Sunday, July 29, 2012

Book Review: Richard and Kathy Verlander's "Rocks Across the Pond"

Maybe it's time to pay attention to Richard and Kathy Verlander, better known as the parents of Detroit Tiger baseball star Justin Verlander.

Their new book offers intriguing advice and insights from the winners of the George and Barbara Bush Little League Parents of the Year Award.

"Rocks Across The Pond", subtitled "Lessons Learned, Stories Told" (Dementi Milestone Publishing, $29.95), is an enjoyable, easy-to-read book. It's full of useful ideas along with many family photos and other images that showcase Justin's amazing career.

As they note on the dust jacket, the Verlanders had "little background or experience in any kind of organized sport".  Their lives were changed when a neighbor suggested that their six-year-old son should sign up for Little League baseball.

The rest is history, but Richard and Kathy Verlander describe their experiences in a down-to-earth manner.  They smoothly relate what they've learned from raising Justin and his brother Ben, also a rising baseball player.

One of the subjects that they cover is the importance of parenting and family involvement - paying attention to the needs of the child and making sacrifices in the process.

They note that it's a constant learning process and the development of a child requires a lot of work and control.  They also stress the importance of setting a good example for the children.

In the chapter simply titled "Control", they explore the importance of self-control.  Items covered include:  work ethic, good grades, fitness, nutrition, rest, attitude, character, appearance and demeanor.  The Verlanders don't preach or go into long, boring detailed analysis.  They keep it simple, with mostly one-sentence thought-provoking words of advice.

Richard Verlander became a Little League coach; in 1995 he was the coach of the Champion Phillies in the Tuckahoe Little League.  His son, Justin, starred at Goochland County VA High School and later at Old Dominion University.

The rest is history, with Verlander becoming a Detroit Tiger superstar and winning last year's Cy Young Award, Triple Crown Award and AL Most Valuable Player Award.

Filled with many gorgeous color photos as well as numerous Verlander family images, "Rocks Across The Pond" is a great addition to the library of any serious baseball fan or aspiring parent.

Ray Walsh, owner of East Lansing's Curious Book Shop, 
is a Detroit Tiger fan who's reviewed books regularly since 1987.
This review was originally published by the Lansing State Journal
on Sunday, July 19, 2012.


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

$1 COOK BOOKS, MYSTERIES, SCIENCE FICTION & MORE THIS WEEKEND! - Sidewalk Sales in Downtown East Lansing

Great News, Book Lovers:

Grand River Avenue will be awash with great deals this weekend during downtown East Lansing's annual Sidewalk Sales.

Over 180 businesses, professional offices, art galleries and restaurants in the downtown corridor will be offering special discounts!

The sidewalk sales run from Thursday, July 19th through Sunday the 22nd.

For coupons and more information, pick up a copy of the current Lansing City Pulse or visit the City of East Lansing website.

Curious is getting in on the fun, which means four days of savings for savvy book lovers.

Browse through our tables of  hundreds of mysteries, science fiction and cook books - all priced at $1!

The savings will continue inside, with 50% OFF of most USED HARDBACKS and MAGAZINES (with some exceptions).

Don't forget - the following sections are 30% OFF this month:

World History
Presidential History
The Olympics

Come downtown and support your favorite local, independent businesses!

Many thanks, and we hope to see you soon.

Ray and Audrey and the Curious Gang

If you would like to receive our monthly newsletter in your email inbox, let us know! 
Email us at


Curious Books
307 East Grand River
East Lansing, MI  48823
(517) 332-0112


Monday, July 16, 2012

Book Review: Bloodline by James Rollins

"Bloodline" by best-selling author James Rollins (William Morrow, $27.99) seems destined to be one of the season's hottest selling books.
The eighth in his exceptionally popular Sigma Force series sizzles with non-stop action set in contemporary times, although the brief prologue takes place centuries earlier.
Rollins' heroes are all members of the Sigma Force, a group described as "Special Forces soldiers who had been retrained in various scientific disciplines . . . a covert wing of DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency."
Usually, they're called out to protect against global threats - but this time their initial mission is different.
Their new assignment is to track down and safely release Amanda Gant-Bennett, the president's pregnant daughter, who has been kidnapped off a yacht by Somali pirates.  If that seems like an easy task, be warned, it's going to be a lot tougher than it sounds.
The Sigma Force members face significant challenges as they attempt a rescue; pirates and others with evil intentions make landfall and move her through a mountainous area.
The cast of characters includes many familiar faces plus a pair of new operatives, former Army Ranger Tucker Wayne and his exceptional military war dog Kane.
The sequel to "The Devil Colony" explodes with tense action at various sites in the United States as well as Somalia and Dubai.
As usual, there's an innovative, distinctive scientific aspect to the plotline.  This time is involves sneaky members of the mysterious Guild and their carefully orchestrated attempts to achieve immortality through genetics at all costs.
Wayne and his dog Kane add an interesting dimension to the rescue effort - they first- appeared in "Tracker", an e-book original short story.
Rollins, one of the world's best thriller writers, takes the reader on an incredibly fast paced literary roller-coaster ride that's hard to beat.
"Bloodline" features strong woman characters, intriguing interaction, cutting-edge science and seemingly endless nerve-wracking scenes teeming with violence.
The corkscrew plot is certainly not predictable; loyal fans and newcomers should find Rollins' latest effort exhilarating.
The quest for Immortality isn't over - it's just beyond Mankind's reach - for now!
Ray Walsh, owner of East Lansing's Curious Book Shop, 
has reviewed thrillers and crime novels regularly since 1987.
This review was originally published by 
the Lansing State Journal on Sunday, July 15, 2012.


Friday, July 6, 2012

First Edition Anne of Green Gables Headed to Auction!

Every once in a while, we come across a truly astounding book.
Here's a look at such a book. 

From the private collection of Ray Walsh, 
owner of the Curious Book Shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
 comes a beautiful American first edition of 
Lucy Maud Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables

This charming Canadian classic launched a series of novels
chronicling the life of Anne Shirley and her many adventures.
Anne of Green Gables was immensely popular 100 years ago,
and is still adored by "kindred spirits" around the world, today.
  For many, this first edition is a book collectors dream of finding,
as few have been offered for sale in recent history.

If you'd like to learn more, please visit our Ebay auction:


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Book Review: Die a Stranger by Steve Hamilton

        "Die a Stranger" by multiple Edgar award-winning author Steve Hamilton (Minotaur, $25.99) is the ninth in his best selling series starring Alex McKnight.

        Set in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, the ex-cop and sometimes private investigator gets in more trouble when he investigates the disappearance of Vinnie LeBlanc, his best friend.

        Vinnie, a neighbor who's helped in other cases, is an Ojibwa Indian tribal member who lives away from the local reservation.

        He's a longtime blackjack dealer at the Bay Mills Casino whose mother has just died.  After the funeral, Vinnie disappears; Alex knows his friend's habits and is understandably worried.

        Five bodies are discovered at a small deserted airstrip not far from the village of Paradise, where Alex and Vinnie live.

        In a drug deal gone very bad, suddenly there's lots of interest by a variety of authorities.  Vinnie's cousin Buck is also missing and Alex feels that both men may have been somehow involved.

        Lou, Vinnie's long-estranged father, who was recently released from prison, has returned, but is unwelcome at the reservation.   He joins Alex in an uneasy partnership to track down Vinnie and Buck.

        The case gets considerably more complicated; they drive around the Upper Peninsula and other parts of the state seeking information and answers.

        Their discoveries lead to more challenges and a rising body count. There's an intriguing assortment of criminals involved.  Hamilton does an excellent job creating strong, believable characters that are frequently put in violent, deadly situations.

        Deftly structuring his novel, the author slowly increases the tension while providing useful background information and offering societal insights into life on the reservation.

        Hamilton's carefully crafted 2011 book starring Alex McKnight, "Misery Bay", was released earlier this month in paperback.

        "Die a Stranger" is scheduled for release on Tuesday.  While it's enjoyable as a dark, stand-alone novel, this is really an excellent series for serious die-hard mystery lovers.

        Hamilton, a graduate of University of Michigan, won an Edgar Award for Best First Novel in 1998 for "A Cold Day in Paradise" (the first book in the series).  He won his second Edgar for 2010's "The Lock Artist".

Steve Hamilton will be discussing his writings 
and signing books on Saturday at 7:00 PM at 
Schuler Books and Music, Meridian Mall, Okemos.
        Ray Walsh, owner of East Lansing's Curious Book Shop, 
has reviewed crime novels and Michigan books regularly since 1987.
This review was originally published by the 
Lansing State Journal on Sunday, June 30, 2012.


Monday, July 2, 2012

Curiousities Newsletter for July 2012

Greetings from the Curious Book Shop!
It'll be a long, hot summer - best spent with a good book in hand.
Our a/c is on and our prices are low. Beat the heat at Curious!
Throughout the month of July, stop in
and get 30% OFF the following sections:
The Olympics
The Curious Five-Hour Sale:
Stop in on July 4th and receive 30% OFF 
all used hardcovers, magazines and all 'New' books! 
On Wednesday, July 4th Curious will be open from 12 - 5 p.m.
New Acquisitions:
We've recently stocked up on great books by Harlan Ellison,
Terry Pratchett, May Sarton, Erle Stanley Gardner, Sigmund Freud,
Harry Turtledove, Mark Twain, Glen Cook, Philip Jose Farmer and more!
Did you know? You can now find NEW BOOKS at Curious!
Our selection includes local authors, Michigan-specific titles,
hard-to-find 20th Century favorites (including David Foster Wallace
and Howard Zinn) and the latest new releases.
This Week's 'New' Books: Eli Broad's The Art of Being Unreasonable,
Howard Zinn's The Historic Unfulfilled Promise, Jess Walter's Beautiful Ruins,
Dave Eggers' A Hologram for the King, Loren Estleman's Burning Midnight,
and Jodi Piccoult & Samantha Van Leer's Between the Lines.
Shop News & Gossip:
We've extended our normal store hours for the summer.
Visit us Monday - Saturday 10 a.m. - 8 p.m., Sundays 12 - 5 p.m.
Remember: We validate for City of East Lansing parking lots!
On Wednesday, July 4th Curious will be open from 12 - 5 p.m.
Do you have a funny story about Curious?
Were you here for an author signing? 
Did you find that perfect, hard-to-find book at our shop?
As our 43rd anniversary approaches,
we are eager to hear about your memories of Curious.
Email us, and we may even feature it in a future publication!
Did you know that Curious has a blog?
Here you'll find Ray's weekly mystery reviews for the LSJ,
spotlights on unusual acquisitons, shop news and more!
Stay tuned. Our August newsletter will feature information
about nearby book and paper shows in Ohio and Illinois... and Okemos!
Community Events:
Don't miss the 38th Bailey Neighborhood Ice Cream Social!
Enjoy old-fashioned hand-cranked ice cream, music 
and plenty of activites for the whole family at the
Orchard Street Pump House (368 Orchard, E. Lansing) on
Wednesday, July 11th, from 5:30 - 8 p.m. (Rain date: July 12th)
Like great, free music?
East Lansing offers outdoor concerts throughout the summer!
Visit their website an find out more: 
Common Ground Music Festival returns to Lansing
July 9 - 15, on the bank of the Grand River.
Enjoy great music by Sublime (with Rome), Bush,
Joe Walsh, Kevin Costner & the Modern West and more!
Literary Birthdays:
July 1: George Sand (1804), William Strunk (1869), James McCain (1892)
July 2: Hermann Hesse (1877)
July 3: Franz Kafka (1883), Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1860)
July 4: Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804), Neil Simon (1927)
July 7: Robert Heinlein (1907), Harriette Arnow (1908)
July 8: Anna Quindlen (1953)
July 9: Anne Radcliffe (1764), Oliver Sacks (1933)
July 10: Marcel Proust (1971), Alice Munro (1931)
July 11: E.B. White (1899), Harold Bloom (1930)
July 12: Henry David Thoreau (1817), Pablo Neruda (1904)
July 14: Woody Guthrie (1912)
July 15: Iris Murdoch (1919)
July 16: Anita Brookner (1928)
July 17: Erle Stanley Gardner (1889)
July 18: Hunter S. Thompson (1937), Clifford Odets (1906)
July 20: Cormac McCarthy (1933)
July 21: Ernest Hemingway (1899), Marshall McLuhan (1911)
July 23: Raymond Chandler (1888)
July 24: Alexandre Dumas (1802), Robert Graves (1895), Zelda Fitzgerald (1900)
July 26: George Bernard Shaw (1856), Aldous Huxley ( 1894)
July 28: Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844), Beatrix Potter (1866), Malcolm Lowry (1909)
July 29: Booth Tarkington (1869), Alexis de Tocqueville (1905)
July 30: Emily Bronte (1818)
July 31: J.K. Rowling (1965)
We are grateful for your continued support of this local, independent book shop!
Since 1969, Curious Book Shop has proudly served the East Lansing, Lansing, MSU and LCC communities.
This fall we will celebrate our 43rd anniversary!
Many thanks,
Ray, Audrey and the Curious Gang

“And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees,
just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.”

F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
Curious Books
307 East Grand River
East Lansing, MI  48823