Thursday, November 27, 2008

A Sincere Thank You to All Our Thankful Contributors


It's Thanksgiving Day.  This is just a quick note from home, where the turkey's in the oven and all is (largely) right with the world, to say "thank you" to all the good people who contributed a book and a story to our blog of "What (book) Are You Thankful For?"  Coworkers, customers, and friends all made for an incredibly diverse and interesting list.  If any readers haven't check it out yet, please do so, as it makes for an excellent shopping list for the Holidays.

And the display table is still up in the Seattle store, if anyone would like to stop in and look at a selection of the books.

Again, thanks to everybody.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Reading for Reading(s) Sake -- Orwell & Dickens



                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              As part of my big "Employee Shopping Days" splurge, as I mentioned in an earlier post, I bought two handsome volumes of reissued George Orwell essays.  Facing Unpleasant Facts: Narrative Essays and All Art Is Propaganda: Critical Essays.  In the latter, the very first essay is "Charles Dickens," originally published, in book form anyway, in a collection called Inside the Whale & Other Essays, in 1940.  

The last time I bought a collection of Orwell's essays, just a few years back, it was in an Everyman's Library edition, in one volume, nearly three inches thick!  I still own it, for reference I suppose, but it is a 
ridiculous object; cumbersome, impossible to carry on the bus, heavy on the chest when reading in bed.  (Now there's a good subject for an essay: American-made books and their resemblance to American-made cars, i.e. the SUVs of classic literature.  Another day perhaps.)

Despite already having done one Dickens reading at the store, on his birthday in February, this year, and having done a good deal of research for that, for whatever reason, I never read the Orwell essay on Dickens.  I know I started it, but I never read it.  With the more attractive and  practical volume from Harcourt, Inc., now on my nightstand, and a reading of Dickens' "The Chimes" coming up on December 9th, I have done at last.  I'm ashamed I never did before now.  I can recommend it as one of the best things I've ever read about Dickens.

By 1940, Orwell had already seen the grim effect of orthodoxy on the socialism he uses to critique Dickens' liberalism, and Orwell's critique is no less justified or interesting because of the failure of certain premises still assumed in the essay.  And just when I'd grown impatient with Orwell and his jabs at Dickens for failing, among other things, to write realistically about agricultural workers (!), Orwell starts the fifth section of his essay with the following line:

"By this time anyone who is a lover of Dickens, and who has read as far as this, will probably be angry with me."

Now what is not to like about a critic capable of that line?  Moreover, Orwell goes on to write one of the best appreciations of Dickens' genius I've ever read; cogent, concise, and very cleverly written.

If for no other reason, I will be always grateful to Orwell for providing me with the perfect phrase summarizing the true nature of Dickens personality.   Particularly, though without specific mention of it in the essay, the Dickens of 1844, when he wrote the story that I will be reading at the store: the Great Man was, as Orwell says, "generously angry."  Perfectly said.  Perfectly true.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

A Thankful Reminder



Check out our earlier post of "What (book) are you thankful for?" because the list has grown and grown. We've had submissions from every corner of the bookstore, and from customers and friends.






When you're in the store next, make sure you explore the display in the center of New & Used Books. Every title has an individual bookmark, reproducing the recommendation from the blog. Very popular, those bookmarks. And yes, you can take one with you when you buy the book.






Thank you to all the contributors to date and keep the titles coming!

Friday, November 21, 2008

My Annual (Library of America, etc.) Orgy


Every year, not unlike Christmas, our Employee Shopping Days roll around again (thank you management,) and, while I always intend to use this opportunity to buy edifying books for widows and orphans, I instead indulge myself in an orgy of entirely selfish consumerism.  True, I bought a single title, as a token to assuage my guilt, for my partner: Sweet Tea: Black Gay Men of the South, by E. Patrick Johnson, but everything else was for me.

And, as I do every year, my first priority is always to add to my collection of the complete Library of America.  I've been collecting this series since they started publication, many years ago.  Every year they publish four or five new titles, so I have to get those too.  Doesn't matter if I like the authors.  Doesn't matter if I will ever read the individual volumes.  Gotta have 'em.  I look at it as an investment.  (These books are the only material goods specifically mentioned in my will -- no lie.)

If you don't know the series, Library of America publishes the classics of American literature and history in an ongoing project to preserve, promote and, I suppose, defend our cultural heritage.  It is an admirable undertaking and done superbly well.  The books are beautifully made, of durable materials, and meant to "last a lifetime."  They will certainly outlast me (thus the provision in my will.)  As a collector, they are my pride & joy.

As a reader, some years are better for me than others, the worst being the year I had to buy Kerouac, Alcott, and Lovecraft.  Very little joy there, I can tell you.  But I did my duty.

This year has been (for the most part) happier:

Collected Stories and Other Writings, by Katherine Anne Porter.
This goes to the top of my night-stand reading pile as soon as I
finish with my reading for my Christmas Readings this year.

Collected Poems: 1956 - 1987, by John Ashbery.  A favorite of my dear friend Richard, himself a poet, and someone to
whom I will now be forced to pay more serious attention.

 
Five Novels of the 1960s & 70s, by Philip K. Dick.  This purchased reluctantly and soon to be added to my shelf
of LIAM acquired "more in sorrow..." titles.

I'm disappointed not to be able to add the second volume
of A. J. Liebling to my collection, as, for some unknown
reason, it seems never to have arrived, either at the bookstore or with the
distributors, despite a September publication date.

Finally, (although tomorrow is another Shopping day, as Scarlett might say nowadays,) I rounded out my selection with a beautiful remainder about the great director Jean Renoir, and two handsome volumes of essays by George Orwell: Facing Unpleasant Facts: Narrative Essays, and All Art is Propaganda: Critical Essays, both compiled by George Packer and attractively produced.

Santa has already been better to me than I deserve.

Free Stuff Flash Mob: aka Campus Thank You


Q: How delighted were we with the turnout for yesterday's Campus Thank You Celebration?
A: Very!!!

Great crowds, great vendors, great singers, great games, great raffles, great prizes, great students, faculty and staff. Thank you to everyone who participated.
Don't be strangers. Stop by. Shop a little.


Thursday, November 20, 2008

National Book Award Winners Announced

For the record, two days before the award was announced last night, I happened upon the one and only Nancy Pearl and asked her who was going to win the fiction award this year, and she called it. Next year, I'm going to get her picks and put some money on her favorite.

Congratulations to the winners.

Winner for Fiction: Pete Matthiessen's Shadow Country.

Winner for Nonfiction: Annette Gordon-Reed's The Hemingses of Monticello.

Winner for Poetry: Mark Doty's Fire to Fire.

Winner for Young People's Literature: Judy Blundell's What I Saw and How I Lied.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Campus Thank You Celebration Update!

We're all set for our Campus Thank You Celebration (we call it CTYC around these parts) tomorrow, November 20.
We're excited to announce that we have just added a special APPLE TAX FREE promotion in our Technology Center (11am-8pm)
The good people at Apple computers have decided to pay the taxes on any Apple purchase made during CTYC 2008! So, if you buy a MacBook during the event (11am - 8pm), it'll be tax free. (Some terms: this offer is good at the Technology Center in the U District only. You have to come in, and be making the purchase for personal use to receive the discount. It does not apply to Mac Minis, iPod nanos, iPod shuffles, or iTunes Gift Cards.)

And breaking news: Vicci Martinez will join Debra Arlyn to perform!

We have nearly $30,000 in prizes and giveaways--we just need YOU!

Dear Diary... found a real bargain on your replacement today.


Bargain Hunters of the Book Store Lobby! There are, just at present, a whole caboodle of beautiful bargain journals, notebooks, note cards, stationary sets, and just fabulous paper products of various description waiting to be snatched up by eager discount detectives. They will not last. Come in soon.

Amazon is a lousy name for a baby

Parents of an Oregon newborn showed their indie spirit when they named the boy after their favorite book store (and one of ours too) Powell's. Shelf Awareness reports
"On October 3, Audrey DeKam and Kevin DeKam became the proud parents of Powell Finley DeKam, an 8 lb., 13 ounce boy who was named in honor of Powell's Books, Portland, Ore."
Now, don't all you expectant parents rule out "University" as a baby name. It has a sort of intellectual distinction!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Good Science Makes Good Reading

There are a number of elegant new titles available this Holiday Season, all perfectly suited to the more strictly rational types on your list.

The Ten Most Beautiful Experiments, by George Johnson is a favorite. Johnson, the New York Time science writer describes the often surprising moments of insight that brought us some of our greatest breakthroughs, from Galileo to Galvini.

About 13 Things That Don't Make Sense: The Most Baffling Scientific Mysteries of our Time, by Michael Brooks, our own Jason said in his recent Staff Favorite: "... written for the curious layman (a blessing if you, like me, enjoy science but can get a bit lost,) but grapples with some of the deepest issues in science. Fascinating!"



Sun in a Bottle: The Strange History of Fusion and the Science of Wishful Thinking, by Charles Seife (the author of Zero,) tells a story -- ongoing -- of man's quest to master the power of the sun, or at the very least, understand it.
Michio Kaku, who's earlier Hyperspace was a favorite a few seasons back, has written a wonderful new book on the border between modern science and science fiction -- Physics of the Impossible: A Scientific Exploration into the World of Phasers, Force Fields, Teleportation, and Time Travel.


Two beloved skeptics have new books out, both as necessary and entertaining as any either has offered before. Robert L. Park, whose Voodoo Science was one of the best defenses of the rational in the face of the ongoing onslaught of goofy pseudoscience still so popular today, has written a new book Superstition: Belief in the Age of Science. Perfect for defending one's self against the fire-breathing Aunts when attendance at early morning Christmas services are being insisted upon. And Michael Shermer, the publisher of Skeptic Magazine, and a hero, has The Mind of the Market: Compassionate Apes, Competitive Humans, and Other Tales from Evolutionary Economics.



A surprise bestsellers from our "Books That Scare Us" display for Halloween, Frank Close's new book The Void, is described as "an exploration of nothing." Look into it.



Everyday Survival: Why Smart People Do Stupid Things, by Laurence Gonzales, offers a scientific perspective on the everyday, seemingly harmless dangers of daily life. Is that a stick on the ground, or a snake?



And finally, The Alchemy of Air: A Jewish Genius, a Doomed Tycoon, and the Scientific Discovery That Fed the World but Fueled the Rise of Hitler, by Thomas Hager, tells a remarkable story of the great glory and unintended consequences of scientific discovery.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

My Guilty Pleasure Is Captain Von Trapp


Actually, he'd rather hate having reference made to that most famous role, though clearly he's learned to live with it by now. And, come to that, I'm not feeling particularly guilty about reading and recommending In Spite of Myself: A Memoir, by the fascinating Christopher Plummer. The great actor has written a pretty damned good book.


Besides finding him inexplicably riveting when I first watched "The Sound of Music" on TV -- what was I? six? seven? -- I've also had the privilege of seeing him onstage, many years ago, playing Iago to the Othello of James Earl Jones. It remains for me the single most thrilling experience I've ever had in a theater, before or since.


And now he's written a memoir, in which the names drop like snowflakes during a January in his native Toronto; everyone from Edward Everett Horton and Judith Anderson to Colin Farrell, and each tracing some wonderful anecdote, unique and new.


Theater fans, movie fans, do tell your Santa, all you need for Christmas this year is a visit from this Plummer. (okay, that was... not good, but still, get this book! It's delightful!)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Campus Thank You Night is Coming!

Save the Date! Thursday November 20!

U District


Come on out to our U District store on November 20 from 9am – 9pm, and let us show you what you mean to us. Our Campus Thank You Celebration is for YOU, the students, staff, and faculty at the University of Washington—our most important customers.

Swing by the store on your lunch break and enjoy demonstrations of some of our favorite holiday gift items:

SeaBear Salmon makes a great hostess gift. Try it from 11am – 1pm.
Theo Chocolate is the perfect stocking stuffer. Taste it from 3pm – 5pm.
TeaForte provides a mild, aromatic alternative to your morning coffee. Try it from 4pm – 6pm.

And while you’re enjoying these holiday treats, take advantage of a 20% savings* (with UW ID) on some new books, gifts, supplies, and Husky gear.

Get to the store at 5pm for a free Eco Travel Mug (they’re only available while supplies last!), enjoy refreshments and tastings from a variety of vendors, including Organic to Go, Coke Zero, Zing Bars, and Yoguccino® AND enter for a chance to win prizes.

We’ll have an Apple MacBook, iPod shuffles, a Sony Playstation 3, 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. Prize drawings will be held at 6:30pm and 8:15pm.

Seattle’s Rock and Roll String Band, The Senate, has had to CANCEL its appearance for personal reasons. But in their place will be singer/songwriter Debra Arlyn! She will be starting at 6pm.

And throughout the evening, enjoy 20% savings* (with UW ID) on some gifts, Husky gear, supplies, and new and used books.


Tacoma & Bothell & the HUB

On November 20, our Tacoma, Bothell, and HUB stores will be celebrating with Campus Thank You Celebration, too!

HUB Campus Thank You Day

8am – 5pm
All day, students will save 20% on purchases (with UW ID, of course)*.

Tacoma Campus Thank You Day

9am – 7pm
At UW Tacoma, enter for chances to win an iPod or special gift basket AND all day, students will save 20% on purchases (with UW ID, of course)*.


Bothell Campus Thank You Day

9am – 8pm
At UW Bothell, enter for chances to win an iPod or special gift basket AND all day, students will save 20% on purchases (with UW ID, of course)*.

There are always disclaimers, friends. Here are ours:


* May not be applied to your account. Excludes gift cards, shipping services, textbooks, Technology Center products, short discount book titles, food or beverages from the book store cafĂ©, and online orders. May not be combined with other discounts or special offers and applies only to stock on hand. Valid November 20, 9am – 9pm at our U District store, and all day during store hours at our Tacoma and Bothell stores.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

I hear "The Chimes" at midnight yet again...

Every year at the bookstore, I read Truman Capote's little sentimental masterpiece, "A Christmas Memory" aloud, to celebrate the Holiday Season, as we call it in retail.  Years and years ago, when I was living in San Francisco, I went every year to hear just such a performance at a bookstore there. Now that reading was given by a wonderful retired actor.  Mine, alas, is entirely amateur, if somewhat... practiced, shall we say? by now.  This has become a tradition for me and the bookstore and I confess, I look forward to it every December.  Whatever my shortcomings as a reader, I like to think, as they used to say on the "Society Page" in my little hometown newspaper about any local event other than a funeral, "a good time will be had by all."

This year's reading of "A Christmas Memory" will be Wednesday, December 3rd, at 7PM at the bookstore in Seattle, with encores at Bellevue & Mill Creek 
 (check the Reading Aloud Events Schedule for a reading near you.)  Please do come.

Additionally, on Tuesday, December 9th,  at 7PM, I will be reading Charles' Dickens' 
"The Chimes: A Goblin Story of Some Bells that Rang an Old Year Out and a New Year In."  This will be a first for me.  Back in February, I helped celebrate the Great Man's Birthday with two selections from his novels, both taken from his own adaptations for his celebrated public readings.  Again, I like to think, "a good time was had by all."  (At least, no one complained to the management about the noise.) Emboldened, I added this reading of Dickens' second Christmas Book -- written the year after "A Christmas Carol," -- to my
 schedule.  The exceptionally good people in our Events Department indulged me yet again, bless 'em.

The only problem now is adapting Dickens' reading copy of "The Chimes" for an audience unfamiliar with the story.  Had I simply read the more justly famous "Carol," I need not have spent, as I have, so many long nights typing, scribbling and sweating to communicate something of the true magic and power of this lesser known work to a contemporary audience.  Dickens' didn't have this problem when he did his readings of "The Chimes."  In the first place, he was, by all reports, a truly remarkable actor and his readings of his own work were considered one of the wonders of the Victorian Age.  Oh.  In the second place, Dickens' audience knew his other Christmas Books -- he wrote five all together -- as well as they knew his "Carol."  Certainly, now as then,  everyone knows Ebenezer Scrooge, Tiny Tim and the rest as well as any characters in the history of literature.  But contemporary  audiences
 probably don't know this second story or dear old Toby "Trotty" Veck at all.

Well, you should.

And so, I'm up tonight again, typing, scribbling, etc., in the hope of doing justice to Charles Dickens, Toby, and The Chimes.   I won't, of course, but I'll do my best.

I hope you can come and hear the result.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I will NOT buy another book about Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol, or Scrooge... okay, I did.


In the long list of Things I Intend Never to Do Again -- updated almost weekly nowadays -- there are some activities precluded by encroaching middle-age; such as dancing to fast songs, keeping up with current slang, and wearing tight shoes. I could go on, but won't. Other tasks, I've come to admit, are simply beyond me; like reading Joyce, doing algebra, and learning to appreciate the finer points of modern opera. There are tasks I undertook convinced I would do well, and yet failed to master; and here cooking Chinese food at home, baking my own bread and learning Latin come most quickly to mind. I remain resolved, regarding the above.


In perhaps no other subset of my list have I so regularly failed, as under the heading of Books I Will Not Buy. I said I'd never read another
book on Lincoln, and that even if I did, I'd never buy another, and then one of my favorite American historians, William Lee Miller, heretofore reliably not a Lincoln man, published, in 2002, Lincoln's Virtues: An Ethical Biography, and I bought it. And I read it. And it was, predictably, fascinating. Since then, I've allowed myself no more than three or four other books on the subject, but still, you see the danger of the slippery slope here, don't you? And with
Lincoln's Bicentennial coming...

And now, I've let myself go again and bought yet another new book on a subject I ought not to need or want to ever read about again: The 


I do not need to read this story again. I do not need to own another book about Charles Dickens. I do not know Mr. Standiford or his works. But the book was pretty. The introduction, read o
ver lunch, was well written and charming. At $19.95, the book was not outrageously priced. And, for all I knew, this book might have information I might find helpful when writing my introduction for my new Christmas reading this year at the store -- December 9th, at 7PM, tell your friends,-- of one of Dickens's other Christmas Books, The Chimes, so...

Well, damn. I bought it. I read it. I recommend it.

If all you know of the "Carol" is a movie or television version, you really ought to read the novel. It is a perfect book. If you want to read a fascinating story not only of Dickens, but of Christmas and how it came to be Christmas as we imagine it now, then read this new book.

And if, like me, you intend to go on making lists, resolutions and the like, be prepared to acknowledge, as I've had to yet again, just what irresolute, weak, self-indulgent creatures we humans really are. I speak here, of course, primarily, though not exclusively I'm sure, for myself.

God bless us, every one.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

A Night of Paperback Dreams

Last night we had a showing of documentarian Alex Beckstead's wonderful new film, "Paperback Dreams" here at the University Book Store, Seattle. (That's him on the left there.)

If you haven't seen this movie yet, and if you care at all about independent bookstores and our place in the wider culture, please make sure you catch the upcoming broadcast on KCTS, airing December 18th, at 10 PM.


The film is subtitled, "The Life & Times of the Independent Bookstore," and details beautifully the struggles of two such Bay Area institutions; Cody's and Kepler's.


After last night's movie, there was a short panel discussion featuring the filmmaker, our own Brad from New & Used Books here at University Book Store, and Vlad from Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park. The tone was -- as befitted the discussion -- more often wistful than celebratory, but everyone present seemed to enjoy the evening.


Having Alex here with his film made the evening particularly memorable. His current tour has taken him to a wide rang of independent bookstores across the US, and his contribution to the discussion brought home to us all that the solution to the decline in the number of independent bookstores nationwide may be, ironically enough, in keeping our local institutions alive. Working in a store that's been in Seattle since 1900, I was left feeling very privileged indeed to live and work in such a literate city.
Thanks, Alex. Thanks, Vlad. Thanks, Seattle.

Friday, November 07, 2008

What (BOOK) are you thankful for?

As Thanksgiving approaches, it seems a good moment to reflect, and give Thanks for the books we treasure, use, love, remember and or read again and again. We want you to join us: send us a title or author you are thankful for. We'll continue to add to this post through Thanksgiving. Just send me an email at ubs_usedbooks@earthlink.net and I will post your entry with ours. So, be sure to check back for more titles. Herewith, a selection from our staff and friends:

Very Far Away From Anywhere Else, by Ursula K. LeGuin.
"I am thankful for this book because it reflects a voice that is rarely heard from in young adult novels, a voice which, at one time, I really needed to hear. I think that voice still resonates with a certain uncommon type of kid."

David, Mill Creek, New & Used Books


Pride & Prejudice, by Jane Austen
"I am thankful for "Pride & Prejudice" because a world without Austen would be a bleak one indeed. It is always the perfect antidote to whatever's bugging me, and it's the only book I've read more than twice (as an adult). And I'm not telling how many times that might be. (And please notice I didn't even mention Colin Firth.)"


Mary, Seattle, New & Used Books





Frederick, by Leo Lionni
"I owe much of my slant on life to this children's book. It's about a family of very industrious mice who are all preparing for the long, cold winter. Frederick, however, seems to be off in another world, dreaming of colors and poetry and sunshine and all the really good things in life. When the winter comes, they are ready, but soon run out of food and things to say. They ask Frederick for his supplies and he climbs a rock and waxes rhapsodic about the colors of the flowers and describes the sunshine so well that they can almost feel it. Then he makes up a poem and they all proclaim him a poet, having been blessed with the very necessary supplies he has brought. Though it contains a simple lesson, it made me see that the spiritual, creative, artistic things in life are as important as the food we eat and the clothes we wear. I am grateful to have read this book as a child and to have had it as an early book which I learned to read for myself. I still have a copy among my collection of more "learn-ed" books."

Tom, Seattle, Textbooks



"Thumbs up to anything Pema writes. (Yes, we're on a first-name-basis :) )This is an earlier title, but the essential truths are there. And you've gotta love the title; resistance to life and all its messiness is futile.Love who you are. Namaste."

Jan, Seattle, New & Used Books




Help Me Live: 20 Things People with Cancer Want You to Know, by Lori Hope
"This last year, I had two friends and a close relative diagnosed with cancer. Hope's book had sane, practical suggestions to get me though. It was good to have some tools to get through these times. Some of these suggestions I've tried to work into my daily life."

Ed, Seattle, Textbooks




Reclaiming History, by Vincent Bugliosi
"A magnificent, ne plus ultra contrapuntal of each and every part of all conspiracy theories claiming Oswald was not alone, or even innocent of the assassination of JFK.
In 1518 splendid pages, Bugliosi demolishes the vast array of conspiracy literature and presents an exhaustively detailed account of the Warren Report and its irrefutable conclusion: Oswald was strictly a one-man operation.
I am tremendously grateful for this brilliantly reasoned and thoroughly researched work."

Pete, Seattle, Supplies Department




"This magnificent novel gave me my first glimpse of Paris -- my most beloved city! I recommend the revised translation by Catherine Liu."

Nancy, Seattle, New & Used Books



The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck
"For one, it is inadvertently how I met my partner, and meeting someone through a book is awesome. But it also marked a turning point in my education when I began to fall in love with both Literature and American history. Above all, The Grapes of Wrath showed me how Cultural History can be told through Literature by making significant historical moments accessible through the lives of characters--and for that I am grateful. "

Anna, Events


Cascade Alpine Guide, by Fred Beckey
"I'm hard-pressed to choose just one piece of great literature to be thankful for, but one book (or, technically speaking, three) I am truly thankful for is Fred Beckey's Cascade Alpine Guide -- Vol. 1, Vol. 2, and Vol. 3 [3ed forthcoming in January, 2009.] It is without a doubt the indispensable guide to the unbeaten track in Washington's back country, and it is the source for ambitious plans and endless daydreams for any lover of high and remote places (within driving distance!)."

Geoff, Seattle, New & Used Books




"Freshman year in college, I read this book in one night, finishing as the sun came up. Then I carried it to my first class and read it aloud to my classmates. This book changed my life. 'Hope will never be silent.' -- Harvey Milk"

Brad, Seattle, New & Used Books




Lucky Jim, by Kingsley Amis
"The book has a wonderful scene in which precariously employed university teacher Jim, enduring an arty weekend at the home of his department head, returns from a late night bolt to the local and manages to burn several holes in his sheets with an errant cigarette. Faced with the certain wrath of his host and even more terrifying hostess, Jim cleverly disguises the charring by hacking all traces of it out of the bedding entirely. The book is hilarious, but I'm most grateful for a brilliant solution to a common guest dilemma which I've used on many occasions."

Kay, IT




"This is a complex, incredibly rich exploration of the nature of being human -- uniquely put together as a diary, 'pillow book' style. I feel my knowledge has stretched and my understanding of others has been enriched by reading and rereading this book. This is a future 'masterpiece' of Young Adult fiction."

Denis, Seattle, Supplies Department




"In addition to the more obvious reasons (it's a beautiful and sweet book, it's been selling steadily since it came out in 1990) I am thankful for this book because it exists. I have a 6 month old godson and he's not white like me. When he's 27, I'm still going to be that lady who's been stubbornly giving him books since he was born. But there are several things I definitely don't want to do. I don't want to give him books filled with pages of kids who don't look like him (children's books are predominately white, and, although that is starting to change, it’s hard finding books with ethnic families that aren’t didactic). I don't want to cop out and give him books about animals. I want to show him the world and give him all kinds of books; I want him to see all sorts of people and families and not single him out in any way.That is where this book comes in. It is a tiny colorful board book with three mini-vignettes about love starring three different babies, with three different families. Although it doesn't showcase all the kinds of families in the world, it doesn't draw attention to the differences either. It is open ended, beautiful and exactly the book for my little godson."
Kitri, Seattle, New & Used Books



The Secret, by Rhonda Byrne
"This year I am most thankful for this book. It has changed my life and way of thinking forever. Immediately after reading it I went out and bought the novie version, watched it, and made all my friends watch it. Now we are all connected on a level I never even knew existed. After applying the secret to my daily life, everything started going my way, i'm happy almost all the time, and I never struggle with depression anymore. I've discovered life... and you can too by simply opening your mind and trusting it."

Alysia, Bellevue, General Merchandise




The Essential Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson (Modern Library Edition)
"This is one of the books that I have become most thankful for, specifically Emerson's essay 'Nature.' The influence of this work and many of his other writings were monumental to the American environmental movement. "Nature" was originally published anonymously in 1836, and then reissued in 1847. The essay describes a philosophy of nature, using the 'indirections of nature itself upon the soul; the sunrise, the haze of autumn, the winter starlight seem interlocutors; the prevailing sense is that of an exposition in poetry; a high discourse, the voice of the speaker seems to breathe as much from the landscape as from his own breast; it is Nature communing with the seer.'Henry David Thoreau read 'Nature' when he was a senior at Harvard College. Emerson was highly influential to Thoreau as a friend, mentor and writer. We can see this clearly in Thoreau's work, "Walden." Thoreau himself was an inspiration to John Muir and Frederick Law Olmstead, as well as, Aldo Leopold and Joseph Wood Krutch."

Terri, Seattle, New & Used Books


The White Tiger, by Aravind Adiga
"I’ve read The White Tiger twice. It’s my favorite novel of 2008, and was the winner of the 2008 Man Booker Prize. For once the Booker judges got it right!"

Nick, HUB, New & Used Books


"I'm thankful to Lewis Carroll for making my childhood imagination inescapable to this day."

Damon, Seattle, Security


Wait Till the Moon is Full, by Margaret Wise Brown
"One of my favorite childhood memories is of my mother reading this picture book to me, night after night, as I borrowed it again and again from the Public Library. When I couldn't borrow it again, my Mom typed the story out for me (on a manual typewriter back then,) so that she could still read it to me. Her recognition of my need for that story was just one of the ways she loved me so well. Everytime I read it now, to my daughter, I feel the love and warmth that I felt when my mother read it to me."

Lauren, Seattle, Kids' Books



The Manticore, by Robertson Davies
"David Staunton, a brilliant emotionally malnourished lawyer, undergoes a year of Jungian analysis after the violent death of his father. Davies' riveting narration of the resistance, acceptance and integration of Staunton's relationship with himself make this book worth sharing. I am grateful for the psychological insights that this book has brought to me and all who have read it."

Ann, Seattle, New & Used Books




The Florist's Daughter, by Patricia Hampl
"I read this book a year after my mother's death. It got me past her decline and helped me remember she led a proud and interesting life before she became a cranky old lady."

Debbie, Seattle, New & Used Books



50 Simple Things Kids Can Do to Save the Earth, by the Earthworks Group
"I was given this book in the 3rd Grade and it was my first exposure to the concept that we can & need to watch how we interact with the Earth. Essentially, it began my dedication to and love for the environment."

Danielle, Events


The Complete Stories, by Franz Kafka
"Upon reading the story 'A Hunger Artist' as a youth I finally understood the much-talked about 'power of literature.' Kafka described it best when he said 'a book ought to be an icepick to break up the frozen seas within us.' I am also very thankful that Kafka's friend Max Brod did not destroy Kafka's writings as he had wished upon his death.

Jay, Head Trade Books Buyer




A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L'Engle
"I am thankful that in 1962 this book was finally published (thank you FSG!) after being shopped around unsuccessfully. A year later it was placed in my hands by my teacher Miss Johnson. I was wowed. Finally, a real book! After years of ingesting dreadful 1950's kids books (biographies of John Paul Jones and Robert Fulton, anyone?), "A Wrinkle in Time" stretched my mind, yet comforted me with the clear message that being different was way more then just OK, it was the way to be. You can't ask for much more than that. "

Mark, UBS Seattle, New & Used Books




Good Omens, by Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett
"This is the book I go to when it seems like the world has just gotten to be too insane. I read it and laugh myself silly and realize that reality is not as crazy as I thought it was."

Sandy, UBS Personnel


Snow Country, Yasunari Kawabata
"This was the first modern Japanese novel I ever read and it is a masterpiece! I went on to learn Japanese in college and become a translator, mostly because I read this book when I was nineteen."

Anita, UBS Customer



The Last Cavalier, by Alexander Dumas
"I'm thankful to find a previously unknown book by my favorite novelist at my favorite bookstore! Thank you University Book Store."

Martin, UBS Customer

A Random Walk Down Wall Street, by Burton G. Malkiel
With all the craziness currently taking place in the economy and its various effects on the securities markets (mostly protracted and steep declines in stocks), many people are worried about what the future holds and, specifically, are concerned about their retirement accounts. This environment can cause irrational behavior based on emotion, such as panic-selling stocks when prices are very low. Many of the stocks being sold at current levels were panic-bought when prices were rising dramatically. This behavior represents the exact opposite of a sound investment approach.

A Random Walk Down Wall Street, which was written 35 years ago and has been revised at least 8 times, provides practical advice on the complex world of investments and other financial matters each of us deals with in some fashion. It reminds us that what the markets are going through right now has been experienced numerous times in the past for many different reasons (history repeats itself...) and that they have always recovered. The book emphasizes that the best investment results come through a steady, rational approach that focuses on proper asset allocation, using low-cost investment vehicles (index funds), dollar-cost averaging, and sticking to a well thought out plan no matter what happens in the markets over short periods of time.

I re-read this book during the 1999-2000 dot-com boom when the NASDAQ Composite Index was climbing to its high of 5,049 and everyone seemed to be jumping aboard for the ride, many near the very top. I was tempted to follow suit so that I wasn't the only one that "missed out." I didn't succumb. The index is now at around 1,525. The clear message the book provides is to not freak out and do irrational things when the markets are soaring or diving. Thanks, Burt, for words of wisdom that are anything but random.

Bryan, UBS CEO


"I am thankful for this book because it helped me tremendously when I was 10-years old. I had an accident where I crashed through a glass door, rendering my right hand and wrist a Freddy Kruger mess. This book was my refuge as I turned page after page on numerous hospital visits for physical rehabilitation. I memorized all of the characters, their busy world, and the wonderful colors. This book is still fun to revisit when I need to recharge. "

David, UBS Bellevue, New & Used Books


Does ThisClutter Make My Butt Look Fat? by Peter Walsh
"I am profoundly grateful for the wake-up call that this book gave me. As Oprah says, it changed my life."

Joe, UBS Seattle, New & Used Books



Broken for You, by Stephanie Kallos
"This story took me into my own neighborhood as it was when I moved here 10 years ago. The rich details of landmarks like Lalani Lanes brought me back to places I can no longer visit except through imagination or mememory.
Her weaving of the lives of two women from different generations reminded me that friendship is possible between anyone.
I also enjoyed the unusual solution for removing unwanted bagage while creating art. I was inspired to take my own art in a new direction.
This is a story worth lingering over. As I neared the end of the book, I found I slowed down so I could savor the writing like a hot cup of tea on a cold day. For me, Broken for You is a gift."

Shawn, UBS Seattle, Art Supplies


The Journals of Lewis & Clark, edited by Bernard DeVoto
"We proceeded on..." This is the poignant, hopeful and determined phrase that recurs again and again in this masterpiece of American History. This one volume edition of the much larger original work is edited and annotated by Pulitzer Prize winning historian and writer Bernard DeVoto, and it's my favorite book in the world. Few of us will ever tackle all seven volumes of the original, but DeVoto's abridgement provides the narrative, the energy, and the breathtaking drama, and adds crucial information in his introduction and copious notes. And most importantly, he resists the impulse to 'improve' the Captains' grammar & spelling, so we experience the adventure in their own words -- the 'musqutors are verry troublesom,' 'the grisley beare (is) a very large & turrible animal,' and, at the last, after walking across the continent, 'the ocian in view -- O! the joy.'

Grab a copy of this book, a map of the West, and enjoy one of the central experiences of the American story."

KZ, UBS Seattle, New & Used Books


The Yearling, by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
"I received this big yellow book for Christmas one year from my parents and so enjoyed reading it aloud to my mom just last year. This particular edition I treasure, with illustrations by N. C. Wyeth, is Out of Print, but the book is still an enjoyable and evocative read of life in the Florida swampland."

Karen, UBS Seattle, New & Used Books



Someone at a Distance, by Dorothy Whipple.
"When Mary at UBS handed the book to me, I was in love right away. Originally published in 1953, Whipple's novel delves into the lives of minds of a married couple and the woman who schemes her way between them. The writing is crisp, insightful and accomplished. I am thankful for this book because it shows just how powerful a personal recommendation from one reader to another can be. I discovered an author I might not have otherwise heard of, and a press, Persephone Books in London, dedicated to reprinting books and authors that might otherwise molder in out-of-print-land. Thank you Persephone Books and thank you University Bookstore!"

Misha, UBS Customer, Librarian


The Giving Tree, by Shel Silverstein
"I choose this classic because the first 5 times I read it to my three year old daughter, I couldn’t get through it without crying. It very clearly illustrated to her that the written word can be profound enough to create strong reactions. It was the first time I unconsciously exposed her to the deep emotional power of art, and for that I am thankful."

Susie, UBS Events

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