Tag Archives: book of the week

Now You Can Read Bernie Sanders’ Speech

I’m very proud to announce the arrival of The Speech: A Historic Filibuster on Corporate Greed and the Decline of Our Middle Class, the book form of Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) bravura, 8 1/2-hour explication of how the deal President Obama made with Republicans to extend the Bush tax cuts for the rich will effect the fortunes of us all.

Sen. Bernie Sanders

And don’t forget to join us when we welcome author Tim Dorsey and his new Serge Storms Novel, Electric Barracuda. It’s Wednesday, March 2, at 5:30 p.m. in the store, followed by a reception with the author at 7 p.m. at La Rosita Mexican Grill.

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Recommended: The Death of the Liberal Class

Pulitzer Prize winner Chris Hedges offers up a “stunning” (my new favorite word – it’s an inside joke) diagnosis of the state of America today in his book, Death of the Liberal Class, a recent release from Nation Books.

Death of the Liberal ClassHedges defines “liberal class” as the press, universities, labor movement, culture, Democratic Party, and liberal religious institutions. I would posit that one remaining bulwark of the liberal class is the independent bookstore, but that’s for another day. I’ll just say that we, as an industry sub-group, are by definition liberal in the very best sense of that word.

The death he describes was not sudden – it was lingering – and its absence as an institutional check on the rapaciousness of a corporate capital regime dismantles the last protections for the weakest among us.

Publishers Weekly, in a review, said “his most interesting theses include the parallel between the current domestic climate and the fall of Weimar Germany and the conclusion that ‘Everything formed by violence is senseless and useless. It exists without a future. It leaves behind nothing but death, grief, and destruction.'”

Without a living liberal class, Hedges reports, there remains no “mechanism to make incremental reform possible. Its absence results in anger being channeled into anti-democratic ideologies that “detest … the civilities of a liberal democracy.”

With power grabs flying at us daily, now might be a good time to explore how America allowed itself to become so vulnerable to those ideologies.

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Just In: Homegrown Herbs

Tuesday’s are always a big day for new releases, but with the weather so ugly, here’s something to look forward to. I just unboxed our copies of Homegrown Herbs, by Tammi Hartung. It was supposed to come out in March, but I know some of you are planning your own herb gardens right now, so check this one out. It’s subtitled “Gardening Techniques, Recipes, and Remedies for Growing and Using 101 Herbs.”

Homegrown Herbs

Taste and Health


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Spider Bites: Immortally Giving Back

Coming almost as a surprise, Rebecca Skloot’s The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks has proved to be quite popular even here in New Albany, with word-of-mouth providing almost as much impetus to new readers as the publicity here and there during its hardcover run.

Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Still Giving - in paperback this March

As usual, Saturday’s we point you to an author Website with “Spider Bites.” This week, we have an unusually rich array of links to help you discover why this book has been so popular and why it will be made into a film by HBO and Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo Productions.

With the paperback release on the near horizon (early March), the New York Times profiled the philanthropy established by the author with some of the profits from the book. Henrietta Lacks was, of course, real, and her cells have proved to be immeasurably valuable. Yet, neither she nor her family new that these cells, dubbed HeLa, could be cultured outside the body and used extensively in medical research. The Lacks family obtained no benefit from them, either.

Until now, perhaps.

The author has a bright, informative Website that’s loaded with multi-media features and links, and you can access it here.

And as the Times article attests, Skloot has established a foundation to ensure that some of the proceeds from the book would help Lacks’ descendants achieve some of the educational and health benefits they arguably deserve. The foundation’s Website is here.

If you’ve read The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, please share your impressions with our readers in the comments section below. Have a great weekend.

Sunday will bring another installment of “The Lists.” If you have a suggestion or request for which list we ought to feature, let us know. And hey, I understand there is a ballgame of some kind on Sunday evening. Enjoy it.

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Children’s Picture Book of the Week : The Ring Bear

This week’s book pick is The Ring Bear by N.L. Sharp, a picture book for children that I’ve always considered one of my favorites and one that I love to point people to. The Nebraska Center for the Book honored it as one of the best books for children.

The Ring Bear

As a bookseller with a healthy children’s section, I know a lot of boys who are in the same position as Robert, the hero of our tale.

Robert loved bears. Real bears and stuffed bears and bears in books. Black bears and brown bears and polar bears. He even loved to eat bears. Graham cracker bears and cinnamon bears and chocolate bears. So he wasn’t surprised when his mom said he was going to be the ring bear in his Aunt Jane’s wedding.

When Robert’s told that he’ll be wearing a suit – “a black suit with a tail, a white shirt, and a red bow tie,” he’s pretty sure he has this whole wedding thing down. He’ll look like a panda bear!

The boy proceeds to rehearse, on his own, by growling at animals, eating “berries” and drinking “honey” so as to be the very best bear he could be for the ceremony.

When finally Robert learns the truth that there are no bears in weddings, a foot-stomping fit ensues. But when Aunt Jane impresses on him just how important he is to the ceremony, Robert relents, becoming what everyone said was the best ring bearer ever.

I just love the way little kids edge into the rational world. At a certain age, they pay very close attention to every word coming from an adult’s mouth, but their comprehension can be muddled by the residue of magical thinking we treasure in all our kids. I remember my niece almost cried when her grandmother told how a friend of my father’s had “got his goat.” Though Allison had never seen or heard of her grandfather’s goat, she circulated on the edge of the adult conversation with a sad look on her face. Finally, she asked, “Did he give it back?” My puzzled mother said “Give what back, honey?,” to which Allison replied “His goat!”

This would be a wonderful book if you need to prepare your child for a wedding or any kind of formal ceremony. And it’s certain that your child will never, ever be fooled about the concept of being a ring bearer.

The Ring Bear
by N.L. Sharp, illustrated by Michael T. Hassler, Jr.
Dageforde/Prairieland Press (HC) $17.99

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