Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Cal's Summer Reading

I started the summer reading Eating Animals by Jonathan Safron Foer. In this non-fiction book, Foer goes on a three year journey to decide whether or not to feed his newborn son animals, or raise him vegetarian. The book looks over just about everything about eating meat. The health aspects, environmental impact, ethics, etc... I was completely blown away by the massive amount of research that went into this book. My favorite was when Foer broke into a factory farm late at night and gave an account of the state of the animals. What really surprised me was that this book has totally changed my diet. It has practically made me a vegetarian (I will still eat meat if its grass fed...). Super cool book, check it out!

Currently I'm reading the Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan. Although there are completely different characters and a different setting, it is very similar to the Lightning Thief and the Percy Jackson Series. Anyone who is a fan of the Lightning Thief books will be a fan of the Red Pyramid.

I am also reading Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation by Joseph J. Ellis. It is a non-fiction book about our nation's founding fathers. Full of really cool lesser known information and stories on these very interesting men. I just read the detailed account of the Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton duel. Really cool!

Over vacation this summer I am planning on reading the very popular Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Also, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Matt's Summer Reading

Ok, I’m not much of a blogger, so don’t expect much, but here I go…

I recently read The Rise of Renegade X by Chelsea M. Campbell, which is one of our summer reading books, and it was amazing! It’s the story of a sixteen-year-old villain, only he finds out that he’s really only half villain since his father is a superhero. Now he has to spend some time with his superhero family and figure out what he really is: villain or hero?

I also just finished The Magicians, by Lev Grossman, which is similar to Harry Potter in only one way: a boy finds out that magic is real and he goes to a school for magicians.  I know that sounds exactly like the premise for Harry Potter, but it’s really not, I promise.

Next, and this just may be my crowning achievement for the summer, I finally read To Kill a Mockingbird. I know, I know, everyone in the world has already read this, and it’s an American classic and whatever, whatever... but I never did. I was supposed to in the tenth grade, but just didn’t, so I hope you’re proud of me. (Oh, and p.s. - it’s really good.)

I am currently reading The Girl Who Played With Fire, the sequel to Stieg Larsson’s The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. I would tell you more about it, but I’m only on page 21.

Finally, I have a few books waiting for me on the shelf, and I’m not sure which one is next, but the three at the top of my list are: Fluke by Christopher Moore, The Lost Continent: Travels in Small-town America by Bill Bryson, and Sideways by Rex Pickett.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Sydney's Summer Reading

Hello everyone!

It is now my turn to share with you what I’ve been reading this summer.

I decided to start off the summer by reading Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach. Stiff is a captivating novel that explores the history of cadavers and all of the possible places that they can end up. Honestly, I was a little worried about reading this book because of the subject matter. Luckily, Mary writes in such a way that infuses humor with science to create an enjoyable, unique, and educational read. I was unable to put Stiff down. Anyone with an interest in medicine and/or forensics will feel the same. Each chapter is broken up into a theme including practicing surgery on cadavers and body snatching. I’ll be honest, there were a few parts that were hard to stomach (like her chapter on decay) but for every gross mental-image there was an equally thought provoking concept that made me more aware and open minded. Over all, I loved Stiff and I’m glad that Mary Roach has sparked my interest in reading more non-fiction works!

For my next choice, I decided to go for something a little more care free.  I’m currently reading The Fixer Upper by Mary Kay Andrews. The story takes us into the life of Dempsey Killebrew who finds herself in a political scandal when her boss is caught with a hooker. Dempsey unknowingly booked the appointment for him with the “wake board instructor”. Once the scandal breaks, Dempsey is quickly fired and finds herself pretty much homeless. With nowhere else to go, Dempsey agrees to move down to Guthrie, Georgia where her father recently inherited a old mansion named “Birdsong” that is in need of some serious TLC. Once she arrives, the shock of the small-town life, plus the decaying state of Birdsong, and dealing with the FBI is almost enough to push her over the edge. Add the cute local lawyer named Tee and you have the perfect recipe for a feel-good adventure peppered with southern humor and romance. This book is perfect for the beach! I’m enjoying The Fixer Upper and can’t wait to see how the story ends.

What will I be reading next? I’m not sure! I’m deciding between two books. Showgirls, Teen Wolves, and Astro Zombies by Michael Adams is my 1st option. Adams takes one whole year to try to determine which movie is the absolute worst in history. I previously worked at a movie store so the idea of taking on his task pretty intriguing and comical! My 2nd choice is The New Kings of Non-Fiction edited by Ira Glass. This collection of stories includes some of today’s top authors and promises to be diverse and inspiring. Some of the authors include Malcolm Gladwell, Susan Orlean, Chuck Klosterman, and Michael Pollan.

 Happy Reading!

- Sydney

Friday, June 18, 2010

Sunny's Reading List

An avid Barbara Kingsolver fan, I was super excited to read The Lacuna.  In her latest novel, Kingsolver takes us to to Mexico in the 30s where Harrison Shepard, American born, spends his formative years.  He is a quiet observer, a writer, who finds himself in the employ of Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo.  They are eventually joined by Leon Trotsky seeking refuge from the Russian revolution.  Harrison creates lasting friendships with these larger-than-life firey characters as he moves from plaster mixer to cook to clerk to confidant. After the assassination of Trotsky, Harrison leaves Mexico and settles in Asheville, North Carolina trying to live a quiet life as an author, but soon finds himself under investigation as a subversive and must appear before the House Un-American Activities Committee. The story unfolds through a series of journal entries, newspaper clippings and letters which evolve and change as Shepard matures.  Kingsolver takes us on a colorful journey with the quiet and endearing Harrison Shepard through a complicated and political time in history.

As far as kid's books go, I recently finished Boom! This is a middle grade chapter book by Mark Haddon, the author of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime.  It is a very silly adventure story about best friends Charlie and Jimbo.  Charlie is always getting Jimbo into mischief.  After they bug the teacher's lounge, they discover that Mr. Kidd and Mrs. Pearce are speaking some kind of bizarre language. " Spleeno ken mondermill." Is it a secret code?  Are they from outerspace?  When Charlie goes missing, Jimbo and his sister set off on a wild motorcycle ride to track him down.  A fun summer read that is out of this world!

On my shelf- just begging to be read... Devil in the White City by Eric Larson, Rushdie's Midnight's Children, and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Marcy's Reading List

In his infinite wisdom, Dave has requested all of us at Little Shop of Stories to share a list and reviews of what we're reading with you delightful blog readers. Enjoy!

In the past week or two I have read:

Beauty and Rose Daughter, both by Robin McKinley: McKinley's debut novel was a retelling of the story of Beauty and the Beast. Twenty years later, with a lot more writing experience under her belt, and having moved to England and become a passionate rose gardener, she felt like she had a lot more to say, so she wrote a completely different version. I love 'em both :)

Keeper by Kathi Appelt: the story ofa girl who has a really, really bad day and sets out with her trusty dog to find her mermaid mother, who will surely tell her how to fix everything.

Naked, Clothe Your Family in Cordoruy and Denim, and Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris, and I Like You by Ame Sedaris: this family is completely messed up and totally hilarious. There's not really a good way to describe them except to tell you to read the books. If you're new to their books I would start with Holidays on Ice, or if you're interested in a great weird gift or coffee-table book, go for I Like You.

James Herriot's Dog Stories by (of course) James Herriot: As a kid I was addicted to James Herriot's books about being a country veterinarian, and now that I have a dog of my own I wanted to revisit the funniest of his stories, which were somehow always the ones about the dogs.

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen: one of my perennial favorites.

Pretties by Scott Westerfeld: the second in the Uglies series, which I am liking so far- very reminiscent of the classic dystopian books like 1984, but for a tech-savvy YA audience.

The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales by John Sciesczka: My mom found a copy of this at a yard sale and picked up, correctly asuming that I would love it. We love Scieczka here at the shop, but my husband had never heard of him, so I read him the stories during the drive home from my mom's house and he practically drove off the road laughing (probably safest to read at home in the future).

Happy reading!

~Marcy :)

Silly Band-tastic

We have a new Silly Band champion! This is by far the most enormous collection of Silly Bands we have yet seen on a single person.

Julie Andrews is Coming!

Julie Andrews is coming to Little Shop of Stories!

Ms. Andrews will be here on Friday, July 9th at 6 p.m.

This event is a signing for her new book, The Very Fairy Princess.  Ms. Andrews will not be doing a presentation and no photography will be permitted.

This will be a ticketed event, and availability will be limited.  Little Shop of Stories will pass out tickets on Tuesday, July 6th, starting at 6 p.m.  While tickets are free, you must purchase a copy of The Very Fairy Princess from Little Shop of Stories at this time to obtain a ticket.

Note: This event was originally scheduled for May 21st.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

UNrequired Reading Event

Think required reading is a drag? Then join us at Little Shop of Stories on Monday, June 21st at 7pm for UNrequired Reading! Have fun hanging out with your friends, chowing down on great snacks, and meeting the authors of some of our best new books for teen girls this summer:
  • Daniel Waters, author of the Generation Dead series
  • Brendan Halpin and Emily Franklin, authors of The Half Life of Planets
  • Elizabeth Rudnick, author of Tweet Heart

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Bananagrams Inventor Passed Away

From the New York Times:

Abraham Nathanson, who at the age of 76 invented Banagrams, a fast-moving letters-and-words game that became a runaway hit, died on Sunday at his summer house in Narragansett, R.I. He was 80 and lived in Cranston.

The cause was cancer, his daughter Rena said. 

Mr. Nathanson hit on the idea for Bananagrams while playing Scrabble with his grandson and chafing at the slow pace of the game. “We need an anagrams game so fast, it’ll drive you bananas,” he recalled saying in an interview with The Boston Globe last year. 

Our condolences to the Nathanson family.

Bananagrams is a great family game and a great legacy.  I never knew the background of the game's inventor and find it amazingly cool that he developed this at 76 years of age.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Summer Books for Grownups

Hopefully all of you checked out our summer reading newsletter (and if you didn't, stop by the shop and pick up a copy, because it's awesome) and are super-impressed with our great recommendations for kids' books this summer. But we know moms and dads deserve a good summer book too, especially once you've finished mowing the lawn and driving your kids to camp and finding lost flip-flops and... well, you get the idea. Here are just a few recommendations to get you started:

Thrillers: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest, by Stieg Larsson.  The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is a mix of disappeared heiresses, genius computer hackers, desperate tycoons, even more desperate journalists... suspense at its best. The final book in this superstar trilogy is just out, so you can read all three with no waiting to find out what happens.

Classics: Hemingway! For me, Hemingway is a perfect summer read, full of Cuba and Florida and Spain on hot summer days. Saltwater spray, sun glare, maybe an adult beverage on a veranda... perfect. Try Islands in the Stream, The Old Man and the Sea, or Death in the Afternoon.

Beach Books: We have a ton of great beach reading (anything by Jodi Picoult or Ann Patchett, for instance) but one of our fun new arrivals in paperback is The Actor and the Housewife by Shannon Hale. At first glance it seems unlikely: a pregnant Mormon housewife happens to meet the superstar actor she has a huge crush on, and they become best friends. But it's well-written and very enjoyable, with some unexpected plot twists that really make it different from what you might expect.

As always, if none of these quite fit the bill for your summer reading, stop by- we'd love to help you find the perfect book. Happy reading!