Thursday, October 30, 2014

Ye Olde Partners Page

*A Collection of Antiquarian Curios & Relics*
"While I am writing, I am far away;
And when I come back, I've gone . . ."
                                                    --Pablo Neruda

  Water and I have an uneasy relationship at best.  Books and I, however, have long been fast friends.  Although, as my wife will attest, perhaps, I have too many friends.  There's just not enough room in our house for them to sleep comfortably.  But I'm working on it.  So as you can imagine, as I see the big name and lesser named author releases start to roll in for the holiday season, there is a bit of hand-wringing on my part and apprehension on hers.
  Presumably, this fixation on friendship would lead me to man's best friend, which is typified by a beautiful new photographic collection by Lara Jo Regan, Dogs In Cars (9781581572797) 19.95.  When it comes to visions, there is nothing more iconic than one of our canine friends head sticking out of a car or truck window with their tongues lolling in the breeze.  And this book does it justice.

  Speaking of dog whistle politics, when Michael Savage is lecturing us on states' rights or voter fraud, we all know who he's really talking about.  So it should come as no surprise that his book Stop The Coming Civil War (9781455582433) 26.00 should appeal to a certain segment of the American population.  It should also come as no surprise that a group so concerned with conspiracy theories is convinced that bookstores are conspiring against them by selling out of his book.  To alleviate their 'concerns', we now have his book back in stock, too.

  Speaking of a Napoleon complex, we have a new biography by Andrew Roberts called Napoleon: A Life (9780670025329) 45.00.  Both economically and militarily, Napoleonic France is considered the first example of an entire nation at war.  It's a good primer on what happens to a country obsessed with lionizing its soldiers and its need to lurch from one war to another to justify it's ever expanding military budget.  It's a good thing we don't have a nation like that today . . .

  . . . Or do we?  New York Times Pulitzer Prize winner James Risen has chosen to investigate the rise of the terrorist-industrial complex in his latest title, Pay Any Price (9780544341418) 28.00.  My favorite story is the skids of $100 bills we airlifted to Iraq right after the war began, which we were told would 'help' to jump- start their economy.  Apparently, out of the $20 billion we sent, we can't account for almost $11.7 billion of it.  Strike that.  In actuality, we know that $2 billion are in Lebanon, but they are so small potatoes to our military that they just don't believe it's worth the trouble.  As you can see, the business of fear is very, very lucrative.

Speaking of fear, I've waited 15 years for another of Anne Rice's Lestat books, and she has finally rewarded fans with Prince Lestat (9780307962522) 28.95.  The reviews have been less than overwhelming, but I would love to join Lestat for one more nostalgic romp down memory lane.  Beware the Devil . . .        

Odds & Sods

Mena, the owner of our best hometown bakery, Roma's Bakey, Deli, & Fine Foods has decided to  share her family recipes in the upcoming Cooking With Mena (9780692292594) 24.95. Her kickoff party at her store is on November 15, so we should have our copies shortly before that.  We already have a few backorders, so order accordingly . . .

Speaking of cookbooks, Ina Garten aka 'The Barefoot Contessa' has one of the few that will sell this upcoming season.  Her latest is Make It Ahead (9780307464880) 35.00 and it should be no exception.  'Rachael, oh Rachael, where art thou?'

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Ye Olde Partners Page

*A Collection of Antiquarian Curios & Relics*
"It was inevitable: the scent of bitter almonds always reminded him
of the fate of unrequited love . . ."
                                                                                 --Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Channel 13 Community Access TV Presents: BOOK STALKERS
(Camera pans Double D's laundry strewn basement and focuses on
Stoner Bill and Double D seated in overstuffed chairs.)

Stoner Bill:  Hey Dudes and Dudettes!  Welcome to our humble abode and the TV show Book Stalkers with your hosts, Me and Double D.  This week we will examine some of the big titles coming out this holiday season.  Here's the Doctor.

Double D:  Thanks, Bill . . .  And by the way, my mom wants to know when you're moving out of our basement.  *crickets*  Bueller? . . . Bueller? . . . Bueller?  Annnnywaaay, I'm really getting a kick out of comedian Jim Gaffigan's new book, Food: A Love Story (9780804140416) 26.00.  You may recall that he wrote the surprise bestseller Dad Is Fat (9780385349079) 15.99 and as Mr. Gaffigan succinctly puts it, 'This book is even betterer than the first book I wroted!'  I have to admit it has had me in stitches.  And now let's hear the next bestseller pick from the guy who lives under my stairs . . .


Stoner Bill:  Hardy-har-har!  Although George R.R. Martin's fantasy world of Westeros remains, sadly, unpopulated by Elvish babes, I find myself captivated by the HBO Game of Thrones TV series.  And guess what!  There's a new book.  (Double D spills his bag of almonds all over the floor.)  Whoa! Calm down, I'm not talking about the  long anticipated sixth book in the series, The Winds of Winter.  However, Random House would be foolish not to have some kind of product from the series available, and they do not disappoint with The World of Ice & Fire (9780553805444) 50.00.  It sounds pretty cool.  Oh, and your mother sounds like that little old lady voice that Jim Gaffigan does all the time.

Double D:  Well, your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries!  Dude, you know absolutely nothing about fantasy books.  Patrick Rothfusseseses' novella The Slow Regard of Silent Things (9780756410438) 18.95 will out-sell Georgio's book by at least 2 to 1.  No lie!

Stoner Bill:  No way, Dude!  And don't be talkin' about my momma!

Double D:  (Picks up an almond and tosses it at Bill.)  Watcha gonna do about it?

Stoner Bill:  This!  (He lunges at Double D and tackles him.  Blows are thrown.)

(We are temporarily experiencing technical difficulties.  Please try again later.)

Odds & Sods

Big MAC attack!  Stephen Terry's new book, MAC: Campus Life 1900-1925 (9781933272443) 19.95 is selling like hotcakes.  Hotcakes smothered in maple syrup and freshly churned butter.  Mmmm . . .  But I digress, as MSU's football team continues its inexorable run for the Roses, any Spartan book will be in high demand.  We have signed copies available . . .

Just in time for Halloween, Jonathan Rand has released American Chillers: Incredible Ivy of Iowa (9781893699342) 5.99.  Growing faster than kudzu, Mr. Nelson's bio-genetically modified strain of ivy has a hunger.  A hunger for human flesh!  Your kids will die to have this as their Halloween treat!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Ye Olde Partners Page

*A Collection of Antiquarian Curios & Relics*
"Living is worth the effort if only because without life
we could not read or imagine stories . . ."
                                                     --Mario Vargas Llosa

1)  DRAW THE LINE . . .  It looks like Joe Perry, guitarist from Aerosmith has the rock n' rolls again.  In the band, he is the Keith Richards to Steven Tyler's Mick Jagger, and it is a formula that has made many a band very successful.  (See: New York Dolls, Ziggy-era David Bowie, etc.)  He has written a memoir of these halcyon days, with and without his band, called Rocks: My Life In and Out of Aerosmith (9781476714547) 27.99.  I guess he is not heeding his own advice and not letting the music do the talking, which incidentally is a much better song on his first solo album than the later version on Aerosmith's Done With Mirrors.  Unfortunately, once they cleaned up, as Bill Hicks has pointed out in his stand-up bit,  they weren't nearly as creative or as exciting as a band, but hey, they're all still alive so that should count for something . . .

2)  NOBODY'S FAULT . . .  The 2014 Man Booker Prize was announced yesterday and the winner was Australian author Richard Flanagan's Narrow Road to the Deep North (9780385352857) 26.95.  It's long overdue.  Not that he was on anybody's radar back when his debut novel was released, but he probably should have won for Death of a River Guide (9780802138637) 13.00.  His latest novel deals with POWs building the Thai-Burma Death Railroad for their Japanese captors during WW II, and not so coincidentally, his father was one of those POWs.  Ironically, his father passed away the day Richard completed his manuscript.  Sorry American authors, maybe next year . . .


3)  BACK IN THE SADDLE . . .  Inconceivable!  Carey Elwes, who starred as Westley in The Princess Bride has actually written a book that people have been clamoring for.  Chock full of anecdotes, As You Wish (9781476764023) 26.00, is an insider's account about what it was like to star in one of the greatest and arguably, one of the most oft-quoted movies of all-time.  I already have my copy.  "Good night, Westley.  Good work.  Sleep well.  I will most likely kill you in the morning . . ."

 4)  SICK AS A DOG . . .  Kathy Reich's latest Bones book, Bones Never Lie (9780345544018) 27.00 released a couple of weeks ago, and as usual, it rocketed to the top of the charts.  That's not news.  However, we have just received autographed copies with snappy signed stickers on the front cover and they are selling well.  First come, first served . . .

 Our best wishes go out to my favourite cantankerous science fiction writer Harlan Ellison, who is recovering from a stroke.  The prognosis is good and I'm sure the doctors can't wait to get to get him out of their hair.  Good luck! 

Odds & Sods

Hockey season began last week and this would be the perfect time to crack open a copy of Gordie Howe's new autobiography, Mr. Hockey (9780399172915) 27.95.  The foreword is by his good friend and a hockey god in his own right, Bobby Orr.  Bobby's bestseller from last year, Orr (9780425277027) 17.00, is now available in tradepaper.  Mmmmm, hockey . . .

For some inexplicable reason, Minnesotans love their loons, so Linda Mazanec's new coloring book Gavia Immer Splendid Swimmer (9780982242438) 7.95 should be right up their alley.  By the way, Gavia Immer is the Latin name for the great northern loon . . .     

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Ye Olde Partners Page

*A Collection of Antiquarian Curios & Relics*
"We play at believing ourselves immortal.  We delude ourselves in the appraisal
of our own works and in our perpetual misappraisal of the works of others. 
See you at the Nobel, writers say, as one might say: see you in hell . . ."
                                           --Roberto Bolano


  Yes, it's that time of year again.  The leaves on the trees are changing color and the 2014 Nobel Prize in Literature will be announced tomorrow.  Contingent on the renown of the winner, this award can be a boon or a bust for booksellers.  Last year, Canadian superstar Alice Munro won the award and we feasted.  O, how we feasted!  The flipside of the coin was Herta Muller, who won the 2009 Nobel Prize in Literature, and we waited and waited in vain for American readers to try to feign any kind of a passing interest.  I looked up LadbrokesTM Betting Odds for the Top 5 candidates, 2014 Nobel Prize in Literature, and it was not encouraging:

Nguigi Wa Thiong'o    7/2
Haruki Murakami    9/2
Svetlana Alexievich    6/1
Adonis    10/1
Ismail Kadare    10/1

  Crap!  When I have to look up four out of five authors to see who they are, it's never a good sign.  We have an African novelist who writes in his native Gikuyu, a Ukrainian investigative journalist, a Syrian poet, an Albanian novelist, and Haruki Murakami, whose recent release Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage (9780385352109) 25.95 is on all the bestseller lists.  C'mon booksellers, join in with me:  MURAKAMI!  MURAKAMI!  MURAKAMI!
  If Roberto Bolano were still alive (and you may not know that an author has to be living to be awarded the Nobel), he would probably be one of the favourites.  Mr. Bolano has been graced with his first biography, Bolano: A Biography in Conversations (9781612193472) 26.95.  It is long overdue.
  Twenty years from now, Brian Morton, award-winning author of Florence Gordon (9780544309869) 25.00 may be near the top of this list.  'It's pronounced Gore-don.'  I could see the title character, a cantankerous old woman novelist, saying exactly that.
  There is no danger of funnyman Bob Odenkirk ever, ever being nominated for the Nobel Prize, but he has put together a 'collection of new short humor fiction' in his latest title, A Load of Hooey (9781938073885) 20.00.  If you need more copies, you 'Better Call Saul!'
  Well, it looks like we've run out of time.  I and a very small percentage of Americans will look forward to the announcement tomorrow.  I have to admit I think it would be kinda cool if Bob Dylan won.  Hey, 25 to 1 aren't horrible odds . . .



Odds & Sods

I never thought I would say this, but I will, "It's kinda hip to be a Spartan fan right now."  True, their football team lost a heartbreaker to Oregon early in the season, but if they run the table, they could very well be in the college playoffs this season.  So it might be a good time to carry a few copies of Jack Ebling's Heart of a Spartan (9780985831202) 49.95.

Speaking of Spartans, we've received Tom Shanahan's Raye of Light (9781938532191) 22.95, which harkens back to the Duffy Daugherty football era, when Jimmy Raye became one of the first African-American players to quarterback for a major college.  Go Green!  Go White!


Thursday, October 2, 2014

Ye Olde Partners Page

*A Collection of Antiquarian Curios & Relics*
"Sometimes, looking at the many books I have at home, I feel I shall die before I come to the end of them, yet I cannot resist the temptation of buying new books.  Whenever I walk into a bookstore and find a book on one of my hobbies -- for example, Old English or Old Norse poetry -- I say to myself, "What a pity I can't buy that book, for I already have a copy at home . . ."
                                                     --Jorge Luis Borges

WHAT IF? (9780544272996) 24.00 by Randall Munroe

  What if authors were rock stars?  I mentioned in an earlier missive that I was disappointed that S.C. Gwynne's Rebel Yell (9781451673289) 35.00, was not the long awaited Billy Idol biography, but instead, it was merely another book on Stonewall Jackson.  'With a rebel yell, she wanted more, more, more . . .'  Unknowingly, I was not that far off.  Billy Idol's autobiography releases October 7 and it is entitled after his other big hit, Dancing With Myself (9781451628500) 28.00.  His picture on the cover has him with his trademark spiked peroxide hair and lazy sneer.  Ah, the '80s . . .  It was a different time.
  In the case of James Patterson, let's take this conceit one step further.  His latest title Burn (9780316211048) 28.00 brought to mind the hit of the same name by Deep Purple, which wasn't by the classic lineup with lead singer Ian Gillan, but the Glenn Hughes and David Cloverdale incarnation.  That's just not big enough for James Patterson.  I think a better equivalent for him would be Paul McCartney, not Beatles McCartney, but more like Macca from the Wings and Silly Love Songs period in his career.  'Some people want to read silly action and suspense novels.  And what's wrong with that?  I need to know . . .'


  And then there's our favourite Prosperity Gospel preacher Joel Osteen, who's new title, You Can, You Will (9781455575718) 24.00 has already hit the bestseller charts.  You may recall a Christian rock band called Stryper, who had a Grammy nominated hit song, Honestly.  Now all we have to do is to get Joel to dress up in a black and yellow spandex jumpsuit.
  Speaking of Christianity, David Limbaugh's Jesus on Trial (9781621572558) 27.99 has been selling like crazy, in fact, we're sold out, as is the publisher.  I really had to wrack my brain on this one.  The best I could come up with was David Limbaugh is to Tom Fogerty, as his brother Rush would be to John Fogerty of Creedence Clearwater Revival fame.  I know it's a bit of a stretch.  Fortunately,      for the band Rush, Geddy Lee doesn't have a brother.

  Finally, on a more obscure note, Jeff VanderMeer and Desirina Boskovich's The Steampunk User's Manual (9781419708985) 24.95 releases on October 7, too.  It's bad enough as an author that you're stuck in the sci-fi ghetto, but on top of it, you're in a sub-genre of science fiction.  At best, the most apt comparison would be a local rock band like Lansing's own Hat Madder, but I'll be generous and go with the Dresden Dolls, which you may have at least heard of since the lead singer is married to Neil Gaiman. 'I am the girl anachronism . . .'

  Odds & Sods

'Ahhhh, Mac Attack . . .'  Once upon a time, Michigan State University, before it became a football and a basketball powerhouse, was known as Michigan Agricultural College.  These early days are documented in a sepia coloured collection of postcards in Stephen Terry's new hardcover book, MAC: Campus Life 1900-1925 (9781933272443) 19.95. State alumni are everywhere, so make sure you have this title on tap . . .

 Fantasy author R.A. Salvatore stopped in today to sign copies of his latest Drizzt novel, Rise of the King (9780786965151) 27.95.  I will admit I read a few of his titles in my misspent youth.  They are great fun!