Saturday, November 28, 2009

Our Revised Graphic Novel Section

Maybe you've been to The Book Rack or Old Firehouse Books and looked through the graphic novel section with a broken heart.

Well, comic fans, cry no more! We are upping our anti, filling our shelves, and supplying you with all your alternative literature needs!

From Batman to Sandman, The Book of Genesis to Jesus vs. Vampires, we can find something you'll enjoy.

We even have some classics-turned-graphic!
From Pride and Prejudice to Crime and Punishment, you can get your classic literature in a picture book.

So Come on Down to Old Firehouse Books and read more comix!

Monday, November 23, 2009

December events at your favorite bookstore!


EVENT: Book Signing with Bryan White

Time: December 5, 12pm to 8pm

Location: Old Firehouse Books, 232 Walnut St.

Contact Information: 970-484-7898,

Join us in exploring Bryan White’s fascinating and beautiful 3-D photography. During the day, he will have special viewers set up that show the science behind the photos. Pictures of the Aurora Borealis will come to life in his slide shows that take place at 6pm and 7pm.

EVENT: Open Book Club

Time: December 6, 1pm

Location: Old Firehouse Books, 232 Walnut St.

Contact Information: 970-484-7898,

This month we’ll be discussing the bestseller Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Called “At once a strikingly original thriller and a vivisection of Sweden's dirty not-so-little secrets”, this book has been topping the charts for over a year. Come find out why everybody’s talking about it!

EVENT: Strange Worlds Science Fiction Book Club

Time: December 10, 6pm

Location: Old Firehouse Books, 232 Walnut St.

Contact Information: 970-484-7898,

As December’s days get shorter, escape with a fantasy novel about sun-drenched Spain during the days of the Reconquista. This month, we’ll be discussing The Lions of Al-Rassan by Guy Gavriel Kay, one of the most lyrical writers of fantasy today.

EVENT: Untitled Book Club

Time: December 14, 6:30 pm

Location: Old Firehouse Books, 232 Walnut St.

Contact Information: 970-484-7898,

Join us for a discussion of Chuck Klosterman’s Killing Yourself to Live, which expands on an article he wrote for Spin about driving cross-country to visit several of America's most famous rock and roll death sites.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Books for kids (of all ages!)

I hear from people that it's often hard to find books to give kids or to get kids interested in reading. I have so many recommendations it's hard for me to know where to start! And as with most recommendations there are a lot of variables to fill in to really give a good title that fits well (age, reading level, boy or girl, interests?...etc.) but I wanted to post a few good titles that are across the board great reads for kids. My passion is to see people love reading and if you can get a kid to love it they will grow up reading everything and learning lots (see myself for an example!).
The following is a personal list of fantastic books to give kids, read with your kids or read by yourself!

Teen Reads

Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares

Maximum Ride by James Patterson(J. Patterson wrote this for his son, he said he couldn't get him to love reading anything so he wrote a book that he knew his son would love!)

Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart

The Comet's Curse by Dom Testa (Denver radio host that is working hard to get kids excited about reading!)

Books for Pre-Teens

Magic Thief by Sarah Prineas

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

From The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg (and anything else by this author, my personal favorite from my childhood!)

Little House on the Prairie by Laura Engalls Wilder (you cannot go wrong with this book series, it is fun and interesting and full of history all in one!)

My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George

Early Readers

Guardians of Ga'hoole by Kathryn Lasky

Harry's Mad by Dick King-Smith
(Again, anything by this author!!! He wrote Babe the Magnificent Pig as well and he is just a great young reader author!)

James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl

Fancy Nancy by Jane O'Connor

This is just a tip of the "great books for kids, pre-teens, and teens" iceberg. There are so many more I would bore you to death typing them all out here...Come on in to the store, browse the kids sections and ask for advice! We love finding good fits for each reader, whether you are young or old, buying for yourself or someone else, boy or girl we want you (or them) to be reading books you will love (or at least really enjoy!).

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Our Mob-Free Guarantee

Black Friday is coming! This means major discounts at chain stores, and unfortunate crushing mobs. Wal-Mart is trying to keep last year's events from repeating themselves by staying open all night on Thanksgiving instead. And what better way to celebrate this holiday than shopping at your local retail giant? Forget pumpkin pie, forget enjoying the company of loved ones, Thanksgiving night is time to SHOP!

Or... How about this year, instead of joining in on the Wal-Mart mob, you come to Old Firehouse Books instead? We may not be able to offer the mega-discounts that Wal-Mart provides, and we close down for Thanksgiving, but we do give 20% on anything in our Winter Catalogue (find this at our store or check the Coloradoan!) along with other deals on various items. On top of this you'll be helping to keep Fort Collins unique and saving your local economy, plus we offer a mob-free guarantee!

To read more about the Wal-Mart fiasco, see the links below. If ravenous mobs don't convince you to shop local, I don't know what will.|main|dl7|link3|

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Find it on my pick shelf...

The Squirrel Machine by Hans Rickheit is an eerie, beautiful, and concerning graphic novel. Two fictional brothers grow up comfortably on their dead father's inheretance. They become inventors and dreamers, creating controversial musical machines out of animals. Among dream sequences and strange meetings with other characters, The Squirrel Machine is weird, weirder, and weirdest. I reccomend this book to the curious, eccentric, and queer readers among us. The art is detailed and moving. While the characters and plot remain less developed than I'd like, Rickheit makes up for it with the boys' found and made attempts at art.


Friday, November 13, 2009

A Reading Predicament

School is well under way for us studying at CSU. In fact, it is so under way that we are nearly done with the first semester. This leaves me in a reading predicament, or maybe two predicaments. The next four weeks of my life will most likely be spent in a crazed stupor of text book reading and test studying and paper writing. The first predicament is that this leaves little time for fun reading. I find it difficult to motivate myself to read for pleasure after hours of Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse. The second predicament is that after these crazy few weeks are over, I will suddenly have a relatively massive amount of fun reading time on my hands. This in itself, I suppose, is not a predicament, but rather that I will surely be overwhelmed by the amount of time I have off and end up spending most of it in a stupor watching bad movies I've already seen. I am not very organized.

It is time for this to change. The following are my five tips for how to cut corners in order to have more time for fun reading now, so that hopefully I won't feel so overwhelmed once winter break is upon us.

1. Don't match socks. Time spent matching socks is time not spent reading. No one can see my feet anyway, unless I'm not wearing my shoes, in which case I'm usually surrounded by people who will never notice.

2. Stop speaking in full sentences. Ev sec counts. Waste no time. READ.

3. Don't leave the house. Any time I leave my apartment, I'm in transit for at least five minutes. Sometimes even fifteen! And forget about going to Denver, I do not have that hour to spare. So no more leaving until they invent teleportation. Teleportation you can accomplish while reading.

4. Wash myself in the sink while doing dishes. Save on water, save the environment, read more.

5. Stop flossing. Okay, this one's a lie. I only tell the dentist I floss so I don't feel guilty when I go in for an appointment... This is time I have been saving all along.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Thanks to Veterans and Their Families

In honor of Veterans' Day, we are offering a 20% discount for those who are serving or have served in the military, as well as their spouses. Thank you for your service!

Where do you take your books?

So here's an article that I found sadly amusing today: Going to the Emergency Room? Bring a Book. It's especially apropros for me this week; my husband ended up in the emergency room in Las Vegas for a locked-up back( really, that's all it was; he's as straight an arrow as you'll find) and I winged it down there to make sure he was okay. I didn't have to go to the emergency room itself-he'd been discharged. But even as I frantically called work, his mom, all the obligations I had that day to make arrangements for a replacement (it happened to be the day that T.C. Boyle was doing his big event), packed and made it to the airport within an hour, I made sure to pack a couple of books. Once I was on that airplane, my book kept me calm and distracted instead of worried and fretting.
If I had gone to the ER I would have had a book in my purse. I always keep several books in my car, just in case I've got to wait somewhere for awhile, or end up eating out alone. Without a book as a backup plan, I feel naked. I remember one plane flight when I absent-mindedly checked my bag, forgetting that my book was stashed in it. Panic! By the way, those airport bookstores do NOT have much in the way of selection. They stock the bestsellers, sure, but I usually want something a bit more offbeat, being pretty familiar with the usual top ten stuff. I picked a book from the airport bookstore nevertheless, an author I hadn't tried but thought I might like and should at least know more about, and was disappointed.
I guess the feelings of panic that I get without a book should disturb me, but they don't. Books comfort and soothe me, and let me slow down my brain and distract myself from the myriad of things that can cause stress during the day. Some people like TV, some people like drugs, some people like food, I like books. (Well, food's not so bad either; hence my cookbook addiction.)
The longer waits in the emergency room described in that article worry me too, but that's a whole different kettle of fish and probably not an opinion you're interested in.

Where do you take your books? How have you used them to comfort yourself?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Those Wacky Price Wars

So you might be aware that Walmart, Amazon, and Target are all trying to kick the sh#! out of each other by undercutting already ridiculously low pricing. Suddenly books are the hot new loss leader, I guess. Here's an article from Shelfawareness, an online newsletter for booksellers and publishers:

The book trade experienced its own version of "scoreboard watching" yesterday as the retail price for John Grisham's newly released Ford County fluctuated, thanks to price maneuvers by Amazon and Wal-Mart.

"It was a weird day in the book price wars," the Associated Press reported, noting that the price of Grisham's short story collection "moved up and down like stock market shares as rivals and extended, then rescinded, their high discounts for top-selling pre-orders."

While Amazon was offering the book for $9, " was selling Ford County for $12 early Tuesday, then cut the price to the pre-order discount of $8.98," the AP wrote. "By Tuesday afternoon, the cost was back up to $11.99 for both online sellers."'s price was $15.

A blow-by-blow account of the price standoff was also featured in the New York Times, which tracked three Tuesday releases--Grisham's Ford County, Barbara Kingsolver's The Lacuna and J. D. Robb's Kindred in Death.

As of Tuesday morning, "Amazon still had those titles priced at $9 while Wal-Mart, which had offered them on pre-order at $8.98, and Target, which had offered pre-orders for $8.99, had raised their prices. At, for example, Ford County was selling for $12, while The Lacuna was $13.50. At, The Lacuna was on sale for $18.89 and Kindred in Death was $17. But by late morning, Amazon had raised its prices--The Lacuna and Kindred in Death, for example, were offered for $13.50--while had cut them again. All three novels that went on sale Tuesday were on sale at for $8.99, but by the afternoon, had raised its prices to just one penny lower than the price for the three titles on Amazon."

This morning, Amazon and Target were selling Ford County for $11.99 and Wal-Mart offered the title for $11.98. Lacuna and Kindred in Death were priced in the $13.49 range, give or take a penny.

I think the lesson here is that none of these businesses really have any clue what they want to accomplish. They're flailing around reactively instead of having any sort of coherent plan. I feel really lucky that we have customers who understand that offering books for below what they cost to produce will only drive more publishers out of business, make authors unable to earn a living wage for their art, and not allow publishers to take a chance on a new author who may or may get a bestseller with their first book. It makes me sad that the discounts we offer in our store (10% on new books with trade credit, 15% on hardback bestsellers, 20% if you print a coupon off our website or use your Be Local book) look so paltry compared to those of companies who aren't afraid to sell at a loss just to get a customer. We'd love to do better, but we just can't and pay our rent or our employees.
However, our customers really seem to understand this. They see the depth of the stock we offer (not just the top 3 bestsellers) and the expertise we have. Our customers really contribute to the great atmosphere we've got in the store. I've seen two customers (who are also friends of mine) meet each other and promptly start giving each other recommendations about the paranormal romances that are their favorite. It's pretty awesome to see the community we've got going here, thanks to them.
Here's a quote from Boulder Bookstore on the price wars:
In Boulder, Colo., 9NEWS checked in with Arsen Kashkashian, head buyer at the Boulder Book Store, for his take on the price wars.

"It's never really happened like this before," he said, noting that he had planned to buy extra copies of the hyper-discounted titles. "From the publishers, a $35 book is going to cost us $18 or $19. So if Target or Amazon wants to sell it for $9, then maybe I can buy 20, 30, 40 copies for the store, he said. "It would have lowered our cost by $500."

Unfortunately, Amazon, Target and Wal-Mart quickly installed rationing policies to discourage such plans. "I don't think they wanted to be the wholesaler," said Kashkashian. "They're looking to capture that piece of the market. But they're not willing to stand behind the price."

Review for "The Surrendered"

One of our customer reviewers, Kathleen Ivy, did this for us. The Surrendered will release March of next year. Look forward to it!

In The Surrendered, Chang-Rae Lee gives readers a gift of lucid prose exploring how individuals cope with the ravages of war and violence. Refusing to either romanticize the subject, or demonize the characters, Lee writes with fluid grace. He provides enough detail to allow a reader to have some substance to base their opinions upon, without giving so much as to lead readers to any particular conclusions. One can find both hope and despair within these pages, and each fully developed character contains the seeds of both hero and anti-hero, just like true human beings.

One of his characters, Sylvie, is a shining example of this. She is both a tireless worker, an adept comforter, a devoted wife and a woman who stumbles with cravings and caves into desires. One of her mentees, June, is also terribly flawed and achingly sweet. She worships Sylvie, works to please her, and finds herself adrift amid her own torn desires to live and to destroy herself. At one point she brings dinner to Sylvie, who is ill. She urges Sylvie to eat, but is convinced to share the meal, consuming most of it in her own natural hunger generated by self-deprivation. When June realizes what she has done she is so ashamed that she vomits her dinner, and feels more like the self she has become accustomed to –hollow and empty. It is a poignant moment, among hundreds of such moments contained in this masterful work.