Staff Musings

June 30, 2007

Signing MADNESS!

Filed under: Sci Fi & Fantasy,Store News and Events — carricee @ 10:43 pm

Today the store was pretty calm. Buckell tap-danced through the shelves and Scalzi followed him around, taping bacon to all the books he approved of. Meanwhile, thousands of screaming fans hurled themselves at the windows in a desperate attempt to gain entry to the sold-out event. We just pushed them back with our mighty mighty dust mop, no biggie.

Really though, it was a lot of fun. Lots of fans came to see the guys; both of them stayed late to chat. I got to talk to Buckell about how he turned me on to Nalo Hopkinson, another amazing Caribbean speculative fiction author, and I got to tell Scalzi how much I’d like to see him write a book similar to his Rough Guide to Science Fiction Movies, but about literature. He was very gracious and said it was something to think about, even though I’m sure that all kinds of people annoyingly say to him “You should write something like this!” all the time.

All in all, a great time. And even though I was bursting with energy while they were there, running around like a madwoman and talking loudly and saying awkward things, now I’m beat. I think I used up all my energy for the day in those hours. Tomorrow, I’m coming in bright and early and we’re going to do some painting!

Scalzi and Buckell!

Filed under: Sci Fi & Fantasy,Store News and Events — carricee @ 3:44 am

Hey Everyone,

I am wiped out. We worked pretty hard at the bookstore today, both in our ongoing store renovation and getting ready for…

JOHN SCALZI AND TOBIAS BUCKELL!!!

Both of them have written about their upcoming appearances on their blogs, so check them out. Scalzi is some kind of blog superstar, so even though it was the first post just a couple of hours ago it’s now several posts down. Wacky blogging goodness.

So, after closing today, I wanted to work some on the science fiction section to make it presentable for the multitude of fans who will descend on the store tomorrow to meet these guys. I thought, hmm…what will make it look better than anything else I can do in a couple of hours?

So I ripped out all the carpet. All that old, icky carpet that has been there since long before we got the store is GONE. Parts of it were duct-taped to the floor, and underneath, as carpet padding, were cut up pieces of mattress covers. Not kidding at all. It’s something that’s been on our minds to do for a long time, but it’s also one of those things that, unfortunately, you kind of get used to when you see it everyday. One of our staff is going to take the old carpet to use in her garden for…something. Gardeny.

Anyway, enough about me working. What am I reading, you ask? I am reading Ragamuffin by Tobias Buckell, whom you may have heard of. It’s really good so far, and starts out a lot differently from Crystal Rain. I meant to read it before they got here but I got a new computer game accidentally, which severely cuts into my reading time. It seems to be creating a lot of parallels with current technology and political and corporate control of said technology, in a lot of interesting ways. Read it! When could I find the time to get it, you ask? Oh, I don’t know. Maybe TOMORROW. When he’s at the store. Which is Don’s Books, in Kokomo. We’ll make coffee. See you then!

June 26, 2007

InConJunction

Filed under: Sci Fi & Fantasy — carricee @ 5:10 pm

In a couple of weeks, July 6-8, the Circle of Janus (a central Indiana science fiction and fantasy interest group) will be hosting InConJunction, an awesome-looking science fiction and fantasy convention, in Indianapolis. Our friend, Tobias Buckell, will be among the guests, as well another friend of ours Rosemary Laurey. Someone I pretend is my friend in my head when I’m reading his amazing and infuriating books is going to be there too – George R.R. Martin. Like I said, awesome-looking.

The convention looks like a lot of fun, with more than just authors (though they are exciting enough!) and meet and greets. There are tons of panels, workshops, and screenings, all of which seem interesting, imaginative, and applicable, three adjectives that often won’t even show up in the same paragraph together, let alone the same sentence.

Personally, I won’t be able to go, because I’d already made up my work schedule when I remembered when it was. I’m hoping to be able to get off some of Friday to spend some time there, but I’m frankly disappointed in myself for once for not keeping a calendar. Honestly, it’s not like I have any other interest that I spend as much time and money on as reading science fiction and fantasy, you’d think that when a huge group of people throw something awesome-looking together to honor it I would have my act together. I need a whiny smiley…HERE.

So, for those of you invisible and imaginary people out there reading this who are able to go, please ask George R.R. Martin what the &*!@ is going on for me.

June 23, 2007

Jade Lee Was Here!

Filed under: Romance,Store News and Events — carricee @ 11:46 pm

Well, Jade Lee stopped by today, and we were all so happy to meet her and have her sign her exotic erotic novels. She has one of the most infectious and genuine laughs I’ve ever heard, and it was a pleasure just to have her in the store, for us as well as our customers!

We’ll post pictures shortly, and if you missed her today, don’t fret! She’s already expressed an interest in coming back sometime with her friend and a friend of Don’s Books, Marjorie M. Liu.

June 22, 2007

Jade Lee at Don’s!

Filed under: Romance,Store News and Events — carricee @ 10:31 pm

Jade Lee is coming tomorrow! Jade Lee is coming tomorrow!

I should have blogged about this earlier in the week but I am a huge slacker. Jade Lee writes steamy romances of all sorts, but she’s best known for her Tigress series. Set in the Orient, these novels please me because they let so many people use the words exotic and erotic in the same sentence, which is gobs of fun.

Seriously though, come and see her. It’ll be a great time! She’s here from 1-3 on Saturday and will be signing copies of all her books, including her new one Tempted Tigress.

June 20, 2007

Books About Food

Filed under: Fiction & Literature — carricee @ 9:56 pm

My husband isn’t a reader, which is very odd, considering how much of a reader I am. Somehow, despite growing up in a family of readers, being cultured, intelligent, and charming, it has just never been a passion of his. He’d picked up the occasional fantasy novel and has a huge collection of role-playing books (he needs them, being a GM once a week for a great White Wolf game we’re playing), but no matter what type of novel I plied him with (Neil Gaiman, Kurt Vonnegut, Amy Tan, James Clavell…), in our whole relationship he has never, ever finished a book.

But a couple of weeks ago we were at our alma mater and heard that the campus bookstore was changing to corporate ownership and getting rid of everything. Brand new hardcovers were selling for a dollar a piece. Now normally I buy everything at the most wonderful bookstore in the universe (Don’s Books), but I couldn’t pass that up – I just felt guilty about it. I spent about $20 and got around 40 books, if you can believe it; all new and current editions. My husband ended up picking out a couple of books too, which he’s done before. He owns books, he just doesn’t read them.

Imagine my surprise one morning, then, when I’m sitting in my chair, reading, cup of coffee next to me. He comes downstairs, not yet fully awake, walks into the kitchen, gets coffee. Sits on the couch, stands back up again, turns on NPR. Sits back down on the couch and…picks up a book! And READS it.

I just stared at him in shock. He didn’t notice because he was reading, and then he said, “huh.” At this point, I didn’t want to say anything to him about my shock and joy, because I was a little afraid that if I startled him, he’d stop. Kind of like when you’re looking at a butterfly, and you move more carefully and quietly lest it fly away. So I, almost shyly, said, “What’s that?” And he related an anecdote in the book to me, and though I could barely contain my glee (this after all, being the morning I dreamed of, where we would read together and share our discoveries), I just said, “That’s interesting.”

I ‘m really not very good at subterfuge, so after a few more minutes I gave up trying to be coy about the pleasure I got out of him reading. I took pictures of the act and emailed his mother, and the next day at work I proudly told everyone that he was reading a book.

Now, I think I’ve mentioned on this blog before how much I enjoy helping people pick out books to read. My failure to get my husband to read anything had been irking me for years. I likely would have never picked the book that actually got him to read, for several reasons. First of all, it wasn’t fiction, it was NON-fiction, which I occasionally enjoy (Freakonomics, Nickel and Dimed, America the Book), but doesn’t inspire the same amount of reverence from me as fiction does. In fact sometimes I completely forget about it. Also, it’s about food. I can’t recall the title right now, but from when he’s “huh’ed” and related content to me it seems to be a book of contradictory anecdotes that tell why everyone but the author is wrong about the food industry.

So, I thought, if he likes a book about food that seems kind of crappy, how much would he enjoy a well-written book about food? We will soon find out! Barbara Kingsolver, one of my favorite novelists, has written a non-fiction account of her and her family’s year of sustainable eating called Animal, Vegetable, Miracle – A Year of Food Life. I have loved all of her novels and was thrilled to have an excuse to buy this book. I’m excited to see if her prose is as rich in non-fiction as it is in fiction. Thing is, Barbara Kingsolver’s voice can turn on a dime – from the lush, sensual scenes in Prodigal Summer to the spunkiness of The Bean Trees.

If you’ve never read Barbara Kingsolver’s novels I highly suggest coming to Don’s and picking them up; she’s definitely the type of writer who has a book that anyone will find interesting. Personally, I am going to go home this evening and bother my husband about reading yet another book. Hopefully, I’ve got him figured out a little bit better this time.

June 18, 2007

Locus Awards

Filed under: Sci Fi & Fantasy — carricee @ 10:25 pm

The Locus Award winners were announced Saturday! Congratulations to all the winners!

Best Science Fiction Novel

Rainbows End, Vernor Vinge (Tor)

Best Fantasy Novel

The Privilege of the Sword, Ellen Kushner (Bantam Spectra)

Best First Novel

Temeraire: His Majesty’s Dragon/Throne of Jade/Black Powder, Naomi Novik (Del Rey; Voyager); as Temeraire: In the Service of the King (SFBC)

Best Young Adult Book

Wintersmith, Terry Pratchett (Doubleday UK; HarperTempest)

Best Novella

“Missile Gap”, Charles Stross (One Million A.D.)

Best Novelette

“When Sysadmins Ruled the Earth”, Cory Doctorow (Baen’s Universe 8/06)

Best Short Story

“How to Talk to Girls at Parties”, Neil Gaiman (Fragile Things)

Best Magazine

The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction

Best Publisher

Tor

Best Anthology

The Year’s Best Science Fiction: Twenty-Third Annual Collection, Gardner Dozois, ed. (St. Martin’s)

Best Collection

Fragile Things, Neil Gaiman (Morrow; Headline Review)

Best Editor

Ellen Datlow

Best Artist

John Picacio

Best Non-Fiction

James Tiptree, Jr.: The Double Life of Alice B. Sheldon, Julie Phillips (St. Martin’s)

Best Art Book

Cathy & Arnie Fenner, eds. Spectrum 13: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art (Underwood)

The Locus Awards are voted on by the readers of Locus Magazine, the industry magazine for science fiction and fantasy. Some of the winners were no surprise, since I think Neil Gaiman wins everything (and deservedly so), and everything he doesn’t win I think Cory Doctorow wins (and also deservedly so). Check out their work, if you haven’t done so, including one of my daily internet visits Boingboing, a blog Doctorow contributes to. Rainbow’s End has been talked about so much for the last year I forgot it was new and had started thinking it was a classic, and the James Tiptree Jr. biography is also supposed to be brilliant.

But I was really excited to see that The Privilige of the Sword, by Ellen Kushner won best fantasy novel. Since I work in a used bookstore I don’t always read the newest releases, but being a fan of Ellen’s radio program on NPR and especially after all the great reviews I read of it, I decided to order a copy for myself. Kushner’s characters are lush and interesting, they never lose the power to surprise you, and the novel has all the great hallmarks of a coming of age story without being sentimental.

June 16, 2007

Freedom and Bacon

Filed under: Store News and Events — carricee @ 7:47 pm

Robert is on a bike trip with various family members this weekend, so that means the staff have the store all to themselves! What crazy things will we do? Drastically rearrange the reference section? Play inappropriate music? Tape bacon to a cat? Give DISCOUNTS?

Haha, just kidding. We don’t give discounts. And we probably won’t do the cat thing, since it’s been done. But in a couple of weeks (June 30th from 1-3) we’ll be lucky enough to have someone who has in residence, John Scalzi, since he’ll be signing copies of his latest book, The Last Colony. Tobias Buckell, whose hobbies involving bacon are, at this point, unknown, is going to be here as well, signing Ragamuffin. If you haven’t read them yet, this week would be a great time to pick them up.

And make sure to stop by June 30th, if only to ask Buckell what he does with his bacon.

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