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!