Saturday, June 21, 2008

June Children's Event Overviews

Hello all!

We've had some wonderful children's events the past two weekends so I thought I would take a second to tell you about them.

On Saturday, June 14th, we hosted Jeanne Birdsall, talking about her latest book The Penderwicks on Gardam Street (sequel to her 2005 National Book Award Winner The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy) to a very interested mixed-age crowd. They listened with rapt attention as she described her writing process, revealed that there will be 3 more Penderwicks books yet to come, and answered audience questions. We were so thrilled to have her in the store, and I speak on a personal note that I believe echoes the thoughts of many a Penderwicks fan when I say, I can hardly wait the 3 more years for the next Penderwicks book to be released.

Penderwicks on Gardam Street, by Jeanne Birdsall
Hardcover: 9780375840906, $15.99

Today, on Saturday, June 21st, the Odyssey played host to another local favorite, Barry Moser. He read from an old favorite, Earthquack! (what a tongue twister!), as well as from his newest book, Hogwood Steps Out. Telling fun stories and answering audience questions, Mr. Moser was a charming and fun featured guest.

Earthquack!, by Margie Palatini, illustrated by Barry Moser
Paperback: 9781416902607, $6.99

Hogwood Steps Out, by Howard Mansfield, illustrated by Barry Moser
Hardcover: 9781596432697, $16.95

If you were unable to come by for either of these events, feel free to stop by the store and pick up your autographed copy today!

Don't forget to check out our summer Saturday Children's Events, beginning the weekend after the 4th of July. Grab a flier at any of the store counters.

For Children's Department questions or book reservations, call Rebecca at the Odyssey at 413.534.7307

Happy reading!


Friday, June 20, 2008

Mount Holyoke's Common Read, 2008! Caucasia

It's official! Mount Holyoke College has announced Caucasia (by Danzy Senna) as its common read for 2008. All incoming students are invited to read this book before arriving on campus, and orientation typically involves official and unofficial book-oriented conversations. The college also supplies copies of this book to all faculty, billing the program as a way to help "new students make the transition into the College community by connecting them with other students and to the intellectual life of the campus."

I read this book during a recent trip to Boston and *loved* it. I would love to sit in on some of those book discussions, as this book has so many layers of different things going on. Set in Boston (and later New Hampshire) in the 1970s, the story is narrated by Birdie Lee, the second daughter of a white mother and black father. Senna explores racial identity, familial dynamics, sibling bonds, and the effect that leading a subversive revolutionary lifestyle can have on one's children. Shortly after her parents' volatile relationship falls apart Birdie's parents have to go 'underground' separately to evade the law after some shady but unclear social action. Birdie is forced to pass as white and travel with her somewhat unstable (or shrewdly evasive?) mother under assumed identies, while her sister and father take off in a different direction. I could keep talking, but really just read this book. It is fantastic.

Take care everyone!!


(sorry, again, about the delay with posting. summer hit and we all got busy, i guess. or distracted by the sunshine)

Monday, June 9, 2008

Author Event - Grassroots Gardening by Donna Schaper

Hello fellow GREEN enthusiasts! I've been on this real "go green" kick lately. I would say something glib, like, Lord knows why, but clearly everyone knows why - gas prices are rising and I'm poor. Ha! Okay, really though, the state of the world and the state of the US in terms of environmental policies and day-to-day issues is scaring me, and frankly, it should scare you too. With that in mind, I've been trying to find ways (which means, of course, reading lots of books) to make changes in my life that are doable, affordable, and will overall do my part to help the environment.

o this end, I am exploring the possibility of putting in a few vegetable plants at some point. I'm moving to a new apartment which comes with a small backyard, or I've even thought about getting one of those communal garden plots - though to be perfectly honest, I'm not sure if I'm ready for that level of commitment. Anyway, for all of you folks who are gardeners already, or aware of the growing green crisis, there is a book/event I would like you all to know about.

When: Thursday, June 12, 2008 at 7 pm
Who: Donna Schaper
What: Author reading/signing for Ms. Schaper's book - Grassroots Gardening: Rituals for Sustaining Activism
Paperback: 9781568583457 $13.95

So far I've only read the introduction and even that was fabulous! As far as I understand it, this book is about bringing together the old and the new by sustaining a sense of hope through the flexibility that is taught to us by gardening. It's kind of incredible really - the connections that are conscious and unconscious when you garden. You become in-touch (literally!) with the earth, with the weather, and how that all affects a plant which you are hoping to rely on for sustenance. To me, and like I said before, I haven't read the whole book yet, that mimics the connections we all have on/with each other as well, in other circumstances in every day life. I think, then, that there is absolutely a connection between the act of gardening itself and the urge for activism.

Personally, I can't wait to attend this event and buy up copies of this book for all those gardeners/activists in my life. I hope you all can join me :)

Happy gardening,


Saturday, June 7, 2008

Children's Author Event - Jeanne Birdsall, author of the Penderwicks series

The date is set for the author of the Penderwicks series, Jeanne Birdsall!

Come one, come all, Saturday, June 14, 2008 at 11 am.

Ms. Birdsall will be joining us at the Odyssey for a reading and signing of her popular series about that lovable family - the Penderwicks!

Books on sale include:

The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy (National Book Award Winner)
Hardcover: 9780375831430 $15.95
Paperback: 9780440420477 $6.50

The Penderwicks on Gardam Street - Just Published!
Hardcover: 9780375840906 $15.99

These are two of my favorite books. I mean that seriously. Read my earlier post about how wonderful they are, or stop by the store to pick up our Summer Reading Newsletter to read my book reviews in hard copy. And hey, while you're here, why not pick up a copy to read and bring back to have Ms. Birdsall sign? We hope to see you here!

- Rebecca

Book Query

Hello all!

Super busy lately, in a good way, but that means I have less time for sitting down with a really good book. Currently I'm plowing my way through Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh (not yet published), and I promise to give my review when I'm done with it.

The query I'm posting about is this:

I just found three long-lost (to me) titles on my desk that I was supposed to add to my "Read Me!" list. I'm wondering if anyone has read any of these, and if you have, if you would like to give me your opinion of them. I'm looking for something to pick up next and would love to hear your thoughts.

These are the three new additions to my "Read Me!" list:

Words Without Borders: The World Through the Eyes of Writers: An Anthology, edited by Samantha Schnee, Alane Salierno Mason, and Dedi Felman
Paperback: 9781400079759 $14

Geography of Bliss: One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World, by Eric Weiner
Paperback: 9780446698894 $13.99
Hardcover: 9781602852136 $33.95

84, Charing Cross Road, by Helene Hanff
Paperback: 9780140143508 $13

So if anyone has an opinion, please shout it out!

Thanks! -Rebecca