Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Banned Books Week 2009

Banned books week is in full swing! Join us for our banned book read-aloud on October 3rd, where people can read aloud from any banned book they choose. 10am-8pm, open to close, we want the words of banned and challenged books to be heard in our store, so come participate!

Celebrate your Freedom to Read!!

Enjoy this poem by Ellen Hopkins about banned books :)

Monday, September 21, 2009

A Sequel to look forward to

One of the best things about running a bookstore is getting preview copies of books. When I went to the recent Pacific Northwest Bookseller Association meeting in Portland I came back with close to 50 books that had not yet been released to distribute to the staff here at Rediscovered.

So what did I read on the airplane? Canticle by Ken Scholes.

Canticle returns to the Named Lands that Ken first wrote of in Lamentation, one of the best fantasy books of 2008 (and just released in paperback). Scholes creates rich characters like Rudolfo, Lord of the Ninefold Forest Houses and Isaac, a mechanical man who was used as a pawn to destroy the library city of Windwir. He places them in a post apocalyptic world where political intrigue and subtle magic fill every page. And he weaves the story with the points of view of 4-6 characters, so as the story unfolds you get shadings based on who is experiencing the events.

I was both excited and a bit worried about Canticle, as I had not wanted Lamentation to end but feared a Sophomore slump. After 4 hours of reading I have to say that Canticle was better than Lamentation. It exceeded my expectations.

Scholes plans 3 more books in the series after Canticle and if he can keep his present course I can see this becoming one of my favorite fantasy series of all time.


A Read Aloud for Adults

I am not the most typical book enthusiast. This is a truth I've learned to accept over the years I have been working with books. I like classics, but I'm not keen on twentieth century classics in general. I like speculative fiction, sometimes even when it is poorly written. I like most types of non-fiction, though I bemoan the absence of literary aplomb.

Within non-fiction, my favorite genre, if I had to choose, would probably be history, which is perhaps the greatest victim of artlessness . . . not the artlessness that one might find endearing in an old grandfather, who tells the occasional raucous joke; less still the artlessness of the naïve child, who does not yet know enough to lie. No, the artlessness of the genre of history is the absence of spirit, of humanity: the artlessness of technological exigency, of the almanac, the dictionary, the windowless school designed to avoid distracting children with life. The artless historian reduces the life of history into facts and numbers, rather than using the facts and numbers to undergird creative art; conceives of history as the stick-figure rather than the portrait.

Hayden White is my hero: he boldly confronted the community of academic historians with theory that the artless presentation of history is an affectation required by the genre. You see, the failed quest for true objective thought, most often associated with Descartes, leaves the shrapnel of modernity's bold but foolish claim to absolute knowledge scattered throughout the social-sciences. Rather than being satisfied with a preponderance of evidence and rational explanation, historians are constrained by the "standards" of their academic community to pretend to objective truth.

This consideration of the genre of history, though it may be averted in personality-driven works, like those of Bill Bryson or Sarah Vowell, dominates virtually every "serious" work of history for the last century. In other words the regnant modes of discourse in the genre of history preclude art. That is why Gibbon's History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire is a classic, but your college textbook can never be.

Lost to the West has made me believe that historiography may once again aspire to beauty. It offers few bold insights, and it makes no claim to controversy, it instead tells the story of a commonly overlooked story in readable language with a rhythm that begs you to read it aloud.


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Parrrrdon Me Capt'n, What be yer Name?

I recently read the latest Ender's Game sequel, Ender in Exile, and I enjoyed it. It was typical of the series: a basically likable character with a tragic past, who happens to be wicked smart, is forced into a confrontation against his or her will . . . hijinks ensue . . . or, rather, plot unfolds. The biggest difference in this episode is that Ender is the primary puppet-master, focusing the conflict toward his desired ends. All-in-all, Ender in Exile is an enjoyable read, and anyone who loved Ender's Game, and the "shadow" series will enjoy the book.

There was, however one major obstacle to my own reading enjoyment: the first major challenge to Ender's destiny is an admiral who happens to be the captain of the colony ship on which Ender must travel, and his last name is Morgan. I am not a drinker, but I do watch commercials, so I could not help thinking:

Because that type of picture kept coming to mind, my impression of the good captain was somewhat warped. He kept stumbling around the corridors, shouting nautical orders and tugging on his decorative britches to keep them up, their belt having been removed for some unknown reason.

Then I realized that the background of Captain Morgan may hold the answer to one of the mysteries of children's literature. Captain Morgan is a character based on a Welsh Caribbean privateer from the 17th Century, Sir Henry Morgan. Morgan was well known for his excessive drinking, and for successfully retiring from Piracy.

I submit that Morgan retired from Piracy to pursue his true vocation: Chasing little boys in tights. The high content of alcohol in his bloodstream must have contributed to the mistake that cost him his hand, and his dignity, eventually transforming the retired pirate into a pathetic villain . . .

. . . Thus the question of the origin of Captain Hook reveals itself in the person of a Pirate captain who imbibed beyond his limits, stumbled into a life of debauchery and thus fell into the depths of villainy.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

It Rained Books Today!

It's September 1 and we had an entire bookcart of new releases so we decided to have a book eating party. Needless to say, we all left feeling quite full. Normally we have new releases on Tuesday, but this is the second week of truly wonderful titles that I can't wait to share. I'm going to feature just the picture book read alouds today, but over the next few days I'll be sharing my favorite middle grade readers as well as books for young adults. So here we go. . . .

I want to begin with what I think will be one of the favorite titles of this season. Harry and the Horsie by Katie Van Camp, illustrated by Lincoln Agnew. Not since Knuffle Bunny have I read a book that led me back to that special relationship between a child and their furry companion. I can see my own son in this book, especially when he goes out in search of his beloved Horsie though all the magic of space.

I missed Henry and the Buccaneer Bunnies ($6.99) by Carolyn Crimi Ills. John Manders, when it released in hardcover, but just in time for national talk like a pirate day is this delightful story about Henry, the son of Barnacle Black Ear, the Captain of the Salty Carrot. Henry loves books, not booty and is very unappreciated until a terrible storm churns up a host of challenges for Henry to solve. This has become a favorite with my 5 year old son for betimes. It's lots of fun to read so I won't be sad if I read it over and over.

The Library Lion,by Michelle Knudsen, Ills. Kevin Hawkes, a book beloved by many, has just been released in paperback as well and this gentle story about the love of words and the value of breaking the rules occaisionaly, but only occaisionaly has many messages for us to share. If you missed this story in hardcover, it's one to pick up today because it's also a great way to start the school year.
Love your locals and love your kids and check out these titles at our shop.

Happy Reading
Laura DeLaney