Tequila Mockingbird

Tequila Mockingbird

The perfect cocktail recipe book for readers has arrived this week: Tequila Mockingbird by Tim Federle, $5.25. From the back of the book:

A fun gift for barflies and a terrific treat for book clubs, Tequila Mockingbird is the ultimate cocktail book for the literary obsessed. Featuring 65 delicious drink recipes — paired with wry commentary on history’s most beloved novels — the book also includes bar bites, drinking games, and whimsical illustrations throughout.

I think my personal favorite would have to be the ‘Love in the Time of Kahlúa!’

–Sharon

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On missing the essence of a story: The Revenant

The producers of Hollywood films apparently think revenge is a much more compelling movie subject than is forgiveness.  I just finished reading The Revenant by Michael Punke, the book on which the Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu movie, starring Leonardo Di Caprio, was based.

While Punke has no problem admitting  that he used a great deal of poetic license in his telling of the story, his book fails to come to terms with the fact that though Glass may have initially been compelled by revenge after being abandoned and left to die after his mauling by a grizzly bear in 1823, in the end, he did not choose to exact revenge when reunited with the two men who left him to die.

Frederick Manfred’s novel Lord Grizzly, on the other hand, written in 1954, did not shy away from Glass’s ultimate forgiveness.  But that theme did not attract the attention of a director who was the recipient of multiple Academy (and other) Awards.  In Hollywood, revenge is apparently considered much more riveting.

When the movie first came out, the Argus Leader interviewed Frederick Manfred’s son Fred. “Fred, who lives in Luverne, says that he has no plans to see the movie, which he sees as a lost opportunity. In embracing the notion of bloodthirsty revenge for DiCaprio’s character rather than forgiveness, as Manfred espoused in his work, he believes the filmmakers missed the essence of what makes Lord Grizzly so special.

‘We’re a little more enamored with Hugh Glass out here because he did the right thing in the long run,’ says Fred, 61.  ‘Whether it was a spiritual awakening or the way we grew up, we admire him for going through that crawl, finding the guys who left him behind and then ultimately deciding to let it go.'”

Maybe being mauled by a Grizzly and left with what should have been mortal wounds, being abandoned by one’s companions, crawling hundreds of miles to the nearest fort through what is now South Dakota, only to be subsequently attacked by hostile Indians, nearly frozen to death, and narrowly escaping starvation, has more of an impact on those who grew up in the northern plains.  Fredrick Manfred, from Luverne, MN, perhaps understood the transformative impact of putting oneself through even more trauma in order to exact revenge than does Punke.  Perhaps he was more aware of the kinds of decisions that a violent, relentlessly difficult environment demands of all who are at its mercy, even those who make a choice to survive at the expense of others.

What would Hugh Glass have done if he had had to make that choice?   What if he had been the one in imminent mortal danger, having to choose whether to save his own life or the life a man who, by any rational estimation, would die anyway. We don’t know.  But maybe that’s the conclusion he came to in the end.  To forgive an act he well might have chosen himself had the roles been reversed.

The Revenant, $8.00 at The Book Shop.

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Behind the scenes–the next step

After we have chosen the books we want to buy, each book is entered into our computer and on-line inventories. We also scan a picture, for on-line shopping, of books that don’t already have a stock picture. Then the books are moved to the cleaning table. Here is Katherine Ann entering books into inventory, and moving books from the “to be entered” stack over to the “to be cleaned” table.

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Behind the Scenes

We thought our readers might be interested in knowing what happens to their books after we buy them. Our books are carefully chosen, in like-new condition, clean, they’ve been entered into our computer and online databases, and carefully shelved so they’re easy to find. They don’t go right from your box or bag to the shelf! Here’s what we do (more entries coming up):

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The first thing we do when you bring your books in is look at each book to determine if it’s a book we want to buy. Is it in like-new condition? Is it timely? Do we already have it? How well has it sold when we’ve had it before? Here’s Jenny choosing books to buy.

Vintage Book Set: Time Reading Program (Nonfiction)

Time Reading Program

New this week are a couple sets of beautifully designed vintage books from the Time Reading Program!

From the Wikipedia page:

The Time Reading Program (TRP), was a book sales club run by Time–Life, the publisher of Time magazine, from 1962 through 1966. Time was known for its magazines, and nonfiction book series’ published under the Time-Life imprint, while the TRP books were reprints of an eclectic set of literature, both classic and contemporary, as well as nonfiction works and topics in history.

What I find really spectacular about these books is the unique wraparound cover art for each one. A diverse group of contemporary artists of the time were commissioned to create works specifically for these editions and a bunch of the resulting covers won design awards.

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We were able to gather an 8-volume set of nonfiction works from the Time Reading Program and it’s currently available for $24.00 (photos above are of this nonfiction set).

Tomorrow I’ll be sharing photos of the fiction set we’ve gathered as well!

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Edit: here is the fiction set!

 

What We’re Reading: Oryx and Crake

 

I’m currently reading Oryx and Crake and I’m completely hooked! This comes as no surprise, since I’m already a huge fan of Margaret Atwood.

Oryx and Crake is the first of her novels in the MaddAddam trilogy. I read the second novel, The Year of the Flood, a few months ago and I was eager to return to this strange-yet-familiar future. If you tend to think, as I do, that there’s no new, fresh, or surprising way left to do “dystopian future” anymore, Atwood just might prove you wrong.

Atwood is not for everyone’s tastes, but if you’re into masterfully-crafted literary fiction and also inclined to enjoy wildly imaginative (but believable, plausible?) science fiction, some of her novels may be the perfect blending of these areas for you – they are for me.

All of Margaret Atwood’s books are difficult to keep in stock here, but luckily we now have TWO copies of Oryx and Crake that have both arrived within a couple weeks of each other. Pick it up for $7.00 and read it along with me!

 – Sharon

The Book Shop staff recommends:

Bookshop employee Randee has read and recommends these titles available now at The Book Shop (and online at bookshopsiouxfalls.com).

The Wild Blue by Stephen Ambrose

In his usual fascinating and gripping manner, Ambrose tells the story of George McGovern and the other B-24 bomber pilots and crews who flew harrowing missions over Germany during WWII.  If you didn’t know before about the daunting odds these starkly courageous, unflappable men had to face, you will after you read this.

The Good Good Pig by Sy Montgomery

The unexpectedly touching, insightful, and funny story of a porcine pet who becomes a member of the family.  A sweet and loving tale.

Unwanted by Kristina Ohlsson

Ohlsson delivers a frightening and well-plotted narrative in keeping with the Scandinavian tradition of blood-curdling detective fiction.  I couldn’t put it down.

The Round House by Louise Erdrich

Erdrich’s 2012 National Book Award winning novel about the journey of a thirteen year old Ojibwe boy trying to understand the events surrounding the traumatizing attack of his mother, and her subsequent slide into depression and isolation.  A stunningly well- crafted story, profound and deeply affecting.

The Snow Man by Jo Nesbo

Another entry in the growing Nordic crime novel genre, Nesbo keeps us riveted and continually reassessing what we believe about the Snowman, a serial killer intent on relentlessly meting out a psychotic “justice.”

The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton

A can’t-put-it down story covering centuries and continents that begins with a little girl arriving by ship from England in Australia in 1913, unaccompanied by an adult.  The ensuing puzzle of her journey is put together piece by piece as the story unfolds.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

During WWII, the British island of Guernsey was occupied by German troops, resulting in deprivation and heroism as depicted here by the Literary and Potato Peel Pie resistance club. Charming, fascinating, sad, and full of the humanity and sacrifice that emerge in trying circumstances.

Poetry Reading with B.J. Buckley

 

We are very pleased to announce that we’ll be hosting our first poetry reading since moving to our new location in the Park Ridge Galleria!

The reading will be held in the cozy lower level of Book Shop & Gifty Things Vintage. All are welcome – bring a friend and spend a leisurely afternoon with fellow book lovers!

For more information, take a gander at the Facebook event page here.

 

For Dog Lovers

Have you browsed our “Pets” section? Right now we have a great selection of both recently published and vintage books on dogs (not to mention cats and other pets!).

Many of our regular shoppers are familiar with our collection of cat figurines but we always try to keep unique dog items in stock as well, such as ceramic figurines, bookends, and planters.

Fellow dog lovers can stop in and browse in-store or try out the keywords “dog” or “dogs” to search through our online shop!

The Depths of Winter

It’s still January, by far the looongest month in South Dakota. It’s both the best and the worst time for me to revisit the titular Monsieur Meursault in The Stranger by Albert Camus.

Albert Camus (1913-1960) was a French author, journalist, and philosopher associated with the philosophy known as absurdism. He is often lumped in with the existentialists of the time, though Camus rejected that label.

The Stranger is a novel published in 1942. It’s one of the most popular works by this important literary figure, and is quite short and non-intimidating for anyone wanting to read Camus for the first time. We currently have two in stock!