Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Al, our intrepid Guys Book Group leader, is very, very (very) excited that his favorite author, Christopher Moore, has a new book, Fool, out today. He got his hands on an advanced reader's copy, and has this review:

After taking on Christ’s missing years (Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Friend), and death (A Dirty Job), tackling the Bard must be a piece of cake for someone as talented as Christopher Moore. In Fool, Moore rewrites Shakespeare’s King Lear as it was meant to be written; namely as a comedy with lots of excessive shagging (I can say “shagging” in a kid’s book store blog, can’t I?).

The story is told from the point of view of Pocket, the king’s fool. In addition to having all the best one-liners, Pocket proves to be the wisest of the people in the story. While Moore maintains enough storyline so that the average person is able to tell he or she is reading a retelling of Lear, Moore, a tireless researcher, also borrows heavily from ten or so other Shakespearian plays, giddily throwing in characters or lines when the mood hits. It offers extra entertainment for Shakespearian experts. The rest of us will just enjoy reading a Shakespearian story we can understand.

Christopher Moore is one of the best comedic novelists writing today. This is not just because his books have depth, but also because his books are not mean spirited. One does not feel that Moore thinks he is above his characters. In fact, it feels like Moore is rooting for them. It is why Moore never received a hate letter about Lamb, and why many people have told him that A Dirty Job helped them cope with the death of a loved one. This time, he will probably get letters from high-schoolers telling him he helped them get through English class.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

How great is it to live in Decatur???

Leon's Full Service, brought to you by our neighbors at the Brick Store Pub, opens on Monday. With the ingenuity of Daren Wang, executive director of the great Decatur Book Festival, the right to the first pint (and the naming rights to a custom drink) were auctioned off on Ebay. All proceeds will go to the Trackside Tavern/5th Earl employee fund to help out the workers who lost their jobs due to the recent fire.

The winning bid: $2,650.00!!! I guarantee that it wasn't me, but our thanks go out to this individual's generosity. I'll be sure to try his or her drink, particularly if it contains beer.

Daren, Little Shop should have tried this last year after our move. We could have auctioned off the naming rights to a book. One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Daren Wang.
Where the Daren Things Are. Goodnight Wang. Think of the possibilities!

Decatur: part New York, part Mayberry.

Update! Very special thanks go out to Shelby and Marc Brennan and Marshall Davis, owners of Oakhurst's Universal Joint & Steinbeck's (among other places), who won the right to the first pint. For the record, it was a Terrapin India Brown Ale. So, the owners of one pub donated money to help the employees of another pub by buying a beer at yet another pub.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Girl Squad!

Despite the frigid weather, my mind has been on the sweltering days of summer for the past week because we've been planning our summer camps here at Little Shop. We've just started taking applications and I couldn't be more excited because I'm leading my most favorite camp of all, Goody for Girls! camp. Goody for Girls! is a week of celebrating what girls can do and be. We learn how to be spies. We paint our toenails. We visit different working women in the community and talk about what we want to be when we grow up. We make skirts and write in journals and weave bracelets and play games and run around and basically have the best week ever!

Last year (and I'm sure this year will be the same)all the girls were unique and fun and fabulous in their own way, just like all girls are. And so, being the kind of girl who spends a significant amount of time daydreaming, I starting putting together a mental list of book characters, new and classic, who I would want to be in my camp. Think of it as the ultimate Girl Scout Troop.

I'll start my list with Allie Finkle, one of my new favorite girls on the block. Allie, resident animal activist and fashionista (check out those boots!), is tough, spunky and would keep everyone savvy with her handy notebook where she records her Rules for Girls. Here's some wisdom she could share with the rest of the campers: Don't stick a spatula down your best friend's throat. If someone is yelling from excitement, the polite thing to do is yell back. Pretend like you don't care when someone is insulting you, and don't cry. That way, you win. You should only say nice things to your friends, even if they're not true.

Another girl with a handy notebook (assuming it doesn't fall into the wrong hands) is Harriet the Spy. I want Harriet in my camp because she's not afraid to be honest, she's an avid writer, and she'd be awesome at any spy-related scavenger hunt or mystery we'd have to solve. And, if the other girls did find some nasty things written about them in Harriet's notebook, it would be a great time to learn about conflict management. Maybe she could learn a thing or two from Allie.

Clementine is next on my roster. Even though we might have to guard our heads from her scissors-happy hands, Clementine would be a perfect addition to Goody for Girls! Camp with her offbeat humor, big heart and resourceful creativity. No matter what kind of mess she gets in, she always finds a way to fix things. Even if it's not the most conventional way.

What kind of girl's camp would be complete without Ramona Quimby? She may be a bit of a pest, but the girl's got spunk and I'm not averse to having some feisty females in my camp. Like all the others, she's fun and she means well, and that goes along way. Plus, I'd take her over Junie B. Jones any day.

The previously mentioned girls have a tendency to cause some trouble, so my next pick is one who I know would be a breeze to handle. Sunny Holiday has a bit of a rough home life, but her love for her friends and family and her ability to dream big makes her the most optimistic character I've seen in years. Plus, this girl loves to dance, so she'd be the one starting up games of Little Sally Walker or stealing the show with a song/dance combo during Karaoke time.

Other girls who would definitely be in Goody for Girls! Camp: Scout from To Kill A Mockingbird, any of the Penderwick sisters, Hermione (pre-Hogwarts so she'd meet the age requirement), Pippi Longstockings, Annabeth from Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Fanny, Ladybug Girl...Oh my goodness. Camp is filling up so quickly! And the list could go on and on. I better stop and leave some room for the real girls to sign up.

--Krista Gilliam

Monday, February 2, 2009

Diane's New Favorite Picture Book

Here's the funny thing. I don't even like cats. But it seems that all my favorite picture books- Kitten's First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes, Skippyjon Jones by Judy Schachner, and now Posy- are about kitties!

Can I have just a moment of your time to GUSH about Posy, written by Linda Newbery and illustrated by Catherine Rayner?


The watercolor, pen, and ink drawings are the perfect complement to a wonderful little rhyming story of a curious kitty's adventurous day.

Favorite page: Posy gets caught up in a deliciously pink ball of yarn.


Jeff Kinney

In case you haven't heard, Jeff Kinney, the author of all those Diary of a Wimpy Kid books, is coming to Decatur next week. Jeff will be at the Decatur Recreation Center on Wednesday, February 11th, at 4:30 p.m. Doors open a half hour earlier.

We'll have copies of each of his books for sale. This should be a great event. Come early!

Greg Mortenson

We are grateful to have had the opportunity to host, along with Agnes Scott College, Greg Mortenson last week. Despite the rain, about 1,000 people showed up to hear Greg speak, and people stood in line for close to three hours to have him autograph books and to shake his hand.

Greg came to Decatur between stops in Miami and Washington (where he spent time with Michelle Obama and the Obama children). Despite his hectic schedule and very little sleep, he was incredibly generous with his time.

Three Cups of Tea: Young Readers Edition debuted at the top of the New York Times best sellers list for children's paperback books this week. Listen to the Wind: The Story of Dr. Greg and Three Cups of Tea came in at #2 for its first week on the picture book list.

We have a few signed copies of the Young Readers Edition for sale in the store. It is very well written and is appropriate for children around the 4th grade level on up. The book Listen to the Wind sold out. We'll get more in, but right now even the publisher is temporarily out of stock.

Thanks, Greg, for including us on your schedule.