Friday, April 27, 2012

"The Selection"—read it before you see it.

Before it gets sucked into the land of CW and it’s array of paranormal dramas and general teen fodder, I wanted to mention The Selection, the first book in what looks to be a promising new series by relative newcomer Kiera Cass. Set in a distant future where many Wars have eliminated the United States as a high powered democracy turning it into a new country, broken into eight very specific casts and ruled by a monarchy, The Selection follows seventeen-year-old America Singer as she is thrown into an situation that will propel her from life as a lower middle class artist, to the tops of the aristocracy.

The Selection, for which the book is named, is essentially a “Bachelor-esque” contest in which 35 girls, one from each district (slightly reminiscent in concept to The Hunger Games) are brought to their ruler’s palace to compete for the hand of their Prince, Maxon. Selected, America must leave her family and love interest behind as she is thrown into a world of wealth, war, and cutthroat feminine sabotage—all for the sake of a royal marriage and cast climbing. Did I mention that this is all done as a mandatory-to-watch, nationally televised show?

 At first glance The Selection really just seems like the authors attempt to cash in on the popular dystopic trend, while adding a touch of reality television, another, albeit more obnoxious trend, but in actuality Kiera Cass manages to elevate the text above that nonsense, creating an interesting group of characters with much more at stake than receiving that (in Bachelor terms) final rose. America, Maxon, and the other teens thrown into this situation have depths and motivations beyond their 15 minutes of fame—they seek food and pay for their families who live paycheck to paycheck, they seek companionship, and in the case of Maxon—they seek someone to share the burdens of a country, and care about what happens beneath those glitzy false public images. Now, don’t get me wrong, this book is not a work of art, but there is more to it than meets the eye, and it’s entertaining without being mind numbing.

In the fall, we could very well be seeing a pilot episode of this new book on the CW, a station that has taken teen books such as Gossip Girl and The Vampire Diaries, and turned them into popular television shows with rabid followings. While, the studio has brought up book sales, and actually, in the case of The Vampire Diaries, turned an ok book into an entertaining show, it is always possible that what is great about The Selection could be destroyed in it’s translation to television. So, my suggestion is to read the book now, enjoy it for what it is, prepare for the next in the trilogy, and in the fall, take a peak at the pilot. If it’s good, great—if not, well at least you have a fun book under your belt with just the right amount of romance and intrigue.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Books for Troops

As many of you know, Warwick's has been running a Books for Troops drive for the last month and we have thus far collected over 200 books that will go out through "Operation Homefront". The staff has been amazing in their commitment to this book drive, and none more so than bookseller extraordinaire Jim Stewart (seen on the right). In fact Jim has been so instrumental in the success of this book drive that we just had to share his letter to the La Jolla Light.

Excerpts from Letter to the Editor, La Jolla Light April 19, 2012: (Did you know that) soldiers are getting books from Warwick's before they deploy? In cooperation with Operation Homefront, customers can buy any book in the store as a gift to the troops. A selection of books is on the front counter for ideas.

We’ve had customers give us $100 or $50 to buy books (for donation), selected by the Warwick's staff. Staff members are also giving books to send. We have at least 200 books and would love to at least triple that before the drive ends.

Our hearts (and thanks-to-you) books go out to troops as they deploy for bases around the world.

Young men and women are giving their most productive years in service to our great country. This is a good time to give back, even in such a small way. -Jim Stewart, bookseller

If you haven't yet had the chance to participate, we will be collecting books through May 4, 2012--in time for them to be distributed by Memorial Day.

*UPDATE (May 4, 2012)*
We have now collected over 500 books and counting! We would like to extend a special thank you to New York Times bestselling author Deborah Harkness, who personally donated signed copies of her book A Discovery of Witches to the Books for Troops drive. We are astounded at how so many have gone above and beyond in their generosity toward our troops!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Pick the Pulitzer

Pick the Pulitzer!
The Committee couldn't decide, can you?

Some of you might be aware of the hullabaloo surrounding this year's Pulitzer Prize Awards, namely that the fiction category was left in the dust. That's right, for the first time since 1977 a fiction prize was not awarded. So, what does this mean? Well, it means that out of the three finalists: Train Dreams by Denis Johnson, Swamplandia! by Karen Russell, and The Pale King by David Foster Wallace, the committee could not agree on a clear winner, and thus, despite the fact that the three fiction judges read approximately 300 titles and narrowed it down to these three, there will be no award.

So, now it is your time to speak out (and get a prize for your actions). Vote for your favorite of the three on The Warwick's Blog (comment section), Facebook, reply on Twitter (@warwicksbooks), or email,  and don't forget to let us know why that particular book should have won.

Haven't read them yet? We will be offering 20% off the price of Train Dreams, Swamplandia!, and The Pale King through May 31st* so everyone can participate. And if you find that you too cannot decide between the three, write in your own vote and why it was the best published book of 2011.

We will draw five random people from the entries, who will receive $25 Warwick's gift cards. Winners will be announced on our Blog, Facebook & Twitter accounts on June 4th.

We can't wait to see who you pick!

*Train Dreams is currently on backorder at the publisher so we may extend the contest while we wait for a reprint. This will give you a great head start on Swamplandia! and The Pale King.

Janet Reviews Rosamund Lupton's 'Afterwards'

Clear your schedule because you won't want to stop reading this once you start! Rosamund Lupton has done it again. If you loved her first novel, Sister, then you will truly appreciate the style of storytelling that she has now perfected. The finely tuned plot of Afterwards twists and turns weaving timely and relevant women's issues into the story of a mother and daughter locked in a harrowing struggle between life and death. When a fire erupts at a private school and a teenaged girl is trapped inside, her mother rushes to save her. What really happened to cause the disaster? You'll be holding your breath and sitting on the edge of your seat as you delve deeper and deeper into each character's motivations and wonder how will the truth play out. A fascinating behind-the -scenes drama only adds to the suspense involving both former and current staff of the upscale, Sidley House School. Everyone guards their own secrets! Danger flares and tension mounts in every page-turning moment in this dramatic and compelling literary thriller that answers every mother's question: How far would you go to protect your children?

Afterwards will be released on Tuesday, April 24, 2012.

Janet is a bookseller at Warwick's

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Heather (briefly) Reviews "Anatomy of Murder"

Imogen Robertson’s sequel to 2011’s Instruments of Darkness reintroduces readers to anatomist/forensic specialist Gabriel Crowther and the seemingly indomitable Mrs. Harriet Westerman, as they are once again thrown into the midst of murder and intrigue. Anatomy of Murder is a more finely crafted work than it’s predecessor, with fuller character development and a smoother (yet still intricate) plot involving spies, opera, and murder. It’s gripping prologue, a Navy battle involving Harriet’s husband Captain Westerman, draws to mind scenes from a Patrick O’Brien novel, and instantly sucks readers into an era of intrigue and American rebellion.

It is in this sequel that Robertson delves a bit more into her main characters, particularly that of the appealing Harriet Westerman, giving readers a bit more insight into her thought process, showing kinks in her rather impenetrable armor, while also providing depth and understanding to her unusual partnership with the somewhat dower Crowther. This depth adds yet another layer to an interesting narrative, filled with more loops and turns, than one might expect at first glance. This is a series that gets remarkably better with each book (the third Island of Bones comes out 10/15/12 and is proving to be even more enjoyable). The characters are slowly gaining more dimensions, the mysteries and story development are stimulating, and Robertson’s overall writing seems to grow by leaps and bounds, almost as though she is honing her craft right before the readers eyes as we progress through her books.

This Georgian era suspense is a perfect fit for fans of such period mysteries as produced by Anne Perry, Jacqueline Winspear, and C.S. Harris. Its characters are appealing and the plot both interesting and entertaining. A great new mystery series to have on your bedside table.