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Archive for January, 2011

On Wednesday, January 26, 2011, a new Valley fantasy book club will be meeting at Dark Horse Books. Organized by a local fantasy reader, the first discussion will be Moon Called by Patricia Briggs. Everyone is welcome to attend.

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On Wednesday, January 19, 2011 at 7:00 p.m. , local author Lauren Sompayrac will be discussing his book, Experimental Christianity. Everyone is welcome and refreshments will be served.

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Friday, January 21, 2011  and Saturday, January 22, 2011 only, Dark Horse Books will have a sale on all books( except for diet, business and self help books).  All book purchases will be 15% off on Friday and Saturday only. Come support your local bookstore.

What I say is, a town isn’t a town without a bookstore. It may call itself a town, but unless it’s got a bookstore it knows it’s not fooling a soul.” – Neil Gaiman.

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Teton Springs Stillwaters Spa and Salon Book Club has a bookclub.  Dark Horse Books does have this book in stock and all buyers will get the 10% book club discount. Check out the Spa’s information on the book club  

 Thursday, February 9 from 6-9pm for

Spa Book Group!

 This month’s selection is……

 The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

 $50 includes a manicure or pedicure, a glass of wine

and great discussion about the book.

Please contact the spa at (208) 787-7250 to reserve your space.

 Space is very limited.  Advance reservation is required.

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The TVWRG had a lively discussion regarding Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand. Despite initial reservations, everyone enjoyed the book, finding the character development engaging.  Braving the cold weather, a nice sized group was present for the discussion.

Prior to the discussion, the group voted and selected the book selections through July.  Below is the dates and titles for the book group meetings:

Monday, Feb. 7, 2010 at 7:00 p.m. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Schaffer and Annie Barrows

Monday, March 7, 2010 at 7:00 p.m. Infidel by Ayann Hirsi Ali

Monday, April 4, 2010 at 7:00 p.m. Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Monday, May 2, 2010 at 7:00 p.m. Baking Cakes in Kigali by Gaile Parkin

Monday, June 6, 2010 at 7:00 p.m. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Monday, July 11, 2010 at 7:00 p.m. Where the Mountains Are Nameless: Passion  and Politics in the Arctic Wildlife Refuge by Jonathan Waterman.

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Picture This

Due to the wonderful illustrations and quality stories found in picture books, reading to young children is far from a chore. It is a pleasure for the adult as well as the child. In picture books, the illustrations are an important and critical element of the story. While books have been illustrated for centuries, it was in the middle of the 19th century, when the first true picture books for children were published. This was due to the work of several children authors, who also illustrated their stories. One such author was Beatrice Potter whose stories about Peter Rabbit, Squirrel Nutkin, and Benjamin Bunny remain hugely popular.

            Picture books became a permanent fixture in children’s publishing during the 1930s and 1940s. In 1937, Theodor Geisel under the pseudonym of Dr. Seuss published his first book, To Think that I Saw It On Mulberry Street. It was hugely popular and Dr. Seuss continued to write and publish books for children. Eventually, his publishing company, Beginning Books, dominated children’s books market during the 1960s. Also, during this period, Simon and Schuster began publishing Little Golden Books. These inexpensive books featured the work of outstanding illustrators such as Eloise Wilkin, Richard Scarry, and Garth Williams. Then, in 1947, Harper published Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown and illustrated by Clement Hurd.  Any one who has read this classic bedtime story can imagine the story without the illustrations of Clement Hurd.

            The quality of picture books has not declined. In the 1960s, Maurice Sendak created another children’s classic with his book, Where the Wild Things Are. Currently, author Jan Brett writes and illustrates beautiful picture books. With Ms. Brett’s work, a significant portion of her story is told through the illustrations. Ms. Brett created a style involving a border of illustrations, which foreshadow the future events in the story. Ms. Brett is the most popular children books illustrator today with over 36 million books in print.

            Despite the importance of the illustrations, the writing of a picture book remains critical. The very best children picture books are a delight to read aloud. A popular picture book author is Robert Munsch. His book, Love You Forever, has been listed in the top ten best-selling children books of all time. Robert Munsch began his writing career as an oral storyteller. In fact, he claims that it takes telling a story 200 time for it to get good. This oral tradition makes his stories wonderful read aloud stories. When reading a story by Robert Munsch, every reader becomes an actor. His stories compel the reader to use great expression when reading.

            Picture books have been popular for over a century. Families cherish and pass on classic picture books by Dr. Seuss, Beatrice Potter, and Maurice Sendak.  Every year, talented artists and writers produce books, which may someday be a classic to be read and reread for generations to come.

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Reading my first young adult novel was an eye opening experience. Instead of a story about immature characters worrying about their teen problems, such as popularity, grades, and romances, the young adult novel was a well written urban fantasy with complex characters and engrossing plot. Apparently, the young adult label merely means the main characters in the story are young adults or teens. It does not mean the story is immature.

 Indeed, in some cases, the series is more appropriate for an older reader due to the mature issues. The Tithe series by Holly Black is such a series. Tithe is an excellent urban fantasy, creating a dark, gritty urban scene in which the fantastical occurs. Traveling all of her life with her musician mom, Kaye’s life has been in constant flux with her mother changing boyfriends, bands and towns frequently. When an ugly incident forces Kaye and her mother to return to her grandmother’s home in New Jersey, Kaye is happy to be in the one secure, safe place in her life. But there are secrets about Kaye’s past and these secrets propel her into the midst of a faery war. The faeries in this novel are not the Disney faeries; these are the faeries of Celtic myth, deceitful, treacherous, and deadly. Despite her street smarts, Kaye is not prepared to deal with the deadly consequences of her involvement in the faery kingdom. Tithe is followed by Valliant and Ironside.  The characters in these books must deal with issues of sexuality, violence, and drugs. Under trying circumstances, the protagonists must decide what type of person they want to be.

 As much as I love the Tithe series, in the first book of the Curse Worker series, White Cat, Holly Black outdid herself. Cassel lives in a world of curse workers. Where some gifted people with a touch of hand can change the emotions, remove the memories, or even kill another person. For this reason, curse working is outlawed and everyone wears gloves. This means all the curse workers work for the mafia. Cassel comes from a family of curse workers. He is the only member without a talent. He attends a private school where he is haunted by memories of killing his best friend. When he wakes on the roof of the school one morning, Cassel suspects that someone may be trying to curse him. In this book, no one can be trusted, least of all, family. This book will keep you engrossed until the very end with every double cross and con.

 The Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare is not as dark as the Holly Black novels, but it is just as engrossing. In this novel, a sixteen-year-old orphan, Tess travels from America to Victorian London to live with her older brother. Instead of finding her brother, Tess is imprisoned by two sisters. She is rescued by a young man; He claims to be a Shadowhunter, warriors dedicated to protecting mortals from the supernatural.  As Tess discovers a world of supernatural beings, vampires, demons, and warlocks, she realizes that she may be supernatural herself.  Her supernatural talents make her a target for some evil forces, but Tess is determined to find her brother and discover the reason for her supernatural abilities.

            Due to the popularity of young adult novels, well-established writers of adult novels are writing young adult novels. James Patterson, Kim Harrison, and Rachel Caine, who have written adult novels on the bestseller lists, are also writing young adult novels. Young adult novels have a lot to offer readers, who have long their high school years.

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