Thursday, March 31, 2011

Doggone Good Reads: Judy S Reviews "The Art of Racing in the Rain"

Listen to a podcast of Stein's talk at Book Expo America in 2008.

Judy says:
"Enzo like Seattle because the air is always moist and causes all of the wonderful smells--no less than life its very self--to be intensified.

He sets about trying to teach Denny, his human, things he might come to know about himself were he as perceptive as most dogs. Take, for example, racing cars in the rain. Denny is very skilled at this--rain on a racetrack can be an asset if you know how to handle it. Enzo thinks that if only Denny could learn to apply the gift of rain in life his living might also become more profound. Most of all he just wants Denny to realize what he needs to do in order to be happy. Enzo really knows this--Denny, no so much.

A charming book about pain, humanity, and becoming the person whom your dog already knows you to be."

Judy S gives it a 1 Kleenex rating, meaning "not likely to make you cry unless you let Barbara Walters start asking questions". Jackie, however, advises you to have one or two handy--this book has it's moments.

Supernatural Summer Writing Challenge Starts Tomorrow

"I don't do patrols, I don't go hunting, I just stick close to you. You live your life. I'll keep you safe," Tamani said, sweeping a lock of hair from her face. "Or die trying."

Laurel hasn't seen Tamani since she begged him to let her go last year. Though her heart still aches, Laurel is confident that David was the right choice.

But just as life returns to normal, Laurel realizes that a hidden enemy lies in wait. Once again, Laurel must turn to Tamani to protect and guide her, for the danger that now threatens Avalon is one that no faerie thought would ever be possible. And for the first time, Laurel cannot be sure that her side will prevail.

This book does not come out until May 3, but the details of the writing challenge for it will be posted on April 1.

We'll be bringing you more details on Supernatural Summer events as we get them!

TC Tidbits: Forge Takes On Ice-T AND His Wife Coco

Both have releases from Forge this fall. Read more.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Mark L. Introduces to Jan Guillou's Crusades Trilogy

The Road to Jerusalem

For power. For passion. For glory.

The epic story of the Knights Templar.

Born in 1150 to a noble Swedish family and coming of age at a monastery under the tutelage of a Cistercian monk and a former Knight Templar, young Arn Magnusson is sent to fulfill his destiny beyond the cloister walls. But the world awaiting him is a place at odds with his monastic ways. And when the murder of a king engulfs Western GÖtaland into a whirlwind of intrigue and ruthless power plays, headstrong and naive Arn is forced to leave the woman he loves behind and take up arms to battle infidels in the Holy Land.

The first book in the international bestselling Crusades Trilogy, this thrilling epic of betrayal, faith, blood, and love sets "a Shakespearian quest for power" (Corriere della Sera, Italy) against the backdrop of the Holy Wars, witnessed through a vibrant, unorthodox lens.

The Templar Knight

A knight in the Holy Land.
A woman in the frozen north.
A war that kept them apart . . .

The second volume in the internationally bestselling trilogy begun with The Road to Jerusalem—the critically acclaimed epic "destined to become a classic" (Sharon Kay Penman)

Exiled to the Holy Land for two decades, Arn Magnusson has risen in the ranks of the Knights Templar, serving as master of the order's Gaza fortress. Among the last bastion of God's holy warriors determined to save Jerusalem from the Muslims, Arn has cultivated a shrewd understanding of his enemy. Known as Al-Ghouti among the Saracens—Saladin and his Muslim followers—he is renowned as a man of compassion, strength, and faith.

Yet neither time nor distance can lessen the pain of separation from his beloved Cecilia. Confined to a cloister back home in western Gotaland, Arn's betrothed is a pawn in a war between clans vying for control of the crown. Yearning for him and their newborn son, who is being raised by relatives, Cecilia must also endure the cruelties of a vindictive abbess from a rival clan.

When an accident of fate brings together Arn and Saladin, a friendship is forged that will alter the course of the Templar knight's life, and the history of Jerusalem itself. After the bloody Battle of Hattin, Arn finally becomes a free man. But the road home is long and treacherous, and he is uneasy about the fate that awaits him and uncertain whether his betrothed still lives.

Broadening the scope of Arn's epic path to redemption, The Templar Knight continues the story of the founding of a nation—and of the warrior and the love that made it possible.

And, Book 3, coming out in July 2011:

Birth of the Kingdom

Exiled from his home and the woman he loves, Arn de Gotha became one of fiercest and most feared warriors of the Knights Templar. But now that Jerusalem has been lost to the man who saved him—his longtime enemy and trusted friend, Saladin—the weary nobleman, ravaged by wounds and illness, can finally return to his beloved Sweden.

In the twenty years he has been gone, warring clans have torn Arn’s homeland apart. Determined to reunite it under the Folkung lineage and establish lasting peace, he sets off with a band of skilled craftsmen and doctors from the Holy Land whose talents and knowledge are unknown to the Northern world. And there is his beloved Celia. Arn can only pray that their love has endured, and that it can sustain his new quest: to create a new people, a new society—both Christian and Muslim, craftsmen and warriors—with Arn at its helm.

A rousing, satisfying conclusion to an unforgettable and original epic, Birth of the Kingdom tells the story of the founding of a nation, and the undying love that made it possible.

Mark says:
"Jan Guillou is a Swedish author whose main character is Arn.

In the first novel, Arn sires a child on his beloved, before their marriage. As penance,he must serve as a Templar knight in Jerusalem for 20 years,while his betrothed must enter a convent for the same length of time.
The second book opens with Arn as a commander of the Templar fortress of Gaza. His time of penance is now drawing to a close,but he will fight in the battles of Montgisard and Hattin before he is released from his vows. The final book chronicles Arn's return home and what transpires thereafter in Sweden in the late 1100's and early 1200's.

I have found these novels compelling and excellent reading."

Meet the Author TONIGHT!!!

In this sequel to her New York Times bestsellers Under the Tuscan Sun and Bella Tuscany, the celebrated "bard of Tuscany" (New York Times) lyrically chronicles her continuing, two decades-long love affair with Tuscany's people, art, cuisine, and lifestyle.

Frances Mayes offers her readers a deeply personal memoir of her present-day life in Tuscany, encompassing both the changes she has experienced since Under the Tuscan Sun and Bella Tuscany appeared, and sensuous, evocative reflections on the timeless beauty and vivid pleasures of Italian life. Among the themes Mayes explores are how her experience of Tuscany dramatically expanded when she renovated and became a part-time resident of a 13th century house with a stone roof in the mountains above Cortona, how life in the mountains introduced her to a "wilder" side of Tuscany--and with it a lively engagement with Tuscany's mountain people. Throughout, she reveals the concrete joys of life in her adopted hill town, with particular attention to life in the piazza, the art of Luca Signorelli (Renaissance painter from Cortona), and the pastoral pleasures of feasting from her garden. Moving always toward a deeper engagement, Mayes writes of Tuscan icons that have become for her storehouses of memory, of crucible moments from which bigger ideas emerged, and of the writing life she has enjoyed in the room where Under the Tuscan Sun began.

With more on the pleasures of life at Bramasole, the delights and challenges of living in Italy day-to-day and favorite recipes, Every Day in Tuscany is a passionate and inviting account of the richness and complexity of Italian life.

Come meet author Frances Mayes TONIGHT at 7:30 pm at our Historic Lodo Store, where she will be discussing and signing her books.

TC Tidbits: The Book Art of Cara Barer

See much more and read the artist's statement here.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Book Club Happy Hour on March 31st!!!

Thursday, March 31 at 6:00pm at our
Historic Lodo Store.

Join us as Tattered Cover staff members and a publisher’s sales representative offer their favorite choices for book club reading and discussing. Find out what other book clubs are reading and mingle while enjoying wine and light refreshments.

It's free, but you must RSVP to:
303-322-1965 ext 2739

Penguin Invites You To An Online Event

Chat with Danielle Trussoni, author of Angelology, on Thursday, March 31st at 4 PM EST.

Get the details here.

About the book:

Sister Evangeline was just a girl when her father entrusted her to the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration in upstate New York. Now, at twenty-three, her discovery of a 1943 letter from the famous philanthropist Abigail Rockefeller to the late mother superior of Saint Rose Convent plunges Evangeline into a secret history that stretches back a thousand years: an ancient conflict between the Society of Angelologists and the monstrously beautiful descendants of angels and humans, the Nephilim.

For the secrets these letters guard are desperately coveted by the once-powerful Nephilim, who aim to perpetuate war, subvert the good in humanity, and dominate mankind. Generations of angelologists have devoted their lives to stopping them, and their shared mission, which Evangeline has long been destined to join, reaches from her bucolic abbey on the Hudson to the apex of insular wealth in New York, to the Montparnasse cemetery in Paris and the mountains of Bulgaria.

Rich in history, full of mesmerizing characters, and wondrously conceived, Angelology blends biblical lore, the myth of Orpheus and the Miltonic visions of Paradise Lost into a riveting tale of ordinary people engaged in a battle that will determine the fate of the world.

TC Tidbits: "I tried to write a radical book. I'm releasing it in a radical way."

James Frey is trying to stir things up with his new book The Final Testament of the Holy Bible. Read more about it here.

Read the Huffington Post's response piece to what they call Frey's "latest literary scheme".

Monday, March 28, 2011

Meet The Author Tonight!!!!

A resilient and quirky colony of church mice fears another Great X more than they fear cats. Under Mouse Mistress Hildegarde’s leadership, they save themselves from one danger after another—sometimes just by the skin of their tails! Can one ultimate act of bravery during the feast day of St. Francis get Father Murphy to bless these mice and keep them safe forever?

Rife with humor and personality, this young middle-grade novel has an old-fashioned feel with the makings of a modern classic.

Lowry will be reading from and signing her books this evening at 6pm at our Highlands Ranch Store.

YOU Decide How to Survive

An interactive adventure like no other! On this epic climb up Mount Everest, readers are part of the youngest team ever to climb the world's tallest peak. Only YOU can make the right choice about your own survival and then experience the consequences of those choices. Will you summit Mount Everest and return to base camp safely? Will you be forced to turn back early—or worse? Only you can determine your own fate! Highly illustrated in comic book style, and based on real, true-life facts about mountain climbing, Mount Everest, and Himalayan culture, this book will be a surefire hit with anyone craving adventure and a fun, visual reading experience.

TC Tidbit: Indie Comics Tattoos

Yes, more tattoos, but they are too cool not to share! These are from our friends at

Sunday, March 27, 2011

New BTC Series: Dreams of the Garden

I live in a very small urban apartment where plants fight for space with stacks of books and I've maxed the amount of structural stress of my ceilings with hanging baskets. But I am a died in the wool gardener who begins to suffer from a terrible craving now that the days are longer and the sun is warmly alluring. So I turn my longing to the gardening bookshelves, and this year I'll be sharing my dream inspiring finds with the readers here.


The New American Landscape

Gardeners are the front line of defense in our struggle to tackle the problems of global warming, loss of habitat, water shortages, and shrinking biodiversity. In The New American Landscape, author and editor Thomas Christopher brings together the best thinkers on the topic gardening sustainably, and asks them to describe the future of the sustainable landscape. The discussion unfolds from there, and what results is a collective vision as eloquent as it is diverse. John Greenlee and Neil Diboll on the new American meadow garden. Rick Darke on balancing natives and exotics in the garden. Doug Tallamy on landscapes that welcome wildlife. Eric Toensmeier on the sustainable edible garden. David Wolfe on gardening sustainable with a changing climate. Elaine Ingham on managing soil health. David Deardorff and Kathryn Wadsworth on sustainable pest solutions. Ed Snodgrass and Linda McIntyre on green roofs in the sustainable residential landscape. Thomas Christopher on waterwise gardens. Toby Hemenway on whole system garden design.The Sustainable Site Initiative on the managing the home landscape as a sustainable site.

The New American Landscape offers designers a roadmap to a beautiful garden that improves, not degrades the environment. But this is not just another design manual. It's a provocative manifesto about the important role gardens play in creating a more sustainable future that no professional garden designer can afford to miss.

A Revolutionary Yardscape

Budget-friendly, environmentally sound, and one-of-a-kind, discovering new uses for what you already have or what you discover in the salvage yard is truly living local. It reduces a garden's environmental impact, saves money, and - most importantly - is fun and creative. From making pathways out of scrap wood and metal to creating garden lights from discarded indoor fixtures, The Revolutionary Yardscape features dozens of garden design projects and inspirational ideas for taking advantage of salvaged materials found in the home, junkyard, or thrift store.

A master of using reclaimed items, expert Matthew Levesque covers the basics of hardscaping, garden construction, and outdoor decor using local materials. He includes essential techniques and step-by-step guidance for transforming unconventional salvaged materials into pathways, decking, fences, screens, containers, seating, and more. The Revolutionary Yardscape also shows readers how to see the beauty and possibility in salvaged materials. Levesque gives tips on how to think outside the garden box - from imagining a pile of old keys becoming a rain chain to seeing the infinite possibilities in scrap metal and piping.

This new set of skills embraces the idea of finding an object first and letting the design plan follow. Vividly illustrated with photographs of exciting contemporary projects, The Revolutionary Yardscape will make gardeners think outside the box by designing with unexpected materials.

The Edible Front Yard

People everywhere are turning patches of soil into bountiful vegetable gardens, and each spring a new crop of beginners pick up trowels and plant seeds for the first time. They're planting tomatoes in raised beds, runner beans in small plots, and strawberries in containers. But there is one place that has, until now, been woefully neglected - the front yard.

And there's good reason. The typical veggie garden, with its raised beds and plots, is not the most attractive type of garden, and favorite edible plants like tomatoes and cucumbers have a tendency to look scraggly, even in their prime. But The Edible Front Yard isn't about the typical veggie garden, and author Ivette Soler is passionate about putting edibles up front and creating edible gardens with curb appeal.

Soler offers step-by-step instructions for converting all or part of a lawn into an edible paradise; specific guidelines for selecting and planting the most attractive edible plants; and design advice and plans for the best placement and for combining edibles with ornamentals in pleasing ways. Inspiring and accessible, The Edible Front Yard is a one-stop resource for a front-and-center edible garden that is both beautiful and bountiful year-round.

The Food Lover's Garden

"Makes growing your own into a swashbuckling and delicious adventure-where you travel the world and taste its finest fruits in your own backyard."

For the food-loving gardener, Mark Diacono has a new mantra: Life is too short to grow ordinary food. Head gardener at the famed River Cottage, Diacono wants us all to stop growing onions, potatoes, and carrots, because it's just as easy to cultivate mouthwatering delights such as Chilean guava, kai lan, daylilies, Japanese wineberries and Szechuan pepper. In The Food Lover's Garden he shows how easy it can be to reap extraordinary flavor.

Selected for their deliciousness and ease of growing, the fruits and vegetables in the book come with straightforward gardening advice and detailed information on how and when to harvest. Preparation suggestions plus fifty recipes, such as sweet Blue Honeysuckle Pancakes, stunning and delicate Daylily Fritters, and a rich, double cream Cardoon Gratin, teach readers how to showcase the unusual ingredients in their home cooking. Brimming with practical advice for growing and enjoying 39 of the most remarkable fruits, vegetables, nuts, herbs, spices, and flowers, The Food Lover's Garden is a sumptuous and lyrical invitation to garden, eat, and live more adventurously.

Sneak Preview

Coming out April 12, 2011

In a breathtaking grand finale, the world’s mythical pop-up masters unleash monsters and dragons that have prowled countrysides and imaginations for centuries.

Lurking behind this intriguing cover, a Kraken grapples with a ship on the high seas; dragons from Eastern and Western traditions spring to life; and a Medusa, snake-hair twisting and hissing, turns the reader to stone. Deeper inside, an ancient, decrepit vampire rises from his coffin; a lycanthrope is caught in the light of the full moon and transforms; and Bigfoot hides behind a tree, ducking his human pursuer. Master paper engineers Matthew Reinhart and Robert Sabuda unfold the legends and lore of cultures around the world to reveal these stunning creatures and many more. Pop-up fans and fantasy lovers will be equally enthralled by the dynamic creatures depicted in this astonishing volume, the climax of the Encyclopedia Mythologica trilogy.

TC Tidbit: Books Aren't Just For Reading

from our friends at

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Ephron's Sophomore Novel Is Top of the Class According to Jackie

Computer security expert and reformed hacker Diana Highsmith has not ventured beyond her home for more than a year—not since that fateful climbing vacation in Switzerland took Daniel's life. Haunted by the sound of Daniel's cries echoing across the gorge as he fell, Diana cannot stop thinking about the life they'll never have—grief that has transformed her into a recluse.

Diana doesn't have to shut herself off com­pletely from the world, though; she and Daniel's best friend run a thriving Internet security company. From her home, in her pajamas, Diana assesses security breaches, both potential and real, and offers clients a way to protect themselves from hackers—the kind of disruptions Diana herself used to create. Once Diana has a game plan she is able to meet with clients in OtherWorld, an Internet-based platform, using Nadia, an avatar she created for herself. Diana knows she'll have to rejoin the "real world" eventually, but right now a few steps from her door each morning is all she can handle.

When Diana's sister goes missing, however, she is forced to do the impossible: brave both the outside world and her own personal demons to find her sister. As one step outside leads to another, Diana soon discovers that she is following a trail fraught with danger—and uncovering a web of deceit and betrayal, both online and real-life, that threatens not only her sister's life, but her own.

Jackie says:

"Diana has suffered from severe panic attacks ever since her husband died in a mountain
climbing accident over 15 months ago. She lives in a highly secured house and works in a
virtual reality called 'Other-World', where she runs her real world company providing internet protection services. She's very qualified--up until 3 years ago she was a hacker herself. As was her business partner Jake. There are some glitches to the business, however. In the past several months three potential clients have backed away at the last minute. This was Diana's deepest concern--until her sister went missing from a public rally in downtown Boston. Diana must find the real world counterparts to her virtual friends in order to find her sister, but the question is, just who are they and can they be trusted? I would call this a techno-thriller mystery, though it wasn't so technical that I couldn't follow along (and I am not tech savvy). It caused me several hours of lost sleep since I could not put it down as the pace ratcheted up to the book's stunning, plot twisting conclusion. This is Ephron's sophomore novel (Never Tell A Lie is her debut novel), and I say she's at the top of her class!"

Nine Countries, Two People (One of Which is Jon Scieszka's Kid) In One True, Illustrated Story

Casey and Steven met in Morocco, moved to China then went all the way to Timbuktu. This illustrated travel memoir tells the story of their first two years out of college spent teaching English, making friends across language barriers, researching, painting, and learning to be themselves wherever they are.

TC Tidbits: More Cool Literary Tattoos

from our friends at

Friday, March 25, 2011

Come Discover Hawaii with Sarah Vowel!

Many think of 1776 as the defining year of American history, when we became a nation devoted to the pursuit of happiness through self- government. In Unfamiliar Fishes, Sarah Vowell argues that 1898 might be a year just as defining, when, in an orgy of imperialism, the United States annexed Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and Guam, and invaded first Cuba, then the Philippines, becoming an international superpower practically overnight.

Among the developments in these outposts of 1898, Vowell considers the Americanization of Hawaii the most intriguing. From the arrival of New England missionaries in 1820, their goal to Christianize the local heathen, to the coup d'état of the missionaries' sons in 1893, which overthrew the Hawaiian queen, the events leading up to American annexation feature a cast of beguiling, and often appealing or tragic, characters: whalers who fired cannons at the Bible-thumpers denying them their God-given right to whores, an incestuous princess pulled between her new god and her brother-husband, sugar barons, lepers, con men, Theodore Roosevelt, and the last Hawaiian queen, a songwriter whose sentimental ode "Aloha 'Oe" serenaded the first Hawaiian president of the United States during his 2009 inaugural parade.

With her trademark smart-alecky insights and reporting, Vowell lights out to discover the off, emblematic, and exceptional history of the fiftieth state, and in so doing finds America, warts and all.

April, TC bookseller and Colfax store manager, loved the book:

"Let me begin by saying that I've had little desire to ever visit Hawaii. My Pandora station of choice replays Israel 'Iz' Kamakawiwo'ole so often I've learned to dislike the infamous 'Over the Rainbow' (and will probably never watch The Wizard of Oz again because of it).

But after finishing Sarah Vowell's latest volume on American history, I've loaded up Iz on my phone and am looking at plane tickets.

Unfamiliar Fishes is about Hawaiian history from Captain Cooke to annexation. And Vowell handles it with her usual light and oddly humorous tone. It's like having a lively conversation with a historical text, but with jokes. The story of Westernization/Americanization is never a really pretty or poetic story from the point of view of the subdued, but Vowell is able to give the reader a full hindsight look back at the events that ultimately led to the 'quick"'annexation of Hawaii. And it's told in a fashion that doesn't leave the Hawaiian neophyte (like myself) in the dust.

Vowell lays out for the reader just how a new monarchy is transformed by 'soft power, the process by which one people gets another group of people 'to want what they want'. Captain Cooke landed in 1778, and just over a century later, the island had changed completely; from kapus to Christianity, and from chieftains to sugar kings, Hawaii is a microcosm of the Americanization of America, down to the smallpox and measles.

A good read for fans of pop history, or anyone curious about the only state that can leave the union."

Meet the author THIS SUNDAY at our Historic Lodo store at 3:00 pm.
Free numbered tickets for the booksigning line will be available at 2:00 pm. Seating for the presentation prior to the booksigning is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis to ticketed customers only.

A New Thriller From a Disguised Voice

“They didn’t have to kill him…He never drank from the altar of bones.”

Cryptic dying words from a murdered homeless woman in present day San Francisco unlock a decades-buried secret that changed history. Now a pair of ruthless assassins are sent to cut the few living "loose ends." And a young, resourceful woman on the run encounters a determined man with his own connected past and vengeful agenda. Forced to partner for survival and answers, a fast-paced and deadly game of cat and mouse ensues, taking them across the globe from the winding streets of Paris to the faded palaces of Budapest to the frozen lakes of Mongolia...where destiny, passion, and further betrayal await them.

The Altar of Bones has it all: The Russian mob. KGB spies. Presidential assasination. A doomed Hollywood legend. Deathbed confessions. Corrosive power. Shattered families. Guardians of an ancient religious icon housing a secret others will kill to possess. The dark promise of immortality. And it delivers on its ambitious premise to leave you stunned and breathless at the end.

Listen to an audio excerpt.

To add to the mystery, "Philip Carter" is a pseudonym for an internationally renowned author. Read it and see if you can figure out who the author REALLY is.

TC Tidbits: The Art of Georgia Russell

Many of her works use cut up books. Check those and her other works here.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Mark L Recommends Author Elizabeth Chadwick

Mark tells us:

"Her most current effort is a two novel fictionalized biography of William Marshal,Earl of Pembroke, one of England's greatest knights and statesmen. He served successively Henry II, Richard I, John,and Henry III. He was an unsurpassed tournament champion,and married one of England's great heiresses of the time, Isabel de Clare. Marshal has long been a favorite of mine,and I've followed his path on trips to England and Wales. I have read Chadwick's novels and recommend her wholeheartedly."

The Greatest Knight
Royal protector. Loyal servant. Forgotten hero.

A penniless young knight with few prospects, William Marshal is plucked from obscurity when he saves the life of Henry II's formidable queen, Eleanor of Aquitaine. In gratitude, she appoints him tutor to the heir to the throne, the volatile and fickle Prince Henry. But being a royal favorite brings its share of danger and jealousy as well as fame and reward.

The Scarlet Lion
William Marshal's skill with a sword and loyalty to his word have earned him the company of kings, the lands of a magnate, and the hand of Isabelle de Clare, one of England's wealthiest heiresses.

Jackie Went Prowling Again And Found...

In The Exquisite Book, one hundred indie artists play an ingenious version of the Exquisite Corpse drawing game. Each adorns a page with artwork having seen only the page of the artist immediately prior and using a single horizon line to connect the two. Some continue the "story" quite literally while others build on the previous page in more fanciful ways. This astonishing volume's format is as unique as its content, with each of the book's ten chapters residing on a ten-page accordion pull-out, allowing readers to view the art continuously. With an illustrated foreword by Dave Eggers, and art from such luminaries as James Jean and Jill Bliss, this charming book is, simply, exquisite.

Jackie says:

"This is truly an amazing book and a fun project. Check it out!"

TC Tidbits: Rushdie To Write and Produce For Showtime

Read article from The Independent here.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Normal Is WAY Overrated

Janie Gorman wants to be normal. The problem with that: she’s not. She’s smart and creative and a little bit funky. She’s also an unwilling player in her parents’ modern-hippy, let’s-live-on-a-goat-farm experiment (regretfully, instigated by a younger, much more enthusiastic Janie). This, to put it simply, is not helping Janie reach that “normal target.” She has to milk goats every day…and endure her mother’s pseudo celebrity in the homemade-life, crunchy mom blogosphere. Goodbye the days of frozen lasagna and suburban living, hello crazy long bus ride to high school and total isolation--and hovering embarrassments of all kinds. The fresh baked bread is good…the threat of homemade jeans, not so much.

It would be nice to go back to that old suburban life…or some grown up, high school version of it, complete with nice, normal boyfriends who wear crew neck sweaters and like social studies. So, what’s wrong with normal? Well, kind of everything. She knows that, of course, why else would she learn bass and join Jam Band, how else would she know to idolize infamous wild-child and high school senior Emma (her best friend Sarah’s older sister), why else would she get arrested while doing a school project on a local freedom school (jail was not part of the assignment). And, why else would she kind of be falling in "like" with a boy named Monster—yes, that is his real name. Janie was going for normal, but she missed her mark by about ten miles…and we mean that as a compliment.

Frances O’Roark Dowell’s fierce humor and keen eye make her YA debut literary and wise. In the spirit of John Green and E. Lockhart, Dowell’s relatable, quirky characters and clever, fluid writing prove that growing up gets complicated…and normal is WAY overrated.

Jackie says:
"Okay, so it might have been Janie's suggestion that her family move to a farm, but there is a lot of differences between what a 9 year old thinks is cool and what a 14 year old freshman in high school thinks. She's tired of being called "Skunk Girl" just because of some goat poop on her shoe one morning on the bus. She's tired of hiding out in the library because the lunch room is just too embarrassing--she doesn't have the same lunch period as any of her old friends, and barely any classes with them. And she's REALLY tired of her mom's blog, where she talks about all sorts of stuff about the farm and the family that Janie would rather not have shared with anyone, ever. But then she meets Verbena, the Tattooed Girl (okay, they are only Sharpie tattoos, but she has a LOT of them), and Monster (his real name, proving to her that perhaps her parents are not the MOST terrible people on the planet) and learns to play the bass, and she comes to see that being 'ten miles past normal' is not such a bad thing to be. This book is lots of fun and fits nicely among Dowell's acclaimed and award winning other titles."

Suze Orman and The American Dream

What does it take to create your New American Dream?

Suze Orman, the woman millions of Americans have turned to for financial advice, says it’s time for a serious reconsideration of the American Dream—what promise it still holds, what aspects are in need of revision, and how it must be refashioned to fit our lives so that we can once again have faith that our hard work will pay off and that a secure and hopeful future is within our reach.

In nine electrifying chapters, Orman delivers a master class on personal finance for this pivotal moment in time. She addresses every aspect of the American Dream—home, family, career, retirement. She teaches us that in order to create lasting security we must learn to stand in our truth. We must recognize, embrace, and be honest about what is real for us today and allow that understanding to inform the choices we make. The New American Dream is not the things we accumulate, says Orman, but the confidence that comes from knowing that which we’ve worked so hard for cannot be taken away from us. In The Money Class, Orman teaches us how to take control over our present—right here, right now—in order to build the future of our dreams.

Whether navigating the complicated mix of money and family, offering the most comprehensive retirement resource available today, or delivering a bracing dose of reality when it comes to recalibrating our expectations and our goals, Orman educates us with her signature no-nonsense approach and laser-like clarity. She empowers us to live a life of integrity and honesty that will create an enduring legacy for future generations—a New American Dream that lies in truth, security, financial freedom, and peace of mind.

TC Tidbit: Movie Adaptation of Snow Flower and the Secret Fan Coming Out July 15

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Doggone Good Reads: Judy S. Gives This One a 4 Kleenex Rating*

Now including a wonderful new photo insert chronicling Merle’s life, this national bestseller explores the relationship between humans and dogs. How would dogs live if they were free? Would they stay with their human friends?

Merle and Ted found each other in the Utah desert— Merle was living wild and Ted was looking for a pup to keep him company. As their bond grew, Ted taught Merle how to live around wildlife, and Merle taught Ted about the benefits of letting a dog make his own decisions.

Using the latest in wolf research and exploring issues of animal consciousness and leadership and the origins of the human-dog relationship, Ted Kerasote takes us on the journey he and Merle shared. As much a love story as a story of independence and partnership, Merle’s Door is tender, funny, and ultimately illuminating.

Judy says:

"Imagine you were an outdoorsman and a skier and you found a companion dog who loved to slide down on his stomach through fresh powder with you. Then you'd become as ecstatic about and in love with Merle as Ted Kerasote did. He chronicles the day to day life of the gregarious Merle, from campsite crasher to unofficial Mayor of Kelly, Wyoming. A character who became known and beloved by nearly everyone in that small community--due to the freedom of having his own door.

You as reader will develop an affinity for Merle also. You can't help but love him because the writer puts him right there in front of you--head cocked, tongue panting and tail wagging--welcoming you back home to each chapter of his memoir. By the end of the book you cherish this dog's quirky mannerisms nearly as much as the writer. In fact, you'll come to think of Merle as one of your own."

* 4 Kleenex Rating=Don't finish this one on the Light Rail--it could be embarrassing.

Upcycling Books Into Art

In these pages, Jason Thompson has curated an extensive and artistic range of both achievable upcycled crafts made from books and book pages and an amazing gallery that contains thought-provoking and beautiful works that transform books into art.

The content encompasses a wide range of techniques and step-by-step projects that deconstruct and rebuild books and their parts into unique, upcycled objects. The book combines in equal measure bookbinding, woodworking, paper crafting, origami, and textile and decorative arts techniques, along with a healthy dose of experimentation and fun.The beautiful high-end presentation and stunning photography make this book a delightful, must-have volume for any book-loving artist or art-loving book collector.

Some of the projects in the book:

TC Tidbits: Great Expectations Is What This Literary Mixtape Is About muses about what Philip Pirrip, better known as Pip in the book Great Expectations, would have on his iPod .

Monday, March 21, 2011

An Engrossing Tale of Family, Love and Forgiveness Out This Week

For eighteen years, Jude Farraday has put her children’s needs above her own, and it shows—her twins, Mia and Zach—are bright and happy teenagers. When Lexi Baill moves into their small, close knit community, no one is more welcoming than Jude. Lexi, a former foster child with a dark past, quickly becomes Mia’s best friend. Then Zach falls in love with Lexi and the three become inseparable.

Jude does everything to keep her kids on track for college and out of harm’s way. It has always been easy-- until senior year of high school. Suddenly she is at a loss. Nothing feels safe anymore; every time her kids leave the house, she worries about them.

On a hot summer’s night her worst fears come true. One decision will change the course of their lives. In the blink of an eye, the Farraday family will be torn apart and Lexi will lose everything. In the years that follow, each must face the consequences of that single night and find a way to forget…or the courage to forgive.

Vivid, universal, and emotionally complex, Night Road raises profound questions about motherhood, identity, love, and forgiveness. It is a luminous, heartbreaking novel that captures both the exquisite pain of loss and the stunning power of hope. This is Kristin Hannah at her very best, telling an unforgettable story about the longing for family, the resilience of the human heart, and the courage it takes to forgive the people we love.

Jackie says:

"This is a gripping, page-turning, lose-some-sleep kind of complex family drama about a
helicopter mom, a set of gifted twins and a lonely teenager who never had anyone to truly call her own. It is very well written in a variety of character perspectives and the twelve years and 400 pages of the story pass too fast. Fans of Jodi Picoult will embrace this book wholeheartedly."

Educating Emotions and Ourselves

With unequaled insight and brio, David Brooks, the New York Times columnist and bestselling author of Bobos in Paradise, has long explored and explained the way we live. Now, with the intellectual curiosity and emotional wisdom that make his columns among the most read in the nation, Brooks turns to the building blocks of human flourishing in a multilayered, profoundly illuminating work grounded in everyday life.

This is the story of how success happens. It is told through the lives of one composite American couple, Harold and Erica—how they grow, push forward, are pulled back, fail, and succeed. Distilling a vast array of information into these two vividly realized characters, Brooks illustrates a fundamental new understanding of human nature. A scientific revolution has occurred—we have learned more about the human brain in the last thirty years than we had in the previous three thousand. The unconscious mind, it turns out, is most of the mind—not a dark, vestigial place but a creative and enchanted one, where most of the brain’s work gets done. This is the realm of emotions, intuitions, biases, longings, genetic predispositions, personality traits, and social norms: the realm where character is formed and where our most important life decisions are made. The natural habitat of The Social Animal.

Drawing on a wealth of current research from numerous disciplines, Brooks takes Harold and Erica from infancy to school; from the “odyssey years” that have come to define young adulthood to the high walls of poverty; from the nature of attachment, love, and commitment, to the nature of effective leadership. He reveals the deeply social aspect of our very minds and exposes the bias in modern culture that overemphasizes rationalism, individualism, and IQ. Along the way, he demolishes conventional definitions of success while looking toward a culture based on trust and humility.

The Social Animal is a moving and nuanced intellectual adventure, a story of achievement and a defense of progress. Impossible to put down, it is an essential book for our time, one that will have broad social impact and will change the way we see ourselves and the world.

TC Tidbits: "Ask The Author" Site Now Available From Simon and Schuster

There is quite a stable lined up to answer your questions, including Chris Cleave, Sarah Pekkanen, Lisa Genova, L.A. Banks and Chuck Klosterman among several others. You can pick a question from the list or type on your own and wait for the answer.

Check it out here.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Another Side of George Carlin Revealed

A unique illustrated memoir by Sally Wade, the love of George Carlin’s life for ten years, The George Carlin Letters: The Permanent Courtship of Sally Wade is a collection of never-before-seen writings and artwork by the late great comedian (representing at least 1/3 of the text in the book), woven into Wade’s beautifully told chronicle of the last ten years of their life together. The book provides a rare glimpse into the man behind the legend. George Carlin wrote to Sally daily—notes, postcard, letters…he even started fights on paper; the title is taken from his very last note, which Sally found propped up on her computer upon returning from the hospital the day he died. One of the greatest love stories ever told…hilariously, until the release of this book, no one but Sally has ever seen this side of George Carlin. And everyone is guaranteed to fall in love with both of them.

Jackie says:

"This is one of the sweetest love stories I've ever heard about. It makes me cry, it makes me miss George even more (I got to see him perform a few short months before he died), it makes me believe in fairy tales (just a little bit) and it definitely make me love and admire him even more."

A Four Year Old Comes Back From Near Death With a Amazing Story

Heaven Is for Real is the true story of the four-year old son of a small town Nebraska pastor who during emergency surgery slips from consciousness and enters heaven. He survives and begins talking about being able to look down and see the doctor operating and his dad praying in the waiting room. The family didn't know what to believe but soon the evidence was clear.

Colton said he met his miscarried sister, whom no one had told him about, and his great grandfather who died 30 years before Colton was born, then shared impossible-to-know details about each. He describes the horse that only Jesus could ride, about how "reaaally big" God and his chair are, and how the Holy Spirit "shoots down power" from heaven to help us.

Told by the father, but often in Colton's own words, the disarmingly simple message is heaven is a real place, Jesus really loves children, and be ready, there is a coming last battle.

TC Tidbit: "Dick Tracy" Artist Retires

Read the article.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Mark Introduces Us To Author Helen Hollick

Mark says:
"Helen Hollick is an English author,currently being reprinted by Sourcebooks in paperback. Her Arthurian,or Pendragon trilogy is superb storytelling. I rank these books with Mary Stewart's Merlin Series and Jack Whyte's Camulod Chronicles series."

The Kingmaking
"You are the Pendragon, rightful Lord of Dumnonia and the Summer Land; Lord of less Britain. By all that is right, you ought be seated where Vortigern sits…You ought to be King."

Here lies the truth of the Lord of the Summer Land.

This is the tale of Arthur flesh and bone. Of the shaping of the man, both courageous and flawed, into the celebrated ruler who inspired armies, who captured Gwenhyfar's heart, and who emerged as the hero of the Dark Ages and the most enduring hero of all time.

This is the unexpected story of the making of a king — the legend who united all of Britain.

Pendragon's Banner

Pendragon's Banner is the second book in Helen Hollick's exciting King Arthur trilogy, covering 459-465 A.D. This is not a fairy tale or fantasy. There is no Merlin, no sword in the stone, and no Lancelot. This is the most accurate Arthurian legend ever written, based on historical evidence and meticulous research.

At age twenty-four, King Arthur has the kingdom he fought so hard for and a new young family. But keeping the throne of Britain—and keeping his wife and three sons safe—proves far from easy. Two enemies in particular threaten everything that is dear to him: Winifred, Arthur's vindictive first wife, and Morgause, priestess of the Mother and malevolent Queen of the North. Both have royal ambitions of their own.

In this story of harsh battles, secret treasonous plots, and the life-threatening politics of early Britain's dark ages, author Helen Hollick boldly reintroduces King Arthur as you've never seen him before.

Shadow King
They knew what was coming.
Man and beast knew what lay ahead.
After the war cry.
Bitter the grave.

At long last, the peace King Arthur was born to usher in has settled over the realm. But Arthur was also born to be a warrior... and all true warriors are restless without a fight. Yearning for battle and ever-loyal, Arthur is easily deceived into setting sail for Gaul to defend its territories-leaving his country vulnerable and leaderless.

A beacon of hope in a land of desolation, he was to be the Lord of the Summer Land for now and forever. But first, the Pendragon must face the ultimate test, one that will take all his courage, strength of will, and honor to survive. Because once destiny is fulfilled, can you ever truly win again?

Other books by Hollick:

The Forever Queen

What kind of woman becomes the wife of two kings, and the mother of two more?

Saxon England, 1002. Not only is Æthelred a failure as King, but his young bride, Emma of Normandy, soon discovers he is even worse as a husband. When the Danish Vikings, led by Swein Forkbeard and his son, Cnut, cause a maelstrom of chaos, Emma, as Queen, must take control if the Kingdom-and her crown-are to be salvaged. Smarter than history remembers, and stronger than the foreign invaders who threaten England's shores, Emma risks everything on a gamble that could either fulfill her ambitions and dreams or destroy her completely.

Emma, the Queen of Saxon England, comes to life through the exquisite writing of Helen Hollick, who shows in this epic tale how one of the most compelling and vivid heroines in English history stood tall through a turbulent fifty-year reign of proud determination, tragic despair, and triumph over treachery.

I Am The Chosen King

England, 1044. Harold Godwineson, a young, respected Earl, falls in love with an ordinary but beautiful woman. He marries Edyth despite her lack of pedigree, pitting him against his turbulent family and his selfish King, Edward. In France, William, the bastard son of a duke, falls in love with power. Brutal and dangerously smart, William sets his sights on England, finding ambition a difficult lust to conquer.

In 1066, with the old King Edward dying, England falls vulnerable to the winds of fate-and the stubborn will of these two powerful men. In this beautifully crafted tale, Helen Hollick sets aside the propaganda of the Norman Conquest and brings to life the English version of the story of the last Saxon King, revealing his tender love, determination, and proud loyalty, all shattered by the unforgiving needs of a Kingdom. Forced to give up his wife and risk his life for England, the chosen King led his army into the great Battle of Hastings in October 1066 with all the honor and dignity that history remembers of its fallen heroes.

Mark tells us:

"Ms.Hollick has been engaged in making this book into a motion picture titled 1066. The film is still being cast and in preproduction in the U.K."