Friday, May 21, 2010

Shilpi Gowda, author of Secret Daughter

The Bookstore is thrilled to be hosting a Happy Hour for Shilpi Gowda, author of Secret Daughter on Friday, June 11th from 5:30- to 7pm. Please join us to discuss this very interesting book with this talented author. Please RSVP by calling (630) 469-2891 or e-mail us at

Thursday, May 6, 2010

"Read Share Help": Readathon for The Glen Ellyn Children's Resource Center

In honor of The Bookstore's 50th Anniversary this year, we are proud to announce our sponsorship of a 50-Hour Team Readathon to benefit the Glen Ellyn Children's Resource Center. We hope you can join us the weekend of June 18-20th!

The Bookstore is thrilled to partner with GECRC for this fun event. Their motto is: "Helping the World's Children In Our Own Backyard." Nearly 2/3 of the children GECRC serves are immigrants or refugees from 14 different countries in North and South America, Europe, Asia and Africa. GECRC offers after school and summer programs that emphasize literacy and community involvement, and however they can, GECRC provides and facilitates additional support services to help these children succeed. It really does take a village to help these kids.

Here are the Readathon Details:

1. Form a Readathon Team: Gather up a group of 2-50 readers, kids or adults. If you can, think of a fun name. A team spirit award will be given at the end of the event, and your team name could be a big part of that! Teams could consist of families, friends, schools, classmates, co-workers, book clubs, sports teams, village organizations, etc. If anyone wants to join a team but doesn't want to start one of your own, you are always welcome on The Bookstore's Team!

2. Mark Your Calendars: The 50-Hour Readathon takes place from Friday, June 18th at 3pm to Sunday, June 20th at 5pm. Your team will pledge to read for 50 combined hours during that time. Team members will count the number of hours they read (either on their own or together as a team) over the entire weekend. The more people on your team, the fewer hours each person has to read, although there will be an award for the Most Voracious Readers. So mark your calendars now to leave room for some reading that weekend!

3. Register Your Team: Call The Bookstore at (630) 469-2891, e-mail us at , or stop in the store in person to register your team. We just need the name of a team leader and a phone number to register. There's no deadline - we'll accept last minute teams right up through the Readathon.

4. Get Your Reading Logs and Pledge Forms: Team Reading Logs and Pledge Forms are available for pick-up at The Bookstore or can be downloaded from The Bookstore's website at

5. Solicit Pledges: Channel your inner salesperson and solicit pledges for the cause. (Kids and teens, ask your mom and dad - don't go out ringing doorbells on your own.) People can either pledge a set dollar amount and give you a check right away, or they can pledge a certain amount of dollars or cents for each hour of reading your team successfully completes. Checks should be made out to the "Glen Ellyn Children's Resource Center" for a tax-deductible donation. There will be a prize for the team that collects the most pledges, so go for it!

6. Crank Up the Team Spirit: Make up a team cheer, plan a crazy costume, challenge another team, talk smack. An award's at stake! Send out your team challenges and reading inspiration by adding a comment below.

7. Read! Start logging your reading time between Friday, June 18th at 3pm and Sunday, June 20th at 5pm. For extra fun, share your joy of reading at The 1st Annual Downtown Glen Ellyn Bookfest on June 19th, where there will be indoor and outdoor Readathon Reading Stations throughout the downtown area. Reading stations will be designated and identified with signs and balloons, and will include such places as The Bookstore's window, downtown park benches and other public meeting places. Grab a good read, come to The Bookfest, and enjoy some reading together. Let's show everyone that we're a village that reads! Keep track of the hours of team reading on your Team Reading Log.

8. Turn in Reading Logs and Pledge Money: You have until July 1st to turn in your Reading Logs, Pledge Forms and collected pledge money to The Bookstore. If your team didn't make it to a total of 50 hours, turn it your forms in anyway. There are no penalties involved - this is fun, not homework!

9. You're Invited to The Bookstore's Birthday and Readathon Appreciation Party: The Bookstore will host a 50th birthday party where the Readathon Awards will be announced. Date TBA. Come share birthday cake and celebrate our success in promoting literacy in Glen Ellyn.

10. Students Can Earn Service Hours: For participating students, volunteer service hours will be verified by The Bookstore upon receipt of the Team Reading Logs.

11. Any Questions? Just call The Bookstore at (630) 469-2891.

"Read Share Help." A Village Celebrates Books.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

April Picks on The Staff Pick Shelf at The Bookstore

Before we rush into May and everything that goes with it, we want to tell you about our favorite April reads that are currently on our Staff Picks Shelf at The Bookstore.

We know our customers are wondering about Beatrice and Virgil by Yann Martel. Life of Pi was huge with our book clubs, and everybody's hoping this one is just as good. Despite some of the negative reviews out there in some major newspapers, this book gets three thumbs up from Margie, Sue and Jenny. Yes, it's disturbing and strange. And it's about the holocaust, so it's no walk in the park. But the minute you finish it, I guarantee you will want to talk to somebody else who's read it. (Jenny had to e-mail us in the middle of the night while she was on vacation.) You're not sure what you think, you're a little unnerved, you have weird questions, like "why did the taxidermist cut off the donkey's tail?" This is a book meant to be read with others. It would be great for book clubs who are looking for a challenge, something more than just the latest crowd pleaser.

Sue and I both love Sue Miller's latest, The Lake Shore Limited. It's Sue Miller at her best: her characters say and do all of those horrible things that you might think about, but are too ashamed to admit, even to a best friend. (Remember Senator's Wife? Then you know what I mean.) This book gets you into some really dark and ambivalent corners of relationships and marriage. The main character, Billy, is a playwright whose boyfriend was killed on 9/11. Several years later, Billy writes a play about a train bombing that exposes her true, complicated feelings about her boyfriend's death. There are other characters who have nursed a spouse through terminal illness, and who likewise admit to really complicated feelings. You might not think you're in the mood for that kind of a book, but there's a cathartic and voyeuristic release in watching these characters do what they do. You're reading along and if you're like me, you'll be talking to yourself: "oh my God, I can't believe she just slept with him!" And then you'll realize that dinner's going to be late because you just cannot put this book down. I can only imagine the intensely personal book club discussions you could have with this book. You'd have to swear each other to secrecy first - and beware of eavesdropping spouses!

Speaking of spouses, . . . The Lonely Polygamist by Brady Udall is a fantastic read about a polygamist family. It's a tragicomedy, with more than the average family's share of funerals, weddings, birthdays, hilarity and pathos. Told without judgment and with deep insight from the point of view of the husband, his youngest wife (#4) and his troubled son (son #5 of mother #3). This is an fascinating read that will be near the top of my Best of 2010 list at the end of the year. Here's a great interview with the author, in which he discusses his own family's polygamist history and the inspiration for the book. This book, which explores the irony of being lonely in the midst of a big family, is another fantastic book club choice that will keep you talking late into the night. (And you thought your life was complicated?)

An Unfinished Score by Elise Blackwell is a lovely book about classical musicians and their intense love for their art, as well as their intense love (or hate) for each other. It would be great for fans of Ann Patchett's Bel Canto or A. Manette Ansay's more recent Good Things I Wish You. There's plenty of betrayal, suspense and romance, but throughout it all, a strong and irresistible sense of musicality prevails. There's even a scattering of viola jokes thrown in for good measure. Three thumbs up for this book, especially from Jenny, our talented bookselling flutist! The author has made a musical playlist to enrich your reading, and is available for download on Book Notes at Large Hearted Boy.

The Irresistible Henry House by Lisa Grunwald was another one of our April favorites. It's a novel inspired by real life "practice houses" in university home economics programs post-WWII. Henry is a practice baby at one of these homes, and despite the stern child-rearing philosophy of the slightly unhinged head of the program, he is smothered with good intentions. The book follows Henry as he grows up and leaves the practice house with all of his psychological baggage in tow. (Do you think Henry might have some "commitment issues?") This is a fascinating book that does a great job of exploring the human consequences of psychological theory, and would make for an excellent book club discussion about "Home Ec," philandering men and the challenges of motherhood in a more modern world.

Please stop in sometime soon to discuss these and other Staff Picks at The Bookstore. We're happy to be your Book Club Headquarters in Glen Ellyn!