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Monthly Archives: September 2011

John Connolly and Stuart Neville at Centuries & Sleuths

Neville and Connolly

Stuart Neville and John Connolly with BwoB admin Rachel

As most of you know, we are huge John Connolly fans around these parts.  When we heard he was going to be in town with fellow Irish crime writer Stuart Neville, we were excited!  We got to spend some time with them during the day and live-tweeted during the event itself.  Here are some tweets and pictures for any of you who were not able to attend in person.

@BksellerExpats: What a beautiful day for a book signing in Chicago! We’ll have @jconnollybooks and @stuartneville updates all day – keep checking back.

@BksellerExpats: “What I realized is that, by and large, my readers would prefer it if I died, as opposed to Charlie Parker.” – @jconnollybooks

@BksellerExpats: (We are live-tweeting the @jconnollybooks@stuartneville event tonight, in case you forgot.)

@BksellerExpats: Ooh, @jconnollybooks is reading the first chapter of the next Parker novel! Nice.

@BksellerExpats: “I’m usually about a third of the way into a book before I find out what kind of shape it’s going to be.” – @stuartneville

@BksellerExpats: “I can’t even read in a car, and I don’t think Rachel wanted a car covered in vomit.” – @jconnollybooks on writing on tour

(NOTE: We have it on good authority that no, she did not.)

@BksellerExpats: “Art comes out of hacking away on all those days when you want to be doing anything else.” – @jconnollybooks on having a writing schedule

@BksellerExpats: “Sometimes you just need an alleyway. And then you think, as far as my books are concerned, I’m God.” – @jconnollybooks on fictional alleys

@BksellerExpats: “After you read a book, you’re never the same person. You just can’t be.” – @jconnollybooks

Connolly / Neville signing

Connolly / Neville signing

Connolly / Neville signing

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Posted by on September 23, 2011 in Events

 

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Finis

The End

When I set up this blog, my friends and I were about to lose our jobs as booksellers, and the store we called home was about to close forever.  My goal was simple: to give us a place to continue sharing our love of reading, and to keep passing along the knowledge we had gained from working with books for so long.  I made a conscious decision not to discuss the specific company we worked for.  (I also decided not to mangle sentences in order to avoid ending them with prepositions.)  There was no need to discuss the company’s mistakes; we lived in their shadow for years, and haven’t escaped it yet.

I made an exception and posted pictures of our store in The Ghosts of Borders Past because I wanted to share our personal experience with this corporation’s downfall.  We are real people who took care of our books and had pride in our stores.  We also watched everything we had built through the years get destroyed in a matter of weeks.  Then we lost our jobs.  I still didn’t feel that I wanted to write about it on our blog proper, but I let the pictures tell the story.

Now the last store in the company has closed, and there’s not much left to say except goodbye, and we will miss you.  I still don’t want to use my blog for that purpose, but our friends at Word Hits have kindly hosted a fond farewell by yours truly.  You can read it here: Closed Book: The Last Days at Borders.

Word Hits has previously hosted my guest blog A Former Borders Employee Says Shop the Sales, in response to their post entitled Caveat Emptor: Skip the Borders Fire “Sale”.  We were also featured in their discussion of Books, Dialogue, and Community during Book Blogger Appreciation Week (BBAW).  We follow @WordHits on Twitter and like Word Hits on Facebook and think that you should, too.

If you want to know what the end of a once-great bookstore chain means to me, I invite you to click on the links above.  Here, we are back to reviews, interviews, and author events starting…now.

 
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Posted by on September 19, 2011 in Industry News, Updates

 

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The Magician King by Lev Grossman

The Magician KingI have to come clean – when I read the first book in this series, The Magicians, I had very mixed feelings about it.  The writing was excellent, no doubt about it, and I read through the book very quickly.  But at the end, when I put it down, I couldn’t tell if I had liked it or not.

The problem is: Grossman takes fantasy worlds similar to Harry Potter, Narnia, and others, and brings them into a very modern setting.  Young magicians are given an entrance exam to see if they will be accepted into the magical college of Brakebills.  A fantasy world from a series of children’s books, known as Fillory, turns out to be real.  And the magicians must learn their own powers to navigate in this magical world.  Except along the way they get lost a lot, and there is quite a bit college-age experimentation with drugs, alcohol, and sex.  The characters make an unending list of pop culture references.  Their adventures seem to meander around with no clear objective.  This is not how I expect my fantasy novels to play out.

I like Harry Potter because none of the wizards uses a cell phone, even outside of Hogwarts.  They don’t use magic to throw crazy parties fueled by controlled substances.  There’s a timelessness about the Harry Potter books, and the Narnia books, that is quaint and comfortable.  Is it more realistic that young people would misbehave a bit when learning to harness great powers?  Sure.  But that’s not what I’m used to finding in my fantasy novels.

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Goldilocks and the Three Bears by Lauren Child

Goldilocks and the Three Bears by Lauren ChildThe liquidation book fairies were very kind to me last week.  As I was cleaning up what was left of our Kids’ department for the umpteenth time one morning, I stumbled upon this lovely version of Goldilocks, as told by Lauren Child.  When I saw that it was illustrated with photographs of handmade dolls posed in a handcrafted cabin, I knew that I had to buy a copy for fellow bookseller and reviewer hardboundandgagged.  In case you don’t know her in real life (which I imagine most of you don’t), she is not only a fantastic kids’ bookseller, but she also does some very unique artwork.  A lot of that artwork utilizes dolls, and she poses them for photographs that are works of art in and of themselves.  So, basically, this book could have had her name written on it.

After I bought it and brought it home, however, I realized that I had a problem.  Although this book was perfect for her, after looking through it in more detail, I realized I was going to need a copy for myself.  And that is the really impressive part – somehow, the very next day, while cleaning up the Kids’ section yet again, a second copy materialized in front of me.  A liquidation miracle!  That kind of magical discovery would never happen while buying books online.  Suffice it to say, we both have our own copies now, and she kindly allowed me to write the review.

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The Postmortal by Drew Magary

The Postmortal by Drew MagaryThis book starts with hypotheticals.  What if you didn’t have to grow any older, but could freeze your body’s aging process and stay exactly the same age as you are today?  (Your current position on the aging spectrum might affect your answer to that one.)  Now — what if everybody had access to this cure for aging?  What might a society of perpetual 20-somethings look like?  How would religion, politics, and social mores change as a result?  And how terribly wrong could it go?

I love the premise of this book.  John Farrell is 29 years old in 2019, the not-too-distant-at-all-future, when the cure for aging is discovered.  Initially illegal in most countries, Farrell has the right kind of connections to get access to the cure on the black market almost immediately.  It is important to note that this cure is only for aging itself — which means it is not the same thing as immortality.  You can still die of cancer, or a car crash, or a nuclear bomb.  You just can’t die peacefully in your sleep of old age.  Within a few years the ban is overruled, and society at large jumps at the chance to stay young forever.

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