Tag Archives: book preview

Tim Dorsey “Serges” Into Town Next Wednesday

In what is sure to be a repeat of our greatest author event ever, the hilarious Tim Dorsey brings his Serge Storms fugitive tour once again to New Albany on Wednesday, March 2, at 5:30 p.m.

Electric BarracudaIf you know Dorsey, you love him – both as an author and as a man. His visit with us in 2008 was without doubt the most successful and appreciated literary event we’ve ever held. Now, with his 13th book out, Tim chose to come back and present to us Electric Barracuda.

I won’t offer up a review today – I’ll wait until next week for that. Andy has written an outstanding review but I’ll just tell you that this one has more than a few surprises and, as always, I am bereft that I again have to wait a year for another adventure with Serge, Coleman, and the rockin’ cast of characters that weird Florida provides just when you need them.

DETAIL: The book talk and signing begin at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday. At 7, we’re having a post-event reception for Tim at La Rosita Mexican Grill just a few blocks down the street. That will be a ticketed event. Those who pay for and reserve for that event in advance will move to the head of the autographing line in the store and then spend some more quality time with the author afterward. Single tickets include a copy of the book and a voucher for the reception and cost $37.50, taxes included. Couples tickets include a copy of the book and 2 vouchers and cost $47.50, taxes included.

The main event is free and open to the public. We have an ample supply of all of Tim’s books and you are welcome to bring your collection for autographing after the first line of purchasers have had their time with Tim. Call the store to reserve for the after-party or for more details (812) 944-5116 or e-mail newalbanybooks@gmail.com.

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How to Make a Small City Great

One of the best books of the last few years is Lords of the Sea: The Epic Story of the Athenian Navy and the Birth of Democracy, written by New Albany’s own Dr. John R. Hale. In that book, Hale introduces his history with a compelling story. Here’s a passage, lifted from lordsofthesea.org, that served as inspiration to my first run for public office.

“I cannot tune a harp or play a lyre,” said the Athenian soldier-statesman Themistocles, “but I know how to make a small city great.” His vision set Athens on a course towards greatness when Themistocles persuaded his fellow citizens to build a fleet of 200 warships known as triremes – long galleys propelled by triple banks of oars.

Some of you may have heard that I’m running for office in the New Albany city elections this year (the Democratic Party primary is May 3.) Dr. Hale’s book was instrumental, and the relation of the story of Themistocles leadership and vision had a real effect on my decision to offer my name to the electorate.

The book is called a “thriller history” by one reviewer and I have to agree. Hale perfectly balances the story without dwelling too long on any one segment and anytime I was ready to move on to the next thing, the author was right there with me.

This is a book about a little-known and little-understood era and if you like nonfiction, you owe it to yourself to read it. I can guarantee you an autographed copy, personalized if you wish, if you order the book prior to March 7.

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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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