The Bookies Newsletter
The Bookies Monthly Newsletter
February 2015
Welcome to February, the month of love! In this newsletter, we have great Valentine's Day suggestions for both men and women and we reveal the results of our January Genre Challenge - did our readers love their new genres? Find out below! And, by popular request, we follow up our 2014 Bestsellers lists for children and teachers with our 2014 Bestsellers for adults. And, of course, for all book lovers we have lots of new February reads to recommend!

Be My Valentine...


Check out our Valentine's Day table, packed with gift ideas for children - and a few for adults! True Stories of Doggie Devotion: Puppy Love by Lisa M. Gerry features true-life tales of puppy love, from heroism to devotion. Or, there's the stunning See a Heart Share a Heart by writer/photographer Eric Telchin, who photographs the hearts he notices in the world around us - on the sidewalk, in melted ice-cream, everywhere! For the youngest Valentines, Three Little Words by Clemency Pearce and Rosalind Beardshaw, shows the power of the words 'I Love You'. There's so much more on this table, including soft toys, crafts and some delicious Valentine treats! And see below for our Valentine book suggestions for men and women.

Bookies 2014 Top 10 Bestsellers - Adults
An Officer and a Spy Last month we highlighted our top two bestsellers for adults:  Intimate Strangers by Jules Amer and Everything I Need to Know I Learned from a Little Golden Book by Diane Muldrow. This led to great debate among staff and customers as to what else might be on our top 10 list for adults - so here it is! Third place in our top 10 went to An Officer and a Spy, a fictional take on the Dreyfus affair written by Robert Harris (see below in our Valentine's List for a longer review of this book). Several people insisted that Anthony Doerr's All the Light We Cannot See would be on this list - and they were right, it's at number four! One author appears twice on our list - the very popular Jojo Moyes who takes seventh with Me Before You, and also tenth with The Girl You Left Behind. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Americanah comes in at number eight - and is reviewed below as part of our January Genre Challenge.

1. Intimate Strangers: Stories from a Lifetime of Practicing Medicine by Jules Amer

2. Everything I Need to Know I Learned from a Little Golden Book by Diane E Muldrow

3. An Officer and a Spy by Robert Harris

4. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

5. The Martian by Andy Weir

6. The Rosie Project by Graham Simsion

7. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

8. Once We Were Brothers by Ronald Balson

9. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

10. The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes

Valentine's Day Gifts to Love - Larry's Suggestions for Men
Each year as Valentine's Day approaches, I receive questions about titles for an adult Him. Here are some suggestions for a Valentine's Day Gift for your man.

An Officer and a Spy An Officer and Spy by Robert Harris. This is my favorite book from last year. It is the Dreyfus Affair told in the form of an espionage story which is true to the story's very core. I have been suggesting this book for months and although I am sure someone disliked it, I have heard nothing but positive responses! A great historical fiction adventure and thriller.

All the Light We Cannot See All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr.  This is still in hardcover only, but with a deep discount (as it remains on out top 10 selling list for hardcover editions), the title is also a great buy.  It's a WWII story that makes me care about all the characters. In fact, it is more of a character study than a war story.

Shotgun Lovesongs Shotgun Love Songs by Nickolas Butler. Coming out in paper this month, this is a male bonding story about leaving home (in this case a small town) and the importance of close friends, even when success beckons. This well-written, fast-reading novel demonstrates how fragile friendship can be - and how women impact male friendships.

The Revenant The Revenant: a Novel of Revenge by Michael Punke. A retelling of a mountain man's struggle to live after being mauled by a grizzly and left to die - and his revenge on the caretakers who abandoned him. Based on the true story of Hugh Glass, the Colorado mountain man.

You Can't Make This Up You Can't Make This Up by Al Michaels and L. Jon Wertheim.  Recollections from sportscaster Al Michaels. A great light read for the sports fan. The story that got to me the most was the retelling of Lake Placid. Do you believe in miracles?

Fierce Patriot Fierce Patriot: The Tangled Lives of William Tecumseh Sherman by Robert L. O'Connell. This new biography of  Gen. William Sherman shows there is much more to this man's life than his March To The Sea. He was a military leader who, along with Grant, changed the course of waging war and he was an astute, if strange, politician under Grant who helped create Western Expansion. He lived an unusual married life for the time.

The Martian The Martian by Andy Weir. Now in paper, this is a book that has received consistent positive customer reviews. Rather than science fiction, this book is more 'science in space', as an astronaut stranded on Mars struggles to stay alive and communicate with Earth. Everything the astronaut does to stay alive can be done in science now - and to help him survive, he also has a sense of humor.

The Secret Wisdom of the Earth
The Secret Wisdom of the Earth by Christopher Scotton. The rape of coal area Kentucky by mountaintop removal changes life for the inhabitants, and for a young outsider who comes of age as he learns about his past and the land he came from. 

The Last Kingdom I recommend any, or all, of Bernard Cornwell's historical fiction series, The Saxon Tales, starting with The Last Kingdom. This series centers on Alfred the Great, and the period immediately after his death. An ideal read for those wanting more substance than Game of Thrones. We will soon have all the books in the series in the store and all in paperback.

Finally, I have two special titles that will not make it into the store for Valentine's Day, but are worth special orders for when they arrive - or for gift cards to be spent later.
Dead Wake  
Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson
Not due until the middle of March, this is Erik Larson's latest title (The Devil In the White City and In The Garden of the Beasts). This is a minute-by-minute description of the WWI torpedo sinking of the Cunard liner, the Lusitania. This book is spell binding.

All The Old Knives
All The Old Knives by Olen Steinhauer
Also coming in March is the latest espionage novel from Olen Steinhauer. Two old spies feature in a spy vs. spy head-to-head at a dinner that reviews events and draws a dramatic conclusion. 
Loved it!

More details on both of these in next month's newsletter!

Valentine's Day Gifts to Love - Dona's Suggestions for Women

 Station ElevenStation Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. A mildly dystopian novel with an optimistic outlook (now that's a rarity)! Set in the future, 20 years after the fall of civilization and the depopulation of the world by a virulent flu strain. A traveling troupe of actors/musicians move from village to village, re-educating a civilization. A great read, with the story of the present and the fall of the past interwoven and linked in fascinating ways.

The Girl Next Door The Girl Next Door by Ruth Rendell. Have you heard of Ruth Rendell? She's a longtime English author who writes classic, scary mysteries. In her latest book, she lets the reader know about the crime and who committed it from the very beginning. The rest of the novel takes place 50 years after the original crime, and is a commentary on aging, and what happens when something comes into your life that upsets the flow. Good, solid mystery writing!

Someone Someone by Alice McDermott. A charming story, beautifully told of 'Someone' - a normal person whose unfolding life may mirror that of someone we know. "An ordinary life - its sharp pains and unexpected joys, its bursts of clarity and moments of confusion - lived by an ordinary, but unforgettable woman: this is the subject of 'Someone', Alice McDermott's extraordinary seventh novel." Gorgeous story!

Habits of the House Habits of the House by Fay Weldon. A great read for Downton Abbey aficionados. This is Downton Abbey-esque but with more great, acerbic British humor! Wonderfully accurate turn-of-the-century history. The first of a trilogy - start with this one, or give all three as an elegant gift! The sequels are Long Live the King and The New Countess.

The Secret Wisdom of the Earth And finally, great minds think alike, and I also recommend Christopher Scotton's The Secret Wisdom of the Earth... 
...yes, it's a good read for women too! It's ideal for any book lover ready for a novel that will sweep them away. A young boy's coming-of-age is guided by one of the best mentor characters I've read in a long time. The word is spreading about this book, a wondrous debut by Christopher Scotton.

Results and Reviews: The January Genre Challenge!
Back at the start of January, we decided to challenge ourselves to read at least one book outside our usual genres. Here are our thoughts on our step outside our regular reading habits - plus reviews of what we read.

  Rapunzel's Revenge    
Rapunzel's Revenge by Shannon Hale, Dean Hale, and Nathan Hale. "I really enjoyed my first graphic novel. It is a Wild West take on the Rapunzel fairy tale. Rapunzel's hair, which is red, grows very long during her imprisonment. She braids it and lassos her way down the tower. Her "prince" and partner is Jack, known as Calamity Jack. They face several narrow escapes in which her red braids are extremely helpful. There also is a magic bean from Jack and they do live happily ever after! I would definitely read another graphic novel."

The Healing Code
Susan L
 The Healing Code by Alexander Loyd and Ben Johnson. "Sadly, this book was not to my taste! Parts of it were interesting, such as the section about the science of energy and the premise that disease actually emanates from the stress the body experiences and that the technique of recognizing earlier stresses can help relieve current stress. However, I wasn't convinced that the answer to healing lies in meditation with your fingers pointed at various spots on your face (toward your eyes, toward your Adam's apple, toward your temples, etc.) I would prefer a more reader-friendly explanation of the benefits of self-examination, energy chakras and ways the body heals itself. Although this book didn't work for me, I would read another book in this genre and on this topic."

The Nazis Next Door
The Nazis Next Door: How America Became a Safe Haven for Hitler's Men by Eric Lichtblau. "I procrastinated over my step into non-fiction for a couple of weeks! However, when I finally sat down to read, author Eric Lichtblau gradually led me into a fascinating tale of former Nazis hiding from their past, and the men and women who later hunted them down. I would normally complete a book in one or two sittings, but this took more time. However, I was thoroughly absorbed and happy to keep returning to the book. I am sure I will read more non-fiction, but I will choose a topic that is more aligned to my own interests."

I Hate Picture Books!
 I Hate Picture Books by Timothy Young. "I loved the title and the pictures! Images of lots of classics of children's literature pop up on the pages as a little boy, who declares that he hates picture books, discovers that he can't do without them. It's a great mix of cynicism and affection. And it's about the power of books - what could be better. I loved it. Yes, I'd read another picture book!"

Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson. "This book plays out much like the movie about breaking the Enigma code, The Imitation Game. In fact, some of the same characters are portrayed in this book. Like Alan Turing, the characters in Cryptonomicon are, at best, socially off. But this characteristic is what allows them to be so good at seeing patterns where we mere mortals see what's on the surface. Stephenson does an excellent job delving into the mindset of exceptional people, and, in the process, makes us laugh at our own social shortcomings."

The Dovekeepers
The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman. "This novel took me to a place and a time that I knew nothing about - the Roman siege on the Jews in the Judean desert 2,000 years ago. The Dovekeepers are four women who are united by the strength of their love for their daughters and their determination to keep them safe. This was a story I could relate to. I loved it so much, I recommended it to my online book club and it was a hit!"

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. "After finishing the book in two days (being sick can have its advantages), I'm a Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie fangirl! I've since watched her interviews on YouTube, stood slack jawed as she teamed up with fellow powerhouse author Zadie Smith on stage, and have her other novels in my pile. The book feels like it was written yesterday. It's a must-read for what's going on in the US now: she writes of racism, sexism, classism, feminism, and immigration, with a sense of humor wrapped in a love story. I went to the Colorado History Museum's exhibit on race after reading it and there's so much to discuss. I'm glad I finally gave in and read what others already know is an amazing novel! Fiction that makes you feel."

Brown Girl Dreaming
Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson. "I would definitely read another memoir in verse, especially if written with the skill and sensitivity of Jacqueline Woodson. Brown Girl Dreaming is especially insightful about becoming and knowing oneself. Teachers, students, and families will find many beautiful, memorable ideas to discuss in the descriptions of her family and the challenges she faced growing up in the North and South in the late 60's."

Did you read outside your genre in January? Let us know on our Facebook page!

What We Were Up To in January ...

Math - Now in Spanish!
Look what we've added to our Spanish section! We now have this colorful collection of math workbooks so that students can study in Spanish. We believe we are the only Denver store to carry Spanish math workbooks. Covering Grades 1 through 5, these bright books are a fun way to study!
Spanish Math Workbooks

Meet the Man Who Knows Everything About Denver's Parks
Chris Sekirnja Local writer Chris Sekirnja took some time off from visiting Denver's many parks to drop in and talk about his new book: Denver Playgrounds & Parks. Chris visited 521 parks and playgrounds in Denver to find the best ones. His book ranks the playgrounds and includes photos, descriptions and tips. He's also created two iPhone apps for finding the right park when you're already out and about! His book is available in the store - give us a call and we'll set one aside for you. Or visit Chris's website to find out more about his project.

Getting Ready for Another Kind of 'Park'...PARCC!
Parcc Practice Tests
More resources for teachers! As you are well aware, PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Career) testing starts in most Colorado schools this year. This new series of PARCC preparation books helps support students with performance based assessments and tips on taking the tests. The books are Common Core connected and also feature links to online practice questions. Speak to any of our education specialists to discover other ways we can help you with PARCC and Common Core prep.
Why not share a little love from The Bookies this Valentine's Day and 

Sue Lubeck

Join us each Tuesday morning at 10:30 a.m. for Preschool Storytime. We choose awesome picture books to share with our young readers!

Great February Reads

by Michael Bond
$9.99, HarperCollins
Children 8 - 12

With the release of the Paddington movie, the beloved little bear from darkest Peru is finding a whole new audience - and 89-year old author Michael Bond has written a brand new book just for them.

This book is written in the words of Paddington himself, in a series of letters to his Aunt Lucy back in Peru, giving his own version of his many adventures. Full of charm and including many illustrations by original illustrator, Peggy Fortnum, this is an instant Paddington classic to add to the originals, which started with A Bear Called Paddington.

You and Me
You and Me
$14.95, Harry N. Abrams
Picture book

You and Me is a loving tribute to how fate brought two best friends together. An adorable cat muses about the what-ifs in life: What if he had slept late that one special morning? What if he'd missed his train on that fateful day? Then he might never have met his favorite person in the world, and his entire life would be different!

Two friends delight in the incredible power of serendipity in this charming tale. Illustrated by the bestselling Peter H. Reynolds, You and Me is the ultimate gift for the closest of friends on Valentine's Day, or any day of the year.

A Kim Jong-Il Production
by Paul Fischer
$27.99, Flatiron Books
Adult non-fiction

This is an incredible true story of Korea in the 1970s under Kim Jong-Il.

Western-educated Kim Jong-Il was movie-obsessed and saw movies as the best propaganda tool to shape his hermetically sealed country. With this in mind, Kim Jong-Il abducted Shin Sang-OK and Choi-EE, a young South Korean couple considered among the greatest Asian directors and actresses of the time. This book tells the story of their life before, during and after captivity, including their harrowing escape and Shin Sang-OK's later career in Hollywood.


I found the book to be completely engaging and a very fast read. The character insight into all the Kims, and Sin and Choi, is excellent, and the picture of life in North Korea is remarkable. This is not fluff or Western propaganda, but a chilling picture of mind control by a nation.


This book proves again that historical realities are often far more fantastic than thrillers. A great read for all history, movie, adventure, and political readers, including older young adults.  


Review by Larry 

The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy
by Rachel Joyce
$20.00, Random House
Adult Fiction/Literary

This remarkable little book is a thought-provoking sequel to The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry.


Queenie's original letter triggered Harold's great pilgrimage. However, she left much unsaid. Queenie is now suffering from dementia and as one final act before dying, she writes the true story of her life and reveals her great secret. Finally, her writings are given to Harold, but they turn out to be unreadable. The reader is left to wonder if Queenie really wrote a word or were we in her mind? Nonetheless, Queenie's voice is totally real and her life filled with amazing characters. I came to care about Queenie and all her characters and grieved their passing.


The book begs so many questions about life and death, but also about living the life we are given. I now call the book a life drama, a romantic tale of sorts, and a book of philosophy. I cannot recommend this book enough to readers desiring a reflective novel. It would also be an excellent book club pick.


Review by Larry 


The Nightingale
The Nightingale
by Kristin Hannah
$27.99, St Martin's Press

Two French sisters with very different priorities attempt to survive World War II. When Vianne Mauriac's husband goes missing at the front, she must live with the enemy to keep herself and her daughter alive. Vianne's younger sister, Isabelle, chooses defiance, joining the Resistance and risking her life to help others. Both face incredible dangers and deprivation in this gripping story of how many European women, isolated and facing starvation, fought their own war at home.


Sarah Weeks
$16.99, Scholastic
Fiction, ages 8-12

For a girl like Melody and a dog like Mo, life can be both sticky and sweet.

Melody has lived in Royal, Indiana, for as long as she can remember. It's been just her and her father, and she's been okay with that. But then she overhears him calling someone Honey - and suddenly it feels like everyone in Royal has a secret. It's up to Melody and her best friend, Nick, to piece together the clues and discover why Honey is being hidden.

Meanwhile, a dog named Mo is new to Royal. He doesn't remember much from when he was a puppy . . . but he keeps having dreams of a girl he is bound to meet someday. This girl, he's sure, will change everything.

In Honey, Sarah Weeks introduces two characters - one a girl, one a dog - who are reaching back further than their memories in order to figure out where they came from and where they're going. It's a total treat from beginning to end.
by Brandon Sanderson
$18.99, Delacorte
Young Adult

Action explodes right at the start and keeps on going in this sequel to the #1 bestseller Steelheart!

A fragmented future world is now ruled by High Epics - evil humans who have manifested incredible powers. Killing a High Epic was said to be impossible. But David did it when he fought the supposedly invincible Steelheart. Now he takes on Firefight, the High Epic oppressing the flooded city of Babylon Restored, once known as Manhattan.

It's not easy. Not only because High Epics are so powerful, but also because David is still young and not everybody believes he's ready for serious battle. And, beyond that, now that he knows some Epics can overcome their own nature and support good, he's got a serious conflict going on inside him as well. He's not just looking for a fight, he's looking for answers.

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