One More Page Books

2200 N. Westmoreland Street, Arlington, VA 22213 * 703-300-9746 * Mon-Sat: 10 am - 8 pm; Sun: noon - 5 pm

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Don't Kill the Birthday Girl (the title allow caught my attention)

When I saw this book, I knew immediately who would be first on the list to read it - my sister Teresa whose list of allergies seems to grow every month.  While all in my family are allergic to one thing or another, Teresa is at a whole different level and handles it with grace, much (it sounds) like Sandra Beasley.
...btw, the chocolate-pumpkin “cheesefake”at Thanksgiving was good.

Having celebrated my own birthday a little over a month ago (and enduring over 30 food allergies and sensitivities), I had to read poet Sandra Beasley’s autobiography, Don’t Kill the Birthday Girl: Tales from and Allergic Life. Birthdays can be difficult when you can’t eat dairy, eggs, and soy and when you start throwing in beef, shrimp, pine nuts, cucumbers, cantaloupe, honeydew, mango, macadamia, pistachios, cashews, swordfish, and mustard, day-to-day living can be a tightrope. Sandra tackles the subject with a “that’s life” attitude, detailing serious allergic reactions that derailed family plans, adventures in eating out with friends, and the various food substitutions her mother tried over the years.  

I can relate to the experience of going somewhere and having to quiz the parent, friend, waiter, hostess, chef, cook, etc. with the eternal questions, “what’s that and what’s in it?” We follow her through childhood (she was initially diagnosed when she was a toddler), high school, college, and up to her current professional life. Along the way, she learned what happens when you aren’t careful at parties or special events (e.g., a wedding in Italy); what treatments and allergy medications have (or have not) worked and the “Russian Roulette” attitude that many have towards their allergies and treatments (e.g., what happens if you take six Benadryl at a time); how the restaurant industry avoided dealing with but is beginning to accept (sort of) their allergic customers; how to be a food critic and provide a credible restaurant review, and how the patience, understanding, and helpfulness of her circle of family and friends have helped her survive. When she takes a cooking class with her boyfriend, she gets a messy crash course in navigating her way through a recipe and in being able to find people that can live with her allergies, too.

While much of the book focuses on her allergy-afflicted adventures, Sandra also discusses her education about allergies – what they are, what causes them, how they have been and are currently being treated, why people with the same diagnosis have different reactions (or seemingly none at all), and what is the future of testing, diagnosis, and treatment. She reads about clinical trials, talks with parents of newly diagnosed children, and attends industry conferences to find out what’s new on the allergy front and what is actually working. And she, like me, has discovered that living with allergies endows you with an obsessive-compulsive need to stay in control and an opportunity to keep discovering what’s important in life. After all, would you ever try to learn how to make gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, and soy-free chocolate-pumpkin “cheesefake”? (I’m made it for Thanksgiving – ask Eileen how it was.)

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Review of Val Walker's The Art of Comforting

It's been a while between posts.  Not for lack of content, but lack of time to post.  Without further ado, following is Teresa's review of The Art of Comforting.  It sounds like we could all find wisdom and peace in this book - I think will need to borrow from her.

Tragedy and loss can bring out the best and worst in people; September 11, natural disasters, foreclosure, military deployment, job loss, divorce, illness, injury, death, and the uncertainties of everyday life offer us the opportunity to help others in their struggles and tragedies. But just as clothes are not one-size-fits-all, comforting requires some customization as well. In her book The Art of Comforting: What to Say and Do for People in Distress, Val Walker delves into this nearly-forgotten venue of human interaction; what she found is comforting people are everywhere, including in ourselves.

She begins with her own difficulties after a divorce: the canned responses, the lack of camaraderie, the isolation. A visiting friend, skilled at comforting, rescues her from the quagmire of her unhappiness and so begins her journey of trying to understand how to help others with sincerity. While many self-books are written to help people deal with one or a few types of difficulties, she couldn’t find anything that described how people truly can help others. 

Dismayed at the lack of comfort in our world, Val sought out those who have succeeded in comforting people. She wanted to go much deeper than merely asking what they did by asking: When should you reach out and how often? What should you say or write? What words or phrases are and, more importantly, are not comforting? What if someone resists your help? What strategies enable you to provide consolation and reassurance in a genuine manner? How do you help others (as well as yourself) put and keep everything in perspective?
Val dispels many myths and misunderstandings of being a comforting person: we need years of training (e.g., formal courses or a college degree); we need to be compassionate (“warm and fuzzy”); we need to be good conversationalists, always knowing what to say; we need to be cheerful or always upbeat; we need to be always available at a moment’s notice, etc. Instead, she tells of people who, in both small and big ways, reach out to someone or groups of individuals in need of understanding and hope; how art, nature, animals, and entertainment can aid in the surviving and healing process; how both adults and children can learn to be comforters, even in this techno-paced world; and how to deal with loss when it is or was inevitable. 

Throughout the book, Val stresses that there are no patented tricks or copyrighted secrets; anyone is capable, if he or she has the desire to make someone’s life a little easier today so that person can make it until tomorrow. Perhaps St. Francis of Assisi would agree (paraphrasing his famous prayer): “Oh, Master, grant that I may never seek so much to be consoled as to console, to be understood as to understand...” 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Customer feedback on some great books

Grabbing a few minutes to post customer feedback on two books -- thanks Linda and Gunnel!

"American Dervish” by Ayad Akhtar.
"...The book is spell binding and so touching. It also is a fascinating introduction to the Muslim faith, and the author paints a portrait of all the followers’ different take on their religion that is stunning. The various ways, including the anger at religion, are the same as in all faiths and I wish this book would be required reading in every community country-wide.

How the author manages to keep the main character in the reader’s grace after the many dastardly things he does, is sheer genius – he really gets one to see how utterly thoughtless one is growing up, and yet so involved in finding Truth and Faith."

"The Winter Ghosts" by Kate Mosse
" enjoyable summer read, however I would have enjoyed it more if the title and blurb on the back cover didn't give away the plot (a decidedly annoying spoiler that caused me, as a reader, to be less engrossed with the plot). 

This was my first experience with Kate Mosse and will likely read Labyrinth as a result of reading this one. If your reader base is devoted to Kate Mosse I would recommend including it in your store."

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Power of the Press

Some folks may say that newspapers are a thing of the past, but the last few days in our store say otherwise.  Ever since Neely Tucker's article, Independent Bookstores Add a New Chapter appeared in The Washington Post last Thursday, we've been flooded with visitors (and buyers). 

Maybe book readers are also newspaper readers, but they're also folks who support local businesses, are interested in listening to new authors, being part of their community and having fun - we love them!  Thanks for your support and thanks to Neely for such a wonderful article!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Top 25 for July - Favorites and Surprises

Our Top 25 for July has new and old favorites as well as some surprises.  Take a look:

1  Kitchen Daughter - Awesome store visit
2  A Visit From the Goon Squad - our book club pick and perennial favorite
3  Great Wall of Lucy Wu - one of only 2 kids book to make our list
4  The Real Macaw - her visit was a lot of fun
5   Female Nomad & Friends : Tales of Breaking Free and Breaking Bread
6   The Help
7   Wear This, Toss That : Hundreds of Fashion and Beauty Swaps That Save Your Looks, Save Your Budget...her visit was a blast!
8   A Jane Austen Education
9   Everything Beautiful Began After - cannot keep in stock and our Sept book club pick
10   Eat Your Math Homework
11   Bossypants
12                    If You Loved Me, You'd Think This Was Cute : Uncomfortably True Cartoons About You
13    Look to the Lady - our mystery book club pick
14    Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter
15    State of Wonder
16    Room
17    Major Pettigrew's Last Stand
18    Keep Calm and Drink Up - a fun little gift book
19    In the Garden of Beasts
20    Where the Wild Things Are
21    Redbreast : A Harry Hole Novel
22    Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie : A Flavia De Luce Mystery
23    Inside of a Dog : What Dogs See, Smell, and Know
24    Clash of Kings : Song of Ice and Fire Book 2
25    Just Kids - one of our (my) favorites

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Max Recommends: Dragonbreath

Sounds like this is a must-read!  Especially the squid attack...  Max is a guest reviewer and, as you can see, quite thorough and descriptive.  THANKS, MAX!

Title: Dragonbreath
Author:  Ursula Vernon 
Circle one: Fiction Nonfiction
Setting: Sargasso Sea
Character Names: Danny (Dragonbreath), Wendell, Edward, Mrs. Dragonbreath, and Mr. Dragonbreath, the Giant Squid.

Describe the main character. What kind of person is he or she? It’s a Dragon.  The city is full of lizards and he’s one of the only mythical creatures.  His family is made up of mythical creatures.  His cousin Edward is a sea monster.  Dragonbreath is funny, often making jokes. 

The story begins with: Danny’s house in his dream.  He’s a pirate.   His dream ends with “Argh, beep beep, Argh, beep beep” because his alarm is going off.  He swings at it and misses twice then he swings at it and hits it and it falls on the ground and starts beeping at him sideways (the beep comes out the top and it was turned on its side).

The events in the story are: (include details)
1.   Danny getting an F on a report on the ocean.
2. A giant squid attacking Danny and Wendell.

The story ends with At the end, he gets an A on his test because the science teacher told him that he had one day and if he didn’t get a good one in one day.  In the end he got a lot of facts from Edward and then he got an A.

I learned that it’s good to homeschool because nobody is giving you grades.
I really liked when the giant squid attacked Danny and Wendell.  That was cool.  Danny managed to breath fire, it’s not actually possible because when the fire comes out it hits the water and goes out.  Danny bites the squid, but it doesn’t do much good.
I didn’t like when all they were doing were talking.
I wonder if Sargasso Sea is actually real and if sea cucumbers can actually throw their guts out.
I would/would not recommend this book because it’s got a good mix of adventure, excitement and jokes.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Coming in May - Your Voice in my Head by Emma Forrest

A guest review from one of our advance readers of Your Voice in My Head by Emma Forrest (U.S. release - 5/3/2011).  Sounds like a fascinating read.

A memoir dedicated to and about Emma's relationship with her psychiatrist, who helped her with her bipolar disease, self mutilation and attempted suicide, and then died of cancer without ever telling his patients or preparing them for his death. It's a compelling and quick read, though it's difficult to read about the cutting and other manic episodes. But it is also very funny in places, and touching.

The book deals a lot with Emma's relationships, mostly her boyfriends, but also her mother. The boyfriend relationship issues can get a little tedious, even though her boyfriends are celebrities. Emma is pretty much a celebrity in her own right, sort of famous for having dated Colin Farrell, who figures largely in the memoir, making the book feel a little like People Magazine at times. She's the author of three novels, two screenplays and this memoir, which put me in mind of Eat, Pray, Love (though Elizabeth Gilbert wasn't manic, I don't think, only depressed and getting over a bad marriage).

The best part of the memoir is the way Emma describes her relationship with her doctor, and how she gets over the setback of his death and abandonment of her and returns to health. Her epiphany regarding this at the end of the memoir is really quite moving. I enjoyed the book and would recommend it. I found a YouTube interview interview with her about the book and it was interesting to see her and listen to her after I had finished reading.