Sunday, December 30, 2012

Ray's Reviews: When in Maui by Colleen Nye, Thou Shalt Not by Buzz Harcus and Who is Ellen Roquefort? by AJ Hutchison

Michigan's authors have been very prolific during 2012--here's a quick look at recent entertaining paperbacks that were either produced by a small press or were self-published.

        "When in Maui" by Haslett author Colleen Nye (2Moon Press, $15.99) is a debut novel that focuses on the experiences of two friends.

        Alice Tyler takes off for a vacation in Maui, leaving her best friend Vivianne Cook behind.  Alice meets famous movie actor Ryan Perry; soon Vivianne is on her way to provide emotional support.

        There are many funny and interesting interactions, with unexpected results as romance blooms and challenges develop.

        Nye deftly tells an enjoyable tale; she's a member of the local "Writing at the Ledges" writing group and is working on her second novel.  She can be reached at

        Mancelona author Buzz Harcus takes the reader in a different direction with "Thou Shalt Not", (Sandhill Publishing, $15).

        In his fifth self-published novel, Harcus introduces Ron Macklin, a police detective in Graceport CT, who's investigating a bloody double murder.

        He joins forces with his friend, Homicide Detective Dominic Greyson in New York; two members of a local church were murdered, each involved in separate affairs.

        Dripping with violence and sexual overtones, Harcus' fast-paced tale has a creepy serial killer with a deadly, twisted agenda.

        A Marine Corps veteran, Harcus has also written four other intriguing mysteries: "China Marine: Tsingtao Treasure", "Tainted Treasure", "Web of Greed" and "A Breath of Spring."  Harcus' e-mail address is

        "Who is Ellen Roquefort?" by Hessel MI journalist AJ Hutchison (Sault Printing, $14.95) is the latest novel by the author of "Corruption at Jamestown Prison."

        Distinctly not a sequel, this fat, almost 500-page book is partially set in Lansing, Mason and Holt.
        It deals with the life experiences of a woman suffering from paranoia schizophrenia who fought her illness but faced extraordinary challenges.

        The compelling tale focuses on a woman who had a personality change while attending college; she later taught English and Journalism, wrote poetry, oil painted and parented a child.

        This is not a happy tale, but offers realistic yet sometimes devastating insights, combining fact with fiction.  It also includes over 15 pages of the main character's poetry.

        AJ Hutchison's e-mail address is

        Ray Walsh, owner of East Lansing's Curious Book Shop, 

has reviewed Michigan books and crime novels regularly since 1987.

This review was originally published by the 
Lansing State Journal on Sunday, January 30, 2012.


Friday, December 28, 2012

Our SECRET SALE Has Begun! -- 50% OFF -- Limited Time Only!

The SECRET SALE has begun!

From now until the end of 2012, EVERYTHING is on sale!

Take 50% OFF almost all of our used inventory, including comics, maps, hardcovers, paperbacks, magazines, posters and more!

Books behind the counter, New books, pulps, Curious t-shirts and books by Vonnegut and Pratchett are 20% OFF

Help the shop (and yourself!) by stocking up on some good reads before we conduct our dreaded annual inventory book count.

Why not spend the day in beautiful downtown East Lansing?
We validate parking for City of EL lots and garages, with a purchase.

While you're here, visit our newest neighbor: The Broad Museum
This architectural marvel of a museum opened in mid-November.
Current exhibits include artist perspectives on time and memory,
the work of Buckminster Fuller and a two-ton boat sculpture made of salt!

 Admission is FREE! For museum hours and more, please visit their website.

As always, we are very grateful for your continued support!

Many thanks, and we hope to see you soon.
Ray, Audrey and the Curious Gang

PS - Keep an eye on our Facebook page!
We'll keep you updated on strange new acquisitions and special offers.

If you'd like to receive this newsletter in your inbox, please email us at


Curious Book Shop

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


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Mid-December Curiosities Update - Holiday Sale and Special Store Hours

Greetings, Book Lover!

Here's wishing you a happy Winter Solstice and Yuletide!

Along with good cheer, we're offering some great ways to save.

Current Sale:

Special Store Hours:
Curious will close early, at 3 p.m., on Dec. 24th.
We will be CLOSED on Christmas Day.
On New Year's Eve, we'll close at 3 p.m.

Holiday shopping is fun at Curious!
There's no need to panic and rush. 
Our booksellers are ready to help you find just the right thing.
We're full to the brim with wonderful new acquisitions, perfect for everyone on your list.

The following gift suggestions are just the tip of the literary iceburg...

For your Young Reader:
Picture booksfairy tale collections, classic children's novels,
poetry and riddles, Science and Reference books, recent bestsellers 
and the books that You enjoyed years ago can all be found at Curious. 

We also have lovely series fiction, many in slipcase, including the 
Little House on the Prairie series, The Chronicles of Narnia
Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, The Boxcar Children, Tom Swift
Winnie the Pooh, Black Beauty, Garth Nix, The Wizard of Oz
Encyclopedia Brown, Goosebumps, Harry Potter, Beatrix Potter,
Berenstain Bears, Anne of Green GablesEnder's Game and other favorites.

For the Artist:
We've recently restocked with dozens of new Music books, 
including songbooks and biographies of great composers and 
OperasJazz and Blues. Also new to our shelves are books 
on BalletModern DanceSquare Dancing and more!

Our Arts & Crafts section is overflowing with books about 
Needlepoint and Quilting, as well as Scrapbooking and Textile Arts.

Collections of classic and modern art are plentiful, with detailed pictures 
of masterpieces by artists like Degas, Van Gogh, O'Keefe, Hogarth, 
Ansel Adams as well as modern artists and photographersArt History 
and Art Theory books are great options for a budding artist, or perhaps 
a book on how to draw Comics and Manga, for the cartoon lover.

Books on pottery, sketching, painting, sculptures, 
woodworking, antiques and more are also available!

For Movie and TV Lovers, options are endless!
Scripts, Movie Stills, Vintage Movie Posters and 
Celebrity Biographies are all available. We also have 
books detailing Hollywood history from Silent Films to today's blockbusters.

You'll find books and items from the Star TrekLord of the RingsTarzan
Harry PotterStar WarsJames BondDisney films and much, much more!

Vintage comic books are perfect for fans of superheroes. We have thousands!

Your Sports Fan is in for a treat!
We have dozens of vintage sports items in our Sports Department.
Vintage programs and books about the SpartansLugnutsLions
TigersRedwingsPistons are all available. We also have the 
right gift for your favorite WolverineBuckeye and Bears fan.

Martial ArtsBicyclingWater SportsGolfSailing,
TennisHockey and other sports items are also available.

For the Traveler on your list:
Our vast Travel section is chock-full of great travel guides
foreign language bookstravel essayssurvival guides 
and photograph collections of the most beautiful and fascinating destinations on Earth.

We also have a Michigan travel section, for wanderings closer to home. 
We have Michigan-specific guides for bikinghuntingfishingcamping
hikingbird-watching, touring the Great Lakeslighthouses and more!

... and, of course, we are a Book Lover's dream!
Please call or visit the shop to speak with a clerk about gift-giving options for your favorite Book Lover.
We have countless "fancy" books, ranging from $5 to $5,000, just right for your someone special. 

Volumes of Victorian poetry, books about books, 
SIGNED horror novels by Stephen King and other writers, 
collectible science fiction, fantasy and mystery novels in 
limited and signed editions, beautifully illustrated nature books,
tomes on science and philosophyintellectual literature
tracts on the history of the world, Western and Eastern civilizations,
the Americas, the militaryMichigan and and so much more await.

Check out our blog, Curiosities, for more gift ideas!

As always, we are inexpressibly grateful for your continued support of this small, independent book shop.

Come in for a visit and step through a "portal," into our nostalgia-steeped trove of treasures.

Many, Many Thanks!

Ray, Audrey and the Curious Gang

PS - Curious T-Shirts are back! 
New for this season are a limited number of Curious sweatshirts.
The classic Curious Book Shop design is available in a range of colors and sizes.
A T-Shirt and a Gift Certificate makes a great gift for picky readers!

If you wish to receive this newsletter via email, please write to us at


Curious Book Shop

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


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

More Great Gift Ideas at Curious!

Last week, we introduced a new section of collectable books at Curious. They are all examples of undressed calf (or suede) bindings. This style was popular during the latter part of the 19th century, and the materials, though unique and beautiful, were difficult to work with and decayed rapidly. Here are just a few examples out of the dozens in our store:

Longfellow's The Song of Hiawatha: $14.95

Title page

Beautiful title lettering!

Thoughts from Robert Browning: $12.95 (SOLD)

This volume is from a Miniatures series, and measures only about 2.5 by 3.5 inches!

Essays of Ralph Waldo Emerson: $12.95 (SOLD)

Title page with illustration plate

The Story of a Passion by Irving Bacheller: $14.95

Title Page

Rip Van Winkle by Washington Irving: $125

This edition was published by the Roycroft group, an artisan collective from the early 20th century which helped form the Arts and Crafts movement in the United States

Sonnets from the Portuguese by Elizabeth Barrett Browning: $14.95

One of Browning's most famous poems, Sonnet 43

Although the title of the book insinuates that the poems are not Browning's personal work, they are all originals. Browning was hesitant to publish these highly private pieces, so she decided to imply that she had simply translated them.

The Poetical Works of Alfred Tennyson: $14.95

Beautiful embossed detail on the front cover


Sunday, December 9, 2012

Ray's Reviews: Janet Evanovich's Notorious Nineteen

"Notorious Nineteen" by best-selling author Janet Evanovich (Bantam, $28) is the latest in her incredibly popular series, starring Stephanie Plum, bounty hunter.

Plum is working for her cousin Vinnie, a bail bondsman in New Jersey and is eager to make up for a slow summer.

She's trying to track down Geoffrey Cubbin, who disappeared after embezzling five million dollars from members of Trenton's premier assisted living care facility.

Cubbin has mysteriously vanished from a hospital after an emergency appendectomy; the cops haven't had any luck tracking him down either.

Plum gets assistance from a variety of sources, including feisty relatives and a short, intense hospital security specialist.

Lula, Plum's outspoken, heavyweight associate from work, is also helping; they get unusual results in their usual bumbling fashion.

Plum rarely works on just once case, and this is no exception - she's trying to track down a few other oddballs who've skipped bond.

This requires an assortment of undercover work, with strikingly different and sometimes hilarious results.

As usual, Plum has problems with her relationships, just when she's seemingly getting settled in with hard-working Trenton cop Joe Morelli, her long-time boyfriend.

Morelli realizes he's in for a tough time, telling Plum: "You do understand that your life isn't normal, right?"

But there are no easy answers, especially when Plum gets hired by the mysterious Ranger, another love interest, to help her in totally different dangerous situations.

Being faithful to Morelli is a challenge, especially as Ranger and his friends become targets for a devious psychopath.

When you throw in an albino and an exceptional mind-altering wooden Tiki figure, you've got classic Evanovich. The author provides many funny and unexpected scenes, deftly mixing comedy with occasional pathos and violence.

There's not a whole lot new in this novel, but that doesn't mean it's bad - Plum escapes from more tight situations involving exploding vehicles than anyone else in contemporary crime fiction.

Her longtime fans are likely to be highly satisfied with her latest effort. New readers to the series should probably start with the first book, "One for the Money" and continue on, but it's not that essential.

This is just right for the holiday season: fast-paced, solid escapism that doesn't require much heavy thinking.

This review was originally published by the Lansing State Journal on Sunday, December 9, 2012.

Ray Walsh, owner of East Lansing's Curious Book Shop, has reviewed crime novels and Michigan books regularly since 1987.


Thursday, December 6, 2012

The 2012 Curious Holiday Gift Guide

Here at Curious, we understand that our seemingly endless selection can be a bit... overwhelming.

Please, don't be intimidated!

Our massive collection includes books on just about every topic under the sun (and beyond).

Our friendly, book-wise staff members can help you find the perfect gift for that special someone on your list.

Prices range from fifty cents to ten thousand dollars, but the majority of our stock consists of reasonably priced, gently-used paperbacks and hardcovers. We have a large (overflowing!) dollar section, and specialize in science fiction, mysteries, general fiction and Michigan-related books. 

Stay tuned! We'll be sharing more of our favorite gift books in the coming days!

Here's a small taste of less-common, gift-worthy books:

Betsy Tacy, a favorite 20th century series of books for  girls, is a great option
for a young reader in search of fun adventures and lessons on friendship.

Though we are a strictly Spartan bookshop, we offer a vast array of sports books,
including professional and college teams. We also have books
about rowing, tennis, billiards, martial arts and more.

An unusual, beautiful collection of Dickens prints for your favorite lover of Victorian literature.
Published in the the early 1900s, this collection features dozens of sketches
depicting Dickens and some of his most memorable characters.
One of the dozens of prints in the Dickens collection, compiled by Seymour Eaton.

Visit our large Children's Section, where you'll find affordable picture books,
early readers and young adult novels for the young readers in your life.

A collection of Elvis art by Roger Taylor, sure to stir up nostalgic feelings.

Finding a gift for a TV lover is a SNAP at Curious!
We have books about Star Trek, Dr. Who, Buffy, MASH, Dr. Kildare,
Bill Cosby, Captain Kangaroo and  countless other television favorites.

Betty L. Williamson's lavishly illustrated meditation on the beauty of things often overlooked.
A perfect gift for your favorite nature-lover.

A peek at the inside of Reflections on the Fungaloids

A neat quotation collection for your favorite sleuth.

An early hardcover edition of Nathanael West's celebrated
Beat / Counter-Culture novel, with a neat review by Arthur Cohen! 

Amaze friends and family with help from this compendium of magic tricks!
Our Magic section includes modern and vintage magic items, for the novice or collector.

We have biographies about favorite celebrities, from the silent films to modern-day movies.
We also have books on film criticism, histories, scripts, lobby cards and vintage movie posters!
The Military History section has a variety of options for  the historian on your list.
Check out our massive Civil War section, and our many books about
WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam and modern wars.


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Quick December Update

From now until Christmas, take 20% OFF almost all of our HARDCOVER BOOKS! 

Gift Certificates are also 20% off, until Ray decides to end this "Free Money" sale. 

New This Week: 
Classic Dr. Seuss and Friends hardcovers, pop culture comics from the 1950s and 1960s, fabulously art and photography books, Michigan history, fancy editions of the Lord of the Rings trilogy and other Tolkien titles... and so much more!

Our favorite gift-quality and holiday-themed books are on display.

Are you looking for unique gifts for that special people on your list?
Whether they be hunters or homemakers, scientists or solipsistic singers, you'll find the perfect gift at Curious.

We'll send out our monthly newsletter later this week.

Please email us if you'd like to receive it in your email inbox!


Sunday, December 2, 2012

Ray's Reviews: Michael Connelly's The Black Box and Lee Child's Jack Reacher's Rules

If you're trying to escape the holiday rush, here's a quick look at a pair of highly entertaining recent releases.

"The Black Box" by best-selling author Michael Connelly (Little Brown, $27.99) is the 18th in his exceptionally popular series starring Los Angeles Police detective Harry Bosch.

It's been 20 years since Bosch first appeared as a fictional character in the "The Black Echo"; he began in the Homicide Unit. Now he's working in the Open - Unsolved Case Unit.

He gets involved in a case that has special meaning to him: the investigation of the murder of a female photojournalist in 1992, during the height of the L.A. Riots.

Bosch originally handled the case, but it was handed to the Riot Crimes Task Force and never solved. Step by step, Bosch investigates the case, trying to figure out the woman's real killer.

It's not an easy trail, but Bosch carefully backtracks, gathering information and interviewing related individuals as he tries to discover the truth.

There are many clever, believable plot twists and the exciting, violent, action-packed conclusion makes it all worthwhile.

This is an exceptional police procedural mystery, another compelling page-turner from one of the masters of contemporary crime fiction writing.

"Jack Reacher's Rules" (Delacorte Press, $16) is an unusual book that features a brief introduction by Lee Child, who's written 17 books in the hugely popular series.

This small, 152 page book isn't going to please everyone, as it offers little new material, but it's still great fun for mystery readers who like a change of pace.

It's compiled by Val Hudson, who includes many nifty illustrations and photographs to emphasize points.

If you're familiar with Lee Child's books starring the mysterious loner Jack Reacher, you're in for a real treat. Diehard fans still can't believe that Tom Cruise was selected to portray Reacher in the new upcoming film.

Some of the rules include: "Hope for the best, plan for the worst", "They mess with me, they answer to me" and "Hit them hard, hit them fast and hit them a lot." There's also a scattered selection of items that the anti-hero would not say or do.

This book is not meant to be real serious; it's best to stretch out your enjoyment, perhaps savoring a dozen pages a day.

This review was originally published by the 
Lansing State Journal on Sunday, December 2, 2012.

Ray Walsh, owner of East Lansing's Curious Book Shop, 
has reviewed crime novels and noir thrillers regularly since 1987.


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Ray's Remarks: An "Average" Night of Book Buying and Acquisitions at the Curious Book Shop

Ray offers a peek into the mysterious world of book-buying at Curious. 
This chronicles the evening of Monday, November 26th 2012.

I never know from one day to the next what we'll have access to. Today was no exception!

I try to encourage people to set up appointments; I'm generally available to buy items in the shop from 3 until 7:30 PM, Monday Friday and Saturday - but it's always best to call first.

First in to sell items was a man who'd called and set up an appointment. He brought in a big Walt Disney Mickey Mouse book and some items he inherited from his father.

Unfortunately, the Disney book's cover was soiled - I passed on it; while the contents were in nice shape, the exterior discoloration would turn a lot of people off. It just wasn't "gift" condition, and we see this book frequently.

He also had some items from the Korean War, a book from the U.S.S. Pittsburgh and a military scrapbook from the war with many black and white photos. There were also a few large photographs of the crew, but these were damaged, almost torn in two.

While I do have customers for these types of items, we didn't agree on a price; I suggested that he might want to donate them to the Michigan Historical Museum - and honor his father permanently. It would be ideal for researchers and historians.

We talked about the decreasing number of collectors of this type of material - and the fact that more items like these were surfacing as World War II and Korean War veterans are passing away with increasing regularity.

He decided to take them home and think about what he was going to do. I gave him a card and would be interested in buying them, but I have to make a profit. These items are not fast sellers, but they are still pretty interesting.

Next in was a man with a big bag of old "girlie" magazines - but most were in poor shape, with covers coming off. I don't have much demand for men's magazines but I can use those types of magazines in nice condition, from the 1950s and 1960s.

We also had the usual people trying to sell old textbooks - and advised them to go nearby textbook shops.

A man came in with an item, carefully packed in plastic, that he wanted to sell. It was a Flash Gordon Big Little Book from the late 1930s - but it was only in good condition. There was lots of cover wear to the exterior and penciling inside. He had great expectations - he said that one company said it could be worth up to $307 - but he'd have to send it to them, first.

He decided to bring it to us - but his copy was not in desirable condition; we currently have over 60 Big Little Books in stock in nice shape! On items of this type, condition is exceptionally important - and copies that are only in Fair or Good condition are notoriously slow sellers.

Earlier in the day I brought in some boxes of hardbacks and paperbacks that I'd acquired from the estates of two professors - art books and useful volumes of lecture and poetry.

We also acquired an interesting wooden bookcase from a local estate sale; it is only a foot wide, but six feet tall, with adjustable shelves!

Audrey had the bright idea of putting it next to our stairway leading to the basement. It fits perfectly. Now, we just have to figure out what we'll going to put on display!

Other items that we put out today included a nice selection of Tolkien-related books. In a few weeks, we'll send to auction a FIRST AMERICAN EDITION of Tolkien's The Hobbit, in Good condition.

We currently are offering an original gouache painting by Rowena Morrill on Ebay. It was used as the cover art for The Dracula Book of Great Vampire Stories!

Other items we made available today were a large number of 1950s Dell TARZAN comics, including a few scarce Four-Color issues. We added a number of SIGNED FIRST EDITIONS of science fiction novels and anthologies signed or inscribed by Hugo-Award winning author Clifford D. Simak.

I also dug out a box of books that had been somewhat buried. I priced and shelved a few more Cherry Ames books in dust jackets, and Nancy Drew, too. There are many interesting books awaiting plastic wraps. They'll appear on our shelves soon.

Earlier today we celebrated my birthday 
with a nice chocolate cake that tasted great! 

Tomorrow is another day. Who knows what we'll come across...

- Ray Walsh


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Ray's Reviews: The Racketeer by John Grisham & The Cocktail Waitress by James M. Cain

Two recent, intriguing crime novels by well-known authors have various degrees of success. Both have justice-related themes, providing hours of captivating reading entertainment.

     "The Racketeer" by John Grisham (Doubleday, $28.95) isn't his usual legal thriller, although there are an assortment of legalities involved.

     It focuses on the plight of Malcolm Bannister, a Black attorney who's serving 10 years in prison for his involvement in a money-laundering scheme.

     He's spent some of his time as a jailhouse lawyer, learning a lot about his fellow prisoners. When a Federal Judge and his young secretary are discovered murdered, with an empty safe nearby, Bannister feels he knows who's responsible.

     After the extensive investigation by local police and the FBI turns up no evidence, Bannister offers them useful information - for a price. He can break the case wide open, but wants his freedom.

     Grisham's compelling tale is told from alternating viewpoints, beginning with Bannister's narrative and then switching to a third person, more objective view.

     The reader doesn't really know immediately where the novel is going and is given few clues along the way. The author offers numerous surprises, racial insights and a bit of violence, but the final outcome is not completely unpredictable.

     Grisham, in his brief afterward, notes "Almost nothing in the previous 340-odd pages is based on reality" - and he's 100% right. Although confusing at times, his latest novel is still classic Grisham, ready-made for the movies.

     "The Cocktail Waitress" by James M. Cain (Hard Case Crime, $23.99) is a top-notch crime novel by the creator of "Mildred Pierce" and "The Postman Always Rings Twice".

     Set in the early 1960's, it focuses on pretty Joan Medford, whose husband died under suspicious circumstances.

     With a 3-year-old son and desperate for money, she takes a job as a cocktail waitress and soon gets involved with a wealthy widower and a handsome schemer.

     She must make important, life-changing decisions, which inevitably lead to deadly, conflicting results and an ironic conclusion.

     This is the lost final novel by Cain, the noir fiction specialist, who died in 1977.

     In the afterward, by Edgar-Award winning author and Hard Crime Press founder Charles Ardai, it is revealed how the manuscript was discovered and how it was made available for publication.

Ray Walsh, owner of East Lansing's Curious Book Shop, has reviewed crime novels and noir thrillers regularly since 1987.

This review was originally published by the Lansing State Journal on Sunday, November 18, 2012.


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Find the PERFECT Gift at Curious - Gift Certificates on Sale! - Comics, Pulps and more at CLASSICON 42 this SATURDAY - November 2012 Curious Book Shop Curiosities Newsletter

Greetings, Friends of Curious!

It's been a busy month at the book shop.
Thank you, all who came down to help celebrate our 43rd anniversary!
We hope you found fabulous deals and reveled in our nostalgia-steeped shop.

The holidays are nearly upon us.
Curious is your one-stop shop for affordable, unique, unexpected gifts sure to delight
your favorite book lover, historian, movie buff, hunter, explorer, sports fan or young reader.

Need help finding the right thing for that someone special?
Ask us! We'll point you in the right direction, and help you find unique items sure to please.

November Sale:

30% OFF Travel, Cooking and Oversized Sports & Entertainment Books
20% OFF Gift Certificates (for a limited time)

New Acquisitions:

Russian history, vintage comics, beautifully illustrated children's classics,
a selection of early issues of High Times and Harvard Lampoon,
Charlie Brown cartoon books, chess books, magic books, science and biology,Gourmet and Saveur magazines, 20+ years of National Geographic,
recent mystery and general fiction bestsellers, science fiction and fantasy paperbacks,
books in German, French, Latin and Russian, and art and architecture hardcovers.

Numerous paperback mysteries by Ellis Peters and William Kent Gardner,

a selection of Big Little Books, many Tolkien paperbacks and finely illustrated
collections of Middle Earth art, philosophy, and volumes of European and American poetry.

Also, we've recently acquired beautiful editions of Tolkien's novels published by the Folio Society.
They're fabulously illustrated and in slipcase. Quite a find for the discerning collector!

Shop Gossip:

Join us THIS SATURDAY, November 17, for Classicon 42.
10 a.m. - 4 p.m. at the University Quality Inn, near Frandor (in Lansing).
Admission: $3.00

Classicon is one of the first pulp/paperback shows ever established.
There are thousands of collectable vintage comics, Pulp magazines,
digests, and paperbacks available for sale or trade.

Find out more on our website or Craigslist.
Want to exhibit? There's still time!
Call the shop (517.332.0112) and talk to Ray.

MSU's latest museum, The Broad, opened this week!

The grand opening was cause for celebration at Curious.
We've reorganized and expanded our  Art History,
Art Theory, Architecture, Photography, European Art,
American Art, Asian Art, Religious Art, Museum Guides
and Arts & Crafts sections.

Ray recently reviewed the latest science fiction and fantasy novel by Jim C. Hines
Hines is a local, award-winning writer -- and a favorite at Curious!
Libriomancer, the first in a promising new series, takes place in East Lansing.
This novel features a suspiciously familiar character... an eccentric bookseller named Ray.

Is this just a coincidence?
Pick up a copy of Libriomancer and tell us what you think.

Read Ray's reveiw of Libriomancer, and the latest from Jonathan Stars, on our blog: Curiosities.

We have an especially wonderful collectors piece up for auction, this week.
Released from Ray's private collection is an original painting by Rowena Morrill.
Morrill was the 2012 World Science Fiction Convention Artist Guest of Honor.
Take a peek at the online auction.

Special Holiday Hours:

Curious will be CLOSED on Thanksgiving. Turkey! Yum!

We are open on Sundays, from noon until 5 pm,
and parking is free in East Lansing's city parking lots!

Literary Happenings for November:

Ivan Turgenev, born Nov. 9 1818. Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. born Nov. 11, 1922.
Herman Melville's Moby Dick first published by Harper and Brothers in
New York on Nov. 14, 1981. Sylvia Beach opened her Parisian book shop,
Shakespeare & Co
., on Nov. 17, 1919. George Eliot born Nov. 22, 1811.
Ray Walsh
, owner and founder of Curious Book Shop, celebrates his
birthday Nov. 25th! Lewis Carroll gave his handwritten manuscript,
Alice's Adventures Underground, to Alice Liddell as an early
Christmas gift on Nov. 26, 1864. John Donne, born Nov. 27 1573.
C.S. Lewis
born Nov. 29, 1898. Oscar Wilde died in Paris, Nov. 30, 1900.

Many thanks, and we hope to see you in the shop sometime soon.

Ray, Audrey and the Curious Gang

If you'd like to receive our newsletter in your email inbox, please contact us at

Curious Book Shop

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


Ray's Reviews: Libriomancer by Jim C. Hines and 2035 by Jonathan Stars

      If you're trying to escape reality, here's a quick look at two intriguing new releases by local authors. Both are set in East Lansing and other Michigan locations, but are worlds apart in reality.

"Libriomancer" by Holt resident and Hugo Award winning fantasy author Jim C. Hines (DAW books, $24.95) is the first book in his exciting new series.

It introduces Isaac Vainio, who seems like a meek librarian  working in the small northern Michigan town of Copper River. He's not your typical librarian - he has unusual powers and brings Smudge, his fire spider to work with him. 

Isaac is a Libriomancer, one who has the ability to reach into books and create objects from their pages. There are restrictions, though: Isaac isn't supposed to use his powers - he's been merely cataloging books for their magical potential for the last two years. 

He's attacked in the library by three vampires seeking answers. He's in real trouble - but gets help from Lena, a pretty dryad (a female spirit of a tree); his life quickly gets more complicated.

Isaac is a member of a secret organization founded by Johannes Gutenberg centuries ago to fend off supernatural threats. 
He goes off on an unusual quest, with greater focus after he discovers that his mentor in magic, a used book store owner in East Lansing, has been murdered in an unusual manner. 

Hines' quirky, humorous tale is rife with fast-paced action and confrontations; this is great fun, an enjoyable, unpredictable fantasy by one of the best new masters of the genre.

His website is

"2035" by Jonathan Stars (DDP Books, $19.95) is a fat, 571 page novel that's tough to classify - but hard to put down. 

It's set in 2035, a strange technological future that's significantly different, but one that's likely possible, according to some predictions. It deals with nanotechnology, when Charlie Noble and his team create N-hanced, an application for utilizing nano computers in the human brain. 

When one of Charlie's co-workers is murdered and another commits suicide, the inventor realizes that his project is veering out of control.

Losing his funding and wrongly accused of negligent homicide, Charlie's on the run, fleeing authorities and trying to track down the clever real killer.

Most of the adrenaline-charged action occurs in East Lansing and Lansing, with a terrific sequence set at the Breslin Center. 

This is an odd mixture of futuristic science fiction, mystery, action/adventure and courtroom drama, but Stars makes it all work, exceptionally well.

He even includes a seven-page glossary for non-geeks that's particularly useful.

Stars, who lives near Holt, appeared on eight different panels at the recent World Science Fiction Convention in Chicago.

He's hard at work and has already written 20,000 words in the next book in this projected series.

His website is

Ray Walsh, owner of East Lansing's Curious Book Shop, is a longtime science fiction reader who's reviewed books regularly since 1987.

This review was originally published by the Lansing State Journal on Sunday, November 11, 2012.

Books reviewed by Ray are available at the Curious Book Shop!


Sunday, November 4, 2012

Ray's Reviews: John Sandford's "Mad River" and Richard Castle's "Frozen Heat"

     There are dead bodies galore and so much more in two recent fast-paced, highly entertaining best-selling crime novels.
     "Mad River" by John Sandford (Putnam, $27.95) is the sixth book in his series starring Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension agent Virgil Flowers.
     Sandford, who's also written 22 books in his "Prey" series starring Lucas Davenport, doesn't falter, creating a taught, tight thriller that's tough to put down.
     The fast-paced tale opens with a bang in the first chapter, as three teenagers break into a house in a robbery attempt.
     Things go badly wrong when they kill a young woman; they murder another man and steal his car. Soon the body count rises again and Flowers is trying to track the teenagers who have gone on a killing spree.
     As the investigation continues, the case becomes more complex; Flowers gets limited assistance from assorted police departments.
     There's considerable violence, including frustration and anger between the teenagers; Flowers digs deeper, going all out to stop further bloodshed.
     Sandford is in fine form in "Mad River"; a reader unfamiliar with earlier books in the series will still find strong characterization, clever plotting and a thought-provoking conclusion.
     "Frozen Heat" by Richard Castle (Hyperion, $26.99) is the fourth in the series based on the popular ABC television series.
     It stars NYPD detective Nikki Heat and journalist Jameson Rook, thinly veiled characters from the show.
     Heat is investigating the murder of an unidentified woman who was stabbed to death. The frozen body was discovered in a suitcase, inside a freezer truck.
     The detective is startled when she notices that the suitcase containing the body belonged to Heat's mother, who was murdered 10 years earlier in a similar, unsolved case.
     As Heat, Rook and the rest of the squad dig deeper, unnerving facts are discovered, disclosing unusual family secrets.
     A trip to Paris provides more clues and leaves more questions; attempts are made on Heat's life.
     Evidence mysteriously disappears and the other important test results are destroyed. Heat and Rook's diligent efforts involve them in many chase scenes with deadly, unexpected results.
     The convoluted plot ends with a cliffhanger, ideal for a sequel; this is a solid, enjoyable police procedural with a touch of humor thrown in for good measure.
Ray Walsh, owner of East Lansing's Curious Book Shop,
has reviewed crime novels and noir thrillers regularly since 1987.

This review was originally published by the
Lansing State Journal on Sunday, November 4, 2012.


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

43% OFF?! -- 43 Years of Bookselling -- SAVE BIG for a Limited Time Only

***Our Anniversary Sale ends THIS FRIDAY,  November 1st, at 8 p.m. ***

Greetings, Book Lover!

How long have you been coming to Curious?
This week marks our 43rd anniversary!

To celebrate, we're showing our age and giving you a great deal:

43% OFF All Used Items $43 and Under
20% OFF Everything Else - Including New Titles and Tshirts!

Come to Curious and congratulate Ray Walsh on 43 years in business.
He'll be at Curious from 3 - 7:30 p.m. this Friday and (probably) Saturday.

This limited-time-only sale is a great opportunity to do some early holiday shopping.
We have beautiful, gift-quality items for book lovers of all ages - but they're going fast! 
Browse around in Curious and find unique gifts for that special bibliophile in your life.

Please feel free to leave friendly comments
regarding our birthday on our Facebook page.
You can also contact us through Facebook if
you'd like help finding a specific book or
paper item, a holiday gift, or if you'd like to
add to our online shop reviews by happy customers.

Did you know that we have THREE FLOORS?
We're not just a book shop - we also have
comics, magazines, movie posters, ephemera,
sports programs and memorabilia and more!
Also, don't forget about the upcoming Great Pumpkin Walk!
Thursday, October 25th from 5 pm - 7 pm.
We're pulling out our spooky Halloween decorations and will be
dressed in literary-related costumes while we hand out goodies!
Find out more about East Lansing's fun Halloween event for the whole family:

Shop Hours:
Monday - Saturday 10 a.m. - 8 p.m.
Sundays 12 - 5 p.m.

It has been a pleasure to serve the East Lansing, Lansing, MSU and LCC communities.
We look forward to many more book-filled years to come.

Many, many thanks.
We hope to see you soon!

If you wish to receive our newsletters in your email inbox, let us know!


Ray's Reviews: Red Jacket by Joseph Heywood & The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom

 Two new books by Michigan authors are timely and thought-provoking.

     "Red Jacket" by Portage author and MSU graduate Joseph Heywood (Lyons Press, $24.95) focuses on the challenges facing Lute Bapcat, a trapper and former cowboy who also served with Theodore Roosevelt's Rough Riders.

     In 1913, Bapcat is asked by Roosevelt to become Deputy Game Fish and Forestry Warden for Houghton and Keweenaw counties in upper Michigan.

     As one of the state's first game wardens, Bapcat has to deal with many assorted issues. His life is made significantly more difficult as problems escalate between devious copper mine owners and angry immigrant mine workers who want to strike.

     Deer are being slaughtered and their carcasses left behind, depriving strikers of a potential food supply. As Bapcat and his Russian sidekick Zakov investigate, they discover unusual allegiances, crooked cops and clever cover-ups.

     Heywood, who's written eight books in his popular Grady Service "Woods Cop" series, deftly combines fact with fiction by using some real individuals as characters, such as athlete George Gipp and union organizer Mother Jones. Heywood even comes up with an usual explanation for the cause behind the horrific Italian Hall disaster which claimed 73 lives.

     The author pays a lot of attention to historical detail; at times it's difficult to keep track of all of the characters. This is the first volume in a realistic new series, which should only increase Heywood's popularity.
     Mitch Albom, one of America's best-selling authors, won't have to worry much either - his loyal fans will certainly be pleased.

     His latest novel, "The Time Keeper" (Hyperion, $24.99), is told in a fast-paced, sometimes choppy style that showcases Dor, the inventor of the world's first clock.

     The fable has Dor being punished for trying to measure God's greatest gift. He's banished to a cave for centuries, where he's forced to hear Mankind's innumerable requests for more time.

     Amazingly, he doesn't go completely crazy, but he is obsessed and eventually becomes Father Time. He's given a chance to prove himself by teaching two mortals the true meaning of time.

     The rest of the slim novel is set in the present, with Dor trying to help a struggling teenage girl and a dying billionaire discover the true value of time.

     While undeniably a tearjerker, Albom's timely tale is both enjoyable and thought provoking; if you have no great expectations, reading it is time well spent.
Ray Walsh, owner of East Lansing's Curious Book Shop, 
has reviewed Michigan books and crime novels regularly since 1987.

This review was originally published by the Lansing State Journal on October 21, 2012