Monday, April 30, 2012

Book Review: Spies Travel the Globe

Here's a quick look at three entertaining spy novels with plenty of international action, intriquing characters and double crosses galore.
"The Expats" by Chrive Pavone, (Crown, $26) features a female protagonist, Kate Moore, who has retired from working for the CIA.
She's married now, with two young boys and a husband who's working as a banking industry computer security expert. He gets a dream job in Luxembourg; they pack up and move, facing a wide variety of challenges.
But her husband works long hours and becomes aloof. Moore investigates, discovering disconcerting information. When another couple from the states becomes overly friendly, she uses some of her old contacts to try to unravel the mind-boggling truth.
This contemporary, cerebral spy novel is a carefully crafted debut by an author who shows great potential.

"Spycatcher" by Matthew Dunn (Harper, $9.99) is now out in paperback; it's a first novel by a former British MI6 field officer.
It showcases superspy Will Cochrane, who works for the CIA and MI6 and is out to stop an Iranian terrorist mastermind. The hero has a variety of reasons to go after the clever terrorist; the complicated plot bounces around to many worldwide locations.
The villain has a deadly plan that will kill thousands; quick-thinking Cochrane is the only hope to stop it. There's significant violence and adrenaline-charged action; the dedicated spy gets shot, stabbed, tortured and nearly blown up.
The second book in the series is due out in August - let's hope that's enough time for Cochrane to recover from his wounds.

"Kill Shot" by Vince Flynn (Atria/Emily Bestler Books, $27.99) offers a look at the early career of Mitch Rapp, the CIA superspy star of many of Flynn's later best-selling novels.
This time, he's in Paris, completing an assignment to kill Libya's oil minister. But he's been set up, things don't quite go as planned. He's wounded in an exchange of gunfire and initially is wrongly blamed for the death of nine victims.
As Rapp tries to figure out who's behind the double cross, he gets help from a variety of sources but faces increasing amounts of danger.
If you like page-turning, non-stop action, you're in with Flynn; this is top-notch entertainment by a masterful storyteller.

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 April 29, 2012.


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Go Tigers! Classic Detroit Tigers Sports Memorabilia at Auction

Spring has sprung in Mid-Michigan, and with the warmer temperatures and green grass comes one of America's favorite pastimes - Major League Baseball!

To celebrate, we've put two of our favorite Detroit Tigers items up for auction. A seasoned or novice collector can acquire these great pieces of vintage sports memorabilia at a small price. Currently, both of these items are selling for under twenty dollars!

1937 Detroit Tigers Ticket Sleeve
 This vintage double-sided ticket sleeve was produced by Wolf Detroit Envelope Company. It features six charming Tigers illustrations, as well as the 1937 schedule of games. In this era of Tigers baseball, Tigers Stadium was called Navin Field. For a closer (zoomed-in) look, please visit this item's auction webpage.

1950 Detroit Tigers Schedule distributed by the Detroit Times
This classic piece of  memorabilia from the Detroit Tigers 1950 season is so neat! The bright colors and bold graphics make it a wonderful candidate for framing. In this era of Tigers baseball, Tigers Stadium was called Briggs Stadium. Get a closer look and find out more about this oversize schedule at the auction webpage.

If you have a question about either of these items, or if you would like to see some of the other unusual Tigers items we have in stock, please contact us! We've recently added dozens of high-quality player photographs (given to fans as souvenirs), and we have books, posters, game programs, buttons, magazines and newspapers related to the Detroit Tigers and so many other MLB teams!

Curious Book Shop
307 East Grand River Avenue
East Lansing, Michigan 48823
(517) 332 - 0112


Book Review: Lost in the Canadian Wilderness by Vern Seefeldt

       "Lost in the Canadian Wilderness" by East Lansing's Vern Seefeldt, (Xlibris, $19.99) is creative non-fiction that offers an intriguing look at an unsolved, puzzling disappearance.
       Subtitled "What Happened to Louie Harris?" it opens in the 1920's, when young Barney Seefeldt, the author's father, journeys by motorcycle from his home in Appleton WI to Fargo, North Dakota.
       He's hired by wheat farmer John Lorenz as a teamster, leading one of eight teams of draft horses pulling grain binders to harvest the 2000 acre crop.
       After a brief fight, experienced Barney takes over as foreman, turning a potential disaster into a profitable venture.  The former foreman turns into a foe, but Barney meets Louie Harris, who's also working on the harvest.
       Barney and Louie become fast friends; when they're through with the job, Barney tells Louie his real goal is to become a Canadian homesteader in frigid British Columbia.
       They form a partnership, journey to Winnipeg, sell their cycles and take a four-day train ride to Prince Rupert.  They want to homestead a 160-acre plot of land, not by farming, but by trapping and hunting in the wilderness.
       The territory is teeming with wildlife - their plan is to build a cabin and get enough beaver, mink and marten pelts to sell to the furriers.
       The author deftly leads the reader through a wide variety of unusual experiences of the pair, including setting up trap-lines and dealings with bears, wolves and other animals.
       Other challenges occur, particularly when Barney falls through the ice and when Louie encounters a young Indian girl fleeing her tribe.
       With only three days left in the trapping season, Louie mysteriously disappears without a trace.
       Disheartened Barney continues his search, but eventually returns to Prince Rupert with a full sled of valuable pelts.  The local authorities don't seem to care, but Louie's loss will haunt Barney for the rest of his life.
       The self-published paperback features excellent illustrations by Riccardo Capraro.
       Vern Seefeldt is Distinguished Professor and Director Emeritus of the Institute for the Study of Youth Sports at MSU; he's written over 160 articles for scientific journals and edited eight books.

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

This book review was originally published by the Lansing State Journal in April 2012.


Sunday, April 8, 2012

April Update. New Monthly Sale! New Acquisitions! Fun Events in East Lansing!

Happy Spring!

To celebrate the return of spring, we're offering some fresh discounts:

30% OFF the following sections:


This sale runs until the end of April.


The Doctor is In!
Dozens of Dr. Who novels have appeared on our shelves.
They'll go fast, so hop into your Tardis and get to the shop.

A large selection of poetry, philosophy and psychology books have arrived,
including works by Ayn Rand, Foucault, Chomsky, and Freud.

We have plenty of new science fiction and fantasy novels by Pratchett, Heinlein,
Ursula K. LeGuin, Terry Brooks, Poul Anderson, Ray Bradbury, Neal Stephenson and others.

We've also acquired many more Native American and military histories,
books in Latin and Greek, songbooks, cook books and graphic novels!

New collections include a 54 volume set of Great Books (a beautiful five-foot shelf of books!),
the Harvard Classics 50 volume set with the lecture book, a hardcover set of C.S. Lewis's Narnia
series in a slipcase and small boxed sets by Ruth Rendell, Winston Churchill and Eastern spiritualist Baird T. Spalding.

Want to find out about more of the curious books we come across?
Keep an eye on our blog and our Facebook page.


Curious will be closed this Sunday, April 8th for some spring cleaning.

It has been a busy month at Curious!
In March a well-known magazine (Playboy!) staged a photo shoot in our shop,
and writer Heath Lowrance hailed us the "Best Bookshop Ever".
The Hunger Games movie release brought us some extra traffic, including
a reporter with Lansing's WILX news team and multiple print journalists.

The 55th Michigan Antiquarian Book & Paper Show was a grand success,
featuring more than 75 dealers from across the country.
We delighted in seeing so many old friends and fellow book lovers.
Keep an eye out for Ray's forthcoming review of the show!

Did you go to the show?
Please tell us what you thought of it!
Mark your calender; the next show will be on
Sunday, October 7, 2012 at the Lansing Center.


With warmer weather comes so much to do in the Lansing area!

The Capital City Film Fest kicks off on April 12th. This four-day festival
happens in Lansing, and features about 24 hours of remarkable submissions.
New to the CCFF this year is TEXxLansing, a gathering of great local minds.
The Kresge Art Center is having an Open Art Studio Event
on April 12, from 5 - 8 pm. The public is invited!
Demonstrations include ceramics, sculpture and printmaking.

 21st is National Record Store Day!
Show your appreciation for your favorite local record shop.

The Broad Art Museum is hosting a special event on April 21st,
from 3 - 7pm. "The Land Grant: Art, Agriculture, Sustainability"
will feature numerous artists, speakers, food and live music.
This event will be held in the old Jacobson's / Barnes & Noble building
in downtown East Lansing (333 E. Grand River Ave.).
More information can be found on their website.

Also happening on April 21st is the Taste of East Lansing!
This event will be held in downtown East Lansing from 5 - 8 pm.
Join community members in feasting upon delicious food
from local businesses. Find out more on their website!

For those in the know, there will be a Free Market in Valley Court Park
on Saturday, April 28th. Find out more about the "Greater Lansing
Really Really Free Market" on their Facebook page.

1st: Anne McCaffrey, Samuel R. Delaney
2nd: Hans Christian Andersen, Emile Zola
3rd: Washington Irving, Dorothy Eden
4th: Dan Simmons, Dennis L. McKiernan, Maya Angelou
5th Booker T. Washington
8th: Barbara Kingsolver
10th: Anne Lamott, David Halberstam
12th: Tom Clancy, Beverly Cleary, Scott Turow
13th: Thomas Jefferson, Nella Larson, Seamus Heaney
16th: Garth Williams, Sir Kingsley Amis, Thornton Wilder
21st: Charlotte Bronte
22nd: Henry Fielding
23rd: William Shakespeare, Cervantés
24th: Anthony Trollope
26th: David Hume, Marcus Aurelius, Maud Hart Lovelace
27th: Edward Gibben
28th: (Nelle) Harper Lee, Terry Pratchett
30th: Alice B. Tolkas, Larry Niven, Annie Dillard

“She read books as one would breathe air, to fill up and live.
She read books as one would breathe ether, to sink in and die.”

Annie Dillard, "The Living"

We appreciate your continued support of our independent East Lansing book shop.
Later this year we will celebrate our 43rd anniversary!

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

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Thursday, April 5, 2012

Book Review: The Professionals by Owen Laukkanen

If you're looking for great nighttime reading that you can't put down, "The Professionals" by Owen Laukkanen (Putnam, $25.95) is just about perfect.
This is an exceptionally fast-paced tale that should easily be up for the year's best debut crime novel award. Laukkanen's outstanding effort features likable, well-developed characters, excellent storytelling and a corkscrew plot.
It focuses on an odd but believable plan by four college graduates who have degrees but can't find satisfying jobs.
Their scheme is to orchestrate kidnappings, but not be greedy. They do their online research and target millionaires; they don't ask for a lot of ransom money - just $60,000 or so.
To some of the very wealthy, this is only a minimal aggravation. The victim's wife or family members are instructed not to contact police; the cash demand is usually easily accessible.
The plan works well for two years, as the clever kidnappers crisscross the country, putting their strategy in motion.
Things start to go wrong for the group after their angry victim in Minneapolis goes to the police after the ransom is paid. Minnesota veteran state investigator Kirk Stevens is called in on the puzzling case.
The group runs into more problems when they travel to Michigan for their next big score. They kidnap Donald Beteneau of Birmingham, who owns four tool and die factories. His wife is the VP of marketing for a Detroit casino, but she's also the daughter of a big time, well connected mob boss.
FBI agent Carla Windemere is assigned the case; Stevens joins forces as they track to figure out the identity of the group members.
The compelling action shifts to Florida and beyond; nasty mob hitmen are also after the group as the action intensifies.
Laukkanen is in fine form, creating believable characters that a reader can root for, weather it's the assorted kidnappers or the dedicated cops on their trail.
It's hard to imagine that this is just the author's first book, it's considerably better than many current crime novels flooding the market. This is a knockout debut crime novel that could easily be made into a great movie.
Ray Walsh, owner of East Lansing's Curious Book Shop,
has reviewed crime novels and Michigan books regularly since 1987.


Curious Acquisitions: Accidents, Emergencies and Poisons (published 1875)

Today's Curiosity comes form the depths of the Archives basement, and it is fascinating!
Plain Directions for Accidents, Emergencies and Poisons
Enlarged Edition, one of 110,000 copies published in 1875.
Distributed by the Mutual Life Insurance Company of New York.

This strange, slim volume includes some amusing black and white sketches of various medical maneuvers.
Other interesting features include a detailed list of known poisonous materials and what one should do in an emergency situations like shock, choking, being set afire, excessive bleeding and convulsions. 

Are you interested in purchasing this item? 
Please contact the Curious Book Shop
at (517) 332 - 0112 to learn more!

Curious Book Shop
307 East Grand River Ave.
East Lansing, Michigan 48823


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Today's Most Curious Acquisition... A Clash of Kings First Edition!

A Clash of Kings
George R. R. Martin
First American Edition

This collectible science fiction novel is in excellent condition.
Interested in purchasing this? 
Please contact the Curious Book Shop
at (517) 332 - 0112 to learn more!

Curious Book Shop
307 East Grand River Ave.
East Lansing, Michigan 48823