Sunday, May 30, 2010
Saturday, May 29, 2010
Romanticizing riding a bicycle is a myth easily dispelled by the act of actually riding a bike. The grease, the grit, the grind, the rude motorists who honk as they pass, because goodness knows you can't hear a large piece of metal on wheels coming from behind at 30+ miles faster than you... but I digress.
-How big was it [fish/hill]?
While I only ride my bike in the spring and summer, to commute to work (a non-romantic 20 miles, uphill both ways I might add), there are those whose whole lifestyle is built around commuting on bikes. My hats off to the real road warriors.
Including the creator of the BikeSnobNYC blog. BikeSnob has just had his blog restructured as a book and it is one of the best blog to book creations. It is beautifully illustrated by Christopher Koelle.
The book is a wonderful chronicle of the history of bicycling and what it means to bicycle in the modern age. Koelle's artwork beautifully captures the essence of bikesnob's writing, making this book a must have for the shelf of both bike elites and non bikers alike!
Monday, May 24, 2010
by Janet Fletcher & Sur La Table
This beautiful cookbook has over 150 recipes inside and 10 stories about CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farms across the country. Including the area's own Red Fire Farm, in Granby, Mass.
I hope that reading these books will inspire you to not only seek local food but to savor some really awesome recipes as well!
See you at the next farmers market!
Sunday, May 23, 2010
I don't read very much short fiction, as I prefer to really sink my teeth into a book and get absorbed by its world. However, if all short stories were as good as Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt's collection, The Most Beautiful Book in the World, I would have to change my reading habits. These stories are exquisite, elegant, and enchanting--perfect little gems of literature that explore the nature of happiness across age, gender, and class boundaries. Each story left me with a sigh of satisfaction and contentment.
When I was on the WAMC Rountable for book discussion, I jokingly referred to Daniyal Mueenuddin's In Other Rooms, Other Wonders as "the best book you probably haven't heard of" from 2009. Not only has it been shortlisted for the National Book Award, the Pulitzer Prize, and the Commonwealth Award, and been named winner for the 2009 Story Prize Award, it has appeared on the Top 10 list of publications as varied as The Economist, The Guardian, Publishers Weekly, and Time. Yet when I handsell it to customers, they inevitably say, "Who?" This brilliant debut is a collection of interrelated stories set mostly in around the town of Lahore, Pakistan. The book takes an unflinching look at the class system, but there is also a real delicacy of detail and a rich sense of place. We get stories about servants and the wealthy, the virtuous and the wicked, young lovers and bickering siblings--and all in a direct language that speaks to both the heart and the mind.
Saturday, May 22, 2010
by Neil Gaiman, Illustrated by Charles Vess
A "New York Times"-bestselling author, Newbery Medalist, and an award-winning illustrator of lushly imagined fairy-tale landscapes offer instructions for traveling through lands unknown and yet strangely familiar. An ideal gift for graduates of any age. Full color. -From the Publisher's website.
By Stephen Michael King
As a little boy runs in a panic from a haircut, a bird drops a single seed right on top of the boy's head. Time passes and a leaf soon grows. Instead of trying to rid himself of his new living hairstyle, the boy learns how to make the leaf grow and winds up growing himself. Full color. -From the Publisher's website.
By Susam V. Bosak
Bosak's (Something to Remember Me By) inspirational gift book urges children to go ahead and dream, and tells them how. The narrator says that dreams are living things-"Dreams grow like seeds./ They need to take root, / then stretch toward the sun./ They grow slowly./ They must be tended to"-and details the strength that each stage of human life brings to bear on the process. "To grow a dream/ .../ You need/ the Believe of childhood, / the Do of youth, / and the Think of experience."-From Publisher's Weekly
And of course there is the classic Dr. Seuss book Oh the Places You'll Go!
By Dr. Seuss
Best luck to all Grads!
Monday, May 17, 2010
I am willing to admit that I am a real fan of the monster/classic mash up. The revitalization of classic literature with some blood and
Yes that is right. There are authors who were weird enough the first time around.
Enter Franz Kafka's 1915 masterpiece Metamorphosis.
Gregor Sampson, an average Joe, becomes a venomous, dangerous bug overnight, and of course his life is forever changed. Kafka was a master at looking at the outsider and the way in which society dealt with alienated pariahs. And yet a giant monster bug taking over a man's body is so 2010.
Metamorphosis is as weird now as it was in 1915!
*Extra zombies, vampires, and monsters
Sunday, May 16, 2010
Friday, May 14, 2010
Some of Emily's top favorites included Gilbert Blythe from L.M. Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables, Mr. Darcy from Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice, Laurie from Louisa May Alcott's Little Women, and Peeta from Suzanne Collins's The Hunger Games.
Obviously this made me question who my own top "good guys" of YA lit are, and these are a few names I came up with:
1. Philip Ammon from Gene Stratton-Porter's A Girl of the Limberlost, one of my top 5, all-time, desert island, favorite books. He's engaged to Edith, but he tries so hard to be a good guy and do the right thing to be worthy of loving Elnora. And of course, if I'm thinking of Philip, I have to put in Freckles, the title character from GSP's Freckles, and the Harvester, the title character from GSP's The Harvester. Really, all of her men are worthy "good guys".
2. Bookish Mac over fast and lose Charlie in Louisa May Alcott's Eight Cousins and A Rose in Bloom finally wins Rose's much-deserved love. And yes, I have a soft spot, in part, due to his bookish nature.
3. T. C. Keller from My Most Excellent Year by Steve Kruger. He loves baseball, has a great relationship with his dad, recites a standing address at the high school talent show to impress the girl, and he's cute to boot.
4. Poor Arthur Dent in A Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. He didn't know what hit him when his planet was blorwn up, and he's dragged back and forth between one end of the universe to the other. What a relief when he finds a love interest. He deserves it after being such a good sport.
Who are your favorite good guys?
Click here to see this post on my personal blog.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
By Charlotte Bronte and
Sherri Browning Erwin
Simon & Schuster
Jane Slayre, is another monster spin off of a classic book (think Pride, Prejudice and Zombies, Little Women and Werewolves, Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters).
Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre is re-imagined as Jane Slayre, an orphan who shuns her vampire family, and becomes a governess for the charge of the mysterious Mr. Rochester. Who she, (surprise, surprise) falls madly in love with.
Spoiler Alert!!: Trouble comes in the form of Mr. Rochester's first wife, who just also happens to be a werewolf in his attic.
Jane Slayre also happens to be written by Mount Holyoke Alumna, Sherri Browning Erwin.
On a related note I've discovered another fun spinoff inspired by the Bronte sisters.
The Original Jane Eyre was pretty revolutionary for it's time.
The fact that it was written by a woman even more so. Click on these fun related pictures to watch a video inspired by Charlotte and her sisters Emily and Anne! I wish I could have these action figures for real!!
To reserve/order your copy of Jane Slayre, click here.
To check out more stuff from the publisher's website click on the link.
I admit I have a soft spot for giraffes. Polar bears, giraffes, and lobsters are my top three favorite non-domesticated animals. Okay, add elephant in there. My four top favorite non-domesticated animals. Maybe I'll post sometime in the future about books for the others, but today it's all giraffes, all the time.
Laura recommended The Giraffe Who Was Afraid of Heights by David Ufer, illustrated by Kirsten Carlson (9781934359051, Sylvan Dell Publishing, $8.95). I haven't read it yet, but I always appreciate the recommendation.
In my recent Spring 2010 Picturebook Highlights: Marshall Cavendish post, I mentioned A Giraffe Goes to Paris by Mary Tavener Holmes and John Harris, illustrated by Jon Cannell (9780761455950, $17.99)
When Lulu Went to the Zoo
by Andy Ellis
9780761354994, Andersen Press USA, $16.95
Though not primarily about a giraffe, this book does feature a giraffe on the cover. This is a sweet book about a little girl who doesn't like seeing the caged animals, so she frees them and takes them all home to live with her, with some funny results.
by Anke de Vries & Charlotte Dematons
9781590787496, Boyds Mill Press, $16.95
Raf is short for Giraffe, Ben's favorite stuffed toy. Sort of like the traveling gnome from the Travelocity commercials, when Ben loses Raf, Raf starts sending Ben postcards from his travels with the people who found him. But the real question is, will Raf make it back to Ben in time for Ben's birthday?
Giraffes Can't Dance
by Giles Andreae & Guy Parker-Rees
9780439287197, Scholastic, $16.99
Gerald is my favorite name for a giraffe, and this book is about a Gerald. The animals make fun of Gerald's awkward dancing at a jungle party. Gerald mopes away in shame, but a special friend helps Gerald see there's a type of music out there for everyone to dance to.
Last but not least, don't miss out on the finger puppet book Little Giraffe by Klaartje van der Put (9780811867870, Chronicle, $6.99) and the Melissa & Doug, large, stuffed giraffe ($99.99).
View this post on my personal blog.
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet
By Reif Larson
Penguin Putnam, Inc.
If you are looking forward to a modern day adventure equaling classics like Tom Sawyer, or Huckleberry Finn, then look no further than Reif Larson’s new in paperback novel.
T.S. (short for Tecumsah Sparrow) is not your typical 12-year-old Montana rancher’s son. He has a knack for drawing maps and writes articles published by the Smithsonian and other scientific journals. Not knowing that T.S. is merely a pre-teen protégé the Smithsonian offers him an award for his work in cartography.
The catch, T.S.’s parents know nothing about his work and he has to travel from Montana to Washington D.C. to receive it. As T.S. travels across the country via sneaking aboard a train he maps out his journey and the world around him as he understands it.
Additionally this book is a highly illustrated piece! Larson initially wrote the book minus any illustrations but went back and drew pictures as though T.S. were drawing them. The result is that you have a beautiful work of art along with a great adventure read.
While this book was written for an adult audience there is nothing inappropriate for a young adult or teen to read. It is a beautiful story about family, loss and finding one’s place in an inconstant world. You will not be disappointed with T.S. or the journey Larson takes you on. Ages 14 & up.
To reserve and/order your copy click here.
To check out the author's very cool website click on the link.
Monday, May 10, 2010
On Writing, by Stephen King, 2000. As a writer and writing coach, I am always on the lookout for great writing books, and this is one of the best. It also turned me on to Stephen King in general, who I’d always pretty much written off as a ‘commercial’ writer, churning out formulaic pot-boiler bestsellers. What a huge mistake!
Atonement, by Ian McEwan, 2001. A gorgeously written, twisty, provocative novel about the complexities of adolescence, betrayal, love and war.
I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence by Amy Sedaris, 2006. A quirky entertaining, recipe and strange craft book. Amy’s more famous brother David has nothing on her for funky oddness.
Julie and Julia, by Julie Powell, 2005. 365 days, 500-odd recipes. Julie Powell cooking her way through Mastering the Art of French Cooking, trying not to have a cow and kill herself or her benighted husband every day. Spawn of her famed blog, and inspiration for the movie with Meryl as Julia Child. Something you’d never think will work, but does.
The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse, by Louise Erdrich, 2002. The best first 50 pages ever written, in my opinion. And the rest isn’t too shabby either.
A Dog Year, by Jon Katz, 2003. I have to admit prejudice here. Jon Katz writes non-fiction books mostly having to do with Border Collies, his dog o’choice and mine. I’m on my third Border boy right now. That said, this is the perfect book for dog lovers, a hilarious tear-jerker about Mr. Katz’s relationship with a pathetic, panicky, abused Border named Orson. A cathartic book that made me laugh and cry out loud.
You may have noticed a new face behind the counter (mine) if you’ve come into the store of late, so I wanted to introduce myself here in cyberspace, as well as in person. My name is Chrysler Szarlan. I am a fiction writer and a creative writing coach. I write novels and offer classes and workshops at my studio in the Indian Orchard Mills, and now am a part-time bookseller at the Odyssey. I have been a fan of the bookshop for years, and a regular at the many author events. I am an eclectic and fairly indiscriminate reader. I read a little of everything: literary novels primarily, but also poetry, horror, classics, travel writing, mystery, chick lit, cookbooks. If it involves the printed word, I’ll take a stab at it. I’ve been known to read tombstones if nothing else is in the offing. My guilty pleasures are cozy mysteries (with recipes, of course) and very glossy home, food, and self-improvement magazines.
I feel very lucky to be here at the Odyssey, and hope to be able to steer you to some of your future favorite books.
Thursday, May 6, 2010
Fans of Flavia De Luce rejoice for she is back better than ever in Bradley’s sequel to Sweetness at the bottom of the Pie. This time around Bradley brings back the set of characters that made Bishop’s Lacey so enduring ; The mysterious murder of a traveling puppeteer is enough to attract Flavia’s attention away from chemistry and back to solving crimes. Fans of the first book are sure to be just as charmed with the second of hopefully a long running series!
Another book, which I have to admit that I have not yet read, but am really looking forward to reading is Gail Carriger's sequel to Soulless, called Changeless.
My co-worker Rebecca has read it and I have made her promise to keep mum until I get a chance to lay my grubby little hands on a copy!
And here are a few more books by authors we are pretty big fans of! While these next few are not sequels per se, there are much anticipated books none the less !
The Red Pyramid
By Rick Roirdan
By Emily St. John Mandel
While I am certain that my fellow booksellers will have more to say about these great titles. That is all I have for now!
To order or reserve your copy through the Odyssey please click here.