Saturday, November 29, 2008

"Of course I'm registered with Accent on Books -- isn't everyone?"

Tired of dropping hints just to watch them land on the floor with a thud? Thinking of visiting Santa Claus, only he's kind of scary and, besides, you'd have to go to the mall? Afraid someone will give you a tedious textbook when what you really want is a racy novel? As usual, we have the perfect solution:

** The Accent on Books Gift Registry! **

That's right -- you can now call us (252-6255, or 800-482-7964), e-mail us (, or simply drop by the store and tell us which books you'd like to receive as holiday gifts and we will list them under your name in our attractive registry. Then let all your family, friends and co-workers know that you are registered with Accent on Books both for your fine reading and your everyday reading, and all they have to do is check with us to find you the perfect gift.

It's a win-win-win solution, and certainly we're all looking for as many of those as we can find at this point in time.

Friday, November 28, 2008

"Black Friday"? How about "Spectacular Sunday"?

Target and K-Mart opened today at 6:00 AM. Walmart and Sears went them one hour better and opened at 5:00. And the earliest birds looking for the fattest worms had the opportunity to start shopping at Kohl's and JC Penny at 4:00 this morning (or was that last night?).

Accent on Books? We opened at our normal time of 9:30. Almost made us feel like a bunch of sluggards.

We'll admit that our store is not the place to find "doorbusters" on the day after Thanksgiving (which now seems to be known as "Black Friday"). But, as our longtime customers know, if you're willing to wait about ten days, you'll find a sale here -- indeed, An Event -- which puts all of today's offers to shame; and it takes place at a civilized hour . It's our annual Open House/Birthday Party on the first Sunday in December, when we offer the following:

-- 15% OFF EVERY BOOK IN STOCK -- and that's good for as many items as you wish to purchase; no "limits per customer," and no coupon needed.
-- Live music.
-- Refreshments.

As one of our customers said this morning, it's more than just a sale -- it's an annual Asheville Christmas tradition. (Maybe we should try to get it listed in the "Light Up Your Holidays" brochure next year.) So, if you haven't already, mark your calendar:

**Sunday, December 7, 1:00-5:00 PM: Accent on Books' Annual Open House & Sale**

It'll be spectacular.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A New School in Afghanistan

Today is the on-sale date for the paperback version of A Thousand Splendid Suns, the second novel by Khaled Hosseini, following The Kite Runner. It thus seems an appropriate time to mention the new primary school built in Afghanistan, funded by Hosseini's publisher, Penguin Group USA, to honor the bestselling author who is a native of that country and whose books have done so much to promote knowledge of and interest in his homeland. The new school is located in the town of Arababshirali, about 150 miles from Kabul, and recently opened its doors to 270 students, grades 1 through 6. About a third of the students are girls, who were enrolled despite anonymous threats demanding that they not be allowed to attend. Construction of the school began earlier this year, and provided much-needed employment for men in the village. The project took place under the auspices of the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), and the United States Association for UNHCR.

More information -- and a photograph of the new school -- can be found at Penguin's website.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

We couldn't have said it better ourselves

Of course we at Accent on Books are in favor of buying local -- we're a locally owned business. So it's always gratifying when someone else without such a direct interest in the issue endorses the concept. A recent example is WYFF, a local television station, which ran an editorial urging consumers to consider supporting local businesses during the holiday shopping season. Among their points:

-- Owners of local stores are invested in their own communities, contribute to the local economy, and support local charities.
-- Local businesses help give a community the distinctiveness that we all say we value.
-- There is a unique variety of locally-flavored items available at these stores which can't be found in chain stores or on the internet.

Of course, we hope that you will support and shop at Accent on Books and other local businesses mainly because of our selection and service, and the shopping experience we provide. But it doesn't hurt to point out on occasion the many other advantages to be gained by patronizing the businesses owned and run by your friends and neighbors.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

"What a cute baby! And you say its name is Accent?"

If you or someone you know is expecting a bundle of joy and coming up with a name for it is presently an issue, we have several books at the store on baby names which might be of help. Or you can simply decide to follow the example of Audrey and Kevin DeKam.

They named their son after their favorite bookstore.

Audrey recently gave birth to Powell Finley DeKam, named for Powell's, the famous independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon. Powell's mom is a creative writing teacher who describes her perfect day as sleeping in and then getting "lost for hours" in Powell's (the store), something she may not be able indulge in for awhile now that Powell the infant is on the scene. This choice of a name, however, was not entirely impulsive: they did check a baby name book first and discovered that Powell means "alert."

Of course, there are limits as to how far you would want to take this. I would hope parents would never show such poor taste as to name their twin sons Barnes and Noble.

Tip of the hat to Shelf Awareness for reporting the above item.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Friday, 11/21 at Accent on Books: Randy Russell

Asheville author Randy Russell refers to himself as a "ghostologist," a vocation that his led to three previous books, including the popular Ghost Dogs of the South. In his latest book, Russell turns from the canine to the feline aspect of the uncanny with Ghost Cats of the South, a book he will be discussing and autographing this coming Friday evening, starting at 6:00, at Accent on Books. This new volume is comprised of twenty-two stories concerning mysterious cats (actually, is there any other kind?) who have appeared in various locations including Black Mountain, Hot Springs and Sylva. Maybe he'll know about the gray tabby that occasionally appears on my front steps in the morning and sits there motionless, staring at me, as if it knows more about me than I would want any being to know.

I don't suppose anyone could explain all the enigmas of cats, and maybe we wouldn't want that anyway. But Randy Russell knows more than his share about these creatures, so we hope you'll join us Friday evening to either get some answers, or celebrate the fact that there really aren't that many.

Randy's website is here

National Book Awards

The 2009 National Book Award Winners were announced during a ceremony Wednesday night. They are as follows:

Fiction: Shadow Country, by Peter Matthiessen. There was actually some controversy over whether this book should even be eligible, since it is a one-volume reworking of an earlier trilogy Matthiessen published a while back. However, the judges determined there was enough new material to justify considering it as a separate work. Matthiessen previously won a nonfiction NBA for The Snow Leopard.

Nonfiction: The Hemingses of Monticello, by Annette Gordon-Reed. About ten years ago, Gordon-Reed wrote, Thomas Jefferson & Sally Hemings, a book credited with helping to definitively establish the connection between Jefferson and his slave mistress. Here, Gordon-Reed delves into the fascinating and amazing history of the entire Hemings family and their complicated relationships with not only the Jeffersons, but with other families as well.

Poetry: Fire to Fire: New and Collected Poems, by Mark Doty. Doty, 55, has written seven previous books of poetry plus several books of prose. This new volume includes some of the best poems from his previous books as well as new ones. (Career collections such as this frequently win awards, but this doesn't seem to raise the same kind of questions that arose in the case of the Matthiessen book.)

Young People's Literature: What I Saw and How I Lied, by Judy Blundell. A Young Adult novel from a new name in the genre, this is a mystery tale set during the World War II era about a girl who discovers dark secrets about her family after her father returns from the war.

More about the National Book Awards and this year's winners can be found here.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Wednesday, 11/19 at Accent on Books: "Christmas Presence"

This week, we're having a special Wednesday event for a special book. It's called Christmas Presence, and it's a collection of writings about the holiday season from 45 women who live here in Western North Carolina. Among the contributors: Accent on Books' very own bookseller/events coordinator extraordinaire, Byron Ballard. Other contributors include Glenis Redmond, Susan Reinhardt, Marijo Moore, Gwenda Ledbetter, and the book's co-editors, Celia Miles and Nancy Dillingham. So please come by Accent on Books this coming Wednesday starting at 6:00 PM to honor and congratulate Byron and others involved in this project, and get an early start on your holiday shopping with signed copies of Christmas Presence.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Friday, 11/14 at Accent on Books: Terrell Garren

After years of working in various jobs in the public sector, Henderson County resident Terrell T. Garren began a second career as a Civil War historian. His research led to his first novel, The Secret of War, about life in the Western North Carolina mountains during the 1860s. He followed that up with Mountain Myth, a scholarly work that separated the myths from the reality concerning "Unionism," or sympathies with the Union cause, in the mountains during the war.

Garren has now applied his prodigious research to fiction once again, and he will talk about his latest work at Accent on Books this coming Friday, November 14, beginning at 6:00 PM. This new book, entitled The Fifth Skull, is based on the true experiences of two mountain teenagers who were conscripted into the Confederate army, were captured and imprisoned in the Union prison of Camp Douglas in Illinois, and finally ended up involved in the Modoc Indian War in California and Oregon. It's a little known but remarkable story which Terrell Garren, using his skills as a researcher and writer, is bringing to light, and we hope you can join us at Accent on Books as he presents this new book and signs copies.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

"The Hour" Has Finally Arrived

On sale starting today at Accent on Books: Wally Lamb's new novel, The Hour I First Believed. If you think it's been awhile since Lamb's previous novel you're right -- ten years, to be exact. In a lively and ingratiating interview with Publishers Weekly, Lamb talks about some of the circumstances surrounding the delay of this book, which was first due to be published in 2004. Not only did he have creative problems with the manuscript, but life situations such as the declining health of his parents and his job teaching creative writing in a women's prison also competed for his attentions.

Lamb also reflects on the extraordinary experience of having both of his first two novels chosen by Oprah Winfrey for her book club. (Long before she started the club, Winfrey called him simply as a delighted reader of She's Come Undone.) His success may come from the extraordinarily high standard he set for his writing from the beginning: he wanted to write "a book that teenagers would read voluntarily." While his books may not have gone that particular direction, they have certainly found a large and enthusiastic audience.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Back In Print (And Online)

I suppose we can't complain about the local media ignoring us this year. For the second time since July, Accent on Books has been featured in the Asheville Citizen-Times -- this time it's a Small-Business Profile of the store itself (last time we were interviewed -- and pictured -- as part of an article on the larger issue of independent bookselling in Asheville). The online version doesn't give the name of the reporter so let's give credit where it's due -- freelance author Anne Fitten Glenn is the author of the piece, and we appreciate her taking the time to visit the store and interview us and talk to our customers as well. And thanks to Tony Sayer for his kind remarks about the store.

I almost forgot -- the occasion for the article is our ** 25th Anniversary ** which we will be celebrating with a variety of events at the store. Make sure to check this blog and our website to be kept up to date with all the latest happenings.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Heigh-Ho, Time for the Fair

Excuse our mess. If you're visiting the children's section of Accent on Books this coming week you're likely to see piles of boxes bearing the mysterious initials "CDBF" on the outside. We are preparing for the annual book fair at Carolina Day School in south Asheville. Every year this event, sponsored by the school's Friends of the Library, raises money for Carolina Day and gives kids and their parents a chance to purchase books for themselves, or perhaps do some early holiday shopping. For about a decade now Accent on Books has been pleased to provide the books for this project, and this is the week all the picking and packing will take place. (The book fair itself runs from Monday, November 10 through Wednesday November 12 in the Lower School Library on the Carolina Day campus.)

So thanks in advance for maneuvering around the boxes, and thanks to the fine folks at Carolina Day for allowing us to help out with this worthy project.