Aug 31, 2009

Canadian mystery writer - oooh, aaaahh

I know this must seem repetative, but I've been spending every possible waking moment on the beach, in the sun, and, whenever possible, reading. Just before I snuck out for a three day kayak trip I fell upon Still Life, the first of a series of Three Pines Mysteries by Louise Penny. If you like Agatha Christie, which I did and do, you'll love this writer. Best of all, Louise Penny is Canadian!! Still Life centres on the sweet little town of Three Pines situated in the eastern townships outside Montreal close to the US boarder. I fell in love with Detective Armand Gamache and I think you will too. Come and look for her other novels on our shelves: The Murder Stone (CBC Canada Reads Book Club), A Fatal Grace, Dead Cold, and The Cruelest Month. Yippee! It's so satifying to discover another author.

Aug 27, 2009

Stephanie Meyers - Twilight

A master storyteller is like a master weaver. The story is in the knots of a carpet, the stitches in the designs embroidered on a purse or in the words of a book. And when one is brought to pause in awe of the artistry or able to feel the prickle of the sun on their skin when the world outside them is shrouded in snow, that is the mark of a good storyteller. I cried for days when I finished Mark Helprin's "A Winter's Tale", it was less embarrassing to let my employer think it was boyfriend woes that had me weeping into dirty dish water than because I finally had to close the covers on perhaps my favourite leading man ever,... horse? author? Who can really tell.

Salman Rushdie's "The Enchantress of Florence" is another transporting read. A storyteller telling the story of his life, for his life and sometimes it seems to take a lifetime to tell but just as I thought "This is lovely, where is it going?", so too does the audience in the book, reflecting Rushdie's ability to play with and read the reader. Our impatience is well rewarded. It begs the question of identity, that which we create for ourselves and that which is thrust upon us by friends, family and adoring, or less than-, subjects. Of Love true, for possession, for perfection created from fantasy, as a stepping stone in the river of destiny and for survival. A swash-buckling adventure with all the hedonism, barbarism, heroism and intrigue of a long ago time set in the sumptuous surrounds of a Mughal palace and a younger Florence. A compelling beginning and surprising ending to a tale that takes you on a magical journey through history and culture far removed from this reality.

While reading the The Enchantress, Jennie handed me a copy of "Twilight" with as much despair as Jennie can muster, "This is what the teenagers are reading!!" Twilight is the second book in Stephanie Meyers trashy Vampire series and all I can say is this is crack in print. Keep your daughters away from this heaping pile of fragrant wierdness. If not for the atrocious messages this woman is sending to youth about young women in love and their choices of men who are nothing but a TERRIBLE MISTAKE, (why is the most popular series for youth about a girl who is helpless, hopeless and downright pathetic without the monster in Armani clothing, who by the way is a hero and a good guy because he resists his natural urges to kill her,?) then it might be for the fact that Meyers and her esteemed editor publish every infinitive form of the verb in the negative SPLIT!!! Stephanie darling, does Hamlet say "To be, or to not be"? That is the question. And therein lies the answer. You cannot find these books at this bookstore.

More interested in intrigue, espionage and suspence than murder, I have resisted the Murder Mystery genre until lying bored in my sickbed I picked up "Girl with the Dragon Tattoo". Well, I spent the morning at the cafe with Stieg Larsson (dosing up on Vitamin D, essential for rapid healing), took him to the beach for the afternoon and stayed up most of the night with him until it was sensible to read something less intriguing, less stimulating and just less overall in order to get to sleep. I am fascinated by how he weaves these technicolour threads together. This is my first real foray into murder mysteries since Agatha Christie and I'm so glad I initiated it with Larsson. His tapestry is fine!

Aug 24, 2009

Ever heard that mushrooms could save the world?

Here we are another Monday.

Thankfully, two of my most interesting customers have shown up to remind me of the important things in life, the simple things, the spiritual things - Nature's intelligence. To ward off the Monday blues, I was pointed in the direction of a fascinating Earth poet and scholar, Stephan Buhner. His books Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers and Sacred Plant Medicine reveal insights about native plant species, their healing properties and the role of psychotropics in health and wellness. If you're really interested, Buhner is visiting our locale - Mountain Waters, Nelson - from September 2-6 to lead a five day program entitled Secret Teachings of Plants: A Depth Intensive. For more information go to:

But really, it all comes down to mushrooms as Paul Stamets, author of Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Save the World, explains. This book is an informative source for how to cultivate and use mushrooms to detoxify the planet, your body and your spirit.

Thanks guys for bringing me back to earth.

On another note entirely, I've received some reviews from those in the circle. Here it goes:

I know I've mentioned Little Big by John Crowley before, but Kate just finished it and says, "It's good. Complex, well written magic realism." So there...

Kristin Lavransdatter, the acknowledged masterpiece of the Nobel Prize-winning Norwegian novelist Sigrid Undset (1891-1949), is an amazing, if dense, medieval romance set in fourteenth-century Norway. The heroine of the trilogy, Kristin—beautiful, strong-willed, and passionate—stands with the world's great literary figures. I read and enjoyed this new translation very much. The three novels: The Wreath, The Wife and The Cross explore Kristin's life beginning with her ill-fated love affair and then marriage to Erland Nikalausson, continuing through her survivial of the Black Plague. In reading about Kristin's life you sense the experiences and the trials for women during this time period. Jennie says, "I read it long ago and it still resonates in my life".

Seeing as we're venturing into the classics, I'll take the time to mention yet again the beautiful unabridged versions of Little Women, Treasure Island, 1000 Leagues Under the Sea, Heidi, The Secret Garden, Oliver Twist, Gulliver's Travels, Journey to the Centre of the Earth, Black Beauty, Into the Wild, and White Fang. Don't forget about these when you're looking for books to read to your children or together as a family. These are beautiful, hardcover editions of these stories with stunning art by Scott McKowen who illustrates posters for the Roundabout Theatre in NYC and the Shaw Festival in Ontario. Check them out - even better they are only $12.95.

All right enough of that, I sound like a used carsaleman, but really....

Finally, last mention of the day is a new non-fiction book, Brunetti's Venice: Walks with the City's Best Loved Detective by Toni Sepeda. For those who love Commissario Guido Brunetti, star of Donna Leon's internationally best selling mystery series, now you can follow in his footsteps on over a dozen walks that highlight Venice's churches, markets, bars, cafes, and palazzos!

I'm off to read. bye.

Aug 21, 2009

What's in the window?

We've got some interesting new books in the window. Of note:

For the feminist deep within look for Germaine Greer's newest, Shakespeare's Wife. Those who read her classic, The Female Eunuch, ( I did and loved the way she lambasts everyone and everything - so satifying) will recognize this book's similarity as a polemic. In addition to examining the role of wives in Elizabethan England, this book focusses on the life of Ann Hathaway, the woman who married England's most famous poet. Juicy and ripe with controversy.

I always presume that everyone loves David Sedaris as much as I do - which is a lot! If that's the case, then check out When You Are Engulfed in Flames to catch his witty and hilarious quips about life (or at least his warped perspective on it).

Then for more mirthful guffawing, if you haven't already read Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, do it now. Gilbert writes a feel-good, laugh-out-loud, travel, spiritual sisters-of-the-travelling-pants-type story. The best part is that this woman actually exists, did these things and thinks this way. You might find a kindred spirit or just be awed by her craziness.

Finally, from another goofy guru (at least to those who are fisher people) stories and lore about fishing, Fool's Paradise by John Gierach. This book looks just about as good as getting out on the water. If you or anyone you know likes to fish, this will definitely be the book for you.

So that's what's in the window...see you at Jennies.

Aug 14, 2009

Flippant Funny Foolishness

I got a package in the mail today from a friend and fellow bookseller - yippee! It included, among other things, a hilarious little promotional comic strip featuring two dorky characters, The Literates, created by Christopher Moore. I was most impressed by the strip as promotional material created solely for the purpose of stimulating interest in his book Fool: A Novel based on Shakespeare's King Lear. It is an appropriate marketing tool for this genre - political humor fiction and a most interesting use of of the comic strip media. And best of all, it really worked, on me at least. I am infinitely more interested in this writer than I was previously.

The package also included a little Canadian mag called Broken Pencil: The Magazine of Zine Culture and the Independent Arts. It put me in mind of our local zine artist and resident, the fabulous Emily Beamer. We carry her cute little strip called 'tales of a broken hearted stick girl.' It's wonderfully funny and so endearing. You can check out her blog at

Newest darling read - Wendell Berry's Whitefoot: Story from the Center of the World. Look for it in the window. It's the sweetest snapshot story about a little mouse, Whitefoot. The illustrations by Davis Te Selle are original drawings and lovely, detailed images of little Whitefoot nesting, floating down a river, the trees, the wilds around her house. It's beautiful.

If you haven't got your daytimer for the new school year, come on in. Pole Star just brought in their newest...

Aug 10, 2009

ITALIAN SHOES by Henning Mankell

Posted by Josee Corrigan

Lately I've been writing about what I've been reading and doing, but today I have direction from the BIG BOSS LADY! Jennie says, "tell EVERYONE," which means you, our followers on the world wide web, about Henning Mankell's fabulous book 'Italian Shoes: A Novel'. Note: this book is not crime fiction, Mankell's usual genre, but rather fiction of the less easily categorized variety. Jennie says, "it's so good that I will be reading it again." Now, I know for a fact she never does this, so clearly this is the read for those of you who like 'Jennie-picks'. Come in and grab it off our shelves. It's here.

note: This is Jennie's favourite book of the year.

In other news, look forward to Rex Murphy's up and coming book due for publication in October in hardcover, 'Canada and other matters of opinion'. Typical Murphy title - can't you just hear his cute little lisp...This book is really good. It is refreshing to read the work of our most-opinionated and widely spoken Canadian commentator covering political, social, economic and environmental issues from the Canadian perspective. This is a book that contextualizes Canadians on the global stage. Read it.

Aug 7, 2009

Summertime and the livin' is easy...

The graphic novel section at Jennie's is the highlight of the week. Some would say the graphic novel is a fluffy way to absorb a classic text or tricky topic, but I disagree heartily after a read of Louis Riel: A Comic Strip Biography by Chester Brown, a tale of rebellion and revolution and our favorite Canadian/Metis folk hero. The comic strip style deepened the story's setting and plot elements. Come and see for yourself.

Currently featured is Persepolis by Mariane Satrapi, The Adventures of Johnny Bunko: The Last Career Guide You'll Ever Need by Daniel H. Pink, and finally my namesake, The Adventures of Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth by Chris Ware. These and many more are available here at Jennies.

Jennie and I were in Vancouver in early July for the BC Booksellers Association convention and it was SOOOO FUN! A whirlwind of books books and more books and more booksellers than you could shake a stick at. It was wonderful. In addition to meeting other independent booksellers from around the province and mingling with the bigwigs of the publishing world, we gathered uncorrect proofs from the publishers attending the tradeshow and brought home bagloads of wonderful soon-to-be released and only-available-in hard cover books. So, with all of these jewels in our possession, over the next few months, in addition to reading a lot, we will feature the books that are up and coming or only available in hard cover on our blog (only the ones we like, of course). Read on for a sneak peak...

I'm currently buried in award winning and best selling author of The Night Watch and Fingersmith Sarah Waters' newest book The Little Stranger.

Here's the review:
"In a dusty post-war summer in rural Warwickshire, a doctor is called to see a patient at lonely Hundreds Hall. Home to the Ayres family for over two centuries, the once grand house is now in decline, its masonry crumbling, its garden choked with weeds. All around, the world is changing, and the family is struggling to adjust to a society with new values and rules.

Roddie Ayres, who returned from World War II physically and emotionally wounded, is desperate to keep the house and what remains of the estate together for the sake of his mother and his sister, Caroline. Mrs. Ayres is doing her best to hold on to the gracious habits of a gentler era and Caroline seems cheerfully prepared to continue doing the work a team of servants once handled, even if it means having little chance for a life of her own beyond Hundreds.

But as Dr. Faraday becomes increasingly entwined in the Ayreses’ lives, signs of a more disturbing nature start to emerge, both within the family and in Hundreds Hall itself. And Faraday begins to wonder if they are all threatened by something more sinister than a dying way of life, something that could subsume them completely.

Both a nuanced evocation of 1940s England and the most chill-inducing novel of psychological suspense in years, The Little Stranger confirms Sarah Waters as one of the finest and most exciting novelists writing today.."

It's a tale of love and loss as is expected from Waters. Currently available in hard cover only, we can order it in for you or you can wait for soft cover...yum yum. I'll let you know when we have it on the shelves. I'm loving it, but then I'm a huge about you?

Aug 3, 2009

Stieg Larson and Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

To begin, we are in love with Stieg Larsson. We are waiting waiting waiting (tortuously) for the next book - Girl who played with Fire - to be released. So sad that he's dead and there will be no more Salander novels after the third book - Girl who Kicked the Hornets (title not confirmed) - in the Millenium Trilogy is published. Luckily we can look forward to the tv series and movie possibilities once all of the books are out - whew! This is worse than Harry Potter! (don't be confused, this is not fantasy, but fabulous crime fiction)
Come to Jennie's for the first in the series - Girl with the Dragon Tatto. You will not be able to put it down.

It was wonderful to read Robert Wiersema's review of Four Freedoms by John Crowley in the Globe last week. What a great review! So eloquently written. It made me want to run out and read everything by Crowley, especially Little, Big, one of Jennie's favorites too. Check it out at:

We've got a huge sale on children's gifts and toys right now - everything 50% off. Also, we've just got a new shipment of organic cottons from Maiwa, both clothing and bed linens. The new patterns are gorgeous and affordable - only about $10 more per item on average, very worth it for organic. Charlotte Kwon, founder of Maiwa, is encouraging organics in the traditional grassroots textiles industry of India by financially supporting organic cotton farmers, weavers, and dyers. This is a wonderful company. Find out more at:

Similar to the babatree basket company based in Africa, Maiwa does service to the producer, retailer and consumer. Yeah! It feels really good to be supporting these two companies.

It's smoky here today in the Slocan Valley. Fire is all around us. It's a great time to stay inside out of the haze and READ!