Monday, December 28, 2009

The Ghost and Mrs. McClure

In The Ghost and Mrs. McClure (2004), recently widowed Penelope Thornton-McClure has returned to her hometown to help her Aunt Sadie run the independent bookstore – Buy the Book.  The ghost in this story is Jack Shepard, a 1950’s hard-nosed detective that likes Penelope’s gams.  It is rumored he was murdered in the bookshop, but his body has never been found nor has the crime been solved.

Penelope has convinced best selling author Timothy Brennan to do a book signing, but he dies in the middle of the presentation.   With the help of Jack Shepard, Pen must solve the murder.  The Ghost and Mrs. McClure is a fun book with gumshoe trivia and language.  It is an easy, fast read.  It is the first in the Haunted Bookshop Mysteries. 

Alice Alfonsi and her husband Marc Cerasini, using the pseudonym Alice Kimberly, write this series. Marc and Alice also write using the pen name Cleo Coyle, author of the Coffeehouse Mysteries.   They currently reside in New York City.   Their real-life interests include ghost hunting and coffee – imagine.  They are currently doing a chat discussion at through December 30th.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Holidays

Carpebiblio wishes everyone a Happy Holiday

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Laredo Sans Bookstore

One place the book posse won’t be visiting is Laredo, Texas because they are losing their last traditional bookseller. Laredo with a population of 230,000 will be the largest U.S. city without a bookstore. The residents of Laredo will need to drive two hours to their closest bookstore in San Antonio.

Barnes & Noble has decided to close its B. Dalton bookstores across the nation. Like the independent bookstores, the mall stores that provided so much reading pleasure in my youth are folding under the pressure of online buying and super bookstores. While I am sad to see them go, I could not tell you the last time I purchased an item from a B. Dalton or Waldenbooks. I purchase most of my books online from Amazon and independent booksellers with an online presence.

During the non-holiday shopping season, I enjoy visiting the brick and mortar bookstores to hear author talks and attend book discussion groups. Of course I also need a coffee and a cookie while attending these events. Unfortunately, in general, the mall bookstores do not have space for a coffee shop, book discussion groups, or author book signings.

For the people of Laredo, I am hoping that Barnes & Noble decides to build a smaller superstore that provides the citizens an opportunity to purchase books and be exposed to the other benefits such as coffee and cookies, and maybe an author talk now and then. Offer your support for the people of Laredo by joining the Facebook page “Save Laredo’s Bookstore.”

Some of the material for this blog came from the wall street journal article, Stephanie Simon, “City Tries to Rewrite Lone Bookstore’s Last Chapter.”

Saturday, December 12, 2009

A Charlie Brown Christmas

I originally intended to write an upbeat happy blog about the cartoon A Charlie Brown Christmas. Discussing some of my fond memories of growing-up in Pennsylvania. Sledding on the hillsides, ice skating on the little pond in the cornfield, cutting down Christmas trees, and enjoying the Holiday with my cousins. Then I realized that A Charlie Brown Christmas was released in 1965.

I was four years old. We were in a red Dodge station wagon traveling from Minnesota to Pennsylvania. My cousins weren’t born yet, and my Dad had received orders to go to Vietnam. Wow, 1965 was not such a good year. Here are a few more things from 1965.

A brief look on the web of 1965 produced the following results. A gallon of gas cost 31 cents and had lead. If we had bought the Dodge new it would have been about $2,600. Malcolm X had been assassinated. Two good things from 1965 – Washington enacted the Voting Right Act of 1965 and the Grateful Dead played their first concert in San Francisco.

Charles M. Schulz and Bill Melendez found themselves immersed in a society going through monumental changes when they did A Charlie Brown Christmas. They chose to point out the rampant commercialization of Christmas – a topic still pertinent today. I have to wonder if they had talked about civil rights and Viet Nam would people still be watching the cartoon over forty years later. Did they grasp the deeper significance of greed in our society and the problems deriving from it?

Or maybe I am just reading too much into a children’s cartoon. After all it is the Holiday season. Maybe I should add some rum to the eggnog, sit back and enjoy the show.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Christmas Shopping Tim Allen style

Today I swung by the outdoor Shops at Wiregrass in New Tampa for a little Christmas shopping. Instead I discovered a car show and the Midnight Bowlers League band playing rockabilly. Their routine included songs from Bill Halley, Eddie Cochrane, and even a little Warren Smith. The air was brisk limiting the size of the crowd, but the show was entertaining, and everyone was having fun. The car show included several muscle cars such as Corvettes, Mustangs, and Impalas. And did I mention a red Cadillac convertible? Oh Yeah! The cars had horses under their hoods. They rumbled down the street, and echoed off the buildings. No whiney four cylinders in this show. I did manage to get a few packages, but mostly I admired the cars and enjoyed the music.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A Few Good Books

Hot of the press, our own Stephanie Maatta's text book has been published - A Few Good Books: Using Contemporary Reader's Advisory Strategies to Connect Readers with Books. It provides a comprehensive resource for readers' advisory services in public libraries or for anyone interested in learning more about genre fiction. It also provides information on how emerging technologies have changed almost every aspect of reading.