Archive for the 'Commentary' Category

A Book Lover’s Holiday

Monday, August 31st, 2015


open book

Ever dream of retiring and running a bookstore? Apparently, a lot of people do and there’s a bookshop in Scotland that will let you try the dream on for size. There’s a great article in The Independent.

The Open Book shop in  Scotland’s “national book town” of Wigtown has been listed on room-letting website AirBnB offering wordy holidaymakers the chance to work a 40-hour week selling books and customising the store with their “own stamp”.

Now, I don’t know that I would want to spend my vacation working, but it’s a charming idea.


The Hugo Awards and their aftermath

Wednesday, August 26th, 2015

If you haven’t been following the controversy swirling around this year’s Hugo Awards, there’s a great article over at Wired that explains it all. Definitely recommended reading. I don’t read as much science fiction as I used to, sadly, but I still use the Hugo Awards to guide some of my choices. I don’t want to see them hijacked for someone’s political agenda.

And big kudos to George R. R. Martin for stepping up and handing out some heartfelt awards to the authors who withdrew their names.


Sunday, July 12th, 2015

In my world, there would be as many public libraries as there are Starbucks.

– Henry Rollins, punk rock god, author, public speaker, generally fascinating guy

Utterly ridiculous: Germany says you can only buy adult eBooks after 10 pm

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015

What? Do they restrict the sales of them in brick-and-mortar stores to late-night hours? This strikes me as really, really silly.

Adult eBooks can only be sold after 10 pm, Germany rules

The 10pm to 6am window was originally instituted in a 2002 law — Jugendmedienschutz-Staatsvertrag, or Youth Media Protection Act —  that was intended to restrict adult cinemas from showing films in the day. But many have pointed out that applying the rule on the internet, where products can be bought at all hours of the day, is impractical.

Impractical? Ya think? Can’t wait to see how they intend to enforce this.

The History of Media Mail

Wednesday, May 13th, 2015

Interesting thing: I was at the post office, mailing a book to a friend (Beast – I’m so sorry! I should have sent it ages ago!) when I happened to mention that I love the media mail rate. (Instead of $12 to mail my book, it was only $3.) The postman gave me – and everyone else in line – a mini-history of the old book rate plan. It started in 1938 as a way to encourage reading, by making it cheaper to send books through the mail. More recently, the classification changed to “media mail” and it covers books and videos. For me, it’s a lifesaver. When I send books to friends, when I give away books on the website, mailing can be the most expensive part of the whole deal. (One year, I didn’t restrict a giveaway to US residents, and I spent almost $40 shipping a box of books to a winner in Canada. Ooops!) I think it’s great that the federal government gives a subsidy to the Post Office so that I can ship books to distant friends on the cheap! My tax dollars at work finally!

A Tremendous Loss

Friday, March 13th, 2015

Terry Pratchett, April 28, 1948-March 12, 2015

The Bromeliad Trilogy

An old Shelves favorite – coming to a theater near you

Monday, March 2nd, 2015

Way back in 2007, my book club read In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex by Nathaniel Philbrick. Loved the book (I’m a big fan of real-life adventures) but it was a poor choice for the book club. There wasn’t much to debate, really – whales are big, starvation is bad – and we were all in agreement that it was a great story, quite well-written. Maybe that’s why I’m having trouble imagining it as a movie, but apparently Ron Howard doesn’t have that problem. And hey – watching Chris Hemsworth is not exactly suffering, so I’m willing to give it a try. It’s always interesting to compare the book in your head to the images on the screen. Sometimes, it’s disappointing but sometimes they get it right. I’m looking forward to seeing what they’ve done with this one.

A great little song & a plug for a friend

Monday, February 16th, 2015

A friend of mine at Felony & Mayhem Press passed this song along to me. They are vying for a FedEx small business grant and if you like their song, I hope you’ll vote for their business! There’s a link below to vote and you can vote once a day using your social media logins. Even if you decide not to vote, check out their song – great stuff for mystery lovers!


Happy Valentine’s Day!

Saturday, February 14th, 2015


The [Book] Blizzard of 2015

Wednesday, February 11th, 2015

Dear Readers, I don’t know about the weather where you are but here, at The Shelves, there has been a blizzard of books! I have towering stacks of books covering just about every available surface! I am tempted to engage in some typical blizzard behavior and make a French Toast Run (go to the grocery store for eggs, milk and bread) and pretend I am snowed in with my lovely stacks of books.

Now, I have to face the fact that I may not be able to read all of these right away. I have a job. I have a social life. I have things to do that, sadly, keep me away from my reading. And if I do my usual New Books posts (2 per week), it will quite literally be months before I get to tell you about all of the books – in fact, there’s a good chance that the review will appear before the New on the Shelves post does! So, I wanted to take a minute and share this bounty with you. I will still be putting up New on the Shelves posts, because I assume if you are hanging out here you like to hear about new books. I will still be getting to the reviews as quickly as I can. But in the meantime, take a minute to click on some of these links and check out all the great new reading in our future! (And if you’re a little jealous – that’s okay. I forgive you.) So here, in no particular order, the Book Blizzard of 2015:

John the Pupil by David Flusfeder

Throne of Darkness by Douglas Nicholas

Silverblind (Ironskin Book 3) by Tina Connolly

Forgiving Maximo Rothman by A. J. Sidransky

The Unraveling of Mercy Louis by Keija Parssinen

The Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson

Mark of the Beast by Adolphus A. Anekwe

Island: How Islands Transform the World by J. Edward Chamberlain

The Forgetting Place by John Burley

The World Before Us by Aislinn Hunter

Of Things Gone Astray by Janina Matthewson

Monday’s Lie by Jamie Mason

The Whites by Richard Price

Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives by Gretchen Rubin

Life by Keith Richards

Lucky Alan: And Other Stories by Jonathan Lethem

The Flamethrowers by Rachel Kushner

A Head Full of Ghosts: A Novel by Paul Tremblay

The Peripheral by William Gibson

Wreckage by Emily Bleeker

The Night Circus by Erin Morganstern

Slim by Design: Mindless Eating Solutions for Everyday Life by Brian Wansink

Now admit it – you’re jealous. And if you’re like me, a little intimidated. That is quite a reading list! I’d stay and chat, but I need to get a few pages done before the end of the day.