Sunday, November 27, 2011

First Officer's Log No 42: Holidays Around the Corner

The Haunted Bookshop has stocked up on some new items, for your reading and having fun pleasure.

Nialle just ordered a whole bunch of brand new games, so we have some old favorites like Scrabble and Parcheesi, and new hits like Apples to Apples, Settlers of Cataan, and Carcasonne. For the people in your life who love the Killer Bunnies and the Quest for the Magic Carrot series (and if you've ever been present in-shop when a game is going on, you know the hilarity that can result), we now have Munchkin, by Steve Jackson Games, illustrated by the one and only Jon Kovalic (if you are unfamiliar with his comic strip Dork Tower, then you owe it to yourself to click the link and indulge in some silly, geeky humor).

W e have one brand new puppet in stock, a very cute puppy dog, who makes a great compliment to the orange tabby kitten puppet. Personally, I like the puppy more; it's the perfect size for smaller kids just learning the puppets, and great for adults, like me, who have small hands. It's cute, and, if you make it shake, its ears make rattling noises. There are tiny beads in the ears of a lot of the puppets now, like the large floppy rabbit, and most of the dogs. That way, when you make the dogs shake (as real dogs do when wet), their ears flop. It makes them even more fun. The puppets also make good stand ins for teddy bears, if you've got some (little or big) kids to buy gifts for. And who doesn't like a teddy bear*?

* or a rabbit, or a dog, or a cat, or a ferret**...

** the ferret is my personal favorite of all the puppets.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

National Book Award Winners 2011

The National Book Awards were announced last night. Here are your winners:

Fiction: Jesmyn Ward, Salvage the Bones

Nonfiction: Stephen Greenblatt, The Swerve: How the World Became Modern

Nikky Finney, Head Off & Split

Young People's Literature: Thanhha Lai, Inside Out and Back Again

Thursday, November 10, 2011

First Officer's Log No 41: Ideal Wintry Mix

We experienced our first taste of winter in our little city yesterday morning, with the not-entirely-unexpected rain mixed with wet flaky snow. It was warm enough that the white stuff didn't stick, but that didn't stop me from thinking about how winter in Iowa tends to bring out everyone's inner bibliophile. There are several local coffee shops in Iowa City who have artificial fireplaces inside, and cozy chairs scattered throughout, comfortable enough to curl up with a book and a good cup of coffee, and just let the world go by.

While the Bookshop doesn't have a fireplace (flames + books = bad), we do have comfy chairs, and two fuzzy purring machines (also known as cats) who are happy to serve as warm reading companions. Sometimes, in fact, they are the ones seeking heat, and sometimes customers get a furry companion who really just wants to share the customer's warmth. Whatever it is, cats, winter, and books just go together.

During the winter, if you stop into the shop, or just wander past at night, you'll see the cats curled up in their beds (of which there are four scattered about), or even occupying the lap of an unsuspecting customer (or Nialle, if she's at the desk. You will likely see Logan instigating his own form of occupation). They love to curl up with customers, or burrow under the few blankets in the shop, or even just find the tallest shelf and doze off.

My ideal wintry day? Come in to work, make sure there's tea at hand, and, while elbow deep in books, find a cat who wants warmth, and attention. They are quite helpful this time of year, and that's partially what makes them such great companions to have around.

They're also just the right size to curl up with as you're reading a book. The purrfect (sorry) reading buddy.

Until next time fellow bibliophiles.