Staff Picks-Doug

Well I will start off by saying that at no time should the order be indicative of how well I like a book or how much it has affected me.  So let’s begin.

“The Rebel Bookseller” By Andrew Laties

From the back cover –Andrew Laties wrote the first edition of Rebel Bookseller in 2005, hoping it would spark a movement.Now, with this fully updated second edition, Laties’s book can be a rallying cry for everyone who wants to better understand how the rise of the big bookstore chains led irrevocably to their own decline, and how, even in the face of electronic reading platforms from some of the world’s largest corporations, the movement to support locally owned independent stores, especially bookstores, is on the rise.

I initially picked this up after reading an article that led to another article that referenced this book. It was not the first time it had happened nor the second, third or fourth and that meant it was time to put the Rebel Bookseller at the top of my “to be read” stack.

The Rebel Bookseller is part history of Andrew Laties’s time as a bookseller spanning nearly 30 years from 1984 to the present, part business book and part rant on the self imposed destruction of the publishing industry and it’s effect on neighborhoods everywhere.

Just last week we were approached at the store by a local TV station and asked to give an interview on the effect of e-readers on the bookstore business. We always walk away from these requests ecstatic and terrified, happy that we get to be heard and scared that the passion that we have for books won’t translate. I opened the front cover of Rebel Bookseller with the intent of reading only the foreword, which was written by Edward Morrow the former president of the American Booksellers Association, and spent the next 30 minutes reading 8 pages. It didn’t actually take 30 minutes to read 8 pages, it took 30 minutes to read the 8 pages 3 times. I was brought face to face with the role of the bookseller within the community in which they reside. Their importance in cultivating new readers not only for the benefit of the bookseller but for the health of the community, the dogged perseverance towards protecting free speech and the continued education of why all consumers should buy locally.

This book deserves to be read by anyone with an interest in the history of the book business but also by those wanting to be a part of a re-birth of the indie business in America.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”  by Steig Larsson.  Crime Fiction

I admit that I got caught up in the craze, but gosh darn it I really liked the story.  Larsson spends much of the 1st fourth of the books setting the stage and tone for not only the rest of the novel but the rest of the story arc as well.  Be sure to try out some of the other Swedish authors as well such as Jo Nesbo, Karin Fossum and Camilla Lackberg.


Monster” by A. Lee Martinez.  Sci-fi/Fantasy

I’m such sucker for dry comedies and Martinez delivers at every turn of the page.  I’ve read “Gil’s All Fright Diner”, “Divine Misfortune” and “The Automatic Detective” and everyone of those are keepers on my shelf.

Contemporary Romance

“Good Girls Don’t” by Victoria Dahl      Sept 2011

With her sun-kissed hair and sparkling green eyes, Tessa Donovan looks more like the girl next door that a businesswoman – or a heartbreaker. Which may explain why Detective Luke Asher barely notices her when he arrives to investigate a break-in at her family’s brewery.  He’s got his own problems – starting with the fact that his partner, Simone, is pregnant and everyone thinks he’s the father.

Tessa has her hands full, too.  Her brother’s playboy ways may be threatening the business, and the tension could tear her tight-knit family apart.  In fact, the only thing that could unite the Donovan boys is seeing a man come after their “baby” sister.  Especially a man like Luke Asher. But Tessa sees past the rumors to the man beneath.  He’s not who people think he is-and neither is she.

I have been a fan of Victoria Dahl’s writing since picking up “Talk me Down” a few years back.  While I was looking forward to a stronger showing from her secondary characters I was treated to a fairly deep treatment on the characters for the 2 upcoming books in her latest trilogy.  I was disappointed in her treatment of the storyline she developed to bring our characters together.  While not as strong as some of her other stories, this is will not keep me from snagging her next book the second it hits our shelves.


Body Movers”  by Stephanie Bond.

One of the things about working in new/used bookstore is that if you are NOT reading romance you are missing out on a huge part of the business (the part that makes it possible for you to pay your bills!).  I found out early on that deep down I am a huge fan of romantic comedies and I connected early on with Stephanie Bonds’s narrative.  The Body Movers series currently spans 7 books and is a light mystery/romance with plenty of fun little scenes and characters.


The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks”  by Rebecca Skloot.   Science/American History

This book started off finding itself on must read list when it was nominated for the Columbia Library’s “One Read.”  This book reads almost like a piece of fiction as it goes about telling us the story of Henrietta Lacks, who died of cervical cancer in 1951 in the “colored” wing of John Hopkin’s hospital.  Henrietta’s cancer cells or HeLa cells, still growing 60 years later, were harvested and sold by the millions while her family continues to live in poverty.  The HeLa cells are responsible for developing the Polio vaccine, cancer identification, important advances in gene mapping and cloning.  Two thumbs up!  This will change how you view modern medicine.


The Devil in the White City”  by Erik Larson.  American History

I love this for many reasons but we’ll start with the fact that this books just flat brings it! And I love it because the author, Erik Larson just flat brings it!  (Give me a moment to get over my “author crush”)

From Publisher’s Weekly – -Not long after Jack the Ripper haunted the ill-lit streets of 1888 London, H.H. Holmes (born Herman Webster Mudgett) dispatched somewhere between 27 and 200 people, mostly single young women, in the churning new metropolis of Chicago; many of the murders occurred during (and exploited) the city’s finest moment, the World’s Fair of 1893. Larson’s breathtaking new history is a novelistic yet wholly factual account of the fair and the mass murderer who lurked within it.

Be sure to also check out “Isaac’s Storm” and “Thunderstruck.”

Leave a Reply