Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Black Forest Books & Toys is moving to Elizabeth

Black Forest Books & Toys, a fixture in Myers Park/Eastover since 1978, is moving to a new location in Elizabeth -- the purple house on 7th Street that was formerly La-Tea-Das. That's the house in the photo, with co-owners Pat Siegfried (left) and June Hargrove in the foreground.

The store had its final day in the Tudor house at 115 Cherokee Road on Saturday, July 23. It'll open at its new location, 1942 E. 7th St., the week Aug. 8. Look for the grand opening on Saturday, Oct. 1.

The new location more than doubles the retail space, allowing the store to offer many more activities, including story times and readings with children's authors, co-owner June Hargrove says.

Black Forest is among the nation's oldest children's bookstores still operating. It's sad leaving the old location, just off Providence Road, Hargrove says, but it'll be a lot easier now to direct customers to the store. Just look for the purple house.

Clyde Edgerton's "Night Train": We've got a winner

TMcB44, you've won Clyde Edgerton's new novel, "Night Train."
Why? Because you love Edgerton's work so much you read "The Bible Salesman" in your church book club.

"I served as moderator and emailed him to get some suggestions," TMcB44 told me. "He couldn't get over the fact a church book club was doing one of his books. Must have been a shock after his Campbell College (now University) days."

Please email me your name and address, and I'll get the book in the mail.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Stephen "Steve-O" Glover signs books in Charlotte Saturday

The title of Stephen "steve-O" Glover's new book says it all: "Professional Idiot: A Memoir."

Glover, who starred on MTV's "Jackass" series, recounts his journey as a guy who rose to fame abusing drugs and alcohol and doing ill-advised stunts, including stapling his scrotum to his leg. He's now a sober, drug-free vegan.

In town on a stand-up comedy tour, he'll be at the Barnes & Noble at Morrison Place, 4020 Sharon Road, at noon Saturday, July 30.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Book giveaway: Clyde Edgerton's new novel, "Night Train"

Like many readers, I fell in love with Clyde Edgerton's writing in 1986 when I read his first novel, "Raney," the warm, funny story of a small-town Baptist woman who marries -- gasp -- an Episcopalian from Atlanta. Edgerton, North Carolina born and raised, now teaches at UNC Wilmington.

I'm happy to report that his newest work, "Night Train," is out today. Set in 1963, it features Dwayne Hallston, a 17-year-old white kid in Starke, North Carolina who has recently discovered James Brown.

In a starred review, Publishers Weekly calls it "The work of a generous, restrained writer whose skill and craft allows small scenes to tell a larger, more profound story."

Want to win a copy? Leave a comment here and tell me why. Leave some way for me to identify you -- not just "anonymous." I'll post the winner on Wednesday, July 27.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Carol N. Wong, you've won Baldacci's newest novel

The temperature's heading toward 100 today, and Carol N. Wong tells me she'd go for any book that has a picture of water and a beach on it.

Carol, I can't guarantee it'll cool you off, but I've got a copy of David Baldacci's "One Summer" for you. Email me your mailing address and I'll send it your way.

Check back on Monday, folks. I'll post another book giveaway.

Monday, July 18, 2011

This week's book giveaway: A beach read

David Baldacci ("Absolute Power," "The Sixth Man"), gained fame for writing thrillers. But now he has a beach book -- "One Summer," a family drama about love, loss, faith and healing that's set partly in South Carolina.

Want to win a copy? Leave a comment here with some way to identify yourself, not just "anonymous." I'll post the winner on Wednesday, so be sure to check back.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Four readers win John Hart's "Iron House"

Four readers have won copies of John Hart's latest thriller, "Iron House":

  • Tim44, who says his pay keeps getting cut. Tim, here's a small bonus for you.
  • DC2006, who wants to win a book from a fellow Wildcat. Hart, who grew up in Salisbury, graduated from Davidson College.
  • Rexxtigger, who says he'll donate the book to his library when he's done.
  • Paula Finegan, who's going to share the book with her daughter.

Folks, send me an email ( with you mailing address, and I'll get the books to you. And check back next week for another summer book giveaway.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

It's AWESOME. It's AMAZING. It's cliche.

Maybe you hadn't noticed, but the word "amazing" is suffering from overexposure.

I blame Facebook. Status updates are full of amazing stuff -- amazing friends, husbands, movies, hamburgers. There's a lot of awesome going on, too.
It's enough to give a person superlative fatigue.

I'm not going to try to convince anyone that it's unnecessary to refer to new sandals as "fabulous." But if we're going to continue describing everything with superlatives, maybe we could at least change them up.

To that end, I suggest perusing Arthur Plotnik's "Better Than Great: A Plenitudinous Compendium of Wallopingly Fresh Superlatives" (Viva Editions; $15.95).

Plotnik's new book offers hundreds of superlatives neatly organized into chapters such as "Intense," "Great," "Sublime," "Physically Affecting" and "Trendy." Under "Intense," for instance, you'll find "dead-on," "dharma incarnate," "high-wire" and "Hegelian."

So next time you want to describe some really yummy frozen yogurt in your status update, consider calling it "slurp-worthy" or "plate-licking good." Or, my favorite: "Glad tidings for the gullet."

Monday, July 11, 2011

Win "Iron House," John Hart's latest thriller

John Hart, who grew up in Salisbury and graduated from Davidson College, is winning raves for "Iron House," his new thriller. Booklist calls it "an unforgettable novel from a master of popular fiction."

So wouldn't you love a copy?
I've got four to give away. Leave a comment here with some way to identify yourself, not just "anonymous." I'll post the four winners on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, you can pay Hart a visit at his book launch party, 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 12, at Park Road Books, 4139 Park Road.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Charlotte book club for the homeless to discuss "The Dry Grass of August"

The good people who organize the Turning Pages Book Club at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg library tell me they've had a nice run of local authors who've spoken at recent meetings.

On Tuesday, July 12, North Carolina's Anna Jean Mayhew, author of "The Dry Grass of August," will speak to the group. It meets at 10 a.m. on the first floor of the main library, 310 N. Tryon St. The discussion is open to the public.

Launched in late 2009, Turning Pages is the brainchild of Charlotte's Candace Curlin Vance. It was designed as an outreach to the homeless, but participants now include people from varied circumstances and backgrounds.

Mayhew got her publisher, Kensington Publishing, to donate 25 copies of her novel to the club. It should be a rich discussion. The book tells a coming-of-age story of a white girl in Charlotte in the 1950s.

If you'd like to learn more about the club, check out Kay McSpadden's recent column.

And if you'd like to donate to keep the club running, send your check to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library, 310 N. Tryon St., Charlotte, NC 28202 to the attention of John Zika. Write "Turning Pages Book Club" in on the memo line.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Chaine2: You've won the new Warriors book

Chaine2, I love the image of your daughter making cat bookmarks for her Warriors books. Email me your mailing address, and I'll get the book to you so your daughter can put those bookmarks to use.

Be sure to check back in on Monday. I'll post a book giveaway for a new novel from one of North Carolina's biggest authors -- John Hart.

Meanwhile, a second call to last week's winner of Annie Proulx's "Bird Cloud": Veronica MacKinnon, send me your address so I can mail you the book.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Win the new Warriors Super Edition: "Crookedstar's Promise"

In this week's Summer Book Giveaway I've got a novel for younger readers: "Crookedstar's Promise," the latest in the hugely popular Warriors series.

The book is aimed at kids 10 and up. Feel free to enter and win for your favorite middle-grade reader. Just leave a comment with your name or some way to identify you -- not just "anonymous." I'll post the winner on Wednesday, July 6, so be sure to check back.

For those unfamiliar with the whole kitties-as-warriors premise, a little background: Written by three British women using the pseudonym "Erin Hunter," this book series features clans of cats who engage in heart-stopping epic adventures.

As the owner of a couple of felines who spend their day sleeping, eating and dealing with grooming issues, this makes me chuckle.