Thursday, May 31, 2012

Our First Lines Contest

If you happened into the store last month, you saw our First Line Contest. We set up a range of first lines and books and you had to match one with the other. Here are the answers for those of you curious to see how you did.  (Or those of you who are just interested in this kind of literary trivia.)

1 – Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes, A Study in Scarlet

In the year 1878 I took my degree of Doctor of Medicine of the University of London, and proceeded to Netley to go through the course prescribed for surgeons in the Army.

2 – Louisa May Alcott, LittleWomen

“Christmas won’t be Christmas without any presents, “ grumbled Jo, lying on the rug.

3 – William Styron, LieDown in Darkness

Riding down to Port Warwick from Richmond, the train begins to pick up speed on the outskirts of the city, past the tobacco factories with their ever-present haze of acrid, sweetish dust and past the rows of uniformly brown clapboard houses which stretch down the hilly streets for miles, it seems the hundreds of rooftops all reflecting the pale light of dawn; past the suburban roads still sluggish and sleepy with early morning traffic, and rattling swiftly now over the bridge which separates the last two hills where in the valley below you can see the James River winding beneath its acid-green crust of scum out beside the chemical plants and more rows of clapboard houses and into the woods beyond.

4 – William Faulkner, Absalom, Absalom

From a little after two oclock until almost sundown of the long still hot weary dead September afternoon they sat in what Miss Coldfield still called the office because her father had called it that – a dim hot airless room with the blinds all closed and fastened for forty-three summers because when she was a girl someone had believed that light and moving air carried heat and that dark was always cooler, and which (as the sun shone fuller and fuller on that side of the house) became latticed with yellow slashes full of dust motes which Quentin thought of as being flecks of the dead old dried paint itself blown inward from the scaling blinds as wind might have blown them.

5 – Oscar Wilde, ThePicture of Dorian Gray

The studio was filled with the rich odour of roses, and when the light summer wind stirred amidst the trees of the garden, there came through the open door the heavy scent of the lilac, or the more delicate perfume of the pink-flowering thorn.

6 – Charlotte Bronte, JaneEyre

There was no possibility of taking a walk that day.

7 – Kurt Vonnegut, Welcometo the Monkey House

Not very long ago, an encyclopedia salesman stopped by America’s oldest library building, which is the lovely Sturgis Library in Barnstable Village, on Cape Cod’s north shore.

8 – John Kennedy Toole, AConfederacy of Dunces

A green hunting cap squeezed the top of the fleshy balloon of a head.

9 – Dennis Lehane, Mystic River

When Sean Devine and Jimmy Marcus were kids, their fathers worked together at the Coleman Candy plant and carried the stench of warm chocolate back home with them.

10 – Gustave Flaubert, MadamBovary

We were at prep, when the Head came in, followed by a new boy not in uniform and a school-servant carrying a big desk.

11 – John Steinbeck, TheGrapes of Wrath

To the red country and part of the gray country of Oklahoma, the last rains came gently, and they did not cut the scarred earth.

12 – Thomas Hardy, Tessof the D’Urbervilles

On an evening in the latter part of May a middle-aged man was walking homeward from Shaston to the village of Marlott, in the adjoining Vale of Blakemore or Blackmoor.

13 – D. H. Lawrence, LadyChatterley’s Lover

Ours is essentially a tragic age, so we refuse to take it tragically.

14 – Michael Pollan, TheOmnivore’s Dilemma

Air-conditioned, odorless, illuminated by buzzing fluorescent tubes, the American supermarket doesn’t present itself as having very much to do with Nature.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Penguin Threads!

Classic book-lovers, check this out.

Penguin has just brought out its second group of three classic books in its gorgeous new Threads line. Penguin Threads is a paperback series featuring the incredible cover illustrations of artist Rachell Sumpter.

The covers are embossed to give you a sense of the texture of the embroidery and the books feature deckled edges and French flaps. And if you open up the flaps and look on the back of the cover pages, you can see the back of the embroidery.

The new titles in this spring's line are Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott; The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame and The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum. The Wizard of Oz also contains The Emerald City of Oz and Glinda of Oz.

The line debuted last year with three titles and the embroidery of artist Jillian Tamaki, all still available: Jane Austen's Emma, Anna Sewell's Black Beauty and Frances Hodgson Burnett's The Secret Garden. The text on all books is complete and unabridged. The books make wonderful additions to your collection or a beautiful and affordable gift for any reader, young or old.

You can see a video of Tamaki's technique and visit Penguin's Threads page here.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Cool New Books from Madras Press

Once again we have some cool titles from the local publisher Madras Press,  from Kelly Link, Gregory Maguire, and Kevin Brockmeier. Madras Press publishes individually bound short stories and novella-length booklets and distributes the proceeds to a growing list of charitable organizations chosen by our authors. Here’s more about what we’ve got.

The Human Soul as a Rube Goldberg Machine by Kevin Brockmeier You are returning the milk to the refrigerator when your head begins to swim. Red shapes like semi-transparent scarves flare open in your vision, brimming over with light before they dwindle away. For a moment you think you are going to collapse. You put your hand on the counter to steady yourself. Your heart ticks down the seconds like a bomb. Then the sensation passes, and it is an ordinary day again. Where the story goes from here, and the fate of the characters, is up to you. Turn to page 21, or 89, where more choices await. Dan Chaon calls Kevin Brockmeier “One of the best short story writers in America.” Kevin Brockmeier is the author of the novels The Illumination, The Brief History of the Dead, and The Truth about Celia, as well as the story collections The View from the Seventh Layer and Things that Fall from the Sky.

Stone Animals by Kelly Link A family moves into a house, a possibly haunted house, and the rabbits on the front porch stir and come to life. This special edition of Kelly Link’s ‘Stone Animals’ comes with a letterpressed cover (in blue or brown) and interior illustrations by a number of authors, artists, critics, and fans, including Lisa Brown, Lilli CarrĂ©, Anthony Doerr, Lev Grossman, Daniel Handler, Paul Hornschemeier, Ursula K. Le Guin, Laura Miller, Audrey Niffenegger, Tao Nyeu, Arthur Phillips, and Lane Smith. Kelly Link is the author of the story collections Pretty Monsters, Magic for Beginners, and Stranger Things Happen and the co-editor of the anthologies Steampunk! and Trampoline.

Tales Told in Oz by Gregory Maguire In the days before Ozma Initiata, when wild beasts roamed the woodlands and few roads had yet been strung between villages, and peasants ate only potatoes served with gravy made of the dirt scraped off them, a farmer fell in love with a bishop’s daughter and proposed to marry her. The author of the bestselling The Wicked Years series returns to Oz with a final compendium of folktales. Gregory Maguire is the author of many books for adults and children, including The Wicked Years novels.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

New on the Shelves: The Testament of Jessie Lamb

Out this past week is The Testament of Jessie Lamb, by Jane Rogers. It just won the prestigious Arthur C. Clarke Award for science fiction and it's a terrific, page-turning dystopia with a teen protagonist you won't forget. It's a book that will keep you thinking long after you've turned the last page. And, since it's a paperback original, it would make an edgy, discussion-rich book club choice.

Find The Testament of Jessie Lamb on the new paperback table as well as on the general fiction and science fiction shelves.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

CBW Roundup: Middle Fiction

The Borrowers, by Mary Norton, Beth Krush, and Joe Krush  
The Clock family lives under the kitchen floor, borrowing everything they need from the Big People above.  But when fourteen year old Arrietty is seen by a Big Person, their very different worlds come together.
Catherine, Called Birdy, by Karen Cushman
Karen Cushman's whip-smart medieval maiden is one of our favorite heroines.  
Charlotte’s Web, by E.B. White
A perennial classic.
Anne of Green Gables, by L.M. Montgomery
Orphaned Anne Shirley is accidentally sent to live with the Cuthberts, but ends up becoming a part of the family. 
Feathers, by Jacqueline Woodson 
This Newbery honor award winner confronts issues of race, disability, and belief among young people during the 1970s.
Heidi, by Johanna Spyri
Five year old Heidi learns to love life in the mountains when she is sent to live with her reclusive grandfather in the Alps.
Paddle-to-the-Sea, by Holling Clancy Holling
Travel from the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean in this beautifully illustrated book.  We like Holling's Seabird as well.
The Phantom Tollbooth, by Jules Feiffer and Norton Juster
Finding a tollbooth in his bedroom is just the start of Milo's fabulous adventures through the Kingdom of Wisdom.  While on a quest to restore the princesses Rhyme and Reason to the throne, he jumps to Conclusions, gets lost in the Doldrums, meets a Spelling Bee, and more.
Rapunzel's Revenge, by Dean, Shannon, and Nathan (no relation) Hale
A re-imagined fairy tale in which Rapunzel is more wild western hero than damsel in distress.
The 13 Clocks, by James Thurber
Thurber's whimsical tale has a new introduction by Neil Gaiman!
Toning the Sweep, by Angela Johnson
This Coretta Scott King Award winning novel follows three generations of African American women.
Tuck Everlasting, by Natalie Babbitt
After drinking from a magic spring, the Tuck family becomes immortal.  A simple but harrowing tale about love in many forms.
The Story of Dr. Doolittle and The Voyages of Dr. Doolittle, by Hugh Lofting
Lofting's books about the adventures of a doctor who can talk to animals are lots of fun.
Zora & Me, by Victoria Bond & T.R. Simon
"Racial duplicity threatens an idyllic African American community in the turn-of-the-century South in a dazzling debut inspired by the early life of Zora Neale Hurston."

Kim Prosise

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Children's Choice Book Awards Results

The results from the Children's Choice Book Awards are in!  Here are this year's winners:

 Kindergarten to Second Grade category:  
Three Hens and a Peacock by Lester L. Laminack, illustrated by Henry Cole

Third to Fourth Grade category:
Bad Kitty Meets the Baby by Nick Bruel  

Fifth to Sixth Grade category:
Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt

Teen category:
Clockwork Prince: The Infernal Devices, Book Two by Cassandra Clare

Author of the Year:
Jeff Kinney for Diary of a Wimpy Kid 6: Cabin Fever

Illustrator of the Year:
Brian Selznick for Wonderstruck

You can find the complete list of award winners and finalists here and videos from the Gala in New York City here.

Kim Prosise

Monday, May 14, 2012

CBW Roundup: Elementary Picture Books, continued

The Library Lion
by Michelle Knudsen and Kevin Hawkes
A lion is in the library, and no one knows what to do.  At least he is a quiet lion.
The works of 
Robert McCloskey
McCloskey is so awesome, he was declared a living legend by the Library of Congress in 2000.  Make Way for Ducklings, Blueberries for Sal, and One Morning in Maine are some of our all-time favorites.
Miss Nelson is Missing
by Harry G. Allard and James Marshall
This humorous story follows the kids of room 207 as they deal with a scary substitute teacher.
Miss Rumphius
by Barbara Cooney 
The landscapes in this award-winning picture book are as beautiful as its message.  Miss Rumphius is timeless.
Misty of Chincoteague
by Marguerite Henry and Wesley Dennis
For horse lovers, young and old.
My Friend is Sad
by Mo Willems
What does it take to make a sad elephant happy?  This goofy book about friendship has the answer!
by Michael Bond and Peggy Fortnum
After more than fifty years, Paddington remains one of the world's most adored Teddy bears, along with Milne's Winnie the Pooh, and Jean Robinson's Teddy Robinson.
These rhyming classics are great for reading out loud (even though it's sometimes a challenge!)  We like Horton Hatches the Egg, Fox in Socks, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Green Eggs and Ham, The Lorax, and...yeah...pretty much all of them.
Seven Silly Eaters
by Mary Ann Hoberman and Marla Frazee
Engaging verses and intricate, wacky pictures make this book about a topsy-turvy household of picky eaters lots of fun.
The works of David Weisner
We can't get enough of David Weisner, whose books are not only gorgeous, but also smart, funny, and sophisticated.  Try The Three Pigs and Flotsam.

Kim Prosise 

Sunday, May 13, 2012

CBW Roundup: Fantasy Series

The Chronicles of Prydain, by Lloyd Alexander
Alexander's five book epic chronicles the journey of an assistant pig-keeper who becomes a hero, along with his unforgettable friends.  In order, they are: The Book of Three, The Black Cauldron, The Castle of Llyr, Taran Wanderer, and The High King.

The Enchanted Novels, by Gail Carson Levine
Ok, so they're not exactly a series, but Ella Enchanted, Fairest, and the Two Princesses of Bamarre are top notch fairy tales with strong female protagonists.  Ella is a truly fresh take on a classic story that middle school readers will love.
Graceling, by Kristin Cashore
Graceling, Fire, and Bitterblue are Kristin Cashore's YA smash hits about a kingdom in which teenagers are granted special and sometimes disturbing abilities. 
Edward Eager's Tales of Magic, with illustrations by N.M. Bodecker and Quentin Blake
These stories about cousins who stumble onto strange magical events are clever and lots of fun.  Though the most famous are Half Magic, Magic by the Lake, Knight's Castle, and The Time Garden, there are plenty more to choose from.
The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis
Most kids have read The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, but there's far more to Narnia, and two different ways to read the series (by order of publication, or in HarperCollins' chronological arrangement).  I'm in the chronological camp, which starts with The Magician's Nephew.

His Dark Materials, by Philip Pullman 
A gorgeous, sophisticated trilogy for middle schoolers and young adults.  The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass have received countless honors.  
The World of Redwall, by Brian Jacques
The mice of Redwall Abbey, their heroes, myths, and legends, all come alive in these swashbuckling novels.
The Rick Riordan Books
Rick Riordan has written four series so far, and shows no sign of stopping!  Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Heroes of Olympus, The 39 Clues, and The Kane Chronicles are among our most popular kids books.  The Serpent's Shadow, the most recent book in the Kane Chronicles, hit shelves on May 1.

The Underland Chronicles, by Suzanne Collins
Before The Hunger Games, Susan Collins wrote about a dark realm beneath New York City.
Thraxas, by Martin Scott
Probably my all-time favorite fantasy for young adults, Thraxas and its associated sequels detail the misadventures of a portly, middle-aged private eye whose sorcerous abilites are unreliable at best.  This relatively unknown fantasy-noir is a great mystery that's full of hilarious characters, social commentary, action, wit, and high-flying adventure.

Kim Prosise

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