Friday, October 27, 2006

Campus Thank You Night & Day, 2006!

Are you ready? Campus Thank You Night is nearly here!

U District

Come on out to our U District store on Thursday, November 16 from 5pm – 9pm, and let us show you what you mean to us. Campus Thank You Night is a celebration of and for the students, staff, and faculty at the University of Washington—our most important customers.

Get to the store early for a free water bottle (they’re only available while supplies last!), enjoy refreshments and tastings from local coffee companies and chocolatiers, and enter for a chance to win prizes.

We’ll have an Apple MacBook, custom Gold and Purple iPods, a DVD player, gift cards—even a kayak!—in the prize pool this year, along with gift baskets galore. And with multiple places to enter, you’ll have multiple chances to win.

All your favorite games will be going, too: Putting for Textbooks, Shopping Spree, and Let’s Make a Deal.

And while you’re hanging out, playing games, and waiting for the next prize drawing, enjoy a 20% savings* (with UW ID) on some new books, gifts, supplies, and Husky gear.

It’s our biggest night of the year. Don’t miss it!

Tacoma & Bothell

UW Tacoma and UW Bothell students, don’t think we’ve forgotten about you! On November 16, both our Tacoma and Bothell stores will be celebrating with Campus Thank You Day.

All day, students will save 20% on purchases (with UW ID, of course) and be able to enter for chances to win iPods, gift baskets, and other fantastic prizes.

Tacoma Campus Thank You Day

9am – 7pm

Bothell Campus Thank You Day

9am – 8pm

Lemony Snicket @ Town Hall

You missed many things if you did not go to the Lemony Snicket event at Town Hall last night. One of them, however, was not the elusive Mr. Snicket. He flaked.

But, you missed the incomparable Daniel Handler yelling at small children. You missed a Midway complete with hi-striker, tattoo parlor, a game of Throw the Ball in Count Olaf's Mouth, and a Bad Fortune Teller. You missed a rollicking performance by Seattle's own The Bad Things. You missed two thirds of The Gothic Archies (again, because their drummer, Mr. Snicket, flaked) performing songs inspired by the books in The Series of Unfortunate Events. You missed a four-hour signing.

In other words, you missed lots and lots of fun.

But even if you were there, you missed something. You missed Stephin Merritt (ukulele player in The Gothic Archies and the man behind a band I'm fond of called The Magnetic Fields) doing a lonely sound check on the stage of Town Hall. That soundcheck? Mr. Merritt doing an a cappella version of Neil Diamond's "Song Sung Blue" and a ukulele version of "Incense and Peppermints."

I didn't miss it, though.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

An Award for Charlie

One of my favorite Northwest writers—heck, one of my favorite writers periodCharles D'Ambrosio, has won a Whiting Writers' Award.

If you haven't read ">The Dead Fish Museum, you should. Here's an article about the book from The Stranger that includes reviews of each story by Jonathan Lethem, Gary Lutz, and the infamous Dale Peck.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Annie, get your camera

The UW Daily (our local college newspaper) features a front page article on our Annie Leibowitz event last night.

And, ahem, seems oblivious to the fact that University Book Store sponsored the event and rented the hall. Not that we're bitter.

(Note: the link leads to a .pdf file that seems to change daily. If you follow this link on any day other than October 25, you will probably not find the article. Sorry. The Daily is updated their website.)

Staff Favorites

Eagle, originally uploaded by ubs_blogger.

Stories in Six Words

Can you write a story in six words? Sure! Some Science Fiction authors take up the challenge once taken up by Hemingway.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Staff Favorites

Rejection, originally uploaded by ubs_blogger.

Chicken with Plums

Next Tuesday, our own Nick Di Martino will be hosting the meeting of the University of Washington International Book Club. They will be discussing Marjane Satrapi's Chicken with Plums, a graphic memoir recently excerpted in Salon.

Nick has been a Satrapi booster for quite some time now, and lavished praise on her first book, Persepolis. Now, in a joint venture between University Book Store and the Foundation for International Understanding through Students (FIUTS), he is again on the stump for the marvelously talented Satrapi. Here are the event details:

FIUTS/University Book Store
Tuesday • October 24 • 2 pm
HUB 302-B, University of Washington campus

Join us. And remember, Chicken with Plums is a Nick's Pick book, meaning you save 20% when you purchase it through University Book Store. The book is regularly $16.95, but we have it for $13.56.

A rating system for the local library?

An Arlington woman would like the King County Library to adopt a rating system similar to that of the movie industry for books.

As we all know, that rating system is a smashing, not a bit arbitrary success.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Staff Favorites

Crumb, originally uploaded by ubs_blogger.

Bargain Books

craptowns1, originally uploaded by ubs_blogger.

Check the bargain tables for a copy of The Idler Book of Crap Towns: The 50 Worst Places to Live in the UK.

Are you like me? Have you been searching and searching for the worst place to live in all of Britain? Well, search no more! Finally there's a book for you.

As Joe Strummer from the Clash said about Crap Towns, "Bridgwater's not crap."

What higher praise could one expect?

Friday, October 13, 2006

The Weird, Wonderful World of...

MTAnderson, originally uploaded by ubs_blogger.

The following reaction to the National Book Award nominations was written by Betsy, one of the professional booksellers in our Children's department.

We here in the Children’s Department harbor lots of literary crushes. I sometimes feel like an ice cream shop in that I have a different crush for every day of the month. But a mainstay through it all is M. T. Anderson.

Oh, M. T. Anderson.

He can pick any genre, any topic, and write an exemplary yet oh-so-singular book within it. Like Feed: no one can do self-absorbed, computer and culture-addicted teen satire so well.

Or M. T. Anderson’s Thrilling Tales, Whales on Stilts and The Clue of the Linoleum Lederhosen: he invents teen sleuths only to have their washed up selves star in the campiest, wackiest mysteries imaginable. Pretty impressive for a writer who is actually “seven monkeys, six typewriters, and a Speak & Spell.”

And not to forget about his picture books! He fills a hole we never knew was there with Strange Mr. Satie, a biography of Erik Satie, the experimental composer (illustrated by local illustrator Petra Mathers, by the way).

Ooh, and of course his newest, The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, for which he deservedly just got nominated for the National Book Award. I liked going into the story not knowing a thing about it, so will pass on the ignorance to you. Know only that it’s great and heart-wrenching and…so many things that it will make you crush on M.T.’s writing—for the first time or all over again.

Ryan Boudinot, interrogated

Things discussed during Ryan Boudinot's reading on September 28:

A picture that made him look a bit like Kim Jong-Il; the fact that even though that linked article talks about how much Ryan loves Elliott Bay, he also really, really loves University Book Store; things going through Robert Plant's mind during Jimmy Page's solos; cereal.

Have you recently read a book that made you angry because someone else wrote it instead of you? If so, what was it?

Not angry, no. I read things all the time that I admire and when I read something that is in the vein of fiction I'm presently exploring, I admire it that much more. An example would be Wells Tower's story in the Anchor Book of New American Short Stories. I can't remember the name of the story, but it's about Vikings and it's great. [It's called "Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned" and I agree that it is a heck of a good story—the Shelver.]

In grad school I experienced some of the usual creative writing jealousies and made a conscious effort to nip that tendency in the bud. When I read something a friend has written that is genuinely great, I want to celebrate it rather than scornfully wish I had written it. And ultimately, my theory is that this attitude leads me to write better.

A literary feud is a great way to get some publicity for a book. Who will you be starting a feud with and why?

I think we have too many feuds in this world. I think we could use fewer of them. Allen Ginsberg had a great quip when people would say he was fighting for peace, or fighting for other causes. He'd say that he wasn't fighting at all, he was working for peace. The feeling I get from observing a feud—literary or otherwise—is usually embarrassment for both parties. So no, I don't have a hankering to start any feuds.

And I disagree with the presumption of the question. A literary feud is a shitty way to get publicity for a book.

Here's one of those choices that I think speaks volumes about a person: Drow Thief-Acrobat or Paladin and why*?

I was actually always drawn to the Monk character type. My character for many years was a half-elf Monk named Mik. The reason I liked Monks so much was because they could do martial arts. Mik had a spider tattoo on his neck. There was a long-running ad in Dragon magazine where you could fill out a form, send in $10, and get your character "professionally illustrated." I did this. I sent $10 in bills in an envelope, plus $1 for lamination. A few weeks later I received the illustration, and was pretty blown away by it. Mik looked like a cross between Leif Garrett and Spock.

Say something nice about University Book Store.

Don't buy your used textbook online from shady dealers, buy them full price at University Book Store.

Any closing remarks?

Thanks for hosting me the other night at the store. I've read there 4 times and have enjoyed it every time. Plus, can't beat the complimentary bottled water provided to visiting authors.

* A bit of explanation, here. The Shelver** and Mr. Boudinot have a pre-existing social and writerly affiliation, and one of the things we know about each other is we were, in our youth, avid role-players. (Yeah, I said it.) The question here refers to the kinds of characters preferred: noble and heroic (the paladin), or dark and cagey (the thief). The question is a bit like asking whether you prefer Superman or Batman. Or, for those who are also not geeky enough to get the nuances of that comic book distinction, one might contrast The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. I hope this helps. It's tough to find a universal pop culture reference.

** I apologize for referring to myself in the third person.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Local boys...

...get the National Book Award nod.

The man with Harper Lee's digits!

The always reliable Maud Newton found this little gem about a small publisher getting a blurb from Harper Lee.

Here's an excerpt:

"I used to know a Harper Lee a hundred damn years ago,'' he replied.

"Well,'' Monks said, "it would be great to get Harper Lee to write a blurb for your book.''

Right then, Ehle pulled from his coat pocket two worn address books, held together by a single rubber band. Monks and Watson were dumbfounded. They had stumbled onto the literary equivalent of the Holy Grail.

"I was just drooling,'' Monks said the other day from her small attic office. "He had talked about sharing the same agent as Tom Wolfe and he pulled out this little book with Harper Lee's phone number in it and I thought 'Holy (expletive), what else is in that book? How much would that get on E-bay?' ''

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

National Book Award Finalists Announced

Here's the list.

Give me some time to absorb it. I might have something to say about it.

(First reaction: I really like Ken Kalfus. But I haven't read that new book yet.)


Shalom, originally uploaded by ubs_blogger.

Jessa at Bookslut pointed me to a new First Person Ambivalent by Shalom Auslander. It's about the Information Age. And how depressing it can be living in the Informantion Age.

Ain't that the truth, says the guy who works in a repository of information. I'm just glad it actually takes time to write a book. I thank my lucky stars for the lag time between incident, and considered, bound response to incident.

If you haven't read Beware of God, you should.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

I'd rather be reading...

Two2, originally uploaded by ubs_blogger.

Sure, I'm working. And there's a sort of satisfaction I get from that.

But sometimes I'd rather be home reading.

Given the opportunity, there are two new books I'd love to be reading right now.

One is Laird Hunt's new novel The Exquisite. Hunt is a heck of a good writer; a on the abstract side. Through Amy Fusselman, I discovered his Beckett-Noir The Impossibly, and loved it. And then came the Midwestern fever dream Indiana, Indiana. Fine books, both. (If we don't have them in, we can always try to order them for you.)

The other is The Boy Detective Fails by Joe Meno. I've actually never read any Meno, but the plot synopsis intrigues me. And the cover's really good, too.

There you have it—the books I'd rather be reading. But instead, I am working. Shelving. Always with the shelving.

What are you reading when you're supposed to be shelving?

booker, originally uploaded by ubs_blogger.

The Night Watch by Sarah Waters.

"M" says it's "a masterful portrait of London during the Blitz."

It also may well win the Booker this year.

UPDATE: Well, Sarah Waters didn't win the Booker. But look who did! Congratulations, Kiran Desai.

What are you reading, part 2

Endym, originally uploaded by ubs_blogger.

Endymion Spring by Matthew Skelton.

"B" says it's "a very exciting literary fantasy. With Faust! When do you find Faust in a kid's book?!?!"

What are you reading, part 3

Lock, originally uploaded by ubs_blogger.

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch.

"D" says it's "a crackerjack romp from a first-time author."

What are you reading, part 4

Peac, originally uploaded by ubs_blogger.

Peace Mom by Cindy Sheehan.

"K" says, "I was intrigued by her description of George W. Bush's Wal-Mart suit."

Friday, October 06, 2006

Staff Favorites

Mullen, originally uploaded by ubs_blogger.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Classic books from Penguin!

penguinclassical, originally uploaded by ubs_blogger.

To borrow a phrase from Muhammad Ali, the books in the Penguin Great Ideas series shook up the world. Between the covers of each of these deceptively slim volumes—with their deceptively simple designs—a reader will find a lifetime's worth of pondering.

Titles include: Common Sense by Thomas Paine, The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli, The Inner Life by Thomas á Kempis, Why I Write by George Orwell, On the Pleasure of Hating by William Hazlitt, On Natural Selection by Charles Darwin, Why I Am So Wise by Friedrich Nietzsche, On the Shortness of Life by Seneca, The Christians and the Fall of Rome by Edward Gibbon, Meditations by Marcus Aurelius, On Friendship by Michel De Montaigne, & On Art and Life by John Ruskin.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Staff Favorites

Veronic, originally uploaded by ubs_blogger.

Legs Smoked Here, Too!

Kevin Sampsell from Powell's books offers advice to audiences and authors at book readings.

tell all your friends!