Wednesday, March 13, 2013

books to read books to share books nothing but books

     I love books.  I love how they feel, I love how they smell.  I love the  illustrations, I love the wonder I feel from looking at the words. I love the art of choosing a book (or having it choose me) I love the ritual of opening the cover and running my hand over the first few pages without reading the words but rather absorbing them onto my fingers.  Those first few moments with a new book (or an old favorite)  I forget to breathe, I get goosebumps in anticipation of the words that are ahead of me.  I love that everyday I get to share this passion with others that are equally passionate about books.  I have come to realize over the years that in the world of book lovers we are diverse in our views but we are united in our desire for stories (real and not so real) and our need for words (no matter the subject) written on paper.
    I have amazing conversations with people, covering every topic imaginable and oftentimes I probably know more about a person than anyone else.  (including their therapist)  There is  a recurring theme among my customers that share their lives with children.  Children of their own, their grandchildren, a niece or nephew or the kids next door.  They are asking me to recommend good books to read aloud and share with these moppets.  I am happy to oblige: (in no particular order)
Homer Price - Robert McCloskey -- is a fun collection of short stories
Goodnight Moon - Margaret Wise Brown -- a classic for the very young
Charlotte's Web, Stuart Little, The Trumpet of the Swan - E. B. White
Little House on the Prairie series - Laura Ingalls Wilder (9 titles in the original set)
Secret Garden, Little Princess, Little Lord Fauntleroy - Frances Burnett Hodgson
Harry Potter - JK Rowling (7 titles in the series)
Peter Pan - James Matthew Barrie
Hatchet - Gary Paulsen (there are 3 companion books to Hatchet)
Tucket's Travles - Gary Paulsen (first 5 of the Francis Tucket books)
Tale of Despereaux - Kate DiCamillo
James and the Giant Peach, Matilda, Danny and the Chocolate Factory -Roald Dahl
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz - L. Frank Baum (there 14 Oz titles written by Baum)
Rootabaga Stories - Carl Sandburg
Winnie the Pooh, House at Pooh Corner - A. A. Milne (the orginal books)
Treasure Island, Kidnapped, Black Arrow - Robert Louis Stevenson
Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
A Long Way from Chicago - Richard Peck
The Borrowers - Mary Norton (there are 5 books in this series)
Chronicles of Narnia - C.S. Lewis (seven book set)
Heidi - Johanna Spyri
Strawberry Girl - Lois Lenski
Ramona - Beverly Cleary (actually all of her books)
My Side of the Mountain, Julie of the Wolves - Jean Craighead Jones
From the Mixed up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler - E.L. Konigsburg
Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle - Betty Macdonald (several titles in this series)
Magic Treehouse series - Mary Pope Osborne
and many, many more.  I could include Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys, Junie B. Jones, How to Train your Dragon, Inkheart and the Rangers Apprentice series.  There are so many picture books that make wonderful bedtime stories.  The 20th Century Children's Book Treasury is an incredible collection of stories and I personally feel that book is a must for every home library.  It has complete stories with the original illustrations included.
     As a child I remember a book that had a story for everyday of the year.  January first had a story about baby New Year and the illustration showed the familiar baby in a diaper.  I recall Valentines Day and cupid.  I think the book was simply called 365 bedtime stories.  But I have never been able to find a copy.  (there are many books with that title but they don't have the stories that remember) By the time my younger sisters were being read to from the book it was tattered.  I hope to find the book someday. 
     I love storytime at The Bookstore and have enjoyed reading to many children over the years (especially my nieces, nephews and God children)  Read to a child today and create memories for you and for them.


Thursday, February 21, 2013

Thursday, It's all about the Books

      Today is Thursday.  It is book day.  I love Thursday's at The Bookstore.  It is the day of the week that the special orders arrive.  The books that customers can't wait to get and the books that we can't wait to put on our shelves.  Every Thursday is like Christmas.  Boxes waiting to be opened, books waiting to be held, the breathless anticipation of the possible back ordered book arriving today among the books that are expected. 
     Thursday is a good day.  I often find myself with boxes half opened, books strewn across counters and my desk.  Me with my elbows perched precariously on the edge of my desk with a book cradled in my hands.  Reading.  When I should be taking care of my customers needs.  I honestly shouldn't read when I am at work.  I tend to become engrossed in the words and ignore everything else.  Including the customers, I have even let the answering machine pick up phone calls because I was being held captive by the images the words have evoked.  
     But more scandalous than any of that is the fact that I have talked customers out of buying a book because I decide it is the book I have to have that day......... I am honest (to a point) when asked about the book.  I tell them I haven't read it, that I haven't heard much about it and that I am hesitant to recommend it when I myself am unsure of its contents. All of which is true I just don't admit to them that I am planning on reading that book the minute they leave the store.  I then work hard (very hard) to find them a book that I know they will love (if only to appease my conscience).
     Today will be no different.  The boxes will arrive.  I will start to open them.  I will promise myself that all customers orders will be dealt with prior to me opening the covers on the books specifically ordered for me. 

 They arrived.  The first item to land in my hands:  The Deck of 1000 spreads:  Your Tarot Toolkit, followed by The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult, Life Code by Dr. Phil McGraw, One Shot at Forever by Chris Ballard, Healthier Without Wheat, Treat your Own Back and the 13 Clocks.  All of which are special orders for customers.  In spite of the misbehavior I admitted to previously in this blog I won't take home a book meant for a customer.   They will be called and notified that their book has arrived.  In the meantime there are more boxes to open and more books to be seen so there is still the possibility that I will be caught hidden behind the stacks of books reading, ignoring the phone and not making eye contact with people.............I am hopelessly addicted to books and I hope never to be cured.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Superbowl, Awards Shows and and catching up on my reading

     It is that time of year.  Awards.  For movies, music,  television, football and books.  The red carpet, parties,  clothes, food, friends, fashion police, tailgating, and chicken wing scandals.   The MVP's for music, movies,  television, literature and football.  Half-time shows, pregame shows, brothers, fans, friendly bets and serious gamblers.  The agony and the ecstasy.  The National Anthem and America the Beautiful.  Boom -- the lights went out, the game went on and the commercials are what we are all talking about today. 
     I love, love, love football, (the Minnesota Vikings break my heart every year but I always come back hopeful and cheering loudly for them the next season) I watch very few movies and I have a couple of favorite TV shows but I  almost never miss the award shows.  (I love the clothes and glimpses of the stars and secretly can't wait to hear what the fashion police have to say about the outfits that make me scratch my head in awe or in wonder) 
 In January I   wait with breathless anticiaption to see if I have predicted the winners of this years children's literature awards.   I always have one or two of the lesser known titles on my shelf and only once in 22 years as a bookseller have I predicted the Caldecott Winner.  That was in 2010 and the winner was "The Lion and The Mouse" by Jerry Pinkney.  This year I just knew the Caldecott would go to "The Fantasic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore."  The winner was "This is Not my Hat" by Jon Klassen. (a really fun book)
It is always enjoyable to see which authors are being honored.  The announcements are much quieter than those given to athletes, movies and music but the minute we know who the winners are we scramble to get copies for ourselves and our cutomers.  Wondering how we missed predicting which books would end up with the foil medallions gracing their covers.   For a complete list of the winners check out this link:

I spent January rereading one of my favorite authors, Raymond Chandler.  I had forgotten how perfectly he tells a story.  If you are going to read just one of his books I highly recommend "The Big Sleep."  I picked up "Perks of Being a Wallflower"  wanting to read it again just in case I do see the movie.  It was just as good the second time as the first.  "Th1rteen R3asons Why" came into our used book section recently and the cover intrigued me, I took it home.  I didn't sleep that night.  The book was disturbing, captivating and the characters were at times awkward and infuriating.  The book is heartbreaking and made me stop in my tracks and think about how a remark that is casual to one of us can be devastating to someone else.  The books I am reading right now (just to name a few) include:  "Where'd you Go Bernadette", "A Dog Called Homeless", "My Beloved World" by Sonia Sotomayor, and Meacham's book on Thomas Jefferson.  I really want to read "Suspect" by Robert Crais and of course 100's of others if only I didn't have to work and sleep!!!!!