Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Sunday, 1/3: Joan Medlicott (2nd try)

One of the casualties of the December 18 winter storm was our author event with Joan Medlicott. Well, we're going to try again this coming Sunday, January 3, beginning at 2:00 PM. More information about Joan and her books can be found if you scroll down a bit to my December 16 blog entry about the original event.

I will add one further note here: despite its title, A Blue and Gray Christmas is not strictly a Christmas book. As Joan herself notes, the title come from characters in the book at one point receiving a Christmas invitation, but that's a minor point of the novel. So you can still get an autographed copy of the book this coming Sunday without feeling that you are getting something "out of season."

We hope that Mother Nature will be cooperative this time, and we hope to see many of you here.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Storms, holidays and a year of great books

So where the heck has Page 854 been? Two major things happened: the Big Winter Storm of 2009 and the holiday season. Now, Asheville is located in the mountains, so you would think a big snow wouldn't bring everything to a standstill, right? Wrong. The world screeched to a halt for several days, and I don't think our parking lot has fully recovered yet. And five days after the storm we had customers in the store reporting they still hadn't had their power turned back on.

Which of course brings us to the holidays. By last Tuesday people were beginning to emerge, and, fortunately for us, they still had some shopping to do and -- correctly! -- decided that books were just what they needed, for themselves or for others. We had a busy time last week, and we thank all of you who were a part of that busyness. And if someone gave you a gift certificate or two copies of the same book -- or if you just feel a need to reward yourself for surviving the past few weeks -- we invite you to come check out our grand after-Christmas sale, with loads of great books discounted 40% or more.

And since we're only a few days from the start of 2010, I thought I'd mention another year-end list: one that Rob Neufeld put together for the Asheville Citizen-Times of the bestselling books of 2009 with Western North Carolina connections: books about the area by folks who don't live here, books about other places by folks who do live here and books about the area by local authors. It's a fascinating list which shows the wide literary reach of these mountains. (A fuller version can be found at The Read on WNC, a great website featured in the "Links" section of this blog.)

Hope you're having a great holiday season, and that you have a happy and prosperous 2010.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Friday, 12/18: Joan Medlicott at Accent on Books

Over the past ten years, Joan Medlicott of nearby Barnardsville has established a strong, national following for her Covington novels, featuring a group of ladies facing the challenges and joys of small town life. Joan has been a great friend of Accent on Books, and we have enjoyed selling her books and hosting her for events. (She is also part of a writers group that meets twice a month at the store.)

Joan's new "Covington" book is A Blue and Gray Christmas, and we are delighted that she will be here this coming Friday, beginning at 4:00 to meet her readers and sign copies of the book. As the title implies, this book has an historical aspect to it as Grace, Amelia and Hannah discover a trove of letters from the Civil War, and decide to find the letter writers' current day descendants and invite them to Covington for the holidays.

Again, note the special time of 4:00 PM for this event (earlier than our usual starting time of 6:00 for author appearances). This is a great opportunity to pick up some wonderful gifts for the many fans of Joan's books, as well as for yourself.

More information about Joan and her work can be found at her website.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Easily Digested

This is a busy time of year most everywhere, including, I am happy to say, here at Accent on Books. It's hard to find time for a number of activities we might usually engage in, including reading. Wouldn't it be nice if there were someone who would read all the Important Books and then give us the essence of them so we wouldn't have to bother with all those pesky words ourselves?

Well, fear not -- it's John Crace to the rescue. Crace is the author of Digested Read, a blog at The Guardian newspaper, where he gives us the gist of all the current books in his own inimitable -- and slightly impudent -- style. Sarah Palin is his latest, um, victim, but you can also find everything you perhaps want to know about recent offerings from Philip Roth, Dan Brown, Richard Dawkins, Karen Armstrong and many others. So between the shopping and the cooking and the tree-trimming you can pop over to his blog and become even more erudite than you already are.

Whoops -- gotta go. But first, have you read the latest Anita Brookner? Well, let me tell you all about it....

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Friday, 12/11: Patti Digh at Accent on Books

"What would you be doing today if you only had 37 days to live?" That question forms the basis of Life Is A Verb, the challenging, inspirational and practical book by Asheville resident Patti Digh. It's a book which has a devoted and growing following, and we are delighted that Patti will be at Accent on Books this coming Friday evening, beginning at 6:00, to talk about it.

The book's impetus came from the death of the author's stepfather only 37 days after he had been diagnosed with cancer. This caused Patti to take a serious look at how she was living her own life, and led her to come up with six "core practices" designed to help you live each day to the fullest. The resulting book is not only chock full of great advice, but is great fun to read with all sorts of dazzling and imaginative graphics.

We're looking forward to a fun evening with Patti Digh on Friday, and we hope you'll be able to join us. More about Patti and her book can be found at her website.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

"As if Mount Rushmore was carved with a Swiss Army knife"

Remember typewriters? There is actually a working one about ten feet from where I am now sitting in the back room of Accent on Books. And yes, we still use it, which occasionally leads someone to stick their head into the back room and ask, "What's that strange noise?"

Cormac McCarthy uses one, too -- the same one for almost fifty years. And now that Olivetti Lettera 32 is being auctioned off by Christie's to benefit the Santa Fe Institute, a nonprofit organization with which McCarthy is associated. But fear not: this master of the spare, grim, hardscrabble novel isn't suddenly switching to some effete, newfangled laptop. Nope, he's managed to find an almost brand new portable Olivetti, similar to his old one.

In a note accompanying the typewriter being auctioned off -- typed on the machine itself -- McCarthy states it's "never been serviced or cleaned other than blowing out the dust with a service station hose." Yet, as the person handling the auction for McCarthy said, "When I grasped that some of the most complex, almost otherworldly fiction of the postwar era was composed on such a simple, functional, frail-looking machine, it conferred a sort of talismanic quality to Cormac's typewriter. It's as if Mount Rushmore was carved with a Swiss Army knife."

More here.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Black Friday? No -- Super Sunday!

At Accent on Books we feel it's barbaric to make you get up at the crack of dawn the day after Thanksgiving in order to get a good deal. That's why, for 26 years now, we've been having our big event on the first Sunday afternoon in December. And not only do we give you a discount, we feed and entertain you as well.

So here are the details for our Annual Open House, this coming Sunday, December 6, 1:00-5:00 PM:

** 15
% Discount on All In-Stock Items (not including special orders) **
** Music by Laurie McDowell and Jean Barry **
** Yummy refreshments **
** Gift-wrapping provided by the youth groups of St. Luke's and Grace Episcopal Churches to raise money for their upcoming pilgrimage to England **
** A chance to support your local economy by supporting a local business **

What's not to like? All your friends will be there -- since you have such intelligent, high-quality friends -- and we hope you will be too. So get your gift list together: we have just the thing for all the Cratchit children plus that grumpy guy their father Bob works for. It will be a splendid event, and it just wouldn't be the same without you.