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Lake & Island Notes                                             July 2013

This weekend is the 51st Annual Festival of Arts in Bayfield, and we hope that you'll take some time to explore the over 50 artists in Memorial Park, visit with the local artists who are opening their studios this weekend, and of course stop by our bookshop and explore the literary arts as well!
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The Golden Spruce
by John Vaillant

It was known as K’iid K’iyass (Old Tree) by the Haida people of the Queen Charlotte Islands that lie sixty miles off the northern coast of British Columbia. It was sacred to them and was an eco-tourism boon to the local populace of Port Clements. It was over 300-years-old, had brilliant gold needles and a perfectly coniform shape. Through a random mutation the tree lacked 80% of the Sitka Spruce’s normal chlorophyll and lacked the typical haphazard branching. It stood like a gold jewel against the deep green of the virgin coastal forest on the bank of the Yakoun River. There was none other like it in the world. In 1997 a deranged former logger and arriviste eco-activist took a chainsaw to it and left it lying in the river. This book tells the story and tells it very well indeed.

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orphan train cover image
The Book of Killowen
by Erin Hart

What sort of book is worth a man's life? After a year away from working in the field, archaeologist Cormac Maguire and pathologist Nora Gavin are back in the bogs, investigating a ninth-century body found buried in the trunk of a car. They discover that the ancient corpse is not alone. Pinned beneath it is the body of Benedict Kavanagh, missing for mere months and familiar to television viewers as a philosopher who enjoyed destroying his opponents in debate. Both men were viciously murdered, but centuries apart, so how did they end up buried together in the bog?

This novel by Minnesota author, Erin Hart, is rooted in medieval Ireland and rich in the particulars of monastic manuscripts: how “the gallbladders of eels” and cooking down “gallnuts” make inks are just a few examples. All of this history serves the novel’s suspense and adds to the book’s splendor.

Featured Selection
 

orphan train cover image
Fire Season: Field Notes From a Wilderness Lookout
by Philip Connors

The tragedy of 19 elite firefighters in Arizona set us to thinking about forest fire literature – Kerouac, Snyder, Dillard and Abbey to name a few. Norman MacLean’s Young Men and Fire probably sets the standard and, with its account of the deaths of 17 young smokejumpers, is most relevant to the Arizona catastrophe. In this book, Connors relates his experience of a decade of summers spent high in a fire tower in New Mexico’s Gila National Forest and the Aldo Leopold Wilderness Area. The writing is both lyrical and energetic; observational and introspective; ruminative and polemical. There is a lot of forest husbandry, pyrotechnics, wildlife management, and contented isolation. He’s a former Wall Street Journal reporter. Go figure!
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Greetings!
“Hey, Dad! They’ve got your book in here!” The kids came in first followed by Mom and Dad, “It’s nice to see it on display," said Mom. “Hi!  I’m Jim Fergus," said Dad. Now, one of the curious things about our store is that we sell an inordinate number of copies of One Thousand White Women by Jim Fergus. In fact, notwithstanding the relative obscurity of both the book and the author, it is one of our best sellers. They browsed. Our employee Thom asked if maybe Mr. Fergus would sign a few copies, “Well, we’re in kind of hurry, but thanks," and out they went into the night.

The next morning we decided to see if we could get Mr. Fergus back into the store if he were still in town. We emailed him. He responded, “I’m afraid to say that I’m in Arizona currently, and have never had the pleasure of coming to Bayfield. Someone must have been impersonating me.”  What?  A whole family of impersonators?  Impersonating little-known Jim Fergus in the Northwoods? C'mon!

So, what’s the angle? The opening gambit in some kind of scam? Was he really here in town but trying to escape our aggressive local paparazzi by diverting us to Arizona? Was it a different Jim Fergus? Performance art? Help us out here! Anyone who supplies any remotely plausible explanation for this occurrence is welcome to stop by and select a free Advance Readers Copy from our collection. 

It’s the “Dog Days” of summer. Our little husky, Kia, is even more reluctant to come into the store and do her job as a one-critter petting zoo. The air conditioning helps, but with her feral shyness she might prefer the 90+ temperatures and humidity. She has her little cave under the cash-wrap and has infinite patience, so ask for her and she’ll be pleased to meet you!


Happy Reading!
All of us at AIB

What we're reading...

how to babysit a grandpa cover imageIt's no secret that a large number of our customers are grandparents. Many of these grandparents are often seeking gifts for their grandchildren. We are constantly trying to keep our kids' section updated and diverse. But, in the last year there seem to be a large number of books directed at the "grandpa." Some of these books are silly and goofy, such as How to Babysit a Grandpa, by Jean Reagan. This is a hilarious picture book about a child spending time with his grandfather. Written in a how-to style, the narrator gives important tips for "babysitting" a grandpa, including what to eat for snack (ice cream topped with cookies, cookies topped with ice cream), what to do on a walk (find lizards and dandelion puffs), and how to play with a grandad (build a pirate cave, put on a scary play).

While other stories are sentimental and sometimes even tearjerkers such as Grandpa Green by Lane Smith. In this story, we meet a young lad who narrates the life of his grandfather - a life of ups and downs, of the regular and the extraordinary. A life of love and war and exceptional beauty and the everyday.  Spindly line drawings and topiary creations that flow from page to page in a seamless timeline are just breathtaking, making this book as much about the art as the storyline. Tender, subtle, beautiful and funny, children NEED to see this book. Adults, too.

And finally, some of these stories are just so simple and sweet you can't help but love them. Stories like My Grandpa by Marta Altes is such a book. Grandpa is getting old. But that’s how he is, and that’s why the grandchild loves him. A moving and memorable book about the very special relationship between an elderly grandfather and his adoring grandson, this unique look at old age through the eyes of a young bear is big-hearted, poignant and beautifully observed.

On Paris
by Ernest Hemingway

If Hemingway still attracts you, you can motor through this one in about an hour or so. Written in 1922-23, it is a series of pieces written for the Toronto Star Weekly during his early time as a Paris-based journalist. They range from the catty and mundane to the politically savvy. He derides his contemporary expats as “the scum of Greenwich Village” who serve as flypaper for tourists in search of atmosphere in the Café Rotonde. At the same time, his notes on the policies of M. Poincare in the post WWI years and the lead-up to Nazism are prescient. It’s an eclectic little collection and all Hemingway and all Paris. We love them both!        

Upcoming Events...

Lawrence Newman Booksigning
Sunday, July 21st,
10am to Noon

Visit with local author Lawrence Newman this Sunday and learn even more about the Apostle Islands, how to navigate them, and what more is out there to see!

Michael Perry Reading & Signing
Friday, August 23rd, 4pm
Bayfield Inn

Once again, bestselling author Michael Perry will be joining us to talk about his books and to share stories about his life and the people in it. Michael's latest book, Visiting Tom will be released in paperback on August 6th, and we're thrilled to be a stop on this tour!

This photo was taken at Mike's recent performance at Big Top Chautauqua. We were happy to include Connie Ross from the Madeline Island Library as our special guest.

Save 20% Off One Book!


Book must be in stock, some restrictions apply. Print this coupon and present it in store for your discount. This coupon may not be combined with any other promotions or discounts. Limited to one use and one coupon per customer.

Offer expires July 31, 2013
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