Tuesday, March 31, 2009

City of Glass Book Review

One of the perks of working at a bookstore is getting to read the advance copies of books before they're printed. That way we already knew, for example, that Laurie Halse Anderson's Wintergirls was ah-mazing, even before it was released. (Time out for a second while I plug our Laurie Halse Andersond event TONIGHT at the Decatur Library at 7 pm. Laurie is a super talented writer and speaker and we're all thrilled that she's coming in to town to talk about Wintergirls.)

Time in. Anyway, as I was saying, we get in so many galleys that we can't read them all before they're published, so we like to hand them off to our friends to see what they think. We're extra willing to give you a book if you'll promise to write a review for us in return. So here is Sarah Lohmeier's review of the third book in the Mortal Instruments series, City of Glass, which just came out last week:

I absolutely L-O-V-E-D the first two books of Casandra Clare's The Mortal Instruments series, City of Bones and City of Ashes, and had high expectations for this last part of the trilogy, City of Glass. So many authors create a great first book, but ruin the rest of the series. Cassandra Clare, however, managed to keep the excitement of City of Bones in the entire series through the end- and what excitement! I couldn't put this book down from the first page. Clary's search to save her mother tuns into a quest to save her friends, her city- and herself. The characters grow into themselves, a war is narrowly averted, truth comes to light, love blossoms, and death is avoided all at a breakneck pace. The great plot stars characters who are easy to connect with, and the book is peppered with funny dialogue. Read it!
-Sarah Lohmeier
PS Thank you so much for the advanced copy!!

--Krista Gilliam

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Closing of Wordsmiths

It takes an enormous amount of bravery to open an independent bookstore — especially a general bookstore — even in the best of times. Zach at Wordsmiths was no exception. He had a vision and fought hard to make it happen.

The entire publishing industry was hurting prior to the economic downturn last year, and now the situation for many is dire. Publishing houses are laying off significant numbers of editors and sales reps, stopping new acquisitions, closing imprints, and consolidating. Trade news regularly features the shutting of long-established independent bookstores. Shares in Barnes and Noble are trading at 1/3rd of their value in 2006. Borders is down about 98% during the same time period and is in danger of going under. I could go on.

Wordsmiths did a lot of things right. It had a devoted following, brought in tons of authors to our community, and even moved to a more visible location. It still wasn’t enough. Our hearts go out to Zach and his employees.


Let's Get Fancy

Never one to pass up a chance to get fancy, I'd been excited for months about our annual Valentine's Day Fancy Storytime. We made invitations cordially inviting little ladies and gentlemen to attend in their fanciest attire and planned a nice afternoon of snacks and stories and all things fancy. The fanciest thing I own is my wedding dress, so I put it on for the event and honestly, it was almost as much fun as my actual wedding.

And I'm glad I wore it, because otherwise I might have been under dressed! Girls showed up in droves, wearing flower girl dresses, tutus, feather boas, tiaras and princess costumes. Little bits of ribbon and pink feathers could be found in corners and under bookshelves for the rest of the weekend. The girls were beautiful, and you could tell they felt beautiful, and their moms looked beautiful, too, dressed up in borrowed accessories and big hats. The dads that stayed looked dapper as well, but I did overheard two dads making a break for Brick Store until the event was over.

Not only did Amy, Justin and I read some of our favorite fancy stories (The Knight Who Took All Day, Clifford's Manners and Fancy Nancy--of course) we also taught the kids how to be fancy. In case you didn't make it, being fancy involves talking in French (merci), bowing and curtsying and practicing your Miss America wave. Seriously, ask Amy to show you the wave next time you're in the shop. As she informed the girls, it could come in handy "should you find yourself on a parade float one day."

Then we mingled (a fancy word for the chaos that ensued as over 75 kids got in line for snacks) and ate petit fours and sipped sparkling juice. Everyone had a fantastic time. It was my favorite Valentine's Day ever. I'm already thinking ahead to next year. But what to wear?....



Not to brag about myself (or my beloved book group) but as a primarily children's bookstore we all find it a little ironic that one of our most popular book groups isn't for kids or for people with kids. The Catch-All Book Group is for "post-college, pre-baby twentysomethings." Really, though, we've had college students and thirtysomethings and I'm sure it won't be long before there are babies as well. And no, that's not my way of confessing to the blogging world that I'm pregnant.

Anyway, all of our book groups provide a forum for book lovers to read something new and to discuss with others, and we love picking the books, organizing the meeting times and facilitating the discussions. But if you don't fit into any of our categories or if you already have your own group, fledgling or established, we still want to contribute to your book club experience. There are a few ways we do this. Your group can meet here at the shop in our upstairs space--food and drinks are totally welcomed. You'll get 15% off your books if you order them with us, and we can also help make suggestions about future reads. So next time you don't feel like cleaning your house before (or after) your book group meets, give us a call and we'll put you on our calendar. We just need to know you're coming a few weeks in advance.

Now I hope I didn't jinx my book group attendance by bragging about it.