Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Book Review: Art of the Sleeping Bear Dunes: Transforming Nature Into Art (Ed. Linda M. Young)

"Art of the Sleeping Bear Dunes" (Leelanau Press, $40) is a beautiful, well-designed hardback that's full of exceptionally strong images of the picturesque northern Michigan area.
Edited by Linda M. Young, it's subtitled "Transforming Nature into Art".

The majority of the book is devoted to 108 two-dimensional pieces by contemporary artists. This artwork was selected from over 250 submissions to a project designed to showcase the beauty of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

These paintings were part of a recent exhibition at the Dennos Museum Center at the Northwestern Michigan College campus in Traverse City.

Highly respected art professors Mary McNichols and E. W. Ross were the jurors in the competition. Each provide a brief statement reflecting the challenges and criteria of choosing which artworks would be displayed and included in this book.

Young provides a historical overview of different artists who painted in the Sleeping Bear Dunes area. It includes over two dozen images of art completed during different decades. She also offers biographical information about the artists, their work and what drew them to the area.

A short essay by Jerry Dennis focuses on diverse ways of seeing Sleeping Bear. Kathleen Stocking also contributes an essay relating fond memories of growing up in the area. Two pages are devoted to assorted artist-in-residence programs.

The book is divided into three sections, with more than half understandably devoted to images of lakes, dunes and beaches.

Beautiful drawings abound, with many carefully-crafted renderings of the ever-changing landscape of the lakeshore. The different artistic styles are quite amazing, mostly capturing the area's serenity.

Traverse City artist Mike Cotter's contribution, created as a collage, with ink and charcoal, is a bit different. Titled "We Didn't Know Better, 1956 Dunesmobile" showcases the bright, striking image of an Oldsmobile on the grassy dunes under the glaring sun. His apologetic comments in the book's biographical section offer an intriguing retrospective.

Other sections of the book are devoted to forests, meadows and buildings as well as rivers, creeks and ponds.

This is a volume that should be enjoyed and savored, not swallowed in one gulp. You're likely to start making plans now to enjoy one of Michigan's beautiful historic areas.
More information can be found at leelanaupress.com .

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

Find this book and other great titles
at the Curious Book Shop, an independent 
book shop in East Lansing, founded in 1969.

Curious Book Shop
307 East Grand River Avenue
East Lansing, Michigan

This review was originally published by the Lansing State Journal on  April 20, 2014.


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

New Stuff! New Sales! New Gossip! New Newness! April Newsletter

Howdy-do, Reader!

Boy, do we have news for you...

First off, how to SAVE BIG this month, with 30% OFF books from the following sections:


New Acquisitions

Bukowski! So much Bukowski.
Seriously, we currently have almost every title in stock!

Also, we've acquired a nice collection of antique Easter cards, many more used Philosophy books, a good number of gently-read Science Fiction bestsellers, General Fiction, Swedish Language books for Kids, beautiful Early 20th-Century Series Fiction for Girls, Music books, Art collections, and much more. A myriad of vintage Beatles memorabilia can be found upstairs, in the Rock & Roll section.

Due to increased demands from customers in need of a surprise, we've restocked our selection of Mystery Books! Also restocked is our selection of locally made pins -- they're wearable antique graphics made from discarded books!

Shop Gossip:

Curious will be CLOSED on April 20th, Easter Sunday.


Early April was a whirlwind for the folks at Curious, as we prepared for, attended, and recovered from the Antiquarian Book & Paper Show. The show, I must say, was a grand success! It was fun to see so many familiar faces, and to make great new connections with local collectors of all ages. THANK YOU, those of you who came out to join us. Be sure to mark your calendar for the next show, on Sunday, October 5th. (But hopefully, we'll see you long before October.)

We've just gotten word from the Lansing City Pulse that Curious has been nominated for the award of Best Bookshop. Thanks, everybody! We're tickled pink. The final round of voting begins April 30th, so watch for a link in the May newsletter if you'd like to support us.

NEXT WEEKEND Curious is taking part in the Downtown East Lansing "Selfie Scavenger Hunt"! This nifty event is organized by Original Heroes, a local organization dedicated to making a better community for children, in a multitude of ways. This is fun for the whole family! Join in and win some terrific prizes, while supporting your community and local heroes!  Proceeds go to the Love Like Lacey Foundation. (#LoveLikeLacey)
More info at the Facebook Event Page.

Saturday, April 26th will be an exciting day in town, not only because of the Selfie Scavenger Hunt, but also because of the big GREEN & WHITE GAME! We're hoping for good weather and a big crowd of alumni hungry for the nostalgia that comes with a visit to the ol' Curious Book Shop.

Also, don't tell anyone I mentioned this, but Saturday the 26th is the lovely Liz's last day at Curious. If you've come to know our always-smilin' Liz over the past few years, stop by the shop and give her a good send-off. <3
Upcoming Book and Paper Events:
Commune with bookish people at these neat upcoming events...

Windy City Pulp and Paper Convention
April 25 - 27 in Lombard, Illinois (Chicago area)
Westin Lombard Yorktown Center
Includes an Art Show, Con Suite, Dealer Room and more, celebrating the 95th anniversary of Western Story and the 85th anniversary of Maltese Falcon. Ray will be at Windy City, so stop by the Curious booth and say 'Hello!".
For more info: (888) 627-9031

36th Annual Ann Arbor Antiquarian Book Fair
A Benefit for the William L. Clements Library
Sunday, May 18, 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. at the Michigan Union,
featuring First Editions, Rare Books, Americana, Fine Printing and Good Used Books in All Areas.
Be sure to stop by the Curious booth and say hello!
More info: West Side Book Shop (734) 995-1891

Classicon 45
Classicon is Lansing's PREMIER convention for lovers of comicspulpsglamour artand other 20th-century literary collectables. Specialties include vintage mystery and detective stories, science fiction, aviation, romance, westerns, and classics from the 20s - 60s.

10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Saturday, June 28, at the University Quality Inn. (3121 E. Grand River Ave, Lansing -- Frandor Area)
A few vendor tables are still available, at $25 each!
Please contact Ray at Curious for details. (517) 332-0112

Great Lakes Postcard & Paper Expo
Presented by the West Michigan Postcard Club
Saturday July 19, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. in Wyoming, MI
Featuring postcards, trade cards, photographs, maps, ephemera, local history and more!
More Info: Wally Jung (517) 230-0734 postcardwally@comcast.net

PULPFEST 2014 / FarmerCon IX
August 7 - 10 at the Hyatt Regency in Columbus, Ohio
'Celebrating Science Fiction's Golden Year of 1939 and 75 Years of Fantastic Fiction'
Pulpfest is a neat event for pop-culture fans, and a great chance to shop around and network. Ray will be there, so stop by the Curious booth and say 'Hello!"

Photographica Show & Sale
Sunday, October 19 at the Royal Oak Elks Lodge
2401 E. Fourth Street.
Hosted by the Michigan Photographic Historical Society, this event features vintage cameras, photographs, postcards, ephemera, and photography specialists ready to answer your questions.

Postcard and Paper Shows by Wally Jung
Wally Jung, local postcard specialist, is hitting the road this summer! Don't miss your chance to see some amazing items at a show near you: Metro Detroit / Troy (May 3),Frankenmuth (June 29), Toledo (August 3), Traverse City (August 10), Lansing(August 23), Metro Detroit / Troy (November 16)
More Info: (517) 230-0734 or postcardwally@comcast.net

And of course...
The 60th Michigan Antiquarian Book & Paper Show
returns to Lansing on Sunday, October 5th.
Mark your calendar! You won't want to miss the MIDWEST'S LARGEST show of its kind, featuring over 180 tables of first editions, children's books, Michigan history, military history, autographs, ephemera, photographs, art, postcards, vintage magazines, cookbooks, sheet music, and so much more.

MANY THANKS to all of you lovely bibliophiles!
We wouldn't be here without your continuing support, and can't find the words to fully express our gratitude.

Much love from Curious,
Ray, Audrey and the Curious Gang

"In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt." - Margaret Atwood


Sunday, April 13, 2014

Book Review: The Sand Dollar by Michael Woodworth and Nicky the Little Nail by Jane Urick

A pair of interesting titles by Michigan authors are aimed at young readers, but that doesn't mean adults can't enjoy them as well.

Each thought-provoking book is just over fifty sentences long, filled with many striking visual images.

"The Sand Dollar" by Lansing attorney Michael Woodworth (Bella Vista Books, $18.95) is the first in a series called "Legends of the Sea of Cortez".

It is set on the shore of the vast body of water between the Baja California peninsula and the mainland of Mexico.

The main human character is never identified, but he's walking on the beach, picking up a few seashells but leaving most behind.

He spots a large seashell that seems unusual, but before he can grab it, it's washed away by a giant wave and disappears. He looks at the spot where the shell had been and sees another shell, a sand dollar.

As he bends over to pick it up, the sea rises high in the air. The waves don't come near him and there is no sound -- until the sea breaks the silence and speaks to him.

The unusual conversation in not just one-way. The man listens and follows the instructions of the Sea, reluctantly breaking the sand dollar into five pieces.

The rest of the environmentally-themed, self-published book explores the relationships of Sea and assorted challenges it has faced; symbolism abounds as intriguing insights are offered.

The excellent illustrations are provided by award-winning Williamston artist Craig Pennington, who graduated from the Kendall College of Art and Design in Grand Rapids.

The author and his family reside in Laingsburg; more information is available at www.bellaviastabooks.com .

"Nicky the Little Nail" by Linden author Jane A. Urick (Tate Publishing, $8.95) is an entertaining children's paperback that focuses on a very special little nail.

Nicky has a wish -- he wants to be used on the roof of a house, where he can be useful, feel the sun and rain and count the stars at night.

Things don't go exactly as he hopes, but the unexpected conclusion is believable and satisfying.

The colorful artwork by Kenny Abigae Badana brings the charming story to life.
The author, who is a great-great-grandmother, can be contacted at jannu5540@yahoo.com .

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

Find these books and other great titles
at the Curious Book Shop, an independent 
book shop in East Lansing, founded in 1969.

Curious Book Shop
307 East Grand River Avenue
East Lansing, Michigan

This review was originally published by the Lansing State Journal on  April 13, 2014.


Monday, April 7, 2014

Book Review: Daughter of Chaos by Jen McConnel

Jen McConnel will be talking about writing and will be signing books 
on Saturday at 7 PM at Schuler Books, Meridian Mall, 1982 W. Grand River, Okemos.
She will also be signing on Sunday, April 13, at 1 PM 
at Barnes & Noble Books, Southland Shopping Center in Portage.

"Daughter of Chaos" by Jen McConnel (Month9Books, $12.99) is an intriguing young adult tale that focuses on an energetic 16-year-old girl's dealings with witchcraft.

Set in contemporary times, it introduces Darlena, who's attending Trinity School in North Carolina. This isn't your typical private school; the students are learning about witchcraft.

Darlena is facing considerable pressure from her friends and parents about choosing which witchcraft path to choose, Green, White or Black. Each path emphasizes particular areas of knowledge, utility specific experience.

The goddess Hecate unexpectedly appears at her house and forces her to make a decision. Darlena nervously and impulsively chooses Red magic, not knowing anything about it.

Darlena's parents are followers of Green magic; her boyfriend Justin believes in White magic. Darlena's best friend Rochelle is dedicated to Black magic; all are aghast at her choice.

Complications quickly arise as Darlena tries to learn more about Red magic; she's kicked out of Trinity School and visited by other powerful witches, including Persephone and Aphrodite.

When she initially utilizes her magic, she's stunned at the results; later she must make more difficult, dangerous decisions. If you're knowledgeable about mythology, you may find this book particularly enjoyable.

"Daughter of Chaos" is a well-designed trade paperback that's the first of a trilogy. It's a highly entertaining, unusual, young adult coming-of-age- tale that should appeal to a variety of readers.

The author is a former Michigander who graduated from Western Michigan University and now resides in North Carolina. She is a guest speaker at next Saturday's Rally for Writers Conference at Lansing Community College, West Campus.

McConnel is also the author of "Secret of Isobel Key" (set in Scotland) and "Goddess Spells for the Busy Girl: Get Rich, Get Happy, Get Lucky."

Her poetry and other writings have appeared in numerous publications. She has been a librarian and bookseller; she teaches college writing composition and yoga. She has her own blog; her website is www.jenmcconnel.com.

Ray Walsh, owner of East Lansing’s Curious Book Shop, 
has reviewed books regularly since 1987.

Find this book and other great titles
at the Curious Book Shop, an independent 
book shop in East Lansing, founded in 1969.

Curious Book Shop
307 East Grand River Avenue
East Lansing, Michigan

This review was originally published by the Lansing State Journal on  April 6, 2014.