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jfine@northshire.com's blog

Pitch Your Own Writing at Pitchapalooza on February 18th.

This coming Saturday the 18th at 1:00 PM marks the long anticipated arrival of the Pitchapalooza world tour to the Northshire Bookstore. Is it possible you haven't heard of Pitchapalooza? Outrageous! Unthinkable! I'm joking, of course, but it has become a fairly big deal around here and it becomes harder and harder to imagine not having heard of it. 

Known sometimes as "American Idol" for writers, Pitchapalooza is all about giving undiscovered authors an opportunity to make their mark in the publishing world. David Henry Sterry and Arielle Eckstut's book The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published is one of the preeminent "getting-into-print guides" on the market. For more information on the details of Pitchapalooza, please visit here. But the bottom line is this; in the course of this event, Eckstut and Sterry will hold forth on their tried and true techniques for "birthing" a book from conception to publication, schedule a 20 minute future consult for all purchasers of their book and, most excitingly, from a pool of 20 participants selected, at random, to present a 60 second pitch for their book concept, choose a Pitchapalooza winner- the prize being an introduction to an agent or publisher. (READ MORE)

The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published: How to Write It, Sell It, and Market It . . . Successfully Cover Image
ISBN: 9780761160854
Availability: IN WAREHOUSE - Usually Ships in 3-7 Business Days
Published: Workman Publishing Company - November 4th, 2010

The Big Miracle Of Book To Movie Adaptation

We have a saying we frequently use here at Northshire Bookstore; “the book is better”. The implication, of course, being that cinematic adaptions of classic and/or popular books, both fiction and non-fiction, usually pale by comparison in overall quality versus their source material books. There are exceptions, of course, and we all might debate on which occasions a movie adaption exceeded the artistic merit of the original book. (The fact that I can't think of a single example at the moment to the contrary notwithstanding.)

Despite what would seem to be a somewhat snobbish attitude towards movie adaptations, however, we do owe a debt of gratitude to that entity we call “Hollywood” for bringing attention back to an ongoing stream of bestselling books. Kathryn Stockett's The Help is an example that springs to mind. In an interesting sales cycle, we will see a novel such as The Help receive great reviews, rise to the bestseller list quickly in its hardcover edition, sell through the roof once it comes out in paperback, and then, just as its popularity might begin to fade, get another boost from a successful movie adaption... and then, yet another sales push once again when the dvd is released. In the case of The Help, I can actually attest to the movie adaptation being wonderfully done and powerfully acted but, and this could get me in trouble around here... I have not actually read the book, only seen the movie. Shhh- don't tell my coworkers. The Harry Potter series was another example of a successful book, the popularity of which was driven on even beyond its own, wide and wild self-created buzz by the continuing production and success of the subsequent cinematic versions. (READ MORE)

The Help Cover Image
ISBN: 9780425232200
Availability: Click Title for IN STORE Location
Published: Berkley - April 5th, 2011

Watership Down by Richard Adams - Book Review

Staff Pick Badge
Watership Down: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780743277709
Availability: Click Title for IN STORE Location
Published: Scribner - November 1st, 2005

This is an epic, heartwarming adventure for all-ages filled with compelling heroes and villains. Through his detailed portrayal of one sector of the animal kingdom, Adams takes us to another world, but one not so far removed from our own. ~ Reviewed by Jon Fine

Bottom of the 33rd

Staff Pick Badge
Bottom of the 33rd: Hope, Redemption, and Baseball's Longest Game Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062014498
Availability: Special Order
Published: Harper Perennial - March 27th, 2012

I must confess, when originally offered the opportunity to read an advance copy of Bottom Of The Thirty Third, I had some misgivings. I am a baseball fan for sure, but even a baseball fan can get itchy now and then when a low scoring game heads into the 10th, 11th, then 12th inning, and neither team seems to want the win. "33 innings," I thought, that's a lot of low scoring innings to profile. But then I paused. "Unless..." I began to think. Unless there was a particular variety of baseball magic in the air that evening. Unless the author somehow manages to capture the grace and humanity inherent to the game of baseball. Unless the untainted nitty gritty dignity of the minor leagues, and a love of the game that may or may not get a given player a shot at the major leagues, unless that comes shining through. Unless the few die hard fans freezing cold in the Easter morning chill, the scorekeeper, the announcers no one has ever heard of- unless they have a story to tell as well. Author Dan Barry has given us all that and more. A portrait of an endless game for the ages, a cross roads of humanity- some bound for glory (Boggs, Ripken and more), others obscurity- and a cross roads of American civilization played out in the former mill town of Pawtucket, Rhode Island. On the one hand, it is a simple formula- take us through a few snippets of the game, then offer background profiles of the city or a given player or fan or coach, each in turn. Yet the simplicity is deceiving- this is the stuff that Pulitzers are made of. A warm, insightful revelation of a particular and memorable slice of Americana. ~ Reviewed by Jon Fine

Skinny Legs and All

Staff Pick Badge
Skinny Legs and All: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780553377880
Availability: IN WAREHOUSE - Usually Ships in 3-7 Business Days
Published: Bantam - November 1st, 1995

Tom Robbins' unparalleled gift for weaving dazzling thematic tapestries from such seemingly disparate strands as art history, ethno-political insight, profane taboo-smashing and utter whimsy was never more strikingly on display than in Skinny Legs and All. This was the first Robbins novel I ever read, and still one of my all time favorite novels. Pure genius! ~ Reviewed by Jon Fine

Nine Lives

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Nine Lives: Mystery, Magic, Death, and Life in New Orleans Cover Image
ISBN: 9780385523202
Availability: IN WAREHOUSE - Usually Ships in 3-7 Business Days
Published: Random House - February 16th, 2010

I do not use the phrase lightly, but Nine Lives: Death And Life In New Orleans by Dan Baum is, most definitely, "an ambitious and important work". Baum's task in laying out an authentic and true delineation of the history and soul of this most unique city was truly daunting. In weaving together the disparate yet occasionally intertwined lives of nine distinct characters, Baum somehow manages to capture a revealing and compelling essence of each individual that not only brings them to life but, ultimately, exquisitely portrays just what it is that separates New Orleans from every other city in the nation.

Make no mistake about it, the "Big Easy" is, and apparently always has been, a place with many unseemly warts and more than its share of crime, corruption, and dirt-level poverty. Baum, in this tender but gritty expose, never shies away from that fact. The nine lives he chooses to revisit serve perfectly to illustrate the various race, class and political experiences that have collectively shaped New Orleans into the smoky "jambalaya" of cultural life that it is.

Perhaps the most masterful- and compelling- facet of Baum's N.O. tapestry is that even though he begins some of the character's histories over 40 years ago, and the vast majority of the book covers the years prior to 2007, the inevitable collective climactic experiences of each of the nine subjects during and immediately after Hurricane Katrina are simultaneously brilliant, raw, heartfelt, heartbreaking, dumbfounding, depressing and, even so, a little bit inspiring. The sights, emotions and travails of each of these memorable souls both before and during our nation's largest natural disaster- and perhaps most striking government failure- are undeniably powerful and bring an element of clarity to our understanding of the damaged but still beating heart of the city of New Orleans that we would not, could not, possess without experiencing it through the eyes of this unique collection of individuals. Thank you Dan Baum. ~ Reviewed by Jon Fine


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