Thursday, July 31, 2008

Tall Ships

This is a bustling weekend here in Canal Park. Lots of excitement and interest in the Tall Ships coming in this afternoon/evening. We'll be hosting a table featuring a selection of our maritime themed books in the Vender's area of the Maritime Festival in the DECC - so stop by and say hello!

In addition to the tall ships, we also have half of our author booksignings for the month are this weekend!
We start Friday Evening with John Henricksson and Betsy Bowen with the memoir The Gunflint Cabin from 7-8.

Saturday we have Jeffrey Woolf with his novel, Apples of Arcadia, 12-1; Julie Kramer with her new mystery novel, Stalking Susan, 1-2; and Stephen Daniel with his guide, Shipwrecks along Superior's North Shore, 2-3.

Sunday we host Jenifer LeClair signing her new novel, Rigged for Murder, 1-2; and Paula Ellis will be signing her Minnesota's North Shore Activity Book from 2-3.

Come be part of the hustle, bustle and excitement with the great literary events and maritime attractions!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

I don't think of myself as a book snob...

but on occasion, I think it's important to evaluate one's likes and dislikes - especially the ways in which one comes to and expresses those likes and dislikes. Am I picky in what I choose to read because I know what I like or because I've passed judgement on other genres and styles? Do I judge other people by what they choose to read? Do I have hierarchies of literature that are the root of my book prejudices? Those are rather weighted questions without definite answers, but, since I'm going to be writing a lot on this blog, I figured today would be as good a time as any to bare some of my aesthetics, so you can better read into future postings!

Potential Book Snob Traits accompanied with explanations/apologies:
1. I rarely read books that are on any bestseller list. This isn't out of some disdain for the populous. (Although it does give me pause that the say-so of a tv host can make an author and/or vilify an author) By and large, these books are popular because center on interesting topics, engage the readers and are written by quality writers (sometimes quality ghostwriters). I often skip over the bestsellers because I already have a long list of titles and authors, from classics to first novels coming out in a month. The visibility and talk about bestselling books and authors allows me to be familiar with their work without necessarily having to read them. That allows me to spend more time to find books that others may not have heard of yet (or, worse, forgotten).

2.I rarely read mysteries. Often the focus in mysteries is on the plot and other aspects of the book are not as successful. A case of good story: poor storytelling. That's a blanket statement for the less successful in the genre. I grew up on Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot, so I love a good mystery. I was put on to a great series starting with The Coroner's Lunch. So, while I don't go straight to the mystery section of any store, I am no longer disappointed to find myself there.

3.It's very rare that I read a memoir. Memoir should be elegant, soulful, honest, fierce, and insightful: forming an intimate connection between the reader and the writer. Sadly, too many memoirs are sensationalistic and hinged upon name recognition: engendering a type of voyeurism on the part of the reader. I solidly affirm and support those who write memoir/biography in the first description, but, sadly, those in the latter category have made me highly suspicious.

4.I'm a McSweeney's Press Fan. Now, this is on the list because of some stereotypes out there that accuse McSweeney's press of delighting in being elitist by publishing with a focus on the absurd, obscure and all things somewhat hipster. While that may attract many book snobs, not all of us aficionados should be lumped together. They have some incredibly clever titles and authors. They may play toward an inside crowd, but, ultimately, they thrive when being a part of the community.

5.I too often ignore book suggestions that are given to me. Not because I don't trust the suggestion, but mainly because I'm comfortably set in my ways and already have a pile of books to read that my landlord infers is a fire hazard. For every book that I wouldn't enjoy that I dodge, I miss out on a real treasure. I am honestly very gracious for the suggestions and several will stick. Please don't interpret my side-stepping to be the result of not valuing your opinions.

OK. So, ways to redeem myself?
1. I vow to pay more consideration to your recommendations. Especially if you can talk about a book that I've enjoyed in reference to your suggestion. I'm very willing to go into suggestion for suggestion exchanges if we'll have the chance to chat later on.

2.Stop letting the bad keep me from the good (and great). I'll read more memoir and mysteries. One problem I have is the near inability to stop reading a book, no matter how much I dislike it, once I've started. I'll try to be more open minded in selecting books, and allow myself to be slightly more judgemental in deciding which books to read all the way through!

3.Focus on the Love of the Written Word. So what if we're not all attracted to the same collections of words?! There are far too many great stories out there to be intimidated and questioning if we're reading the exact right ones. So, I'll follow the advice I'd like to give anyone else out there questioning his/her reading habits: "Read! Enjoy! Discuss! Discover!"

Prognosis: If I follow my own advice, I should be able to avoid the dangers of falling into some dark, elitist camp. Knowing is half the battle! Keep me honest if you sense me slipping!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

A new breath of fresh air!

We at Northern Lights love to be inspired. That word alone, "inspiration" is a culmination of inferences- creativity, discovery, and the very act of drawing air into our lungs.

Celebrating 15 years, we're still inspired everyday: to organize engaging events, discover new (and old) authors and stories, and to sustain the tradition of independent bookselling that we believe is an integral component to an active and engaged community. Several of the blogs in our links section (and many, many other fine sites) have inspired us to add our own voice into the larger literary mix! We hope that you find our topics, ideas and experiences inspiring in your own life. We hope that you share your thoughts and ideas as well.