Friday, February 27, 2009

A Northwest Flower and Garden Show Report from Kathy

The 21st, and with any luck NOT the final Northwest Flower & Garden Show has come and gone, but we still have some wonderful books from authors who appeared at the show. We even have some autographed books available while they last, from favorite authors like Marianne Binetti, Cass Turnbull, and Ciscoe Morris. Here are a few more:

Our Life In Gardens by Joe Eck and Wayne Winterrowd

This beautiful meditation on gardening by two renowned garden designers is a wonderful read for a blustery day when it's still too soon to get out in the garden. They lovingly tell the story of thirty years of gardening together at their place in Vermont, called North Hill.

Rhapsody in Green: The Garden Wit and Wisdom of Beverley Nichols by Roy C. Dicks

Prolific British author Beverley Nichols (1898–1983) is best remembered for his series of garden memoirs, including Merry Hall, and Garden Open Today. Now Roy Dicks brings us a delightful sampler of his work, in a beautifully designed palm-of-the-hand volume which will delight both fans of Nichols and those who have yet to discovered his work.

Paradise Found by Rebecca Cole

Rebecca designed the Smith & Hawken sponsored display garden "The Sky's the Limit" which won a ton of awards at this year's show. It featured a fantastic "living wall" and lots of other wonderful and innovative ideas. Her book Paradise Found is out of print, but we have a few copies left from her private stash that she brought to us at the show book signing. Get 'em while they last!

Perennial Companions: 100 Dazzlng Plant Combinations for Every Season by Tom Fischer

Fischer is the editor-in-chief at renowned gardening publisher Timber Press, and will be appearing right here at University Book Store on March 5 as part of the new "Get Gardening" series co-sponsored by Timber and University Book Store. His new book is a wonderful little guide which will inspire you to new heights of colorful experimentation in your own garden.

The Gardens of Frank Lloyd Wright by Derek Fell

Derek Fell has been putting out gorgeous coffee-table gardening books for years, featuring the gardens of folks like Van Gogh, Monet and Cezanne. Now he's hopped the pond, to bring us an American for a change. Wright's philosophy of architecture placed as much importance on the natural surroundings of his buildings as the buildings themselves, as he integrated his creations seamlessly into their environments in landmarks such as Fallingwater.

And stop by our store to see a huge selection of garden-related remainder titles in our Garden of Bargains...spring is on the way!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Lift Every Voice: Celebrating Toni Morrison

I have been reading selected interviews from the Paris Review Interviews collection, edited by Philip Gourevitch.Volume II contains a great interview with Toni Morrison, and I wanted to share this excerpt from her 1993 interview, where she discusses her place in the canon of literature.

MORISSON: It’s important not to have a totalizing view. In American literature we have been so totalized—as though there is only one version. We are not one indistinguishable block of people who always behave the same way.

INTERVIEWER: Is that what you mean by totalized?

MORISSON: Yes. A definitive or an authoritative view from somebody else or someone speaking for us. No singularity and no diversity. I try to give some credibility to all sorts of voices, each of which is profoundly different. Because what strikes me about African-American culture is its variety…I would like to write novels that were unmistakably mine, but nevertheless fit first into African-American traditions and second of all, this whole thing called literature.

INTERVIEWER: First African-American?


INTERVIEWER: …rather than the whole of literature?



MORISSON: It’s richer. It has more complex sources. It pulls from something that’s closer to the edge; its much more modern. It has a human future.

INTERVIEWER: Wouldn’t you rather be known as a great exponent of literature than as an African-American writer?

MORISSON: It’s very important to me that my work be African-American; if it assimilates into a different or larger pool, so much the better. But I shouldn’t be asked to do that. Joyce is not asked to do that. Tolstoy is not. I mean, they can all be Russian, French, Irish or Catholic, they write out of where they come from, and I do too. It just so happened that that space for me is African-American; it could be Catholic, it could be Midwestern. I’m those things too, and they are all important.

Toni Morisson won the Nobel Peace Prize in Literature in 1993. Read the entire interview in The Paris Review Interviews, Volume Two. Read Morrison's work.

--A.T. Micklin

And You Thought Your Childhood Was Messed Up...

We were talking about lists today, and the kids section’s funny habit of making lots and lots of lists. Books on a theme, like WWII or moving, or books set in Seattle, or books with Native American characters, and on and on. Notebooks of them clutter our desk. We mentioned in passing to a coworker that a favorite list was of books where the main character gets eaten, and she was amused. I’m not sure if she believed that we really had the list, but we were soon pulling out picture book after picture book with the same tragic plot development. As she requested, we have provided the list below. Enjoy!

Picture Books Where the (or a) Main Character(s) Get Eaten:

Rotten and Rascal: Two Terrible Pterosaur Twins by Paul Geraghty
Ugly Fish by Kara LaReau, illustrated by Scott Magoon
Tadpole’s Promise by Jean Willis, illustrated by Tony Ross
Wolves by Emily Gravett
I’m The Biggest Thing in the Ocean by Kevin Sherry
Pierre: A Cautionary Tale by Maurice Sendak
Beware of the Frog by William Bee

Not included were:
Mr. Maxwell’s Mouse by Frank Asch– because, our notes say, of a “last minute reprieve”
I’d Really Like to Eat a Child by Sylviane Donnio, illustrated by Dorothee De Monfried– because, though not for lack of trying, no child is actually eaten
Millions of Cats by Wanda Gag– because while “hundreds of cats, thousands of cats, millions and billions and trillions of cats…[eat] each other all up,” they’re not main characters. And three other older titles that are either out of print or we no longer carry…

Phew. Now, can you name any we’ve forgotten? Put ‘em in comments. And stay tuned for lists like “gender comedy in picture books” and “books where a duck adopts an alligator or vice versa” (we can name three right now, but won’t).

--Anna M.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Books I Never Want to Return

I have to say, I hate pulling for returns. We can’t keep every book forever, so we go through the shelves every once in awhile and check to see what just isn’t selling anymore. In the Kids department, we get a little attached and we often end up buying books out of the return pile just to give them a good home. Some almost-returned books become Staff Favorites and go on to live a long, happy, constantly-selling life. The completely charming Emily’s Balloon is one of those.

Some books are more devastating than others to return. Another unremarkable dinosaur book? Goodbye! A young adult novel that has more brand names per page than a glossy magazine? See ya! But it is agony to see a great nonfiction title, about some underrepresented but intriguing topic, just sit there, month after month, years even, quietly waiting to find an owner. Something as simple as pulling for returns in the sports section gets me all worked up when I leave with a pile of biographies of women in sports that have sat untouched for too long. (Just what exactly are you buying your sporty daughters, nieces, and granddaughters these days? Wii Sports? Give these books a try!)

So without further ado, here are a few of my favorite sorta niche-y nonfiction titles that I need to see walking out the door on a regular basis. They’re not in any immediate danger, I just don’t ever want to return any of these guys, okay?

Extraordinary Ordinary People: Five American Masters of Traditional Arts by Alan Govenar
Profiles five creative Americans: a Beijing Opera Performer in New York City, a woman in Oregon who makes paper flowers and coronas for quinceaƱeras, an Iowan rug weaver, a Mardi Gras Indian, and a boat builder in Maine.

Let Me Play: The Story of Title IX, the Law That Changed the Future of Girls in America by Karen Blumenthal
This is really well-put-together, with lots of photos, interviews, and old cartoons from decades when women playing sports was so ridiculous it was an automatic laugh. Joke’s on you now, dudes. Seriously, though, tons of girls have no idea what Title IX is. Educate ‘em.

Gay America: Struggle for Equality by Linas Alsenas
Aren’t we the 2nd gayest city in the country? This is a great book for political high schoolers (and everyone else, really) that covers parts of the gay rights movement and gay history that, unless you’re a scholar, you probably don’t already know.

Sophisticated Ladies: The Great Women of Jazz by Leslie Gourse, illustrated by Martin French
These ladies are so rad. Just come read about them.

No Choirboy: Murder, Violence and Teenagers on Death Row by Susan Kuklin
This is harrowing and not for the younger set, but a compelling and worthwhile read. A high school library necessity, and great for reluctant readers.

--Anna M.

Friday, February 13, 2009

The idea of Black History Month was first sprouted by Carter G. Woodson (1875-1950), an American historian who devoted his life to the remembrance and awareness of black history. Woodson recognized the neglect and distortion of black history in the American education system and in February 1926 he founded “Negro History Week.” This later would evolve into Black History Month. Woodson chose February for “Negro History Week” because, while the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery was signed in January, bondsmen and women didn’t start to hear of their freedom until February. Join University Book Store in celebrating the the importance of African American and Global Black Literature.
--A.T. Micklin

Friday, February 06, 2009

Read Dating: Matches Made in Heaven

We were thrilled to host our first "Read Dating" event last night. Billed as "speed dating meets book clubs," participants had eight minutes to chat with each other about their favorite books and authors before the gents moved on to the next lady. An enthusiastic crowd filled our second floor events space, enjoying the refreshments and the conversation. Look out for more Read Dating events in the near future!

tell all your friends!