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Monthly Archives: December 2011

Echelon’s review Contest


While searching for interesting blogs out there I came across a very neat little Contest. There is an independent publisher Echelon Press that is trying to raise some reviews for a few of their books. In order to enter you need to contact them and you will receive a free download of one of their e-books for review. If they get 50 new reviews by Christmas Eve they will select one winner to receive a free Kindle Touch.
For more information you can check out their blog at:
http://karensyed.wordpress.com/2011/12/14/wtf-begging-for-book-reviews/
or email them at: echelonpress@gmail.com

 
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Posted by on December 19, 2011 in miscellany

 

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Occupy Amazon!


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/08/bookstores-boycott-amazon_n_1137773.html?ref=fb&ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009&src=sp&comm_ref=false

This here is an issue very near and dear to my heart. While working as a bookseller we had to deal with many people who would come in and make us research a title for them, and as soon as we got the information for them they’d tell us, “Oh I think I’ll just get it off Amazon.”

We even once had a child in the store who after getting a book recommendation from us, pulled out her kindle and bought it right then. She began to read her new title and was so enthralled with it, she managed to knock over a display of books, which threw many of our holiday picks to the floor. The girl failed to notice or help, and walked straight out the door.

All of this is fine, a bit irritating and just something to gripe about from time to time, we know we can’t compete price wise against Amazon, so we don’t try to. We’re not Amazon and don’t try to be them, and we know we can’t steal costumers from them, and that our businesses all in all don’t affect Amazon sales. So it seems rude of Amazon to try to steal business from the brick and mortars of the world.

I won’t go as far as to say “Boycott Amazon” I after all do have my Amazon account and I love the Amazon instant features for movies, all I can ask is if you go to a store, and decide to buy something while there, please buy it from that store.  Your local stores are always there and happy to help you find something, but they’re not libraries they still need to sell their merchandise. They don’t carry stock to be a physical browsing spot for amazon. I will say this if you do your shopping on amazon and are looking for say a good book, or the proper title of a book, you should go to a library and ask a librarian, they would be delighted to help you.

Edit:
I realize now when first writing this article I completely failed to mention the main reason that caused me to write it in the first place. I was reading an article from the Huffington Post  about boycotting and “occupying Amazon” which was centered around complaints about one of Amazon’s new promotions where if someone scans an item at a store and then buys it off Amazon that person will receive an additional five percent off the item purchased. This promotion has really set off the community of indie brick and mortar stores and at least one senator from Maine, Olympia Snowe. Outside of that promotion I really don’t have much of a problem with Amazon, they’re a serious competitor surely, but if someone isn’t willing to compete to be successful they should probably get out of the business.

 
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Posted by on December 18, 2011 in News

 

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Mr Sebastian… by Daniel Wallace


While working as a bookseller this was a title I always tried to put into people’s hands. When reading it I was completely blown away by the writing and how it was a truly unique book, one very much unlike any I had read before. However I always hit one road block along the way.

That roadblock being the full title. Mr Sebastian and the Negro Magician. I don’t know what it is but the word Negro instantly and without fail turned people off the idea of reading it. I believe they were afraid that if someone saw them reading it, the reader would instantly be branded a racist. This is entirely unfair to the book. I can’t deny there is racial tension in the book, and that there is prolific use of the “N” word. This is in the South during the Great Depression, of course there are some racists running around. The book however is not a hate book at all, it is one of the most enjoyable reads you can get your hands on.

The main thrust of the story happens after the title magician disappears, and an investigator takes the case to find him. He proceeds to question all the members of the tired and broken down circus our magician worked for. Each chapter is then written from the prospective of one of those circus members, during their stories everyone contradicts each other on almost every front. They can’t agree on anything not even if the magician had magic or not.

I will say this, if you need a straight narrative this book is not for you. If you want a very fresh and inventive way to tell a story, and a book that you won’t encounter again except by rereading. then this book is for you.

I really don’t believe I can recommend this one highly enough.

Mr Sebastian and the Negro magician
by Daniel Wallace
published by Anchor
ISBN-978-0307279118
http://www.danielwallace.org/home.cgi

Daniel Wallace was also the author of Big Fish, which was made quite famous by that Tim Burton fellow.

 
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Posted by on December 18, 2011 in Fiction

 

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Slackstory Shakespeare


Do you ever feel as though Shakespeare just doesn’t reach the kids like it used to? That some how the deeper themes of Othello go right over your 6 year old’s head? Never fear our friends over at Slackstory.com have you covered. They worked tirelessly to bring us the titles that need to be published, and if we lived in a perfect world, these books would be on every kid in America’s bookshelf.

http://slacktory.com/2011/12/shakespeares-plays-as-kids-books/

 
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Posted by on December 18, 2011 in miscellany, Uncategorized

 

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Company of Liars by Karen Maitland


Triumphed as a darker take on the Canterbury Tales, this is one book that needs to be read.

Company of Liars by Karen Maitland is an incredible story following a group of charlatans in medieval England as they run from town to town trying ever desperately to stay ahead of the horrible plague that dogs their every move. We also learn that none of them are what meets the eye, and that the cover story was just a cover for yet another cover story.

Naturally enough plot twists abound as there is only one truth to this world, you can’t trust anyone. The characters really pop on the page and you can believe how these people exist when the only way they can make money is by being judged not on the quality of their deeds but solely on the entertainment value of their lies.
I have not had the pleasure yet to read any more of Karen Maitland’s novels but I can not wait until I get the chance.

Company of Liars
by Karen Maitland
published by Delacorte Press
ISBN-978-0385341691
http://www.karenmaitland.com/

 
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Posted by on December 18, 2011 in Fiction

 

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NPR’s Xmas books for the lil ones.


With the holidays fast approaching and everyone in a race to get the perfect gift, we have to be grateful to sources like NPR and their end of the year wrap ups. A few months ago they started their Backseat Book Club program, which fortunately sparked their interest in books for children ranging from about 9 to 14, and this is their recommendations for the top five books of the year for the little children.

http://www.npr.org/2011/12/08/143164334/top-5-books-for-backseat-readers-age-9-and-up

 
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Posted by on December 18, 2011 in Kid-Lit

 

We, the Drowned by Carsten Jensen



This is one of my favorite books that I have read in a long, long time. Finally we are treated to a nautical tale that is more than just picking weevils out of biscuits and other overly tedious aspects of sailing life that many books decide to force on us. Generally I think this comes from an author who had to research what life on a boat was like, and then says if I had to research it, I had better well talk about it.

We, the Drowned however, focuses on the story of the individuals. The novel spans the course of four generations of Marstal a small shipping town in Denmark, we are regaled with tales of war, cannibals, great journeys and a man who claims to have literally flashed his bum to St. Peter and the Pearly Gates. It is impossible to put the book in any one category, it ranges from comedy to romance to high drama, and then back again. We, the Drowned keeps its pacing remarkably well and while there were times I was forced to put it down, I regretted having to, and couldn’t wait until I could get back to reading.

One of the most interesting things about it, is the perspective of the novel. We, the Drowned is written in the voice of “we” the town. There is a great line from the book expressing this. “Everyone of us has a story, but it is not the one he tells himself. Its author has a thousand eyes, a thousand ears and five hundred pens that never stop scribbling.”

We, the Drowned
by Carsten Jensen
translated by Charlotte Barslund
published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
ISBN-978-0151013777

 
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Posted by on December 18, 2011 in Fiction

 

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