Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Friday, 12/17: Patti Digh at Accent on Books

The forces of nature have been walloping Western North Carolina, along with much of the rest of the country, in major ways since late last week, with snow and wind and bitter cold greeting us every time we dare to venture outdoors. We should be getting a reprieve by Friday which is a good thing, since a very different force of nature will be sweeping into Accent on Books that evening: Patti Digh.

Writer, teacher, mentor, visionary, Patti is the creator of the award-winning "37days" blog and author of several books, including the wildly popular, Life Is A Verb. This fall has seen the publication of two more books by her: Four Word Self Help, a delightful and innovative gift book, and Creativity Is A Verb, which, as the title implies, is a companion to the earlier Life Is. 

Patti is yet another nationally-known writer who has chosen to make her home here in Asheville and we have hosted her before, in what was a hugely successful event. We expect this one to be every bit as exciting and wild and funny and inspiring as Patti herself. You will definitely want to be at Accent on Books this coming Friday, beginning at 6:00 PM. And, of course, personally autographed books by Patti Digh make perfect gifts.

Find out more about Patti --and find a link to her blog -- at her website.         

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

This coming Friday: Sara Gruen at Accent on Books!

It's a busy season here at Your Favorite Bookstore, but I did want to quickly remind you that this coming Friday, December 10, **nationally acclaimed author Sara Gruen will be at Accent on Books**. The event will start at 6:00 PM, and Sarah will be talking about and signing copies of her new novel, Ape House, as well as her earlier books such as the extraordinary national bestseller, Water for Elephants. 

Sara is an Asheville resident these days, and is actually kind of a neighbor of ours here in North Asheville, so it's a particular pleasure to welcome her to her "home bookstore." It should be a great event, so tell your friends, and come on by this coming Friday, December 10, beginning at 6 PM.

Here is a link to Sara's website  


Thursday, December 2, 2010

Bring your child -- and yourself -- to Accent on Books this weekend.

As noted previously, author Gwen Suesse will be here at Accent on Books this evening. And that's just the curtain-raiser for what promises to be a busy weekend here at the store.

Saturday is the first annual Take Your Child to A Bookstore Day. The brainchild of New Jersey native Jenny  Milchman, this is an event dedicated to introducing youngsters to the magic and riches of reading. Here at Accent on Books, beginning at 11:00 AM, we will have a story hour featuring our own Byron Ballard, with gifts and goodies for all young attendees. So take some time out from your busy holiday activities to relax and share the wonders of  books with the next generation of readers.

And then Sunday is The Big Day: our  ** 27th Anniversary (!) Accent on Books Birthday Party & Open House ** . This event -- always held on the first Sunday in December -- has become an indispensable holiday event for innumerable booklovers in Western North Carolina, and with good reason, since it features:

-- Live Music
-- Delicious Food
-- And, most importantly, ** 15% Off All In-Stock Books **

The festivities will take place from 1:00 to 5:00 this coming Sunday, December 5, and everyone who is anyone will be here, including, we hope, you!

Saturday: Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day, with story hour at 11:00 AM.
Sunday: Open House and Storewide Sale from 1:00 to 5:00 PM.

There! Your weekend plans are now complete, courtesy of Accent on Books. We're always glad to help out. 


Monday, November 29, 2010

Thursday, 12/2: Gwen Suesse at Accent on Books

Gwen Suesse has lived a life steeped in music. She has also lived a life confronting the various changes in the roles that women have been expected -- or not expected -- to fill over the past several decades. Gwen has combined these two aspects of her life in her new book, Womansong, which she will talk about at Accent on Books this coming Thursday beginning at 6:00 PM.

The subtitle of Womansong is "Balance and Harmony in a Feminine Key," and music is the organizing principle of the book. Through essays that bear such titles as "Counterpoint," "Improvisation" and "Fantasia," Gwen sets out her philosophy, with highly practical advice for all ages. She also includes a generous number of inspirational quotes, and beautiful watercolor illustrations by artist Renee Locks.

We are delighted that Gwen Suesse will be leading off our December series of author appearances at Accent on Books, and we hope you'll be able to join us for a relaxing and inspirational way to start off the month.

More about Gwen Suesse -- including video of her recent appearance on Lifetime Television -- can be found at her website.    

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Book Fair Ate My Blog Posts

Well, OK, that isn't the entire truth. Certainly over the last two or three weeks our annual book fair that we get together for the fine folks at Carolina Day School has been consuming a great deal of my time here. But other issues have arisen as well, and, perhaps, I've been beset with the dreaded Blogger's Block (dreaded to me, at any rate). Plus, the longer I neglected the blog, the more guilt I felt about it, and that made it harder to return to it. (Thanks, Calvinist upbringing.)

But Accent on Books is still around, with a holiday season full of great books and events coming up, and I'll try to get back on board with this form of communication to let you know what's going on here and elsewhere in Book World. And in case you need to be reminded about how to find us, we are the store in the lower level of Grace Plaza which doesn't yet have its Christmas decorations up! That's right, here at Accent on Books we actually acknowledge the existence of Thanksgiving, so we still have corn shocks and Turkey Day books displayed in our front windows.

So enjoy your Thanksgiving, come by on (I hate this term) Black Friday at a decent hour after a leisurely breakfast and, in the meantime, enjoy your books and support locally owned businesses.

And, in the spirit of the season (Thanksgiving, I mean), please accept our thanks for your support through the years.      

Monday, October 11, 2010

What A Picture's Worth

I don't remember how old I was, but I have a clear memory of a somewhat wistful moment in my childhood when I realized that, going forward, most of the books I would be reading would be largely text with relatively few pictures.

I was reminded of this last Friday when reading a New York Times article which set the book world literally a-Twitter. According to the article, by Julie Bosman, picture book sales have been steadily decreasing in recent years in favor of text-heavy "chapter books." A part of the reason may be the economy -- a 32-page hardcover picture book routinely sells for between fifteen and eighteen dollars (though paperbacks cost less than half that). The more provocative reason proposed: due to highly selective private elementary schools and standardized testing, parents feel pressured to get their children reading at a more advanced level at an earlier age, and these parents see picture books as holding that process back. As one bookseller quoted in the article said, "It's a terrible pressure parents are feeling -- that somehow, I shouldn't let my child have this picture book because she won't get into Harvard."

Having never been a parent myself, I can't speak to this kind of pressure. But my experiences as a bookseller suggest that this move away from picture books is not universally the case. When parents -- and grandparents -- are in our store looking for books for their preschool-aged children, picture books are what they are almost always attracted to. After all, they want children not only to read books but to love them. And while text-heavy books can certainly be read aloud to young children, a picture book provides an entirely different -- and, in some cases, preferable -- read-aloud experience. The scenario mentioned in the Times article of parents in a bookstore steering a young child away from picture books because they're "beyond that" is something that, thankfully, I very rarely see at Accent on Books.

At the very beginning of Alice in Wonderland, we find a bored Alice sitting by her sister, who is reading a book. When Alice glances at the book she is dismayed to see that it doesn't contain pictures or conversations: "'...and what's the use of a book,' thought Alice, 'without pictures or conversations'?" Conversations may not be at issue in books for preschoolers -- practically all children's books have conversations. But when it comes to introducing young children to the joy, excitement and magic of books, Alice's rhetorical question is very relevant: what's the use of a book without pictures?  

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Nobel Prize to Vargas Llosa

Mario Vargas Llosa of  Peru has won the 2010 Nobel Prize for Literature. He is the first South American to win the prize in almost thirty years.

Vargas Llosa, age 74, has published both fiction and nonfiction in a career lasting almost fifty years. He first won international acclaim with his second novel, The Green House, published in 1965. Other well-known works include the quasi-autobiographical Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter (1977), and The Feast of the Goat (2000), a novel about the Trujillo dictatorship in the Dominican Republic.

In addition to being a writer, Vargas Llosa has been very engaged politically over the decades, even to the extent of running for the presidency of Peru in 1990 (he lost in a runoff to Alberto Fujimori). He has moved rightward in his political views over the years, going from being an ardent supporter of the Cuban revolution, for example, to being more of a supporter of capitalism, and an opponent of authoritarian regimes of both the Left and the Right.

Vargas Llosa has kind of an odd connection to Gabriel Garcia Marquez, the last South American to win the Nobel Literature Prize (in 1982). An early admirer of Garcia Marquez -- even writing a book about him -- Vargas Llosa ended up feuding with the Colombian writer, and reportedly punched him in the face in 1976. The two have evidently not spoken to each other for more than thirty years. 

Heidi Johnson-Wright of January Magazine interviewed Vargas Llosa in 2001; the article can be found here. Also, the New York Times has a page of links to articles in that publication by and about Vargas Llosa.

Meanwhile, I continue to hold out hope that the Nobel committee will give a long overdue Literature Prize to Margaret Atwood. Maybe next year.