Thursday, August 23, 2012

Review: Shelf Life: Fantastic Stories Celebrating Bookstores

What can you say about an anthology of stories about bookstores? First of all, the subject alone is enough to draw my interest. Then the authors - Neil Gaiman, Charles de Lint, Harlan Ellison, and more - names that automatically draw my eye. The book is amazing. It is disturbing. It is wonderful. And it is thought provoking.

All the stories either take place in a bookstore or have something to do with a bookstore. What's not to love about that?

Like all anthologies, there were stories I loved (Hemingway's Kittens) and others, not so much (A Book by Its Cover - though very well written, kind of disturbing) and ones that were dark but good (The Glutton).

I received this as an ARC from NetGalley and I know for a fact that I will be adding to my must buy list.

Vicky Burkholder

Listing of stories in the anthology: 
" From the Cradle” by Gene Wolfe
“A Book by its Cover” by P.D. Cacek
“The Hemingway Kittens” by A.R. Morland
“Lost Books” by John J. Miller
“One Copy Only” by Ramsey Campbell
“Pixel Pixies” by Charles de Lint
“Blind Stamped” by Lisa Morton
“Shakespeare & Co.” by Jack Williamson
“Ballard's Books” by Gerard Houarner
“Books” by David Bischoff
“Escapes” by Nina Kiriki Hoffman
“I am looking for a Book...” by Patrick Weekes
“The Glutton” by Melanie Tem
“In the Bookshadow” by Marianne de Pierres
“Non-Returnable” by Rick Hautala
“The Cheese Stands Alone” by Harlan Ellison

Monday, July 16, 2012

REVEIW- Mother Daughter Book Club

A beTWEEN The Pages Book Review

A Summer reading recommendation

The book club is about to get a makeover....

Even if Megan would rather be at the mall, Cassidy is late for hockey practice, Emma's already read every book in existence, and Jess is missing her mother too much to care, the new book club is scheduled to meet every month.  But what begins as a mom-imposed ritual of reading Little Women soon helps four unlikely friends navigate the drama of middle school. From stolen journals, to secret crushes, to a fashion-fiasco first dance, the girls are up to their Wellie boots in drama. They can't help but wonder: What would Jo March do?

The girls are entering 6th grade... and now middle schoolers!  Friendships from years past have receded as being with the "cool kids" is more important for Megan.  The moms force the girls into this new book club that meets once a month. Their book for the first year is "Little Woman" since they live in Concord Massachussets.  Not coincidentally, as we read the personality of each girl matches one of the March sisters (something they themselves recognize as well).  The book is told in alternating voices between the 4 girls, which gives it great persepctive of the group.  We see how Megan really feels about being the one left out. We see how Jess copes with her mother's abscence, and how Cassidy is trying to build a relationship with her mother after her father's death.  Something we would not see if it was told in just one voice.  Through the course of the year, the reader really comes to identify with a trait in each girl-(one's I hope carry throught he rest of the series... which I'll defintiely be reading!)

My one gripe about the book is the last 2 chapters. Every girl gets their dream come true.. and it's just a little too unbelievable.

Sexual content- 0
Cursing- 0
Themes- friendship, death of parent, liking who you are

Recommended Age- 9-12

Happy Reading!
Sam :)

Friday, July 6, 2012

Three Great Cozy Mystery Reads!

My daughter recently introduced me to Cozy Mysteries, and I have become a great fan. Cozy Mysteries usually have a female sleuth who is not a  professional. They take place in a small, picturesque town, and they do not have graphic descriptions of the crime. Usually they come in a series.
I just finished three cozy myseteries that I loved and would recommend for good summer reading: 
Don't Die Under the Apple Tree, by Amy Patricia Reed - Rose Doyle Keefe begins work on a crew of riveters at a ship yard during World War II and finds herself working with men who find her presence threatening to their jobs. Shortly after she is hired, her difficult supervisor is murdered, and Rosie finds that she must find the killer to keep her from being arrested for the crime. Ms. Reed really pulls you into life during the early 1940's and keeps you in suspense. 
Hearse and Buggy by Laura BradfordThe first book in a new Amish Mystery series, this story takes place in the fictional village of Heavenly, Pennsylvania in our own Lancaster County. Claire Weatherly escapes an unhappy marriage in New York City and comes to Heavenly to heal. She opens an Amish specialty shop, Heavenly Treasures, and begins to make friends with her Amish neighbors. She is pulled into the murder of the former owner of her shop to help keep her Amish friends from being arrested. Ms. Bradford gives a wonderful description of living in the peace and tranquility of this samll town. She shows a great respect for the Amish traditions and lifestyle while keeping the reader questioning how this story will end.
You can meet the author of Hearse and Buggy, Laura Bradford here at Aaron's Books on Friday, July 13th  from 6:00 - 8:00 PM for our Lovin Lititz Every 2nd event.
Her Royal Spyness - by Rhys Bowen - Lady Victoria Georgianna Charlotte Eugenie is thirty-fourth in line for the English Throne, which means she has the title but not the fortunes.  Penniless and with few professional skills, she moves to London. When the man who is trying to take her family estate is found dead in the bathtub, she must clear her family name. As an Anglophile, I loved being immersed in the lives of the minor English royalty. 
Also, join our "Crazy for Cozies" book group on Tuesday, August 6th at 6:30 PM to discuss Her Royal Spyness. 

 Bookstore Grammy

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Aaron's Books on Main.. the First 6 Months

First, welcome to our new (revamped, brought back from the dead) blog. We're going to try and maintain this with all the staff contributing, so you can keep on top of store happenings, industry related news, and our own book reviews (those darn staff pick signs just don't have enough room for us to rave about our favorite books!).

Just six months ago we moved into our new spot on Main Street (remember that rain-soaked parade in late December??!!?). The move itself was quick and relatively painless ... if you don't count the bitter cold and all the doors open. We're still adapting to the new spot and a few of its challenges (like no back door and limited storage), but the benefits far outweigh the disadvantages. We do still get the occassional, "Oh look there's a bookstore in town", and are starting to see a lot of relieved faces of our Summer tourists, thinking we had closed permanently, then finding us around the corner on Main with "Phew! You didn't close, we love coming here each Summer".

While the space may be smaller (yep, you read that right our new space IS smaller, it just doesn't feel that way!) our outreach has been larger this year. We're now working with more non-profits, schools, and libraries to bring fundraising, books, and events to help their mission. 

We are especially proud of our largest event with more than 600 attendees hearing Pulitzer Prize Winner Geraldine Brooks in May, which we co-sponsored with the Council of Friends of the Lancaster County Libraries.  With that event alone we raised more than $10,000 for the 18 public libraries in the county (woot!).

As with any retail business, we're making adjustments to our inventory, both new and used, to meet our customer's needs. Our kids' sections are still stocked with the best of the best in children's literature. Sam still has her "tween" section of books for young girls ages 10-13 (and now has a special page for those books on our website!). We've added more and more Indie Bestsellers each week, and we have them featured (and discounted) on tables as you enter the store. Our Local history and authors sections are growing. Our cookbook sections features more unique titles, and our History sections are being cultivated by Bud (Aaron's grandaddy ... a self-certified Civil War buff). Grammy is keeping us full of well-crafted Histoical fiction books ... and is now hosting a Sunday afternoon tea book group for that genre. 

So what were our big sellers the first 6 months? Numbers 1 & 2 are no shock. Number 3 is a constant on our bestselling list (our bestselling novel of the past four years) ... it's great to see it beat out trilogy books, and it is a testament to great writing and indie bookselling spirit. Debuting on our list are three indie bookstore supporters that we love to handsell.

1) The Hunger Games
2) Fifty Shades of Grey
3) Looking for Salvation at the Dairy Queen
4) Mockingjay
5) Catching Fire
6) Stella Batts: Needs a New Name
7) The Book Lover
8) Tugger & Mini-Mew
9) The Baker's Daughter ( #1 Hardcover Adult Book!)
10) Stella Batts: Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

#1 Non-Fiction- Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey

#1 Picture Book- Goodnight, Goodnight Construction site

* note- these do not include our large offsite and author events

Happy Reading as we enter the 2nd half of 2012!