September Store Hours
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Published: Random House, 2010
Janet Maslin in the New York Times wrote that the ideal way to read this book would be to have absolutely no idea of how her protagonist's - Louie Zamperini's - life unfolded. Taking that suggestion to heart, nothing more will be said about the book than that it is the story of an Olympic athlete who became an Air Force lieutenant in WW II and wound up as a Japanese prisoner of war. Hillenbrand's Seabiscuit would be a hard act to follow in any event, but this page-turner surely stands the test.
Published: Grove Press; Reprint edition (May 10, 2011)
According to David Masiel of the Washington Post, "The author, a highly decorated Marine Corps officer and veteran of Vietnam, wrote the novel over 30 years, while also raising a family and working full time as a business consultant. This feat of persistence pays off in a narrative born of perspective and memories that survive over time, a narrative of frustration, terror and the war-is-hell theme that lies at the heart of every war story since The Iliad."
It is early September and I am sitting in the quiet store and hear that there is a 10% chance of rain - it is pouring cats and dogs outside! After a cold, wet June, a non-descript July, and a heavenly August, it feels like autumn is on its way. There is the slightest tinge of color in the oaks and maples, but you have to look for it. Our visitors have changed subtly, too. The kids and teachers are back at school. The brokers and lawyers are back at their desks. It's a little quieter, a little slower group now and that is a welcome respite after the months of summer energy.
There is much interest now in our food and cooking selections. Canning and preserving, root cellaring, and winter gardening titles are in demand. Cookbooks featuring heartier fare - game, stews, soups and casseroles - take the place of the lighter, quicker summer dishes and the male-dominated grill recipes. Reflections on nature - Aldo Leopold, Sigurd Olson, John Muir and others - take center stage along with photo essays of the Apostle Islands, Lake Superior, the Great Lakes and the Boundary Waters. We also see people reaching back and taking books that have rarely crossed our check-out desk - Dos Passos, LeGuin, Dostoyevsky, Bowles, Tey and Amado.
We have had a good summer businesswise and an even better one in terms of the appreciation we have experienced from bookstore lovers from around the country and around the world. So many exhale and sigh as they enter our door - "A real bookstore!" Despite our small physical size, our offering seems to meet many needs - "I can't believe you have that!" Though we don't enforce it in any way, there is a natural serenity in the air - "Shhhhhhhhhhh...this is a bookstore!" Sometimes we feel akin to Fahrenheit 451.
While we will miss the summer crowds, it will be nice to lean back a little. There will be a little more time to chat and take in the recommendations of our visitors - our best source for enhancing our collection. Winter has its own charms here in the Northland and gives us time to rest and reflect ourselves. Among other things we will reflect upon the loss of our friend and colleague, Ann Rumsey, who was owner of our neighboring used book store What Goes 'Round and who died in a biking accident a few weeks ago. She was a greatly admired member of this community and will be sorely missed.
Finally, we are very grateful that you've spent time with us, given us your support and suggestions, and in many cases, continue to come back despite what we know is hard competition - the less expensive, easily available alternative. We couldn't exist, and our wonderful staff wouldn't have jobs with us without you making that choice. Of course, we do have a number of books you cannot easily get anywhere else. We've been lucky to have so many local and regional authors come through our doors with their self-published works - small gems that will never see the shelves of a big city bookstore and be lost completely in the online retail jumble. We're glad to able to offer to our customers the ability to place special orders with us, as well as to order online from our website. Most of all it's your support that we are so very grateful for.
Apostle Islands Booksellers
Saturday, October 22nd, 3:00-5:00pm
Author William Kent Krueger Reading & Signing
William Kent Krueger and his Cork O'Connor series will be returning to Bayfield this Fall. Celebrating the release of his latest adventure, Northwest Angle. In regard to Northwest Angle,the ever-gracious Charlaine Harris has said: "William Kent Krueger can't write a bad book. Northwest Angle is one of his best. A complex crime novel that contains meditations on the difficulties of loving and the paths we take to reach God, this Cork O'Connor novel has everything you want in a great read: depth, action, and credibility."
Once again Kent will be reading from his latest novel at the Big Water Cafe & Coffee Roasters at 3pm on October 22nd. There will be a signing to follow at Apostle Islands Booksellers.
What we're reading...
The Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of Little House on the Prairie by Wendy McClure
Wendy McClure is an unsentimental writer, but she loves the Little House On The Prairie books. No, she really loves them. She loves them so much that she bought a butter churn on eBay. And she churned butter - you know, just to see. She took off on a trip with her heroically game boyfriend (who's charming in part because he doesn't insist on making a point of how heroically game he is), and they visited historic places where Laura Ingalls Wilder lived, and museums and pageants and kitschy stores where she's still beloved. The Wilder Life is a book of stories about these adventures, and unlike a lot of similarly structured books in which writers appear to be doing unusual things just to write books about them, McClure essentially uses the opportunity to write a series of thoughtful essays about memory at different levels. There's the tiny, very specific theme of her particular childhood love of the Little House books, but as she immerses herself in those memories, it pulls back to become a book about the way all of us relate to stories we hear as children, and about the way nostalgia operates unpredictably and sometimes painfully, and ultimately even about our false cultural memories of a romantic pioneer past that only sort of happened.
Published: Riverhead Books(2011)
As we go into the quieter months of the year, there is a sense of sadness that we won't be able to spend as much time outside or hear the world through our open windows. Yet, there is so very much to look forward to during those peaceful quieter months. This poem by Lisel Mueller was selected from Good Poems, Selected and Introduced by Garrison Keillor and expresses this anticipation nicely:
On summer nights the world
moves within earshot
on the interstate with its swish
and growl, an occasional siren
that sends chills through us.
Sometimes, on clear, still nights,
voices float into our bedroom,
lunar and fragmented,
as if the sky had let them go
long before our birth.
In winter we close the windows
and read Chekhov,
nearly weeping for his world.
What luxury, to be so happy
that we can grieve
over imaginary lives.
© Lisel Mueller