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.