Saturday, March 31, 2012

What If The Titanic Didn't Sink?

‘He could feel it. The flutter of butterfly wings that would herald a brighter, better world. He looked out to the flat, calm ocean, the moonless night. Beyond the ship’s illumination the dark waters rose up so that he felt as if he and the ship lay at the centre of a vast opaque bowl. Then at a distance, under the starlight’s dim flicker, he saw it. First, a jagged edge, then two irregular peaks, riding black against the black night sky.’
A mysterious man appears aboard the Titanic on its doomed voyage, his mission to save the ship.  The result of his efforts is a worldwhere the United States never entered World War I, thus launching the secret history of the 20th century.

April 2012.  Joseph Kennedy, relation of John F. Kennedy, lives in an America occupied on the East Coast by the Germans and on the West Coast by the Japanese.  He is on of six people who can restore history to its rightful order--even though it will mean his own death.

Read an interview with the author about his writing process for this book HERE. 

Read more from the author HERE.


"If you liked Garth Stein's 'The Art of Racing in the Rain' this should be next on your reading list." ---- Trish Cutsail, from A Likely Story Book Store in Sykesville, MD

From the New York Times bestselling author of One Good Dog comes a novel about a woman’s cross-country journey to find her lost dog, and discover herself.

“My name is Justine Meade and in my forty-three years there have only been a handful of people that I have loved. No, that’s an exaggeration. Two. Two that I lost because of stupidity and selfishness. One was my son. The other was my dog.”

If there’s been a theme in Justine Meade’s life, it’s loss. Her mother, her home, even her son. The one bright spot in her loss-filled life, the partner she could always count on, was Mack, her gray and black Sheltie—that is, until she is summoned back to her childhood home after more than twenty years away.

Ed and Alice Parmalee are mourning a loss of their own. Seven years after their daughter was taken from them, they’re living separate lives together. Dancing around each other, and their unspeakable heartbreak, unable to bridge the chasm left between them.  Fiercely loyal, acutely perceptive and guided by a herd dog’s instinct, Mack has a way of bringing out the best in his humans. Whether it’s a canine freestyle competition or just the ebb and flow of a family’s rhythms, it’s as though the little Shetland Sheepdog was born to bring people together. Susan Wilson's The Dog Who Danced is his story, one that will surely dance its way into your heart.

TC Tidbit: What To Understand More About Forensics?

Thanks to the Book Duo at the Douglas County Libraries, we have found out about Tom Adair, a retired senior criminalist with 15 years of forensic experience and a first time author.  To help other authors, he has created a blog that specializes in demystifying forensics for the fiction writers (and readers).  Check it out HERE.

Here's more about Adair's book:
Sarah and Daniel have each stood face to face with evil before. This time they’ll face the threat together. Youthful and impulsive, Sarah is a tough; no nonsense criminalist determined to measure up to the male cops around her. Daniel is a former special ops soldier adjusting to civilian life while working at his uncle’s forensic science center. Now, two killers have brought them together. One is a psychopathic murderer who turns the tables on Sarah. The other is a professional assassin only Daniel understands. Hampered by her inexperience and the sniper’s knowledge of forensics, Sarah struggles to understand the unusual clues left at the crime scenes. When Daniel’s mysterious past lands him in jail, Sarah must overcome her fears as she finds herself trapped between the killer she is pursuing and the one pursuing her.

Friday, March 30, 2012

The Latest From Denver's Own Robert Greer!

The Cold War ended years ago, or did it? For Thurmond Giles, a decorated African American Air Force veteran found naked, dead, and dangling by his ankles inside a deactivated minuteman missile silo in desolate southeastern Wyoming, the answer is no. The labyrinthine investigation that follows his death—led by former fighter pilot Major Bernadette Cameron and ex-college baseball phenom-turned-reporter Elgin “Cozy” Coseia—reveals how the atomic era’s legacy has continued to destroy both minds and lives.

Astride a Pink Horse follows Bernadette, Cozy, and Cozy’s boss Freddie Dames match wits with a gallery of unforgettable murder suspects: a powerful, right-wing-leaning cattle rancher; a declining seventy-six-year-old WWII-era Japanese internment camp victim and her unstable math professor cousin; an idealistic lifelong nuclear arms protestor; and a civilian Air Force contractor with a twenty-year grudge against the murder victim. Do three amateur detectives stand a chance against these characters and the conspiracy that may be behind it all? Robert Greer’s trademark mix of vivid eccentrics, surprising plot twists, and political edge makes this one of his most memorable thrillers.

Read an interview with Greer HERE.

Jackie says:
"Professor and doctor by day, mystery writer at night, Denverite Robert Greer has an interesting new stand alone mystery for his many fans.  This one stars Elgin 'Cozy' Coseia, once a very promising baseball player, now an investigative reporter, and Major Bernadette Cameron, an investigator for the Office of Special Investigations for the Air Force.  Starting from different angles, both are looking into the murder of a nuclear technician, which brings out protestors, which seems to lead to another murder.  But there may be more than individual murders being planned in the mastermind's final scenario.  Banding the two of them together in a high speed adventure among several Western states, this book is a page turner that leaves you hoping that it just might be the start of a new series."

Meet Robert Greer at our Colfax Avenue store on Wednesday, April 4 at 7:30 pm.  He will be reading from his new book and signing all of his titles.  

One Out of 100 Children Born in 2000 Were Diagnosed on the Autistic Spectrum

The Golden Hat: Talking Back to Autism
Doctors told Margret Dagmar that her son Keli, who lives with a severe form of non-verbal autism, would never be able to communicate; she was told that he would be best off locked in an institution for the rest of his life. Driven by a love for her child and a firm sense of humanity, Margret embarked on a mission to find a way to connect with him.

Oscar Award-winning actress Kate Winslet paired up with Margret and Keli to produce a documentary film about their journey. Eventually the team found an organization called Helping Autism Learning Outreach (HALO) in Austin, Texas, where specialists taught Keli other ways to communicate. He now composes beautiful and deeply moving poetry; one poem Keli wrote is called “The Golden Hat,” which describes a magical hat that enables an autistic boy to communicate.

Inspired by Keli’s poem, Winslet developed a truly innovative way to raise awareness and funds to support autism outreach. Her project asks friends to pass a hat—chosen from Kate’s closet—from one to another, after they’ve each taken a self-portrait wearing it. The list of those photographs includes Angelina Jolie, Steven Spielberg, Oprah, Sting, Daniel Craig, and many more. The Golden Hat combines elements of the Dagmars’ incredible odyssey into a beautiful location, featuring Keli’s original poetry alongside stunning photographs of the world’s most well-known celebrities wearing “the golden hat.”

The Autism Puzzle
The alarming spike in autism in recent years has sent doctors and parents on a search for answers. And while many controversies have erupted around the issue, none have gotten us any closer to a definitive explanation, and many key concerns remain unexplored. Moving beyond the distractions of the vaccine debate, The Autism Puzzle is the first book to address the compelling evidence that it is the pairing of environmental exposures with genetic susceptibilities that may be impacting the brain development of children.

Journalist Brita Belli brings us into the lives of three families with autistic children, each with different ideas about autism, as she explores the possible causes. She interprets for readers compelling evidence that environmental toxins—including common exposures from chemicals mounting in our everyday lives—may be sparking this disorder in vulnerable children. Belli calls for an end to the use of hazardous materials—like toxic flame retardants used in electronics and furniture, which have been banned elsewhere--insisting that we cannot afford to experiment with our children. The Autism Puzzle puts a human face on the families caught in between the debates, and offers a refreshingly balanced perspective.

Carly's Voice: Breaking Through Autism
At the age of two, Carly Fleischmann was diagnosed with severe autism and an oral motor condition that prevented her from speaking. Doctors predicted that she could never intellectually develop beyond the abilities of a small child. Although she made some progress after years of intensive behavioral and communication therapy, Carly remained largely unreachable. Then, at age ten, Carly had a breakthrough. While sitting in her kitchen with her devoted therapist Howie, Carly reached over to the laptop and typed “MEAN,” referring to Howie’s efforts to get her to do her work for the day. She then went on to further explain her recalcitrant mood by typing “TEETH HURT,” much to Howie’s astonishment.

This was the beginning of Carly’s journey toward self-realization. Although Carly still struggles with all the symptoms of autism, which she describes with uncanny accuracy and detail, she now has regular, witty, and profound conversations on the computer with her family, her therapists, and many thousands of people who follow her via her blog, Facebook, and Twitter. A 2009 segment on 20/20 brought her story to national attention, and she has since appeared on television with Larry King, Ellen DeGeneres, and Holly Robinson Peete, all of whom have developed warm relationships with her.

In Carly's Voice, her father, Arthur Fleischmann, blends Carly’s own words with his story of getting to know his remarkable daughter. One of the first books to explore firsthand the challenges of living with autism, it brings readers inside a once-secret world in the company of an inspiring young woman who has found her voice and her mission.

Autistic?  How Silly Is That!
The first book of its kind that tells children with autism they are KIDS with autism, as it gently pokes fun of the onerous label "autistic".  The readers will feel better about themselves after reading about their new friend, the narrator, who also HAS autism, as well as many other more important characteristics.  Having autism is just one small part of his overall character and humanity.  And we would never again label him as simply "autistic".

TC Tidbit: Madeleine L'Engle, Coming To a Theatre Near You

Read about it HERE.

More about the book the movie is based on:
Fifteen-year-old Camilla Dickinson has led a sheltered life with her architect father and stunningly beautiful mother. But suddenly the security she’s always known vanishes as her parents’ marriage begins to crumble—and Camilla is caught in the middle. Then she meets Frank, her best friend’s brother, and he’s someone she can really talk to about life, death, God, and her dream of becoming an astronomer. As Camilla and Frank roam the streets of New York City together, lost in conversation, and he introduces her to people who are so different from anyone she has met before, he opens her eyes to worlds beyond her own, almost as if he were a telescope helping her to see the stars. But will Camilla’s first love be all she hopes, or will Frank just add more heartbreak to her life?

Thursday, March 29, 2012

"...Nate is a force of nature...violent...those who love Box’s stunning set pieces will be in heaven." --Booklist

He never wanted to tell Joe Pickett about it, but Nate Romanowski always knew trouble was coming out of his past. Now it's here, and it may not only be the battle of his life-but of Joe's.

In 1995, Nate was in a secret Special Forces unit abroad when a colleague did something terrible. Now high up in the government, the man is determined to eliminate anyone who knows about it, and Nate knows exactly how he'll do it-by striking at Nate's friends to draw him out. The entire Pickett family will be a target, and the only way to fight back is outside the law. Nate knows he can do it, but he isn't sure about his straight-arrow friend-and all their lives could depend on it.

Read an interview with Box HERE.

Lisa C says:
"The newest Joe Pickett mystery,  for those of us waiting on the backstory of bad boy-best friend Nate Romanowski, does not disappoint. Readers will finally understand Nate’s story and why he is what he is. It is a non-stop thrill ride of murder and mayhem with Joe and his family right in the middle."

Meet Author Carl Hiasson TONIGHT!!!

Carl Hiassen, bestselling author of author of eleven hilarious mysteries for adults, and three children's books, including the bestseller Hoot, which was awarded a Newbery Honor. He'll make a return visit to the Historic Lodo Tattered Cover on March 29, at 7 pm, to read from and sign his latest children’s book Chomp . Since 1985 Hiaasen has been writing a regular column for the Miami Herald, which at one time or another has angered just about everybody in South Florida, including his own bosses. He has outlasted almost all of them, and his column still appears most Sundays in The Herald's opinion-and-editorial section. Hiaasen has received numerous honors, including the Damon Runyon Award from the Denver Press Club and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Society of Newspaper Columnists.

Free numbered tickets for a place in line for the booksigning will be handed out at 6:00 pm. Seating for the presentation prior to the booksigning is limited, and available on a first-come, first-served basis to ticketed customers only.

TC Tidbit: The Truth About Speed Reading

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Lynn's Fired Up By Taibbi's Article In Rolling Stone

Matt Taibbi beautifully articulates a very Orwellian question that's bothering alot of people by now:

'Where's the incentive to play fair and do well, when what we see rewarded at the highest levels of society  is failure, stupidity, incompetence and meanness?  If this is what winning in our system looks like, who doesn't want to be a loser?  Throughout history, it's precisely this kind of corrupt perversion that has given birth to countercultural revolutions.  If failure can't fail, the rest of us can never succeed.'

If you haven't already picked up a copy of the March issue of  Rolling Stone magazine, don't miss Matt Taibbi's article, 'Too Crooked to Fail' on Bank of America's crime-spree and government-rescue pattern that serves only to make its failures ever-more outlandishly catastrophic, at least for those of us not eligible for its bail-outs.  Taibbi traces the institution back to its roots in 1904 when it chiefly served San Francisco's immigrant community and in that comparatively beneficent incarnation helped rebuild the city after its horrific earthquake in 1906... to its bank-acquisition days in which banker rivals set about competing for consolidation and dominance coast to coast, morphing eventually into the seething bed of criminality that bought the mortgage lender, Countrywide Financial in 2008... continuing on to expose such a litany of excess, fraud and corruption, and, bringing thousands of Americans into foreclosure using what the author calls 'bogus, robo-signed evidence - a type of mass perjury that it (BOA) helped pioneer'... that, in a strange way, government's collusion with the whole mess by 'pumping $45 billion of taxpayer money into its arm' seems just part and parcel of the whole zomibified business-as-usual nightmare we find ourselves in today.  

Despite the so far underutilized Dodd-Frank financial reform approved last year to ostensibly give the government power to diminish the impunity of the megabanks, teetering on the verge of needing yet another bailout for yet more spectacular failures seems to work well for its executives... Says Taibbi,  'This, in essence, is the business model underlying Too Big to Fail: massive growth based on huge volumes of high-risk loans, coupled with lots of fraud and cutting corners, followed by huge payouts to executives.  Then with the company on the verge of collapse, the inevitable state rescue.'  Worked pretty well for the firm this last year since their total bonus/compensation deal amounted to $37 billion.  Oh yeah, and 'Bank of America didn't pay a dime in federal taxes last year. Or the year before.'


Rolling Stone can be found at all Tattered Cover Stores.  You can find Matt Taibbi's books HERE.

"'The Professionals' is a high-octane adrenaline and gunpowder-fueled rocket ride across the country..." C.J. Box

Four friends, recent college graduates, caught in a terrible job market, joke about turning to kidnapping to survive. And then, suddenly, it's no joke. For two years, the strategy they devise-quick, efficient, low risk-works like a charm. Until they kidnap the wrong man.

Now two groups they've very much wanted to avoid are after them-the law, in the form of veteran state investigator Kirk Stevens and hotshot young FBI agent Carla Windermere, and an organized-crime outfit looking for payback. As they all crisscross the country in deadly pursuit and a series of increasingly explosive confrontations, each of them is ultimately forced to recognize the truth: The true professionals, cop or criminal, are those who are willing to sacrifice . . . everything.

A finger-burning page-turner, filled with twists, surprises, and memorably complex characters, The Professionals marks the arrival of a remarkable new writer.

Friend of TC Eric B. was an early reader, saying:
"This is a first-rate thriller with a cast of 'regular people' who engage in what seems at first to be a risky but essentially benign sort of extortion. You'll be rooting for them before it's over even if they are, well, criminals. Looked at a certain way, any one of us could have fallen into similar circumstances. Maybe not."

TC Tidbit: Why Finish Books?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

From Songwriter to Novelist, Hank Is A Fan of Suzzy Roche

From a folk-rock legend comes a tender, comic story of family, music, and second chances. 

Mary Saint, the rule-breaking, troubled former lead singer of the almost-famous band Sliced Ham, has pretty much given up on music after the trauma of her band member and lover Garbagio's death seven years earlier. Instead, with the help of her best friend, Thaddeus, she is trying to piece her life together while making mochaccinos in San Francisco. Meanwhile, back in her hometown of Swallow, New York, her mother, Jean Saint, struggles with her own ghosts.

When Mary is invited to give a concert at her old high school, Jean is thrilled, though she's worried about what Father Benedict and her neighbors will think of songs such as "Sewer Flower" and "You're a Pig." But she soon realizes that there are going to be bigger problems when the whole town--including a discouraged teacher and a baker who's anything but sweet--gets in on the act.

Filled with characters that are wild and original, yet still familiar and warm--plus plenty of great insider winks at the music industry--Wayward Saints is a touching and hilarious look at confronting your past and going home again.

On her website, Roche says:
"I have always loved to read novels, but whatever drove me to sit down and write one is a mystery.   Through the years I’ve had a tendency to create poems and stories but they remained, for the most part, private.

I like to think of Wayward Saints as a fable. I wanted to write about faith and art, and how it manifests differently in everyone.  I also wanted to write about the absurdity and dangers of the music business, the consequences of violence, the power of forgiveness, and the possibility of the miraculous."

Hank says: 
"With the Roches retired from touring (hopefully not entirely from recording, or making an occasional appearance, but it's not up to me), Suzzy has taken on writing a novel. She's written some great song lyrics, and this extended effort was enjoyable to read. The overall tone is one of gentle fondness toward her characters' foibles, reminiscent of Armistead Maupin or Fannie Flagg, with more than a dash of profanity and good snarky humor for contrast. The story is about a 'Fifteen Minutes of Fame' musician, who is hoping to make at least some kind of comeback, starting in her hometown. The town, and her mother in particular, may not be quite ready for this!"

Have We Drifted Away From America's Original Ideals?

"One of my favorite ideas is, never to keep an unnecessary soldier," Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1792. Neither Jefferson nor the other Found­ers could ever have envisioned the modern national security state, with its tens of thousands of "privateers"; its bloated Department of Homeland Security; its rust­ing nuclear weapons, ill-maintained and difficult to dismantle; and its strange fascination with an unproven counterinsurgency doctrine.

Written with bracing wit and intelligence, Rachel Maddow's Drift argues that we've drifted away from America's original ideals and become a nation weirdly at peace with perpetual war, with all the financial and human costs that entails. To understand how we've arrived at such a dangerous place, Maddow takes us from the Vietnam War to today's war in Afghanistan, along the way exploring the disturbing rise of executive authority, the gradual outsourcing of our war-making capabilities to private companies, the plummeting percentage of American families whose children fight our constant wars for us, and even the changing fortunes of G.I. Joe. She offers up a fresh, unsparing appraisal of Reagan's radical presidency. Ultimately, she shows us just how much we stand to lose by allowing the priorities of the national security state to overpower our political discourse.

Sensible yet provocative, dead serious yet seri­ously funny, Drift will reinvigorate a "loud and jangly" political debate about how, when, and where to apply America's strength and power--and who gets to make those decisions.

Read a Q&A with Maddow HERE.

TC Tidbit: Steinbeck's Vietnam Letters

Monday, March 26, 2012

Jackie says, "This is an astonishing book, and I cannot find enough ways to recommend it."

Dust to Dust is an extraordinary memoir about ordinary things: life and death, peace and war, the adventures of childhood and the revelations of adulthood. Benjamin Busch—a decorated U.S. Marine Corps infantry officer who served two combat tours in Iraq, an actor on The Wire, and the son of celebrated novelist Frederick Busch—has crafted a lasting book to stand with the finest work of Tim O'Brien or Annie Dillard.

In elemental-themed chapters—water, metal, bone, blood—Busch weaves together a vivid record of a pastoral childhood in rural New York; Marine training in North Carolina, Ukraine, and California; and deployment during the worst of the war in Iraq, as seen firsthand. But this is much more than a war memoir. Busch writes with great poignancy about the resonance of a boyhood spent exploring rivers and woods, building forts, and testing the limits of safety. Most of all, he brings enormous emotional power to his reflections on mortality: in a helicopter going down; wounded by shrapnel in Ramadi; dealing with the sudden death of friends in combat and of parents back home.

Dust to Dust is an unforgettable meditation on life and loss, and how the curious children we were remain alive in us all.

Check out some photos related to this book HERE.

Read an excerpt HERE.

Jackie says:
"'I knew very early that I was a solitary being.  I longed for the elemental'.  That is how the prologue to this book begins.  Two pages into this memoir, I was entranced.  Busch has a style of writing that thrills me in a way that I cannot explain--baldly honest, clear eyed and bursting with the visual and  tactile as well as profound emotion with a deep seated philosophy a constant undercurrent to the prose.  He tells his story through the elements that have made the most impressions on him throughout his life, with chapters named 'Water', 'Soil', 'Wood', 'Stone'.  He also reveals his life long affinity toward soldiering in 'Arms', 'Metal', 'Blood'.  Yet, just like in life, all of the elements come into play, often mixing together during important times, providing a continuous center that not everyone can identify in themselves. Written as a way through his grief at the loss of his parents--both in less than a year--this book offers up a way for all of us to examine our lives and their components, to see how they built us, where they have taken us or will take us, and what it all means.  This is an astonishing book, and I cannot find enough ways to recommend it.  I'll settle with, "Please, read this book."

Come See Anne Lamott Tomorrow Night!!!

In Some Assembly Required, Anne Lamott enters a new and unexpected chapter of her own life: grandmotherhood.

Stunned to learn that her son, Sam, is about to become a father at nineteen, Lamott begins a journal about the first year of her grandson Jax's life.

In careful and often hilarious detail, Lamott and Sam-about whom she first wrote so movingly in Operating Instructions-struggle to balance their changing roles with the demands of college and work, as they both forge new relationships with Jax's mother, who has her own ideas about how to raise a child. Lamott writes about the complex feelings that Jax fosters in her, recalling her own experiences with Sam when she was a single mother.

Over the course of the year, the rhythms of life, death, family, and friends unfold in surprising and joyful ways.

By turns poignant and funny, honest and touching, Some Assembly Required is the true story of how the birth of a baby changes a family-as this book will change everyone who reads it.

Tuesday, March 27 at 7:30 pm at our Historic Lodo Store:
Anne Lamott returns to Tattered Cover with her latest book Some Assembly Required: A Journal of My Son’s First Son (Riverhead), the story of a new and unexpected chapter of her life: grandmotherhood. Ms. Lamott, a past recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, is the author of several New York Times nonfiction bestsellers Bird by Bird, Grace (Eventually), Plan B, Traveling Mercies and Operating Instructions, as well as seven novels, including Imperfect Birds, Rosie and Crooked Little Heart.

Free numbered tickets for a good seat and a place in line for the signing will be handed out at 6:30 pm. Seating for the presentation prior to the booksigning is limited, and available on a first-come, first-served basis to ticketed customers only.

TC Tidbit: The Power of Simple Words

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Bittman's Back With The Basics

 “A wonderful book of perfectly simple recipes that every neophyte and experienced cook should have in their kitchen.” – Publishers Weekly, starred review 

When people want to learn their way around the kitchen they turn to Mark Bittman, author of the best-selling How to Cook Everything books—contemporary, comprehensive references for cooks of all ages and abilities. Now, for the first time ever, Bittman combines classic, elemental recipes with full-color, step-by-step photos. The result is an accessible tutorial that offers something for everyone, from true beginners to seasoned enthusiasts.

How to Cook Everything The Basics  is the ultimate teaching tool. With his signature authoritative and sensible advice, Bittman demonstrates how easy it is to make delicious everyday food from common supermarket ingredients. And since this is an unprecedented How to Cook Everything book—with 1,000 beautiful photographs by Romulo Yanes to illustrate every recipe and technique—the cookbook serves as a comprehensive reference that’s both visually stunning and utterly practical.

Among the 185 recipes in How to Cook Everything The Basics are instructions for all the basic techniques, ingredients, and variations that new—and even not-so-new—cooks need to gain confidence in the kitchen. Bittman teaches essential lessons through the processes of cooking: Lentil Soup teaches rinsing and sorting through beans and softening vegetables; Fried Chicken shows how to coat meat in flour and test the temperature of oil; and Banana Bread demonstrates greasing a pan and creaming butter.  Cooks can work through the lessons dish by dish, or cherry pick, using the “Learn More” feature at the end of each recipe and the “List of Lessons” at the back of the book to quickly locate specific skills and instructions.

Bittman advances a no-nonsense, practical approach to cooking in all of the book’s unique features:
  • A Getting Started chapter helps readers set up the pantry, use seasonings, and identify equipment, while providing a visual guide to all of the basic preparation and cooking techniques.
  • Twenty nine Basics Features are scattered throughout to simplify broad subjects with sections like “Think of Vegetables in Groups,” “How to Cook Any Grain,” and “5 Rules for Buying and Storing Seafood.” 
  • 600 demonstration photos each build on a step from the recipe to teach a core lesson, like “Cracking an Egg,” “Using Pasta Water,” “Recognizing Doneness,” and “Crimping the Pie Shut.”
  • Detailed notes appear in blue type near selected images. Here, Mark highlights what to look for during a particular step and offers handy advice and other helpful asides.
  •  “Is It Done Yet?” depicts the subtle difference a minute can make when cooking foods like eggs or pasta; other images capture the moment a sauce thickens, water simmers steadily, or rice becomes tender.
Bittman teaches cooking in a casual, unfussy way that makes meals as enjoyable to prepare as they are to eat. And How to Cook Everything The Basics is almost like having him in the kitchen with you.

New Books On Our Children's Shelves

Caldecott Medalist Zelinsky illustrates an outrageously funny and boundary-breaking story for fans of Jon Scieszka and David Weisner. Zebra wants to put on a show as simple as A-B-C, but Zebra's friend Moose has other (unexpected and hilarious) ideas.

 Following a snow-filled winter, a young boy and his dog decide that they've had enough of all that brown and resolve to plant a garden. They dig, they plant, they play, they wait . . . and wait . . . until at last, the brown becomes a more hopeful shade of brown, a sign that spring may finally be on its way. Julie Fogliano's tender story of anticipation is brought to life by the distinctive illustrations Erin E. Stead, recipient of the 2011 Caldecott Medal.

On a momentous visit to the aquarium, Elliot discovers his dream pet: a penguin. It's just proper enough for a straight-laced boy like him. And when he asks his father if he may have one (please and thank you), his father says yes. Elliot should have realized that Dad probably thought he meant a stuffed penguin and not a real one . . . Clever illustrations and a wild surprise ending make this sly, silly tale of friendship and wish fulfillment a kid-pleaser from start to finish.

One small boy has a special gift—he can weave cloth from the clouds: gold in the early morning with the rising sun, white in the afternoon, and crimson in the evening. He spins just enough cloth for a warm scarf. But when the king sees the boy's magnificent cloth, he demands cloaks and gowns galore. "It would not be wise," the boy protests. "Your majesty does not need them!" But spin he must—and soon the world around him begins to change.

From author Michael Catchpool and illustrator Alison Jay comes a magical tale about the beauty and fragility of our natural world, and the wisdom and courage needed to protect it.

When Penny comes home from school, she is ready to sing her song. But the babies are sleeping, and Mama and Papa are worried that Penny will wake them up. Oh, but it is a "good" song, a really "wonderful" song . . . and Penny wants more than anything to sing it.

What do you think will happen?

When Finn and her dog Skeeter set out on a hike to cure their restless feet, they literally take a step into nature. A big gooey step...right into scat (also known as poop). And just like the animal it comes from, scat comes in all shapes and sizes. Scat, along with foot or paw tracks, can tell a lot about the creature who produced it.

As Finn's hike takes her further into the woods, she happens along some scat and tracks from a variety of woodland creatures.

Pairing punchy rhyme with science writing, Lisa Morlock has created the perfect nature guide, providing detailed descriptions of the prints, diets, and behaviors of the animals that Finn and Skeeter encounter along their hike.

Watch your step!

TC Tidbit: Why Toni Morrison Won't Write a Memoir

Saturday, March 24, 2012

“Haskell leads the reader into a new genre of nature writing, located between science and poetry, in which the invisible appear, the small grow large, and the immense complex and beauty of life are more clearly revealed.” --E.O. Wilson

A biologist reveals the secret world hidden in a single square meter of forest.

In this wholly original book, biologist David Haskell uses a one- square-meter patch of old-growth Tennessee forest as a window onto the entire natural world. Visiting it almost daily for one year to trace nature's path through the seasons, he brings the forest and its inhabitants to vivid life.

Each of this book's short chapters begins with a simple observation: a salamander scuttling across the leaf litter; the first blossom of spring wildflowers. From these, Haskell spins a brilliant web of biology and ecology, explaining the science that binds together the tiniest microbes and the largest mammals and describing the ecosystems that have cycled for thousands- sometimes millions-of years. Each visit to the forest presents a nature story in miniature as Haskell elegantly teases out the intricate relationships that order the creatures and plants that call it home.

Written with remarkable grace and empathy, The Forest Unseen is a grand tour of nature in all its profundity. Haskell is a perfect guide into the world that exists beneath our feet and beyond our backyards.

“Intriguingly complex yet deliciously smooth, 'The Gods of Gotham' is, in a word, stunning." --Laurie R. King

1845. New York City forms its first police force. The great potato famine hits Ireland. These two seemingly disparate events will change New York City. Forever.

Timothy Wilde tends bar near the Exchange, saving every dollar and shilling in hopes of winning the girl of his dreams. But when his dreams literally incinerate in a fire devastating downtown Manhattan, he finds himself disfigured, unemployed, and homeless. His older brother obtains Timothy a job in the newly minted NYPD, but he is highly skeptical of this untested "police force." And he is less than thrilled that his new beat is the notoriously down-and-out Sixth Ward-at the border of Five Points, the world's most notorious slum.

One night while returning from his rounds, heartsick and defeated, Timothy runs into a little slip of a girl—a girl not more than ten years old—dashing through the dark in her nightshift . . . covered head to toe in blood.

Timothy knows he should take the girl to the House of Refuge, yet he can't bring himself to abandon her. Instead, he takes her home, where she spins wild stories, claiming that dozens of bodies are buried in the forest north of 23rd Street. Timothy isn't sure whether to believe her or not, but, as the truth unfolds, the reluctant copper star finds himself engaged in a battle for justice that nearly costs him his brother, his romantic obsession, and his own life.

TC Tidbit: A Pretty Cool Map of Panem

Friday, March 23, 2012

Cathy says, "'The Book of Jonas' opened my eyes and grabbed my heart."

An exceptional debut novel about a young Muslim war orphan whose family is killed in a military operation gone wrong, and the American soldier to whom his fate, and survival, is bound.

Jonas is fifteen when his family is killed during an errant U.S. military operation in an unnamed Muslim country. With the help of an international relief organization, he is sent to America, where he struggles to assimilate-foster family, school, a first love. Eventually, he tells a court-mandated counselor and therapist about a U.S. soldier, Christopher Henderson, responsible for saving his life on the tragic night in question. Christopher's mother, Rose, has dedicated her life to finding out what really happened to her son, who disappeared after the raid in which Jonas' village was destroyed. When Jonas meets Rose, a shocking and painful secret gradually surfaces from the past, and builds to a shattering conclusion that haunts long after the final page. Told in spare, evocative prose, The Book of Jonas is about memory, about the terrible choices made during war, and about what happens when foreign disaster appears at our own doorstep. It is a rare and virtuosic novel from an exciting new writer to watch.

Read Dau's interview with himself via HERE

Cathy says:
"This powerful novel of a boy who finds himself a refugee living in Pennsylvania following the destruction of his village by American forces is moving and insightful on many levels.  One layer reveals a glimpse at the trauma of an orphaned teenager struggling to deal with violence, horror and an  unspeakable secret. Another gives us a sense of the fear and anger and chaos that can overtake otherwise well meaning people.  And then we see the way lives fall apart and are slowly rebuilt for families of fallen soldiers.  Sympathetic and heartbreaking, The Book of Jonas opened my eyes and grabbed my heart."

"Once you catch a whiff, you will be enchanted." --Morning Sun

A Secret Worth Dying For … 

Jac L’Etoile has always been haunted by visions of the past, her earliest memories infused with the exotic scents that she grew up with as the heir to a storied French perfume company. These worsened after her mother’s suicide until she finally found a doctor who helped her, teaching her to explore the mythological symbolism in her visions and thus lessen their painful impact. This ability led Jac to a wildly successful career as a mythologist, television personality and author.

When her brother, Robbie—who’s taken over the House of L’Etoile from their father—contacts Jac about a remarkable discovery in the family archives, she’s skeptical. But when Robbie goes missing before he can share the secret—leaving a dead body in his wake—Jac is plunged into a world she thought she’d left behind.

Traveling back to Paris to investigate Robbie’s disappearance, Jac discovers that the secret is a mysterious scent developed in Cleopatra’s time. Could the rumors swirling be true? Can this ancient perfume hold the power to unlock the ability to remember past lives and conclusively prove reincarnation? If this possession has the power to change the world, then it’s not only worth living for . . . it’s worth killing for, too.

The Book of Lost Fragrances fuses history, passion and suspense in an intoxicating web that moves  from Cleopatra’s Egypt and the terrors of revolutionary France to Tibet’s battle with China and the glamour of modern-day Paris. This marvelous, spellbinding novel mixes the sensory allure of Perfume with the heartbreaking beauty of The Time Traveler’s Wife, coming to life as richly as our most wildly imagined dreams.

TC Tidbit: Have You Checked Out Tattered Cover's Pinterest Boards Yet?

You should--there's lots and lots of cool stuff pinned up in there.  And we aren't the only booksellers doing it--many stores, publishers, reps, authors, etc. are involved.   Read an article about that HERE.

Check out Tattered Cover on Pinterest HERE.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

This Posthumous Work From Diana Wynne Jones Gets A Thumbs Up From Jackie

Earwig has been at the orphanage ever since she was a baby. That's just how she likes it. She has her best friend, Custard, and everyone always does exactly what Earwig wants. She never wants to leave, so she makes sure no one ever picks her.

Then a very strange couple comes to the orphanage. They try to make themselves look ordinary. But Earwig knows they are not, not in the least. And they choose her, out of all the other children.

Earwig could be in for quite an unpleasant surprise. But so could the very strange couple.

Jackie says:
"This is a hilarious tale of Earwig, a little girl dropped off at a orphanage with a note pinned to her saying 'Got the other twelve witches all chasing me. I'll be back for her when I've shook them off. It may take years. Her name is Earwig.'   Though the orphanage had regular tours of potential foster parents going through, Earwig, who has "a very strong personality",  managed to never be picked, on purpose.  She liked her ability to get whatever she wanted there.  However, a very strange couple (though only she seemed to be able to see HOW strange) took her home with them.  The woman is a witch who just needs 'an extra pair of hands', and the man is something else (made clear by the horns that are not quite hidden on his head).  And so her adventure begins.

This reminds me, in a lot of ways (including a wild hairdo), of Pippi Longstocking, whom I loved greatly in my childhood.  This updated version has magical tricks and treats and no small amount of humor.  I wish this was to be a series, but alas, Jones passed away in 2011.  Still this is an amazing treat, and I can see why Neil Gaiman says 'I would like to declare Diann Wynne Jones an international treasure.'"

"Moving yet startlingly funny—full of bravado, insight, and clarity."--Elle Magazine

In Jennifer duBois’s mesmerizing and exquisitely rendered debut novel, a long-lost letter links two disparate characters, each searching for meaning against seemingly insurmountable odds.

In St. Petersburg, Russia, world chess champion Aleksandr Bezetov begins a quixotic quest. With his renowned Cold War–era tournaments behind him, Aleksandr has turned to politics, launching a dissident presidential campaign against Vladimir Putin. He knows he will not win—and that he is risking his life in the process—but a deeper conviction propels him forward. And in the same way that he cannot abandon his aims, he cannot erase the memory of a mysterious woman he loved in his youth.

In Cambridge, Massachusetts, thirty-year-old English lecturer Irina Ellison is on an improbable quest of her own. Certain she has inherited Huntington’s disease—the same cruel illness that ended her father’s life—she struggles with a sense of purpose. When Irina finds an old, photocopied letter her father had written to the young Aleksandr Bezetov, she makes a fateful decision. Her father had asked the Soviet chess prodigy a profound question—How does one proceed against a lost cause?—but never received an adequate reply. Leaving everything behind, Irina travels to Russia to find Bezetov and get an answer for her father, and for herself.

Spanning two continents and the dramatic sweep of history, A Partial History of Lost Causes reveals the stubbornness and splendor of the human will even in the most trying times. With uncommon perception and wit, Jennifer duBois explores the power of memory, the depths of human courage, and the endurance of love.

TC Tidbit: Books Women Read When No One Can See the Cover

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Lynn says this book is "the sort of biography that not only digs beneath the surface of the individual life described, but that holds up a very clear mirror to the times that that person is living in."

A Walden for the 21st century, the true story of a man who has radically reinvented "the good life".

In 2000, Daniel Suelo left his life savings-all thirty dollars of it-in a phone booth. He has lived without money-and with a newfound sense of freedom and security-ever since.

The Man Who Quit Money is an account of how one man learned to live, sanely and happily, without earning, receiving, or spending a single cent. Suelo doesn't pay taxes, or accept food stamps or welfare. He lives in caves in the Utah canyonlands, forages wild foods and gourmet discards. He no longer even carries an I.D. Yet he manages to amply fulfill not only the basic human needs-for shelter, food, and warmth-but, to an enviable degree, the universal desires for companionship, purpose, and spiritual engagement. In retracing the surprising path and guiding philosophy that led Suelo into this way of life, Sundeen raises provocative and riveting questions about the decisions we all make, by default or by design, about how we live-and how we might live better.

Read an interview about Suelo HERE.

Lynn says:
"The Man Who Quit Money blends cultural and economic commentary, philosophy, wilderness adventure and psychology into a page-turning story that, for this reader, lodges into your consciousness as a 3-way intimate conversation between author (Mark Sundeen), his subject (Daniel Suelo) and the reader (albeit with the reader's 'input' on a silent but still very active plane, you might say).  In short, it's the sort of biography that not only digs beneath the surface of the individual life described, but that holds up a very clear mirror to the times that that person is living in.

Suelo's trajectory, from his evangelical Christian roots,  his studies at CU and along a winding spiritual path bringing him, one might say inexorably, to his paradoxically hermetic and socially engaged life today might well recall for some the stories of Christopher McCandless (the subject of John Krakauer's Into the Wild), Peace Pilgrim back in the '70s, of Mark Boyle (Moneyless Man: A Year of Freeconomic Living ), Henry David Thoreau or, in some respects,  even of that famous moneyless man, 'El Poverello', St. Francis of Assisi. 

I vividly recall reading about Suelo in Jason Blevin's article for The Denver Post back in late 2009; "Moab Man Embraces Simple Life Living in Cave".  At the time I was taken aback by the strong reaction the article received by some... that this guy was some kind of 'parasite', living as he did out of dumpsters and utilizing the discards of the capitalist culture he eschews.  Sundeen's book makes such assessments a little harder to assert, given the complexity of this story.

I have to say I am one of those with a reaction more of wonder and curiosity as to how any of us might learn to live more simply and with a more profound connection to the natural world.  Evidenced by the surge in interest here in Denver around 'backyard homesteading' with beginner gardeners, beekeepers and chicken-keepers popping up everywhere, the 'Occupy' encampments comprised often of otherwise unemployed souls seeking community amongst their peers, as well as experimentation with bartering and freecycling, it's clear that Suelo is on to something.  For anyone who's ever spent time away from the city's relentless monetized hold on our psyches, whether for a short weekend backpacking trip or for months or years off the normal grid,  the liberating feeling of stepping 'outside the box' of the oft assumed 'end of history' globalized economy we take as an immutable law of the universe.  Daniel Suelo's story will bring up questions and maybe even a few answers as we navigate our way through the current permutation of our personal and collective relationship with that good ol' 'root of all evil', money."

Lisa Urges You To Meet Nick Arvin at Tattered Cover


One instant can change an entire lifetime.

As a boy, Ellis Barstow heard the sound of the collision that killed Christopher, his older half brother—an accident that would haunt him for years. A decade later, searching for purpose after college, Ellis takes a job as a forensic reconstructionist, investigating and re-creating the details of fatal car accidents—under the guidance of the irascible John Boggs, who married Christopher's girlfriend. Ellis takes naturally to the work, fascinated by the task of trying to find reason, and justice, within the seemingly random chaos of smashed glass and broken lives. But Ellis is harboring secrets of his own—not only his memory of the car crash that killed his brother but also his feelings for Boggs's wife, Heather, which soon lead to a full-blown affair. And when Boggs inexplicably disappears, Ellis sets out to find him . . . and to try to make sense of the crash site his own life has become.

Raising a host of universal questions—Can science ever explain matters of the heart? Can we ever escape the gravitational pull of the past?—Nick Arvin's novel is at once deeply moving and compulsively readable.

Lisa says:
"You might remember Arvin's debut novel Articles of War, which won the Colorado Book Award and was the One Book One Denver choice. It is still on my favorites of all time list. The Reconstructionist is as finely written as his first novel. Nick has a spare way of writing, making each word necessary to the story. His writing is exquisite, really no other word will do. In the new novel, the character, Ellis, as a boy hears the fatal car accident which kills his older half-brother. This changes his life. Years later, after college Ellis becomes a forensic reconstructionist. He investigates fatal car accidents, finding the reasons behind them. But Ellis' life takes another turn and becomes its own crash site. You won't be able to put this book down and trust me, if you haven't read Articles of War - you might as well put it immediately on your reading list as well."

TC Tidbit: Little Free Library

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Dispatch From The Field: Joe says, "I don't think I've read a novel quite like this before."

From the bestselling author of The Monsters of Templeton comes a lyrical and gripping story of a great American dream.

In the fields of western New York State in the 1970s, a few dozen idealists set out to live off the land, founding what would become a commune centered on the grounds of a decaying mansion called Arcadia House.  

Arcadia follows this romantic, rollicking, and tragic utopian dream from its hopeful start through its heyday and after.

Arcadia’s inhabitants include Handy, a musician and the group’s charismatic leader; Astrid, a midwife; Abe, a master carpenter; Hannah, a baker and historian; and Abe and Hannah’s only child, the book’s protagonist, Bit, who is born soon after the commune is created.

While Arcadia rises and falls, Bit, too, ages and changes. If he remains in love with the peaceful agrarian life in Arcadia and deeply attached to its residents—including Handy and Astrid’s lithe and deeply troubled daughter, Helle—how can Bit become his own man? How will he make his way through life and the world outside of Arcadia where he must eventually live?

With Arcadia, her first novel since her lauded debut, The Monsters of Templeton, Lauren Groff establishes herself not only as one of the most gifted young fiction writers at work today but also as one of our most accomplished literary artists.

 Joe says:
"As I devoured the final 150 pages of Arcadia, unable to put it down, unwilling to leave the fantastic & beautiful world that Lauren Groff created, a storm was coming in. On high winds and ever-darkening skies, it seemed tailor-made to the darkening world of Bit Stone, the main character in this amazing novel. Bit was raised in a utopian world, a commune in upstate New York, with his parents and their fellow utopians, eager for the hard work necessary to create an ideal world; a world without anger, or jealousy, or corporations, or greed or any of the other things that seem prevalent in our modern world. But cracks seeped slowly in to their world. Egos, overpopulation, starvation, the clash between the world Outside and the world of the Arcadians finally drove the utopians out into the world.

As Bit and his friends and family age in the world Outside, mostly New York City, Lauren brings the story back to Arcadia, as the world around become a nightmare of contagion and disease. As Bit's parents grow old and sick, Bit returns to Arcadia, long-abandoned but still idyllic and beautiful, where he finally achieves something of a breakthrough: the ability to slow down and really see the world around him. 

I don't think I've read a novel quite like this before. Lauren Groff's writing is down-to-earth, immediate, and catchy. Once I was snared into the storyline, I didn't want to leave it. This is a poetic novel -- not because of fancy words or confusing plot-lines -- but because of the simplistic beauty Groff brings to the page. Her prose is spare: the words she chooses perfectly bring the world of the Arcadians alive. Within the novel, Bit and his daughter, Grete, play a game in which they name beautiful things they have seen, memories of perfect beauty to them. This book is full of beautiful things, touching characters, tales both great and small... whole lives are contained in these sweet pages.

 Lauren Groff  shows her readers the joy and melancholy of life through not only her writing, but through her characters. Arcadia takes place in the past, present and future, which somehow made the book all the more real, all the more immediate, to me. This is a book filled with a lingering, haunting beauty. It was a book whose energy felt to me to be affecting the weather outside my window as I read it. One of those rare books that is so much more than a story: but rather, a living, pulsing force."