Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Mastering the Art of the Bestseller

As a longtime fan of Julia Child, I'm delighted by the recent attention that her masterpiece Mastering the Art of French Cooking has received. Featured in the new movie (and the original book of the same name) Julia and Julia, Mastering is the achievement of a lifetime. And you can strive for similar heights. Although a recent New York Times article mentions that booksellers across the nation are sold out of Mastering, University Book Store has plenty of copies in stock. And as an added bonus, we're running Julie and Julia contest. Stop by our U District store before September 3 and enter for a chance to win fabulous prizes, including audio book copies of Julie and Julia, fabulous aprons, or the grand prize: cooking classes from Le Gourmand. You might not master French cooking in the class, but you'll be well on your way!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Simmons a Death Match Favorite

Read Local: Seattle predicts that one of our favorite writers (and University Book Store staffer) Matthew Simmons will win tonight's Literary Death Match at the Rendezvous. Simmons will face Peter Gajdics (Opium8's 500-word contest winner), while Reading Local Managing Editor Matt Briggs will battle Ryan Boudinot (author of the forthcoming Misconception). Judges include the delightful Mary Guterson (Gone to the Dogs), The Stranger's Lindy West and Luke Smith (a game designer at Bungie). We love a good death match, and will be there to root for our favorite.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Books and movies

Seija sent this from the book department:

There are some exciting book-based movies on the near horizon: Julie and Julia opens this Friday, based jointly on Julie Powell’s book of the same name and Julia Child’s My Life in France. This hybrid is refreshing, and I hope it’s representative of a new creative trend in Hollywood book-to-movie adaptations.

I’m looking forward to Where the Wild Things Are directed by Spike Jonze, and The Fantastic Mr. Fox directed by Wes Anderson. Both films could’ve gone in wildly different directions, but based on the previews I’m happily reminded of the dark, bizarre kid’s films of the '80s like The Neverending Story, The Dark Crystal, and Return to Oz.

The Fantastic Mr. Fox, based on the book by Roald Dahl, is done in stop-motion animation, as was the earlier Dahl adaptation, James and the Giant Peach. I’m a bit disappointed that the characters are voiced by American actors (George Clooney and Meryl Streep as Mr. and Mrs. Fox) as I used to listen to the book on tape version, which is read by the author.

I just bought a copy of the wonderfully strange children’s film, The 5000 Fingers of Dr. T. Released in 1953, it’s scripted by Dr. Seuss himself, and it’s a musical. It entertains on many, many levels: the set designs and costumes are works of art, and one of the best scenes takes place in a “musical dungeon” reminiscent of Dante’s Inferno.

I love it when I find out that a movie I like is based on a book; it’s an opportunity to go deeper into a story I thought to be finished. On my pending “seen it but haven’t read it” list: A Passage to India, The 39 Steps, No Country for Old Men, Rebecca, and right now I’m halfway through Brideshead Revisited and loving it.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Books Can Get You Dates!

From our ace reporter Elisabeth, comes this fun article on using books to flirt. Get a copy of Jack Murnighan's Beowulf on the Beach for yourself here.

Episodic or Narrative: Which One Are You?

Lee Siegel's article in today's Wall Street Journal tracks the change in the taste of American fiction readers and asks "Are you a Narrative or an Episodic personality? In other words, do you believe that your life tells a meaningful story? Or do you think that you live, like Huck Finn and every other picaresque hero, from isolated minute to isolated minute...?"
I'd like to think that my life tells a meaningful story--not because it might be meaningful to others-- but because that would indicate that I had learned from my individual episodes and have developed over time. What do you think?

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Good Morning, Tuesday!

• Here's a teaser for tonight's Amelia Gray/Evelyn Hampton/Lotte Kestner event at Neptune Coffee. First, a list by Amelia on Everyday Genius. Second, a story by Evelyn Hampton at elimae.

Should authors clean up their language when they read in a bookstore? Here's a statement from our Manager of Public Relations and Events, Stesha Brandon: "As a public space, it can be challenging to balance the different communities that use our store. Our children's book area is across from our event space, which has caused some concern when we've booked adult authors with adult-themed books. We support our guests' right to freedom of expression, and generally try to book those speakers at a time when children are less likely to be in the store."

A sign in the window of a bookstore in Georgia.

Sure, we're hosting Amelia Gray, Evelyn Hampton, and Lotte Kestner tonight at Neptune Coffee. But we're also hosting urban fantasy writer Kat Richardson in our store at 7pm. In Tacoma, we're hanging out at the Tacoma Public Library with Alan Bauer, author of Day Hiking from Mountaineers Books. And in Mill Creek, some of our favorite book reps will be talking about the best books for book clubs. Check out our Events page for details.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Hello, Monday!

• An examination of Raymond Carver's short fiction before and after it was edited by Gordon Lish.

• Electric Literature, a new literary journal, has produced a trailer for a Jim Shepard story featured in their first issue.


No events today, but we have an exciting one tomorrow. Amelia Gray, Evelyn Hampton, and Lotte Kestner will perform prose and music at Neptune Coffee in Greenwood. 7pm—Don't miss it!

tell all your friends!