Friday, May 28, 2010

Latest and Greatest at Curious Books

In the past month, we have acquired thousands of new books that are now shelved throughout the shop!

Some of these new additions include:
  • Hundreds of new science fiction titles, in both paperback and hardcover, by both vintage and new authors.
  • Classic and new works on philosophy and psychology.
  • Art and architecture books, from ancient times to today's great contemporary art, buildings and architects.
  • Classic and new sociological studies, and many recent books about current events and politics.
  • Cookbooks by the armload!
  • Norton critical editions of classic novels - all under $5.00!
  • Works of literary criticism and theory, about American and international writers.
  • World history, concerning the ancient world through today's modern nations.
  • General fiction novels! We have an vast array of old favorites, newer bestsellers, and obscure titles that are difficult to find anywhere else!
  • Hundreds of military history titles, focused primarily on the American Civil War and modern military history and theory.

Coming Soon:
  • World War II and other military histories.
  • Even more art and architecture books.
  • Classicon 37, our annual show of collectible paperbacks, pulps, and glamour art!


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Attention Film Memorabilia Collectors!

In exciting news, the official Curious Book Shop website now hosts a listing of the movie posters we carry. We list the prices and conditions and provide a photograph of the actual poster. We have one-sheets (typically 27x41 inches), inserts (14x36 inches), and half-sheets (28x22 inches) from drama, comedy, horror, science fiction, westerns, thrillers, Disney, and more!

There are currently 116 of our posters listed, and we will be taking photos of the rest of our film stock and adding them as soon as we can. If you can't wait, you could always stop by the shop to peruse through our entire poster inventory in person. Or, you can visit the website and begin browsing now.


Sunday, May 23, 2010

61 Hours and the Breach

5/16/10 If you're looking for fast-paced action and adventure, two new releases are likely to be ultimately satisfying. Each book showcases a tough hero battling against incredible odds - but neither is completely plausible.

61 Hours by Lee Child (Delacorte, $28) is scheduled for release on Tuesday. It's another tense thriller featuring Jack Reacher, the ex-military star of 14 earlier novels, who gets into a lot of trouble and doesn't stay in one place very long.

This time, he's travelling on a bus in South Dakota that goes out of control during a major snowstorm.

He helps injured older passengers, but soon finds himself in the middle of a highly unusual situation involving a nearby prison and a drug-dealing biker gang.

When you toss in an elderly, feisty witness, a Mexican druglord, a deadly assassin and a mysterious group of buildings, there's great potential for an exciting thriller.

Unfortunately, Child falters, offering a plot that seems relatively ludicrous and a killer who most experienced mystery fans will be able to spot with little difficulty.

There are many expected double-crosses and plot twists as well as a touch of romance. The ticking clock gimmick is annoying but effective, speeding the pace.

The conclusion will force the dedicated Child fan to wait until fall, when the next Reacher hardback will be available.

The Breach, a debut paperback novel by Patrick Lee (Harper, $7.99) follows a similar format, with many violent action scenes and an oddball premise.

It introduces Travis Chase, an ex-cop/ex-con who's escaping reality by hiking through the wilderness in Alaska. He stumbles across a horrific scene, a downed 747 airliner, discovering many dead bodies, including the wife of the president of the United States.

It gets stranger from there, as the anti-hero rescues pretty Paige Campbell, although he can't save her dying father, a scientist. Innovative bad guys surface; the pair head for a mysterious Wyoming facility that may hold many answers.

Chase and Campbell get involved in more deadly confrontations as they try to save mankind. It turns into a dark tale straight out of The X-Files, complete with science fiction overtones.

Lee's entertaining effort is offbeat and not completely believable, but shows great potential. A sequel is due out in the fall.

Ray Walsh
This article also appeared in the
Lansing State Journal on May 16, 2010


Saturday, May 22, 2010

Madison Avenue and Dead Sleeping Shaman

5/9/10 Quirky, unusual characters abound in a pair of recent crime novels by Michigan authors. While one has more of an international flavor, the other focuses on life in small-town Northern Michigan.

Madison's Avenue (Lighthouse, $19.95) is an excellent, compelling page-turner from Mike Brogan, the Birmingham author of Business to Kill For and Dead Air.

It introduces Madison McKean, a Boston ad executive who gets a disturbing phone call from her father, the head of a major Manhattan advertising agency.

Flying to New York, she discovers that he's apparently committed suicide after being accused of misappropriating millions of dollars.

Suddenly, Madison is in charge of a $2.4 billion ad agency, which is on the verge of a takeover by a conglomerate.

She's joined by Kevin, a creative ad whiz, and they try to figure out who was responsible for the accusations and whether they were warranted.
They follow the convoluted trail to the Caribbean and go to an advertising awards banquet in France. Madison barely escapes attempts on her life, but others are not as fortunate.

Brogan has created a likable heroine and provides numerous clever plot twists. His enjoyable novel is filled with intriguing characters, including assorted oddball advertising executives and a quick-thinking, experienced, frustrated hitman. This pulse-pounding tale is ideal for movie adaptation.

Dead Sleeping Shaman by Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli (Midnight Ink, $14.95) is the third in her paperback series starring newspaper reporter and frustrated author Emily Kincaid.

Set in the area of Leetsville, a small town in Northern Michigan, Buzzelli's tale opens with Emily discovering the body of a dead woman under a pine tree near a long-forgotten lumber camp.

Getting help from friend Deputy Dolly Wakowski, they return to the scene with other authorities. The victim had ties to the area; she was an eccentric psychic and the leader of a shamanic healing group.

But Emily and Dolly have more problems: an end-of--the-world revivalist group is camping out and causing considerable challenges. Additional stress occurs when Dolly joins the cult and further investigation unearths deadly hidden secrets.

Buzzelli is in fine form, creating an intriguing cozy mystery overflowing with bizarre characters and strange happenings. It's best to read the earlier two books in the series first to fully appreciate Emily's lifestyle and growth.

Ray Walsh
This article also appeared in the
Lansing State Journal on May 9, 2010


Friday, May 21, 2010

The Ladies of Science Fiction

Though the speculative fiction, or science fiction, genre has been generally thought of as male-dominated, women participated in the creation of new worlds and the exploration of distant futures or different realities from the beginning. Written in 1666, The Blazing World by Margaret Cavendish, the Duchess of Newcastle, was one of the first examples of the genre. As a female writer, she was not well regarded in her day and considered all the more strange for the fanciful form that her writing took. Though female writers, and even female science fiction writers, became more commonplace, women in the 20th century still struggled to gain acceptance in the genre.

Many female science fiction and fantasy authors, like C.L. Moore, have used initials to make their genders ambigious. Others adopted male pseudonyms. Andre Norton, born Alice Mary Norton, also wrote under the names Allen Weston and Andrew North. Under her nom de plume, she was the first woman to win the Gandalf Award from the World Science Fiction Society (1977) and to be named Grand Master by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (1983). Since the Grand Master Award's inception in 1975 to the present day, the only other women to hold this title are Ursula K. LeGuin and Anne McCaffrey.

James Tiptree, Jr., the pseudonym of Alice B. Sheldon, wrote science fiction stories that were often feminist in tone, such as The Women Men Don't See. Despite this, from 1967, when she first published under this name, to 1977, her readers didn't know she was a woman. On the contrary, her writing was described as definitely "male." Her works challenged the conception of gendered writing.

To celebrate the contributions that female authors have made to science fiction, fantasy, and feminism, the Curious Book Shop currently has a display for Women Writers of Fantasy and Science Fiction. An entire bookcase now features Anne McCaffrey, Andre Norton, Mercedes Lackey, and Lois McMaster Bujold, with short biographies on each author. We even have CD audio books (a rarity in our shop!) of McCaffrey and Lackey.

Come in and see the display, up front, next to the womens studies section.


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Driving Crazy

5/2/10 Driving Crazy by Lansing author Randy D. Pearson (Riley Press, $12.99) is an unusual, entertaining debut by a talented writer.

It focuses on the adventures of two buddies who take a long journey from the Capital City to Weedpatch, Calif., and beyond, to pick up a classic arcade game.

Set in the worrisome pre-Y2K era over 10 years ago, it showcases the adventures of Jay Naylor, who won the "Crazy Climber" machine in an E-Bay auction but can't afford the huge shipping charges.

He convinces his laid-back best friend to join him and they borrow a beat-up pickup truck and hit the road with great intentions and little money. They make bizarre excuses and manage to get time off work, but their quick, easy trip doesn't quite go as planned.

After a disastrous setback in Nashville, Tenn., the carefree duo continues on, using their quick thinking to struggle for survival.

On the way back, they run into more challenges - they're scuffling for gas money and come up with a unique idea to raise funds.

The pair have lots of adventures, including a standoff with angry motorcycle gang members and a disgruntled bar owner.

There are other advantages to the trip, though, as the friends encounter many positive attitudes of assorted residents of small town America.

The last third of the paperback covers a trip to Florida, with unexpected reactions and life-changing results.

Expanded from a short story he wrote years ago, Driving Crazy includes scenes set in Lansing, as well as references to Pinball Pete's, a classic East Lansing underground arcade.

Pearson, who's won national writing awards, also contributed four short stories to Small Towns: a Map in Words. He's now editing the second anthology in the series and is planning to publish a short story collection.

Ray Walsh
This article also appeared in the
Lansing State Journal on May 2, 2010


Saturday, May 8, 2010

Ann Arbor Antiquarian Book Fair

The 32nd annual Ann Arbor Antiquarian Book Fair, run by the Ann Arbor Antiquarian Booksellers Association, is coming up on Sunday, May 16. From 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM, 40 booksellers will exhibit their wares in Ann Arbor, home of the University of Michigan. The Curious Book Shop will have a table, as will our sister shop, the Archives Book Shop. Sellers will be in the Ballroom, on the second floor of the Michigan Union.

Admission is $5.00, which goes to benefit the William L. Clements Library. For more information, see the official website.

If you didn't get the chance to see us at the Michigan Antiquarian Book & Paper Show, be sure to stop by our tables on the 16th!