Category Archives: Blog

Mr. Mercedes — Stephen King

Hot on the heels of Under the Dome, Doctor Sleep, and Joyland, Stephen King brings his typical chipper, up-beat writing style to Mr. Mercedes his first “hard-boiled detective tale.”  Just released in Hardback at the low, low price of $22.50 (25% discount)

In the gloomy pre-dawn hours of a distressed Midwestern city, hundreds of unemployed hopefuls are lined up for a job fair. Without warning, a merciless driver plows through the crowd in a roaring Mercedes. Eight people are killed; 15 are wounded. The killer escapes into the early-spring fog never to be seen from again. Until now…

Detective Bill Hodges is a battle-hardened and streetwise crime fighter originally assigned to the Mercedes killings. Now retired, Hodges has lost his way in boredom and depression craving the thrills of taking down the region’s most notorious criminals. When a disturbing letter from the Mercedes Killer arrives at his door, Hodges soon finds himself uncontrollably drawn into a cat-n-mouse pursuit with stakes beyond comprehension.

If you are looking for more Stephen King it can be said that the VB staff believes that there is “no school like the old school.”

Becky recommends Eyes of the Dragon

Doug recommends Dead Zone, and Salem’s Lot

ReTales: Life Behind the Counter

Most of us have worked in retail, or a service industry, for at least a small amount of time, and if you haven’t you should have. If asked about their experiences most often the reply would be, “The best thing about working retail is the people, and/or the worst thing about working retail is the people.”

As a small business we have an amazing amount of wonderful people we come across, plus the added bonus being able to have in depth conversations that are rare at a box store. (Since I was “most likely to own a bar” according to several of my high school friends it seems Village Books would be a version of Cheers for the bibliophile set.) Some of the best conversations stem from that joint profession in retail and the ability to trade horror stories. One of these surfaced into the middle of a sale the other day when I was thanked for asking about identification with a credit card purchase. We talked about the people who appreciated being asked for ID, those that hated it, reasons, motives, and all the emotion behind pulling out that dreaded DMV photo.

Today’s story came after a nice long discussion about magazines on the topic of, and specifically the magazine,  “Off Grid.”  Everything was jovial until the person refused to show an ID for a credit card purchase………. We’re going to let that sentence sit there for a bit, let it simmer in the back of your mind.  They were so incensed that purchases were thrown on counters, before storming to the door to yell that parting shot. “I’m not showing my ID to anyone because I’m staying off the grid!” At the end of retelling of this story is when we both started laughing. FYI if you’re staying ‘off the grid’ and using a credit card then you’re doing it wrong.

New Non-Fiction on our Shelves — A Higher Call

Now available in Trade size “A Higher Call” by  Larry Alexander and Adam Makos.

Four days before Christmas 1943, a badly damaged American bomber struggled to fly over wartime Germany. At its controls was a 21-year-old pilot. Half his crew lay wounded or dead. It was their first mission. Suddenly, a sleek, dark shape pulled up on the bomber’s tail—a German Messerschmitt fighter. Worse, the German pilot was an ace, a man able to destroy the American bomber in the squeeze of a trigger. What happened next would defy imagination and later be calledthe most incredible encounter between enemies in World War II. 

This is the true story of the two pilots whose lives collided in the skies that day—the American—2nd Lieutenant Charlie Brown, a former farm boy from West Virginia who came to captain a B-17—and the German—2nd Lieutenant Franz Stigler, a former airline pilot from Bavaria who sought to avoid fighting in World War II. 

A Higher Call follows both Charlie and Franz’s harrowing missions. Charlie would face takeoffs in English fog over the flaming wreckage of his buddies’ planes, flak bursts so close they would light his cockpit, and packs of enemy fighters that would circle his plane like sharks. Franz would face sandstorms in the desert, a crash alone at sea, and the spectacle of 1,000 bombers each with eleven guns, waiting for his attack. 

Ultimately, Charlie and Franz would stare across the frozen skies at one another. What happened between them, the American 8th Air Force would later classify as “top secret.” It was an act that Franz could never mention or else face a firing squad. It was the encounter that would haunt both Charlie and Franz for forty years until, as old men, they would search for one another, a last mission that could change their lives forever.

A Day in the Life of a Bookseller

I love the act of digging through an old bookstore, or antique mall, or garage sale for books the older the better.  The books themselves have a story to tell and I am prone to wonder and imagine too much of my day in their stories.  I’m fairly certain that I’ve had this affliction for quite some time.  My family would argue that I have many afflictions this being the most definitive of all.  I contend that it is one of the many layers of a storyteller of which I received a double helping of the outrageous.

But old books among other things remind me of something from my youth that is just beyond my touch.  The nearly undescriptive scent that tickles a faint memory.  The something that links the “who we are” to the “who we were” to the “who they were.”  So nothing breaks my heart anymore than when someone brings in moldy, musty, still damp books.  Honestly, who owned these?  Swamp Thing?

It’s the End of the World?

I feel fine, this being despite the love affair with what happens when the world around us collapses. In a time where we’re still avidly awaiting the next seasons of The Walking Dead, The 100, and Defiance lets take a moment to look at the books that take us beyond the end of all we know.

The Road by Cormac McCarthy
In a novel set in an indefinite, futuristic, post-apocalyptic world, a father and his young son make their way through the ruins of a devastated American landscape, struggling to survive and preserve the last remnants of their own humanity.

The Stand by Stephen King

A monumentally devastating plague leaves only a few survivors who, while experiencing dreams of a battle between good and evil, move toward an actual confrontation as they migrate to Boulder, Colorado.

A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller Jr.

First published in 1959 to critical acclaim and enduring popularity, a new edition of the landmark novel follows the struggle of the Monks of the Order of Saint Leibowitz to preserve the remnants of civilization after a nuclear war and to protect them against tyranny.

The 100 by Kass Morgan

Ever since a devastating nuclear war, humanity has lived on spaceships far above Earth’s radioactive surface. Now, one hundred juvenile delinquents — considered expendable by society — are being sent on a dangerous mission: to recolonize the planet. It could be their second chance at life…or it could be a suicide mission.

World War Z by Max Brooks

An account of the decade-long conflict between humankind and hordes of the predatory undead is told from the perspective of dozens of survivors who describe in their own words the epic human battle for survival.

The Last Man by Mary Shelley

The last man by Mary Shelley marks the beginning of a new genre in the field of literature, the post-apocalyptic fiction. Set in the 21st century, this novel is the premonition of a dark future, where a deadly plague brings an end to human civilization. An immaculate amalgamation of subtle romance, destructive wars and a catastrophic plague.

The Passage by Justin Cronin

An epic and gripping tale of catastrophe and survival, The Passage is the story of Amy—abandoned by her mother at the age of six, pursued and then imprisoned by the shadowy figures behind a government experiment of apocalyptic proportions. But Special Agent Brad Wolgast, the lawman sent to track her down, is disarmed by the curiously quiet girl and risks everything to save her. As the experiment goes nightmarishly wrong, Wolgast secures her escape—but he can’t stop society’s collapse. And as Amy walks alone, across miles and decades, into a future dark with violence and despair, she is filled with the mysterious and terrifying knowledge that only she has the power to save the ruined world.

Poison Princess by Kresley Cole

In the aftermath of a cataclysmic event, sixteen-year-old Evie, from a well-to-do Louisiana family, learns that her terrible visions are actually prophecies and that there are others like herself–embodiments of Tarot cards destined to engage in an epic battle.

Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank

“Alas, Babylon.” Those fateful words heralded the end. When a nuclear holocaust ravages the United States, a thousand years of civilization are stripped away overnight, and tens of millions of people are killed instantly. But for one small town in Florida, miraculously spared, the struggle is just beginning, as men and women of all backgrounds join together to confront the darkness.

Patriots by James Wesley Rawles

After a cataclysmic financial crisis prompts a total collapse of American society and forces people to fend for themselves, a group of protagonists make their way to a shared secure ranch in northern Idaho, where they struggle to survive against violent looting and natural hazard.

One Second After by William R. Forstchen

Apocalypse prophecies and terrorist uprisings in a near-future world erupt when all of the planet’s technologies abruptly stop working, triggering global looting, food riots, and insurrections; a situation that places humanity’s fate in the hands of a small mountain village in the American south.

The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau

The city of Ember was built as a last refuge for the human race. Two hundred years later, the great lamps that light the city are beginning to flicker. When Lina finds part of an ancient message, she’s sure it holds a secret that will save the city. She and her friend Doon must decipher the message before the lights go out on Ember forever!

Swan Song by Robert McCammon

In a nightmarish, post-holocaust world, an ancient evil roams a devastated America, gathering the forces of human greed and madness, searching for a child named Swan who possesses the gift of life.

Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
A novel of the future explores a world that has been devastated by ecological and scientific disasters.

Summer Reading

“Written in My Own Heart’s Blood” by Diana Gabaldon.

A latest entry in the best-selling Outlander series that includes An Echo in the Bone finds Jamie returning to Claire’s side as a new army sweeps through revolutionary Philadelphia

Hardcover 1008 pgs–list price 35.00  our price 26.25

“The Book of Life” #3 in the All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness.

Historian and witch Diana Bishop and her vampire scientist husband Matthew Clairmont return from a trip to the past still searching for the elusive alchemy tome Ashmole 782 in the final installment of the best-selling trilogy following “Shadow of Night.”

Hardcover 560 pgs  list price 28.95–our price 21.74

“Remains of Innocence ” by J.A. Jance.

While investigating two separate cases, Sheriff Joanna Brady must discover if the death of a family friend whose body was found in a limestone cavern is linked to the discovery of a fortune in $100 bills hidden in the house of a hoarder.

Hardcover 352 pgs –list price 26.99  our price 20.25

“Born of Fury” #6 in the League series by Sherrilyn Kenyon.

A founding member of the Sentella organization that has declared war on the League, Hank ruthlessly protects his brethren only to meet his match in Sumi Antaxas, a determined League assassin.

Hardcover 496 pgs–list price 25.99  our price 19.50

“The City” by Dean Koontz

A gifted musician relates the terrible and wonderful events of 1967 that impacted his family and friends, from his indomitable “piano man” grandfather and struggling single mother to the everyday saints and sinners who shaped his life.

Hardcover 352 pgs  list price 28.00  our price 20.99

“Wayfaring Stranger” by James Lee Burke

A decade after taking a shot at Bonnie and Clyde during one of their notorious armed robberies, a Depression teen-turned-soldier escapes death during the Battle of the Bulge and marries a beautiful young woman with whom he seeks his fortune along the Texas-Louisiana oil coast.  By the Edgar Award winning author of Light of the World.

Hardcover 544 pgs   list price 27.99  our price 20.99

For some fun sized reading here is a list of upcoming Summer titles in Trade Size Paperback.

“No River Too Wide” by Emilie Richards

“The Summer Wind” by Mary Alice Monroe

“This is the Water” by Yannick Murphy

“The Boleyn Reckoning” by Laura Anderson

“Take Me Home” by Dorothy Garlock

“Doctor Sleep” by Stephen King

 

 

 

 

Books to Screens Big & Small

Lately it seems that the theaters and our TV sets are filled with adaptations of our favorite books.  Whether it is George R.R. Martin’s “Game of Thrones,”   Veronica Roth’s “Divergent” or Craig Johnson’s “Longmire” series there is something for all ages and all tastes.  And even though we have this need to see our favorite book brought to life there is always the nagging fear of disappointment.  Will they sound the way we imagined or even look somewhat like the author described them?  This summer brings about a bevy of books going to the screens, and here are our picks for the season.

“Edge of Tomorrow” the Sci-Fi novel by Hiroshi Sakurazaka opens in theaters June 6th starring Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt.  Originally written as “All You Need is Kill” in 2009, Sakurazaka’s freshman offering attacks with a viciousness that fellow sci-fi writer John Scalzi said, “reads fast, kicks ass, and keeps on coming.”

Also premiering in theaters on June 6th is the screen adaptation of John Green’s “The Fault In Our Stars.”

“[Green] shows us true love—two teenagers helping and accepting each other through the most humiliating physical and emotional ordeals—and it is far more romantic than any sunset on the beach.”
New York Times Book Review

Doug has graciously given this two “thumbs up” for sticking with him months after reading it.

“Outlander” on Starz beginning August 8th.  Based on the critically acclaimed series by Diana Gabaldon,  “Outlander” is already looking quite capable of bringing this powerhouse it’s due.

Claire Randall is leading a double life. She has a husband in one century, and a lover in another…

In 1945, Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon–when she innocently touches a boulder in one of the ancient stone circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach—an “outlander”—in a Scotland torn by war and raiding border clans in the year of our Lord…1743.

Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire’s destiny in soon inextricably intertwined with Clan MacKenzie and the forbidden Castle Leoch. She is catapulted without warning into the intrigues of lairds and spies that may threaten her life …and shatter her heart. For here, James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, shows her a passion so fierce and a love so absolute that Claire becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire…and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.

Then there is “The Strain.”  The cable channel FX is bringing Guillermo Del Toro’s  Horror/Vampire series to us on July 13th.

 

“A high-tech vampire epic….Terrifying.”
San Francisco Chronicle

“Part The Andromeda Strain, part Night of the Living Dead.”
—Salon.com

“Chuck Hogan is known for his taut thrillers, Guillermo del Toro for his surreal horror films…The Strain brings out the best of each.”
Minneapolis Star Tribune

An epic battle for survival begins between man and vampire in The Strain—the first book in a heart-stopping trilogy from one of Hollywood’s most inventive storytellers and a critically acclaimed thriller writer. Guillermo del Toro, the genius director of the Academy Award-winningPan’s Labyrinth and Hellboy, and Hammett Award-winning author Chuck Hogan have joined forces to boldly reinvent the vampire novel. Brilliant, blood-chilling, and unputdownable, The Strain is a nightmare of the first order.

 

 

Local Mid-Missouri Writers

“The Shape of Our Faces No Longer Matters” Poems by Gerardo Mena 

Do not for one second skip over our first entry about Local Writers.

Gerardo (Tony) Mena is a decorated Iraqi Freedom veteran.  He spent six years in Special Operations with the Reconnaissance Marines and was awarded a Navy Achievement Medal with a V for Valor for multiple acts of bravery while under fire.  His work has been published in such venues as Best New Poets 2011, Baltimore Review, Ninth Letter, Prairie Schooner Online, Cream City Review, Poetry East, Cider Press Review, and War.

 

William Trowbridge, Poet Laureate of Missouri, said that ” You might read Gerardo Mena’s poetry to find out what war is “really” like. However, you’ll find him describing, again and again, its interior reality, its sur-reality, full of humans transformed into or by bayonets, leaves, birds, bullets, flowers, rockets, and coffins in a zone where the fireball from a convoy vehicle blasted by an IED mirrors Van Gogh’s Starry Night.”

“Tom T’s Hat Rack” by Michele Spry

My good friend, Tom Trabue, was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 2012. To watch Tom go through chemotherapy and radiation, yet always remaining so positive, was such an inspiration. A long time ago, I decided to live my life by paying it forward to others as often as I could and try to encourage others to do simple acts of kindness for random strangers. I began writing this book with those two inspirations.

One of the ways I’ve chosen to pay it forward is to become a Partner in Education with Midway Heights Elementary School in Columbia, MO back in 2008. As a Partner in Education, I wanted to reach out to the students at our partner school and encourage them to do something good for someone else and pay it forward – hence, this book. Little did I know “Pay It Forward” is the overall school theme for the Columbia Public Schools for the 2012-2013 year! Coincidence? I’m not so sure!

“Collapse” by TK Carter

Saturday, May 3rd Local author TK Carter joined us in celebrating the release of her new book “Collapse.”  Her first book in the Yellow Flag Series focuses on events unfolding around Mid-Missouri in 2016 against the backdrop of a crumbling United States under the weight of failed social and economic policies.  Gas rationing, housing redistribution, roving highway bandits, and American terrorists all contribute to a taut story surrounding 3 sets of people struggling to survive the day.

Prologue

They said the election of 2012 was going to be crucial to the future of America.  It seemed most Americans voted for one candidate to prevent the greater of two evils from entering office more than it was a matter of voting in favor of their candidate.  No one could have predicted what happened.  We didn’t see this one coming.

Paul Mazan

Born in Chicago in 1947 I grew up listening to the stories my father and Uncles told of their experiences during World War II. The only time they spoke of the war was at family gatherings when in the company of other veterans and I was fascinated by the stories and sought the men out and listened. The stories sparked a lifelong interest in History and common men faced with the realities of war.
I went on to serve in the United States Air Force, get married, father two children and make a carrier in Purchasing and New Product development for Brownells Inc. and Battenfield Technologies. Having attended Gunsmithing summer courses and worked in the firearms industry for over 25 years I learned a great deal about the subject. My writing career started with Magazine articles dealing with firearms restoration and repair and have appeared in several national magazines including Shotgun News, Shooting Times, and American Gunsmith. Always a storyteller, I have tried to combined my love of history, knowledge of firearms, and the stories my father and uncles shared into stories of my own.
Today I live in Missouri with Cecile my wife of 45 years and our dog Amber. I consider myself blessed with two grown children and four grandchildren.

 

Be sure to check out “Heart of a Warrior” and “Fighting Poles”