Monday, June 29, 2009

Summer Beach Reader in the Window

What's in that glass anyway?

Margie's demonstrating the fine art of reading in the window at The Bookstore! We provide free lemonade and a $5 gift certificate. Children are welcome and even encouraged! Now through July 11th.

Margie's shown here reading Beowulf on the Beach
by Jack Murninghan ($15 paperback) in preparation for The Bookstore's Beowulf on the Beach Summer Reading Challenge. Buy the book, read one of Murninghan's picks, and join us for a Beowulf on the Beach Bash on Thursday, August 27th at 7pm. Author Jack Murninghan will join us for cocktails and a lively (not your ordinary!) book discussion. Call or e-mail to sign up.

Hope to see you in the window soon!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Summer Beach Reading in Glen Ellyn

Time for Beach Reads at The Bookstore

Even if it's rainy and cold outside today, we are ready to kick off our Summer Reading Programs at The Bookstore. The highlight of this year's program: Beach Chair Readers in the Window!

It works just like our popular Christmas Reader in the Window program. Two beach chairs are available for each time slot, so bring a friend -- or make a new one! Children and teens are welcome too. Just come dressed in fun beachwear (swimsuits, cover-ups, shorts, flip-flops & sunglasses would all be great). We'll furnish the lemonade and cookies, you bring or buy a summer reading book. Then just chill, read, and wave at the passerby from our make believe beach. Each Beach Chair reader gets a $5 gift certificate to The Bookstore. Sign up for the time slots starts now for dates between Wednesday, June 24th and Tuesday, July 14th.

Kids Summer Reading:
The Bookstore's summer reading program for kids is called "Get Caught Reading!" Read 10 age appropriate books, fill out our form, and you get a free paperback of your choice! Forms are available at The Bookstore or print a copy by clicking here:

Adults Summer Reading:
We hope all of Glen Ellyn joins us for our Beowulf on the Beach Summer Reading Challenge. It's a fun way to share the classics, and will include a summers' end cocktail party in late August or early September! Three easy steps:

1. Purchase a copy of Beowulf on the Beach (What to Love and What to Skip in Literature's 50 Greatist Hits ) by Jack Murnighan ($14.95, paperback). You can order a copy on our website: This is a great book written by a cool college professor who knows the classics inside and out, but more importantly, knows how to make them fun and accessible. For more information about this book, there is a blog called Books on the Nightstand, featuring a weekly video of Murninghan reading and discussing his favorite lines from one of the classics in the book. (Extra benefit: Murnighan is a single Indie Heartthrob. You can get a crush on the book and the author at the same time.) Click here for a recent podcast:

2. Select at least one classic recommended in Murnighan's book to read this summer. We are currently stocking our classics section with lots of cheap paperbacks. That way, you can smear sun lotion all over it and spill your lemonade, and it just won't matter! If you love the book, then buy a hardcover copy for your library later. Sue's already reading Pride & Prejudice, I still haven't decided. I just know it won't be War & Peace -- I tackled that last summer, whew!

3. Sign up for our "End of The Summer Beowulf on the Beach Bash," a cocktail party and book review discussion at The Bookstore where we'll share what we thought of our selected classics. The date will be announced in our e-newsletters and our blog, so stay tuned.

We hope everyone in your family finds time for a great summer read, or better yet, finds time for a Beach Read in our window. Call us at (630) 469-2891 or e-mail us at to sign up for a time slot.

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Time Traveler's Wife (2009) Trailer

If you haven't read this book yet, you have to read it by the time the movie comes out on August 14th! This looks like a really good film adaptation of the book, at least I hope so. Then it can make my very short list of "Movies That Are As Good as the Book."

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Shelf Life at the Bookstore

Introducing: The New Staff Pick Shelf at The Bookstore

We're going to try something new. Although we pride ourselves on our customer service and our knowledge of books ("the little Indie that could"), sometimes you have to step back, take an honest look at yourself and say, hmmm, maybe we can do better.

On one recent Saturday afternoon, Elizabeth Berg walked in our bookstore, having come for a visit from nearby Oak Park, and unfortunately none of our full-time staffers were there to greet her. (I say greet, but what I really mean is drool, grovel, swoon.) She generously offered to sign some of her titles that we had on hand, and hopefully enjoyed a leisurely browse through the store. Our teen later mentioned: "an author came in today and signed this book," showing us Home Safe, Elizabeth Berg's latest fiction title.

Our (older, saggier, full-time staffer) jaws dropped. We'd missed a great chance to chat books with one of our favorite local authors. I felt bad, thinking she didn't get the reception she deserved. Unlike the day Cathleen Falsani, author of Sin Boldly walked in, and I did in fact gush all over her. So much that she actually blessed me -- that was cool. How many booksellers can say they've been blessed by a customer?

And then I started worrying that some of our other customers aren't getting the reception they deserve. As a little Indie bookstore, we love to boast that we have more passion and a more personal connection to our books than the big box bookstores. When we recommend a book it's because we actually read it and loved it, not because some big executive with shiny shoes decided to put a marketing blitz on it.

But honestly, it's a little hypocritical to make fun of a chain employee who hasn't read the book when many of our own staff at The Bookstore haven't yet either. We try to hire some of the sharpest, most literate kids in town, but they're busy with AP classes, finals and college applications, and don't always have time to obsess about the latest hot read like Jane, Sue, Jenny or I do. (And maybe that's a good thing. Save full-blown book geekdom for later in life, when you aren't worried about getting a date for the prom?)

Don't get me wrong -- they can probably still recite their favorite Shel Silverstein poem, and they can probably give you spot-on advice about whether your 12 year-old daughter should really be reading that hot new Young Adult title yet. One of our teens even has a binder of book reviews that he wrote when he was younger. So trust me, they're great kids who like books. But chances are they're not going to recognize Elizabeth Berg when she walks in the door. And maybe they won't recognize you.

So I really started to wonder: how can we make sure that all of our customers at The Bookstore receive true Indie treatment, even when a full-time staffer (and complete Indie book geek) isn't there to greet you?

Sue and I brainstormed the answer: the new "Staff Pick Shelf." Now you can browse through an entire shelf devoted to our personal recommendations. We've been busy writing up more of our blue staff pick cards, and gathering the best of the best on one shelf. As soon as our teens are done with school for the year, (And as soon as Jill gets back from Paris -- no fair!) we're going to get them busy filling out their own blue staff pick cards too. If you stroll in the bookstore, wondering what you should read next, just head straight to the new Staff Pick Shelf, and I absolutely, positively believe you will find your next good read. No matter who's working that day.

Soon you'll be seeing more blue cards over in the Young Adult and Rebecca Caudill Award List shelves too. These books are often really good reads for adults, not just kids, so both the teens and the adults on staff will be reading and reviewing them. There are a lot of mother-child book clubs in town, so we'll try to give you the perspective of both moms and teens.

Did you know that we have a whole stack of "Customer Favorite" and "Book Club Favorite" cards for you (and your kids/teens) to fill out too? If you just finished a terrific book, but can't drop by the store for awhile, just e-mail us with your name and comments, and we'll fill one out for you. Because not only do we like to talk about books, we like to hear what you think. Here at The Bookstore, we're a community of readers where recommendations go both ways!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Fancy Nancy Spring Fashion Parade and Tea Party

We hope you enjoy this video of The Fancy Nancy Fashion Parade and Tea Party sponsored by The Bookstore on May 16, 2009. The event was a benefit for the Glen Ellyn Community Resource Center's tutoring program. HarperCollins, the publisher of the Fancy Nancy books, donated one paperback book to the center for each child who attended the event. The girls and their families met at The Bookstore and paraded down to the American Balloon Company, where each girl received her own pink balloon. The parade continued down to Honey, where the posh darlins noshed on tea sandwiches, petite desserts and pink lemonade.

Treat Yourself to a Good Chuckle This Saturday, Come Meet Local Author Charlene Ann Baumbich

On Saturday, June 6th, local award-winning author and humorist Charlene Ann Baumbich will be at The Bookstore to sign copies of her latest book, Don't Miss Your Life!: An Uncommon Guide to Living with Freedom, Laughter, and Grace (paperback, $14.99). You don't want to miss this event! Charlene's irresitable charm will brighten your day.

Publisher's Weekly gave the book warm praise: "[Baumbich] has set out to accomplish what few Christian humorists have succeeded in achieving: making her readers laugh deep from the belly while simultaneously trouncing on their faulty “religious” beliefs. Baumbich's writing style is such that readers will feel as though she's conversing with herself and they are her most fortunate eavesdropping audience. . . . Readers are also treated to poignant essays on the power of imagination, the importance of questioning assumptions, awakening every sense, living in a balanced way or falling with a splat. Baumbich's text is just what the doctor ordered for a time such as this; laughter is good medicine indeed and there are plenty of guffaws to be found on every page. "

I was lucky enough to read an advance copy of Charlene's latest book, and I found myself really touched by her insights. Thanks to Charlene, I now have a special bowl with little objects I just hadn't known what to do with, like my dad's dog tags and my grandmother's rosary. Now I feel a little grace every time I pass by my bowl. And that's just one little idea I picked up from her book. There are so many more.

I've had the chance to chat with Charlene about how much I enjoyed her book. Her e-mail responses had me chuckling with appreciation for her gifts of humor and insight. In Charlene's own words, she's "wonky and wonderful." I asked her if she would mind it if I shared some of our conversation. Here's a taste:

Margie: I realized as I picked up your book that I am one of those stubborn people who doesn't really like advice. I'm not often drawn to the self-help section of a bookstore, but yet I really enjoyed your book! What advice do you have for people who don't think they need advice (or your book)?

Charlene: Please tell me I did NOT write a self-help book because that would mean people would expect that I’d first helped myself. Which I did, of course, but mostly to chips and dip.

On the topic of self-help books, I’m with you. I do not naturally gravitate toward the self-help section in book stores. I like humor and good storytelling, not even always together or in that order. Typically, the self-help section feels too … um … needy and self-helpy. I don’t mean this in a bad way, but in a “way too serious about me” way. Thus, in Don’t Miss Your Life! An Uncommon Guide to Living with Freedom, Laughter and Grace (DMYL), I give us ALL permission to bypass “self help” and instead approach the book and our lives as a pluck-and-play. In other words, pluck what you like from these pages and play it into your life. (Hear the music and laughter already?)

Nor have I set forth a ten-step program. Why? Because I would forget step two, then we’d all be lost. That is the beauty of humor and story: jump in here or there, skip around, laugh until you cry, cry until you laugh and forget about the “order” of things. After all, we are each a little wonky and wonderful, and in ways unique to us. Thus, my hope is that readers don’t look for my advice and answers within the book, but that they ultimately find themselves in their own stories. That is why I write: to help bring to life one’s own stories. I do this by telling mine, and by giving readers permission to be real. Personally, I don’t know how to be anything but that. And what would be the point? To live the rest of our lives acting like other than who we are? What a DRAG!

So, go to the DMYL section of your book store, buy DMYL, and plan on at long last finding your True Self.

To answer your question (at last!), I hope I don’t give advice. I hope the power in my stories helps readers latch onto the power in their own.


See what I mean? Isn't Charlene wonderful? Trust me, you'll enjoy this refreshing book. Come to The Bookstore, buy one for yourself and several for the birthdays and gift-giving occasions coming up on your calendar.