Tag Archives: books that changed our lives

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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Going Through the Change

There has been a debate in the store (and in my house) about whether a book can change your life.

TONIGHT: ATTORNEY JON FLEISCHAKER, presented by the Media Law Resources Center Institute, the local chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, and Destinations Booksellers. TOPIC: Censorship and the First Amendment. 7 p.m. at Destinations Booksellers, 604 E. Spring St., New Albany, Ind.

Book That Changed My Life

Do You Have One?

Some of you will know that I had been scheduled to be an in-studio guest of WFPL’s State of Affairs this past Monday. That show has been rescheduled … and I will not be on that future show.

However, I did prepare for the show and rather than “waste” that preparation, I’ll be giving you an extended, multi-day presentation of my thoughts on the show’s announced theme, “Books That Changed Our Lives.”

Though I will be hiding an Easter Egg in each of the next few posts, if you have no interest in the topic, skip these … unless you want to discover our special offer nestled comfortably somewhere within. Don’t worry. They’ve always been pretty easy to find.

To kill some of the suspense, here are the 3.5 books I had chosen to discuss on the show.

1. Andersonville,by MacKinlay Kantor

2. All the King’s Men, by Robert Penn Warren and

2B. Facing the Lions, by Tom Wicker

3. Atlas Shrugged,by Ayn Rand

I’ll discuss these over the coming days. But today, I’d like to first talk about the whole idea of whether a book can change a life.

I do know that “books” changed my life, and they continue to do so. Nothing I know of keeps a decaying brain supple like the exposure to new ideas, places, and people that books can give you. At least once a year I have to reshuffle my “list” of favorites and bests when I come across a new one. That list has grown considerably since I opened Destinations Booksellers. You can put your hands on many of them because if I love a book, I keep it on my shelves – whether its sales numbers justify it or not.

Were an intelligent alien to descend on New Albany tomorrow seeking to understand humanity, I could, from stock, provide her with a reading list to occupy her time for months and months and months.

I do come down on the side that asserts that a book can change a life. Sometimes explaining it is so simple as to be unnecessary, but most of the time it requires a story.

For those of you who visit the store with some regularity, you know I love to tell a story. Perhaps I’m mistaken that my stories are, in fact, interesting or thought-provoking, but tell them I do. I have a floor littered with ears that have been talked off to prove it.

I submit the idea, though, that the life-altering nature of books is unique to each individual. Could it be that our friends who don’t read books don’t because no book ever changed their lives? And if none did change their lives, do they see no compelling reason to read?

I’ll bet that none of those people are reading this right now, so we’ll just stick to the “remnant” who do read books … perhaps in the hope of that next life-changing one.

Interestingly, a few years ago Roxanne J. Coady and Joy Johannessen edited a collection of essays called The Book That Changed My Life: 71 Remarkable Writers Celebrate the Books That Matter Most to Them.

I present to you a list from that book:

  • DOROTHY ALLISON on Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye
  • KATE ATKINSON on Robert Coover’s Pricksongs & Descants
  • JAMES ATLAS on Gwendolyn Brooks’s Selected Poems
  • ROBERT BALLARD on Joseph Campbell’s The Power of Myth
  • GINA BARRECA on Jean Kerr’s The Snake Has All the Lines
  • NICHOLAS A. BASBANES on the Works of Shakespeare
  • GRAEME BASE on J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings
  • JEFF BENEDICT on The Little Engine That Could
  • ELIZABETH BERG on J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye

Come by the store to see what Patricia Cornwell, Sebastian Junger, and Jacqueline Winspear or dozens of other top contemporary writers chose as the book that changed their lives.

Don’t worry. I don’t recognize all of those writers, much less read them. But please … use the comments section to tell me and my readers about the book(s) that changed your life.

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Books That Changed Our Lives (plus: How Books and Pommes Frites Go Together)

I’ve been asked to sit in on a panel discussion next Monday, Jan. 31, at the studios of WFPL, Louisville’s NPR News station. I’ll be on State of Affairs, the locally produced public affairs show hosted by Julie Kredens, live at 1 p.m. The show will be rebroadcast that evening at 9 p.m. and then will be available afterward, online, for your private listening by download.

Laura Ellis, the acting producer of the show, has asked me to be prepared to discuss the topic in the title of this post: Books That Changed Our Lives.

I’m able to answer that question fairly quickly, and I may or may not preview for you the three-and-a-half books I chose to discuss. In the meantime, let me invite you to share with me your own books that changed your lives. Use the comments section below, if you will.

I have to admit that one of the reasons I read is that most books change my life. They allow me to travel. They allow me to experience environments and people I would be unlikely to otherwise encounter.

It may just be that those among us who do not enjoy reading refrain from doing so primarily because reading books does nothing to change their lives.

I will admit that my selected books and the stories behind them are not profound or dramatic. While my life has been filled with interesting stories, the changes wrought, by books or by other experiences, have not been the stuff of gripping memoir or biography.

Admittedly, when I was very young, I fully expected that my life would be one that provided dramatic turning points, cinematic moments, and widespread fame. And these books would have been just as important to that imagined life as they have been to the life I’ve lived so far, to middle age.

So please don’t be reticent about sharing your own book or books that changed your life. I think one thing we all share is a keen appreciation of just how life-changing reading can be.


Seasons of Death: The Smoky Mountain MurdersJoin us Saturday, Jan. 29, at 4 p.m. as we welcome Gary Yeagle and Marlene Mitchell, local authors who have collaborated on a new book series, The Smoky Mountain Murders. Their new novel, Seasons of Death, is published by our friend Dave Mattingly at Blackwyrm Publishing, and it’s already drawing great interest within our patron base. So many of us feel as if we know the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (I practically grew up there) that the idea of a murder mystery set there seems perfectly natural.

In partnership with another NewAlbanyFirst pioneer, we’ll be offering a pick-your-own discount on the day of the event. If you dine at Bank Street Brewhouse on Saturday before the author event, bring your receipt to the signing and we’ll give you $2 off the $15.95 price of the book. If you prefer, come to the event and then join the authors for libations and/or dinner at Bank Street Brewhouse, 415 Bank St., New Albany. Chef Josh has promised a discount on that establishment’s amazing pommes frites, frenched potatoes double-fried in the Flemish style, accompanied by some of the most mouth-watering dipping sauces you’ve ever imagined. BSB is a non-smoking restaurant/brasserie, and the whole gang there is looking forward to hosting the authors and their friends starting around 5:30 p.m. Of course, the region’s finest craft beers, local wines, and independently produced spirits are available, also. If you follow the @NewAlbanyBooks Twitter feed, you can find out that day’s specials on Saturday, too.


Filed under Book Alert, Check Out, Event, News