Friday, December 26, 2008

Good Bye 2008!

This will be the last post of 2008. Talk about pressure! I must have done something right during 2008. You are, after all, still reading this blog. Of course, some of you may be thinking there is much that can be improved on.
Well, now is your chance to share, vent, brag, whatever!

What do you love about BayShore Books?

What improvements would you like to see in the new year?

Are you a cyber buddy who has never actually been to the store?

Don’t feel left out! What is your favorite independent bookstore and why?

Help all of us make your experience even better in 2009.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Books Every Man and Woman Should Read

Good news – it looks like all of us lucky people in Wisconsin are going to have a white Christmas! Was there really any doubt? Especially considering our fourth snowstorm of the season struck today and winter doesn’t even begin until Sunday.

The holiday season has been busy, which is why this blog is posting so late today. I didn’t want to disappoint all of you faithful readers, so here I am to wish you all a happy holiday season for those of you who are politically correct and a very Merry Christmas for those that aren’t.

In the meantime, checkout these lists:
How many have you read?

Friday, December 12, 2008

What to Give

By now I’m sure you have all realized that books make great gifts. Did you ever wonder what your favorite authors read? Penguin Group asked their authors which books they will be giving this season and which books they would most like to receive. If Stuart Woods or Geraldine Brooks is on your shopping list this year or if you are a huge Nick Hornby or Jan Brett fan, check out Penguin’s site on What to Give & What to Get .

Need more ideas? The 2008 Indie Bestsellers were announced this week. The list includes the year’s top-selling titles at independent bookstores across the country in the categories of Hardcover Fiction, Hardcover Nonfiction, Trade Paperback Fiction, Trade Paperback Nonfiction, and Children’s and Young Adult.

Did you find any surprises?
Which books would you consider the best of 2008?

Friday, December 5, 2008

Perfect Gift

Last week I gave some not so subtle hints as to what would be the perfect holiday gift for everyone on your list , but you don’t have to take my word for it.

Okay, now you have made up your mind to give everyone on your list a book this year. Now the only question is, which book should you get each family member? There is a book perfect for each of them, but how do you find it? Buy Books for the Holidays is a great site for finding out about different genres and you can even ask for suggestions for that hard to buy for reader on your list. An even better option would be to visit your local independent bookstore and ask the knowledgeable staff there for help.

Here at BayShore Books the greatest pleasure is to find the perfect book for each customer. Many books are ordered with a certain customer in mind since we get to know the regulars and what they enjoy. Living in a small town has it’s advantages. If one of our regular customers is on your list, we can not only recommend something they would enjoy, you can also be assured that they didn’t already purchase that title from us.

So, what are you waiting for?
It will be at least a couple of hours until the snow starts again.
There is still plenty of time for us to order that off the wall title that your brother mentioned five years ago.

Friday, November 28, 2008

I'm a Winner!

I’m a winner! Break out the champagne and help me celebrate! I just completed my NaWriMo novel! 50,000 words in 30 days! Yippee!! For those participants who haven’t finished yet, you have until Sunday, so don’t give up.

Now to other big news: the holiday shopping season officially kicks off today. Not only have I finished my novel, I have also come up with the perfect gift idea. Is this a great day or what? Wondering what the perfect holiday gift is this year?

I’ll give you a few hints:

Follow the links to get great gift ideas from our friends at Buy Books for the Holidays, Indiebound, and Random House!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Local Challenge

Have you been reading the news? Depressing, isn’t it? Everyday we hear about families struggling, massive lay-offs, and businesses closing. It’s time for us to ban together and support the independent businesses in our community by shopping locally. That is the message of the American Business Alliance through America Unchained which takes place this Saturday. Indiebound is also about raising awareness and taking pride in our communities.

I recently read an article about how people are cutting back this holiday season. The reporter asked one shopper what she was doing differently this year and her response was that she was doing all of her shopping at a single big discount store. You know the one. This got me thinking, what would happen if everyone made the same change in their shopping habits? What would happen if every shopper in America shopped exclusively at this one store this holiday season?

Think about that for a minute. Now fast forward one year, five years, ten years. Eventually this particular store would be the only one still in business. How would that change your shopping experience? What I envision is a retailer that has very poor customer service and extremely high prices. Why not – they have no competition. They don’t have to impress their customers since their customers have no other options. Imagine how this would affect local farmers, artists, authors, manufacturers, distributors, I could go on and on.
Scary isn’t it?

Sure, you could say that I encourage friends, family, and customers to shop locally because I am a local business owner and I want your business. You would be right. But think about this – I live in this community, too. I want the businesses in my community to do well because that helps all of us. You shop at BayShore Books for the used books purchased from your friends and neighbors or the gifts made by local artists or the new books written by local authors. The profits are then spent at other local businesses or donated to local organizations. That’s what keeps our community economically strong. That’s what helps every one of us survive.

I challenge you to do as much of your shopping as possible tomorrow during America Unchained and every day at locally owned businesses. And if you aren't sure what gifts to buy, remember:

Friday, November 14, 2008

Who What Where When and How

We are almost at the end of week two of National Novel Writing Month and I’m still plugging along. Writing 50,000 words in 30 days is no easy feat! Luckily it is quantity that counts, not quality.

If, unlike me, you would like to write something people would actually enjoy reading, Max Leone gives some extremely insightful advice to Publishers Weekly , especially for a thirteen year old!

What about you?

If you could tell all of us author wannabes what to write, what advice would you give?

Do you have any pet peeves about what is currently available in any specific genre?

Friday, November 7, 2008

Yes, We Can!

Halloween is over and that means the holiday shopping season is here. I think about all of the families that are planning on cutting back on their holiday shopping, mine included. Then I think about all of the families that are already struggling and wondering how Santa can possibly visit their homes this year. Can we help all these families when we are struggling ourselves? As our new president elect says, “Yes, we can!!”.

Every author, illustrator, and publisher of children’s and young adult’s books, I urge you to donate even one copy of your book to a program in your area that is collecting books and toys for children in need. If you don’t know, ask your local independent bookseller – they will be able to point you in the right direction. If all else fails, send them to BayShore Books and they will put your books in the hands of the children who will most appreciate them.

Business men and women, your community is what makes your business possible. This is the time to support them. Adopt a family, collect food from your employees to donate to your local food bank, send your management team on a shopping spree at your local book or toy store for gifts to donate. You will be boosting the economy in your home town while helping those in need.

Moms, dads and grandparents, think about if it were your children and grandchildren who will be waking up disappointed this holiday season. When you shop for the children in your family this year, pick up an extra gift for a child not fortunate enough to have parents or grandparents who are able to give them more than the necessities. And don’t forget the teenagers – the most forgotten age group this time of year.

Think about what kind of holiday season this will be if each and every one of us spent as little as $10 to purchase a gift or a meal for a total stranger. Think about how that meal or gift would affect us if we were the one desperately trying to show our children there is something worth celebrating. Together I know we can make this the best holiday season ever! “Yes, we can!”

Friday, October 31, 2008

Double, Double, Toil and Trouble

Happy Halloween! I came up with the perfect costume. My focus was more on family this year rather than literary . What represents family closeness and fun more than ‘smores? My daughter the chocolate and my son the marshmallow would be protected by my husband and I as the graham crackers. Unfortunately, the kids who are now 15 and 17 informed us they have their own plans and if they see us out trick or treating they will beat us up and take our candy. So much for family closeness.
(CC) Larry D. Moore

My day will not be completely shot, though. At least The Guardian kept me entertained with this literary witches quiz. Can you beat my 7 out of 13? I blame my score on memory since I believe I’ve read most if not all of the works cited.
How about you?
Do you have a favorite horror story or spooky tale?

Friday, October 24, 2008

It's Not Nice to Play Favorites

If you stopped in at BayShore Books this week I’m sure you noticed a mess in the back. With any luck our latest project will be complete by the end of the weekend. Of course we aren’t known for our abundance of luck. I promise, the new shelves will be up by the time you are ready to begin your holiday shopping for sure! Maybe not. I received our first holiday order today. If my favorite customers let me know they are placing an order for a gift, I am more than happy to have their order wrapped and ready for pick up within a few days. Are you one of my favorites that qualify for free gift wrapping? There is only one way to find out– place your order today and let me know if you are ordering gifts!

I’m not ready to think about Christmas yet. Let me get through Halloween first! Not that I have much choice – the holiday orders have been arriving for weeks already. It’s not too late to order more, though. So…

What gifts are you hoping to give and/or receive this holiday season?
If you help me out by following the BayShore Blog I promise not to begin playing the holiday music for at least another week!

Friday, October 17, 2008

To Bee or Not to Bee

The Secret Life of Bees opens today. Great book, but does that mean great movie? I’m sure you’ve all heard the saying, “You can’t judge a book by its movie”. There have been plenty of movies based on books that I have enjoyed immensely, though. The Notebook had me weeping as much through the film as the book and I can say the same about The Five People You Meet in Heaven. I saw both of those on TV years after reading the books, so maybe that makes a difference. The DaVinci Code had me captivated in book form…the movie? Not so much.

What about you?
Do you look forward to movies based on your favorite books or do you stay away?

Will you see the movie before or after reading the book?
Never - the movie can not compare!
I will see the movie if I enjoyed the book.
I will read the book if I enjoyed the movie.
Only years later while curled up on the couch eating bon bons and watching LifeTime.
Other - explain under comments. free polls

Friday, October 10, 2008

Follow Me!

Blogspot has added a new gadget called Followers. It's similar to Twitter in that you can become a follower of BayShore Blog and it'll let me know that someone is at least reading it. You can join either with your google account or anonymously and you'll know when I update the blog. Since this was just added, at the moment the followers list shows a great big zero. Is there anything more depressing than that?? Even if you are already a follower on Twitter or a friend on IndieBound , Shelfari , Goodreads, Library Thing , JacketFlap, LinkedIn, MySpace, ShoutLife or Facebook, please follow BayShore Blog!

Friday, October 3, 2008

1,000 (or less) Things To Do (in Oconto) Before You Rest (or Crash)

This weekend will be the weekend of all weekends in Oconto!

Today we start out with the homecoming parade and then the game against Mishicot – Go Blue Devils!! Tonight is also opening night for The Machickanee Players in which my husband plays the part of our eldest son. His character bears a strong resemblance to my son anyway.

Saturday, after wrapping up Banned Book Week by testing your knowledge , it’s time for the Harvest Festival and Balloons Across America Celebration. Food, arts and crafts, children’s activities, what more could you ask for? The Business Scavenger Hunt, of course! This gives everyone a chance to check out all the local businesses and win great prizes. During the scavenger hunt, stop in to meet Margaret W. Jones, Ph.D. visiting all the way from Massachusetts to discuss bullying and sign copies of her new release, Not of My Making . This will give you a chance to warm up with a coffee or cocoa! The second Machickanee Players show and the homecoming dance wrap up Saturday’s events.

Sunday while the teens are sleeping off the excitement of the night before, this gives you the opportunity to see the matinee of God’s Favorite by Neil Simon and curl up with a good book. The Lucky One is my book of choice this week, how about you?

Friday, September 26, 2008

No, You Can't Read That!

Not long ago a mother and daughter were browsing through the teen book club shelf where the daughter, who must have been 15 or 16, found something that caught her interest. After reading the back of Story of a Girl she handed it to her mother who promptly said "No!" and placed it back on the shelf.

Tomorrow begins Banned Books Week and my opinion on banning books has always been that only a parent has the right to decide what their children may read – not teachers or librarians, booksellers or other parents. I have heard many stories from fellow booksellers about irate parents who marched their teenager back into the bookstore to return a recently purchased book they didn’t approve of. The booksellers got an earful for selling such a book to the impressionable angel they view their child to be. If a child is old enough to walk into a bookstore alone, choose a book, pay for it and leave, the parent obviously feels he/she is old enough to make her/his own decisions. How can that parent honestly be upset at the bookseller for not doing the parent’s job for them? Who are we to decide what your child is capable of handling?

Back to the parent that wouldn’t allow her high school student read Story of a Girl, which is about a thirteen year old who was caught having sex with an older boy by her father and how that affected her life. This parent has every right to make this decision for her daughter. Obviously I believe this story is suitable for someone of her age since I allowed our teen book club to choose it. In fact, they choose many books this particular parent does not approve of. However, I think they make wonderful choices. After reading Crank a long discussion ensued about teen drug use and these kids were very open and honest. Not a discussion most would have with their parents or teachers.

There was a conversation between booksellers about which books to recommend to boys to get them to read more. One bookseller stated she simply has to place a book into his hands and whisper, “your mother wouldn’t approve”. Of course, the comment was made in jest, but it does prove a point.

Celebrate your freedom to read this week by picking up one of the

Friday, September 19, 2008

Marketing Genius?

Can gamers, collectors and bookworms coexist peacefully? Scholastic hopes so. They have recently published The 39 Clues which is being billed as a “groundbreaking multi-platform new series for children ages 8-12”. This series includes 10 action adventure books, 350 collectible cards and an online game to compete for prizes. The first book in the series, Maze of Bones , was written by Rick Riordan who you may recognize as the author of the Percy Jackson series. The book comes with six collectible cards and packs of sixteen cards are available to purchase separately. Kids can register their cards online where they can also track their points and their clues. Finding clues and earning points results in prizes including the grand prize of $10,000.

Personally, I am not a big fan of the cash prize involved, especially for kids and some have complained that this is no more than a marketing scheme to sell the trading cards. However, I am all for any new tactic to get kids to read, which I believe this series will accomplish. Another big plus for the 39 clues is that each book in the series is written by a different author. I had difficulty trying to get my own son to read, but once he discovered one book he liked, he read every other book by that author. This was great, but let’s face it – no author can write as fast as the average person can read. Once he ran out of titles by “his” author the struggle started all over again. This series will introduce kids to 10 different authors, which should provide them with enough variety of books until they become teenagers and develop strong opinions of their own on what they should read.

What do you think?
Brilliant marketing ploy or great new series?

Friday, September 12, 2008

A Whole New Community

Exciting news! IndieBound has launched its social networking site, the IndieBound Community and now anyone can sign up to become part of the community. Not only can you connect with other book lovers, you can also become a fan of your local independent stores and share stories about them. If your favorite indie store, book or any other, is not listed you can add them. By adding your community stores and becoming fans, you can earn points to be entered into drawings for great prizes. Show your local independent businesses that you support them and share stories about your favorites. What more can anyone ask? Don’t forget to become friends with BayShore Books !

Friday, September 5, 2008

The Book (list) Thief

School is back in session along with the need for students to get their hands on the necessary text books. I came across this amusing article about professors at a university in Amherst supporting local independent booksellers by providing them with their required reading lists. The university bookstore, which is run under contract by the nation’s largest collegiate-bookstore chain, was left in the dark. The director of this campus store was caught posing as a parent of a student inquiring which textbook a professor required for her class.

I couldn’t help but stand up and cheer for the professors who see the importance of supporting independent businesses and sharing that knowledge with their students. The same would apply to high school teachers as well. Doesn’t it make sense for all teachers to send their students to an independent business less than two miles away rather than a chain almost thirty miles away? How about providing the nearest independent bookstores with required reading lists and preferred foreign language dictionaries in plenty of time to stock up?

Speaking of required reading lists, I just received a list for a local high school English class and have to admit, a few titles made me cringe at the memory of my own high school years and the dreaded reading lists. The Good Earth , Pride and Prejudice , Jane Eyre . Some were gifts presented to me by my knowing teachers; others were not the enjoyable experience they had promised.

What about you?
Any books you are still fuming about having to endure?

Friday, August 29, 2008


For me Labor Day signifies the end of summer. The six postcards I received in the mail this week reminding me to have my two kids at the bus stop ten minutes early along with offers to have care packages sent to my college student (how can I miss him enough to send a care package while I am still trying to figure out how we are going to get a futon, fridge, TV, mountain bike and five people in our compact car?) have assured me that yes, summer is over and I missed it completely. Why is it that when the kids were in grade school the end of summer couldn’t arrive soon enough and when they are in college it’s gone in a flash?

Can summer really be over? I haven’t taken the Jet Ski out since July…of 2007. Why did I purchase a fishing license this year? I don’t even remember what fresh perch tastes like. Do we still own a tent for our once was weekly camping trips? My stack of summer reading seems to have grown and now my goal is to read 37 books a day over the next 3 days to get them finished before tackling fall’s mountain. Summer can’t be over!!

Help me out here!

What books have you read this summer that just can’t be missed?

Which can I safely pass on?

Friday, August 22, 2008

All good things must come to an end...

I feel as if I am in mourning. Tears were actually shed on my way to work. For Edgar and Almondine. For the unfortunate end of their story. A story filled with such passion and fury and loneliness and longing. A story I foolishly believed would come to it’s conclusion long after I lost interest and was ready to read the happily ever after and move on to the next. There is no moving on from The Story of Edgar Sawtelle. He will be with me now for the rest of my days. I can only envy David Wroblewski who completed his life’s purpose with depth and beauty. How can I begin another book without feeling let down? How can another possibly compare to the one I just finished?

How about you?
What books have you read that seized your very soul and wouldn’t let go?

Friday, August 8, 2008

Lucky 8... or 5?

The Chinese believe 8 is a lucky number. Numerologist say the number 8 means achievement, abundance, strength and grandeur. Many people believe today, 8/8/08, will be a lucky day. Today also just so happens to be Friday and who doesn’t love Fridays?

Friday is the perfect day to share my book pick which came out within the past 8 days. If you are on Shelfari, Goodreads or LibraryThing you may have already read my opinion, but did you also notice the number of stars The Lace Reader earned from me? I am extremely stingy with my stars, so for Brunonia Barry’s debut to receive 5, this should be considered a great honor!

Beautifully written, poignant and intriguing. Each word is woven like a delicate thread into this powerful novel by Brunonia Barry. History, romance, and mystery in a perfect blend to create the most compelling read of the year.

I prefer not to know anything about a book before reading it so I had no clue what I was getting myself into with this one. I’m not going to share any information with you, either. If you choose to know the characters, plot, twists and turns before opening the cover, you will have no trouble finding that information, but I will not spoil the story for you. The only complaint I have is that I wasn’t able to finish and then restart the entire book in one sitting.

What about you?
Did you read anything exciting in the past 8 days?
Do you like to know everything about a book before opening the cover or do you cherish the surprise?
And, do you believe today will be a lucky day?

Friday, August 1, 2008

Oh, What a Week!

It started last Saturday with a visit from one of our favorite Wisconsin authors, Victoria Houston . Since the publication of the ninth book in her Loon Lake mystery series was postponed a month, her visit was also postponed. This gave customers a whole extra month to reserve copies. Unfortunately the extra month didn’t help. As a small town bookstore, our orders are based on the number of reserved copies and previous sales. Since this is the third year this particular author visited us, we at least had the previous years’ numbers to go off of. We had an excellent turn out this year which proved to be good news/bad news. We had about half a dozen frustrated customers walk away without a signed copy of Dead Hot Shot – all but one were first time visitors from other towns. This is something we felt absolutely terrible about, which almost overshadowed the feeling of glee at selling twice as many as last year.

This has me concerned about tomorrow’s release of Breaking Dawn. Once again based on last year’s sales of Eclipse and the number of pre-orders, we should have plenty of books for all…I guess we will know soon enough.

Hopefully tonight musician extraordinaire, Skip Jones, brings enough copies of his newest CD, Life is Delicious!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Luxury or Necessity?

It is no secret that times are rough right now. With gas and food prices soaring, who can afford luxury items? And, what would be considered a luxury item?


Books a luxury?? No way!! I have noticed a shift in the book buying habits of customers this summer compared to last. It may not be the change you would expect, though.

In the past I would have customers stopping in to purchase a paperback or two for something to do on the airplane or the long car ride as they set off for their vacations. This year it seems more and more people consider a vacation an extravagance they can do without. The trip anyway. They still have the vacation time and are obviously going to make the most of it. Since they are saving hundreds of dollars by not taking that trip, they think nothing of spending some of that savings on books.

There were some great comments on this blog about eliminating book buying from the budget:

I’ve found that I don’t really save all that much money by cutting out book buying. The problem is that if I don’t have a book to read, I’ll start looking around for other types of entertainment that are usually more expensive. A book costs between 8 and 30 dollars, and generally will keep me entertained for 5 to 15 hours, depending on the length. By contrast, a movie is $12 and only keeps me entertained for two and a half hours.

Buying books is a real weakness of mine. … it’s one of my main forms of relaxation, stretches my mind and is probably the one thing I do for myself.

Browsing in local bookstores as a child and in college made special memories and we seek out shops when we travel now. Their owners may recommend something we’ve never heard of and the shops have a sense of place that B&N or Borders lack. Our house is also overflowing with books. Yeah, it is in need of culling every once in a while. But it is part of who we are as a family. Hasn’t anyone read the studies directly linking books in the home and academic success? Both our kids benefited from this “literacy-rich” environment and achieve well above their peers who do not read for pleasure. We love the library and visit regularly, especially for audio books. But books at home are a must. And my daughter’s perfect critical reading score on the SAT was a bonus ;-)

This summer I’ve had more and more customers purchase stacks of books for themselves and for their children. Since they are staying home for their vacation, they want to make sure they have plenty to do.

What about you?
Are you giving up any luxury items due to the economy?
What do you consider a necessity that others may not agree with?

Friday, July 18, 2008

Life is Like an Old Pop-Up

Last Friday is lost to me and by next Friday I will be another year older. Realization dawned on me when I noticed the trailer hidden among the weeds in our yard. Isn’t it about time we get rid of that old piece of junk? I asked my husband. The trailer started as a pop-up camper which my family spent some of the best weekends of my life in when I was a little girl. We grew up and moved on and the camper was passed on to an uncle. Once his kids grew up, the camper made it full circle back to me. We spent many weekends with our own kids in the camper until the tarp could no longer hold any more duct tape and we eventually turned that old camper into a trailer. It may not look as good as it use to, but it still serves a purpose, just not the one it was originally meant for. Isn’t that trailer about the same age as you? my husband responded.
I suppose my life isn’t so different from that old camper. My kids are getting older and my life is taking on a new purpose and I know I’m not alone. Many of us take new directions in our life, either by choice or happenstance. Many of us want to make sure we are doing everything we can to have a happy life, which is obvious by looking at the bestsellers lists. The Secret , Quantum Wellness, Soul Wisdom, A New Earth , You Can Heal Your Life, The Power of Now , The Purpose-Driven Life , and Your Best Life Now . I have another personal favorite, Critical Choices that Change Lives .

What about you?
Have you found an inspiring book that changed your life?

Saturday, July 5, 2008

The Heat Is On!

This is a near perfect weekend with the sun shining and the weather finally warm enough to enjoy those outdoor activities. My son is fortunate enough to have a friend with a pool – how can you beat that?

I must settle for lying out on the deck with a book in hand. My daughter and I are currently arguing over the teen book club pick, Someone Like You by Sarah Dessen. Since it is her book, I have to stay up awfully late or get up extremely early to get a chance to read it. I have a stack of books I should read next, but none of them is really jumping out at me, so I could use your help.
What are your top summer picks?

Friday, June 27, 2008

Something Old Something New

In this day of living green, recycling has become more important than ever. Recycling can mean so much more than hauling bins of paper and bottles to the recycle center each week. Reusing is a form of recycling as well. HGTV actually built and decorated a completely green home which they gave away this month. Sadly I wasn’t the lucky winner, but there was a lot to be learned about living green.

I suppose purchasing second hand books would be a way to recycle, although, I have to admit, I have never thought of it that way. Used books aren’t just trash to be hauled away, but treasures waiting to be found. The library is another great location for a treasure hunt. In my city, the treasure box is as endearing as the treasure. The Farnsworth Public Library has a history of it’s own since it was dedicated on this day 105 years ago!

I thought everyone thought as I do about the joy of browsing through classic and out of print titles, so imagine my surprise when I came across this this Guardian Books Blog post by Chas Newkey-Burden, an author who hates second hand books. Not only used books, but library books as well! Oh horror!

Now you may not find it odd that an author would hate used books, or even a bookstore owner for that matter. After all, don’t they lose money when customers purchase used books or even pick them up at their local library? Surprising enough, I don’t think so.

Growing up, I spent endless hours at our local library finding the perfect titles to spice up my summer. I soon became the type of reader no single author could possibly keep up with. Visiting the library or used book store is the perfect way to discover new authors. Of course, when my favorites release a new title, only a new book store can help me. I can’t possibly wait for someone else to read the book first!

What about you? Do you adore or abhor used books? Do you feel the same way about the library?

Friday, June 20, 2008

Romance Anyone?

This week I have been closely following a story by fellow blogger and Wisconsinite, Barbara Vey about a poll on MSNBC called Do You Read Romance Novels?”

It sounds like an innocent enough question, doesn’t it? So, why are romance readers across America outraged? Read Beyond Her Book and let me know what you think.

Everyone needs a little romance in their life, my only question is why do they have to muddy the covers up with so many words?

Friday, June 13, 2008

Bon Voyage!

We have been getting a lot of rain here in Wisconsin. Well, not me personally, but more in the south. For me it’s just enough to keep the sun away and the mood bleak. I thought of something that was able to bring a smile to my face, though.

Two of my kids have been visiting relatives this week. Now I can finally get rid of all the unwanted items in the house without guilt. When they get home, I can tell them the two turtles and two cats joined the rest of the animals on the ark! They can’t blame me for that, can they?

Seriously, though, what is there to do with all this rain? I’ve found myself spending a lot of time reading. Currently I am reading our book club selection, Can You Keep a Secret . This is definitely the perfect selection to lift anyone’s spirits. Another laugh out loud hit from Sophie Kinsella .

My daughter read the Pretty Little Liars series and now she has me hooked, too. Finally some of the mysteries are revealed in book four, Unbelievable. Ky finished in a day or two and then was disappointed because she couldn’t share her excitement. Now I know how she feels. I finished while she was away and now am anxiously awaiting her return so we can finally discuss who “A” is. Sara Shepard has been stringing us along for almost two years, so it was both thrilling and a little depressing to find out. Luckily, there will be four more books to continue with the characters we know and love and/or hate.

I began the week engrossed in Little Face by British author Sophie Hannah. This psychological mystery starts strong and had me from page one. In my mind the story could go one of two ways, so I devoured the story to see which direction it took. Although I enjoyed the journey, the end was like returning from a trip visiting relatives. I dump the dirty laundry out of my bag in exhaustion and don’t care enough at the moment to sort through it all. Maybe one day, but more likely it will be forgotten forever as I move on to the next journey.

What about you? Have you read anything you loved or were disappointed in this week?

Friday, June 6, 2008 I come!

Summer is finally here. How do I know this? Is it because the sun is shining with a high in the 80’s today? Is it because the kids will be out of school in a couple more days or because we have more customers parading around in shorts? No. The Stanley Cup has been awarded! Hooray Red Wings ! They had me worried for a game or two but they pulled through. For me a sure sign of summer is the end of the hockey season. At least for a couple of weeks until the youth summer hockey league begins.

Another sign that summer is here is our annual Copperfest celebration which began today. This is an event I have looked forward to every year since I was a little girl. I anticipated the freedom of wandering aimlessly, absorbing the sights and sounds – the music of local bands blaring through the night, the first fireworks of the year, the warm butter dripping off the cob and down my arm. It was truly a weekend to be cherished. But what did it mean?

It recently dawned on me that I had no real idea why Oconto celebrated Copperfest each year. How is that possible? It is not only possible, but in my experience quite common that we tend to overlook the great destinations all around us. I have not been to Copper Culture State Park since elementary school and my only memory of this visit was rolling down “Susie’s Hill”. As far as I know my children have never explored this Park or Museum. How many other great local destinations have we overlooked in our hurry to escape this city, county, or state for our summer vacations?

With gas prices out of control, this will be the perfect summer to find all of those local hidden treasures. Next stop, my backyard!

Friday, May 30, 2008

And the award for the best parent goes to....

Can you imagine spending two months in a canoe? How about two months with a sixteen year old? Add those two factors together and that doesn’t sound anything like my dream vacation! Steven Faulkner is a much better parent than I will ever be.

Steve felt like he was losing touch with his sixteen year old son – something I can relate to, although he handled it much differently than I. Instead of showing up at whatever location his son and his friends were hanging out at to become “one of the guys”, Steve took his son on a two month canoe trip. Instead of screaming until he was blue in the face, he taught his son about French explorers Joliet and Marquette as they followed the same route taken in 1673. Steve even brought his son home after the expedition! How tempting would it be to encourage him to spread his wings by leaving him at any one of the many stops along the way?

It’s not all my fault that I am not and never will be the parent Steve Faulkner is. My children are not and never will be the son Justin Faulkner was. For this thousand-mile voyage in a sixteen-foot canoe, the Faulkners brought along only a few supplies and a couple of books to read together. My kids would rather swim home after an hour of canoeing than to go any longer without their cell phones, I-pods , computers, and their posse of friends. And to be seen with mom? No way!!

Tomorrow Steve will be at BayShore Books to sign his book about this adventure, Waterwalk: A Passage of Ghosts . How will I react to meeting this icon? Do I bow at his feet or simply hand over my children?

Friday, May 23, 2008

The List

I need to make a list. There are numerous books and movies about people making lists of things they need to accomplish before they die from the Bucket List to 1,000 Places to See Before You Die. The book I am currently reading, Where the River Ends includes a husband trying to help his wife complete her list before it’s too late.

I am a list person. I make lists for everything – things I need to do, bills I need to pay, books I want to read and books I’ve read . I do not, however, have a Bucket List or a list of places to see or things to do. I suppose at one time I did, although it has never been put down on paper.

Get married – check
Have kids – check, check, check
Live on the water – check
Jet Ski from Oconto to Door County – check
Open a bookstore – check
Have a cup of coffee with Stephen King , Dean Koontz, James Patterson and Nicholas Sparks – the emails are sent so I expect this to occur any day now.

I have been racking my brain to come up with four more things to add to my list, but it is a struggle. I’m one of those fortunate people who can’t think of anything I want (other than maybe a second pair of pants which I can actually get buttoned) or anything I want to do. I’m running out of time, though. I have to come up with four great ideas and they need to be impossible to achieve. After all, if this is a list of things to accomplish before I die, do I really want to finish them anytime soon?
What about you?
Do you have a list?
How many things on it have you accomplished?
Are you willing to share?

Friday, May 16, 2008

Hug Him and Squeeze Him and Call Him George

Summer is here! So maybe it is only 60 degrees out and the kids are still in school. Today my college student will be home bearing gifts of laundry and stale chips. I am as yet undecided how I feel about his return. Each Friday night before his visits home the past nine months I could hardly contain my excitement. “I will hug him and squeeze him and call him George”*!! By Sunday I still have not received a hug or even seen him for that matter. I know he arrived safely because twenty minutes before we are ready to drive him back to college he dumps out a garbage bag of laundry that he needs washed before we can leave.

He is ready for a break from his studies, though. He called me just the other day to place a book order. During the school year he is so busy he can’t find the time to read. When he does, he feels he should be reading something for school, not his own enjoyment. When he arrives home, I will have his copy of
Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes waiting for him. Nothing like a little light reading over the summer.

His brother just finished the latest by his favorite author,
Neal Shusterman . He is searching for something short to read since he only has a couple of weeks left of school. This son just can’t find the time in his busy summer schedule to read. It is amazing how different two children in the same family can be.

So, my question for you is – do you read more or less during the lazy summer months? And, what do you read - something light and enjoyable like a romance or something deep and life changing?

* Just a little fyi - Did you know this popular phrase is actually a reference to John Steinbeck's Of Mice And Men?

Friday, May 9, 2008

To E-Read or Not To-E-Read

This morning while reaching to beat the alarm into silence, I knocked over the stack of books waiting patiently on my nightstand for my attention. Stumbling out of bed, I tripped over the mound waiting to take the next open spot on the nightstand. Using both hands I was able to lift my novel laden purse onto to my poor aching shoulder and bring it to my car where I had to shove the emergency pile off the seat to make room. This morning was nothing unusual. Books have always been a large part of my life and I’m most content surrounded by them.

However, I am beginning to second guess my earlier thoughts on
portable electronic readers . I don’t own one and in fact have never even seen one up close – or for that matter, from a distance. In my spare time (ha-ha) I dabble in a little proofreading and editing. The majority of the manuscripts are sent electronically; corrections are made, and then sent back. Computers are an amazing invention! Occasionally after a long day of staring at the screen I am visited by white ghosts dancing before my eyes. This is what I expect the experience of an e-reader to be.

Would the convenience of carrying this small device rather than a heap of paperbacks make up for this? I will never give up books. It is so much more than the written word which draws me to them. I love the sound of the pages turning and nothing beats the musty book smell or the surprise chocolate morsel waiting for my enjoyment since the last time the pages were opened. But, maybe it’s time to add to my experience. To join this century. I’m sure it’s not really as hard as I expect. Why, just last year I gave up my trusty
VCR after it ate tape two of Titanic. (Does anyone know how it ends?)

If you happen to work for Sony or any other company which creates or sells electronic readers; or if you happen to have extra cash you don’t know what to do with, feel free to send me one and I will be happy to give a more knowledgeable opinion.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Saving Our Communities

If you have turned on the news, picked up a newspaper, or checked your mail box lately, I’m sure you have heard about the Economic Stimulus Payments that many of us have received or will be receiving. Many radio stations and newspapers are asking you to let them know what you plan on doing with yours. The purpose of the payment is to encourage consumer spending which will boost the economy. In reality, many people will use this rebate to catch up on bills and make ends meet.

I saw a commercial the other day that is so ridiculous it’s actually humorous. It is for a large discount chain – you know the one – the chain that is running small businesses out of town and is on a mission to take over the world. The purpose of the commercial is supposedly to encourage customers to do their part in helping the environment by purchasing a certain product at their stores. If all of their customers-all 200 million of them-purchase this particular product, they will save the world. Sounds good, doesn’t it?

This got me to thinking. If every resident of our city – all 4,700 of us – spent one dollar of our Economic Stimulus Payment at each local independent business, we could save our city. This could encourage job growth; increase sales tax collected for our county and state; and help many of our local business stay afloat.

Recently I had the privilege of discussing the economy with an accountant friend. Her view was that many people are shopping at the large discount chains because they, often mistakenly, feel they can get a better deal by shopping there. These people are forgetting to add in the cost of gas to drive the 30+ miles to these chains to save $1.00 on an item they need. In a year or two when the economy picks up, these same people will be frustrated because all of their options are gone. Suddenly, these few large chains are the only option since all of the small businesses were forced to shut their doors. Without competition, what do you think the customer service and prices will be like at these chains? Scary, isn’t it?

Now I ask you, how do you plan on spending your Economic Stimulus Payment?

Friday, April 25, 2008


What a month! Last week we helped our local library, Farnsworth Public Library , celebrate National Library Week . Librarian Wendy read three stories, including one of my personal favorites, Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney and one of hers, Wake Up, It’s Spring by Lisa Campbell Ernst. A percentage of all sales during this special preschool story time was then donated back to the library. It definitely made for a lively Friday morning in the bookstore!

Last week was also the first National Poem in Your Pocket Day since April is National Poetry Month . Of course this is incorporated into our teen writing club. This month each member will be writing their own poem to read aloud at the next meeting. The teen book club also chose Crank by Ellen Hopkins, which is written in verse, as their next pick.
This week wraps up TurnOff Week . Were you able to catch up on some of your reading instead of sitting in front of the TV or computer? Maybe you were out enjoying the beautiful weather that finally showed up for a short visit. Or were you busy riding your bike or picking up litter to celebrate Earth Day ?

This is a week to brag.
What great things did you accomplish this month to support your library or help the environment?