Holiday Catalog 2016

Hi everyone, and welcome once again to our 2nd Annual Web-based Discount Extravaganza!! 20% off on everything in the store!! Please note: on the catalog books, we do not necessarily have them all in stock, so email me (<plebar>) or call x5369 to check stock or place an order.  Most titles are 2-3 day delivery time.

With that out of the way, I can get on with one of my most time-honored traditions, namely bad-mouthing the catalog that you presumably hold in your warm and tender hands right now. (Or have held in the recent past, possibly even in the Sunday Meadville paper a week or two ago, when Tattered Corners had it distributed. We both belong to the North Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association, who puts the catalog together. Hey, at least Tattered Corners had the class to pay for imprinting ;)

So, with the understanding I’m not dissin’ my local competition, let’s turn to page 2. There’s two “award-winning” titles for adults: Strout’s My Name Is Lucy Barton is already out in paperback for $10 less than the catalog’s hardcover price, and Ta-nahisi Coates’ superb Between the World and Me certainly deserves all the glory it can get, but I blurbed it last year in my blog entry below. Gimme a break.

At least they had the sense to put in Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad – now there’s an award-winner for you! Michael Chabon’s Moonglow might be a great book too, but after 2012’s Telegraph Avenue,  a huge novel about an aging Berkeley hippie that I fully expected to give me that natural high but instead hummed only with the cheap buzz of a writer in love with the sound of his own voice, well let’s just say I would be wary – loath, even, to get back on a Chabon bandwagon without some extra incentive.

Hey LeBar, you’re bummin’ me out, man. Whaddaya got that’s good in that store? Glad you asked. For starters, hot off the Downy Thistle Press in northern New England is Charles (Brownie) Ketcham’s Finding Fellini, an unexpectedly engaging tale of our former RLST professor’s quest to interview Fellini in Rome during the 1974 making of Amarcord. Bonus factor: Ketcham’s  b+w photos in a stylish, Fellini-esque mood, beautifully printed, will resonate even more than the text, IMO.
Also on the home front, I would be remiss were I not to mention our prolific English dept., starting with Jim Bulman’s definitive new Arden Shakespeare edition of Henry IV pt. 2, followed by a double shot from Christopher Bakken, who scored first with his latest book of poetry, Eternity and Oranges, from University of Pittsburgh Press, and then this fall with the lead poem in Best American Poetry 2016, edited by Edward Hirsch, who then came to campus this fall as a reader in the Bakken-curated Single Voice Reading Series. Synchronicity happens…
Still with me? Cool. Care to expand our range beyond the Allegheny Authors section? I looked around the store for books we have in stock that are not in either this catalog or The NYT Book Review’s Top 100, and found these little gems:
The Wasp That Brainwashed the Caterpillar: Evolutions Most Unbelievable Solutions to Life’s Biggest Problems, in which Wired Magazine science writer Matt Simon showcases 30 of nature’s most head-turning examples in chapters such as “Turns out Getting Eaten Is Bad for Survival” (if you’re a hagfish, you weaponize your snot so that an attacking shark is slimed so heavily its gills get instantly choked up – not good for fish such as sharks ), and      ” You Absolutely Must Get Laid” (the tiny male anglerfish, if he can find a proportionately huge female, will latch on to her and spend the rest of his life releasing sperm when Mommy Dearest tells him to). Simon writes with a breezy, humorous style that would make this book a fascinating read for fans of the gross and the icky….eeew. Illustrated, too!
If you’re still hungry, Jane Ziegelman & Andrew Coe’s A Square Meal: A Culinary History of the Great Depression is just what the subtitle proclaims it to be, and in fact looking at this much-chronicled decade through a prism of food science & technology, along with political, cultural and social factors (e.g. the rise of the Home Economist) really does make this particular history a rich, tasty slice of the Americana pie. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)
Hope to have some more blurbs in a couple days; in the meantime, remember: ” A Book Is a Present You Can Open Again and Again…””

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