Monday, March 15, 2010

The Boox Toar Staph Suffer a Sudden Death at Glen Ellyn's Spellapalooza

Pictured here is The Bookstore's Spellapalooza team "Boox Toar Staph" consisting of Julia Berg (Glenbard West teen employee), Sue Kowalski and Margie White, standing next to the vexing two minute timer after their sudden death loss in the final round of the village spelling bee.

Spellapalooza is an annual benefit for the Glen Ellyn Children's Resource Center, which provides literacy and life skill assistance to children living in low-income households in Glen Ellyn. More than half of the students served are refugees, representing families from 14 different countries in North and South America, Europe, Asia and Africa. Funds raised at the event will be used to support the Center's after-school and summer literacy programs.

It's a cause that's worth embarrassing yourself for. At first, we entered the spelling bee with the humble wish that we wouldn't be the first team eliminated. Then, as we proceeded beyond the first and second round and into the third, our adrenaline started to surge and we realized we really wanted to win!

Sometimes it's luck and sometimes it's skill, but in the end we found ourselves in the sudden death finals pitted against last year's Co-winners, "Spellin' for Ellen," consisting of Heidi Hann, Diana Visco and Gail Minkus. In a new twist this year, each final team was given two minutes to spell as many words correctly as possible. The Boox Toar Staph won the coin toss and chose to go second, but that still didn't help. We missed the first three words, and after that, we were crazy with stress and the ticking of the timer. Our final word was "formaldehyde," which we'll always remember is spelled with an "e."

Our congratulations and admiration goes to "Spellin' for Ellen," who have some really stellar spelling skills! Our special thanks goes to team member Julia Berg, our spokesperson at the microphone who showed great poise and calm under pressure. Thanks also to all of our supporters and cheerleaders, especially Jenny Fisher who cheered us on with party horns and customized Bookstore cookies. (The best part of Spellapalooza is the Team Spirit Award, which encourages crazy costumes and cowbells in the audience.)

I'm already looking forward to next year!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Cinco de Mayo With A Literary Twist: Luis Urrea at The Bookstore

The Bookstore is thrilled to be hosting a unique Cinco de Mayo Celebration with Luis Alberto Urrea on May 5th at 7pm, featuring margaritas, appetizers and stories among friends.

We'll be celebrating Luis' newest book, Mr. Mendoza's Paintbrush (April 2010), a graphic novel based on the first short story in Urrea's Six Kinds of Sky (2002). Luis teamed up with muralist Christopher Cardinale to retell the story set in Rosario, Mexico, the town that Luis visited in the summers when he was growing up in Tijuana and San Diego. It's the kind of town that's full of "cousins and excitement and magical adventures and very pretty girls." Sounds like there's some good stories there!

Local book clubs are also excited to have the chance to talk with Luis about Into the Beautiful North (2009), a girl-power road trip story about a group of funny and brave young Mexicans who travel to the United States (all the way to Kankakee, Illinois) to recruit immigrants to return to Mexico and help them save their village. It's a fabulous book that challenges immigration stereotypes with a sense of humor and poetic insight. This would make a great selection for your May book club meeting if you haven't read it yet. Then you can come and chat with the author over margaritas and salsa.

We're also hoping to hear a little bit about Luis' current project, a sequel to The Hummingbird's Daughter (2005), his magical epic, and of course, his Pulitzer-prize nominated nonfiction title, The Devil's Highway.

So if you enjoy a little literary levity, please join us for this unique Cinco de Mayo. Please call (630) 469-2891 or e-mail to register. Book clubs can register as a group with an estimated head count. Purchase of at least one of Luis' books is required, but trust me, you'll want them all!

Brought to you in partnership with our sponsor, Chicks 'n Salsa, a local, independently-owned Mexican restaurant in Glen Ellyn.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Introducing: Book Blogger Bookmarks at The Bookstore

The Bookstore had a recent visit from local book blogger Jen Karsbaek ("Devourer of Books") along with her adorable son Daniel. Even if Daniel is only 8 months old, he's already following in his mom's footsteps. He couldn't resist trying to devour his favorite board books - everything goes in his mouth!

What a fun visit. We swapped ARC's, talked about our favorite books and discussed book blogs. Oh, and we snuggled with Daniel, who chatted up a storm himself. No surprise he loves The Bookstore.

Then we gave Jen a little surprise - her very own book recommendation bookmarks. Kind of like our blue staff pick cards, but with a flair. They feature a photo of Jen in her wedding dress. (in which she is, of course, reading!)

Anyway, Jen had fun distributing her new bookmarks throughout the store, enjoying one of the best perks of being an indie bookseller. Our customers will benefit too! The more personal recommendations in our books, the better they sell. And as much as we'd like to, The Bookstore staff just can't read everything! We encourage our customers to check out Jen's blog for great book reviews, give-aways, challenges and guest bloggers. Follow her on Twitter as @devourerofbooks.

So thanks, Jen! Any other book bloggers out there who'd like to visit and get their own Book Blogger Bookmarks, let us know! We'd love to be one of the stops on your "Book Blogger Indie Tour."

In fact, we just happen to have a bookmark ready for Rebecca @bookladysblog, who has a crazy category for books/authors she really, really likes. (As the bookmark says, if you have to ask you might not want to know. Just a little crazy book blogger humor!)