Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Discover Songs - October

Fields, Junip

Suggested Retail: $15.98
Paragraphs Price: $12.99

Formed in Gothenburg, Sweden and featuring Jose Gonzalez, Junip's songs are often dynamic, melodic and shadowy. Their sound is familiar to those who have listened to Gonzalez's critically-acclaimed records.

From NPR First Listen:
Junip is a trio from Gothenberg, Sweden: Elias Araya is on drums, Tobias Winterkorn plays keyboards and José González sings and plays guitar. The music of Junip comes from improvisation first, with melody and lyrics coming later. Winterkorn describes picking through the improvisations for good ideas from the band's recordings, "and then taking out the raisins from the cake to eat them." For both Araya and González, this record has been like chasing a dream — a dream that began when Junip's members were just 14.

The list of influences is long, from John Martyn's guitar sound to the repetitive trance of Ethiopian music, and from German electronic music to Nina Simone. Somehow, all this turns up on Junip's album Fields, and it all works.

Lonely Avenue
, Ben Folds adds Music and Melody to Nick Hornby's Words, Ben Folds/Nick Hornby

Suggested Retail: $26.98
Paragraphs Price $19.99

This special Lonely Avenue deluxe edition features music and vocals by singer-songwriter Ben Folds and lyrics by novelist Nick Hornby, four Hornby short stories and photos by Joel Meyerowitz, all in a beautiful hardbound book.

Other albums for October include a new release from Eric Clapton titled simply Clapton, a traditional country album Ghost Train, recorded by Marty Stuart, and an album produced by Jeff Tweedy of Wilco, You Are Not Alone, featuring Mavis Staples.

Band of Joy

Band of Joy, Robert Plank

Robert Plant is back with Band of Joy, his first album since 2007's six-time Grammy Award-winning Raising Sand. This album was co-produced by Plant and Nashville legend and guitarist Buddy Miller.

Reviewed on NPR

Listen to an edited version of a full concert performed live at the Bowery Ballroom on September 12, 2010.

On sale now at Paragraphs:
Suggested retail $18.98
Our Price $14.99

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Apostrophe Song

Will this help in remembering the rules for apostrophes? Are you tired of gritting your teeth whenever you see a misplaced apostrophe on a sign?

Let's sing it -- all together now...

via Huffington Post

Friday, September 17, 2010

2010 Booker Award - Short List

Earlier this month, Peter Carey, Emma Donoghue, Damon Galgut, Howard Jacobson, Andrea Levy and Tom McCarthy were announced as the six shortlisted authors for the 2010 Man Booker Prize for Fiction. For over four decades the prize - the leading literary award in the English speaking world - has brought recognition, reward and readership to the outstanding new novels of the year. The shortlist was announced by Chair of judges, Sir Andrew Motion, at a press conference held at Man's London headquarters.

* Peter Carey »
Parrot and Olivier in America »
Faber & Faber

From the two-time Booker Prize, winning author comes an irrepressibly funny new novel set in early nineteenth-century America. Olivier, an improvisation on the life of Alexis de Tocqueville, is the traumatized child of aristocratic survivors of the French Revolution. Parrot is the motherless son of an itinerant English printer. They are born on different sides of history, but their lives will be connected by an enigmatic one-armed marquis.

* Emma Donoghue »
Room »

To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It is where he was born and grew up; it's where he lives with his Ma as they learn and read and eat and sleep and play. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits.

* Damon Galgut »
In a Strange Room »
Grove Atlantic

A young man takes three journeys, through Greece, India and Africa. He travels lightly, simply. To those who travel with him and those whom he meets on the way - including a handsome, enigmatic stranger, a group of careless backpackers and a woman on the edge - he is the Follower, the Lover and the Guardian.

* Howard Jacobson »
The Finkler Question »

He should have seen it coming. His life had been one mishap after another. So he should have been prepared for this one'. Julian Treslove, a professionally unspectacular and disappointed BBC worker, and Sam Finkler, a popular Jewish philosopher, writer and television personality, are old school friends.

* Andrea Levy »
The Long Song »
Headline Review

The author of Small Island tells the story of the last turbulent years of slavery and the early years of freedom in nineteenth-century Jamaica. Told in the irresistibly willful and intimate voice of Miss July, with some editorial assistance from her son, Thomas, The Long Song is at once defiant, funny, and shocking. The child of a field slave on the Amity sugar plantation, July lives with her mother until Mrs. Caroline Mortimer, a recently transplanted English widow, decides to move her into the great house and rename her 'Marguerite.' Resourceful and mischievous, July soon becomes indispensable to her mistress. Together they live through the bloody Baptist war, followed by the violent and chaotic end of slavery. Taught to read and write so that she can help her mistress run the business, July remains bound to the plantation despite her freedom. It is the arrival of a young English overseer, Robert Goodwin, that will dramatically change life in the great house for both July and her mistress. Prompted and provoked by her son's persistent questioning, July's resilience and heartbreak are gradually revealed in this extraordinarily powerful story of slavery, revolution.

* Tom McCarthy »
C »
Jonathan Cape

Opening in England at the turn of the twentieth century, C is the story of a boy named Serge Carrefax, whose father spends his time experimenting with wireless communication while running a school for deaf children. Serge grows up amid the noise and silence with his brilliant but troubled older sister, Sophie: an intense sibling relationship that stays with him as he heads off into an equally troubled larger world.

Books that are currently available may be purchased online at Paragraphs by clicking on the title link. We also carry most of these titles at the store.

Monday, September 13, 2010

College-bound Seniors Can Win Bookstore Gift Certificate

From Shelf Awareness:

Author James Patterson is launching Book Dollars for Scholars, a contest for college-bound high school seniors who can win gift certificates for $250 to $5,000 each to use at any IndieBound bookstore.
To enter, students answer with an essay the question "how has your favorite book inspired you toward what you'd like to do in life?" There will be 56 winners, selected by Patterson and members of his board.

Patterson said, "My hope with this award is to help students going to college--where they'll be immersed in textbooks and great classics, and be under pressure to succeed--to maintain their interest in enjoying a good book for fun. I'm looking forward to reading the entries!" In 2005, Patterson founded the PageTurner awards, which honored people and organizations that "spread the joy of reading."

The Book Dollars for Scholars contest ends December 31. Winners will be announced February 1. For more information and to enter, go to

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Sotheby's to Auction "Birds of America"

Looking for the perfect birding book?

From The Guardian:

Sotheby's will today announce it is to sell items from the collection of the late Lord Hesketh, including a stunning copy of John James Audubon's Birds of America, a book that grabbed the world-record auction price of $8.8m 10 years ago.

Frederick Fermor-Hesketh, 2nd Baron Hesketh, belonged to a family that had collected books from the 19th century onwards and was an obsessive. He was an example of what is known as "high spot collecting" in that he did not specialise but needed to have the very best of the best and, with a big splurge of collecting in the early 1950s, he achieved it. Now, 55 years after his death, trustees of his will are selling books, manuscripts and letters with an estimated total worth of £8m to £10m.

One of the highlights is a copy of Birds of America valued at £4m to £6m. The book is bound on a huge scale – a "double elephant" folio – because Haiti-born Audubon wanted to paint the birds life size. He would travel across America, shooting the birds before carefully hanging them on bits of wire to paint them.

Not only was Audubon a skilled artist, he was also a persuasive seller, travelling to Britain to print the volumes and then offering Birds of America to the very rich as a prestige product. The copy being sold was first bought by an early paleobotanist, Henry Witham, "subscriber number 11", after an apparently very boozy dinner. Audubon writes in his ledger: "I determined in an instant that this gentleman was a gentleman indeed … We all talked much, for I believe the good wine of Mr Witham had a most direct effect."

Only 119 complete copies of Birds of America are known to exist today and 108 of those are owned by museums, libraries and universities.

Thanks to HuffPost Books

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Gendarme - A Novel

Mark Mustian became fascinated with the story of the deportation of the Armenians from Turkey prior to World War I after reading Peter Balakian’s book Black Dog of Fate. He read survivors’ stories, transcripts of oral histories, memoirs, and history books and learned of the denial of the Turkish nation, including the fact that to speak of the Armenian deaths as genocide remains a crime in Turkey to this day. Out of this search comes the beautifully written and emotionally riveting first novel, The Gendarme.

The author explains:
In 1915, at the beginning of World War I, something close to panic gripped the Ottoman Empire, a fear that the sizable Armenian minority in Turkey was aligned with their Christian brethren the Russians in opposition to the Turks in the war. A few reported uprisings prompted a massive and brutal response. Those not killed were forced to join the caravans proceeding south and east to the Syrian desert and then to the city of Aleppo.
Yet, the novel begins in the 1990s, when the 92-year-old Emmet Conn suddenly begins remembering things he doesn't understand but he gradually becomes convinced these visions are true and have been denied or purposefully forgotten by him and others in the time following the war.

As Emmet relives the past in his dreams and visions, we we are able to, in the author's words:
imagine what it would have been like for old men, women, and children to make this journey on foot, along dirt roads in late spring and summer. They would have had to leave almost all of their possessions behind. The sun would have been searing, the paths dusty and arduous and long. Water would have been scarce. Disease and lack of food and thievery would have taken their toll. Some would have walked hundreds of miles. Others would have had to be carried. It was easy to see how many would have failed to survive it.

As Emmet nears the end of his life he sets out on a final journey of reconciliation with the truth. During the war he served as a gendarme and was responsible for escorting Armenian women and children from Turkey. He feels compelled to find the enigmatic, Araxie, the young Armenian girl, who had captivated him and had become the love of his life, only to be lost to him at the end of the war.

Ultimately, "The Gendarme" is a story of redemption and survival at the most basic human level. It is a book I recommend for the same reason the author gives for writing about this event that so many want to forget:
People sometimes ask, Why would you want to write about this, or even know of it, when your immediate ancestors were not part of the tragedy? I have no simple answers. In some ways the distance is helpful, permitting me a novelist’s audacity in attempting to probe the mind of one most would consider a perpetrator. In other ways it is deadening, a balm stifling emotion and fostering apathy and appeasement. Remembering is living. Forgetting, as Ahmet Khan learns, has its costs. Decades on, even centuries on, our shared history remains vital, the connection, however tenuous, to some tribal sense of before. Time stretches and calms, but still we reach, for we belonged then. We want to know. Sometimes that knowledge is painful, or inconvenient, or even damning. But it is essential. It exposes us for what we have been, and can be.
Buy this book online