Thursday, December 31, 2009

Bestsellers of 2009

A new year is almost upon us, and to celebrate, we thought we'd take a look back at some of our bestsellers this year... check 'em out, and let us know what you think!

At the Counter: Star Wars Fandex by Christopher Cerasi, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen & Seth Grahame-Smith

Art: Art & Physics by Leonard Shlain

Biography: The Soloist by Steve Lopez

True Crime: Havana Nocturne by T.J. English

Current Events: 3 Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson

Cookbooks: Canal House Cooking Vol. 1 (with Vol. 2 coming in second!) by Melissa Hamilton & Christopher Hirsheimer

Food lit: The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan

Essays: Armageddon in Retrospect by Kurt Vonnegut

Gift: Bucks County For All Seasons by Bucks Co. Town & Country Living

History: The Zookeeper's Wife by Diane Ackerman and Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

Humor: The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks

Graphic Novels: Watchmen by Alan Moore

General Fiction: The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery

Kids' Books:
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw by Jeff Kinney (Middle Grade)
Twilight by Stephenie Meyer (YA)
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak (Picture Books)
Haiku Baby by Betsy Snyder (Board Books)
Barbarians by Steven Kroll (Nonfiction)

Music: This Is Your Brain On Music by Daniel J. Levitin

Mystery: Dope Thief by Dennis Tafoya

Nature: A Place of My Own by Michael Pollan

New Age: Witches Almanac 2009-2010

Eastern Philosophy: In the Face of Fear: Buddhist Wisdom for Challenging Times, Barry Boyce, ed.

Parenting: What to Expect When You're Expecting by Heidi Murkoff

Philosophy & Religion: Plato & a Platypus Walk Into A Bar by Tom Cathcart & Daniel Klein

Poetry: Book of Longing by Leonard Cohen

Politics: Empire of Illusion by Chris Hedges

Psychology: Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

Reference: The Old Farmers Almanac 2010

Science: Physics of the Impossible by Michio Kaku

Science Fiction: Good Omens by Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett

Sociology: Hippie by Barry Miles

Sports: Born to Run by Christopher McDougall

Travel: Weird N.J. by Mark Moran & Mark Sceurman

Local Interest: Haunted New Hope by Lynda Lee Macken

Wine: Accidental Connoisseur by Lawrence Osborne

Did your favorite books of 2009 make the list? Any surprises? Let us know in the comments, and Happy New Year!!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Farley's Book Club: January 2010

It's been a busy December for us here at Farley's... thanks so much for shopping local this holiday season, and we hope that it's been a joyous one! As we get closer and closer to 2010, we're excited to announce our first book club pick for the new year: David Benioff's City of Thieves.

During the Nazis' brutal siege of Leningrad, Lev Beniov is arrested for looting and thrown into the same cell as a handsome deserter named Kolya. Instead of being executed, Lev and Kolya are given a shot at saving their own lives by complying with an outrageous directive: secure a dozen eggs for a powerful Soviet colonel to use in his daughter's wedding cake. In a city cut off from all supplies and suffering unbelievable deprivation, Lev and Kolya embark on a hunt through the dire lawlessness of Leningrad and behind enemy lines to find the impossible.

By turns insightful and funny, thrilling and terrifying, City of Thieves is a gripping, cinematic World War II adventure and an intimate coming-of-age story with an utterly contemporary feel for how boys become men.

Please join us for some great discussion and light refreshments on Tuesday, January 19th at 7 pm. Hope to see you there!

Monday, November 23, 2009

December Book Club Pick!

Thanks so much to everyone who came out to our November Book Club discussion, and made it one of our best yet! Now, we're excited to announce our selection for December: Niccolo Ammaniti's As God Commands.

The economically depressed village of Varrano, where Cristiano Zena lives with his hard-drinking, out-of-work father, Rino, is a world away from the picturesque towns of travel-brochure Italy. When Rino and his rough-edged cronies Danilo and Quattro Formaggi come up with a plan to reverse all their fortunes, Cristiano wonders if maybe their lives are poised for deliverance after all. But the plan goes horribly awry. On a night of apocalyptic weather, each character will act in a way that will have irreversible consequences for themselves and others, and Cristiano will find his life changed forever, and not in the way he had hoped.

Please join us on Tuesday, December 15th at 7 pm for what's sure to be a fascinating discussion--and, as always, for some light refreshments. See you there!

Friday, November 20, 2009

National Book Awards 2009

The National Book Foundation announced the winners of this year's National Book Awards this week, and they chose some great ones! Check 'em out:


Colum McCann took home the win in the fiction category with Let the Great World Spin. In the dawning light of a late-summer morning, the people of lower Manhattan stand hushed, staring up in disbelief at the Twin Towers. It is August 1974, and a mysterious tightrope walker is running, dancing, leaping between the towers, suspended a quarter mile above the ground. In the streets below, a slew of ordinary lives become extraordinary in bestselling novelist Colum McCann's stunningly intricate portrait of a city and its people.

Let the Great World Spin is the critically acclaimed author's most ambitious novel yet: a dazzlingly rich vision of the pain, loveliness, mystery, and promise of New York City in the 1970s. Corrigan, a radical young Irish monk, struggles with his own demons as he lives among the prostitutes in the middle of the burning Bronx. A group of mothers gather in a Park Avenue apartment to mourn their sons who died in Vietnam, only to discover just how much divides them even in grief. A young artist finds herself at the scene of a hit-and-run that sends her own life careening sideways. Tillie, a thirty-eight-year-old grandmother, turns tricks alongside her teenage daughter, determined not only to take care of her family but to prove her own worth.

Elegantly weaving together these and other seemingly disparate lives, McCann's powerful allegory comes alive in the unforgettable voices of the city's people, unexpectedly drawn together by hope, beauty, and the "artistic crime of the century." A sweeping and radical social novel, Let the Great World Spin captures the spirit of America in a time of transition, extraordinary promise, and, in hindsight, heartbreaking innocence.


This year's winner for nonfiction was The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt, by T.J. Stiles.

Founder of a dynasty, builder of the original Grand Central, creator of an impossibly vast fortune, Cornelius "Commodore" Vanderbilt is an American icon. Humbly born on Staten Island during George Washington's presidency, he rose from boatman to builder of the nation's largest fleet of steamships to lord of a railroad empire. Lincoln consulted him on steamship strategy during the Civil War; Jay Gould was first his uneasy ally and then sworn enemy; and Victoria Woodhull, the first woman to run for president of the United States, was his spiritual counselor. We see Vanderbilt help to launch the transportation revolution, propel the Gold Rush, reshape Manhattan, and invent the modern corporation--in fact, as T. J. Stiles elegantly argues, Vanderbilt did more than perhaps any other individual to create the economic world we live in today.

In The First Tycoon, Stiles offers the first complete, authoritative biography of this titan, and the first comprehensive account of the Commodore's personal life. It is a sweeping, fast-moving epic, and a complex portrait of the great man. Vanderbilt, Stiles shows, embraced the philosophy of the Jacksonian Democrats and withstood attacks by his conservative enemies for being too competitive. He was a visionary who pioneered business models. He was an unschooled fist-fighter who came to command the respect of New York's social elite. And he was a father who struggled with a gambling-addicted son, a husband who was loving yet abusive, and, finally, an old man who was obsessed with contacting the dead.

The First Tycoon is the exhilarating story of a man and a nation maturing together: the powerful account of a man whose life was as epic and complex as American history itself.


Keith Waldrop won for poetry with his Transcendental Studies: A Trilogy.

This compelling selection of recent work by internationally celebrated poet Keith Waldrop presents three related poem sequences--"Shipwreck in Haven," "Falling in Love through a Description," and "The Plummet of Vitruvius"--in a virtuosic poetic triptych. In these quasi-abstract, experimental lines, collaged words torn from their contexts take on new meanings. Waldrop, a longtime admirer of such artists as the French poet Raymond Queneau and the American painter Robert Motherwell, imposes a tonal override on purloined materials, yet the originals continue to show through. These powerful poems, at once metaphysical and personal, reconcile Waldrop's romantic tendencies with formal experimentation, uniting poetry and philosophy and revealing him as a transcendentalist for the new millennium.


And finally, in the young people's category, Phillip Hoose won for his biography of civil rights activist Claudette Colvin, Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice. (Claudette Colvin herself even attended the evening's events!)

On March 2, 1955, an impassioned teenager, fed up with the daily injustices of Jim Crow segregation, refused to give her seat to a white woman on a segregated bus in Montgomery, Alabama. Instead of being celebrated as Rosa Parks would be just nine months later, fifteen-year-old Claudette Colvin found herself shunned by her classmates and dismissed by community leaders. Undaunted, a year later she dared to challenge segregation again as a key plaintiff in "Browder v. Gayle," the landmark case that struck down the segregation laws of Montgomery and swept away the legal underpinnings of the Jim Crow South.

Based on extensive interviews with Claudette Colvin and many others, Phillip Hoose presents the first in-depth account of an important yet largely unknown civil rights figure, skillfully weaving her dramatic story into the fabric of the historic Montgomery bus boycott and court case that would change the course of American history.

Congratulations to all of the winners!! For more on this year's winners & finalists (including interviews with the authors!), or to learn more about the Awards and the National Book Foundation, visit

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Walter the Farting... Pumpkin??

Well, our first ever pumpkin decorating contest has come to a close, and we're pleased to announce our winner! The winning pumpkin was decorated by Grant, and is none other than Walter the Farting Dog, complete with fart! Check him out:

Farley's staffers Lauren & Mike were equally proud of their pumpkins (Greg Heffley and the Very Hungry Caterpillar, respectively), so of course they earned a spot in our winning pumpkin display too:

Thanks for your creativity, and for making us all laugh, Grant! And thanks as well to everyone who participated!!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Congratulations to Canal House Cooking!

Farley's favorite and local production Canal House Cooking Volume 1 has been nominated for the 2009 Piglet Award! Awarded by food52, which celebrates home cooks, cookbooks, and recipes, the Piglet is given to the winner of the Tournament of Cookbooks, which sees the 16 most notable cookbooks of the year pitted against one another.

Canal House Cooking Volume 1 has already made it through the first two rounds of competition, which were judged by James Beard Award-nominated cookbook author Heidi Swanson and actress/foodie Gwyneth Paltrow. Check out what they had to say about Volume 1 and follow the progress of the Tournament of Cookbooks by visiting

Volume 2 of Canal House Cooking is now available at Farley's, and it is packed with an assortment of delicious recipes for the holiday season! Stop by today to pick up your copy of the newest collection of seasonal recipes by local food artists Melissa Hamilton and Christopher Hirsheimer.

Congratulations, Canal House!!

Friday, October 23, 2009

November Book Club Pick!

Thanks to everyone who joined us this past Tuesday as our book club met to discuss The Hakawati! For November, we've chosen to read People of the Book, by Geraldine Brooks.

"When an Australian rare-book conservator named Hanna Heath finds a butterfly wing, a salt crystal, a white hair, and bloodstains in the recently rediscovered Sarajevo Haggadah, a late-medieval illuminated codex of uncertain provenance, she sets out to solve the mystery of the book’s origins. To her disappointment, analysis of the specimens reveals little. 'It’s too bad,' an organic chemist tells her. 'Blood is potentially so dramatic.'

Brooks, beginning where science leaves off, uses Hanna’s finds as entry points to richly imagined historical landscapes peopled by the Haggadah’s creators, protectors, and would-be destroyers—a female Muslim slave in Convivencia Spain, a Jewish doctor in fin-de-siècle Vienna, an alcoholic priest in seventeenth-century Venice. Their narratives alternate with Hanna’s own, and the final, multilayered effect is complex and moving." ~ from The New Yorker

We'll be meeting on Tuesday, November 17th at 7 p.m. in the back room at Farley's. We hope to see you there for some great conversation and light refreshments!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Books vs. Movies

Where the Wild Things Are opens today! A little while back, we tweeted about these gorgeous photo stills from the movie, and more than a few of us here at Farley's are pretty excited to check it out. We've been ooohh-ing and aaahh-ing over the stills from Tim Burton's 2010 Alice in Wonderland since they started floating around the internet too, and the trailer for the upcoming adaptation of Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones is pretty stunning as well.

All of the buzz around these movies has gotten us thinking, and more often than not, it seems that the film adaptations of our favorite books fall woefully short of their predecessors in print. How many times have you left the movie theater thinking, "Wow, the book was so much better!" Take the recent movie version of Audrey Niffenegger's The Time Traveler's Wife, for example. While not a bad movie, per se, it definitely did not live up to the book... much of what we loved about the main characters Henry and Clare didn't make it to the screen, and their love story just didn't get the time it needed to develop.

So often, that's just it: something we love from the book is inevitably left out of the movie. But when everything's got to fit inside of a two-hour window, however, some details have to be compromised... don't they? Still, there seem to be successful ways to go about that. Take the Harry Potter empire. Sure, there are plenty of HP fans out there who can't stand the movies because they leave so much out, but there are just as many who are understanding of the time constraints and enjoy them whole-heartedly regardless. (We're among the latter.)

Then there's the matter of casting. There's a certain joy to envisioning a good novel as we read, which sometimes gets lost once the film is released. Can I ever recall my original imagining of Henry DeTamble now that I've seen Eric Bana in his shoes? How many times have you seen a movie trailer and thought, "That's not how I pictured him/her at all!" Of course, the opposite can happen too... Daniel Radcliffe, we're talking to you!

That's not to say there's no such thing as a good film adaptation, of course, or that the reverse can't happen. Watching a movie can just as often spark interest in the book, and of course there are some wonderful books-turned-films out there. After all, Slumdog Millionaire took home an Oscar, and there are a number of movies out there that rival or far outshine the books that inspired them. There's The Wizard of Oz, Gone With the Wind, and perhaps the greatest book/movie combination of all time: To Kill A Mockingbird.
And what about The Princess Bride?? We can't tell you how many visitors we get who spot that book on our racks and say, "Oh, they made a book out of this? I love that movie!" While the movie is a total cult classic, we've got a sneaking suspicion that more people than not don't even know about the book--which is, while markedly different in some places, equally enjoyable and even more amusing. So what makes the difference here? Is it that most people have seen the movie first? Do we tend to love the form we're first exposed to more?

Whatever the case, it's always entertaining--or at least interesting--to see how someone else envisions the books we love, and if Where the Wild Things Are lives up to even half of its promise, we'll likely be happy campers. To anyone who makes it to the theaters today, please let us know what you think!

And to everyone else out there, we'd love to hear your thoughts as well! What is it that makes a good film adaptaion? A bad one? What are your favorite (and least favorite!) movies inspired by books?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

2009 National Book Award Finalists

The National Book Foundation has announced the finalists for this year's National Book Awards!! There are some fantastic titles among the finalists, and some brilliant writers among the judges. Check them out for yourself...

...and let us know what you think!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Pumpkin Decorating Contest!

Farley's is hosting our first ever pumpkin decorating contest!! Decorate a pumpkin inspired by your favorite children's book character and win a $30 Farley's Gift Certificate!

Contest Guidelines:
  1. Choose a character from your favorite children's book and decorate a pumpkin inspired by that character. All characters are welcome!
  2. Complete the entry form at the bottom of this email and bring it, along with your pumpkin, to the bookshop between 10 a.m. on Friday, October 30th and noon on Saturday, October 31st. Submitted pumpkins will remain on display in our children's window throughout the weekend of October 31st-November 1st. During that time, visitors to the bookshop will have the opportunity to vote on their favorite pumpkin. The winner will be announced in the first week of November.
Entry Rules:
  1. No pumpkins larger than 1' x 1' x 1' please!
  2. Carved pumpkins are welcome, but please remember that entries will be displayed in our shop window, and that painted/decorated pumpkins will stay fresh considerably longer.
  1. Choose a firm pumpkin with no blemishes, and make sure the stem is firmly attached. Store your pumpkin in a cool, dry place, protected from frost.
  2. Wash your pumpkin under running water before decorating.
  3. If painting your pumpkin, acrylic paints work best.
We can't wait to see what you come up with! Happy Fall!!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Farley's Welcomes Jonathan Maberry & David F. Kramer!

This past Saturday, Farley's welcomed Bram Stoker Award-winning Jonathan Maberry to the bookshop. In case you've been missing out on this fantastic local author, he's the celebrated writer of a variety of supernatural thrillers and mysteries--and he's a master of the genre! His newest book, They Bite, was co-written with David F. Kramer, who came out for the event as well!

Do you love Twilight? Are you dddicted to Sookie Stackhouse? In They Bite, Maberry and Kramer go beyond the folklore to explore how and why supernatural predators have become pop culture stars.

Jonthan Maberry & David Kramer worked previously together on The Cryptopedia: A Dictionary of the Weird, Strange, and Downright Bizarre. Other books by Jonathan Maberry include Farley's favorite Patient Zero and the Pine Deep Trilogy--the setting of which was inspired by our very own New Hope!!

Check out a few photos from the event:

Jonathan Maberry & David F. Kramer

They brought gummy body parts! We liked the gummy brains the best.

Local author & fellow Philly Liars Club member Dennis Tafoya stopped by too!

You can view more photos from the event on our Facebook page. To learn more about Jonathan Maberry, visit his Big Scary Blog; find more about David F. Kramer on his Web site,

Thanks for such a great event, guys!

Friday, September 25, 2009

October Book Club Pick!

Last year sometime, former Farley's staffer Kate read a book that she loved. And we mean LOVED. According to her, it was one of those books that she wished would just keep going so she'd never have to finish it. Since then, a few of us here at the shop have been meaning to pick it up ourselves, but as sometimes happens, life (and other books!) kept getting in the way.

Well, now we're out of excuses, because we've chosen it for our next book club pick! For October, we're excited to be reading The Hakawati, by Rabih Alameddine.

In 2003, Osama al-Kharrat returns to Beirut after many years in America to stand vigil at his father's deathbed. As the family gathers, stories begin to unfold: Osama's grandfather was a hakawati, or storyteller, and his bewitching tales are interwoven with classic stories of the Middle East. Here are Abraham and Isaac; Ishmael, father of the Arab tribes; the beautiful Fatima; Baybars, the slave prince who vanquished the Crusaders; and a host of mischievous imps. Through Osama, we also enter the world of the contemporary Lebanese men and women whose stories tell a larger, heartbreaking tale of seemingly endless war, conflicted identity, and survival. With The Hakawati, Rabih Alameddine has given us an Arabian Nights for this century.

Please join us on Tuesday, October 20th at 7 p.m. for some good company, insightful discussion, and light refreshments. Hope to see you there, and thanks for the inspiration, Kate!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Take 5: Buffy's Top 5 Favorite Authors of the Moment

With Farley's staffer Ellie off in Africa for the year, and fantastic summer staffers Kristina and Dylan returned to their academic homes for the school year, we've welcomed a new employee aboard here at the bookshop: Buffy. Yep, that's right, Buff. Pretty fantastic, right?

He's the first (and likely to be the only, if we're honest) Buffy in Farley's history, and to get to know him a bit, we've asked him to share his top five favorite authors. An all-time top five seemed too difficult a challenge, so instead, he offered us his top five authors right now. Thanks, Buffy, and welcome aboard!

1. Nelson Algren. "Algren breaks the barriers of poetry and prose. A sharp, clear, fearless eye."

2. John Fante. "Pure guts. He writes with pure guts."

3. Francois Villon. "A humane and heartbreaking poet. Hard lived ideas well said."

4. Abdelrahman Munif. "The Dostoevsky of Arab literature. Beyond important."

5. Jun'ichiro Tanizaki. "A Master storyteller unafraid to mine the interior of love. He's everything Nicholas Sparks fears."

What's in your top-five-of-the-moment??

Thursday, September 10, 2009

September Signings at Farley's Bookshop!

We've got a variety of exciting author events coming up at Farley's this fall, beginning this weekend and including children's picture book author Steven Kroll, memoirist Rachel Simon, and the award-winning Jonathan Maberry! Read on for more details...

Children's picture book author Steven Kroll will be joining us for a signing this Saturday, September 12th, from 1-4 p.m. Stop by, bring the kids, and meet this favorite local author!

Steven Kroll is the author of a number of children's picture books. His most recent book is Barbarians; other favorites include Stuff, Patches Lost and Found, and The Hanukkah Mice. View additional titles by Steven Kroll here!

Rachel Simon, author of Riding the Bus with My Sister, will be joining us at Solebury School on Friday, September 25th, from 7-9 p.m. to sign copies of her new books, Building a Home with My Husband.

As she prepares to renovate her historic Wilmington, DE home with her architect husband Hal, Rachel Simon prepares herself for the disagreements and disasters that can accompany a major home renovation. What she isn't prepared for is what she comes to discover about the construction, demolition, and renovation of personal connections in one's life.

We'll be welcoming local author Jonathan Maberry to the bookshop for a signing on Saturday, September 26th, from 1-4 p.m. He'll be here signing copies of his newest book, They Bite!

Love Twilight? Addicted to Sookie Stackhouse? In They Bite, Bram Stoker Award-winning author Maberry and David F. Kramer go beyond the folklore to explore how and why supernatural predators have become pop culture stars.

Previous titles by Maberry include Patient Zero, Ghost Road Blues, Dead Man's Song, and Bad Moon Rising. And did you know that the setting for the Ghost Road Blues trilogy was inspired by our very own New Hope??

Hope to see you for these great signings, and keep an eye out for more exciting events throughout the fall!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Congrats to James McBride!

Finalists for the 2009 Dayton Literary Peace Prize were announced this month, and among them is local author James McBride! McBride's most recent book, Song Yet Sung, is a finalist for the prize, which is a U.S. literary award that recognizes "the power of the written word to promote peace."

Song Yet Sung tells the story of runaway slave Liz Spocott, who breaks free from her captors in the days before the Civil War. She escapes into the labyrinthine swamps of Maryland's eastern shore, setting loose a drama of violence and hope among slave catchers, plantation owners, watermen, runaway slaves, and free blacks. Liz is near death, wracked by disturbing visions of the future, and armed with the Code, a a fiercely guarded cryptic means of communication for slaves on the run. Liz's flight and her dreams of tomorrow will thrust all those near her toward a mysterious, redemptive fate.

Other fiction finalists for this year's prize include Say You're One of Them, by Uwem Akpan; Peace, by Richard Bausch; The Plague of Doves, by Louise Erdrich; Beijing Coma, by Ma Jian; and Telex from Cuba, by Rachel Kushner.

For a detailed list of all finalists, both fiction and nonfiction, click here; learn more about the Dayton Literary Peace Prize here.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Take 5: Kristina's Favorite Beach Reads

This week we're (sadly) saying a temporary goodbye to some of our fantastic summer help here at the bookshop. Summer itself is winding down too, so we thought we'd bid farewell to summer staffer Kristina with her top 5 favorite beach reads! Check them out:

1. Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman

"I read this for the first time almost six years ago, but each reread is as good as the last."

2. Jitterbug Perfume, by Tom Robbins

"Always crazy, always beautiful."

3. When You Are Engulfed in Flames, by David Sedaris

"David Sedaris never seems to lead an uninteresting life, no matter how hard he tries. Reading him on the beach makes waiting to hear his annual Christmas reading on NPR just a little easier."

4. Ham on Rye, by Charles Bukowski

"If you're into him, plan on never putting it down. If you're not, maybe pass. This one's as vulgar as the rest."

5. The Woman in the Dunes, by Kobo Abé

"What better place than the beach to read a book set in the dunes?"

Thursday, August 20, 2009

September Book Club Pick!

Our book club met on Tuesday to discuss Rivka Galchen's Atmostpheric Disturbances. We seemed to have some mixed feelings about it, but thanks so much to everyone who came out to share their opinion!

For September, we've chosen a book that our manager, Julian, has been excited about and meaning to read for some time now: When We Were Romans, by Matthew Kneale.

When We Were Romans is a haunting psychological novel and another masterful work from the author of the prize-winning English Passengers.

Nine-year-old Lawrence is the man of his family. He watches over his mother and his willful little sister Jemima. He is the one who keeps order, especially when his mother decides they must leave their life in England behind because of threats from Lawrence's father. But their new life in Rome does not go as planned. Short of money and living off of his mother's old friends--all who seem to doubt her story--Lawrence soon realizes that things are not what they seem.

Please join us on Tuesday, September 15th at 7 p.m. for some great conversation and light refreshments. Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Take 5: 5 Books for a Stormy Night

Last night there were some incredible thunderstorms here. So, on this shiny, sunny morning we've been discussing the perfect books to read on a stormy night. Here's what we came up with...

1. Shadow of the Wind, by Carols Ruiz Zafon (Katie)

Ok, ok we pick this book for everything. But in our defense, that's because it is so good; atmospheric, mysterious, and satisfying:

Barcelona, 1945. A great world city lies shrouded in secrets after the war, and a boy mourning the loss of his mother finds solace in his love for an extraordinary book called The Shadow of the Wind, by an author named Julian Carax. When the boy searches for Carax's other books, it begins to dawn on him, to his horror, that someone has been systematically destroying every copy of every book the man has ever written. Soon the boy realizes that The Shadow of the Wind is as dangerous to own as it is impossible to forget, for the mystery of its author's identity holds the key to an epic story of murder, madness, and doomed love that someone will go to any lengths to keep secret.

2. Rebecca, by Daphne Du Maurier (Rebekah)

Though her name is not spelled to my satisfaction, this has always been one of my favorites. Great book, great movie. Brooding man with a haunted past, evil housekeeper, bright eyed new wife who starts to discover secrets she wishes she didn't. Very dark and stormy.

From the first page, the reader is ushered into an isolated gray stone mansion on the windswept Cornish coast, as the second Mrs. Maxim de Winter recalls the chilling events that transpired as she began her new life as the young bride of a husband she barely knew. For in every corner of every room were phantoms of a time dead but not forgotten, a past devotedly preserved by the sinister housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers: a suite immaculate and untouched, clothing laid out and ready to be worn, but not by any of the great house's current occupants. With an eerie presentiment of evil tightening her heart, the second Mrs. de Winter walked in the shadow of her mysterious predecessor, determined to uncover the darkest secrets and shattering truths about Maxim's first wife, the late and hauntingly beautiful Rebecca.

3. The Historian, by Elizabeth Kostova (Jamie)

Although it might take one stormy night to get through the first one hundred pages, believe me, the next 600 will be devoured so fast that all that will be left is the spine...

When a motherless American girl living in Europe finds a medieval book and a package of letters, all addressed ominously to "My dear and unfortunate successor..." she unwittingly assumes a quest she will discover is her birthright--a hunt that nearly brought her father to ruin and may have claimed the life of history professor Bartholomew Rossi. But what does the legend of Vlad the Impaler, the historical Dracula, have to do with the 20th Century?

4. The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman (Lauren)

The first line alone is enough to justify this pick: "There was a hand in the darkness, and it held a knife." It doesn't get much better than that on a dark & stormy evening...

Inspired by The Jungle Book, The Graveyard Book tells the story of Bod, a young boy whose family is ruthlessly murdered when he is just a baby. Bod escapes, and finds his way to a graveyard. Within the gates of the cemetery, Bod is protected from the murderer Jack, and the spirit of his dying mother begs its residents to keep him safe. One pair of ghosts, the Owenses, agree to take him in, and so begins Bod's life within the graveyard gates, raised by the dead...

5. The Sign of Four, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (Kristina)

Sherlock Holmes just equals a dark and stormy night, and this particular story is sure to raise some goosebumps.

The Sign of Four is the mystery surrounding the disappearance Miss Mary Morstan's father. Every year on the anniversary of Miss Morstan's father's disappearance, Mary receives an anonymous gift of a priceless pearl. Miss Morstan solicits the help of Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson to unravel the identity and motive of her anonymous benefactor.

So there you have it! What are your favorite books for a dark and stormy night? Send us your picks!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Farley's Welcomes Author A.S. King!

This past Saturday, Farley's was thrilled to welcome A.S. King, author of the YA/crossover book The Dust of 100 Dogs! The book became a staff favorite earlier this year, when Lauren picked it up and couldn't put it down.

In it, King tells the story of two teens: Emer, a famed 17th century pirate, and Saffron, her 21st century counterpart. You see, Emer is one of the most feared pirates on the seas--until she is murdered and cursed with the dust of 100 dogs, dooming her to live 100 lifetimes as a dog before she can return to human form.

When Emer finally gets to live life as a human again, she is born as Saffron, an ordinary Pennsylvania teen with several lifetimes of canine & pirate memories. Now, she's determined to recover the treasure she buried three hundred years ago, and this time, she won't let anyone stand in her way...

Check out a few photos from the event:

Kristina's awesome handmade sign, inspired by the book's cover

A.S. King, signing away...

A.S. King with Farley's staffer Lauren.
Check out her fantastic Indiebound t-shirt!

You can view more photos on our Facebook page. To learn more about A.S. King, visit her website or blog, and then check out this amusing interview with Amy and her characters.

Thanks so much to everyone who came out and made this event such a success! We had such a great time!

Monday, August 3, 2009

August Book Club Pick!

Thanks to everybody who came out to our July Book Club to discuss Wallace Stegner's Crossing to Safety. It was a great evening! Now, we're excited to announce our book club selection for August: Rivka Galchen's debut novel Atmospheric Disturbances.

When Dr. Leo Liebenstein's wife disappears, she leaves behind a single confounding clue: a woman who looks, talks, and behaves exactly like her. A simulacrum. But Leo is not fooled, and he knows better than to trust his senses in matters of the heart. Certain that the real Rema is alive and in hiding, he embarks on a quixotic journey to reclaim her. With the help of his psychiatric patient Harvey--who believes himself to be a secret agent able to control the weather--his investigation leads him from the streets of New York City to the southernmost reaches of Patagonia, in search of the woman he loves. Atmospheric Disturbances is a "witty, tender, and conceptually dazzling" (Booklist) novel about the mysterious nature of human relationships. Order online from Farley's here!

We'll be meeting on Tuesday, August 18th at 7 p.m. to discuss the book, and as always, there will be great conversation and light refreshments. Can't wait to see you there!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Farewell, Frank McCourt...

Frank McCourt, acclaimed author of Angela's Ashes, passed away today at the age of 78. What a sad day and tragic loss for the literary community...

Read more about his death and his literary legacy at NPR; find his Washington Post obituary here.

Find titles by McCourt here.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Harry Potter!!

Hey folks, Lauren here. I saw Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince last night, and I LOVED it! Changes are inevitable in film adaptations, particularly in a series with the scope of HP, but overall I thought it was beautifully shot and really well done. A few minor complaints, of course, but I won't share them here for the good of those of you who haven't seen it yet. (And to those people, I say: go now and go repeatedly!)

Anyway, I now have Harry Potter on the brain, and as such, I thought I'd share my favorite books in the series. My ranking has been met with some disagreement, and my movie ranking is completely different, but here you have it...

1. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Two words: Sirius Black.

I unabashedly adore Sirius Black, and I have to admit that I did not see that whole godfather thing coming. I loved that Harry finally found such a profound connection to his parents and their past, and the fact that it came in such an unexpected way made it even better. And who doesn't love a little time travel paradox?

2. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

Okay, so we all know how this one ends, and for me, it wasn't easy to get through. Still, I loved it. I really enjoyed discovering the identity of the Half Blood Prince, and the development of the whole horcrux thing is so central to Voldemort. I also liked seeing a bit more depth to Draco Malfoy, and of course, Ron playing Quidditch.

But if you ask me, the best thing about this book is Snape. He's undoubtedly my favorite character in the series, in part because for so much of it, you never really know which side he's on. There's something so delicious about that, and either way it goes, he's such a fascinating guy. I confess that I wanted him to turn out to be a good guy in the end, and that perhaps made his actions in this installment all the more shocking and powerful.

3. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

There were one or two things in the big finale that I wanted to see handled a bit differently. For instance, I do wish that Rowling had cut about 100 pages of Ron & Harry running around in the forest and fleshed out some of the action at the end--particularly where the Malfoys are concerned. On the whole, however, I really loved how she brought everything to a close in Deathly Hallows.

I had one personal addendum to the epilogue, though: in my mind, Luna Lovegood is totally married to Neville Longbottom and teaching Divination at Hogwart's.

4. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

How can you not enjoy the Triwizard Tournament? And Mad Eye Moody's first appearance? And our first glimpse into the pensieve? And Cedric Diggory!!

And of course, that tragic and fantastic ending that brings Voldemort back to life. It's such a critical turning point for Harry, and one of our first experiences of the truly dark current that rides under the remaining novels.

5. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Our introduction to Harry and Hogwarts and the world of wizardry. I found this one completely delightful, and it only ranks fifth on my list because compared to the others it's a bit slower and less dramatic. I did, however, thoroughly enjoy the series of challenges facing the gang as they try and find the stone. And even here, Rowling has a talent for the surprising, twisty ending--and it's here as well that my love of Severus Snape begins.

6. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

All right, this one would be much further up the list if I hadn't found it so devastating to get through. Harry faces trials--of both the adolescent and magical sort--in every installment of the series, but in this one, I felt as if he (and we as well) got very little relief.

There is, of course, the awesome exception of the Weasley twins' fireworks show, and the deliciously satisfying way that Dolores Umbridge meets her end. Those are but two small flickers of light in the otherwise darkest novel in the series until then. That's not to say I don't love this one too; I just felt the weight of it profoundly--and was heartbroken by the loss of Sirius.

7. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

I have to admit that, generally speaking, I found Chamber of Secrets relatively uneventful. Yeah, Harry's a parseltongue and Ginny's rescue is pretty great, but for some reason this one didn't strike a chord with me the way the others did.

Tom Riddle's journal is pretty cool though, as is the insight into Voldemort's former life at Hogwart's, and I was very drawn into Harry's struggle with his house identity.

All right, that's it! Are you with me, or did I get it totally wrong?? Do share--and while you're commenting, I'll be embarking on a massive re-read...

(Oh, and one final HP delight that you MUST check out if you haven't seen it already: Harry Potter and the Mysterious Ticking Noise.)