Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Kate Mitchell and Beth Hoffman

First, besides Kate Mitchell bringing her fashion designs on mannequins, she's also bringing wine, water, crackers and cheese, and fruit.  Clothes and food - can't beat it.

And, secondly, I reviewed Beth Hoffman's Looking for Me just about 8 months ago and gave it a 4.  Today, it came out in paperback.  I thought I would re-post my review from last August 5.  Here it is.

Looking for Me - Beth Hoffman's 2nd (and, unfortunately, only other) Book

It's only been a little over a month and a half (50 days, to be exact) since I reviewed Beth's 1st book, Saving CeeCee Honeycutt.  Normally, I would wait awhile before I picked up a 2nd book from an author I had only read a couple of months earlier.  HOWEVER, since I gave CeeCee a strong 4 (maybe even a 4.25) out of 4, I decided not to wait to read Looking for Me.  And, not surprisingly, I'm very glad I made that decision.  This is another really strong effort from Beth.  Between the 2, I have to give CeeCee the edge.  Don't be upset, Beth.  Looking for Me is still a 4.

1st, let me give you a quick rundown of Looking for Me.  Teddi Overman grows up in Kentucky and finds herself as a young girl with a passion for fixing beat-up furniture.  In fact, while selling a restored piece at the end of the road leading to her house, she runs across a buyer that will change her life.  She ultimately ends up working in an antique store in Charleston, South Carolina.  After a number of years, and in a very roundabout way, she ends up owning the store.  Now, normally, I wouldn't give away a plotline that turns up a good part of the way into a book.  In this case, though, the drama centers on personal relationships, both with family as well as with friends, mentors, and even foes. It's the journey (I know from the Bachelor/Bachelorette that "journey" is a very overused word), not the destination, that matters here.

Now, what about some of those relationships (I'll get to family in a minute)?  First, there's Mr. Palmer, who Teddi 1st sees at the end of the road in Kentucky and who she then works for in Charleston.  Then there's Mr. Calhoun, who brokers a loan for her to buy her own shop.  How about Sam, an attorney in town, who pays for whatever his mother swipes from Teddi's shop (in fact, take a look at page 79, in  which Teddi's bookkeeper, Inez, introduces us to the word "Designamony").  And let's not forget Albert, a master restorer who Teddi works with at Mr. Palmer's shop and who then works for Teddi at her shop.  Finally, there's Teddi's best friend, Olivia.  Just like Leo Stein, in Jodi Picoult's The Storyteller, Olivia gets all of the funny lines. 

All of these connections/relationships are right on.  I loved them.  But Teddi also has family that she grew up with in Kentucky.  What about them?  Here's what's very interesting to me.  I connected less, emotionally, with her family than I did with her Charleston people.  Teddi has quite a story to tell about growing up with her mother, father, brother, and grandmother ("grammy," which my son's kids call their other grandmother).  In fact, her brother disappeared when he was 18, and Teddi was 23.  And Teddi had a very complicated relationship with her mother.  I was definitely interested in both of them (along with her father and grandmother, especially her grandmother) but not viscerally.  I can't explain it.  I have yet been able to figure out why I connect with some characters and not others.  It just is what it is.

There's another element of the book that I really like.  Teddi is a single woman who is in her mid-30's.  She has a deep love for family, friends, and antique furniture.  She doesn't need romance in order to have a fulfilling and fulfilled life.  Does she find a man to love and to be loved by?  Maybe she does and maybe she doesn't.  The point is that the book succeeds without a love interest.  Not every book that deals with emotions and relationships has to have romance to make it work.  But, in many cases, it doesn't hurt, either!

Get a hold of this book - in print, digital, or audio format.  You'll be thanking me that you did.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Wednesday Night at VHOB - An Iconoclastic Fashion Designer - Should Be Fascinating

As you all know by now, Kate Mitchell, author of Fashioning Women, will be coming to VHOB.  Not only will she be talking about her book, but she will also have mannequins and clothes for us to see.  I don't think you're going to want to miss this one.

Here are 3 articles about Kate.  In order, they are from the San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco Examiner, and the Contra Costa Time.

And from that party, at which most women were dolled up in smart set cocktail dresses, we hurried
over to SOMArts, where "Fashioning Women," Kate Mitchell's art exhibition/book party/faux
fashion show/dance/theater performance, provided uproarious live commentary on fashion
convention. The artist's outfit included a many-splendored, multihued and bespangled jacket of
patterned print, onto which she had appliqued strips of striped ribbon, and among the works on
display was a collage made of '60s-era bra, men's garters and twine.
The book "Fashioning Women," which landed on my desk a few weeks ago, was an entrancing lure to
the event. Who could resist Mitchell's "ogling strategies for locker room survival"?: "Pancake butts
belong to women who take on other people's problems. Round derrieres can mean take-charge types.
Women with husbands who stray tend to have one cheek more dimpled than the other."

Her book is a sendup of the glossy magazines of the rag trade that often
send women conflicting messages. Like her choreography and her designs,
it’s a winking festival of color and kitsch, directing a very pointed eye to
America’s fascination with and addiction to fashion.
Mitchell also will exhibit her textile-based collages, constructed from iconic
women’s clothing. In one collage, she has taken apart two pairs of ladies white cotton church
gloves, reshaped them architecturally and painted them with tribal patterns.
1 Points Mentioned
In another, it’s a 1960s pre-lycra seamed cotton bra that she has repurposed.
“The collages are about being a woman,” Mitchell says. “They are about confinement but at
the same time being centered because all aspects of a woman can never be completely
As with her previous choreography, she illustrates her story of womanhood with humor and
a dose of eroticism. The runway show leads off with a “sexy” lingerie collection and ends
with the bride.
“You always have to end a runway show with a bridal gown,” she says.
Mitchell’s fascination with design began in childhood when her babysitter, an expert
seamstress, made couture knockoffs for her Barbie dolls.
“I confess when my sister and I were little we did play with Barbies,” she says. But like many,
she outgrew their allure. “A neighbor’s daughter recently told me that girls are doing Barbies
at a very young age now – like 5 or 6, but that when she was about 10 she was done with them, so she hung them out her window.”
The statuesque Mitchell, who describes herself as “five-foot-twelve,” could well have been a
model herself. “I once thought it was sort of a cool, glamorous idea,” she says. “But when I
started reading fashion magazines and about models I realized I would have to weigh 20
pounds less and I really like chocolate too much.”

PIEDMONT -- Kate Mitchell has had her eyes on fashion her entire life.
Beginning with Barbie dolls in her youth, Mitchell's interest in what women wear grew into a career that
eventually included creating her own thought-provoking fashion lines.
Now, Mitchell, of Piedmont, is embarking on a new venture that marries her style sense with her views on
the industry. At 56, Mitchell is the new author of "Fashioning Women," a satirical fashion book that "pokes
fun at and challenges ideas of" today's fashion world, she said.
"This is kind of like the ultimate message that we can fashion ourselves," Mitchell said. "If you love to wear
e industry. At 56, Mitchell is the new author of "Fashioning Women," a satirical fashion book that "pokes
fun at and challenges ideas of" today's fashion world, she said.
"This is kind of like the ultimate message that we can fashion ourselves," Mitchell said. "If you love to wear
makeup and high heels, that's great. If you love to wear men's suits, that's great too. I'm really proud of
this. It's a personal statement."
To celebrate the accomplishment, Mitchell is hosting a book release party from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Nov. 8 at A
Great Good Place for Books, 6120 La Salle Ave. in Montclair Village.
A second event held Nov. 16 in San Francisco will feature a fashion show and dance performances.
Tickets for that event are $25 each and can be purchased at .
Mitchell said the 72-page, soft-cover book is loaded with photography, featuring some of her fashion
designs, as well as faux articles meant to make readers laugh at what Mitchell considers unreasonable
beauty standards put on women by society.
"The first thing that happened was I started realizing all these anti-aging ads were making me feel bad,"
Mitchell said of what prompted her to write the book. "I'm asking about contradictions about female life
and trappings of our experience. How could Kate Moss look exactly the same (today) as she does in the
'80s? That's just not possible. It kind of sends a very difficult message."
A lifelong artist, Mitchell also runs a studio in West Oakland. For guidance and support, Mitchell said she
turned to her sister and sister-in-law, both of whom have had experience in publishing. Still, she said, the
load was significant;

Saturday, April 26, 2014

New Policy at VHOB for Use of Space - You're Going to Like This - A Lot

VHOB has a new policy going into effect immediately.  It will be especially valuable to local book clubs but can work for any organization/group.  You can actually get your own space in the store to use for your next meeting.  Here are the details:

1.  It is available from 6:30-8:30 or 7:00-9:00 any night from Tuesday-Friday (unless we have an author event scheduled - go to the website - villagehouseofbooks.com - to check that out).
2.  You can bring food and beverages in, just like we currently do for the VHOB Book Club.
3.  There is a capacity of 25 people.
4.  You can pay a fee of $75 or buy $75 worth of books.

For the price of a few books, you can meet in one of the coolest (and certainly most quiet) after-hours places in town.  Feel free to call the store to make a reservation.

We have added 2 more authors (and 1 cover illustrator)  to the list that I blogged yesterday for California bookstore Day.  They are Amalia Hillmann (cover illustrator with Alina Sayre), Steve Sporleder, from 10-1, and Mary Ann Quinn, from 1-3.  I will keep you posted if there are more add-ons.

Finally, Alina Sayre, author of The Illuminator's Gift, a middle school fantasy novel, conducted an interview yesterday with Cheryl and Steve and took pictures of the store for her blog.  Here is a link to the article.  She did a totally terrific job.

Friday, April 25, 2014

California Bookstore Day at VHOB - May 3

A week from Saturday is a big day.  It's California Bookstore Day.  And Village House of Books will be celebrating along with every other bookstore in the state.  At this moment, we have 13 local authors who will be coming to VHOB on May 3 to sit and chat and sign books.  Here's our schedule at the moment.  Be watching for additions during the week.

Alina Sayre - 10-12
Rayme Waters - 11:30-12:30
Jenn Castro - 11:30-2:30
Mike Degregorio - 12-2
Erica Goss - 12-6
Kim Yen Nguyen - 12:15-2:15
Dr. Russell Andrews - 12-2
A.R. Silverberry - 1-3
Victoria Johnson - 1-3
Hannah Jayne - 2-4
Shelley Adina - 4-6
Jasmine Haynes - 4-6
Jana McBurney-Lin - 4:30-6

Contest Winners - We have our 2 winners of Beth Hoffman's Looking for Me.  They are Cynthia and Tami.  They will not only be getting copies of Beth's book, but they will also receive a signed bookmark by Beth.  C'mon.  How cool is that?

Thursday, April 24, 2014

My List of 4.25's (you can go ahead and make fun)

I've got 12 books that are right below my top 12 all-time.  They're better than your average 4.0 (how can a 4.0 be average?) but not as good as a 4.5.  Onward:

1.    Conroy, Pat - Beach Music (he's already got 2 books in the top 12 - this one takes
       place over 3 generations
2.    Follett, Ken - Fall of Giants (#1 The Century Trilogy - book #2 is in the top 12)
3.    Follett, Ken - World without End (sequel to Pillars of the Earth - Pillars is in top 3 ever)
4.    Franklin-Willis, Amy - The Lost Saints of Tennessee (February VHOB Book Club
5.    Hart, John - Iron House (this guy is an ace)
6.    Hart, John - The Last Child (twice)
7.    Hoffman, Beth - Saving CeeCee Honeycutt (April 1 phone-in VHOB Book Club
8.    Ludlum, Robert - The Matarese Circle (the best cold war book I've read - top U.S.
       spy and top Soviet spy, mortal enemies, have to collaborate)
9.    Patterson, Richard North - Exile (a Jewish lawyer, 20 years out of law school,
       defends a former Palestinian law school classmate/girlfriend who is accused of
       assassinating the Israeli prime minister
10.  Picoult, Jodi - The Storyteller (I've read them all - this is the best)
11.  Uris, Leon - Exodus (1958 - the story of Israel's war of independence)
12.  Wallace, Irving - The Plot (1967 - a story about a number of individuals with individual
       stories who come together for the climax)

13.  Follett, Ken - Edge of Eternity (#3 in the Century Trilogy)

I PROMISE that there will be no 4.125 list or 4.375 list.  I SWEAR IT!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Top 100 Mysteries and Thrillers - and Another One of My Highly Anticipated/Nobody Cares About Lists

Amazon Prime has come out with:  100 Mysteries & Thrillers to Read in a Lifetime. Here's the link:

I have read 25 of the 100.  Of those, I definitely really liked 6 of them:

Shogun - James Clavell (one of my top 12 all-time)
Tell No One - Harlan Coben
The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
The Bourne Identity - Robert Ludlum
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - Steig Larrson
The Kill Artist - Daniel Silva

But what do I know?

UPCOMING BLOGS (tomorrow) - I have tried to bore you through the years with my lists.  Well, I've got another one coming out tomorrow, but I don't know if you're going to bless this one.  It's my list of 4.25's.  What? you say.  Is this for real?  Yes.  Is it slightly ridiculous?  Yes.  Am I going to do it anyway?  Heck, yes.

Let me (try to) explain.  I've recently come to the realization that there are books out there that I have loved.  They're not quite 4.5's, but they're better than the fairly significant number of 4.0's that I have.  Does that make any sense?  No? Nonetheless...they're coming...tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Authors Still Coming in April to VHOB

We've got 3 events left for the month of April.  So far, we've had:

Beth Hoffman - by phone from Kentucky for the VHOB Book Club
Erica Goss - conducting a workshop for National Poetry Month
Jan Harwood - who brought her singing Raging Nannies from over the hill
Tracy Guzeman - for the VHOB Book Club
Kim Yen Nguyen - talking about her experiences coming from Viet Nam during the war AND raising 3 autistic children
Joni Russell - signing her book, The Everything Baby Shower Book, 2nd Edition, as the co-author

Still to come:

Thursday, April 24, we've got Jenn Castro, author of Mom Me.  Here's a little blurb with a cover picture:

Jennifer Castro has always written — on napkins, backs of envelopes, and in newspapers, diaries, and journals. MOM*ME is her first published book. Although most of the material for MOM*ME came from her children, it also was inspired by early childhood picture books, and sandbox, mudpie, and block play at a parent-run nursery school. When Jennifer is not writing books, she’s homeschooling her two children and urban homesteading with her husband in California.

Tuesday, April 29, we will be visited by Edward Mendez, who is visiting from New Mexico, and who has written a novel about a family in Santa Fe.

Wednesday, April 30, Kate Mitchell will be at VHOB, talking about her book, Fashioning Women.  Here's a synopsis of what her book is about:

Fashioning Women is a sendup and dressing down of the fashion industry and the expectations about women’s beauty that are imbedded in American culture. By turns funny and provocative, the book features original “faux” couture and artwork by the author, along with parodies and mock advertisements. All together, Fashioning Women is a commentary on women’s valiant response to achieve the feminine ideal, regardless of its impossibility.

Come join the fun.  Hopefully, we'll see many of you there for these last 3 events of the month.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Joni Talks Baby Showers

I know it's a little unusual to post a blog for an author who comes into VHOB to only sign books.  But this was not just any author.  This was Joni, who is not only married to VHOB's author liaison/booking agent(!), but who is also a published author - The Everything Baby Shower Book, 2nd Edition.  Take a look at a sample baby shower from Joni's book.


Thursday, April 17, 2014

More Stuff (does the cleverness never end?)

There was no #6 in my last blog.  But there is this time.  Here we go:

1.  Beth Hoffman's publisher is offering a free copy of Looking for Me, in paperback.  All you have to do to qualify for the drawing is write "I am a Beth Hoffman fan" on this blog. I'll do a random drawing (under the watchful eye of the accounting firm that oversees the Oscars) next Thursday and announce the winner.

2.  Are you looking for a great Mother's Day book?  Think about pre-ordering Share, the cookbook that supports Women for Women International.  VHOB can get them into the store within a couple of days of ordering.  Don't dilly dally on this one.  Any and every mother will be thrilled to have this cookbook.

3.  Saturday, May 3, is California Bookstore Day.  VHOB will have a bunch of authors throughout the day (10-6) signing books.  I will post a lineup, with times, as we get closer to the date.

4.  Just a reminder that this Saturday, April 19, from 1-3, Joni Russell, co-author of The Everything Baby Shower Book, 2nd edition, will be at VHOB.  She will have a sample baby shower from the book set up and will be happy to not only sign books, but also to discuss any and all baby showers with you.  She is an expert! (but, of course, I'm not biased!)

5.  I just have to tell you that a long-time employee of Books, Inc., in The Marina (SF) sold 5000 copies of a single book.  Isn't that amazing?  And the book that he sold so much of is David Benioff's City of Thieves.  This happens to be one of my favorite books.  In fact, I've always got this book on my table at both Recycle and VHOB when I'm doing my recommending.

6.  Finally, and certainly not least, we had a FANTASTIC VHOB Book Club meeting last night.  There were 12 of us who met from 6:30-7:15 to discuss Tracy Guzeman's The Gravity of Birds.  We came up with a bunch of really good questions.  Then Tracy came at 7:15 and answered those questions and more.  It was a very lively discussion, both before she got there and after.  She was (is) terrific.  At around 8:00, she signed books. We didn't get out of there until close to 9:00.  Here are a few pictures from the event. (P.S. we met outside in the alley next to the store - a great venue)

Tracy, Rich, Diane, Kris
Hamidah, Mike, Leslie, Ann
Tracy and our very own Joni
I waited a little long to take this one of the whole group

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


Intrigued?  Don't be.  I don't have anything that exciting.  Here are a few reminders and some rambling:

1.  Tomorrow night is our April VHOB Book Club meeting (not counting Beth Hoffman's phone-in on April 1).  From 6:30-7:15, we will be discussing Tracy Guzeman's The Gravity of Birds.  At 7:15, Tracy will be coming to VHOB to answer questions and sign books.  Even if you don't make the discussion...and even if you aren't a member of the VHOB Book Club (perish the thought)...you can still come see Tracy.  She was at the store, with Meg Waite Clayton, during our Grand Opening Week, Friday, October 25.  She is delightful, and very interesting.

2.  As I mentioned earlier this month, we have started a book club on Twitter.  It's called...wait for it...The Twitter Book Club (TTBC).  We will read each book over 4 weeks, with the total pages divided equally for each week.  If you want to comment on the pages we have read in a particular week, or the pages we've read to date, you can go to my Twitter account, @LloydRussell5, and click on #booksage1.  We are currently reading Beth Hoffman's Saving CeeCee Honeycutt (our April 1 VHOB Book Club selection).  Last week was week 1, so this week anybody can comment on the 1st 75 pages.  Beth has also promised to weigh in.

3.  Here are the remaining author events for this month (not counting Tracy tomorrow night):

Friday, April 18, 7:00 - Kim Yen Nguyen, Surviving War, Surviving Autism.  Kim will talk about the true story of coming to America from war-torn Vietnam and being the mother of 3 autistic children.
Saturday, April 19, 1-3 - our very own Joni Russell, co-author of the Everything Baby Shower Book, 2nd edition, will be signing her book.
Thursday, April 24, 7:00 - Jenn Castro, Mom Me.  This is a children's book that will appeal to parents.
Tuesday, April 29, 7:00 - Ed Mendez, One Calamitous Spring.  Ed is visiting us from New Mexico and will be talking about his novel, which centers on murder and intrigue for one Santa Fe family.
Wednesday, April 30, 7:00 - Kate Mitchell, Fashioning Women.  This is a look at the conflicting messages women receive about the fashion ideal.

4.  Since my last review (Liane Moriarty's The Husband's Secret), I have read 5 books, 3 by local authors:
Betty Auchard's other book, Dancing in My Nightgown - enjoyed it a lot
T.T. Monday's The Set Up Man - Nick Taylor's 1st novel under a different name - entertaining
Mike DiGregorio's The Ditch Kids - liked it - looking forward to Mike coming to VHOB on May 9 for the equivalent of a book launch

and 2 by authors outside our area:
David Rosenfelt's latest Andy Carpenter adventure, Unleashed - definitely one of his better books - 3.0
Maggie Shipstead's Astonish Me - also very well written - grabbed me about the same as The Husband's Secret - 3.0

I am woefully behind in my reviews.  Will I catch up?  Tough to know.  I'll do what I can.

5.  If you are interested in promoting VHOB, you can go on the enclosed link, scroll down to #52, which says Best New Store in Los Gatos, and enter Village House of Books.  This is totally voluntary, but, really, how can you say no?   https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/LGpeopleschoice 

6.  There is no #6.  How relieved are you?

Friday, April 11, 2014

Center for Literary Arts - A Very Cool Organization

I met Nicole Hughes way back in October.  She told me all about the Center for Literary Arts, located on the San Jose State campus.  Their brochure says:

"For twenty-eight years, the CLA has held readings, conversations, seminars, and workshops featuring contemporary writers of exceptional voice and vision."

When I came away from that meeting, I was very stoked about Nicole and what the CLA does.  Well, in my inimitable fashion, here we are almost 6 months later, and I have neglected to post anything about the organization.  I am a bad man.  HOWEVER, Nicole recently asked me to share with you an event that's coming up on May 22 at the Blackbird Tavern, in San Jose.  Here is a description of the event:

Play on Words is a new collaborative literary performance series in San Jose that pairs performers with up-and-coming and already established writers, resulting in a live performance.   The series has been featured in the Metro (http://www.metroactive.com/features/columns/Play-On-Words-Blackbird-Tavern.html) and we've had two very successful shows at The Blackbird Tavern in downtown San Jose.  We plan to have four events a year, entry is free and open to the public, and the Blackbird provides table service during the show.  Our Facebook page includes videos and photos from our past events if you want to check out the type of work we've previously staged.  Here's the call to submit:

Our next Play On Words show has been confirmed for Thursday, May 22, at The Blackbird Tavern! Which means: we need your work! Send short, funny, thoughtful, wonderful pieces under 2000 words to playonwordssj@gmail.com by April 15th to be considered for our next show!  Or, if the deadline is to soon for you, submit after April 15th to be considered for our early Fall show.  More details will be announced soon.  Also, if you're interested in reading and acting, e-mail us a letter of interest. 

To discover more about Play on Words, visit our Facebook page at Play on Words San Jose, our blog at playonwordssj.wordpress.com, and our Instagram at playonwordssanjose.  We've been featured in the Metro and have had contributors such as former Steinbeck Fellows Leah Griesmann and Kirstin Chin, journalist and poet Gary Singh, and former and current SJSU MFA students. 


Play on Words (Nicole Hughes, Julia Halprin Jackson, and Melinda Marks)

Please note that you only have until April 15 to submit your response in order to be considered for the May 22 event.  After April 15, your entry will be evaluated for their Fall show.

If you want to take a closer look at the CLA, their website is www.litart.org.  Their Facebook page is Facebook.com/CenterForLiteraryArts.  And their Twitter "handle" is @CLA_San Jose.  Take a look.  It's well worth it.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Poetry Workshop at VHOB Last Night, with Erica Goss, was a big success

Last night's poetry workshop, put on by Erica Goss, Poet Laureate of Los Gatos, was a great event.  Erica is a teacher, as well as a poet, and does an excellent job of leading a workshop.  Although Joni and I were minding the store, and not officially a part of the activities, we still found ourselves caught up in Erica's exercises.  Everybody seemed to really enjoy them.  As one example of what she had her students doing, she asked them to take an object from the store and describe all of its principles.  She also asked everybody to identify their very earliest memories and write them down.  of course, most people did this in a poetic way.  It was a pleasure for VHOB to host this event.  Hopefully, Erica will consider coming back and doing this again.

Here are a few pictures from the event.  In the 1st 2, Erica is reading a little from her new book, Vibrant Words:  Ideas and Inspirations for Poets.  In the 3rd picture, Los Gatos's own author, filmmaker, and poet, Victoria Johnson, is listening to Erica.  And in the last picture, we've got a group shot of the attendees - including Spike Wong (closest to the camera) and Jan McCutcheon (2nd from the left), who own and operate Pushpen Press, the publisher of Erica's books of poetry.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

The Twitter Book Club (TTBC) Is Ready To Go Live!

We’re ready to go!  Welcome to The Twitter Book Club (TTBC).  Here are the ground rules:

  1. We will read one book every 4 weeks.
  2. We will take the total amount of pages and divide them by 4.  That’s how many pages we will read each week.
  3. At the end of each week, you all can make comments about the pages we read that week.  In fact, you can tweet to your heart’s content each week – but only about the pages that we’ve read to date.
  4. HERE’S THE BEST PART – the author will weigh in as time permits.
  5. There will be no gap between books, so we’ll be doing 13 books per year (I was always a whiz in math – not).

And the 1st book is…(staccato drum roll, please) – Saving CeeCee Honeycutt, by Beth Hoffman.  You’ve got until next Sunday, April 13, to read 76.5 pages.  Anytime, starting on the 14th, you can weigh in on the 1st 76.5 pages.  Beth will be on a book tour later this month (her latest book, Looking for Me, is coming out in paperback April 29).  But she will add comments when she can.

And here’s the Twitter information.  My account is @LloydRussell5.  And we will always hashtag #booksage1.

Let TTBC begin!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

More Tidbits and Miscellany (I guess the 6 from yesterday were not enough)

We are very busy over here.  I've got another 3 book-related items for you.

1.  Erica Goss, our own Los Gatos Poet Laureate, will be conducting a workshop at VHOB this coming Tuesday, April 8, from 7-8.  Here is how Erica's website describes it:

Los Gatos Poet Laureate, Erica Goss, will conduct a craft talk based on her new book, Vibrant Words: Ideas and Inspirations for Poets. Using ideas from several chapters in the book, Erica will lead a lively and entertaining mini-workshop designed to spark creativity and help generate ideas for poems, essays, and memoir. Come prepared to write, or just enjoy the presentation (and write later!)

It should be a fascinating evening.  No pre-registration is necessary.  Come and sit in on what promises to be a lively discussion.

2.  Karen Joy Fowler's book, We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, has just won the PEN/Faulkner award for best fiction for 2013!  Congratulations Karen.  I'm sure it had nothing to do with her appearing, along with Rayme Waters, as one of our February VHOB Book Club authors.  Did it?

3.  Look at what Hillbrook School, in Los Gatos, is doing:

Every year at Hillbrook School, 6th 
graders hold a book drive to collect and 
donate books to the African Library 
Project, which builds libraries in schools 
in poor African countries. If you would 
like to help a child in Africa read, we will 
accept all gently used or new books for 
kids with a reading level of K- 8th grade 
except books about religion or American 
Holidays. Books are due Friday April 18. 
Thanks for your support! 

Village House of Books will be collecting books for the African Library Project this year.  You've got until April 18 to bring your books in.  Be a part of a fantastic program.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

As They Say in Fiddler on the Roof: A Little Bit of This, A Little Bit of That

Of course, they do it with a Russian accent.  Regardless of that, I've got a bunch of stuff to tell you.  Here it is:

1.  The Metro, in its Best Of 2014 for Silicon Valley, has picked Village House of Books as "Best Place to Meet a Local Author."  Is that cool or what.  Here is their blurb:

Just when everyone's predicting the death of the bookstore, the bookstore is figuring out a new way of life. Indie bookstores have long been a third space where literary types gather, but now it seems that creating this kind of community is not only good for the people involved but necessary for stores' survival. The once endangered Kepler's Books in Menlo Park now operates under a hybrid model, one side selling books, the other side fostering literary community. The fledgling Village Books in Los Gatos has the same passion for community with local authors featured prominently among their wide book selection (augmented by a focus on custom orders), and tons of readings and events with local and nationally known authors. (SL)

2.  We are going to be starting a book club on Twitter.  Again I say, how cool is that. Because I get more clever with every passing day, the book club will be called (wait for it...) The Twitter Book Club, also known as TTBC.  In the next few days, we will have details on how you, too, can join.  And I have to thank my good friends, the Solomons, for coming up with the idea (Jeff) and for GREAT feedback (Jeff, Mike, and Steve - with some notable help from Joni).  

3.  Last night was our 4th VHOB Book Club meeting, but the 1st one in which the author called in from across the country (Kentucky).  Our book was Saving CeeCee Honeycutt, and the author is Beth Hoffman.  The 11 of us who were there really enjoyed Beth. Besides being an excellent author (her 2nd book, Looking for Me, comes out in paperback April 29 - it's also super), she's an outstanding human being.  She is so sincere and open, it makes you want to be sharing a meal with her.

4.  You all know (ad nauseum) that I've been standing out in front of Recycle Bookstore in Campbell on Sunday mornings for quite a few months now.  Well, starting this Saturday, I will be adding Village House of Books to my recommending stable of bookstores (can 2 be called a "stable).  I will be there (almost) every Saturday from 3-5.  I hope to see you there.  Saturdays in Los Gatos aren't quite as busy as Sunday mornings in downtown Campbell, due to the Farmers' Market there.  So come on by and say hello.

5.  On April 22, VHOB will be at Fisher Middle School to sell books for an event they're having.  Bradley Sachs will be there.  He is a psychologist, educator, consultant, and best-selling author.  We will be selling 3 of his books:


6.  Recycle Bookstore, in Campbell, has just posted a job opportunity.  Here is the ad, in case you know anybody:



Recycle Bookstore is in need of a part-time clerk to perform a wide variety of tasks: shelving books, straightening sections, assisting customers, cataloguing books in our database for Internet sales, closing the store, light janitorial tasks.  The job will start sometime in late April or early May.

                                            JOB SPECIFICS

25 to 29 hours per week.  Weekends are a must.  Job starts at $10 per hour.  Main shift to be covered is a 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. shift on Sundays.


  • Must be a physically active person because this is a physical job.
  • Must have a wide knowledge of books in general.  Ideally engaged in current events and an active reader.
  • Must be flexible.  Schedule includes nights and weekends (though we work hard to give our employees days off that they need).
  • Must have good typing skills.
  • Must “own” their job with pride.  That is, a Recycle Bookstore employee cares deeply about the store and the people who work in it.
  • Must work well in a chaotic environment.
  • Must have great people skills.  Irredeemable introverts should not apply.
  • Must be self-directed and take initiative.
  • Must have a strong work ethic.  Slackers need not apply.
  • Ideal candidate would have an excellent memory for authors, titles, etc.


To apply, please turn in a resume to the Campbell bookstore.