Monday, October 29, 2012

How much do categories matter?

Having just read Pod, Stephen Wallenfels' exciting first novel, I find myself having a conversation with myself about shelving categories and how much they matter. To me, this book and its protagonists Megs and Josh - 12 and 15 years old respectively - are more suited to the young adult (YA for short) book shelves than science fiction. Both understandable and no doubt admirable, Ace books has something else in mind for this writer. Still my job is to make sure the reader and the book meet in that place that Rumi speaks of:

"Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I'll meet you there."
Essential Rumi,translated by Coleman Barks
A few days ago I had the pleasure of conversing with Michael (son of Stephen) - who works as our community outreach/events person for University Book Store, and is a gifted musician and artist in his own right - about this and he showed me a another* cover that has been released in Germany, for the German language edition of Pod.

This particular cover makes a lot more sense to me, if it were being released as a YA book here. It features two kids back-to-back, as if in a stand-off, with a blue stream of energy coming from one of the pods (Pearls Of Destruction) hovering in the sky. And while Megs and Josh don't meet - not in this book at least - they both experience the alien invasion and the changes that brings to the world.

I heartily recommend this book to both teen and adult readers who like novels that are character-driven and have a challenging set of circumstances for those characters to work through, and I have the sneaking suspicion that this could be a story that continues in later works by Mr. Wallenfels.

So, did I answer my own question? I'm not sure, but I had some fun and I hope that you did too.

book seller
aka calendar girl

 *There could be many more, but I am limiting the discussion to these two.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Top 13 Scariest Books EVER, as Voted by UBS Booksellers

Did you guess any of our top 13 picks?  From the top, they are: 1. Tales of Edgar Allen Poe; 2. Frankenstein by Mary Shelly; 3. The Shining by Stephen King; 4. Dracula by Bram Stoker; 5. Tales of H. P. Lovecraft; 6. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson; 7. The Turn of the Screw by Henry James; 8. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood; 9. Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier; 10. The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty; 11. Tales of Algernon Blackwood; 12. Coraline by Neil Gaiman; and 13. The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman.

Here's a Lovecraft quote that I like: "We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far."  Some of us though, Lovecraft certainly included, have a nagging urge to sail out onto those black seas.  Some of us want to be scared.  Once we get a taste of darkness, we can't remain on the island.  I credit horror, in both literature and film, as a driving force behind my love of fiction.  Just as so many people start the freefall into full-blown book addiction with science fiction,  fantasy or young adult lit, it was horror that got me going; R. L. Stine, Christopher Pike, Stephen King, then Clive Barker and Lovecraft and Blackwood... I was obsessed.  And when I feel like nothing is scary enough anymore, I revisit some of the classics on this list, and also some of the wild cards.  Pick up The Shining and The Handmaid's Tale; I think you'll be terrified by both for utterly different reasons.  
Happy Reading, and Happy Halloween!!!


*Extra thanks and bonus street cred points go to the screamingly talented Brad, Jan and Michael, who made these truly chilling cards for my display.  Thanks guys!

Friday, October 05, 2012

* LOVE Quick Bread Baking Fall Days !!! *

It all started with this lovely book ... it was a bargain at only $6.98. I do like cookbooks ... and it is time to start baking y'all:

Everything easily fit onto my very small dining room table.

 Takes very little time to roast these raw sunflower seeds in the oven.

 Doubled the amount of sunflower seeds and golden raisins.

 Looks done but the knife came out wet, back in it goes with foil on the top to keep it from burning.

 And voila! A perfect bundt bread.

 milk optional (lol)

*** THE END. ***

~Jan, cookbook shelver
aka calendar girl

Please note: We have a limited supply of this particular book, as it is one of our bargain offerings ... please call the store (206.634.3400) if you want us to pull one aside for you!

tell all your friends!