a little igloo-like building.  The food has run out, but I have learned to fish, and for water, I melt snow.  There's certainly plenty of that lying around.  Also, the fuel oil for the furnace is running low, so I've dialed down the furnace to about 40 degrees.  But that's still absolutely balmy.
  Who am I listening for?  Or to?  The Chinese I suppose.  Maybe the Russians.  I'm not sure why either one would covet this arctic wasteland that was once known as America.  After 'The Big Mistake of '15', the Earth's axis tilted and we've been subjected to an ice age to end all ice ages.  I heard it had something to do with the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland.  I could be wrong tho'.
  Since the radio stopped working, my only companions have been a cache of books that I found in the storage room.  Books make good company.  I just finished The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History (9780805092998) 28.00 by Elizabeth Kolbert, in which she posits that Manunkind will be responsible for the greatest extinction of life on our planet.  In the last half billion years, there have been five mass extinctions, but they were child's play compared to the one we've begun.

  Hang on.  I hear somebody banging on the door.  It could be the rescue submarine.  But more likely it's the Chinese saboteurs who tore down my radio antenna.  I grab my rifle.  Of course the banging stops as soon as I get to the airtight door.  Weird.  It's like they can see me somehow.
  Back to the books.  I'm not sure if it's coincidence or maybe irony, but someone left behind a copy of Disney's Frozen Big Golden Book (9780736430654) 9.99.  I think the Snow Queen Elsa would be right at home here.  My favorite book in this icy prison has been Jenny Lawson's Let's Pretend This Never Happened (9780425261019) 16.00.  I've probably re-read it at least ten times now.  She makes me laugh and not much else does these days.  I especially like to linger on the sections about her childhood days in Texas.  Her particulars on the oppressive heat in her rural home was downright delicious.


  Wait!  There's that damn pounding on the door again!  That's it, I'm done. I snatch my pistol from the table, run toward the door, and nearly trip over my still unread copy of Herman Melville's Moby Dick (9780553213119) 4.95.  I fling the door open; there's a gust of wind, and every inch of exposed skin stings with cold.  No one's there.  There are no tracks.  They must be hiding.  But they aren't getting away this time.  I run out into the whiteness.  I run and I run until the cold embraces me securely like a soft mother's hug.  Finally, winded, I lay down to rest. 


Odds & Sods

Mazel tov!  Robert Kopman and Bil Yanok, the people who brought you the 30 Minute Seder (9780979125607) 6.95 have returned with the 60 Minute Seder (9780979125676) 10.95. The Seder is a traditional Jewish Passover dinner in which the Haggadah is read by the attendees before the meal.  Which reminds me, Jonathan Foer's New American Haggadah (9780316069878) 10.95 will soon be available in a snappy new trade edition . . .


Marissa Meyer stopped in yesterday and signed all three of her titles in the Lunar Chronicles, including Cinder (9781250007209) 9.99, Scarlet (9781250007216) 9.99, and the latest one, Cress (9780312642976) 18.99.

First come, first served.   


Thursday, February 6, 2014

Ye Olde Partners Page

*A Collection of Antiquarian Curios & Relics*
"Eager to put as many miles between himself and Thirty Four Corners,
Matt Jensen just can't bring himself to leave without trying to stop
the bloodshed.  But it's going to take a lot more bullets, just as many bodies,
and the steely courage of an intrepid frontiersman to let this ravaged town live again . . .
                    --Matt Jensen: Torture Town (9780786033423) 7.50

Thirty Four Corners (Torture Town)
Over 1,500 people live in Thirty Four Corners.  The beautiful backdrop of the Rocky Mountains frames a town that is inexplicably painted red.  Built by cattle barons in the 1860s, Thirty Four Corners is a charming mixture of murder and mayhem.  It is a pleasant place to stop on your ride between Denver and Colorado Springs.  Torture Town is credited with the invention of the word game Hangman.

Planning Your Time
If you're in the mood for masochism, there are innumerable sights for you to see in Torture Town.  I stopped and spoke with a local on the porch of the Torture Museum.  His young son was slowly burning ants to death with a magnifying glass, and he was reading Gillian Flynn's Dark Places (9780307341570) 14.00.  I asked, "Hey, have you ever shot a man just for snoring?"  And he light-heartingly replied, "No sir.  But I have shot a man for asking me stupid questions."  I hurriedly went inside the museum.  The Torture Museum is a must-see for all visitors to this quaint village.  It is directly across from the Hangman's platform in the town square.  From the Spanish Inquisition to our very own Abu Ghraib, there are wonderful displays that chronicle man's inhumanity to man throughout history.  And, of course, there are plenty of interactive exhibits for the children, which include: tying a hangman's noose, fun with the guillotine, and the warm embrace of the Iron Maiden.  Don't forget to stop in Joe's Torture Town bookstore.  From the tomes of the Marquis de Sade to Guillermo del Toro's Cabinet of Curiosities (9780062082848) 60.00, every castigatory creation in literature is here for a visitor's purchase. They also carry national bestsellers like Sarah Addison Allen's Lost Lake (9781250019806) 25.99, Anna Quindlen's Still Life With Bread Crumbs (9781400065752) 26.00 and, of course James Patterson's First Love (9780316207041) 26.00, which some readers may consider to be an entirely different sort of punishment.


Sleeping in Torture Town            
$ The Stocks are just a stone's throw from the Hangman's platform.  You can sleep uncomfortably in them for only $5 a night, and it is a great option for tourists on a tight budget. Make sure to check the weather first.  Also, these accommodations are not recommended in the fall when rotten fruit and vegetables are readily accessible.   
Odds & Sods

First there was Homer, then Cream's Tales of Brave Ulysses, and now the Newbery Award-winning Flora & Ulysses (9780763660406) 17.99 has issued the irresistible siren's call for children's readers.  We have a limited quantity back in stock . . .

 Speaking of large bodies of water, the new 3rd edition of Lake Superior: The Ultimate Guide to the Region (9781938229176) 19.95 has been released.  Lake Superior Magazine has cobbled together everything you need to know about the world's largest freshwater lake.  With this handy reference manual, it won't take you ten years to find your way home . . .