Sunday, December 20, 2009

"You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown" in SPI

El Paseo Arts Foundation is bringing another evening of fun to South Padre Island by hosting the Camille Playhouse Production of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown. After the hectic pace of the holiday season take an evening off, and just sit back and enjoy this delightful musical comedy. It should be a wonderful evening to share with friends and family.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010, at the SPI Convention Center.

The evening begins at 6:30 p.m. with complimentary hors d’oeuvres, cash bar and Laguna Madre Art League Exhibit.

Curtain goes up on the show at 7:30 p.m.

Charles Schultz tickled the funny bone and tugged at the heartstrings of America for decades.

His musical, You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown, is a delightful romp through the cartoon pages of “Peanuts”, tied together as a day in the life of Charlie Brown. This revised version, presented on Broadway in 1999, adds new songs to the wonderful original numbers such as “Happiness” and “Suppertime”.

This is a rare gem of a show for all ages!

For youngsters and teens, watching You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown provides a chance to see the beloved cartoon characters come to life. For adults, watching the show is like running into the old gang, the kids we haven't seen for years. They haven't changed much since the late '60s. They're still obsessed with all the insecurities, doubts, and outright paranoia that childhood is heir to, and watching them brings back familiar, funny memories.

The Camille’s director, Ben Agresti has assembled a wonderful cast to portray Charles Schultz’s famous characters: there’s poor Charlie Brown and his sister Sally, Snoopy battling the Red Baron, Lucy in all her regal splendor, Linus and his blanket, Schroeder and his piano, and the Little Red Haired Girl.
Tickets are available at the SPI Visitors Center, Paragraphs Bookstore, Designer Consigner, and the Port Isabel Library or you can purchase tickets with a credit card online.

For additional information, call 956-943-4700.
Don’t miss the opportunity to enjoy this charming musical with friends and family.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The End of an Idea

Thanks to Seth Patterson for the below post and video. It puts the implosion of the OTSPI in perspective with the bigger issues of coastal development and does so beautifully:

Developer's insatiable need to build bigger and taller has finally caught up with them on South Padre Island. On Saturday December 12, 2009, Ocean Tower Condominiums was imploded.

This thin strip of barrier island simply could not support a 31 floor tower such as this. During construction, when the clay bed on which it sat began to shift under its weight, the building's foundation cracked, causing the tower to lean. Irreparable, this marked the tallest concrete building, to date, to ever be imploded.

The Implosion of Ocean Tower from Seth Patterson on Vimeo.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Leonardo Nierman’s “Labyrinth of Dreams”

I know that many of us that move to South Padre Island mourn what we perceive as a loss of the availability of "art" and "culture". What I am continually reminded of when I receive updates from is the vast quantity of great events, exhibits and performances that take place within an hour or two of the Island. Unfortunately, I have yet found time to take advantage of much that is available, but the opportunity is there.

So today when I received this in my email inbox I thought I would share. It sounds like a fantastic art exhibit and it will be at the International Museum of Art and Science until April, 2010 so we have plenty of time to make the trek to McAllen.

The International Museum of Art & Science is pleased to introduce the upcoming exhibit, Labyrinth of Dreams by artist Leonardo Nierman on display at IMAS from December 10, 2009 to April 11, 2010. This exhibit will host a compilation of paintings, tapestries and several immaculate sculptures in a prominent collection of contemporary Mexican Art.
Celebrated artist and sculptor Leonardo Nierman grew a deep appreciation for painting in the 1950s after his short lived calling as a violinist in his early years.
"Labyrinth of Dreams represents a lifetime adventure I have experienced during my whole life trying to solve the puzzles represented by fantasies and memories of my dreams. I hope that every painting, sculpture and tapestry will become a window through which the viewer can penetrate and hopefully share my world and dreams,” states Leonardo Nierman.
This rhythmic collection of sculptures and paintings speaks volumes of Nierman’s musical passion. Nierman attributes his studies of the Psychology of Color and the Harmony of Form in Space as playing an instrumental role in shaping his artistic voice and interpretation.
“I feel that music is a perfect vehicle to liberate the soul from the anxieties of life, experiencing the joy of enjoying the memories, colors and sounds floating in the universe. The work of many artists deals with the conflicts of the human race in everyday life. I personally prefer that my art will stimulate the relation of man with the stars and with the poetic elements that may give us the appreciation of the great miracle of having being born,” states Leonardo Nierman.
Leonardo Nierman, by the late 1950s had set an impressive platform of exhibits both domestically and internationally at a time when the art of Mexico was undergoing a period of drastic change. Like many leading Mexican artists, Nierman consolidated his international reputation before receiving full recognition in Mexico.

The International Museum of Art & Science acknowledges Tele-mundo and the Mexican Consulate in McAllen for their invaluable support in helping increase cultural awareness of the work of renowned Mexican artists.

For more information, please call IMAS at (956) 682-1564

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

December Events at Paragraphs

December is a busy month for everyone and we have a full calendar of events at Paragraphs.

To start things off the Laguna Madre Writers Forum will be having their December get-together this week, on Thursday evening beginning at 7:00 p.m. Bring a poem, a song, a play, a story, and yourself.

Then on to the week of December 14, when we have something going on every night, so even if you forget exactly what is scheduled - just stop by, say hello and enjoy that night's activities.

December 14 - 7:00 p.m. - Play Readers Anonymous will have their last meeting of the year. We will be finishing the play "Our Town" by Thornton Wilder.

December 15 - 6:00 p.m. -There will be a power point presentation of Fahrenheit 451 by a staff member from UTB TSC with discussion following. At the end of the evening we will have a drawing for Fahrenheit 451 T-shirts and distribution of Endowment of the Arts literature in English and Spanish.

An inexpensive mass-market paperback edition of the book by Ray Bradbury can be purchased prior to or at the event and the purchase will include a free readers guide published by the National Endowment for the Arts.

December 16 - 6:00 p.m. - Mikaya Heart will read from and sign her latest book, My Sweet Wild Dance.

The book, which is in the running for a Lambda Literary Award, begins with her experiences growing up in rural Scotland and ends with her experiences learning to kitesurf in various countries around the world.

Don’t miss your chance to meet this unusual author! Reviews say: “Ms. Heart is skilled at dancing her own sweet, wild dance, and the path that her adventurous spirit has forged through the jungle of life is an inspiration to all of us.”

December 17 - 6:00 p.m. - We will have a Children's Story Hour which is being held as part of the 12 Days of Christmas sponsored by the SPI Business Community and in conjunction with SPI Jolly Days. Griff will be reading a story and inviting the participation of his audience, whether young or old.

Our holiday hours are:
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday 10-6
Wednesday and Friday 10-8
Sunday 12-4

Each Friday in December and continuing through Epiphany we will have happy hour with egg nog or other refreshments. And to make your holiday shopping less stressful we can help you find the perfect selection for anyone on your list plus we offer free gift wrapping.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Sting - If on a Winter's Night

Sting’s latest album, If On a Winter’s Night… released on Deutsch Grammophon, debuted at #6 on Billboard’s Top 200 and #1 on both the Classical and Seasonal charts. The album presents an arc of songs that conjure the season of spirits, featuring a collection of carols, lullabies and hymns spanning the centuries, resulting in a haunting, spiritual and reflective musical journey. In collaboration with esteemed producer and arranger, Robert Sadin, Sting is joined by friend and long time colleague, guitarist Dominic Miller – and an ensemble of three remarkable musicians from Northern England and Scotland: Kathryn Tickell (fiddle and Northumbrian pipes) Julian Sutton (melodean) and Mary MacMaster (metal string Scottish harp). Additional guest artists include Vincent S├ęgal (cello), Daniel Hope (violin), Chris Botti (trumpet), Ibrahim Maalouf (trumpet), Stile Antico (vocal ensemble), Cyro Baptista (percussion), Bijan Chemirani (percussion) and the Webb Sisters (vocals).

I have been enjoying this Christmas release from Sting the past few days. It is one of the December selections from NPR Discover Songs available at independent bookstores, including Paragraphs.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Play Readers Anonymous

It is that time again. The days seem to be fly by and another month has passed so it is again time for anyone interested in reading from or learning more about plays to join us at Paragraphs, for the Play Readers Anonymous group.
From the El Paseo Arts Foundation newsletter:
The Play reading group meets again on Monday, November 9, 2009, 7:00 p.m., at Paragraphs on Padre Boulevard. This month we'll be finishing up Noises Off, a hilarious farce and starting the Thornton Wilder's classic American play about life, love and death in Our Town. Everyone is invited to attend. if you don't want to read aloud, you can just listen and enjoy. it's a great way to meet other folks who enjoy theatre. No charge -- no commitment -- just a good time.

"An Event of Note: The Valley Symphony Orchestra"

Living on an island at the southernmost tip of Texas, 25 miles or so from the border between the US and Mexico means that life is pretty relaxed. "Island Time" is the rule not the exception and shop hours often reflect this. To close a little early or open a little late is not actually a huge issue. But since Paragraphs is a new store, needing to get established and build a reputation and following, I have been steadfast in making sure we are open and welcoming during our posted business hours and also flexible enough to open a little early or stay late depending on circumstances.

This is a long way of telling everyone - I am giving notice right now, right here, that I am placing a "Gone Fishing" sign on the door to Paragraphs on Sunday afternoon, the 15th of November promptly at 3:45 to give me time to make the 3 minute trip to the SPI Convention Center to attend "An Event of Note", a performance by the Valley Symphony Orchestra. I will not miss this concert, and I would not expect anyone living in the RGV to be shopping at Paragraphs on this afternoon either, because my hope is, they would also be planning to attend this event.
Internationally renowned pianist, recording artist and pedagogue, Polish-born artist ADAM WODNICKI will be the guest artist when El Paseo Arts Foundation hosts the the Valley Symphony Orchestra on Sunday, November 15, 2009, at the SPI Convention Center.

The afternoon of arts entertainment begins at 3:00 p.m. with cocktail hour and art show featuring local artists from the Laguna Madre Art League. Exhibiting artists include: Glenda Spinks, pastel; Richard Schmidt, mixed media; Virginia Eggert, Paints local subjects in acrylic; Dina Saldana, oil; Voncille Zama, watercolor; Beth Fedigan, mixed media; Marne Law, watercolor; Tina Poucher, acrylic; Tom Leeman, acrylic, oil; Carol Plumb, oil on linen; Carol Thorson, watercolor; and Carol Turner, acrylic. Complimentary hors d'oeuvres will be provided and a cash bar will be available.

The concert begins at 4:00 p.m., in the exhibit hall. The concert program includes Wagner The Flying Dutchman Overture; Beethoven Piano Concerto #4 in G Major, Opus 58 with Adam Wodnicki on piano; and Khachaturian Gayane Suite.

Adam Wodnickki has received acclaim on five continents for his dramatic interpretations, poetic sensitivity and brilliant technique. Wodnicki's recording of the three Piano Trios by Robert Muczynski (Centaur) was chosen by a Fanfare critic as one of the top five albums on the 'Best of 2004' list; and the 2008 release on the Dux label of the Piano Concertos by Serocki. Adam Wodnicki has also made numerous radio and TV recordings as well as concerto recordings with the National Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra.

Mr. Wodnicki studied with Jan Hoffman, Guido Agosti and Gyorgy Sebok, and his artistic roots can be traced to the traditions of Fryderyk Chopin, Franz Liszt and Ferrucio Busoni. Three-time prizewinner of the annual Chopin Society National Piano Competition in Warsaw and the recipient of three prizes at the 8th Festival of Polish Pianists, Wodnicki is Regents Professor of Piano at the University of North Texas in Denton and Co-Director of International Piano Master classes in Varna. He has served on juries of international competitions and is a performance editor for the Musica Iagellonica's first ever edition of The Complete Works by Paderewski. Adam Wodnicki is a Steinway Artist.
Don't miss this special arts event: a wonderful afternoon of music and art. I know I won't!!

Tickets for "An Event of Note: The Valley Symphony Orchestra" are $25 per person and $20 for El Paseo members, seniors and students with ID. Tickets may be purchased at the SPI Visitors Center, Designer Consigner, the Port Isabel Library, online at or by calling (956)943- 4700. And of course you can buy your tickets at Paragraphs.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Blueberry Girl

I was admiring the photo sent from the proud Nana of Alaina Grace Clapp (Griff's sister is now Nana to a beautiful baby girl -- congratulations to Natalie and Andrew, the proud parents and Dillon the big brother) and thinking about the years of fun I was going to have in picking out books for little girls -- this is the first baby since I have become a bookseller -- and I remembered "Blueberry Girl" which was published in March of this year.

This is a prayer for a blueberry girl . . .

A much-loved baby grows into a young woman: brave, adventurous, and lucky. Exploring, traveling, bathed in sunshine, surrounded by the wonders of the world. What every new parent or parent-to-be dreams of for her child, what every girl dreams of for herself.

Let me go places that we've never been, trust and delight in her youth.

Nationally bestselling author Neil Gaiman wrote "Blueberry Girl" for a friend who was about to become the mother of a little girl. Here, he and beloved illustrator Charles Vess turn this deeply personal wish for a new daughter into a book that celebrates the glory of growing up

Give her all these and a little bit more, gifts for a blueberry girl.

Listen as Neil Gaiman reads "Blueberry Girl"

So when you are looking for something special next month, don't forget this wonderful new picture book. "Blueberry Girl" would make a perfect gift for the girl embarking on any of the journeys of her life, for her parents, and for anyone who loves her.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Frank Yturria Booksigning at Paragraphs

Frank Yturria will discuss and sign “The Patriarch” on Friday November 6, 2009 beginning at 6:00 p.m.

The book “The Patriarch: The Remarkable Life and Extraordinary Times of Francisco Yturria" tells the story of Francisco “Don Pancho" Yturria, an authentic Texas giant and business baron who shaped South Texas.

Penned by his great grandson, Frank Yturria, and published by UTB/TSC, this book is based on never-before published family documents and stories and provides a fascinating and intimate look at one of South Texas founding fathers.

Pancho Yturria’s legacy includes a vast archive of business and personal papers that his great-grandson, Frank Yturria, has mined – along with family sources – to produce The Patriarch, a richly – detailed and often heart – stopping portrait of this singular figure in Texas history. Not only does Frank trace the birth and progress of his great grandfather’s career in commerce, he also serves up a rare, first – person witness to the Lower Rio Grande Valley’s bare – knuckle political history, its many bloody conflicts, as well as the internal narrative of the Yturria family itself, a bittersweet saga of high drama, humor, adventure and, on occasion, utter heartbreak.

"The Patriarch" is both a gripping epic and a unique look at an exceptionable man and his extraordinary times.

Book sale profits benefit the Arnulfo. L. Oliveira Literary Society and support the development of UTB/TSC’s John H. Hunter Archives and Special Collections Room. “I want to support the Hunter Room because that’s where all the history of the area is collected, Frank Yturria stated. Yturria further elaborated that “Brownsville has been declared the most historical city in Texas, next to San Antonio, yet we have people living in Brownsville who don’t know much at all about our rich heritage."
Anyone interested in the history of South Texas or the Rio Grande Valley should try to make this event. I am looking forward to it.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Distinguished Lecture Series Hosts George Friedman

Conventional analysis suffers from a profound failure of imagination. It imagines passing clouds to be permanent and is blind to powerful, long-term shifts taking place in full view of the world.
--George Friedman

George Friedman looks to the future in his provocative new book, The Next 100 Years: A Forecast for the 21st Century and offers a preview of what we can expect to happen around the world based on an exploration of history and geo-political patterns dating back hundreds of years. He shows that we are now, for the first time in half a millennium, at the dawn of a new era and shatters some of the out-dated assumptions which still linger from our past.

According to Friedman, in the century ahead, there will be wars fought from space, between nations that are friendly with each other today. Populations will decline and industrialized nations will compete for immigrant labor. Poland, Turkey, Mexico and Japan will emerge as great powers.

Dr. George Friedman, the founder and chief executive officer of STRATFOR, a global intelligence company based in Austin, TX, will be the featured speaker at the UTB/TSC 2009 Distinguished Lecture Series. He will speak at 7 p.m.,Tuesday, Oct. 13, at the Science, Engineering and Technology Building Lecture Hall.

Advanced ticket purchases are recommended for the evening lecture as there is limited seating.

General admission tickets are $150 per person and include admission to the post-lecture reception in the courtyard of the Science, Engineering and Technology Building.

Individual sponsor tickets are $250 and include admission to the pre-lecture reception in the third floor conference room of SETB, the post-lecture reception, and preferred seating.

Books will be available for purchase at the evening lecture.

The Distinguished Lecture Series supports the President’s Circle and provides support for student and faculty trips, research and projects for which state funds are not available.

In conjunction with the fundraising event, Freidman will speak to high school and college students in a separate lecture. The winners of the Distinguished Lecture Series essay contest will be announced at the student lecture on Tuesday, Oct.13 at 10 a.m. in the Jacob Brown Auditorium.

For more information and to purchase tickets, call the UTB/TSC Office of Development at (956) 882-4332

And, if you can't make the lecture but are interested in the book, we have it on hand at Paragraphs.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Sometimes I Wonder...

Every once in a while I read something that I just need to share.

The Diary of Anne Frank has been produced on Broadway several times beginning on this day in 1955. While always a hit the reviews have been mixed. The 1997 New York production, which had a script reworked by Wendy Kesselman, met with harsh criticism from Cynthia Ozick and Vincent Canby as described in Today in Literature:
Ozick says of the 1997 production:
the Diary had been "bowdlerized, distorted, transmuted, traduced, reduced; it has been infantilized, Americanized, homogenized, sentimentalized; falsified, kitschified, and, in fact, blatantly and arrogantly denied."
Canby complains in a similar vein when he describes the "earnestly artificial" Anne as "having been directed to behave in a fashion that might have embarrassed even Sandra Dee's Gidget."
But the part of the story I wanted to share was the incident which Canby relates in the same review:
Anne and Margot Frank in 1933

This production will be of interest mainly to those who have never before encountered "The Diary," like the woman in her 20s who sat in front of me the night I saw the play. As her escort was whispering in her ear just before the performance began, she suddenly drew back and stared at him in surprise. "You mean," she said, "she dies at the end?"
Sometimes I wonder...

For more about Anne Frank visit the Anne Frank Museum website.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

First Thursday - Book Signing

We will be having our inaugural

"First Thursday--An Evening with the Author"

tomorrow, October 1, 2009, beginning at 6:00p.m.

Dr. Regesh will be on hand to discuss and sign his provocative book:

Saint Paul, The First Antichrist-- Deception and Dogma

The book that changes everything.

Dr. John Ben Regesh shares a fascinating revelation of his own as he closely examines ancient scripture to expose what he sees to be the fraudulent teachings of one of the most influential ‘Christians’ in history.

By laying out the writings of Saint Paul and comparing relevant passages with the teachings of Jesus Christ, Dr. Regesh reveals where he sees the error of Paul’s teachings without conjecture, theory, or supposition.

Using passages from the Bible, Regesh's indictment against Paul is constructed before your very eyes. The truth of this book stands against any attack and promises to cause a whirlwind of controversy and consternation throughout Christianity.

You will also be introduced to concepts like the eighth day of creation, moving from darkness to light and death to life, the Creation Continuum, and how John 21 is actually the demotion of Peter from leader of the Church. Finally, the true reason that Christmas is on the 25th of December.

About the Author:

Growing up in a strict Roman Catholic family, Dr. John Ben Regesh, J.D., spent most of his life studying theology and scripture, including successfully translating the New Testament from Latin. Dr. Regesh has practiced law since 1977 and preached the last ten years to a small but active congregation. He is the Archbishop of The Christian Church in Texas and is currently working on his next book that explains the true teachings of Jesus Christ and the Law.

I found his presentation to be well-reasoned and logical although I cannot say that I am convinced of the premise which Dr. Regesh spells out in the pages of this book. But, in honor of Banned Books Week, I found myself returning to my tattered old Catholic Study Bible and rereading the often difficult letters of Paul. The wonderful thing about being presented with ideas that challenge our way of thinking is we are forced to reevaluate and utilize our critical and analytical skills, which is a habit often neglected in favor of the quick sound bite or comfortable opinion.

Hopefully, we will see some of you tomorrow night. Stop by to meet this fascinating local author, enjoy a glass of wine and some interesting conversation.

Banned Books Week


To you zealots and bigots and false
patriots who live in fear of discourse.
You screamers and banners and burners
who would force books
off shelves in your brand name
of greater good.

You say you’re afraid for children,
innocents ripe for corruption
by perversion or sorcery on the page.
But sticks and stones do break
bones, and ignorance is no armor.
You do not speak for me,
and will not deny my kids magic
in favor of miracles.

You say you’re afraid for America,
the red, white and blue corroded
by terrorists, socialists, the sexually
confused. But we are a vast quilt
of patchwork cultures and multi-gendered
identities. You cannot speak for those
whose ancestors braved
different seas.

You say you’re afraid for God,
the living word eroded by Muhammed
and Darwin and Magdalene.
But the omnipotent sculptor of heaven
and earth designed intelligence.
Surely you dare not speak
for the father, who opens
his arms to all.

A word to the unwise.
Torch every book.
Char every page.
Burn every word to ash.
Ideas are incombustible.
And therein lies your real fear.

— Ellen Hopkins,
bestselling author of Crank and newly published Tricks

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Booker Award Shortlist

I really don't know where the time goes to most days. There is a well-known thing that happens to those of us lucky enough to end up on this little sandbar -- the days seem to melt into one another and time ceases to have as much meaning as it does on the mainland. And, so, here I am, over a week after the fact, finally posting the titles on the short list for the 2009 Booker Prize. These six books were chosen from the long list which was announced on July 29.

A S Byatt The Children's Book (Random House, Chatto and Windus)

J M Coetzee Summertime (Random House, Harvill Secker)

Adam Foulds The Quickening Maze (Random House, Jonathan Cape)

Hilary Mantel Wolf Hall (HarperCollins, Fourth Estate)

Simon Mawer The Glass Room (Little, Brown)

Sarah Waters The Little Stranger (Little, Brown, Virago)

Chair James Naughtie, comments:

"We're thrilled to be able to announce such a strong shortlist, so enticing that it will certainly give us a headache when we come to select the winner. The choice will be a difficult one. There is thundering narrative, great inventiveness, poetry and sharp human insight in abundance.

"These are six writers on the top of their form. They've given us great enjoyment already, and it's a measure of our confidence in their books that all of us are looking forward to reading them yet again before we decide on the prizewinner. What more could we ask?"

The winner of the 2009 Man Booker Prize for Fiction will be revealed on Tuesday 6 October 2009 at a dinner at London's Guildhall and will be broadcast on BBC News across television, radio and online. The winning author will receive £50,000 and can look forward to greatly increased sales and worldwide recognition. Each of the six shortlisted authors, including the winner, receives £2,500 and a designer bound edition of their own book

Friday, September 18, 2009

Win an ARC at the SPI Seafood and Music Festival

This weekend South Padre Island is hosting the Landshark Seafood and Music Festival and everyone is excited about this eagerly anticipated event. Local businesses and restaurants will be on hand with a sampling of what the Island has to offer. So, if you plan to be in the area, make sure you take the time to stop by and see what all the fuss is about - and if you are interested, our mass transit system, The Wave, will be running until 2:30a.m. so you can leave the car at home or back at the hotel.

In support of the music festival the newly formed Business Alliance is sponsoring a booth to highlight our local independent stores and to help to get the word out about this little sandbar we call home.

Paragraphs is happy to take part and we are offering an advanced readers copy of one of the books described below to the lucky winner of an hourly drawing.

“The Strain" begins with a newly landed plane stopping dead on the runway. When the rescue crews arrive, they discover that all the passengers and crew are dead in their seats, with their necks cut and their bodies devoid of blood. This utterly original novel is absolutely fantastic and like no vampire novel I've read. You will love it!”
-- Jon Tobin, Saturn Booksellers, Gaylord, MI

“The Magicians" is a darker, more adult take on the idea of a secret academy that trains would-be wizards. Lev Grossman explores the realms of magic, alternate realities, and wish fulfillment as visited by less-than-heroic characters. Raising the question of what would you do if you could do whatever you wanted, The Magicians is thrilling and deliciously disturbing.”
-- Lisa Wright, Oblong Books And Music,LLC., Millerton, NY

"The Little Stranger" follows the strange adventures of Dr. Faraday, the son of a maid who has built a life of quiet respectability as a country doctor. One dusty postwar summer in his home of rural Warwickshire, he is called to a patient at Hundreds Hall. Home to the Ayres family for more than two centuries, the Georgian house, once grand and handsome, is now in declineaits masonry crumbling, its gardens choked with weeds, the clock in its stable yard permanently fixed at twenty to nine. But are the Ayreses haunted by something more ominous than a dying way of life? Little does Dr. Faraday know how closely, and how terrifyingly, their story is about to become entwined with his.

Hailed by the "Chicago Tribune" as a tremendous talent, Nguyen infuses her first novel with humor, compassion, and insight, as she explores the story of estranged sisters and the cultural and family history that binds them.

Colson Whitehead's Sag Harbor, a coming-of-age novel set in small community of African-American professionals in the Hamptons, is a masterpiece. Is Whitehead the greatest writer of his generation? He bids fair.”
-- Sarah McNally, McNally Jackson Books, New York, NY

Chronicling world-changing events that have never been so intimately observed in fiction and brimming with unmistakable warmth and humor, "The Wish Maker" is the powerful account of a family and an era, a story that shows how, even in the most rapidly shifting circumstances, there are bonds that survive the tugs of convention, time, and history.

The peace of Three Pines is shattered when a stranger is found murdered in the village bistro and antiques store. Once again, Chief Inspector Gamache and his team are called in to strip back layers of lies, exposing long-buried secrets.

Written by a direct descendant of Bram Stoker and a well-known Dracula historian, "Dracula: The Un-Dead" is a bone-chilling sequel based on Bram Stoker's own handwritten notes for characters and plot threads excised from the original edition.

And best of all, from Quirk Books publisher of the New York Times Best Seller Pride and Prejudice and Zombies comes a new tale of romance, heartbreak, and tentacled mayhem!

Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters expands the original text of the beloved Jane Austen novel with all-new scenes of giant lobsters, rampaging octopi, two-headed sea serpents, and other biological monstrosities. As our story opens, the Dashwood sisters are evicted from their childhood home and sent to live on a mysterious island full of savage creatures and dark secrets. While sensible Elinor falls in love with Edward Ferrars, her romantic sister Marianne is courted by both the handsome Willoughby and the hideous man-monster Colonel Brandon.

Can the Dashwood sisters triumph over meddlesome matriarchs and unscrupulous rogues to find true love? Or will they fall prey to the tentacles that are forever snapping at their heels? This masterful portrait of Regency England blends Jane Austen’s biting social commentary with ultraviolent depictions of sea monsters biting. It’s survival of the fittest-and only the swiftest swimmers will find true love!

Have fun at the South Padre Island Seafood and Music Festival
and thanks for attending.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

What is a Classic?

I generally will read anything from the back of the cereal box to "War and Peace" but generally I must confess that I have a soft spot in my heart for the classics. I like the way good literature wraps a story or timeless idea with layers of meaning that allow me to experience a deeper truth which I would normally overlook in my daily life. Sainte-Beuve, the French essayist and critic, describes the classic author as one who:
has enriched the human mind, increased its treasure, and caused it to advance a step; who has discovered some moral and not equivocal truth, or revealed some eternal passion in that heart where all seemed known and discovered; who has expressed his thought, observation, or invention in no matter what form, only provided it be broad and great, refined and sensible, sane and beautiful in itself; who has spoken to all in his own peculiar style, a style which is found to be also that of the whole world, a style new without neologism, new and old, easily contemporary with all time.
As a bookseller, I want to seek out and share those authors and works that meet the standards as discussed by Sainte-Beuve. The wonderful thing is there is a vast body of work out there to choose from and a plethora of styles so it is possible for anyone to find an author he will enjoy reading and still be able to participate in the great conversation which has been going on throughout all ages and distances; the great conversation of ideas that are timeless and universal.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Thinking About Banned Books Week

The last week of September is recognized by the American Library Association as Banned Books Week. I am in the process of thinking of some ways to recognize the need to be constantly aware of ongoing attempts at censorship in all forms. I know that as a bookseller I have argued with myself over what books to carry and when to say "I will not have that in my store".

For example, I am a political and news junkie and enjoy reading political commentary - when it is written with a clear, logical and reasoned approach. Much of what passes for commentary today is simply over-heated, hateful, divisive, partisan rhetoric which, in my opinion, adds little to the debate and certainly does not help us in reaching the goal of a well-informed electorate. Yet, when I considered not carrying some of the more egregious authors of these best-selling titles, I realized that I would be practicing my own style of censorship.

From the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression website supporting the recognition of Banned Books Week from September 26 - October 3, 2009:
Book censorship of all kinds – even book-burning – continues today. Challenges may come from parents, teachers, clergy members, elected officials, or organized groups, and arise due to objections to language, violence, sexual or racial themes, or religious viewpoint, to name just a few. In 2008, the ALA counted 513 challenges. Many other cases go unreported.

This year, for example, in Shelby, Michigan Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison was suspended from the curriculum after the superintendent ordered a teacher to remove the book from advanced English classes.

In Vineland, NJ, the principal of Landis Intermediate School literally tore pages out of the school's copy of the nationally acclaimed poetry anthology, Paint Me Like I Am, written by teens for teens after one parent raised concerns over the "age-appropriateness" of Jason Tirado's poem, "Diary of an Abusive Step-father." In West Bend, WI several books were challenged at the Community Memorial Public Library and the Library Board was accused of "promoting the overt indoctrination of the gay-agenda." In addition, the Christian Civil Liberties Union's Milwaukee branch filed a legal claim arguing its elderly plaintiffs suffered mental and emotional damage due to the book's presence in the public library's Young Adult section.

To be honest, I wrestle with these decisions daily. Am I being a literary snob when I don't order the latest Harlequin romance series book? Do I develop a separate section for "Christian literature"? How much do I preview the books in my Young Adult sections for content that some parents may find objectionable? How do I decide what "may be objectionable"?

With each question, I am becoming more and more convinced that I need to provide the materials, and generally let the market decide, although, I will always strive to find and stock quality literature of all genres, religious beliefs, and political positions even though it may be outsold by more popular titles.

If you have any suggestions, ideas, or are interesting in helping Paragraphs and South Padre Island recognize Banned Books Week, I would love to hear from you.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Fun for the Family - Summer Melodrama

Take a step back in time to the early days of family life in the Rio Grande Valley and join the fun as El Paseo Arts Foundation presents an old-fashioned melodrama where villains abound and an unexpected hero saves the heroine and wins the day.

Daniel R. Donohue’s, Villainy in the Valley (“Lucious’s Juices" "The Deadly Disappointment") a side-splitting romp that's overripe with cornball gags and a cast of zany characters will be staged on Monday, August 24th and Tuesday, August 25 at the South Padre Island Convention Center. Doors open at 6:30 with a cash bar available. The performance starts at 7:30 p.m. The play is co-directed by JoAnn Evans (SPI) and Jody Hughes (SPI).

In the great tradition of melodramas, Villainy in the Valley provides an evening of fun and family entertainment. The show depends on audience participation. Sigh for the dainty heroine, cheer for the hero, and boo and hiss the villain.

The show begins with an “olio”—a musical comedy revue with singing and lots of laughs. To set the mood the audience will join some of our local celebrities in a sing-a-long and practice booing the villain and cheering for the heroes. Then the curtain goes up on a cast of local personalities who bring to life the assorted characters of the town of Rio Arroyo.

Lucious Laseter, con man extraordinaire is intent on swindling Judge Angus McTate out of his citrus empire. This very rich and very gullible judge hopes that his long lost niece, the lovely, naive and fleet-of-foot Tess Trueheart McTate will marry his new accountant Laseter. However, Tess arrives with another, her beau, Bart Bo and Laseter conceives a dastardly plot to discredit Bart, kill the judge, and claim Tess and her fortune for his own.

Laseter is aided in his nefarious deeds by Floyd Coozy, an inept and dull-witted felon and his flamboyant twin sister, Floozy. Jo, the savvy bartender and owner of Christina’s cantina tries to take care of everyone, even Charlie the town drunk and poet lariat. If only, Marshall Mellow paid more attention to what was going on and spent less time bragging about his heroic feats. If only, Idona DuNada the reformer from Austin wasn’t always making trouble and trying to bring culture to Rio Arroyo.

Alas, it looks like Lucious Laseter may well succeed in evil plans and all seems lost for Tess including her beau, Bart. Poor Tess! Oh, woe! Will Lucious carry off Tess and her fortune? Will the Judge discover Lucious’evil scheming? Will Marshall Mellow ever stop taking about himself? Will Jo save her cantina from Idona DuNada’s sweeping reform? Will Tess and find true love at last? Will Floyd and Floozy ever figure out what’s going on? Will Charlie ever get another drink?

Don’t miss the chance to be part of the fun and find out the answers to these questions as the exciting and surprising finish unfolds.

Our friends and neighbors have been working very hard to provide an evening of entertainment for all of us to enjoy. Let's turn out and show them our appreciation for bringing community theatre to the Island.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Border Fence Divides In Unexpected Ways

Winter Texans watch construction of the border wall at the Old Hidalgo Pumphouse, which is also the site of the World Birding Center on the other side of the wall. Currently there is no access to the World Birding Center. Photo by Wendy Shattil.

Illegal immigration is often a hot issue in the political discussion, although it seems to come and go in its level of importance depending on what other national issues are being debated in the public arena. The "Border Fence" often is mentioned when one listens to the emotionally-charged rhetoric surrounding the control of illegal immigration. I have always had mixed feelings toward the concept of walling ourselves off from Mexico, or Canada for that matter, and have often doubted the effectiveness of the wall as a deterrent to illegal immigration. That was when I lived in Denver or NY and I can't say my opinion has changed since moving to South Padre Island.

However, living here, within 30 miles of the Mexican border, I can see that there are issues surrounding the building of a border wall that are rarely discussed or recognized outside the regions being directly affected. On a recent drive to Progresso, Mexico I noticed that much of the fence has been built, over or around the protests of many valley residents.

So today I was interested when Nancy Patterson posted a link on her Facebook page to a site discussing the impact of the fence on the bird and wildlife population in the Lower Rio Grande Valley. I can see you rolling your eyes and thinking, here we go again, some bird (probably the ubiquitous "common grackle") is going to hold up human development and jeopardize homeland security.

But, on South Padre Island, bird watching is one of the things that draws visitors to our sandbar. The Texas Gulf Coast is part of the massive migratory path followed by many species of birds as they travel to and from their summer and winter habitats. The construction of a World Class Birding Center on the Island is just one example illustrating how important our wildlife is to the economic well-being of this resort community.

Wading birds continue to utilize wetlands that provide a food source if no further disruption occurs. This barrier fence is near the Progresso border crossing in Hidalgo County. Photo by Wendy Shattil.

The article, written by Hugh Powell for the online newsletter of the Cornell School of Ornithology, All about Birds, states:
The U.S.-Mexico border in southern Texas is a busy place. The wide, flat streets of Brownsville, Harlingen, McAllen, and (just across the Rio Grande) Matamoros teem with dusty pickups, farm stands, tiny Tex-Mex restaurants, and more than 700,000 people. The region is a hotbed for beautiful and coveted birds, too: 516 species flit through the area’s distinctive mesquite, marshy resacas, and parched arroyos.
I was surprised to learn from this article that the lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas is consistently listed as being one of the top three busiest of the Border Patrol’s 20 sectors.

Powell continues:
By early 2009, just 70 miles remained to be built, most of it in the Rio Grande Valley. Construction is proceeding over the objections of local residents, who have claimed that the fence restricts friendly relations with Mexico, destroys swaths of their land, and sometimes strands their own houses on the south side of the fence

Partly because of the Rio Grande’s meandering route out to the Gulf of Mexico, planners routed the fence up to 2 miles north of the river, shortcutting the wider arcs. Nearly 200 landowners hold property within that narrow strip. Some have found their driveways cut off from the rest of the United States. Farmers have lost access to fields, and livestock have been cut off from river water. Until a recent agreement, the University of Texas at Brownsville faced the prospect of the fence dividing their campus in two.

These same problems confront the birds and other animals that call the region home. There’s very little natural habitat left to begin with. Most of the 1.5-million-acre Rio Grande Valley has been converted into farmlands and homes. What’s left over are small patches of green space scattered over 200 miles.

More than 100 of these remnants totaling about 90,000 acres are now protected as the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge, the result of three decades of work and planning by land managers. The border fence, its access roads, and the associated construction areas cross these parcels in a half-dozen places, cutting slices from what habitat remains.

Perhaps more problematic for wildlife is the way the fence blocks movement between the few patches that can support them. Animals whose range barely juts into the U.S. may find themselves cut off from relatives, prospective mates, and suitable empty territories. Many terrestrial animals can’t get around or over the fence, and are more vulnerable to predators on its access roads. While birds might seem to have an easier time going over the fence, research has shown that many forest birds are extremely reluctant to cross gaps of unfamiliar or open habitat.

In this video public outreach specialist Nancy Brown introduces the Santa Ana National Widlife Refuge and some of the lower Rio Grande Valley's most notable birds. She outlines some of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s ecological concerns about the U.S.-Mexico border fence's possible effects.

Pictures are from the International League of Conservation Photographers

Thursday, August 6, 2009

First Dogs in Texas - Go Figure

American Presidents and Their Best Friends

By Roy Rowan and Brooke Janis
Paperback , 163 pages (also available in Hardback)
ISBN: 9781565129368 (1565129369)
Published by Algonquin Books

I ordered this book last month and have watched as many of our customers glance at the eye-catching, face-out, publishers display and then walk on by. Now these are the same people that are seriously looking at and buying our other dog, cat and pet titles and have purchased some of our dog pull toys or dog and cat dishes.

Griff and I were baffled until he remarked that he thought the cover photo of our new President and Bo may be what was causing the problem. I found this hard to believe until just now when a lovely woman told me specifically that if the book had a different cover she may have been interested. "We are in Texas" she reminded me nicely.

So just for the record, this is a wonderful book full of all kinds of interesting stories about First Dogs beginning with the presidency of George Washington and continuing up to and including yes, President Obama.

From the publisher:
"If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog," Harry Truman once said. Perhaps that's why, for much of our Republic's history, there have been two top dogs at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue—one with two legs, one with four. First Dogs, by distinguished journalist Roy Rowan and researcher Brooke Janis, tells the whole doggone story, from the days before there was a White House to Barack Obama’s newly adopted presidential pup, Bo.

Here's a lighthearted romp through American history, packed with drawings and paintings from early America, plus photographs, starting with Abraham Lincoln's Fido. Not only did these four-footed goodwill ambassadors humanize their distinguished masters, they offered them a little unconditional love in a loveless town.

First Dogs gives dog lovers and history lovers a new angle on presidential history and is more fun than you can shake a stick (or rubber bone) at.

Hiroshima Remembered

Those of us that grew up during the Cold War have memories of civil defense drills and the proliferation of bomb shelters all of which were supposed to protect us from the devastating effects of a potential nuclear bomb strike.

The mushroom cloud became the image of ultimate destruction which the advancement of science had made available to man -- the latest in a long line of tools of war.

Today marks the 64th anniversary of the dropping of the bomb "Little Boy" from the B-29 bomber Enola Gay on the Japanese city of Hiroshima.

Shortly after 8:15 am, August 5, 1945, looking back at the growing "mushroom" cloud above Hiroshima. When a portion of the uranium in the bomb underwent fission, and was transformed instantly into an energy of about 15 kilotons of TNT (about 6.3 × 1013 joules), heating a massive fireball to a temperature of 3,980 C (7,200 F). The superheated air and smoke rapidly rose through the atmosphere like a giant bubble, dragging a column of smoke up with it. By the time this photo was made, smoke had billowed 20,000 feet above Hiroshima while smoke from the burst of the first atomic bomb had spread over 10,000 feet on the target at the base of the column. (U.S. National Archives)
From yesterday's Boston Globe:
The U.S. B-29 Superfortress bomber "Enola Gay" took off from Tinian Island very early on the morning of August 6th, carrying a single 4,000 kg (8,900 lb) uranium bomb codenamed "Little Boy". At 8:15 am, Little Boy was dropped from 9,400 m (31,000 ft) above the city, freefalling for 57 seconds while a complicated series of fuse triggers looked for a target height of 600 m (2,000 ft) above the ground. At the moment of detonation, a small explosive initiated a super-critical mass in 64 kg (141 lbs) of uranium. Of that 64 kg, only .7 kg (1.5 lbs) underwent fission, and of that mass, only 600 milligrams was converted into energy - an explosive energy that seared everything within a few miles, flattened the city below with a massive shockwave, set off a raging firestorm and bathed every living thing in deadly radiation. Nearly 70,000 people are believed to have been killed immediately, with possibly another 70,000 survivors dying of injuries and radiation exposure by 1950.
The article from the Boston Globe has some magnificent photos well worth viewing.

The classic little book Hiroshima by John Hersey is one of those must-reads for every age.

First published on August 31, 1946 when The New Yorker devoted an entire issue to telling of the effects of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, it
Follows the fate of six survivors and describes their experiences. The survivors were: Miss Toshiko Sasaki, a clerk in the personnel department of the East Asia Tin Works; Dr. Masakazy Fuji; Father Wilherlm Kleinsorge, a German priest of the Society of Jesus, the Rev. Kiyoshi Tanimoto, pastor of the Hiroshima Methodist Church, and a Mrs. Hatsuyo Nakimura, a tailor's widow and her three children.
The New Yorker
Forty years later John Hersey went back to Hiroshima in search of the people whose stories he had told and in 1985 the book was republished with a final chapter that provides his moving account of what he discovered.

Hersey's book will keep the human story of that horrific day in history alive for future generations. The first sentence illustrates the author's spare and poignant writing style.
AT EXACTLY fifteen minutes past eight in the morning, on August 6, 1945, Japanese time, at the moment when the atomic bomb flashed above Hiroshima, Miss Toshiko Sasaki, a clerk in the personnel department of the East Asia Tin Works, had just sat down at her place in the plant office and was turning her head to speak to the girl at the next desk.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Kindle vs Books Continues

More fun from the folks at Green Apple Books:

Round 4: Do books help you sleep?

Round 5: Looking for Mr. or Mrs. Right - Too bad!

Round 6: Customer Service - The machine is always right?

Four more rounds to go.

Kindle vs Books - The first 3 rounds

Everyone is always talking about the Kindle and there are aspects of owning one that do sound attractive. I realize that ebooks are with us to stay and having books available in a digital format does have a lot of advantages. However, it bothers me that one company could exert so much control over the entire publishing industry and so I have more concerns about the Kindle specifically than with the general concept of ebooks. The technology is evolving at such a rapid rate that I am not sure where the independent bookseller will fit into the picture. So I am following San Francisco's Green Apple Books series The Book vs The Kindle with interest.

Round 1 - Selling Your Old Books

Round 2 - Buying Books

Round 3 - Sharing Books

Sunday, August 2, 2009

My Abandonment - Peter Rock

One of the nice things about having Griff here this summer is I have had more time to actually read some of the books I missed when they were originally released. One title that had intrigued me when it came out last March was My Abandonment by Peter Rock. It is a short novel, written by a creative writing professor, and as I read it I had the feeling I was reading a science fiction novel about some dystopic society except that the story is set in the northwest of 1994 and is based on a true story as Rock explains in this video.

Rock writes the story from the perspective of the 13 year-old Caroline and I have read some criticism of the novel because it leaves the reader with more questions than answers. But to me this is what make the novel even more believable and haunting -- Caroline does not know where the truth lies behind her experiences and so as readers neither do we.

I highly recommend this little book. It is tragic yet in the end hopeful. It speaks to the resilience, strength and wisdom which many children possess but also recognizes their vulnerability. It reminds us of those who are forced to live outside the fringes of acceptable society because of poverty, mental illness or any number of other reasons.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Keep It Local

I am continually impressed with the imagination shown by so many of my fellow independent booksellers. This video from The Regulator Bookshop in Durham, NC is just one example.

Enjoy and remember to support your local independent bookstore or neighborhood business.

Hat tip Paige Poe

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Seen Reading

I have wanted to start a series of posts about where I see people reading and what books their nose is buried in. But with getting Paragraphs up and running I haven't had a lot of time to get out and around town so this has remained on that stack of good ideas waiting to be implemented. A month or so ago, I mentioned this brilliant suggestion to Patricia -- "IslandPrincess" to twitter and forum readers -- and today I received the first of what I hope will be many pictures showing that people still do read real books.

Ken Montgomery from Lincoln, Nebraska is enjoying the beach on South Padre Island and reading The Navigator, by Clive Cussler.
Years ago, an ancient Phoenician statue known as the Navigator was stolen from the Baghdad Museum, and there are men who would do anything to get their hands on it. Their first victim is a crooked antiquities dealer, murdered in cold blood. Their second very nearly is a UN investigator who, were it not for the timely assistance of Austin and Zavala, would now be at the bottom of a watery grave.

What's so special about this statue? Austin wonders. The search for answers will take the NUMA team on an astonishing odyssey through time and space, one that encompasses no less than the lost treasures of King Solomon, a mysterious packet of documents personally encoded by Thomas Jefferson, and a top secret scientific project that could change the world forever.

And that's before the surprises really begin . . .

Rich with all the hair-raising action and endless invention that have become Cussler's hallmarks, The Navigator is Clive's best yet.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Man Booker Prize Longlist Announced

The Man Booker Prize, which celebrated its 40th anniversary last year, aims to reward the best novel of the year written by a citizen of the Commonwealth or the Republic of Ireland. The winner, selected by a panel consisting of critics, academics and writers, receives £50,000 and both the winner and the shortlisted authors are guaranteed a worldwide readership plus a dramatic increase in book sales.

"Prizes don't make writers and writers don't write to win prizes, but in the near-glut of literary awards now on offer, the Booker remains special. It's the one which, if we're completely honest, we most covet."

Graham Swift, 1996 Booker Prize winner

The first round of nominations for the award is known as the longlist and includes 13 titles which were announced today. This list will be reduced to 6 on September 9, 2009 with the announcement of the shortlist, from which the final winner will be chosen and announced on October 6, 2009.

As reported in the New York Times the nominees announced today are:

J.M. Coetzee, “Summertime,”
Coetzee has won the Man Booker prize twice for “Life & Times of Michael K” in 1983 and “Disgrace” in 1999.
A.S. Byatt, “The Children’s Book,”
Wyatt previously won the award in 1990 for “Possession.”
William Trevor, “Love and Summer,”
Colm Toibin, “Brooklyn”
Sarah Waters, “The Little Stranger” .
Adam Foulds, “The Quickening Maze”;
Sarah Hall, “How to Paint a Dead Man”;
Samantha Harvey, “The Wilderness”;
James Lever, “Me Cheeta”;
Hilary Mantel, “Wolf Hall”;
Simon Mawer, “The Glass Room”;
Ed O’Loughlin, “Not Untrue & Not Unkind”
James Scudamore, “Heliopolis”.

You can view the complete list at the Man Booker Award website which also has a synopsis of each of the books nominated. Several of these have appeared on the IndieNext list.

Monday, July 27, 2009

New Wimpy Kid Adventure Announced

The Diary of a Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney is quite popular with many of the middle-school readers that come into Paragraphs. What started as an online series published at with 70 million unique followers, The Diary of a Wimpy Kid has become equally as successful in the printed format.

The books follow Greg Heffley as he navigates his way through middle school and records his experiences in a diary using hand-printed words and drawings. The format has been widely acclaimed for its popularity with the reluctant reader, and like we all know if you can just get a kid hooked on reading the rest comes naturally.

Greg and his family and friends, who make the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books a must-read for middle school readers, are back with a new volume to be released on October 12. Now fans of Greg and his family have a new edition to look forward to adding to the collection.

It’s summer vacation, the weather’s great, and all the kids are having fun outside. So where’s Greg Heffley? Inside his house, playing video games with the shades drawn.

Greg, a self-confessed “indoor person,” is living out his ultimate summer fantasy: no responsibilities and no rules. But Greg’s mom has a different vision for an ideal summer . . . one packed with outdoor activities and “family togetherness.”

Whose vision will win out? Or will a new addition to the Heffley family change everything?
Author Jeff Kinney is an online game developer and designer, and a #1 New York Times bestselling author. In 2009, Jeff was named one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World. He spent his childhood in the Washington, D.C., area and moved to New England in 1995. Jeff lives in southern Massachusetts with his wife and their two sons. When asked why he wrote the Diary of a Wimpy Kid Kinney said:
I wanted to write a story about all of the funny parts of growing up and none of the serious parts. So I decided to write a book about what its really like to be a kid or at least what it was like for me. My goal was to write a book that made people laugh.
If the next book is anything like the last three Mr. Kinney will be entertaining his readers once again.

If you would like to pre-order a copy of Dog Days just send me an email or call Paragraphs at 956-433-5057. We can have a copy delivered to your door on the release day - October 12.