Monday, December 14, 2009

Just the Bookstore's Top Ten Staff Picks for 2009

Our Top Shared Staff Picks for 2009:

As our loyal customers know, these books have been front and center on our Staff Pick Shelf at The Bookstore ever since their release. The staff doesn't always agree, but on these four picks we do. Chances are if you've been to the store you've heard at least one of us sing the praises of these books.

To celebrate the New Year we've put together a list of our Top Ten Staff Picks for 2009, and starting in January, we'll be asking our customers to vote for their top ten as well. And then, because we're just a little wacked out on lists, we thought we'd take a customer poll on The Bookstore's Book of The Decade. Details will be in our January newsletter.

You might notice we didn't limit ourselves to just 10. Whether it's indecision or a common rebellious streak, we each have at least 11. You might also notice how much our lists overlap. Part of this is because of the way we share our favorite reads (passing from hand to hand: "You HAVE to read this!") Another reason? They're just great reads - stop in with your Christmas gift certificates and pick some up!

Margie (
1. Little Bee/Chris Cleave
2. The Gate at The Stairs/Lorrie Moore
3. Let the Great World Spin/Colum McCann
4. Homer & Langley/E. L. Doctorow
5. Wolf Hall/Hilary Mantel
6. The Anthologist/Nicholson Baker
7. A Short History of Women/Kate Walbert
8. 31 Hours/Masha Hamilton
9. Delicate Edible Birds/Lauren Groff
10. Generosity/Richard Powers
11. Manhood for Amateurs/Michael Chabon
(Can I just keep going? How can I possibly say that one book is #10 but another isn't? How can you make a finite list out of something as magical as a good read? I also loved Family Album/Penelope Lively, Home/Marilynne Robinson, Zeitoun/Dave Eggers, Last Night in Montreal/Emily St. John Mandel, Love and Obstacles/Aleksandar Hemon, Strength in What Remains/Tracy Kidder, and about 90% of what Sue's putting on her list.)

Sue (
1. Little Bee/Chris Cleve
2. The Gate at the Stairs/Lorrie Moore
3. Let the Great World Spin/Colum McCann
4. A Short History of Women/Kate Walbert
5. Last Night in Twisted River/John Irving
6. The Wilderness/Samantha Harvey
7. Waiting for Columbus/Thomas Trofimuk
8. 31 Hours/Masha Hamilton
9. The Song is You/Arthur Philips
10. The Believers/Zoe Heller
11. Delicate Edible Birds/Lauren Groff
Tied: The Housekeeper and the Professor/Yoko Agawa

Jenny (despite our efforts, Jenny's a Twitter hold-out)
1. Little Bee/Chris Cleave
2. Labor Day/Joyce Maynard
3. Under the Dome/Stephen King
4. The Crying Tree/Naseem Rakha
5. 31 Hours/Masha Hamilton
6. The Gate at the Stairs/Lorrie Moore
7. Delicate Edible Birds/Lauren Groff
8. Under This Unbroken Sky/Shandi Mitchell
9. Strength in What Remains/Tracy Kidder
10. That Old Cape Magic/Richard Russo
11. Say You're One of Them/Ukem Akpan

And to all you naysayers who don't like lists, or who can't believe what idiots we are to have missed your favorite book (fill in the blank), please leave a comment. And stay tuned for the poll results in January, when our customers will get the last word. As they always do!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Gift Idea for Dad: When the Game Was Ours by Larry Bird & Magic Johnson

If the dad, your husband, or man in your life loves old-school basketball before the days of Michael, Shaq and Kobe, then this is a great gift idea.

Larry Bird and Magic Johnson tell the story of three decades of basketball rivalry that started with the 1979 NCAA Championship game in Salt Lake City, Utah, still the most watched college basketball game in television history. Chances are your dad not only remembers that game , but knows where he was and what the final score was. (75-64, Michigan State).

Stop by The Bookstore and pick up a copy for Dad. ($26.00 hardcover.) We'll even wrap it for you. Call ahead (630) 469-2891 or e-mail and we can have it waiting for you!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Ladies Night Out 2009: "Best Appetizers in Town!"

Women in big hats and snow boots braved the snow and slush for a fun and successful Downtown Ladies Night 2009.

Sue once again showcased her wine pouring skills at "the bar" between Nature and Sports. (Some of that delicious Trader Joe's Olive Bread is right in front of her, yum.)

20 stores and about 250 women participated in this year's event, which was twice as big as last year's. From what we could tell, everyone was in great spirits and sales were great.

I don't mean to brag (oh, yes I do) but one of our customers remarked that The Bookstore had the "best spread in town," pointing to the appetizers on the front table.

Sue, Jenny and I made samples from some of our favorite cookbooks, including Trader Joe's Companion and Barefoot Contessa's Back to Basics. Customers received a 20% discount on any of the featured cookbooks. The new Trader Joe's cookbook sold especially well -- it's pocket sized so it can fit in a purse or a Christmas stocking!

Thanks everyone for stopping in and sharing the holiday cheer. It was fun meeting new people from nearby towns -- lots of new friends and customers.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Holiday Gift Recommendation: "Women Who Read Are Dangerous" by Stefan Bollman

Women Who Read Are Dangerous by Stefan Bollman ($24.95) is a gorgeous book that would make a perfect gift for the female booklover in your life.

It's filled with a fabulous collection of paintings, drawings, prints and photographs of women reading, including such artists as Rembrandt, Vermeer, Manet, Whistler and Hopper. The painting on the cover, Dreams by Vittorio Matteo Corcos (1896) shows a young woman reader who appears slightly inspired and defiant. You can't help but wonder what she just read.

The pictures alone are enough, but there is interesting commentary by Stefan Bollman, who is an author of several books on literature, including Women Who Write (Merrell 2007). It traces the history of reading, and notes that private, silent reading is a relatively modern phenomenon.

Women who read were regarded as dangerous, it claims, because they began to acquire privacy and independence of mind. As Bollman states, "the woman who reads acquires a space to which she and no one else has access, and together with this she develops an independent sense of self-esteem; . . . she creates her own view of the world that does not necessarily correspond with that conveyed by tradition, or with that of men."

Here's to space, independence, and a little "dangerous" rebellion!

To have us hold a copy for you (with free gift wrapping!), just call (630) 469-2891 or e-mail us at

Celebrity Reader in the Window: Glen Ellyn Holiday Walk Photos with Charlene Baumbich

Here are some fun photos from the night of the Glen Ellyn Holiday Walk. Local author Charlene Baumbich had a wonderful time reading in the window and surprising passerby! All of our customers are invited to sign up for an hour of Holiday Reader in the Window too! It includes hot chocolate and a $5 gift certificate to The Bookstore! Call (630) 469-2891 to sign up now!

Photo credits: Charlene Baumbich