Friday, January 29, 2010

Writers' Birthdays = Discounted Books!

Here at Farley's, we've decided to celebrate the birthdays of some of our favorite authors by sharing their books with you--at discounted prices! On the day of a given writer's birthday, we'll be offering his/her books for 15% off all day long!

Upcoming birthdays to keep in mind:
  • 1/29 Thomas Paine
  • 1/30 Richard Brautigan
  • 1/31 Norman Mailer
  • 2/1 Langston Hughes
  • 2/2 James Joyce
  • 2/3 Paul Auster
  • 2/5 William S. Burroughs
  • 2/7 Charles Dickens
  • 2/8 Kate Chopin
  • 2/9 J.M. Coetzee

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Farley's Book Club: February 2010

Think you know the story of Pinocchio? Think again! If all you know of the little wooden boy is his Disney incarnation, you're missing out... join us on February 16th as our book club gets together to discuss Carlo Collodi's original Pinocchio.

Though one of the best-known books in the world, Pinocchio at the same time remains unknown--certainly in America, where it is linked in many minds to the Walt Disney movie that bears little relation to Carlo Collodi's splendid original. That story--is about, of course, a puppet who succeeds after many trials and tribulations in becoming a "real" boy, and is hardly the sentimental and morally improving tale it has been taken for.

To the contrary, Pinocchio is one of the great subversives of the written page (you might compare him to his close contemporary Huck Finn), a madcap genius, hurtled along at the pleasure and mercy of his desires. It is his unabashedness, his unwillingness to give up on anything he wants, that drives him on and delights us. And Pinocchio the book, like Pinocchio the character, is one of the great inventions of world literature, a sublime anomaly, merging the traditions of the picaresque, of the commedia dell'arte, and of the fairy tale into a singular book that is at once adventure, comedy, and irreducible conundrum, one that anticipates surrealism and magical realism. Thronged with memorable characters and composed with the fluid but inevitable logic of a dream, Pinocchio is a masterpiece of satire, fantasy, and sheer wonder that is endlessly absorbing, amusing, and surprising: essential equipment for life.

In this new translation by Geoffrey Brock, the prizewinning translator of Cesare Pavese and Umberto Eco, Pinocchio finally has an English rendering worthy of the inspired original.

We'll be meeting on Tuesday, February 16th at 7 pm, and we can't wait to see you there!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Calling All Mystery Fans: 2010 Edgar Nominees Announced!

We have quite a loyal customer base of mystery fans, and this year's nominees for the Edgar Allan Poe Awards have just been announced! Awarded annually by the Mystery Writers of America, the Edgars honor the best in mystery fiction, non-fiction, and television.

Up for best novel are:

The Missing, by Tim Gautreaux

Sam Simoneaux's troopship docked in France just as World War I came to an end. Still, what he saw of the devastation there sent him back to New Orleans eager for a normal life and a job as a floorwalker in the city's biggest department store, and to start anew with his wife years after losing a son to illness. But when a little girl disappears from the store on his shift, he loses his job and soon joins her parents working on a steamboat plying the Mississippi and providing musical entertainment en route. Sam comes to suspect that on the downriver journey someone had seen this magical child and arranged to steal her away, and this quest leads him not only into this raucous new life on the river and in the towns along its banks but also on a journey deep into the Arkansas wilderness. Here he begins to piece together what had happened to the girl--a discovery that endangers everyone involved and sheds new light on the massacre of his own family decades before.

The Odds, by Kathleen George

The Homicide Department is upside down--Richard Christie is in the hospital, Artie Dolan is headed away on vacation, John Potocki's life is falling apart, and Colleen Greer is so worried about her boss's health, she can hardly think. A young boy in Pittsburgh's North Side neighborhood dies of a suspicious overdose. The Narcotics police are working on tips and they draft Colleen and Potocki to help them. In this same neighborhood, four young kids have been abandoned and are living on their own. The Philips kids, brainy in school, are reluctant to compromise themselves. But they need cash. Connecting these people and their stories is Nick Banks, just out of prison and working off a debt to an old acquaintance involved in the drug trade. Nick is a charmer, a gentle fellow who's had a lot of trouble in his life. One day he gives free food to the Philips kids, little guessing how connected their lives are about to become. Kathleen George's latest work pushes the edge--a spectacularly original crime novel.

The Last Child, by John Hart

Thirteen year-old Johnny Merrimon had the perfect life: a warm home and loving parents; a twin sister, Alyssa, with whom he shared an irreplaceable bond. He knew nothing of loss, until the day Alyssa vanished from the side of a lonely street. Now, a year later, Johnny finds himself isolated and alone, failed by the people he'd been taught since birth to trust. No one else believes that Alyssa is still alive, but Johnny is certain that she is---confident in a way that he can never fully explain.

Determined to find his sister, Johnny risks everything to explore the dark side of his hometown. It is a desperate, terrifying search, but Johnny is not as alone as he might think. Detective Clyde Hunt has never stopped looking for Alyssa either, and he has a soft spot for Johnny. He watches over the boy and tries to keep him safe, but when Johnny uncovers a dangerous lead and vows to follow it, Hunt has no choice but to intervene. Then a second child goes missing . . .

Undeterred by Hunt's threats or his mother's pleas, Johnny enlists the help of his last friend, and together they plunge into the wild, to a forgotten place with a history of violence that goes back more than a hundred years. There, they meet a giant of a man, an escaped convict on his own tragic quest. What they learn from him will shatter every notion Johnny had about the fate of his sister; it will lead them to another far place, to a truth that will test both boys to the limit.

Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death, by Charlie Huston

With his teaching career derailed by tragedy and his slacker days numbered, Webster Fillmore Goodhue makes an unlikely move and joins Clean Team, charged with tidying up L.A.'s grisly crime scenes. For Web, it's a steady gig, and he soon finds himself sponging a Malibu suicide's brains from a bathroom mirror and flirting with the man's bereaved and beautiful daughter.

Then things get weird: The dead man's daughter asks a favor. Every cell in Web's brain tells him to turn her down, but something makes him hit the Harbor Freeway at midnight to help her however he can. Soon enough it's Web who needs the help when gun-toting California cowboys start showing up on his doorstep. What's the deal? Is it something to do with what he cleaned up in that motel room in Carson? Or is it all about the brewing war between rival trauma cleaners? Web doesn't have a clue, but he'll need to get one if he's going to keep from getting his face kicked in. Again. And again. And again...

Nemesis, by Jo Nesbo

Captured on closed-circuit television: A man walks into an Oslo bank, puts a gun to a cashier's head, and tells her to count to twenty-five. When he doesn't get his money fast enough, he pulls the trigger. The young woman dies--and two million Norwegian kroner disappear without a trace.

After a drunken evening with his former girlfriend, Anna Bethsen, Police Detective Harry Hole wakes up at home with a headache, no cell phone, and no memory of the past twelve hours. That same day, Anna is found shot dead in her bedroom, making Hole a prime suspect in an investigation led by his hated adversary Tom Waaler. Meanwhile, the bank robberies continue with unparalleled savagery, sending rogue detective Hole from the streets of Oslo to steaming Brazil in a race to close two cases and clear his name. But Waaler isn't finished with his longtime nemesis quite yet.

A Beautiful Place to Die, by Malla Nunn

In a morally complex tale rich with authenticity, Nunn takes readers to Jacob's Rest, a tiny town on the border between South Africa and Mozambique. It is 1952, and new apartheid laws have recently gone into effect, dividing a nation into black and white while supposedly healing the political rifts between the Afrikaners and the English. Tensions simmer as the fault line between the oppressed and the oppressors cuts deeper, but it's not until an Afrikaner police officer is found dead that emotions more dangerous than anyone thought possible boil to the surface.

When Detective Emmanuel Cooper, an Englishman, begins investigating the murder, his mission is preempted by the powerful police Security Branch, who are dedicated to their campaign to flush out black communist radicals. But Detective Cooper isn't interested in political expediency and has never been one for making friends. He may be modest, but he radiates intelligence and certainly won't be getting on his knees before those in power. Instead, he strikes out on his own, following a trail of clues that lead him to uncover a shocking forbidden love and the imperfect life of Captain Pretorius, a man whose relationships with the black and colored residents of the town he ruled were more complicated and more human than anyone could have imagined.

To check out a complete list of all the nominees--including those for best short story, YA, critical/biographical, TV episode, and more--visit

Sunday, January 17, 2010

ALA 2010 Youth Media Awards!

This morning was a big morning for fans of children's & young adult literature, as the American Library Association announced this year's winners of its Youth Media Awards, including the Newbery, Caldecott, and Printz. Read on for all the details!

John Newbery Medals for the most distinguished contribution to children's literature

When You Reach Me, by Rebecca Stead

Newbery Honor Books:

Randolph Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished picture book for children

The Lion and the Mouse, by Jerry Pinkney

Caldecott Honor Books:

Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature

Going Bovine, by Libba Bray

Printz Honor Books:

In other award news, Deb Heiligman's Charles and Emma also won the first YALSA Nonfiction Award--congrats, Deb! Mo Willems won the Theodore Seuss Geisel Award for Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! (given for the most distinguished book for beginning readers). Walter Dean Myers received the first ever Coretta Scott King-Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement; children's nonfiction author Jim Murphy won the Margaret A. Edwards award for Lifetime Achievement.

There's a great list of books that won the Alex Award as well, which recognizes adult books with appeal to young adults and includes Farley's staff favorite Stitches, by David Small. For a complete list of winners and awards, visit ALA Youth Media Awards.

So, what do you think of this year's winners? When You Reach Me has been a staff favorite at Farley's all year, so we're thrilled--but not surprised!--that it won the Newbery, and we're so excited for the formerly local Deborah Heiligman's successes. Congrats to all the winners!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Local Author Spotlight: Diana Wells

This weekend, we were pleased to welcome Diana Wells, author of Lives of the Trees to the bookshop! A friend to all trees and an advocate of green living, Diana doesn't travel much--to keep her carbon footprint low--but joined us for an exclusive signing.

Her books are favorites of ours in our Nature and Gardening sections, and her newest book, Lives of the Trees, is no exception. In it, Wells explores humanity's intricate and deep-rooted history with trees. As she investigates the names and meanings of trees, telling their legends and lore, she reminds us of just how innately bound we are to these protectors of our planet. Since the human race began, we have depended on them for food, shade, shelter and fuel, not to mention furniture, musical instruments, medicine utensils and more.

Wells was recently featured on NPR's "All Things Considered"; click here to learn more, and to listen to her interview in its entirety. Then, visit us at Farley's--the only place you can find a signed copy of Lives of the Trees!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Expand Your Reading Horizons with the 10-10-10 Challenge!

Be it one author by whom you feel compelled to read everything ever written, or that genre you're completely addicted to, it's all too easy to get stuck in a reading rut... to wrap yourself in that cozy little bubble of books you know you'll love and never crawl out. And really, who doesn't appreciate knowing that the next book you pick up is going to be one you can't put down?

But what about all of those amazing reads outside of the bubble? The ones you risk missing out on? That incredible biography overlooked by the fiction enthusiast, that perfect novel brushed aside by the history buff, that amazing short story collection ignored by the mystery-lover... well this year, we've discovered the perfect way to challenge yourself to pop the bubble and seek out books from a new section of Farley's: the 10-10-10 Reading Challenge.

The challenge was inspired by one at Library Thing, and is being spearheaded by two Twitter book professionals, Kalen Landow (@kalenski) and Melissa Klug (@permanentpaper). Here's how it works: choose ten genres/categories of books that are outside of your reading comfort zone. They can be anything you like! If you've never read a YA book, choose YA! If you'd like to make an effort to read more books by local authors, create a local author category! Then, try to read 10 books in each of your 10 categories by 10/10/10.

We know what you're thinking--100 books by October? Crazy! But the good news is that it's only a goal. If you don't make it to 100 by October 10th, no worries; the idea is just to challenge yourself to expand your reading. And keep in mind that some of what you read could count toward more than one category! For example, if two of your categories are YA and local authors, Marie Lamba's What I Meant... counts for both.

Farley's staffer Lauren has jumped in, with these categories:

Poetry/Novels in Verse
Science Fiction/Fantasy
Too Long TBR
Graphic Novels
Philadelphia Fiction
As-Yet-Unread Classics
Twitter Authors
Twitter Recommendations

To join the challenge, or just to learn more, visit Then let us recommend some great titles to you--from any section of the bookshop!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Congratulations to Matt Phelan!

Happy New Year all! We hope that 2010 is off to a wonderful start for everyone, as it certainly is for us... one of our resolutions this year is to do a better job of keeping up with our blog, and we thought we'd start by congratulating Matt Phelan, the 2010 winner of the Scott O'Dell Award!

Children's writer Scott O'Dell created the Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction in 1982, hoping to "encourage other writers--particularly new authors--to focus on historical fiction." He hoped that this would "increase the interest of young readers in the historical background that has helped to shape their country and their world." Awarded annually, the $5,000 prize goes to a book published in the previous year for children or young adults. To learn more about Scott O'Dell and the Scott O'Dell award, you can visit O'Dell's site here. For more on this year's winner, keep reading!

The Storm in the Barn is an artful, haunting graphic novel following 11-year-old Jack Clark. In Kansas in the year 1937, Jack faces his share of ordinary challenges: local bullies, his father’s failed expectations, a little sister with an eye for trouble. But he also has to deal with the effects of the Dust Bowl, including rising tensions in his small town and the spread of a shadowy illness. Certainly a case of "dust dementia" would explain who (or what) Jack has glimpsed in the Talbot’s abandoned barn—a sinister figure with a face like rain. In a land where it never rains, it’s hard to trust what you see with your own eyes—and harder still to take heart and be a hero when the time comes. With phenomenal pacing, sensitivity, and a sure command of suspense, Matt Phelan ushers us into a world where desperation is transformed by unexpected courage.