Thursday, May 23, 2013

BookLikes: A place for people who like books!

So, if you're like many...and by that I'm pretty sure I mean all, of us here at Old Firehouse Books, you were none too happy to hear that GoodReads was bought by Amazon.

You probably thought about getting rid of your GoodReads account but then thought, 'How will I share my love of books with all my friends? Where will I go?' It's okay, we don't judge here at the bookstore (expect for the occasional book by its cover). And no need to stress or feel bad anymore. I have good news!

There is this new site called BookLikes. Justin described it as a Facebook/Tumblr/Pintrest hybrid (was that the three? Meh, close enough.). Which is pretty darn accurate, if I do say so myself. A few of us at the store decided to try it out, see if it was worth making the switch. (Spoiler alert: we decided it was.)

I'll give you a few of the highlights.

First you've got your dashboard, which is where posts from people you follow show up as well as updates about your own activity (like updating your shelf or posting a blog entry).

Then you've got your blog page. This is where you can post a text entry, pictures, a video, or link to another page. This feature is pretty much exactly like Tumblr.

The last thing that is important is your shelf. Here is where you display and record all the books you have read, are currently reading, or are planning to read. I really like this feature because it helps me keep track of all the books I've read (duh). Now, if I'm trying to remember if I've read something I can just check my BookLikes page. Though, I also have to remember to add it to BookLikes...we'll see how that goes.

Anyway, not the most thorough or in-depth review but I'll wrap up by saying BookLikes is a fun, simple to use site that has just what you need for your book-sharing needs. Check it out. I feel pretty sure you'll be happy to leave GoodReads behind with BookLikes now in the picture.

CLICK HERE to go to the BookLikes homepage. 

Until next week, my friends. Happy reading!



Thursday, May 16, 2013

Book Title Hunt

Hello Firehouse friends. It's that time of the week again. I've been rather over worked as of late so today we are going to have a bit of fun.

First of all, let me once again remind you of a couple events we have taking place at the store.

At long last, Mad Scientist Day is almost here! All of us here at the bookstore have been praying and sacrificing to the Colorado Weather gods so we are sure to have lovely weather tomorrow. Yes, the event is tomorrow! We will have lots of fun, easy, hands-on science experiments for kids of all ages to try out. The event runs from 11-2. Stop by and check it out!

Our next in-store event will be on Sunday the 19th. Matthew Wolpe will be talking about his new book Reinventing the Chicken Coop. If you've been considering getting chickens and need some help getting started, this is the event for you. Plus, I made this lovely chicken display you should definitely come take a closer look at. Here's a picture to entice you.

Alright, now for the fun part.

I was tumbling down our Tumblr page the other day and came across this post by Little, Brown and Co.

I thought it sounded like fun, so when I got to the store this afternoon, I asked Justin for his assistance in this book hunting endeavor (don't worry, no books were harmed during this hunt).

We each picked five categories at random and then began to scour our brains and the store for books that met the criteria. It was a bit harder than we both realized to find books that both met our needs and were books that we had read. But, in the end, we came out victorious!

A girl's name: Franny and Zooey by J.D Salinger
An animal: How To Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell (I decided mythical creatures counted as animals)
A place: Moloka'i by Alan Brennert
An adjective: Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris 
A color: Gold by Chris Cleave
A feeling: Book of Longing by Leonard Cohen 
A verb: Looking for Alaska by John Green 
A boy's name: Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card 
A number: Slaughter-house Five by Kurt Vonnegut
Word repeated: Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle

Overall I'd say we have a pretty fantabulous list of books here.

Justin and I agreed that this, while not the most fun we've ever had, was still pretty fun. You should give it a try. Some of the categories are quite hard to fill (Justin picked all of those luckily. Mwahaha!)

Alright my friends, until next time.



Thursday, May 9, 2013

Transitional Book Anxiety (also known as TBA)

Immediately after I typed the 'also known as' bit I realized my initialism (it’s a thing)  also means 'to be announced.' Oh well, those letters don't own that phrase. I do what I want!

Anyway, hello Firehouse friends. It has been quite an exciting week for me. Lots of things are happening! I won't bore you with all the details but know that things are well and the future is looking bright.

Let's catch up on a little store related news, then we can discuss TBA.

Upcoming events include:

Mad Scientist Day! Come have some fun with easy, hands on science experiments. The event will take place from 11-2 on May 17th. This is a teacher work day so the kids will be out of school. You're going to need something to do, right?

Reinvent your chicken coop! Or just invent it for the first time. Matthew Wolpe will be here on May 19th at 3pm to talk chickens. Stop by and learn you something! 

Another thing to mention, the David Sedaris event last night at the Lincoln Center was FANTASTIC! I was at work for the first half of the talk but I showed up about 45min. out from the end of the presentation and got to sit in and hear a bit. 'Twas hilarious. We have tons of signed Sedaris books in the store so stop by and pick one up!

Okay, let us move on to Transitional Book Anxiety.

To begin, I have to give you a bit of background. We have staff pick shelves at the store, like most bookstores do. Since I've started working here, there have always been several books on my pick shelf that I have not read. I recently redid my shelf and have read every book I put on it except one. This book is called Subliminal and I recently gifted it to my boyfriend. This is the next book I plan on reading so I can at last have a pick shelf covered in books I have read.

Here is where the TBA comes in. I finished Let's Explore Diabetes With Owls yesterday, just in time for the David Sedaris event. Subliminal currently resides at my boyfriend's house and I will not be over there again until tomorrow. This means I have almost survived a full day without having in my possession the next book I want to read. And I still have one more day to go.

Sure, there was no guarantee I would've felt the desire to read today or will tomorrow (much less get the chance to read). But what if I had? What if I do!? This, my friends, is what I have named Transitional Book Anxiety: where one finds themselves in between books and without access to the next book they wish to read. TBA can also be experienced when you find yourself unsure of what to read next. a terrible thing to have.

Luckily mine will not last long but others may not be so fortunate. Sure, you might say I could read another book. And under other circumstances I might. But this time, I am on a mission, a mission to have a pick shelf filled with books I have read! And yes, you might ask why I don’t just put a different book on my shelf. Well I say to that, stop poking holes in my dreams!

Ahem. Anyway, just thought I would let you into my anxiety-filled world tonight. I'm sure many of you can relate. Don't worry, we will make it through!

Cheers, and I hope it is a long time before your next bout of TBA.


Sunday, May 5, 2013

I can't eat anything....

Howdy book lovers! I hope your weekend is going well, and you are enjoying the sunshine, birds, and fresh air as I am.

As I was mopping the floors this morning, I had an idea, I thought I would talk about my food allergies (I was by cookbooks) and just how wonderful books are at helping me cope. Anyone with allergies can relate with me, and anyone with multiple allergies or dietary restrictions understands the chaos that is everyday life.

Here is my list:

I don't eat ANY meat but fish and seafood, because any other meats upset my stomach because of an acid problem.
I am allergic to:
and sometimes I have a hard time with
Order a copy today on our website!


I also have a difficult time with acidic foods from time to time like TOMATOES, and PINEAPPLES. (foods I LOVE mind you)

Believe me it is so fun going to the grocery store, out to eat, eat at friend's houses and many other places.

Anyway, as many "issues" as I have and restrictions the best advice, tips, recipes and hope has been found in the world of books! Amazing, even in the world of the internet and all the advice, recipes, blogs, stories and more I still find a good cookbook the most effective means to survive.

I ordered one a while back that I have been madly in love with called Happy Herbivore Abroad it is a vegan cookbook, but that does not hold it back. Full of global fusion recipes, with smart alterations and quick tips, not to mention quick listings at the top of every recipe on if it is Gluten Free, Soy Free, Budget etc. So every meal is chosen with ease and simplicity. I must say this cook book has pretty much kept me alive this semester, since it has been the last 6 months that I have been having the most issues with soy, nuts, and beans.

On our shelves now!
Other great books we have in stock, Allergy-Free and Easy Cooking excludes gluten, wheat, dairy, eggs, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, and sesame! I have a copy of this one at home, and if you want something with more "home-cooking" this is the book. Grilled Cheese anyone? Also, for those that want a little more meat to your diet, this one is great for you.
On our shelves now.

For more vegetarian ideas, 125 Gluten-Free Vegetarian Recipes looks compelling with a great variety of yummy dishes that could please anyone!

So there you are a few suggestions on surviving your cooking woes, but what about eating out?

I LOVE FOOD, I love eating out, I love trying new places and dishes, and anything local, international, and exciting. Guess what? This is not so fun when you fear the stomach ache at the end of the night because something was "contaminated" or when you cheat and eat cheese, cream or other foods you once had a relationship with, and can't quite cut the strings...
On our shelves now!

Eating out can either be painless or absolute misery. With multiple restrictions you fear that the server will spit in your food, or ignore your concerns, or both when you list off everything you can't eat. I'm the annoying customer "Um, hi, so does this have soy or dairy in it? Because I see it is GLUTEN FREE but I can't have soy, or dairy..." and mose the time they are raelly understanding, but occasionally you get a look or a "I don't know" or "ummmm it's fine, yeah, you'll be okay"( To this one I always end up sick...arrrgghhh).

There is hope yet! I found a gem today, which prompted this blog Quick Check Guide to Gluten-Free Foods. How cool is this? I can look up restaurants and brands and see just what I can or can't eat, and it even list all the nutrition facts so you are up to date on calories, fat, sugar, sodium etc. This would be the perfect travel companion for the United States, an instant savior with faced with unknown restaurants across the country.

However, the biggest part of the book is about grocery items that are safe, unsafe and what is in them.

So, if you often have a moment of panic and tears like I sometimes do in the grocery store where you not so quietly whine "I can't eat anything!" here is some hope. Stay strong allergy sufferers, you will find a balance and plenty of wonderful foods to eat, I promise. Oh, and if you want some personal help come in on the weekends and chat with me, Rebecca, and I'll offer my own experience and recomendations.


Thursday, May 2, 2013

Events, Contests, and Owls

Hello Firehouse friends! It is that time once again. I sit here behind the counter and regale you with whatever I find of interest...or whatever Kelsey and Justin tell me to write about. It's usually good stuff so I don't mind (love you Kelsey and Justin!).

First, I shall give you a rundown of upcoming store events.

Mad Scientist Day will be taking place on Friday, May 17th. We will have fun, easy, hands-on experiments for kids, parents, really anyone who loves science. The event will run from 11-2. It's a teacher work day and the kids will be out of school. No excuses! You'll need something to do, right?

The following Sunday (the 19th) Matthew Wolpe, author of Reinventing the Chicken Coop, will be in the store signing books and hopefully talking about chickens! And their coops, of course. If you've been considering bringing chickens into your home 1) you should because home grown chicken eggs are delicious and 2) chickens are endlessly entertaining. Stop by and get you some chicken knowledge! The event starts at 3pm.

Last, and probably most importantly, we have EIGHT DAYS LEFT to get votes for our Khaled Hosseini display. Remember, if we win the contest, Khaled Hosseini will grace us with his presence right here in FoCo! So please, CLICK HERE and vote for us! All you need is to give your name and email. Thank you!

Okay, I think that has gotten all the housekeeping things out of the way. Now for the creative part which, I will admit, I am lacking in tonight. But here it goes anyway.

I recently became familiar with the work of David Sedaris. I made the decision to pick up one of his books because he will be in Fort Collins on May 8th giving a talk at the Lincoln Center. Though I will not be working at the event, I figured it would still be wise to familiarize myself with the author's work so I could better sell his books. And I'm always looking for something new to read.

The book I read was Me Talk Pretty One Day. The title alone is interesting and mildly humorous, but the book itself is immensely entertaining and hilarious.

Sedaris has his own brand of humor to be sure. It can be dry, sadistic and cynical at times. If this isn't your idea of funny, you probably shouldn't pick up a Sedaris book. While I enjoy Sedaris' somewhat sick sense of humor, what I really admire about his writing, and really just him as a person, is that he is incredibly honest. He tells stories of his life and hides nothing of his experience from the reader. He captures and expresses what I believe to be many universal human responses and emotions. And what is most refreshing is he is not ashamed of any of them.

Okay, that last statement may have been a little too bold but the point is he is still putting them out there for other people to be aware of and that takes guts. I bring up Sedaris in this post because 1) he has a new book out and 2) he is coming to the Lincoln Center on May 8th, as I mentioned earlier. I will sadly not be able to attend the talk but I will be skulking around the lobby waiting for the presentation to finish so I can meet the man and get my book signed. Should be fun!

If you were lucky enough to get tickets for the event, hurray for you! If you weren't lucky enough to get tickets to the event, come skulk in the lobby with me! If you don't care either way, well fine, be that way.

Stop by the store and pick up a copy of David Sedaris' new book Let's Explore Diabetes With Owls. If you buy it early you can beat the rush at the actual event and get in line for a signature first. Whoo!

That is all for tonight my friends. Next week's blog will be a surprise! (Seriously, I don't even know what it will be about yet.)