Friday, November 27, 2009

The importance of publishers

I have been keeping a close eye on what is going on in the book industry, as I am sure other book stores have been doing too. I can tell you there are a lot of blog posts and news articles out there that are preaching the death of the book and publishers and how the ebook is going to open up the world for self-publishing authors.

No matter what the delivery system, publishers are important for books. Unfortunately, there has not been enough talk about the importance of publishers and the role they play.

If you have ever wondered how a "unsolicited manuscript" gets picked by the publisher to become a book you need to read a great post by The Rejectionist titled "A Good Author Is Hard to Find Memo from Inside the Publishing Industry". Here the The Rejectionist explains the term "slush pile". Anyone who's worked in publishing for longer than five minutes, likely has an expression of utter horror on their face right now. "Slush pile" is a term used to refer to the masses of unsolicited manuscripts and letters that flood the offices of agents and editors throughout the industry.
Which gets me back to a post by Arvind Narayanan Livejoural page titled The death of the printed book is closer than you think. You can read the article if you click on the title, what I wanted to share here is a reply by a blogger called descartes_rock who quite nicely explains the importance of publishers: Enjoy :)

"Wow, that is an impressive piece of research. There are a lot of problems with self-publishing though, and I doubt we will ever cut out the publishing industry altogether. The most important reason for this is the publisher's gatekeeper role. Publishers generally only print a very small fraction of the manuscripts they receive. As a result, when you buy a book supported by a publishing house, you know it has already undergone a pre-screening to ensure it meets some basic standards of quality, and more often than not, the publisher has also worked with the writer to advance the work from its original manuscript version. I know some people will say that this editing process interferes with the crative vision of the author, but I know a number of authors who will tell you differently, and who thank God for having access to a talented publishing house editor. Editors generally improve books. Bottom line, when a publisher takes a chance on a new manuscript, it provides a really high degree of legitimacy to that manuscript, which you simply cannot get from self-publishing.

Self publishing also has many other issues. In Canada, very few people read literary fiction. As it stands, the industry can only support a small number of new books each year. In other words, there is a pretty severe demand side limitation. Self publishing will increase supply, but not demand. The result is that you will have a lot of self-published books that nobody reads. For my part, there are a lot of pretty promising books that come out each year that I do not have the time to read. I would need to get through those books before I would even consider touching a self-published work. I suspect many other avid readers feel the same way.

Then the other element that enters into this situation is consumption behaviour. History suggests that as new mass media are introduced, there is a restructuring that occurs, but generally, the previous media find a new niche in the restructured environment as opposed to perishing. Everyone said radio would replace newspapers, and then they said TV would replace radio -- but today we have all three media coexisting.

I have a lot of respect for publishers. They don't make much money and it's a tough business. Mostly they are not in it to get rich. It's more a labor of love. While it's true that many writers complain about the gem manuscripts they send out that get rejected, generally these gems are not really gems at all. Publishing houses wade through a lot of crap to get to that one new manuscript that merits their attention. That's crap I don't have to go through, and I'm thankful for that. "

Highway Book Shop owner remembered as interesting entrepreneur

Chat Noir Books would like to send our condolences over to the staff at the Highway Bookshop and to Mrs. Pollard.

Highway Book Shop owner remembered as interesting entrepreneur
Posted By John R. Hunt
North Bay Nugget

COBALT — Northern Ontario lost one of its most interesting and unusual citizens when Douglas Charles Pollard died in Wednesday in Temiskaming Hospital in New Liskeard. He was 84.

For more than 50 years he owned and operated the Highway Book Shop in Coleman Township just south of Cobalt.

A big sprawling enterprise with at times up to many hundreds of thousands of books, Pollard was also a publisher who specialized in publishing Northern writers and poets.

An entrepreneur he quickly recognized the importance of the Internet. He had a large building dedicated to Internet sales around the world, but he told The Nugget later the business had been crippled by high postal rates.

He was a familiar sight in Cobalt. Always impeccably dressed, he was greeted by high and low as "Doctor Pollard" as a tribute to the honorary degree he received from Nipissing University in recognition of his contribution to Northern literature.

In December 2008, he won national recognition when he became a Member of the Order of Canada.

He got into book selling and publishing almost by accident. In 1957 he acquired an old printing press and some type from a defunct Haileybury newspaper and started a tiny print shop. He was offered a basket of paperback books in exchange for a small printing order. He sold the paperbacks for 25 cents each and began the business that often employed more than a dozen people and attracted hundreds of tourists every year.

Pollard was born March 18, 1925 at Alliston, Ont., to the late James Gordon Pollard and the Mary Frances Brown.

He served during the Second World War with the RCAF as an armourer.

Pollard fad a BA in psychology from McGill University, a PhD in psychology from Bernadean University in Nevada.

Predeceased by his first wife Jean [nee Hope] Bogart-Pollard; and siblings Byron Pollard and Isobel Bloomer. He is survived by his wife Lois [nee Williams].

Funeral services will be held at the Buffam Leveille Funeral Home on Saturday at 2 pm.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Only 12 more days to get in Special Orders!

Don't forget to take advantage of our 10% off coupon available in the Temiskaming Speaker, "Shop Christmas in the City" ad!

New David Suzuki Book Club Book

“Human conversation is the most ancient and easiest way to cultivate the conditions for change –
personal change, community and organizational change, planetary change.”
Margaret Wheatley

Books – those fertile storehouses of ideas – can inspire conversation and debate. They can also move people to action that can change the world. That’s why the David Suzuki Foundation has its very own book club, and you can be a part of it – on your own, with a friend, or in a group.

Benefits of membership

* reading guides tailored to each book selection
* access to web resources including broadcasts and discussions
* opportunities to meet like-minded folks, online and in your community
* a chance to seed the beginnings of real, positive change

Current Book Club Selection

Less is More: Embracing Simplicity for a Healthy Planet, a Caring Economy and Lasting Happiness (Paperback)
by Wanda Urbanska, Cecile Andrews
Social Science / Essays / Political Science / Self-Help / Personal Growth - Happiness
Publisher: New Society Publishers

Book Description

People are afraid and anxious. We're destroying the planet, undermining happiness, and clinging to an unsustainable economy. Our obsessive pursuit of wealth isn't working.

But there's another way. Lesscanbe More. Throughout history wise people have argued that we need to live more simply-that only by limiting outer wealth can we have inner wealth.Less is Moreis a compelling collection of essays by people who have been writing about simplicity for decades. They bring us a new vision of Less: less stuff, less work, less stress, less debt. A life with Less becomes a life of More: more time, more satisfaction, more balance, and more security.

When we have too much, we savor nothing. When we choose less, we regain our life and can think and feel deeply. Ultimately, a life of less connects us with one true source of happiness: being part of a caring community.Less is Moreshows how to turn individual change into a movement that leads to policy changes in government and corporate behavior, work hours, the wealth gap, and sustainability. It will appeal to those who want to take back their lives, their planet, and their well-being.

Cecile Andrews is the author ofCircle of SimplicityandSlow is Beautifuland cofounder of Phinney EcoVillage. She has her doctorate in education from Stanford.

Wanda Urbanska is producer and host ofSimple Living with Wanda Urbanska. She is author or co-author of numerous books, includingSimple LivingandNothing's Too Small to Make a Difference.

About Cecile Andrews

Cecile Andrews is a community educator, author of Circle of Simplicity and contributor to several books on living more simply and taking back our time. She and her husband are founders of Seattle's Phinney Ecovillage, a neighborhood-based sustainable community.

About Wanda Urbanska

Wanda Urbanska is producer/host of Simple Living with Wanda Urbanska. She is author or co-author of numerous books, including Simple Living and Nothing's Too Small to Make a Difference.


Just for fun!

This should really be a Monday morning post! Alright the Muppets doing Bohemian Rhapsody...take it away Ralph!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


MAKE is teaming up with the Penguin Group to present The Alex Rider Dream Gadget Contest!

All of you adventure- seekers and gadget lovers out there are invited to join in. If you were Alex Rider, what gadget would you want in the upcoming adventure "Crocodile Tears"?

Design your dream Alex Rider gadget, inspired by an everyday object (i.e. an iPod, toothpaste, a pen). The winning gadget will be built at the MAKE Labs.

• Design your dream Alex Rider gadget


Alex Rider Crocodile Tears (Hardcover)
Anthony Horowitz
Series: Alex Rider Adventure # 8

Book Description

A charity broker/con artist raises millions of dollars in donations and invests them in a form of genetically modified corn that has the power to release an airborne strain of a virus so powerful it can knock out an entire country on one windy day. The antidote? Alex Rider.

Make Magazine now avaible at Chat Noir Books!!

I have had a subscription to Make Magazine for about a year now and been waiting for one of our magazine suppliers to pick up Make Magazine so that we could bring it into the store. Which I am happy to say we now have.

But what is make Magazine? Well I am happy you asked. Make Magazine is devoted entirely to DIY technology projects, MAKE Magazine unites, inspires and informs a growing community of resourceful people who undertake amazing projects in their backyards, basements, and garages.

The current issue of Make(which we have in the store!!) features Mythbusters' Adam Savage, on becoming the ultimate maker.

Volume 20: Make Vol. 20 features a season's worth of how-to projects that kids and their parents can build together, including a model rocket powered by hydrogen and oxygen extracted from water, a sleek wooden model sailboat, a laser light show built in a metal lunchbox, and a microscope based on the very first one ever built by Antony van Leeuwenhoek in the 17th century. If you're looking for a prize-winning science fair project, or just want to have fun, this special For Kids of All Ages issue of Make has something for you!

Friday, November 20, 2009

A Doctor Who Scarf and knitting books

Our Good friend Bea Demarce was just mention in an article called "Christmas scarf wall" by Providence Knitting Examiner Sharon Watterson. Bea is an amazing seamstress, designer and knitter! The guy in the photo who is wearing Bea's scarf and who took the picture is our other good friend Matt Ficner, also a man of many talents(and who we will talk about in a later post)!

Last year Bea designed and built costumes for our whole staff to help us celebrate our 5th year anniversary, the year before that she made us Haileybury Hammer Quidditch uniforms to help us celebrate our Harry Potter Book release party and just a few months ago she helped us again with post production work with a costume, makeup and staging for the photo for our Monster Mash up window display contest(which we didn't win, but we had lost of fun with). Not every book store can brag that they have their very own wardrobe and makeup depart! So when we get a chance to bragg about our friends we take advatage of it! Check out the slideshow on this article.

you can check out Bea's work at, her blog at and Bea's Etsy shop.

Christmas scarf wall


Might as well post a few gift ideas for you knitters out there while I am at too.


Kids Knitting: Projects for Kids of All Ages (Paperback)
Melanie Falick Chris Hartlove Kristin Nicholas
Juvenile Nonfiction / Crafts & Hobbies / Crafts & Hobbies / Needlework - Knitting

Book Description

Think you're too young? Think you're too old? Author Melanie Falick teaches kids of all ages how to knit with fifteen easy projects, from bouncy beanbags to a rolled-edge sweater. Using straightforward language, step-by-step instructions, and bright candy-colored illustrations, beginners learn the basics, including finer knitting, casting on and binding in the round and shaping. Phototgraphs feature finished projects modeled by a delightful case of young knitters. Best of all, kids get to have fun creating things they can actually usebookmarks, backpacks, bracelets, and more.

About Melanie Falick

Melanie Falick is a writer and editor with a passion for the textile arts and travel. Her writings on knitting and other subjects have appeared in Travel & Leisure, Vogue Knitting, Family Circle Knitting, Piecework, Knitters, Fiberarts, Rowan Knitting Magazine, and Bon App??tit. She is the co-author of Restaurant Lover's Companion.


2-at-a-Time Socks
: The Secret of Knitting Two at Once on a Circular Needle(Hardcover)
Melissa Morgan-Oakes
Crafts & Hobbies / Needlework - Knitting / Business & Economics / Skills / Gardening / Ornamental Plants

Book Description

Sock knitters everywhere know the frustration of Second Sock Syndrome. It goes something like this: A cute new sock pattern and soft, foot-warming yarn lead to many happy knitting hours, resulting in . . . ONE sock. The first sock is done (and it's adorable!) but pattern distraction sets in. Who wants to knit the same project all over again? There are so many new projects waiting to be discovered.

Melissa Morgan-Oakes ends the drudgery of the second sock by showing knitters how to cast on and knit two socks at one time on one long circular needle! Her method is captured in step-by-step photographs, clearly showing knitters how to turn out two socks at the same time. Goodbye to lonely, abandoned single socks. Hello to unlimited pretty pairs, knit on one needle (often finished on the same day), and worn with pride and that gratifying sense of accomplishment.

Oakes is a dedicated knitter, knitwear designer, and knitting instructor who has known the frustration of Second Sock Syndrome. Her easy-to-learn technique enables sock stitchers to adapt any pattern to her two-at-a-time method. But before experimenting with other patterns, readers will want to try Morgan-Oakes's 15 original designs. Fun and creative, they include simple to complex choices, a variety of yarn weights, and designs for women, men, and children.

Socks are small, relatively inexpensive, and interesting to knit a favorite portable choice of busy knitters. Keep the fun in sock-stitching with the innovative new technique that produces two socks yes, that's one sock for each foot at the very same time!

Consumer testimonial

"I am a new knitter and purchased 2-at-a-time Socks. Perfect! This is a book is the best investment I've ever made! I have a lovely pair of socks ... for the first time! Very comprehensive instructions, as well as a very easy-to-understand glossary in the back. I recommend this book to anyone interested in knitting socks. So much easier than the double pointed needles! Deborah, Colorado Springs, CO

Review quotes

Not only can you learn how to knit socks on a circular needle, you will learn how to knit them at the same time, ensuring they are exactly the same when finished. No more second-sock syndrome! The hardcover book has a wire binding so that it lies perfectly flat when open. As if all the great instructions weren t enough, there are 17 patterns included for men, women, and children. Once you try a single 40 needle, you might just give up your dpns forever! April 2008

About Melissa Morgan-Oakes

Melissa Morgan-Oakes learned as a child to crochet, tat, and sew without commercial patterns. When her children were small, she created award-winning sewn and crocheted garments. Melissa later taught herself to spin and knit, so she brings the perspective of a self-taught knitter to her innovative methods. She now teaches and designs patterns for WEBS, America's Yarn Store. Melissa lives in western Massachusetts with her family.


Big Girl Knits: 25 Big, Bold Projects Shaped for Real Women with Real Curves (Paperback)
Amy R Singer Jillian Moreno
Crafts & Hobbies / Needlework - Knitting / Fashion

Book Description

Big Girl Knits features twenty-five unique patterns for women size 14 and up. From flattering pullovers and sexy tees to sleek skirts and fun accessories, this book is overflowing with options for knitting up an entire wardrobe to compliment your shapely shape.

Part knitting instruction, part fashion guide, Big Girl Knits is packed with expert advice to help you make the most of the three Bs: Boobs, Belly, and Butt. All the garments and accessories featured in the book are proportioned to fit and flatter a big girl’s body. Learn two fabulous adaptations to add to your knitting toolbox that you can apply to any sweater pattern. The book also features an easy-to-use measurement guide and tips to help you choose the right yarn, colors, and styles for you.

Review quotes

"Thanks to Jillian Moreno and Amy R. Singer’s collection of clever, figure-flattering patterns, you’ll no longer need to struggle to resize patterns that weren’t designed with you in mind. With their guidance on how to choose the best designs for your shape, and how to modify patterns that are intended for someone else’s, they guarantee that you’ll never again knit a sweater that makes your big top look like The Big Top."
—Debbie Stoller, author of the Stitch ’n Bitch series and editor-in-chief of BUST magazine

"I can’t sing enough praise for Big Girl Knits. More than a collection of beguiling knitwear for the curvy lady, more than a good read (and a good read it is), this book is full of information that might change your attitude about knitting, dressing, and (dare I say it) simply being!"
—Pam Allen, editor-in-chief of Interweave Knits magazine and coauthor of Wrap Style

"Big Girl Knits is one small stitch for woman, and one big, beautiful sweater for womankind."
—Wendy Shanker, author of The Fat Girl’s Guide to Life

"Big Girls don’t cry, and why would they when they can knit kick-ass, curvalicious projects like those in Big Girl Knits?! No matter what size you are, you’ll appreciate the beauty and attention to detail that is paid to each and every design in this book. Jillian Moreno and Amy R. Singer have proven that big girls not only knit, but also look hot doing it!"
—Vickie Howell, host of DIY’s Knitty Gritty and author of New Knits on the Block

"I love this book! It brought tears to my eyes—both with its delicious humor and its loving attention to the subject. The technical stuff is handled wonderfully—with intelligence and clarity and a big heart. The variety in the patterns that follow is a delight. Jillian, Amy, the contributing designers, and the bodies this work will adorn are to be celebrated."
—Sally Melville, author of The Knitting Experience books (Knit, Purl, and Color) and of Sally Melville Styles

"If you want to learn how to make garments that fit and flatter your body and you like to laugh while you’re learning and knitting, this smart, witty book’s for you."
—Melanie Falick, author of Handknit Holidays and Weekend Knitting

About the Author

Big Girl Jillian Moreno (right) was formerly marketing director with Interweave Press, and helped launch magazines like Interweave Knits, Beadwork, and Natural Home Magazine. She’s the catalyst for and a frequent contributor. She lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan, with her husband, two adorable children, a basement full of yarn, and more books than the local library. This is her first book.

Big Girl Amy R. Singer (left) is the founder and editor of the web-only magazine She is also a columnist for Interweave Knits and a professional editor and proofreader in the advertising industry. She lives in Toronto, Ontario, with her husband and two rabbits, who are eating the house one piece at a time. This is her second book.

Visit them at


Stephanie Pearl-McPhee Casts Off: The Yarn Harlot's Guide to the Land of Knitting (Paperback)
Stephanie Pearl-McPhee
Crafts & Hobbies / Needlework - Knitting

Book Description

From the best-selling author of At Knit's End and Knitting Rules! comes yet another hilarious book of tongue-in-cheek observations on the world of knitting. Stephanie Pearl-McPhee Casts Off invites knitters of all ages, levels, and persuasions to embark with her on a journey deep into the land populated by those who are obsessed with yarn, needles, and whats on their needles now.

Using a travel guide format as her launching pad, Pearl-McPhee acts as tour guide extraordinaire, displaying her trademark razor-sharp wit as she describes and critiques every aspect of this land she knows so well its people, native language, familiar phrases, strange beliefs, etiquette, and cultural customs. Readers will love her timeline of notable dates in knitting history and rarely celebrated knitting heroes, from the samurai warriors of Japan to the Ter-rible Knitters of Dent. And, while the land of knitting is a peaceful place, it does have its political arguments, such as the acrylic versus natural fi bers and circular versus straight needles debates.

As she's toured (and knit) her way across North America during the past two years, Pearl-McPhee's smart, perfectly timed banter has captured the hearts, minds, and funny bones of thousands of knitters far and wide. No fan is going to want to be left behind as Stephanie Pearl-McPhee Casts Off on her latest yarn-bound expedition.

Review quotes

"Her insights into the workings of a yarn-a-holic's mind are charming."

About Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

Stephanie Pearl-McPhee has become the irreverent spokesperson for today's knitting revival through her popular blog (, and her best- selling books, At Knit's End, Knitting Rules!, and Stephanie Pearl-McPhee Casts Off. She shares a home with her admirable yarn stash (and her family) in Toronto.


a target="blank" title="Order online at Chat Noir Books" href="">Never Not Knitting Page-A-Day Calendar 2010 (Calendar)
Stephanie Pearl-McPhee
Calendar / Crafts & Hobbies / Needlework - Knitting / Humor

Book Description

Never not knitting? You know who you are. Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's Never Not Knitting! is the calendar for obsessive knitters, chock-full of advice, observations, ideas, and inspiration all delivered with the author's signature humor and wit. How to control your urges in a yarn shop. Tuesday Tips, including taking care of your tools. Plus Purls of Wisdom, You Know You Knit Too Much When..., and: Knitting folklore says that if you knit a strand of hair into your work, you will be forever bound to the person who receives that work. In my life, this means that a lot of people are forever bound to my cat.

About Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

Stephanie Pearl-McPhee has become the irreverent spokesperson for today's knitting revival through her popular blog (, and her best- selling books, At Knit's End, Knitting Rules!, and Stephanie Pearl-McPhee Casts Off. She shares a home with her admirable yarn stash (and her family) in Toronto.


Stitch 'n Bitch: The Knitter's Handbook (Paperback)
Debbie Stoller Adrienne Yan John Dolan
Crafts & Hobbies / Needlework - Knitting

Book Description

Knitting is hot, with 4 million newcomers in the last few years joining a core group of 38,000,000 knitters nationwide. And these are primarily young, creative, connected chicks with sticks who are coming together in living rooms, knitting cafes, and chic yarn stores, and making everything from funky hats to bikinis.

In Stitch 'n Bitch, Debbie Stoller-founder of the first Stitch 'n Bitch knitting group in New York City-covers every aspect of knitting and the knitting-together lifestyle: the how-to, the when-to, the what-to, the why-to. Writing with wit and attitude (The Knitty-Gritty, Blocking for Blockheads), she explains the different types of needles and yarns (and sheep, too) and all the techniques from basic to fancy, knit to purl to cast-off. She also shares her special brand of corrective surgery for when things go wrong, and offers fun and informative sidebars on such topics as how to find the best yarn for less, how to make a buttonhole, knitting etiquette, and what tools to keep in your knitting bag. At the heart of the book are forty stylish patterns: Alien Scarf, Big Bad Baby Blanky, Mohair Hoodie, Kitty and Devil Hat, Cell Phone Cozy, and Wonder Woman Bikini. And for anyone interested: how to start a Stitch 'n Bitch group.

About Debbie Stoller

Debbie Stoller is the bestselling author of the Stitch'n Bitch series of knitting books and calendars. She comes from a long line of Dutch knitters, has a Ph.D. from Yale in the psychology of women, and is the editor-in-chief of Bust magazine. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Reasons For Buying Books

I just finished reading this post from and thought it needed to be shared! I also wanted to say thanks to Litlove for posting it, I couldn't have said it better!!

Reasons For Buying Books
by Tales from the Reading Room blog
November 17, 2009

I see that my blog friends Dorothy and Stefanie have both been talking about this of late, and I can never resist joining in on their discussions. They have been wondering why a reader might feel guilty about buying books, but I’m approaching this from the angle of being a reader who thinks it’s important to buy them. If you simply cannot afford books at present, that’s fine; we’ve all been there at one time or another. Go read a different post because I’m not addressing you. But if you have a small portion of your disposable income set aside for leisure pursuits, then here are my reasons why you should spend it on books:

1. Reading is extremely good for you. It focuses the mind, hones concentration and improves memory, all in scientifically proven ways.* It is also a way to open your mind to other cultures, other perspectives, other ways of life. Reading on screen, listening or watching television and/or films does not bring the same mental benefits as the slow, in depth, contemplative exercise of reading on the page. It also teaches problem solving and lowers stress. If you think it is important to do a sport or take exercise for the body, it’s equally essential to work out the brain, or else we risk becoming insular, forgetful, restless and opinionated.

2. If you already enjoy reading then it’s important at this particular juncture of history to be evangelical about it. Numbers of young people reading are dropping fast. Half of the American population between 18-24 has never read a book. On average an American citizen reads four books a year (and those are not necessarily fiction). I couldn’t find online statistics for other countries, alas, but I’m sure they are similar. It’s essential that we promote reading as much as we possibly can as there is a genuine risk of it becoming an eccentric hobby, and as I mentioned above, there are essential personal reasons why we do it.

3. But there are also cultural reasons. Buying a book is like placing a vote for a certain way of life. Books ask us to think deeply about the reasons why we do things, they challenge us and they reflect back to us the kind of society we create for ourselves. A culture with a strong literary component is one that considers contemplation, critique and creativity essential factors in the life of its citizens. It’s a culture that is not afraid to question what it does, and that welcomes subversion as being essential to vitality and growth. It’s a culture that doesn’t want to encourage sheep-like compliance or self-centred, short-sighted demands. It’s the culture I’d like to live in.

4. It isn’t necessarily the culture we do live in, and the atrocious state of the publishing industry is testimony to that. Publishing is currently in crisis and much as that may in part be due to the industry’s own excessive expectations following the creation of all those huge multi-media companies in the 90s, we have to support it if we want it to continue, and therefore gain the benefits of a vibrant book culture. Cutbacks in publishing do not lead to only the best-written books making it onto the marketplace, as we know. Instead, frightened publishers churn out celebrity biographies and Dan Brown-alikes. So, support the industry before we lose it, or lose any chance of intervening in its future. Buy the books you would most like to see published. Buy the kind of books you would like to write, if you feel that way inclined. Buy wall-to-wall Jilly Cooper and children’s annuals, if that’s what pleases you; bestsellers make it possible for publishers to risk other types of books and maintain a diverse list.

5. It’s important to support libraries too, for all those people who simply cannot afford books. But the only way to show that reading remains important, to governments, to industries, to advertisers, is to buy a book. Only the market with its cold, hard statistics has real, uncontentious power at present.

6. Books are relatively cheap. A full price book still costs less than a cinema, theatre or concert ticket, a meal out or half a tank of petrol. The problem with book buying is that it tends to be small amounts spent regularly, which become more noticeable to the consumer than a large amount spent infrequently. You could buy a book a week for a whole year and spend less than you would on a couple of nights at a mid-range hotel. Other consistent expenditure on non-necessities – on snack foods, on alcohol, on cigarettes, on clothes shopping, on travel – adds up to much more than book buying and is generally worse for you or the environment. I’m not quite sure why it is, but people tend to be more tenacious about indulging their vices than their virtues. If books could be proven to be bad for you, sales would start to increase, I suspect.

7. So you already have books on the shelves? Well, the good news is that books do not have use-by dates. Have a look in the fridge instead and see what ought to be thrown out, calculate the cost of those items and compare it to the price of a book. Books sit around and wait for the right time for you to read them. There have been periods of stringent economy in my household when my husband was out of work, or when I’ve been ill with chronic fatigue, when I’ve been extremely glad of having a stack of books laid in. And being able to choose exactly the right book for the moment contributes a lot to the quality of my reading life, I think.

8. So you are running out of space on the shelves? Well, think first of all how wonderful your house looks, packed full of gorgeous books. And how it reflects back to you the life of your imagination over the past few decades. And how it says you’re the kind of contemplative, thoughtful, open-minded person I mentioned in the first point. And then either, a) squeeze in another bookcase or b) have a bit of a cull and give books to the friends who can’t afford them, or the charity shops, or even sell them at a car boot sale for a book slush fund.

9. Finally, I rather liked this article about spending money, which claims that 80% of people who suddenly come into a great deal of money run through it in the first year, whilst 12% end up committing suicide. Sudden wealth isn’t necessarily an advantage, then. But the article suggests that the most worthwhile expenditure is on education, and books at all levels, whether text books or guides or even mind-expanding fiction, are an education waiting to happen. Buying books is always an investment – in my own mental development, and in the healthy, vibrant life of my culture. I think that’s worth it.

* Writing this post made me order (!) Maryanne Wolf’s book, Proust and the Squid, which is all about reading and neuroscience – so in time I might have more precise details on this topic.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

CBC Canada Read 2010!!

CBC announces the Canada Reads 2010 books and panelists on Tuesday, December 1st!!

Giller Prize Runner Ups!

I know we announced that The Bishop's Man was the Giller Prize Winner, but we forgot to mention the four amazing books that were also the runner ups! So without further ado here they are:


The Golden Mean

Annabel Lyon
Fiction / Historical

Book Description

What would it have been like to sit at the feet of the legendary philosopher Aristotle? Even more intriguing, what would it have been like to witness Aristotle instructing the most famous of his pupils, the young Alexander the Great?

In her first novel, acclaimed fiction writer Annabel Lyon boldly imagines one of history’s most intriguing relationships and the war at its heart between ideas and action as a way of knowing the world.

As The Golden Mean opens, Aristotle is forced to postpone his dream of succeeding Plato as the leader of the Academy in Athens when Philip of Macedon asks him to stay on in his capital city of Pella to tutor his precocious son, Alexander. At first the philosopher is appalled to be stuck in the brutal backwater of his childhood, but he is soon drawn to the boy’s intellectual potential and his capacity for surprise. What he does not know is whether his ideas are any match for the warrior culture that is Alexander’s birthright.

But he feels that teaching this startling, charming, sometimes horrifying boy is a desperate necessity. And that what the boy — thrown before his time onto his father’s battlefields — needs most is to learn the golden mean, that elusive balance between extremes that Aristotle hopes will mitigate the boy’s will to conquer.

Also at stake are his own ambitions, as he plays a cat-and-mouse game of power and influence with Philip, a boyhood friend who now controls his fate.

Exploring a fabled time and place, Annabel Lyon tells her story, breathtakingly, in the earthy, frank, and perceptive voice of Aristotle himself. With sensual and muscular prose, she explores how Aristotle’s genius touched the boy who would conquer the known world. And she reveals how we still live with the ghosts of both men.

Review quotes

“I absolutely loved The Golden Mean. Annabel Lyon brings the philosophers and warriors, artists and whores, princes and slaves of ancient Macedonia alive, with warmth, wit, and poignancy. Impeccably researched and brilliantly told, this novel is utterly convincing.”

— Marie Phillips, author of Gods Behaving Badly

“The Golden Mean, so full of intellect, is a pleasure to read. If excellence is our standard, then this novel will certainly flourish.”

— David Bergen, Scotiabank Giller Prize–winning author of The Time in Between and The Retreat

“An exhilarating book, both brilliant and profound. Annabel Lyon’s spare, fluid, utterly convincing prose pulls us headlong into Aristotle’s original mind. Only Lyon’s great-hearted intelligence could have imagined and achieved the brave ambition of this book. Vital, ferocious, and true, The Golden Mean is an oracular vision of the past made present.”

— Marina Endicott, author of Good to a Fault

“In Lyon’s clever hands, more than two thousand years of difference are made to disappear and Aristotle feels as real and accessible as the man next door. With this powerful, readable act of the imagination, Annabel Lyon proves that she can go anywhere it pleases her to go.”

— Fred Stenson, author of The Great Karoo

About the Author

Annabel Lyon’s first book, the short-story collection Oxygen, was nominated for the Danuta Gleed and ReLit awards. Her second collection, The Best Thing for You, was nominated for the Ethel Wilson Prize for Fiction. She lives in New Westminster, B.C., with her husband and two children.


The Disappeared (Hardcover)
Kim Echlin

Book Description

Book Description

Anne Greves is a motherless Canadian girl and her lover, Serey, a gentle Cambodian rebel and exiled musician. One day he leaves their Montreal flat to seek out his family in the aftermath of Pol Pot's savage revolution. After a decade without word, Anne abandons everything to search for him in Phnom Penh, a city traumatized by the Khmer Rouge slaughter.

Against all odds, the lovers are reunited, and in a country where tranquil rice paddies harbour the bones of the massacred, these two self-exiled lovers struggle to recreate themselves in a world that rejects their hopes. But when Serey disappears again, Anne discovers that the journey she must embark upon may reveal a story she cannot bear.

Haunting, vivid, elegiac, The Disappeared is an unforgettable consideration of language, justice, and memory, at once a battle cry and a piercing lament, for truth, for love.

About the Author

KIM ECHLIN's first novel, Elephant Winter, won the Torgi Talking Book of the Year Award and was shortlisted for the 1997 Chapters/Book in Canada First Novel Award. She lives in Toronto with her husband and daughter.


Fall (Hardcover)
Colin Mcadam

Book Description

A place of pressure and contradictions, St Ebury is an exclusive boarding school for the children of Canada's elite, where boys must act as men while navigating their adolescence; a mixed school with only a handful of girls.

Fall is the most beautiful. At night the bathrooms and beds hum with thoughts of her. Noel, a clever, ghostly loner, prowls the corridors on weekends, filling spare hours working on his body-building. Watching her, always knowing where she is and who she's talking to, he is certain that one day Fall will come to know him deeply. But like everyone else, she is drawn to Julius, the confident and magnetic son of the American ambassador to Canada.

At the beginning of their final year, the two boys room together and awkward Noel believes he is allowed into a new circle of friends. Julius grows physically closer to Fall, his eyes open to the moments around him, while Noel's boisterous enthusiasm shades into something darker as he imagines himself as a confidante to his popular roommate. While Julius moves through the daily joys and absurdities of adolescence, Noel recounts from a distance of several years what the consequences were of his efforts to enter Fall's life forever.

A disturbing and unforgettable story of guilt, memory and confused identity, Colin McAdam's second novel is a work of power, pitch-perfect observation and searing ambition. It confirms his status as a truly unique talent, one of the few living novelists capable of taking the modern novel and forging from it something startling and wholly new.

About Colin Mcadam

Colin McAdam grew up in Hong Kong, Denmark, England, and Barbados, as well as several cities in Canada. He studied English and Classics at McGill University and the University of Toronto, and received his Ph.D. in English literature from Cambridge University. He lives in Montreal.


The Winter Vault (Hardcover)
Anne Michaels
Fiction / Literary

Book Description

The long-awaited novel by the internationally celebrated author of Fugitive Pieces, the debut novel that catapulted Anne Michaels into the forefront of literary superstars.

“The future casts its shadow on the past. In this way, first gestures contain everything . . .”

Anne Michaels’s first work of fiction in more than a decade, The Winter Vault is a stunning, richly layered, and timeless novel that is everything we could hope for for Michaels’s second novel — and more. Set in Canada and Egypt, and with flashbacks to England and Poland after the war, The Winter Vault is a spellbinding love story that juxtaposes momentous historical events with the most intimate moments of individual lives.

In 1964, a newly married Canadian couple settle into a houseboat on the Nile just below Abu Simbel. At the time of the building of the Aswam dam, Avery Escher is one of the engineers responsible for the dismantling and reconstruction of a sacred temple, a “machine-worshipper” who is nonetheless sensitive to their destructive power. Jean is a botanist by avocation, passionately interested in everything that grows. They met on the banks of the St. Lawrence River, witnessing the construction of the Seaway as it swallowed towns, homes, and lives. Now, at the edge of another world about to be inundated in the name of progress, much of what they most believe in is tested.

When a tragic event occurs, nearing the end of Avery’s time in Egypt, he and Jean return to separate lives in Toronto; Avery to school to study architecture and Jean into the orbit of Lucjan, a Polish émigré artist whose haunting tales of occupied Warsaw pull her further from her husband, while offering her the chance to assume her most essential life.

Breathtaking, vivid in its exploration of both the physical and emotional worlds of its characters, intensely moving and lyrical, The Winter Vault is a radiant work of fiction and contains all the elements for which Anne Michaels is celebrated.

Review quotes

"Profound loss, desolation and rebuilding are the literal and metaphoric themes of Michaels's exquisite second novel (after Fugitive Pieces)…. A tender love story set against an intriguing bit of history is handled with uncommon skill."

— Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

"Has it been worth the wait? It has. . . . Anne Michaels, in short, is back. "

— Globe and Mail

"A tender love story set against an intriguing bit of history is handled with uncommon skill."

— Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"A major achievement. . . . "

— NOW magazine (Four Ns)

"Literature is all the better for it."

— The New York Times

"The anticipation, more than a decade in the building, has been eager, the recent buzz intense. And if McClelland & Stewart sees The Winter Vault, its new novel from Anne Michaels, as the publishing event of the season, there is vibrant and compelling justification. . . . "

— Ottawa Citizen

About the Author

Anne Michaels’s first novel was the award-winning, internationally bestselling Fugitive Pieces. Its prizes include a Lannan Literary Award for Fiction, the Chapters/Books in Canada First Novel Award, the Guardian Fiction Award, and the Orange Prize for Fiction. She is also the author of three highly acclaimed poetry collections. She lives in Toronto.

Assassin's Creed Novel

Assassin's Creed 2 is due out in stores today! I know were a bookstore not a gaming store, so what up? Well Ubisoft Entertainment and Penguin have teamed up and are releasing a book based off the Assassin's Creed video game, due out on November 24, 2009.

A lot of research has gone into the Assassin's Creed game design, actually about 9 months worth, so with all that research it is no wonder they decided to put out a book as well. Corey May has posted a great look at the research of he did in order to help design the game. Check it out here:;

where and when it would take place, who our hero would be, the tone, the characters, the major events, etc. Once all of that was settled, it was time to start doing research. All told, I spent about nine months just learning about the time period – no actual script writing took place. I was jotting down notes, creating massive timelines, brainstorming set piece locations and events, listing possible historical figures; stuff like that. I am committed to historical accuracy

Assassin's Creed
Oliver Bowden

Book Description

‘I will seek Vengeance upon those who betrayed my family. I am Ezio Auditore da Firenze. I am an Assassin…’

Betrayed by the ruling families of Italy, a young man embarks upon an epic quest for vengeance. To eradicate corruption and restore his family's honour, he will learn the art of the assassins.

Along the way, Ezio will call upon the wisdom of such great minds as Leonardo Da Vinci and Niccolo Machiavelli – knowing that survival is bound to the skills by which he must live.

To his allies, he will become a force for change - fighting for freedom and justice. To his enemies, he will become a threat dedicated to the destruction of the tyrants abusing the people of Italy.

So begins an epic story of power, revenge and conspiracy.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Bruce Cockburn – Slice O Life - at the Classic Theatre

That is right Bruce Cockburn will be playing at the Classic Theatre this coming Monday! There still maybe tickets but call the Classic Theatre soon!

Bruce Cockburn - Folk / Rock

Date: November 16, 2009
Show Time: 8pm
Tickets - $50 Advance $55 door

Bruce Cockburn – Slice O Life

The best live albums create the illusion of being there, witnessing an artist in a memorable performance. Bruce Cockburn has recorded three previous live recordings: Circles in the Stream (1977), Live (1990) and You Pay Your Money and You Take Your Chance (1997), each critically acclaimed and featuring Cockburn in concert with a backing band. Now, the celebrated musician-activist delivers something new: his first-ever live solo album.

Recorded last spring over a series of dates in the northeastern United States and one in Quebec, Slice O Life is a double CD that showcases a cross-section of Cockburn’s finest songs and some of his most dazzling guitar work. The album, produced by longtime associate Colin Linden, also includes one new song, “City is Hungry,” three tracks recorded at sound checks on the tour and some between-song banter that shows Cockburn to be both a quick wit and an engaging storyteller.

Slice O Life features such hits as Cockburn’s controversial “If I Had a Rocket Launcher,” his classic “Lovers in a Dangerous Time” and his breakthrough “Wondering Where the Lions Are,” which he rightly quips may be the only song ever to make the Billboard chart that includes the word “petroglyph.” Originally recorded with a full band, these and other songs like “World of Wonders” have been rearranged and performed on acoustic guitar—often with stunning results. In particular, the polyrhythmic solo on “Rocket Launcher,” full of complex, cascading notes, is especially mesmerizing.

Besides the hits, the album recasts lesser-known songs such as “Wait No More” and “Celestial Horses,” both originally featured on Cockburn’s 2003 album You’ve Never Seen Everything, in a dramatic new light. The latter, full of slow, haunting reverb, now seems like an overlooked psych-folk masterpiece, while the former, played in a fast, bluesy drone on a Dobro guitar, takes on a compelling urgency. Similarly on “Tibetan Side of Town,” Cockburn’s single guitar conveys a full, rich accompaniment—fluid, jazzy treble notes and Big Bill Broonzy-style droning bass notes—for his vivid tale of sensory nights in Katmandu.

Cockburn has often cited the influence of the blues on his music, especially the work of country-blues pioneers like Mississippi John Hurt. The blues tinge shines through in several other performances on Slice O Life, including Cockburn’s gut-wrenching rendition of Blind Willie Johnson’s “Soul of a Man” and “City is Hungry,” an hypnotic urban blues number in which Cockburn warns “hear that rumbling underground/better think twice before you go downtown.”

Meanwhile, the sound checks and introductions to songs reveal another side of the award-winning artist. One sound check involves Cockburn jamming wildly on his 12-string guitar before segueing into “The Trains Don’t Go There Anymore,” a rare track he co-wrote in the 1960s with Ottawa poet Bill Hawkins. Cockburn’s humor comes across in anecdotes about panhandlers who claim to know his music and a mercenary who once offered him a summer job as a gun-runner while he was a student at Boston’s prestigious Berklee School of Music.

Fortunately for us, Cockburn turned down the job and stuck with music. Over 35 years, the Ottawa-born musician has recorded almost as many albums while earning respect for his charitable and activist work. “My job is to try and trap the spirit of things in the scratches of pen on paper, in the pulling of notes out of metal,” Cockburn said when he was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 2001. He was also made an Officer of the Order of Canada and has been the recipient of honorary degrees in Letters and Music from several North American universities, including Berklee and Toronto’s York University. His many other awards have included the Tenco Award for Lifetime Achievement in Italy and 20 gold and platinum awards in Canada.

As a songwriter, Cockburn is revered by fans and musicians alike. His songs have been covered by such diverse artists as Elbow, Jimmy Buffett, Judy Collins, the Skydiggers, Anne Murray, Third World, Chet Atkins, k.d. lang, Barenaked Ladies, Maria Muldaur and the Grateful Dead’s Jerry Garcia. As a guitarist, he is considered among the world’s best. The New York Times called Cockburn a “virtuoso on guitar,” while Acoustic Guitar magazine placed him in the esteemed company of Andrés Segovia, Bill Frisell and Django Reinhardt. With Slice O Life, all of Cockburn’s formidable gifts are on full display.

CBC The Current with David Suzuki and plans to 4 lane the North

Just happened to have CBC radio on this morning to catch the new of HWY 11 being closed and low and behold David Suzuki is hosting The Current! So far the show has been really good, talking about how there has been no action on climate change on the Federal level, but great strides are being done on the Provincial level.

Which leads me into the great letter that was in last weeks The Temiskaming Speaker - Letters to the Editor. The Letter refers to CBC's Dan Lessard interviewing Judy Skidmore on Points North about a plan to spend 15 billion dollars over 25 years to four-lane the Northern Ontario highway. There was some great talk on feed back, which I think the letter below expands on. Just wish some of our local politicians and maybe the Northern Mayors would get on board with the idea of updating and expanding the ONR, which is also one of the last regional railways left in Canada!! Just imagine if we had a a modern railway in North Ontario all those students, teachers and people stuck on the South end of Latchford might of had another option to get into the City.

You can also read the letter at

No to four-laning. Yes to expanding our rail system

Dear Editor:
The Craziest Idea I heard this Century: Four-lane Highway11 Northern Ontario.
The idea I heard on CBC”s Dan Lessard show by Judy Skidmore to spend 15 billion dollars over 25 years to four-lane the Northern Ontario highway is misguided and 30 years out of date. It reminds me of the Rip Van Winkle story of the politician that went to sleep in 1990 and woke up in 2010 thinking nothing has change. Every think has changed. In Ontario, we are no longer a rich province and are operating at a significant deficit. Our manufacturing strength is depleted and our economy needs a new direction and new thinking.

The billions of dollars we are spending on imported energy and imported asphalt hurts our economy. We also have a global, climate change crises that is being confronted by world leaders next month. The result of this will be additional costs on petroleum based products in the form of a carbon tax. So, we can expect energy prices to go up more, way up. With traffic volume already headed down from energy cost increases who will be able to afford to use these expensive highways.

Why is a $15B investment in a highway expansion a bad idea for people in the North? Because, private road transportation is the most expensive form of transportation (costing up to 50 per cent of average family income when road construction costs are included). In Sweden the CEO of Volvo AB determined that the car industry will not survive in the future and sold off their car division. A $15 billion dollar road system would trap us in our communities unable to move due to high energy costs. With no alternative low cost transportation system it would stall future development in the north and worst of all, would consume huge amounts of money needed to build a smarter transportation system. While the condition of current road could use some improvement, there is no business case that could rationalize any expansion.

What is the alternative?

The transportation energy model shows us the reciprocating engines used in cars are only less than 15 per cent efficient and that electric vehicles can travel five times as far with the same energy consumed. In an energy starved future, efficient electric vehicle that produce no Green house gas will be the future and the future will be soon upon us. Are we ready?
What would a Northern Ontario Energy strategy look like? For about 1/ 10th of the cost to four- lane we could put in a regional rail system that serviced communities across the North with timely service in modern cars with reasonable costs. To build this Ontario transportation network we could use steel rail manufactured in Sault Ste. Marie, gravel and concrete from the North and passenger rail cars manufactured in Thunder Bay. We could drive this transportation system with electric locomotives that take power from our renewable hydro electric plants. To travel throughout the North we would be able to use short range electric cars to deliver us to the rail station where they would be plugged in for recharge. Studies in countries that use public rail transport show it reduces overall transportation costs down to 8 to 10 per cent from the current 50 per cent we are now paying. This saves taxpayers billions in insurance and operating costs. The result would be a low cost transportation system that would make people accessible to each other, a primary requirement in economic growth. It would spur on tourism. If we want to reduce the accident rates and the death rate on the highway, reduce the insurance rates and amount of green house gas, if we want safer more relaxing and cheaper transportation rail is the answer. Highways are dangerous, weather dependent, stressful to use, expensive to maintain, and have a net costs six times that of public rail.
Highway expansion is an idea that belongs in the previous century along with the politicians that support it.

Let’s replace our current antique rail service with a modern efficient and cheaper form of transport that can serve the North. Instead of asking for $15B for a roadway expansion that we wouldn’t be able to use in the future, lets ask for $1B for a transportations system that will serve us for the next 100 years.

Government should:
•halt all four-lane construction and redirect these funds into modernizing our rail transport system while maintaining existing roadways if, volumes support it.
•Develop a provincial transportation policy that will function with high energy prices.
•Extend the GO transportation system throughout the province to create an efficient made in Ontario transportation system by adding a passenger rail track along side existing freight routes where required.
•Halt taxpayer subsidies to private auto industries. Let the market determine who survives not the government.
Let’s support leaders who promote building for the future not those stuck in the past.
The future belongs to those that plan for it,

Ambrose Raftis
Community Economic Development Specialist

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Giller Prize winner and New Stock!

So this is a little late. I had planned on posting the Giller prize winner yesterday, I just ran out of time. So chances are you have already heard that Linden Macintyre has won the Giller prize for "The Bishop's Man". And if you hadn't you know now *grin*

The Bishop's Man
by Linden Macintyre

Book Description

From an award-winning writer and one of Canada’s foremost broadcast journalists, comes a deeply wise and moving novel that explores the guilty minds and spiritual evasions of Catholic priests.

Father Duncan MacAskill has spent most of his priesthood as the “Exorcist” — an enforcer employed by his bishop to discipline wayward priests and suppress potential scandal. He knows all the devious ways that lonely priests persuade themselves that their needs trump their vows, but he’s about to be sorely tested himself. While sequestered by his bishop in a small rural parish to avoid an impending public controversy, Duncan must confront the consequences of past cover-ups and the suppression of his own human needs. Pushed to the breaking point by loneliness, tragedy and sudden self-knowledge, Duncan discovers how hidden obsessions and guilty secrets either find their way to the light of understanding, or poison any chance we have for love and spiritual peace.

Review quotes

Praise for Linden MacIntyre:

“MacIntyre isn’t just another face and larynx from television [but] an honest-to-God writer…”

— Winnipeg Free Press

“MacIntyre is a fine writer.”

— Alistair MacLeod

About the Author

Linden MacIntyre is the co-host of the fifth estate and the winner of nine Gemini Awards for broadcast journalism. His most recent book, a boyhood memoir called Causeway: A Passage from Innocence won both the Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction and the Evelyn Richardson Prize for Non-Fiction.


Also just out is Charles de Lint's new book Medicine Road, with cover artwork by of Charles Vess. I just love Vess's work which you can check out at I'll need to find time to read this one. On a side note we still have mystery of grace book marks avaible at the store!! I don't think Charles Vess did the artwork for Mystery of Grace though I will check into that.

Medicine Road
by Charles de Lint Charles Vess

Book Description

Marking the return of the mischievous, red-headed Dillard twins, this bewitching fantasy entangles the lovely sisters in a 100-year wager in the Native American spirit world. Laurel and Bess are touring bluegrass musicians who encounter two mysterious strangers with a powerful secret in Tucson, Arizona. In addition to their animal natures, Jim Changing Dog and Alice Corn Hair have been given human forms by the powerful Coyote Woman, but in return they must both find their true human loves in 100 years or be exiled into the animal world alone. Although Alice has found her love, trickster Jim hasn’t been able to commit to one woman until he sets eyes on free-spirited Bess, just before the deadline. Battling time and a meddling motorcycle seductress, the two new lovers must risk intimacy and loss in their quest for love.

About the Author

Charles de Lint is the bestselling author of more than 60 adult, young adult, and children’s books, including The Blue Girl, Moonheart, The Onion Girl, Widdershins, and the World Fantasy Award-winner, Moonlight and Vines. He is a poet, songwriter, performer, and folklorist, and the fiction reviewer for The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. He lives in Ottawa, Ontario. Charles Vess is an illustrator who has worked with Marvel, Dark Horse, Vertigo, and DC Comics, and collaborated with Neil Gaiman on Sandman and Stardust and with Steven Spielberg on the film Hook. He is the curator of the Dreamweavers, a traveling exhibition of fantasy artists, and has received the Ink Pot, World Fantasy, and Will Eisner Comics Industry Awards. He lives in Abingdon, Virginia.


WARNING!! Reading this book may cause loss of sleep in some readers!! It is a really really evil book! Thank God we serve coffee and espresso here in the store! The cover art for Under the Dome is great as well!

Under the Dome: A (Big Ass)Novel
Stephen King

Book Description

On an entirely normal, beautiful fall day in Chester's Mill, Maine, the town is inexplicably and suddenly sealed off from the rest of the world by an invisible force field. Planes crash into it and fall from the sky in flaming wreckage, a gardener's hand is severed as "the dome" comes down on it, people running errands in the neighboring town are divided from their families, and cars explode on impact. No one can fathom what this barrier is, where it came from, and when -- or if -- it will go away.

Dale Barbara, Iraq vet and now a short-order cook, finds himself teamed with a few intrepid citizens -- town newspaper owner Julia Shumway, a physician's assistant at the hospital, a select-woman, and three brave kids. Against them stands Big Jim Rennie, a politician who will stop at nothing -- even murder -- to hold the reins of power, and his son, who is keeping a horrible secret in a dark pantry. But their main adversary is the Dome itself. Because time isn't just short. It's running out.

About Stephen King

Stephen King is the author of more than fifty books, all of them worldwide bestsellers. Among his most recent are the Dark Tower novels, Cell, From a Buick 8, Everything's Eventual, Hearts in Atlantis, The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, Lisey's Story and Bag of Bones. His acclaimed nonfiction book, On Writing, was also a bestseller. He was the recipient of the 2003 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. He lives in Maine with his wife, novelist Tabitha King.


This one should have gone in the Music Lovers list but we just got it in yesterday!

Whispering Pines: The Northern Roots of American Music . . . from Hank Snow to The Band
by Jason Schneider

Book Description

Providing the first comprehensive history of Canada’s songwriting legacy, this guide traces a distinctly Canadian musical identity from the 1930s to the end of the 1970s. The discussion shows how Canadian musicians have always struggled to create work that reflects their own environment while simultaneously connecting with mass audiences in other countries, particularly the United States. While nearly all songwriters who successfully crossed this divide did so by immersing themselves in the American and British forms of blues, folk, country, and rock 'n' roll, this guide reveals that Canadian sensibilities were never far beneath the surface. Canadian innovators featured include The Band, Ian & Sylvia, Hank Snow, Gordon Lightfoot, Leonard Cohen, and superstars Neil Young and Joni Mitchell. Lively anecdotes and interviews round out the history, but the emphasis is always on the essential music—how and where it originated and its impact on the artists' subsequent work and the wider musical world.

Review quotes

"A fine piece of writing that condenses and contextualizes five decades of music into an entertaining and thoughtful document . . . Jason Schneider offers a concise, brilliantly organized and original take on Canadian cultural influence."
—Literary Review of Canada

About the Author

Jason Schneider is one of Canada’s most respected music journalists whose work regularly appears in Exclaim! magazine. He is the coauthor of Have Not Been the Same: The CanRock Renaissance 1985–1995 and the author of 3,000 Miles. He lives in Waterloo, Ontario.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

David Suzuki Foundation Blog Garden and Fuzzy Monsters!

Chat Noir Books has joined David Suzuki's Blog Garden!! What is a Blog Garden you maybe asking?! Well the hope is to cultivate relationships with the internet community of like minded folks that like green stuff, like the environment and fuzzy monsters...ok you don't need to like fuzzy monsters, but it can't hurt!

The hope is that when people submit their blogs to the Blog Gardens Share page, they'll also probably end up linking back to the page from their blog. Cross-promotional style, thus creating a community of of fuzzy monster and environment loving people.

Ok so now you're asking how does Chat Noir Books fall into the sustainability issues, enviro news, eco trends and fuzzy monsters. Well first off Sesame Street celebrates its 40th anniversary today, and they have also gone green! Secondly here at Chat Noir Books we try and to recycle as much paper, plastic and tin as we can. We also compost all of our coffee grinds and tea bags. Plus all our coffee is fair-trade, organic or 100% grower direct --a premium quality coffee with a social, economic and environmental conscience. Finally we are also a member of the David Suzuki Foundation Book Club!

A big thanks also goes out to our friend Jenny Lee Silver over at the David Suzuki Foundation. Jenny Lee Silver is one of the people involved in helping to setup the Blog Garden, Check out here blog:

The personal blog of an eco-minded mom, mountain biker, photographer and self-proclaimed geek — the challenges of balancing everyday life with concern for the future of humanity in mind. Visit Some words from a Silver for more.

Monday, November 9, 2009

More on Wal-mart's, Target's and Amazon's price wars

Just read this great article by Jane Henderson, about the on going price war between Wal-mart, Target and Amazon. Defiantly thought it was worthy of a blog posting. I was very happy to see that some authors are starting to get involved in this debt, because it is not the death of "the book" that we are all worried about but the death of the community bookstore!

Big names, price war top fall book plots
By Jane Henderson

"We run the risk of seriously devaluing our product," Grisham told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

Albert Greco, a professor at Fordham University's Graduate School of Business Administration and senior researcher at the Institute for Publishing Research, says Wal-Mart wants to become the "Wal-Mart of the Internet." Already the biggest real-world retailer, it is rattling its e-business swords at, he says.

"Grisham is a very smart guy," Greco says.

Although an online price war will help sell more copies of Grisham's "Ford Country," eventually it would hurt stores that carry thousands more titles than Wal-Mart does. It's the more traditional stores that stock older Grisham titles.

"What he's looking at is the state of book retailing," Greco says.

Before Grisham became well-known, he asked small bookstores whether he could set up a table to sell his first book, "A Time to Kill." They gave him the chance to peddle his product, and several million books later he no longer needs that table. But he hasn't forgotten those stores, he says. Wal-Mart may want Grisham, but it isn't going to give the next unknown writer a chance.

Erwin, of Main Street Books, says that with all the attention paid to the horse race, "anything that isn't big can get lost in the shuffle."

Although the availability of book outlets has increased, what they carry varies. Bookstores such as Barnes & Noble may stock about 170,000 titles. A discount store like Target may stock 14,000, and a club store, such as Costco, may stock a few hundred. In an effort to promote stores, Publishers Weekly dubbed Nov. 7 National Bookstore Day.

Greco expects online retailers to discount even more titles this fall, although perhaps not as low as $9.

But why discount books?

"The belief that people aren't reading is inaccurate," he says. "To assume this is a bad category is not true."

U.S. publishers expect to net about $10 billion this year. That covers just adult and children's trade books and doesn't include the extensive textbook market.

"They've been talking about the death of the book for a long time," Greco says. "The numbers don't seem to bear that out."

Don't Panic! And Another thing!

It has been about 10 years since I read "The Hitch Hiker's Guide to The Galaxy" and for some reason that I cannot remember I stopped there and never read the rest of the series.

With the release of the new book in the Hitch Hikers novels, and a new biography about the man who gave us Marvin the Depressed Robot, I figured it was time for a reread of "Douglas Adams The Hitchhiker Trilogy".

So last night about 2 chapters into the book, I stopped and curiously enough the only thing that goes through my mind is Oh no, not again!

Don't Panic: Douglas Adams & The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Paperback)
Neil Gaiman David K Dickson M J Simpson

Book Description

“It’s all devastatingly true — except the bits that are lies” — Douglas Adams

Upon publication, Don’t Panic quickly established itself as the definitive companion to Adams and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. This edition comes up to date, covering the movie, And Another Thing by Eoin Colfer and the build up to the 30th anniversary of the first novel.

Acclaimed author Neil Gaiman celebrates the life and work of Douglas Adams who, in a field in Innsbruck in 1971, had an idea that became The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. The radio series that started it all, the five — soon to be six — book ‘trilogy’, the TV series, almost-film and actual film, and everything in between.

About the Author

Neil Gaiman is a New York Times best-selling author and one of the most critically acclaimed living comics writers. There have been two recent movie adaptations of his work, Stardust and Coraline.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Gift ideas for the Music Lover

Alright this list was inspired by Mark and Jack over at CJTT, who intervied author Jo-Ann Geffen this morning. Jo-Ann Geffen helped co-author the new Chicken Soup for the Soul book "The Story Behind the Song". Which will be out on November 10th.

So to go along with Mark and Jacks interview here is a list of great Christmas Gift ideas for "Music Lovers". And of course at the top list we have:

Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Story Behind the Song:The Exclusive Personal Stories Behind Your Favorite Songs

Jack Canfield Mark Victor Hansen Jo-Ann Geffen
Published: November 10, 2009 Not Yet Released

Songs tell a story, and now popular singers and songwriters are sharing more of the story! These artists reveal the inspiration, influence, and background, and when and why they wrote their most famous songs, in Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Story Behind the Song. Book includes great photos of the songwriters and lyrics of many of the songs.

Songs, with personal stories behind them, many of which are being told for the first time, include:

Storyteller/Songwriter Song Title
Aaron Lewis, Staind Outside
Aaron Neville Yellow Moon
Aaron Tippin Kiss This
Amanda McBroom The Rose
Ang - lique Kidjo Batonga
And Lots more!!

About Jack Canfield

Chicken Soup for the Soul is a favorite publisher of books about family with many bestselling books about family and personal dynamics.

Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen are co-founders of Chicken Soup for the Soul.

Susan M. Heim is a long-time editor of parenting and family-oriented books.


One of my favourite Music Trivia books!

Hold Me Closer, Tony Danza: And Other Misheard Lyrics
Sasquatch Books

Book Description

We've all done it — misheard a song lyric and sung along with the wrong words for months or years before being corrected. Whether you heard "Even if you're Ted Danson in the dark," instead of "Even if we're just dancin' in the dark," or confused "Jamie's out of gum" with "Janie's got a gun," this book is an ode to faulty hearing and mumbled lyrics everywhere. The artists presented here vary from pop idols Britney Spears, Billy Joel, and the Backstreet Boys to hard rockers like Def Leppard to urban groups such as Destiny's Child and Black Eyed Peas. Including parodies, fantasy duets, potential commercial soundtracks, and humorous tidbits, this book is perfect for both trivia lovers and those in search of a laugh.


Next we have a new biography on Sir Paul McCartney.

Paul McCartney: A Life
Peter A Carlin

Book Description

More than a rock star, more than a celebrity, Paul McCartney is a cultural touchstone. As one half of the legendary Lennon-McCartney songwriting duo, he helped transform popular music, moving from the simplistic pop of "Love Me Do" to the avant-garde symphonics of "A Day in the Life" to generation-binding anthems such as "Hey, Jude" and "Let It Be." Along the way the Beatles ascended from the dank basements of working-class Liverpool to heights of fame and wealth no previous entertainer could ever have imagined.

McCartney's own ambitions fueled much of the group's progress. But even as he steered himself from childhood tragedy to his meeting with John Lennon to the gestation of the Beatles and their rise to international acclaim, the same appetites that drove the group to its greatest creative and commercial heights also served to tear the band members apart.

Still, McCartney's career didn't end with the Beatles' breakup. Nor, for that matter, did the bonds between the Beatles. And in this definitive biography, Peter Ames Carlin examines McCartney's entire life, casting new light not just on the Beatles era, but also on his years with Wings and his thirty-year relationship with his first wife, Linda McCartney. He takes us on a journey through a tumultuous couple of decades in which Paul struck out on his own as a solo artist, reached the top of the charts with a new band, and once again drew hundreds of thousands of screaming fans to his concerts. Carlin presents McCartney as a musical visionary, capable of crafting pop gems such as "Band on the Run" and "Maybe I'm Amazed." But he also reveals a layered and often conflicted figure, as haunted by his legacy -- and particularly his relationshipwith John Lennon -- as he was inspired by it.

Built on years of research and fresh, revealing interviews with friends, bandmates, and collaborators spanning McCartney's entire life, Carlin's lively biography captures the many facets of Paul McCartney and paints a vivid portrait of one of our era's living legends.

Review quotes

"The best thing about Peter Ames Carlin's book is the way he entangles the music and the life, so that we begin to understand them as what they are -- inextricable. This is the kind of book that Paul McCartney's solo work deserves -- enthusiastic but critical, a redemptive reevaluation of what's best about Paul's solo work without denying the worst, and a clear-eyed overview of the Beatles period as a part of a very active, creative, and personal life that endures." -- Dave Marsh, author of Bruce Springsteen on Tour: 1968-2005

About Peter A Carlin

Peter Ames Carlin was born in Syracuse, NY in 1963. The son of a psychologist and an arts administrator, he was a freelance writer in Portland for many years, then worked as a senior writer at People magazine in New York City. He has been the TV columnist for The Oregonian newspaper since 2000, and is the author of Catch A Wave: The Rise, Fall and Redemption of the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson. Published in 2006, Catch A Wave was acclaimed by Wilson collaborator Van Dyke Parks as "the essential Beach Boys saga." Peter lives with his wife and three children in Portland, Ore.


With a foreword by Bruce Springsteen!

Big Man: Real Life & Tall Tales

Book Description

For the first time ever comes the inside story of Clarence "Big Man" Clemons--his life before, during and beyond the E-Street Band, including unbelievable, never-before-told adventures with Bruce Springsteen, the band, and an incredible cast of other famous characters recounted by himself and his best friend, television writer/ producer Don Reo.

Here are just a few things you'll get from reading it:

* The truth behind the final hours of making Born To Run
* The real story of how the E-Street Band got its name
* What happened when Clarence and Ringo Starr were sitting in a hotel room and Clarence got the call that Bruce was breaking up the band
* How Bruce and Clarence met that dark, stormy night at the Student Prince
* The E-Street band's show at Sing-Sing prison where all of their equipment blows out right as they take the stage
* The secret that Robert De Niro told Clarence and Bruce they had to keep for 25 years

But that's merely a glimpse. This is not your average rock book. It is something creative, something unique, something new. It is the story of E-Street. It is the story of stories. It is the story of the Big Man.

Review quotes

"Big Man is too funny, soulful, outrageous and wise to have been written by two people. I suspect Don Reo is an invented character. A mystical book, an oddly beautiful book, a wonderful book."

--Kinky Friedman

About the Author

Clarence Clemons lives in Florida.

Don Reo is the writer/producer of many award-winning television series. He lives in Santa Barbara California with his wife Judith D. Allison.


Bowie: A Biography
Marc Spitz

Book Description

Finally an expansive biography of one of the twentieth century’s greatest music and cultural icons

From noted author and rock ’n’ roll journalist Marc Spitz comes a major David Bowie biography to rival any other. Following Bowie’s life from his start as David Jones, an R & B—loving kid from Bromley, England, to his rise to rock ’n’ roll aristocracy as David Bowie, Bowie recounts his career but also reveals how much his music has influenced other musicians and forever changed the landscape of the modern era. Along the way, Spitz reflects on how growing up with Bowie as his soundtrack and how writing this definitive book on Bowie influenced him in ways he never expected, adding a personal dimension that Bowie fans and those passionate about art and culture will connect with and that no other bio on the artist offers.

Bowie takes an in-depth look at the culture of postwar England in which Bowie grew up, the mod and hippie scenes of swinging London in the sixties, the sex and drug-fueled glitter scene of the early seventies when Bowie’s alter-ego Ziggy Stardust was born, his rise to global stardom in the eighties and his subsequent status as an elder statesman of alternative culture. Spitz puts each incarnation of Bowie into the context of its era, creating a cultural time line that is intriguing both for its historical significance as well as for its delineation of this rock ’n’ roll legend, the first musician to evolve a coherent vision after the death of the sixties dream.

Amid the sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll mayhem, a deeper portrait of the artist emerges. Bowie’s early struggles to go from follower to leader, his tricky relationship with art and commerce and Buddhism and the occult, his complicated family life, his open romantic relationship and, finally, his perceived disavowal of all that made him a touchstone for outcasts are all thoughtfully explored. A fresh evaluation of his recorded work, as well as his film, stage and video performances, is included as well.

Based on a hundred original interviews with those who knew him best and those familiar with his work, including ex-wife Angie Bowie, former Bowie manager Kenneth Pitt, Siouxsie Sioux, Camille Paglia, Dick Cavett, Todd Haynes, Ricky Gervais and Peter Frampton, Bowie gives us not only a portrait of one of the most important artists in the last century, but also an honest examination of a truly revolutionary artist and the unique impact he’s had across generations.

Review quotes

“BOWIE is inspired, edge-worn, loud, quiet, observant, humble, gorgeous, and humane. If the record business loved music as much as Marc Spitz does, there would still be a record business.”

—Dan Kennedy, author of Rock On: An Office Power Ballad

“A breezy, well-lit portrait of the ever-enigmatic rocker . . . Spitz’s encyclopedic knowledge and obvious appreciation for Bowie’s work separate this book from countless cookie-cutter rock stories.”

—Kirkus Reviews

“Spitz concentrates on the complex evolution of Bowie’s music to deliver an evenhanded, critically thorough, while still reverential, life of the Thin White Duke.”

—Publishers Weekly

About the Author

MARC SPITZ’s writing on rock ’n’ roll and popular culture has appeared in Spin, the New York Times, Maxim, Nylon, Blender and Uncut (UK). He is the author of How Soon Is Never?; Too Much, Too Late; and Nobody Likes You: Inside the Turbulent Life, Times, and Music of Green Day and coauthor with Brendan Mullen of We Got the Neutron Bomb: The Untold Story of L.A. Punk.


Finally new this year for Chat Noir Books, we are carring the board game BANDthology

About BANDthology® Music Games

BANDthology Music Games is a Canadian company that develops top quality, highly entertaining board and travel games with a focus on music. Our products include the BANDthology® board game, the BANDthology® Touring Edition travel game and the BANDthology® Ultimate Canadian Edition booster pack.

BANDthology entertainment products include the BANDthology Live! Show for special and corporate events and our newly launched Digital Music Games for Mobile DJ's.

Music is the ultimate connector and BANDthology® is the ultimate game for music lovers of all ages and different music interests.

If you love music you'll LOVE BANDthology.