Tuesday, December 29, 2009

52 Books in 52 Weeks

I have a mild obsession with lists.

1. Making them.
2. Reading them.
3. Occasionally completing things on them.

Luckily, my good friend The Internet supplies me with all sorts of lists this time of year. Best of, Worst of...

And this one, though an older list, is still one of my favorites: What is Stephen Harper Reading?

This week, I'm finishing my list of 52 books to read in 2010, a la Largehearted Boy.

A few of those titles...

1. Western by Christine Montalbetti
2. Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin
3. The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry by Alan Kaufman (Editor)

Are there any books that you might recommend I add?

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

We're Thankful

In the spirit of the holiday season, I just wanted to take a minute to express how thankful we at Old Firehouse Books all are for the incredible customer support we've received this holiday season. We were frankly terrified at the idea of moving our bookstore in April. It's a risk, one that could have lost us a lot of regular customers. And it probably did lose us some people- those who didn't want to drive downtown, those who were afraid they couldn't find a place to park, those who think any change is bad change. But those who found us, helped us organize for our opening, and supported us with sales in the last months... you've made us a success. There's a lot of grim tidings out there about the economy, and small businesses certainly seem to be taking the brunt of it. We've managed to buck the trend and keep all of our marvelous employees. We've updated our website and e-newsletter, started Facebook, Myspace and twitter accounts. We've started more book clubs and done more author signings. We've grown and changed and looking back, it's been pretty incredible.
So for those of you who say, "I shop here because I want to support a local bookstore," it's WORKING!! You've helped us pay for our move and renovations and make a successful go of it downtown. We know you've been wanting a local bookstore downtown, and we plan to be that local bookstore far into the future. You've done something good. Your efforts have helped not only us, but everybody who now has the option of shopping at a local bookstore and getting customer service from staff who live and breathe books. You rock. Thanks- we'll do our best to live up to all you've done for us.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Book pictures!

We love books so here are some awesome collections of them.
Also, this first picture is of the Kansas City Library in Missouri. I might have to take a road trip out there this spring. ^_^

Review of Marian Keyes' "The Brightest Star in the Sky

Thanks to Kathleen Ivy, one of our customer reviewers (and friends)

Marian Keyes fans are in for a treat with The Brightest Star in the Sky. Full of the snappy dialogue and heart-hitting zingers Keyes is known for, this newest novel gives us a cast of heroines who are flawed in ways that make us relate to them all the more. Like the shoe hoarding, bed time story queen Katie who wants her own baby to read to and a man who puts her at the top of his list – not somewhere along the line, and Lydia who storms the castle of modern medicine to champion her unstable, ungrateful mother, and desires a cure for the common boyfriend. It is a mix of technology and myth with stolen identities, text messaging, and rampant (not always consensual) sex overseen and critiqued by a spirit seeking rebirth. Odd and yet compelling, death, despair, numbing banality, mysticism and rock-hard reality combine in this book that pulses with hope amid the wreckage of semi-failed relationships and the confusion inherent in living.

This title is due out in March of 2010. Be on the lookout for it!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Books That Make You Dumb

Ever wonder what book the "smart people" are reading? Well, thanks to Virgil Griffith your questions are answered. Using the joined powers of Facebook and CollegeBoard.com, he has created a graph showing us exactly which books are for smart people and which are for the less-than-bright.

Of course, all this information needs to be taken with a grain (or two) of salt. Facebook is never the most reliable source of information, and also the SAT scores he uses are out of date. And I don't think I even need to mention that these results on include college students who have a Facebook on which they listed their favorite books. You're all smart enough to figure that out, though.

So according to this, smart people read Lolita or 100 Years of Solitude and dumb people read Zane. (I haven't even heard of Zane, unless they're referring to Zane Grey books.) People who list their favorite book as "The Bible" are smarter than people who like "The Holy Bible." What this all means, I don't know, but I think it's pretty entertaining. He also made one about music that's equally interesting and equally skewed. I'm pleased to report that smart people listen to Radiohead and not Lil' Wayne, but that's just a matter of taste.


Monday, December 14, 2009

Tips for Holiday Shopping

Dear Book Fans,
It's time for holiday shopping! (Duh.) Okay, maybe I'm a little behind, but I'm sure I'm not the only procrastinator out there. This year, make Old Firehouse Books your one-stop Christmas shopping experience!

"What?!" You're probably remarking to yourself as you read. "Only buy books for Christmas?! OUTRAGEOUS!" How dare I even suggest it! But yes, you can do it! I double-dog dare you. Even those loved ones who aren't so crazy about reading can be wooed this year by your amazing book-choosing skills. After all, a scented candle never changed anyone's life.

The following are a few tips I've compiled for finding the perfect book for everyone on your list. I've been inspired by my mother for this one, who will never let a year pass without giving everyone at least one book. It can be done! Here's how.

How to Buy a Book for the Non-Reader:
-If you have access to this person's room, whether they are a family member or a close friend, start snooping. Don't be too invasive here, just scan the room for any book at all. Most people will have one or two lying around. This is a great place to start.
-Pay attention in conversation. Maybe name drop a book you've read recently and judge their reaction. They might even mention a few of their own favorites from the past.
-Try to stick with a familiar author. If you find a book in their room, or they mention someone in conversation, stick with them.
-If they've already read that author's collection, or if the other books don't look quite as appealing, don't be afraid to ask for help! We at Old Firehouse Books are not short of suggestions, in fact for most of us that's the best part of the job. If you can give us one author's name, we can usually find someone else that they're going to love.
-In case everything above fails, there are a few sure steps you can take. Depending on the age and interests of your subject, a comedy (like David Sedaris' Naked) or adventure (like Denis Lehane's Shutter Island) is a good call. A lot of people will be drawn in by books made into movies, and graphic novels as well.

Don't be afraid! We are here to help you find that perfect book for that special person, whether or not they even know they want it! Now go buy a book!

January Events at Old Firehouse BOOKS! (updated)

Here we are already! It's already the middle of December, and things have been flying by at a breakneck pace! This time we decided to send word out, of our events for January, early so that everyone has more time to prepare, what with all of the holiday shenanigans. So here you have it, and we look forward to seeing all of you in the store! May your days be merry and bright! And hopefully all of your book pages are white.

Event: Signing with Terry Kroening and launch of Teacher Appreciation Discounts!

When: January 9 at 12pm

Where: 232 Walnut St.

Contact Information: 970-484-7898, oldfirehousebooks.com

Old Firehouse Books is now going to offer all teachers with school ID a 10% discount. We admire teachers and want to show our appreciation for all the hard work that they do. To kick off this new program, we have two kids’ events at the store. We’ll be featuring the authors of Artsy Fartsy, a great new book for kids who loved Diary of a Wimpy Kid. It will get your kid more interested in creativity, too! We will also have Terry Kroening, author of Brimstone and Lily, another wonderful imaginative book for kids who have moved past Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Expect lots of fun for your kids to watch and do!

Event: Open Book Group

When: January 10 at 1pm

Where: 232 Walnut St.

Contact Information: 970-484-7898, oldfirehousebooks.com

This month we will be discussing Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay. The book is a story within a story: a French journalist and her marriage, as well as the Holocaust story that she is researching. This heartbreaking book is a very different take on World War II and the Holocaust.

Event: Untitled Book Group

When: January 11 at 6:30pm

Where: 232 Walnut St.

Contact Information: 970-484-7898, oldfirehousebooks.com

Interested in the local food movement? Come join us for a discussion of Plenty by Alisa Smith and J.B. Mackinnon. Find out how the authors of this book managed to eat completely locally for one year even in the chilly environment of western Canada. If you liked Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, you’ll love this book!

Event: Strange World Science Fiction Book Club

When: January 14 at 6pm

Where: 232 Walnut St.

Contact Information: 970-484-7898, oldfirehousebooks.com

You’ll want to read this month’s selection next to a roaring fire with a hot beverage. The Terror by Dan Simmons is a fictionalized account of the true story of a British expedition that went missing while searching for the Northwest Passage. Hugo-winning Simmons is at the top of his craft in this terrifying yarn of ships locked in ice, mutinous crews, and a terrifying creature that has all the advantages in the frozen North.

Event: First Meeting of the Traps and Trenchcoats Mystery Book Club

When: January 18 at 6pm

Where: 232 Walnut St.

Contact Information: 970-484-7898, oldfirehousebooks.com

For our first meeting, we will be discussing Postern of Fate by Agatha Christie. This classic is the last book that Christie wrote before her death. She is the world’s best known mystery author, with over 80 novels to her credit and one of the most prestigious mystery novel awards named after her.

Event: First meeting of Cooking the Books Cookbook Book Club

When: January 21 at 6:30pm

Where: 232 Walnut St.

Contact Information: 970-484-7898, oldfirehousebooks.com

This book club can only accept a limited number of members due to its nature, so please contact the store to let us know you’d like to join. For our first meeting, we will do a recipe swap, so bring some copies of a favorite recipe of yours that you’d like to share. We’ll get to know each other and go over the ground rules for the club. Each month, we’ll be sharing delicious food and getting to know some great new cookbooks!

Event: Poetry Reading with Constance Stadler

When: January 23 at 12pm

Where: 232 Walnut St.

Contact Information: 970-484-7898, oldfirehousebooks.com

Pushcart Award nominee Contance Stadler will be doing a reading from her latest work, Responsorials, as well as signing her book. Come be intrigued and challenged by her poems exploring male and female duality.

Event: Book Signing/Reading with Ray Martinez

When January 30 at 12pm

Where: 232 Walnut St.

Contact Information: 970-484-7898, oldfirehousebooks.com

Join Ray Martinez and the subject of his new book, Mai Tran, for a reading and talk about From Darkness to Light, Mr. Martinez’s new book. This book details the amazing journey of a man determined to make his way in a new country in order to provide a better life for his family.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Christmas Shopping time!!!

Christmas is just around the corner! Up until this moment I have been running like crazy trying to keep up with my mostly busy life and get all my school stuff done for the year. It's been wild and I haven't even thought of gifts yet. Until now that is...( I just finished my last class!)
Never fear procrastinators! There is still time! Even to special order a book! We can special order a book and have it in by Christmas if you place your order by December 16th. We also sell gifts certificates in the store and we can increment them for as much (or if you are a student like me! or as little...) as you want. Gift certificates make excellent gifts for that hard to shop for someone or that person in your life that has read everything!
Our staff here at the bookstore excels in giving recommendations and helping you find a book for that special someone. Each of us is well read and we all have different tastes and ideas so ask around! We are here to assist you.
We also have a holiday catalog that you can pick up and any book out of it is 20% off when you use the coupon on the back! Check out our display shelves with all the awesome books from the catalog just as you walk in the door.
Here at Old Firehouse Books we are prepared for the holidays-even if you aren't! Stop in, talk to the staff, check out our displays and get that shopping list out of the way! We can't wait to see you!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


It's cold!
If you must leave the house today, come into Old Firehouse Books to stock up because it's only going to get colder.

Monday, December 7, 2009

"I'm the one thing you can't kill...I am hope."

That quote is from the book I'll be reviewing: Mistborn (a.k.a. The Final Empire) by Brandon Sanderson.

This book is a truly awe-inspiring fantasy epic. Its setting is a wholly original world with a mix of Gothic and Victorian influences, some Kung Fu/Matrix-style battle scenes, very believable (and almost worldly possible) systems of "magic", and very relevant philosophies/morals peppered in, resulting in it becoming my #1 favorite sci-fi/fantasy novel.
The story takes place in "The Central Dominance" of "The Final Empire", which is ruled by "The Lord Ruler" who is supposedly immortal, and a sliver of God. The first twist is that the oppressive, tyrant Lord Ruler was the "Epic Hero" who saved the world from an intangible, destructive, evil force. He obviously, however, used his power for evil as he currently dominates all the land, and along with his nobility enslaves the "lesser" race of people, known as "Skaa". Sanderson's story begins with a mysterious living legend named "Kelsier". He survived a death sentence from the Lord Ruler, and now is out to seek revenge, and a changed world for the Skaa, by putting together a crew of the best Skaa outlaws and overthrowing the Final Empire. A task regarded by most as utterly impossible.
The leading lady of this book is "Vin": a 16-year-old, scrawny, timid Skaa thief who is rescued by Kelsier and made part of his crew. They soon realize, however, that she possesses the same intrinsic abilities as Kelsier, so he begins training her in the powers of a "Mistborn".
The primary system of "magic" is called "Allomancy", and it has to do with ingesting flakes/beads of pure metals (pewter, tin, steel, iron, copper, etc.) and then "burning" them-using up their energy for the powers they grant. The most noticeable & powerful power of allomancy is the ability to push/pull metal objects. So they carry around bags of coins, and throw them on the ground in order to push themselves off of the coins and essentially "fly" around the city.

Honestly, I saw very few problems with the story, and those that I did observe were so minute that others might not even see them. Overall this book is almost perfect! It has well-crafted characters, well-written dialogue, well-thought-out plots, scams and intrigue, amazing battles and plenty of jaw-dropping twists to leave the reader feeling as though they're a part of the story and good friends with the characters. I personally found myself very attached, and caring greatly when things happened to them. All in all, this book is AWESOME!

There are two more books in the "Mistborn Series", and Brandon has stated that he would really like to write an offshoot of the Mistborn series set in more modern times. I would recommend this book/series to anyone who enjoyed "The Lies of Locke Lamora" by Scott Lynch. While definitely not as gritty, graphic and vulgar, they do have some things in common. If you're looking for a very original world, with characters you can feel and plots you certainly won't expect, then this book is for you!