Sunday, March 23, 2014

why you should be reading right now

It seems somewhat ironic that you are reading a blog for tips on why you should put down the tablet and go read that novel you just bought, but an article on Huffington Post caught our attention on 7 Unconventional Reasons Why You Absolutely Should Be Reading Books. 
The list is as follows:
1. Reading can chill you out.
2.It could help keep your brain sharp.
3. And it might even stave off Alzheimer’s disease.
4. Reading may help you sleep better.
5.Getting lost in a good book could also make you more empathetic.
6. Self-help books, on the other hand, can ease depression.
7. It’s Fun!
There is also a lot of research to indicate that it helps kids too!

This link has 20 reasons why you should get your kid’s into books at a young age too. The benefits include a better vocabulary, builds independence and self confidence, and increases knowledge. Which is likely true for every reader at every age!
Of course there are 1000 other lists of reasons to be reading, and you probably have your very own special reasons (SHARE BELOW) as to why it’s always a good time for a good read.
~Rebecca Robinson

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Oscar Books

These titles that are up for the best movie of the year were at one point books. As lovers of books we always have to encourage the reading of books so here is a list of oscar reads to devour before or after the “winner” is announced.



Now a major motion picture starring Judi Dench and Steve Coogan and nominated for four Academy Awards: the heartbreaking true story of an Irishwoman and the secret she kept for 50 years
When she became pregnant as a teenager in Ireland in 1952, Philomena Lee was sent to a convent to be looked after as a “fallen woman.” Then the nuns took her baby from her and sold him, like thousands of others, to America for adoption. Fifty years later, Philomena decided to find him.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic, Philomena’s son was trying to find her. Renamed Michael Hess, he had become a leading lawyer in the first Bush administration, and he struggled to hide secrets that would jeopardize his career in the Republican Party and endanger his quest to find his mother.
A gripping exposé told with novelistic intrigue, Philomena pulls back the curtain on the role of the Catholic Church in forced adoptions and on the love between a mother and son who endured a lifelong separation. ~Indiebound

12 Years a Slave
Now a major motion picture nominated for nine Academy Awards and starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Dano, Paul Giamatti, Lupita Nyong’o, Sarah PaulsonBrad Pitt, Alfre Woodard, and Quvenzhan√© Wallis, and directed by Steve McQueen

Perhaps the best written of all the slave narratives, Twelve Years a Slave is a harrowing memoir about one of the darkest periods in American history. It recounts how Solomon Northup, born a free man in New York, was lured to Washington, D.C., in 1841 with the promise of fast money, then drugged and beaten and sold into slavery. He spent the next twelve years of his life in captivity on a Louisiana cotton plantation.
After his rescue, Northup published this exceptionally vivid and detailed account of slave life. It became an immediate bestseller and today is recognized for its unusual insight and eloquence as one of the very few portraits of American slavery produced by someone as educated as Solomon Northup, or by someone with the dual perspective of having been both a free man and a slave. ~Indiebound
Wolf of Wall Street
Now a major motion picture directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Leonardo DiCaprio
By day he made thousands of dollars a minute. By night he spent it as fast as he could. From the binge that sank a 170-foot motor yacht and ran up a $700,000 hotel tab, to the wife and kids waiting at home and the fast-talking, hard-partying young stockbrokers who called him king, here, in Jordan Belfort’s own words, is the story of the ill-fated genius they called the Wolf of Wall Street. In the 1990s, Belfort became one of the most infamous kingpins in American finance: a brilliant, conniving stock-chopper who led his merry mob on a wild ride out of Wall Street and into a massive office on Long Island. It’s an extraordinary story of greed, power, and excess that no one could invent: the tale of an ordinary guy who went from hustling Italian ices to making hundreds of millions—until it all came crashing down. ~Indiebound

Captain Philips or A Captain’s Duty (book)
“I share the country’s admiration for the bravery of Captain Phillips and his selfless concern for his crew. His courage is a model for all Americans.”
–President Barack Obama
It was just another day on the job for fifty-three-year-old Richard Phillips, captain of the Maersk Alabama, the United States-flagged cargo ship which was carrying, among other things, food and agricultural materials for the World Food Program. That all changed when armed Somali pirates boarded the ship. The pirates didn’t expect the crew to fight back, nor did they expect Captain Phillips to offer himself as hostage in exchange for the safety of his crew. Thus began the tense five-day stand-off, which ended in a daring high-seas rescue when U.S. Navy SEALs opened fire and picked off three of the captors.
“It never ends like this,” Captain Phillips said.
And he’s right.
A Captain’s Duty tells the life-and-death drama of the Vermont native who was held captive on a tiny lifeboat off Somalia’s anarchic, gun-plagued shores. A story of adventure and courage, it provides the intimate details of this high-seas hostage-taking–the unbearable heat, the death threats, the mock executions, and the escape attempt. When the pirates boarded his ship, Captain Phillips put his experience into action, doing everything he could to safeguard his crew. And when he was held captive by the pirates, he marshaled all his resources to ensure his own survival, withstanding intense physical hardship and an escalating battle of wills with the pirates. This was it: the moment where training meets instinct and where character is everything. Richard Phillips was ready. ~Indiebound

Happy Reading
~Rebecca Robinson

Saturday, February 22, 2014

why we love social media

Social Media is a big deal in this day and age, not only is it a means for communication but is quickly becoming THE means for communication around the world. Not only does this mean you are sharing photos with your friends but also news, ideas, quotes, images, memes, gifs, jokes, events and many other exciting things. Here at the bookstore it works as all of those things are more.

My personal favorite part of social media in relation to books is the sharing of not onlt books to read, but the thoughts surrounding every bit of the book. Instantly I can read reviews, essays, even full blown thesis’s on an authors works. I can talk to many different people about books, about book selling, about book buying. I can meet scholars I would never have met otherwise. I can share with all of you wonderful booky people what I love about certain titles, how it helped me through a tough spot, the joy picking up a classic book from childhood cna bring. I get to share that with an infinite amount of people, in return and infinite amount of people can share with me.

Beyond books it offeres a chance to share art, quotes, home decor, and geeky t-shirts, because even though they are literary themed they are more than just a book shelf, a library, or a coffee mug.
What is beautiful about all of our social media is the fact that we can share many different things of beauty and interest. Many different formats, many different interactions and many different links to the world. Having those links to the world is very special to me and everyone that works in the bookstore, so that even if we never see your face in person, we know you cared, we had a moment, we shared pieces of human existence.

Because you care, we happy dance.

~Rebecca Robinson

Saturday, February 15, 2014

How To: survive college in a few simple reads

I am a senior at Colorado State University, set to graduate in December, a double History and Journalism major and totally overwhelmd by readings for every class. The good news is that there is always the option to step away from thick history texts and jump into more lighthearted fair. The books I have found over the last three years have been all over in their content and subject matter, but they all have helped me get through the stress that is being in University.
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith
Totally not what you would expect a history buff to read, but as my current fiction this book rocks! It is well written, with beyond the whole vampire thing, few historical mess-ups. As long as you take it for fun, love a narration with flourishing characters, and need something different to enjoy, this is a book for you!
Bossypants by Tina Fey
I did theater in high school so this had a natural draw for me, along with the whole 30 Rock thing oh and Saturday Night Live. Tina Fey is a hoot and a half, the whole book left you laughing from page to page, maybe I related to the stories more than the average 23-year-old (I tend to be more socially awkward than most), but it is not to be missed and will take the edge off of that D you got on that paper you bled your heart into.

The Signature of All Things, by Elizabeth Gilbert
THIS fueled my love of history fires, though it is a fiction it is so well researched, written, pieced together and BEAUTIFUL that it deserves a place on this list. Read it, just read it, it helps with the whole escapism thing along with being very relaxing as you pretend you get to be in these places with the leading lady.
Siddhartha by Herman Hesse
If you are really overwhelmed this is a great read to calm your soul and think at the same time. The book is short and mobile, and perfect for late night stresses or your bus ride, or lunch break between classes.

Of course there are many other beauties out there, and poetry should not be overlooked, I delve into my Rumi, Robert Burns, and Emily Dickinson volumes quite frequently.

What are the books that helped you get through college?
-Rebecca Robinson

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Geeky Garments

At the bookstore, all of us staff enjoy wearing favorite authors on our sleeves. Some of us have shirts, sweaters, tote bage, and buttons. The items have quotes and art reflecting a favorite snarky statement or beautiful cover art. And recently we have started to sell such items in our store. We have started selling different Out of Print shirts and tote bags. this is not only for the geeky employees but also so our dedicated customers can gladly sport a Very Hungry Caterpillar shirt in an adult size without feeling too much shame.
We all love the shirts! And we can order any from the company for a simple request, not to mention they're probably the nicest quality t-shirts I have ever owned or sold.
Of course this brings up more interest in, just what all is out there for literary geeks? Well dear reader this is what I found, an array of jouyous items on the interwebs for book geeks!
How about an F. Scott Fitzgerald magnet set?
F. Scott Fitzgerald magnet set
Or a William Shakespeare bracelet
battle of wits Shakespeare acrylic engraved bracelet
How about Hitchhiker's Guide Underwear?
Mostly Harmless Douglas Adams Hitchhikers guide to the galaxy womens ladies Underpants Underwear
This Hobbit inspired mug is pretty great!
I love you like a hobbit loves second breakfast coffee mug
Of course there is then a million and one Harry Potter items, but I was quite amused with this Polyjuice Flask!
My personal favorite finding from today must be this Oscar Wilde Clutch.
Printed Romantic Oscar Wilde SMALL clutch in dupion and printed satin. Unique, designed by Baba Studio.
Do you have a favorite geek item you love to show off? Wear to parties? Pull out for parties?
Thanks for reading,
Rebecca Robinson

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Laughter, Please

The thing I love about books is there ability to create an emotional reaction in me, whether laughter or tears, anger, hatred, love, sympathy or any other combination I want t book that makes me feel something. I imagine most of you are the same, and crave for any type of entertainment that sparks something, anything in the entertained. That would be the definition, right? That if anything is doing its job as entertainment- it entertains...okay well no duh.
Those that make you go...
Anyway, I am particularely thinking how much I love to laugh at books, and books that are so ridiculous I can't control myself from laughing a full belly laugh out loud, maybe in public, maybe in class, maybe on the bus. Of course it gives new meaning to "laugh out loud" when the crazy person on the bus starts laughing for no reason while reading, but oh well. I figure I am having a better day than anyone else if I can have a good laugh for "no reason".
Douglas Adams, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Series
Sarah Vowell, Take the Cannoli
Sherman Alexie, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
Lousie Rennison, Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging
William Goldman, The Princess Bride
What makes you laugh? Laugh until it hurts? Laugh until you cry? Laugh until your partner wants to lock you up? Makes you laugh in public and get weird looks?

At least this last gif should give you a giggle.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Collecting Books

Since I work at a bookstore, and since you are reading this you probably know I work at a book store, and thus that information was arbitrary.
Anyway, since I work at a bookstore…. I own a lot of books. The problem is as follows.
GREAT used book comes in, and I MUST have it, because it is a HARDCOVER version of DUBLINERS and I only have a cheap PAPERBACK version.
Advanced Reader Copy comes into the story by a beloved author, so I MUST take it home to read it…in about three years when it is already released because it is at the bottom of my reading list. Oh wait, here is another one with a cool cover about medical history….that one is coming home too.
NEW book comes in that everyone at the bookstore has read and loves loves loves, I’ll take one of everything,
It is a problem. I mean before I even started working here going into a bookstore was a dangerous idea, since I would empty out my wallet faster that you could say “George R.R. Martin killed another character” (I don’t read George R.R. Martin by mu co-worker said it would work in this instance). Since I started working here, it is only worse, naturally, I get a discount, I get free books, I get gifts of books from my librarian mother and history geek father, I keep text books that inspire me. I have an entire bookcase I JUST bought full to the brim with books I need TO READ. Most people have stacks, a shelf, a few they NEED TO READ, nope I have an entire bookcase. Welcome to my life, books in everyroom, every shelf, every corner, every table. And one day I hope to have this library:

What are your book collecting woes, habits, complaints and musings?
~Rebecca Robinson

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Natasha Wing book giveaway!

‘Twas the night before my birthday…

Natasha Wing, author of The Night Before series and a friend to all of us here at Old Firehouse Books, is releasing the 17th book (wow!) of her series for kids age 3-7. 

Her new book is titled, The Night Before My Birthday and is quite the party. Kids look forward to their birthdays almost as much as they do for holidays like Christmas. The excitement starts building from the very first day of your birthday month and reaches its peak the night before. Natasha Wing captures wonderfully the anticipation, excitement and joy that come along with the night before such a big event.

The book is written from the view of the birthday child. This is great, as it allows the child to really feel like they’re a part of the story, like their birthday is really tomorrow (and maybe it is!). This also allows the book to be gender neutral so it is perfect for any child!

The Night Before My Birthday will be available on January 16th

To celebrate the release, Old Firehouse Books is hosting a giveaway! Natasha is donating 5 copies of her book to giveaway to our patrons. To enter just send an email to, with the subject line, “It’s my birthday!” Be sure to include your name and phone number. Entering this contest will also sign you up for the Old Firehouse Books e-newsletter (which is where the winners will be announced).
Natasha was also kind enough to answer a few questions about her inspirations and upcoming work. Enjoy!

1. What made you decide to start writing children's books?
I was working in advertising and wanted to do something more creative, not just writing copy for ads. And I loved children's books, so I decided to try it, and if I didn't sell any stories, I'd go back to advertising.

2.  What was your most memorable birthday party as a kid? Were there ever any ice cream emergencies?
I was most excited when the boy I had a crush came to my birthday party (maybe my 7th?) and gave me a silver dollar for a present. No ice cream emergencies that I remember. That would have been terrible for a family whose relatives were in the ice cream business! I do have a cat, though, but she hasn't shown any liking for ice cream, like the cat in the book.

3.  Do you have any ambitions to write books for older audiences, such as young adult or teen readers?
Yes! I have a middle grade novel being shopped around. I do like writing for that age group versus writing for teens. And maybe a novel for adults some day. I'm in the process of reissuing a self-published cook book I did ten years ago about pie bakers and their recipes. I'm enjoying revisiting the stories and redesigning it for e-book and on-demand printing. New challenges.

4.  What made you decide to write books in the style of The Night Before Christmas?
I liked that book as a kid so when I wanted to write an Easter book (Easter was another of my favorite holidays - I love bunnies!) I thought of how waiting for the Easter Bunny was a lot like anticipating Santa's visit. So I flashed on using that story structure to tell the Easter story.

5.  Can you give our readers a hint as to what to expect from you next?
The Night Before Hanukkah is being illustrated and will come out this year. I'm also tossing around ideas for new Night Befores - the dance recital? 4th of July? I also have a manuscript with editors to consider about the founders of the National Park Service. The 100th anniversary is in 2016 so the book-making process needs to start soon. Cross your fingers an editor wants to publish it!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Among the million and one great things about books, there is always the aspect of a non-fiction or fiction telling you about a certain area in the world, a subject, a person, a story, a legend ex cetera. As I think on books I have read and what they have taught me there is a long list of great stories that have revealed aspects of the world to me.

Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt gave me a glimpse of extreme 20th century poverty in Ireland, and the perseverance of a people. 

Cleopatra by Stacy Schiff gave me a glimpse of the sophisitcated cross-cultural, wealthy, luxurious, political game that existed in the last century BCE.

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert revealed the power of healing in travel, and self-exploration, that no matter hte heartbreak one can come back swinging. 

Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf, though a fiction, gave me a sense of understanding suicide, and the feelings of wanting to leave, to escape, to drift and the impact that WWI had on England's skeleton.

Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson informed me that my crazy thoughts are not so uncommon, and odd events just tend to follow some people around in their life.

Holy Cow by Sarah MacDonald was a gateway into inspiring me to get up and travel the world without anyone's permission but my own. 

The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff reminded me to slow down and love on the little things in life, and not question every piece that comes flying towards me.
What books have taught you about the world? Got you to do something? Inspired action?

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Stories from Childhood

Reminiscing on favorite tales from childhood usually brings up warm fuzzies. Feelings of joy, excitement, adventure, place, love, interest, and warmth (you probably have a few adjectives to add to that list). Lately I have been thinking about the books that helped define me from my youth. There is no doubt I would have become a reader without these titles, since my mother was a librarian and the house never appeared less than exploding with books. Yet these books helped push me forward in reading. They assisted in me jumping into the pool that is story-telling, the lands of adventure, the journeys of self exploration. They not only made me believe in characters and their abilities, but also in the beauty that was creating a great story for all ages to enjoy and cherish.

The first and foremost story for me was Harry Potter, sparked from a 3rd grade teacher reading us the first book aloud and from the first page I was completely and utterly addicted to the story. I remember waiting all through the day for the moment she would read us the next chapter, and then when it was over I could hardly wait to read the second and third and....all the way to book seven, all eight movies and many fan books, mini books, and sheet sets later I am still an avid Potter fan. I will happily admit to owning a full Gryffindor house uniform and a wand and added a tattoo to my leg to commemorate my love for the stories. Regardless of the material objects and ink, I think there is something so remarkable in the way those books allowed me to daydream. They brought me great ideas, stories of my own, games to play with friends, and that I should never be ashamed of my poor vision, shortness, nerdiness, bookwormishness or any other parts of me; because those parts of me could very well save the world from "You-Know-Who".

On a totally different note Little House on the Prarie was greatly influential over the years my mother read my sister's and I all of the books. In less of a magic powers kind of way, these stories told me about how lucky I was to live in the age I did, but also how remarkable and commited people were to survival and that terrible circumstances could be overcome without magic powers. This most importantly taught me a respect for the people of the past and their hardships, and is probably a reason why I am a history major.

Back to the fantasy realm, I loved How Droofus the Dragon Lost His Head. This books had a habit of scaring me at first when I was little, because who wanted the cute dragon to lose his noggin? Anyway, I think this story taught me the value of kindness, not judging a book by its cover, and that the scariest looking things can be the most wonderful on the inside. I like the idea of embracing gentleness over agression as well, even if the world is agressive to you; one simply has to let their goodliness and light shine through. I have also always wanted a pet dragon and this was probably one of the first stories to convince me what a wonderful idea that would be. Along with the movie Pete's Dragon my love for the large and scaly has been a lifelong adoration, which explains an interest in paleontology and love of lizards, but ironically not birds.

What books defined you as a kid and today? What books do you like to reread today or share with the kiddos in your life?