Friday, January 27, 2012

What Do I Do With All These Books? A Bookseller's Answer

What can I do to have fewer books? Short of building a room addition with library shelves, which most of us find a little over the top in book collecting (apologies to those who actually did this) there are ways to hone down the number of books you own. (And I DON'T mean for you to buy an e-reader.)

For your convenience, Warwick's is happy to donate your books for you. We work with several organizations who very much appreciate to received donated books. You can also take your books to places like convalescent homes or shelters.
Your local library is always eager to have books donated, if not for their collection, then for resale. But they have some criteria, especially that it not be mildewed/odoriferous in any way; there are no ripped or written on pages; and that it's no older than three years. I have donated a dozen books to my library in the last year. Nice to know it will get more mileage than just my enjoyment.

If you have any autographed books, best to check on e-bay if anyone is looking for that title and you can make a little money back on your investment. (The library folks do this with any donation that has resale promise.)

You just finished a book that you liked but don't want to keep, leave it on a park bench, on a cafe table, or any other venue. Most coffee houses have a place for people to read the day's papers, and sliding a paperback amongst that might make someone very happy (especially if you leave a dollar as a bookmark.)

Not for profit organizations help build libraries, and you can do a web search to see what groups are available that want donated books. In most cases they'd rather have the cash to buy books and build libraries for that community.

There are other ways to get more mileage out of your book. We have a customer who buys seven books, one for each of the parents and the grown children. They each pick one and when finished give it to another family member. Price per page really goes down when you've had so many readers.

I'm curious about any other solutions, so email me a,

Happy reading!

Jim Stewart is a bookseller at Warwick's

Friday, January 20, 2012

A Teen's Look at Anna Carey's "Eve"

For awhile now we've been fortunate to have some young readers read and review new books for our WarwicksKids book section. Now joining the ranks of Warwick's reviewers is a cache of wonderful teen readers whose reviews you can expect to see from time to time on this blog, or more regularly on our Children's Corner webpage. Today, our reviewer is Jeremiah S., and he takes a quick look at Eve by Anna Carey, a new dystopic novel, that upon reading brings to mind works like Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, and Sheri S. Tepper's The Gate to Women's Country, as it follows Eve, a prize student who must escape the confines of the school she once loved, when she realizes the dark and frightening truths hidden within it's depths.

Here is what Jeremiah had to say:

Eve by Anna Carey is not a personal favorite. As Eve [raised by and in an all girls boarding school] explores the outside world, she learns to love and trust, even if all her life she has been taught men are manipulative, conniving, and dangerous. The author could have written more about the main character’s thoughts and feelings. [At one point] in the book, she wrote: "We sat there, hand in hand, scanning the horizon. “That’s it,” I said, pointing to the red bridge less than a mile in front of us, stretching over the vast expanse of blue. “The bridge to Califia.”" She could have added how happy Eve became, seeing that bridge, with hopes of a new and better life alongside [her new found love] Caleb. I thought each scene proceeded very slowly, as if she was drifting on the scene and didn’t know how to end it properly. The chapters weren’t ended very well, in my opinion. I do, however, think the book itself ended appropriately and it made me feel that Caleb was truly going to come back for Eve. As for the protagonist, Eve, she was created well. At times, she seemed weak and vulnerable because of her lack of knowledge with the different types of people, yet there were also moments where she proved herself strong. This book was a love-hate relationship, yet I know someone will find this book amazing. Surprisingly, I can’t wait to possibly read the next two books in this trilogy.
Having also read the book in mention, I have to agree with the observations of Jeremiah. The book at first, really does have the feel of the works of Tepper and Atwood, as mentioned in the introduction, but it falls a bit short, with choppy dialogue and a general feeling of unfulfillment for the reader. That being said, I continued to read, as opposed to tossing the book across the room (which I've been known to do), so Carey had enough to draw me in, but not enough to keep me from wandering a bit in the process. I, like Jeremiah, am oddly interested in the sequels, and as the next in the trilogy Once, has just come across my desk, Jeremiah and I will both have a chance to see if and how this series further develops and matures as it's universe is expanded by new characters and settings. I can only hope that this new trilogy is able to leap off its edge of mediocrity and find its way to fulfilling the flashes of promise shown in Eve.

Reviewed by Jeremiah S. and Heather Christman

Friday, January 13, 2012

Delving into Carol O'Connell's Mallory Series with Heather

“And Mallory’s road was run.”

That sentence at the end of Carol O’Connell’s 2006 Find Me has haunted me for nearly six years. Not because of anything devastating that occurs in Find Me (although it is filled with amazing revelations about the character Kathleen Mallory), but because I truly feared the end of O’Connell’s brilliantly scribed series. And so I’ve spent the past years diligently searching for the next O’Connell novel to appear. I was rewarded with her stand-alone mystery Bone by Bone in 2008, but nothing on the Mallory front. I was fairly sure that my worst fears for the series had come true, no more Mallory, until I happened to glance up and see an advanced reading copy of The Chalk Girl. I was giddy. I dropped the other books I was currently juggling and got sucked into the New York City, as owned by Detective Kathleen Mallory.

Here’s the deal with the Mallory series. Mallory is a bona-fide sociopath, with a mind like a computer; she also carries a big gun and has a badge. I’m taking a very complex, highly original, wholly fascinating character and reducing her to a few glib lines—doing O’Connell and her brilliant creation a great disservice, but to get Mallory, to understand the character and world O’Connell has created, you just need to read her. Start with Mallory’s Oracle and whip your way through the rest. I guarantee you too will become a fan.

 The Chalk Girl, the newest book in this ever-fascinating detective series takes place several months after the events of Find Me. Here you will find my only criticism, the dramatic and revealing plot of Find Me, particularly the spectacular ending, are barely mentioned—almost as though they did not happen at all. I was really moved by Find Me, it was an epic road novel, with emotional depth, and elegant prose, not typically seen within the confines of a detective serial. To push those events aside is slap in the reader’s face and an insult to the characters and their journeys. Let’s just say that I was a bit annoyed.

 After pushing aside those feelings, I was able to delve into the mystery of The Chalk Girl. First, let me give a very brief synopsis:

A child appears in Central Park, drops of blood on her shirt—from the sky she tells the police. When a body is found hanging from a bag in a tree, Mallory and her cohorts from Special Crimes are pulled into a past of wealth, blackmail, torture, and death.

True to form, the characters brought in by this murder and a series of unusual attacks that follow are well drawn and remarkably deep, considering that many of them are probably not going to appear in subsequent books. The twists and turns are truly twisted—occasionally shocking, and often moving. As a psychological suspense, The Chalk Girl hits it’s mark, as part of the Mallory series, it seems as though it has taken a step back in character development, but in all honesty, I think it’s me putting my wants for the characters far above the actual integrity and motivations of their established actions.

Despite these thoughts on my part, this is a solid mystery, with dark, disturbing undertones perfect for the psychological suspense fan. The Chalk Girl is a much anticipated and rewarding return to the world of Kathleen Mallory. I can’t recommend this series enough. Now…when’s the next book out?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The January 2012 Coffee with a Book Seller Reading List

For those of you who missed out on today's stellar Coffee with a Bookseller led by our Head Book Buyer Adrian, here's a rundown of the books discussed.

On the Shelves…

Vulture Peak by John Burdett
Exotic locales, diabolical twin sisters involved in the trafficking of human organs, a marriage plagued by doubt, corrupt government officials, and, of course, Buddhism… a rollicking ride thru Bangkok.

The Jaguar by T. Jefferson Parker
The 5th installment in the Charlie Hood/Border series. When musician, Erin Mckenna, is kidnapped by Benjamin Armenta, a powerful Gulf drug cartel kingpin, Charlie is called upon by Erin’s husband and crooked cop, Bradley Jones, to help pull off the daring, seemingly impossible rescue.

The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes
The 2011 winner of the Man Booker Prize and rightly so. I read this elegant, compelling tale in one sitting and wondered why it had taken me so long to pick it up! Pitch-perfect pacing, fully drawn characters, and a twist at the end that makes you doubt what you’ve read so you start the book over again just to be sure you understood the ending correctly. I underlined several passages for easy rereading. Not to be missed!

The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson
An epic tale about North Korea, a country that has long been shrouded in secrecy. Based upon extensive research as well as first-hand knowledge, this debut explores the dark, treacherous reality of a country ruled by fear, deprivation and complete ignorance of the outside world. A compelling, revelatory novel! The January selection for our signed 1st eds club.

Looking Ahead…

The Odds: A Love Story by Stewart O’Nan (January 19, 2012)
A tender often bittersweet tale of a couple on the brink of bankruptcy and divorce who go to Niagara Falls--the place where they honeymooned years ago--in a desperate attempt to reclaim their marriage and their fortune...despite the odds. Love is always a gamble!

Taken by Robert Crais (Putnam/January 24, 2012)
Take an army of predatory bajadores, a few heartless human traffickers, some vicious Asian and Mexican gang members, loads of cash, the intense heat of the desert, a pair of na├»ve lovers, a desperate mother…add a big handful of Elvis Cole, Joe Pike and his ex-mercenary buddy, Jon Stone…and shake together thoroughly for a potent cocktail of suspenseful reading entertainment!

A Good American by Alex George (Amy Einhorn Bks/February 2012)
Heartwarming characters coupled with good, old-fashioned storytelling make this beautifully rendered debut novel, that follows the lives and (mis)fortunes of a family who immigrate from Europe and settle down in Beatrice, Missouri, hard to put down.

Birds of a Lesser Paradise by Megan Mayhew Berman (Scribner/March 2012)
This remarkable collection of short stories is a stunning accomplishment! I read it in one sitting and wanted more. These intelligent, moving and darkly humorous stories about authentic, complex people are written with a maturity and clarity of prose that is reminiscent of other favorite writers...Lorrie Moore, Melissa Banks, Richard Ford and, dare I say it,...Flannery O'Connor. One of the best books I've read in a long time!

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed (March 2012)
The antithesis of Eat, Pray, Love! After her beloved mother dies, Cheryl finds herself unable to cope with the intensity of her grief and decides to hike the PCT, part homage to the memory of her mother, part pilgrimage to find herself. The sheer physical difficulty of the journey brings her out of the mental, emotional and spiritual fog she’s been mired in and forces her to dig down deep just to survive. A searingly honest, powerful memoir.

Adrian Newell is the Head Book Buyer for Warwick's

Friday, January 6, 2012

The 2011 Warwick's Bestseller List

Happy New Year! 2011 was a year filled with fantastic books and exciting events. Here is a list of the year's 50 bestsellers at Warwick's.

1. The Craft of Stone Brewing Co. – Greg Koch*
2. Steve Jobs – Walter Isaacson
3. Unbroken – Lauren Hillenbrand
4. Wonderstruck – Brian Selznick*
5. Fabulicious - Teresa Guidice*
6. The Help - Kathryn Stockett
7. Turning the Tide – Charles Stanley*
8. The Paris Wife – Paula McLain
9. Unlikely Friendships – Jennifer Holland
10. Cutting for Stone – Abraham Verghese
11. Happy Accidents – Jane Lynch*
12. The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins
13. Dreams of Joy – Lisa See*
14. The Rules of Civility – Amor Towles
15. Lies That Chelsea Handler Told – Chelsea Handler*
16. The Graveyard Book – Neil Gaiman*
17. Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand – Helen Simonson
18. The Language of Flowers – Vanessa Diffenbaugh*
19. The Invention of Hugo Cabret – Brian Selznick*
20. The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Stories – Dr. Seuss
21. In the Garden of Beasts – Erik Larson
22. The Tiger’s Wife – Tea Obreht
23. The Nature Principle – Richard Louv*
24. Caleb’s Crossing – Geraldine Brooks*
25. A Visit From the Goon Squad – Jennifer Egan
26. La Jolla/92037 – Olivier Dalle*
27. The Postmistress – Sarah Blake
28. The Gangster We Are All Looking For – Thu Le Thi Diem*
29. The Forgotten Garden – Kate Morton
30. Diary of a Wimpy Kid #6/Cabin Fever – Jeff Kinney
31. San Diego Noir – Maryelizabeth Hart*
32. Clara and Mr. Tiffany – Susan Vreeland*
33. The Last Time I Saw Paris – Lynn Sheene*
34. The Tiger’s Wife (paper)- Tea Obreht
35. La Jolla Then and Now – Carol Olten*
36. Red Mist –Patricia Cornwell*
37. The Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern
38. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo – Stieg Larsson
39. Leveraging the Universe – Mike Dooley*
40. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks – Rebecca Skloot
41. Sarah’s Key – Tatiana De Rosnay
42. Catching Fire – Suzanne Collins
43. The Glass Castle – Jeanette Walls
44. The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris – David McCullough
45. The Elegance of the Hedgehog – Muriel Barbery
46. The Art of Racing in the Rain – Garth Stein
47. Shantaram – Gregory Roberts
48. Boomerang – Michael Lewis
49. Saving CeeCee Honeycutt – Beth Hoffman
50. Mockingjay – Suzanne Collins

*indicates sales from an author event