Wednesday, December 30, 2009

All I Want for the Holidays...

Faces have been stuffed, candles lit, carols sung, and all other manner of holiday traditions, whatever your winter holiday of choice, have been perpetrated. It is now time to take stock and think of those things you actually wanted for the holidays.

Here are the big ticket items on my wishlist for this year:

The Spice Kitchen: Everyday Cooking with Organic Spices
by Sara
Engra & Katie Luber, with Kimberly Toge
Andrews McMeel Pu
blishing (Simon & Schuster), 9780740779725, $29.99

New Year's Resolution: Learn how to cook more varied foods with more varied spices.

Here is a link to p
urchase it from the Odyssey.
Here is a link to McMeel's website review.
Here is an in-dept
h review of the book on a cooking blog.
Here is a link to a great spice company on my way to work, for all of you who live in the area.

French General: Home Sewn: 30 Projects for Every Room in the House
by Kaari Meng, photographs by Jon Zabala
Chronicle Books,
9780811864039, $24.95

What's wonderful about this book - in addition to the stunning photographs of vintage French fabrics - is that almost all the projects are things you might actually need or use. There's no rule that because something has a utilitarian function, it can't also be beautifully designed.

Here is a link to purchase it from the Odyssey.
Here is a link to Chronicle's website review.
Here is a wonderful review of this book on a great sewing blog.
Here is a link to Kaari Meng's French General store's website.

One Yard Wonders
by Rebecca Yaker & Patricia Hoskins, photographs by John Gruen & Raina Kattelson

Storey Publishing (Workman), 9781603424493, $20.95

With 101 projects in here, patterns, instructions, and bright photographs detailing everything, it's the perfect book for thinking ahead to presents for next year.

Here is a link to purchase it from the Odyssey.
Here is a link to Storey's website review.
Here is a great review on a blog I'm going to have to check out again.

Charley Harper: An Illustrated Life
by Todd Oldham, illustrated by Charley Harper
Ammo Book
s (IPS), 9781934429372, $49.95

This book fuels my obsession with Charley Harper to the point that it reaches almost a fever-pitch of adoration. His illustrations are so clean yet delicately detailed. The animals, bugs, and backdrops simultaneously pay homage to geometric considerations while producing child-friendly images. His attention to overall design is masterful, and this book shows you how and why.

Here is a link to purchase it from the Odyssey.
Here is a link to Ammo's website review.
Here are one, two, three links to different websites with lots of Charley Harper information, as well as prints for sale.

Junk Beautiful: Outdoor Edition
by Sue Whitney, with Kimberly Melamed, photographs by Douglas E. Smith
Taunton Press (IPS),
9781600850578, $21.95

Last but not least, I can't help but look ahead to the summer, dreaming of scavenging through yard sales, flea markets, and thrift stores for backyard decor. Not only are the photographs a great inspiration for how I can use all my freecycle and other "junk", but there are even DIY projects with step-by-step descriptions, if anyone wants to get particularly crafty.

Here is a link to purchase it from the Odyssey.
Here is Taunton's website review.
Here is the JunkMarket Style website.

Now, after spending weeks shopping for everyone else, I can settle down and enjoy a couple of books just for me. I highly recommend all of you do the same.

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

These are a few of my favorite things!

As 2009 winds down I am reminded of all the great books I read this past year! Here are a few of my favorite books to hit the shelf in 2009! In no particular order...

The Magicians, by Lev Grossman. The Magicians is truly one of the most engrossing reads I have picked up as of late. It is the story of Quentin Coldwater who is literally leaving childhood behind and all of his belief in magic he has so desperately tried to hold onto. As Quentin goes to visit an admission counselor to a University he encounters a strange woman who hands him the script to the final book of a series that Quentin enjoyed reading as a child. As the pages fly out of Quentin’s hands and into a community garden he is transported into a world where magic is real. But here the problems really begin because when one is able to do whatever one chooses does that mean you will necessarily make the right choice? I stayed up reading this book all night. It was that good!

CARVER Collected Stories by Raymond Carver. In this economy more than ever getting the best bang for your buck is on most people’s minds. So why am I recommending that you spend forty dollars on a book of older collected works of a dead writer? Because Carver was a master storyteller and writer. He belongs to the class of great writers like Tobias Wolf, Charles Bukowski and Richard Ford. But even among these and most writers Carver was the king of minimalist writing. He is a writer’s writer and a reader’s delight. Carver looked at detail, but made the experience he was writing about, universal. A rare find of a short fiction writer. This collection was put together by Carver’s widow Tess Gallagher who disagreed with some of the original editing made on Carver’s stories. This complete collection is most definitely the best bang for your buck! I hope you enjoy as much as I have reading Carver over the years.

Goat Song by Brad Kessler. This is probably one of the best surprise books I have picked up all year long. Goat Song is Brad Kessler’s memoir, after being fed up with city life; he sets up a goat farm with his wife in Vermont. What follows are the joys, struggles and surprises that come with a year of raising and being raised in a pastoral life. Kessler has a language that is poetic in telling his story as well as the story of how pastoralism still plays a big part in our everyday lives.

Sylvia and Bird, by Catherine Rayner. Sylvia a blue-green dragon, and bird, a little yellow duck-like creature, share few things in common. But their friendship, and love of flying are what make this pair. Rayner sensitively captures the story of an unlikely friendship and the desire of fulfilling one friend's wish at the sacrifice of another. While at first glance the pictures are simple watercolors, they are ones that belong in any child's permanent library!

That's it for now! I will blog about my other favorite books of 2009 later.



Saturday, December 19, 2009

Ode to Miroslav Sasek

One of the perks of my job is that I'm often introduced to new authors, illustrators, and their books through customer requests and recommendations. This holiday season in particular has been one scavenger hunt after another for new treasures. Today was no exception.

A customer came in requesting a book she thought was entitled This is London. A quick search revealed an entire series of This is... books, written and illustrated by Mr. Miroslav Sasek.

"M. Sasek was born
in Prague in 1916 and died in Switzerzerland in 1980. He worked as a painter and illustrator for most of his life. Starting with This is Paris published in 1958, the books he wrote painted a delightful and evocative picture of some of the world's great cities (and countries!). Having delighted children and adults for more than 50 years they are now being reissued." - according to his website, which has lots of other cool information you should check out.

Lucky for us who did not live through the 50's, almost all of his books in the This is... series are now back in print (other books of his can be found doing a rare and out-of-print book search - this is a good website for that). In addition to ordering 3 titles for the customer, I also ordered a complete set for the store - and am really hoping I have enough self-control to not buy them all myself!


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Tis the season to give Twilight... spoofs

Parodies, Spoofs, and Satires Oh my!

If like me (and most of the Odyssey Staff) your family and friends have been bitten by the Twilight series, but you don't have any idea what to get that Twilight fan for the holidays let me refer you to some perfect gift ideas!

Look no further for some hilarious books put out recently. I am referring to of course the Harvard Lampoon's Nightlight and Vlad Mezrich's The Vampire is Just Not that into You.

We have both at the Odyssey and might I say they make perfect gifts and laughs!

Paz ~Nieves

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Full of Holiday Cheer!

To the brim in fact! If you find yourself in search of a unique or special gift for that unique and special someone we have some signed stock from our holiday author book signing.

It was a very fun and successful event this year! And it included some of our best local authors, artists and artisans!

This year varied in that it was the first time we had adult authors in addition to children book authors.

The list of authors who attended were as follows:

Author Corrine Demas
Author Lawrence Dorfman
Illustrator Jane Dyer
Author Tracy Kidder
Author Janet Lawler
Artist/Illustrator Barry Moser
Author and Knitter Extraordinaire Kristin Nicholas
Author Jane Yolen

If you are looking for a signed copy of any of these author's books we may have it! Click here for more information. Or if you are looking for a signed copy of any of the authors books we have had recently feel free to give us a call!

Peace on Earth!