Monday, October 31, 2011

Bonus TC Tidbit: A Special Halloween Quiz

from our friends at The Guardian

This Book Is So Good, Gerald Resisted Jumping To Read The Ending!

The Marriage Plot
I don't know what I expect to accomplish by telling you I loved a book that everyone, including the reviewers, seems to love, but it has been a long time since I've stood in the middle of the sidewalk reading a passage for minutes after stepping off the bus.  The wit and intelligence of the first hundred or so pages delighted me--as if I now could imagine Austen herself navigating the perplexing world of semiotics, deconstruction,
feminism, and the modern academy.  Still, I knew that "the marriage plot", so central to Austen, would have to meet the bleak prospects painted by the fictional professor who believes that the novel died with the demise of marriage as the most important life decision.  When I next continued my reading, the plot and perspective would shift in a way I didn't expect midway, but I didn't simply jump to the end as I have been accustomed
to do to see if I would "like" it--that is to say, to yield to my apprehension and intolerance of encountering too much "reality" outside of reality.   I trusted the beauty and precision of this amazing work, and hope you can read it without knowing the ending.


We're Talking About Food Here, And Much, Much More

For Donia Bijan 's family, food has been the language they use to tell their stories and to communicate their love. In 1978, when the Islamic revolution in Iran threatened their safety, they fled to California 's Bay Area, where the familiar flavors of Bijan 's mother 's cooking formed a bridge to the life they left behind. Now, through the prism of food, award-winning chef Donia Bijan unwinds her own story, finding that at the heart of it all is her mother, whose love and support enabled Bijan to realize her dreams.

From the Persian world of her youth to the American life she embraced as a teenager to her years at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris (studying under the infamous Madame Brassart) to apprenticeships in France 's three-star kitchens and finally back to San Francisco, where she opened her own celebrated bistro, Bijan evokes a vibrant kaleidoscope of cultures and cuisines. And she shares thirty inspired recipes from her childhood (Saffron Yogurt Rice with Chicken and Eggplant and Orange Cardamom Cookies), her French training (Ratatouille with Black Olives and Fried Bread and Purple Plum Skillet Tart), and her cooking career (Roast Duck Legs with Dates and Warm Lentil Salad and Rose Petal Ice Cream).

An exhilarating, heartfelt memoir, Maman 's Homesick Pie is also a reminder of the women who encourage us to shine.

The Kitchen Counter Cooking School is essentially "What Not to Wear" meets Michael Pollan.   Inspired by a supermarket encounter with a woman loading up on processed foods, Le Cordon Blue graduate Kathleen Flinn decided to use her recent culinary training to help a group of nine culinary novitiates find their inner cook.  These students invited Kathleen into their kitchens where she took inventory of each person's refrigerator, cabinets and eating habits.  After kitchen "makeovers" and a series of basic lessons where they learned to wield knives, trust their taste and improve their food choices, the women found a common missing ingredient--confidence.  In this new book, Flinn follows these women's journeys and includes practical, healthy tips to boost readers' culinary confidence, strategies to get the most from their grocery dollar and simple recipes to get readers cooking.
***Special Note: Flinn will be discussing and signing her book at our Higlands Ranch store on Wednesday, Nov. 3 at 7:30 pm***

Reviving the inspiring message of M. F. K. Fisher’s How to Cook a Wolf— written in 1942 during wartime shortages—An Everlasting Meal shows that cooking is the path to better eating.

Through the insightful essays in An Everlasting Meal, Tamar Adler issues a rallying cry to home cooks.

In chapters about boiling water, cooking eggs and beans, and summoning respectable meals from empty cupboards, Tamar weaves philosophy and instruction into approachable lessons on instinctive cooking. Tamar shows how to make the most of everything you buy, demonstrating what the world’s great chefs know: that great meals rely on the bones and peels and ends of meals before them.

She explains how to smarten up simple food and gives advice for fixing dishes gone awry. She recommends turning to neglected onions, celery, and potatoes for inexpensive meals that taste full of fresh vegetables, and cooking meat and fish resourcefully.

By wresting cooking from doctrine and doldrums, Tamar encourages readers to begin from wherever they are, with whatever they have. An Everlasting Meal is elegant testimony to the value of cooking and an empowering, indispensable tool for eaters today.

Recipes Remembered gives voice to the remarkable stories and cherished recipes of the Holocaust community.  The first professionally written kosher cookbook of its kind is a moving compilation of food memories, stories about food and families, and recipes from Holocaust survivors from Poland, Austria, Germany, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Russia, Ukraine, and Greece.

Happy All Hallows Read (What Bookstores Call Halloween Thanks To Neil Gaiman!)

Stop by any Tattered Cover today with your kids, we've got Halloween candy and a free book for any child in costume!

Thanks, Neil Gaiman, for thinking up All Hallows Read!!!!!

Check out the web site to learn more:

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Bonus TC Tidbit: Literature Inspired Jack-O-Lanterns

from our friends at

Long Live The King!

Inside Our Little Kat King, New York Times best-selling author Patrick McDonnell presents his 15th chronological collection of Mutts strips. Showcasing nearly two years worth of color Sunday strips and black-and-white daily strips, Our Little Kat King includes pop-art splash pages that highlight McDonnell's imaginative artwork and distinctive style'

Deceptively simple yet strikingly profound, Mutts speaks to fans of all ages through McDonnell's expressive art and humorous, often philosophical musings. As one of the most popular comic strips in the world with an estimated daily readership of 50 million, Mutts follows the day-to-day exploits of Earl the dog and his feline friend Mooch. Our Little Kat King is an emotive collection brimming with postulations and punch lines, as well as enlightenment and entertainment. Whether Earl and Mooch are contemplating the cosmos, embarking on a new adventure, or curling in for a much-needed nap, these two lighthearted pals remind us of the simple pleasures that make life so "shweet."

Filmed a few years ago, McDonnell talks about his beginnings:

TC Terror: Tattered Cover Staff's Favorite Scary Stories (Part 7)

Margie's Picks:

The Tell-Tale Heart and Other Stories by Edgar Allan Poe

Dracula by Bram Stoker

Frankenstein by Mary Shelly

Hank's Picks:
 The Night Strangers by Chris Bohjalian

The Terror by Dan Simmons

A Dark Matter by Peter Straub

Abarat by Clive Barker

Salem's Lot by Stephen King
"It's still a great, nasty antidote to the current trend of heart-throbby vampires."

TC Tidbit: Captain Underpants Movie Rights Go To Dreamworks Animation

Read about the deal here.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

A Dose of Magic Could Save The World

The Apothecary
It's 1952 and the Scott family has just moved from Los Angeles to London. Here, fourteen-year-old Janie meets a mysterious apothecary and his son, Benjamin Burrows - a fascinating boy who's not afraid to stand up to authority and dreams of becoming a spy. When Benjamin's father is kidnapped, Janie and Benjamin must uncover the secrets of the apothecary's sacred book, the Pharmacopoeia, in order to find him, all while keeping it out of the hands of their enemies - Russian spies in possession of nuclear weapons. Discovering and testing potions they never believed could exist, Janie and Benjamin embark on a dangerous race to save the apothecary and prevent impending disaster.

Jackie says:

"This is a spy story of sorts, set in 1952 England, with some very impressive teenagers as the heroes.  It is fast paced and magical and reminds me very much of the Harry Potter's books without whisking you away to a whole other world, but with the threat of atom bombs looming large every day.

Janie is an American teen forced to move to England with her parents to get away from the blackballing of the 'Red Scare' in Hollywood (they are script writers).  She meets Benjamin, who is not afraid to state his mind to anyone about anything, at her new school.  He is the son of the local apothecary, but is refusing to learn what in his eyes is the boring family business.  That is until his father is kidnapped by the Russians, and the teens find an ancient book of his that contains spells that will help them find and save his father (and much, much more).

Though meant for middle grades and teens, once you pick up this book you won't want to put it down, no matter what your age.  It moves quickly with all sorts of surprises along the race to the very satisfying conclusion that makes the way for this to be a series.  I, for one, very much hope so!"

TC Terror: Tattered Cover Staff's Favorite Scary Reads (Part 6)

Miki's Picks:

Guilty Pleasures by Laurel K. Hamilton
 Spooky and sexy and the first book in a great series.

Perfume by Patrick Suskind

A freaky serial killer with no sense of right or wrong, only desire.

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

Chilling because it has so much fact mixed with fiction the line between what is and what could be is very thin.

Molly's Pick:

Lisey's Story by Stephen King

K. B.'s Pick:

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

TC Tidbit: How Indie Book Stores Keep Communities Vibrant celebrates the "weird and quirky" indie bookstores in their area

Friday, October 28, 2011

A Literary Zombie Novel? Yes! But Only Colson Whitehead Could Pull It Off

In this wry take on the post-apocalyptic horror novel, a pandemic has devastated the planet. The plague has sorted humanity into two types: the uninfected and the infected, the living and the living dead.

Now the plague is receding, and Americans are busy rebuild­ing civilization under orders from the provisional govern­ment based in Buffalo. Their top mission: the resettlement of Manhattan. Armed forces have successfully reclaimed the island south of Canal Street—aka Zone One—but pockets of plague-ridden squatters remain. While the army has eliminated the most dangerous of the infected, teams of civilian volunteers are tasked with clearing out a more innocuous variety—the “malfunctioning” stragglers, who exist in a catatonic state, transfixed by their former lives.

Mark Spitz is a member of one of the civilian teams work­ing in lower Manhattan. Alternating between flashbacks of Spitz’s desperate fight for survival during the worst of the outbreak and his present narrative, the novel unfolds over three surreal days, as it depicts the mundane mission of straggler removal, the rigors of Post-Apocalyptic Stress Disorder, and the impossible job of coming to grips with the fallen world.
And then things start to go wrong.

Both spine chilling and playfully cerebral, Zone One bril­liantly subverts the genre’s conventions and deconstructs the zombie myth for the twenty-first century.

Jackie says:
"I have, by design and general constitution, largely avoided the whole zombie craze.  It's just not my thing.  But when a publisher's rep came cloyingly into my office with the latest Colson Whitehead (of "Sag Harbor" fame, among other novels), I happily snapped it up.  Then, to my earth shaking surprise, he says, "It's about zombies."   Whitehead is known for his high literate style and intense content, something that I though could never be paired with flesh dripping undead beings looking for their next meal.  But he does it, and he does it well.  I will fully admit that I was bewildered for the first 70 or so pages, because this book starts out smack dab in the middle of the battle of the infected (a plague creates ravenous zombies of it's sufferers) and the (relatively) healthy.  The armed forces have done a great deal of the initial extermination, but now there are organized citizen troops looking for the "skels" in a second wave through part of Manhattan--Zone One.  Mark Spitz (a nickname, but the only name he's got any more) is the narrating character, and he's learned to be very good with a gun.  For the first third of the book, we follow him through his gruesome days, but eventually we start to get the back story of his life and of the massive changes (or ARE they?) to the government and the surviving people--now called "American Phoenixes" in the massive marketing/rebranding of survival created by a brilliant team of spin doctors cached away by what is left of the government (now headquartered in Buffalo).  As the book continues, more and more of the whole picture come into place, and Whitehead's critique of today's world, the one I'm writing you from,  becomes clearer and sharply pointed.  His writing is mesmerizing in its ability to set you down firmly in this horrifying new reality, making reading this book a very visceral experience.  I won't lie, his command of the English language sent me to the dictionary more times than I am truly willing to admit to find out what a sentence meant, but it was worth it each time.  This man tells a story like no other, and I am deeply, deeply impressed.  The blurb on my reader's copy says "dazzling and devastating"--I couldn't agree more."

TC Terror: Tattered Cover Staff's Favorite Scary Reads (Part 5)

Pete's Picks:

 Jaws by Peter Benchley

The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty
(Michael P. recommends this too!)

Helter Skeltor: The True Story of the Manson Murders by Vincent Bugliosi 

Bed Bugs by Ben H. Winters 

Michael P.'s Picks:

It by Stephen King

The Lottery by Shirley Jackson

The Call of Cthulhu and other Weird Stories by H.P. Lovecraft

TC Tidbit: A New View on Shakespeare Opening Today

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Lynn's Jaw Dropped Again and Again At the Revelations in This Book

Tar Sands
Canada has one third of the world’s oil source; it comes from the bitumen in the oil sands of Alberta. Advancements in technology and frenzied development have created the world’s largest energy project in Fort McMurray where, rather than shooting up like a fountain in the deserts of Saudi Arabia, the sticky bitumen is extracted from the earth. Providing almost 20 percent of America’s fuel, much of this dirty oil is being processed in refineries in the Midwest. This out-of-control megaproject is polluting the air, poisoning the water, and destroying boreal forest at a rate almost too rapid to be imagined. In this hard-hitting book, journalist Andrew Nikiforuk exposes the disastrous environmental, social, and political costs of the tar sands and argues forcefully for change.

Lynn says:
"Tar Sands is a historical and technical analysis of the development of Alberta's tar sands to maintain the current momentum of fossil-fueled energy production and consumption.  While reading this book I had to pause and put the book down repeatedly just to absorb the ramifications of the jaw-dropping scale of what contortions otherwise intelligent minds had gone and continue to go through to push through what amounts to a fabulously expensive boondoggle at best, and a genuine environmental catastrophe at worst.  Dissecting the highly secretive decisions that have favored short term profits and disregarded public safety and ecological and societal health, Canadian author Nikiforuk is an engaging tour guide through a multifaceted landscape that reveals a desperate empire in dangerous denial of the reality of limits, even as those limits stubbornly persist and are exacerbated by largely unregulated and unaccountable extraction efforts.

Bitumen, the tarry substance our oil-addiction now turns to to fuel our cars, requires vast energy and water inputs and pollutes extravagantly to eke out its preciously rare elixirs that so command our markets, but with the stubborn refusal to acknowledge the pressing need to rapidly develop renewable energy, it appears the last best solution for those determined to keep up appearances and stay the course with business-as-usual in the now much murkier territory of the tar sands.   After blazing through the lion's share of the 'low-hanging fruit' (i.e. easily obtained oil reserves) over the past century, bitumen has certainly gotten the attention of First Nation residents of the Athabasca River watershed and of the citizens of Ft.McMurray, a boom-town going through exponential leaps of dubious benefit in a mining operation that even some industry insiders term a "freakshow" and which actually dwarfs the operation fictionally depicted in James Cameron's film, "Avatar".  Now Nikiforuk adds his to a growing chorus of voices hoping to even break through to grab the attention of those of us who up to now may have thought we were doing our part for the environment by buying compact fluorescent lightbulbs or driving a Prius.

To read this book is timely, given the demonstration earlier this fall in Washington, DC where James Hansen (author of
Storms of MyGrandchildren) and Naomi Klein (No Logo and Shock Doctrine) were arrested with dozens of others to oppose the Keystone XL Pipeline as well as the spreading Occupy Wallstreet demonstrations calling for corporate accountability/transparency and grassroots representation.  Nikiforuk's very bright light on the 'externatlities' involved in our material comforts may make us squirm with a new awareness of our personal collusion in the culture spawned by the more easily obtainable fossil fuels that heat our homes, cook our food, fuel our cars and generate seemingly limitless growth itself as an assumed iron-clad 'good'.  Yes, it can be a tad overwhelming to look this issue straight in the eye.  But the book is rounded out at its end with a chapter based on Alcoholics Anonymous' 12 Steps, which provides a road map of sorts to carbon sobriety, from the resolve to 'Admit the magnitude and complexity of the energy crisis' (step 1) to 'Don't Wait for Government. (step 11) and "Renegotiate NAFTA" (step 12).  For this reader, Nikiforuk's book is essential accompaniment through step 1, and a big help in confronting the other 11 steps as well." 

TC Terror: Tattered Cover Staff's Favorite Scary Stories (Part Four)

The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
I think The Metamorphosis is pretty freaky.

--Katie S.

We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson 

The atmosphere is creepy and disconcerting and tinged with dark wonder. The protagonist's weird point of view makes the seeming mundane urban reality around her shaky and untenable. Is she really a witch or just a disturbed girl in the throes of teenaged angst? Full of haunting lovely language and images. One vivid scene where she creates her own homegrown spell by breathing a name into a glass of tap water and then drinking it
down, will always stick with me.

--Andrea P

***Sarah H is a fan too!

 Ghosts I Have Been by Richard Peck
I'm a wimp, so my scary book is really mild.

Blossom Culp is about 10 or 11 years old in an early 1900s Midwest small town. She meets a little boy who drowned on the Titanic. She and her mother (a psychic) barely scrape by, living on the "wrong side of the tracks". The only other person who can see the boy is Alexander, the boy from a well-off family who lives in the house on the hill.

-- Mindy

TC Tidbit: 10 Great Sentences

Esquire magazine has picked 10 great sentences from 10 of their favorite fall books.  Check them out.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Jackie Says, "Don't Miss Out On The Start of a Great Series!"

Death Along the Spirit Road

First in a new series featuring FBI agent Manny Tanno- a Native American returning to the reservation home he thought he left behind. 
Eighteen years ago, FBI agent Manny Tanno thought he was leaving the impoverished Pine Ridge Reservation for good. Now a case forces him to return, digging up memories of his proud Sioux ancestry—and some family he'd rather forget.
The body of local Native land developer Jason Red Cloud is found on the site for his new resort near Pine Ridge Village. A war club is lodged in his skull, and there are clues to suggest a ritual may have been performed at the crime scene. Agent Tanno's boss orders his to return to the reservation, his former home, and solve the murder in two weeks—or he can kiss his job good-bye.

Manny arrives in Pine Ridge to find that some things haven't changed since he left. His former rival, now in charge of the tribal police, is just as bitter as ever, and he has no intention of making Manny's life easy. And the spirit of Red Cloud haunting Manny's dreams is not much help either. Now Manny is on his own in hunting down a cold-blooded killer—and one misstep could send him down the spirit road as well. . .

Jackie says:
"This is the first book in a series (Spirit Road Mysteries; the next comes out in Summer 2012) and it's sets a pace for the series that is bound to be a hit with Tony Hillerman or Margaret Coel fans, and really any mystery reader who likes a little bit of grizzle and humor in their heroes.

Manny Tanno grew up on the Pine Ridge Reservation.  He stayed for awhile, becoming part of the tribal police force, before moving on and east to the FBI where he gained fame by solving every murder case that came his way.  While he'd often worked on other cases involving Native Americans, this was first time he'd been sent to his old stomping grounds as an agent.  As he suspected, his welcome was a rather cold one that quickly becomes brutal has he is attacked over and over again (and sets a record for demolishing Hertz rental cars).  But the most painful part is the fact that the killer that he is looking for just might be is own estranged brother.

Wendelboe knows about what he speaks--he's a retired law man who worked in an area  of South Dakota that covered three reservations, including Pine Ridge.  His explanations, and his clear respect, of native lore and beliefs add a depth to the book that makes it rise above being a "mere" mystery.  Step into the world of Manny Tanno--I truly think you'll enjoy the trip.

TC Terror: Tattered Cover Staff's Favorite Scary Stories (Part 3)

Faerie Tale by Raymond Feist

The epic military fantasy writer really shakes off that genre when he tells the tale of the Hastings family.  I remember looking for fairy stones afterward just to make sure nothing was lingering around my house in the woods.

Don't Breathe a Word by Jennifer McMahon

I use the phrase "scary fairy book with no fairies" when I describe this book to customers.  McMahon offers her read a fairly mundane explanation to the meat of the book, but then blows it all up in the reader's face right at the end.

 World War Z by Max Brooks
Taking a cliche subject and making it normal isn't the only thing Brooks does right in this oral history novel.  The characters and their "realness" get into your head so easily that every bump in your house becomes a zombie.  Don't read if you live in a bumpy house.

 Mister B. Gone by Clive Barker

The audio version of this book is narrated by Doug Bradley.  Not familiar?  He is Pinhead from The Hellraiser films.  A sort of light and gravelly voice fit to read horror novels.  The first person narrator is Mister B, a demon trapped within the book.  The story becomes an almost pleasant history, but all the while, Mister B is becoming more upset that the reader isn't burning the book (the first thing he asked the reader to do, not to read).

So why did this scare me?  At the end of disc five, Mister B was telling me that he was behind me and was going to cut my throat.  It was pretty violent.  But then he paused, and the disc ended.  I switched it with the sixth disc, and Mister B said, "I'm behind you."  And my car's disc player was suddenly unable to read the disc and ejected it.  I pulled over and looked behind me.  No fictional (?) minor devil.  Then I looked at
the disc.  No scratches.  I opted to listen to NPR for the rest of my drive.


TC Tidbit: P. D. James Writes Jane Austin Sequel

Read the Seattle Times article about it here.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

"What IS it about Murakami?" Andrea K. Asks and Answers The Question Here

The year is 1984 and the city is Tokyo.

 A young woman named Aomame follows a taxi driver’s enigmatic suggestion and begins to notice puzzling discrepancies in the world around her. She has entered, she realizes, a parallel existence, which she calls 1Q84 —“Q is for ‘question mark.’ A world that bears a question.” Meanwhile, an aspiring writer named Tengo takes on a suspect ghostwriting project. He becomes so wrapped up with the work and its unusual author that, soon, his previously placid life begins to come unraveled.

As Aomame’s and Tengo’s narratives converge over the course of this single year, we learn of the profound and tangled connections that bind them ever closer: a beautiful, dyslexic teenage girl with a unique vision; a mysterious religious cult that instigated a shoot-out with the metropolitan police; a reclusive, wealthy dowager who runs a shelter for abused women; a hideously ugly private investigator; a mild-mannered yet ruthlessly efficient bodyguard; and a peculiarly insistent television-fee collector.

A love story, a mystery, a fantasy, a novel of self-discovery, a dystopia to rival George Orwell’s—1Q84 is Haruki Murakami’s most ambitious undertaking yet: an instant best seller in his native Japan, and a tremendous feat of imagination from one of our most revered contemporary writers.

Andrea K says:
"What is it about Haruki Murakami?  What inspires the legions of devotes fans around the world for this acclaimed Japanese author? His novels are both surreal and humorous, accessible despite their themes of loneliness and alienation.  Despite the Japanese settings, Western culture permeates the characters and their tastes. During the latest round of Nobel Prizes, London bookmakers gave him 9/1 odds to win the fiction prize. Here at the Tattered Cover, our fiction buyer received one advanced copy from the publisher, and had to hold a drawing to see which employee could read it first.  If Mr Murakami ever comes here for a book signing, at least every TC employee would eagerly show up to get their copies of The Wind-up Bird Chronicle signed.

The latest novel from  Murakami, 1Q84, is a sprawling epic and a veiled homage to George Orwell's 1984.  Selling a whopping 4 million copies in Japan [it was published as a trilogy in Japan], it is another example of Murakami's amazing talent.  Considered by Japanese critics to be his magnum opus, one quote from the Japan Times stating that it 'may become a mandatory read for anyone trying to get grips with contemporary Japanese culture.'  After impatiently waiting 2 years for the English language translation, his fans will finally be rewarded on October 25th.

It is set in a parallel word  that looks remarkably like Japan set in 1984,  except  for the two moons hanging in the sky.  Against this back drop, the lives of two solitary people play out.   Aomame, a young woman stuck in a traffic jam, takes the advice of her cab driver and leaves the cab for an emergency exit on the freeway. Once she descends the stairs, she enters the world of 1Q84.   Tengo, an aspiring writer, is given the job of ghostwriting a  teenage girl's mysterious fantasy novel. The book becomes a bestseller, and draws the attention of an ominous religious cult.  So begins their alternate lives,  aided and abetted by the teenage girl, the religious cult, hit men and private detectives.   Their lives at first seem unconnected, but nothing is quite that simple in a Murakami book.

Expect to hear a lot about 1Q84, one of the most anticipated novels of the fall season, and expect it to show up on many critics' best-of lists by the end of the year.  Do yourself a favor: even if you don't read 1Q84,  read any of Murakami's novels.  You will be smitten, like the rest of us here at the Tattered Cover."