Open Monday–Saturday 9 am–9 pm; Sundays 10 am–6 pm
Readers' Club Sale: Friday–Monday, Nov. 9–12
Reading Leif Enger's Virgil Wander (Grove $27) was pure pleasure for me. I loved his debut, Peace Like a River, and am happy to say that 17 years later he still has the same touch: humorous, yet also poignant and complex, with a memorable cast of characters in a richly detailed Minnesota setting. Virgil is a low-achiever who runs the local old-time movie house in a small declining city on the banks of Lake Superior. Rune Arledge, a kite-flying transplant from Norway, and Galen Pea, a 10-year-old obsessed with catching the 200-pound sturgeon he blames for his father's death, are two more resilient characters in a marvelous cast I quickly grew to love. Virgil Wander is one of those novels you are eager to return to, are loathe to finish, and keep thinking about long after the last page is turned.
Our frequent reviewer Martha agrees: "I LOVED Peace Like a River, and Virgil Wander was also really good--it had some of the same light touches of realistic fantasy in a rural community, with good characters--and redemption."
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OUR TAKE TEN STAFFER FOR NOVEMBER: ANNE STOKES
From Mamie: Anne is one of our booksellers and she has many favorites lists. She could have done a list of her top ten books written by authors from her native Mississippi. She shares her life with Blanche DuBois, a drama-queen chihuahua, and also could have done a list of her ten favorite plays. She even has book lists for different seasons and occasions. She shares her books and reading lists with her four adult children, three grandchildren, and many friends. It was hard to limit this list to only ten, so she chose books that she owns either in more than one version or format. Unfortunately, her very favorite book, The Contented Little Pussycat by Frances Ruth Keller, published in 1949, is out of print. (Click on the covers for more on each book.)
We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson, illustrated by Thomas Ott (Penguin $17). This is Jackson at her best. It is a mix of mesmerizing child-like prose with a true horror tale. I read this every Halloween, and I am creeped out anew each time. I usually give up sugar for a while after reading this one. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Other Stories by Lewis Carroll, illustrated by John Tenniel (Canterbury Classics $24.99). This is one of my favorite childhood books, and I continue to delight in the words and the pictures. I memorized all the poems, explored the absurdities, named pets for some of the characters, and sometimes dressed like Alice, even into adulthood. Did I mention that I also have a lifelong love of rabbits? Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances by Neil Gaiman (William Morrow $16.99). The stories in this collection are both engaging and disturbing. Neil Gaiman can make you shiver when he wants, but he always seems to respect his reader. What I love about this book is that the first few pages are devoted to Gaiman explaining why, where, and how he wrote each story. It's one of the most interesting insights into a writer's process that I've read. The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty (Mariner $17.95). As I read these stories, I hear Miss Welty's voice. I don't know of a writer who can better capture those Mississippi characters with such clarity and kindness. She just makes me smile...and sometimes cry. I've acted in dramatizations of several of these stories, so I can say without doubt that I resemble some of these folks. Last Chance to See by Douglas Adams and Mark Carwardine (Ballantine $17). I've read most of Adams' fantasy books. This one is about things that are true--and important. In 1989, Adams accompanied a BBC film crew across the globe to provide narrative for a documentary about species on the brink of extinction. With his clear insight and quick wit, he makes observations we might ordinarily miss. Why, for instance, do humans prefer being eaten by a mammal rather than by a reptile? Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen by Mary Norris (Norton $15.95). Norris is a copy editor for The New Yorker. This memoir/grammar text has laugh-out-loud moments as she recounts some of the errors she has found and corrected. I also confess that I read this with some embarrassment at my own writing errors. If you are a lover of language, this book will inform and entertain you. Or should that be inform you and entertain you? Or should that be inform, and entertain? Or...? The Bible: A Biography by Karen Armstrong (Grove $14.95). This book doesn't deal with content or meaning of the Bible. Armstrong, a masterful historian, traces the history of where and how the Bible was written and how it has come forward to the present day. I often give it to friends who are traveling in Turkey, Israel and the Mid-East region as a retro travel guide. In the Sanctuary of Outcasts: A Memoir by Neil White (William Morrow $14.99). What a story this is! A white-collar criminal sent to a minimum security prison in Louisiana finds that the facility is shared with the last leper colony in the U.S. White tells his story and the stories of some of the lepers he met. He explores the nature of incarceration and confinement for medical reasons. There is more than one way to live as a prisoner. Still Life by Louise Penny (Minotaur $16.99). I am an ardent fan of Chief Inspector Gamache and the inhabitants of the village of Three Pines, and this is book one in the series. Penny has built these characters and their relationships with such kindness and respect. (QRB is having a Three Pines party on Nov. 28 to celebrate the release of book 14 in the series.) Nobody's Fool by Richard Russo (Vintage $16). I believe that Russo writes some of the best prose around. Sully has consistently made bad life choices, yet he is one of the most likable characters I've ever found. His friends (or maybe they are enemies) put up with him, his ex-wife and son resent him, and now he is trying to deal with a grandson who needs--well he doesn't have a clue. I read and re-read this book to remind me that there is grace even when we mess up. And when you finish Nobody's Fool, there is Everybody's Fool, the sequel. * * *
Limited quantities are on hand. See more of our signed books here. And check out what's new in paperback here.
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COME SHOP THE READERS' CLUB SALE!
This Friday through Monday, Nov. 9–12, Readers' Club members receive a 20% discount off most merchandise and 15% off music CDs. Shop in-store, online, or over the phone. We're stocked with our very best books and merchandise--get a jump on your holiday shopping and treat yourself too! Christmas and holiday cards are in, and our selection of gifts includes 2019 calendars and planners, distinguished cards, note paper and journals, literature themed t-shirts and totes, scented candles, socks, games, puzzles, bookmarks, and reading lights. Giftwrapping is always free. Not a Readers' Club member?--now is a great time to join!
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The Willie Morris Award for Southern Fiction is given annually for a novel which exemplifies the tenets of Southern literature. This year's winner is Bren McClain for One Good Mama Bone (Story River $19.99). Set in the early 1950s rural South, the book tells of a woman's quest to find her "mama bone" after she is left to care for a boy who is not her own, but instead is the product of an affair between her husband and her best friend. A Special Recognition Award was given to author Ann Kidd Taylor for The Shark Club, a novel about taking second chances--in life and in the sea. * * *
CONGRATULATIONS TO THE WINNING EDUCATOR!
Last month our School and Business Sales Department hosted its annual Educator Celebration to show our appreciation for those who teach young people. We're thrilled to announce that a special education teacher at Green Elementary School was the winner of a the drawing for a carefully chosen selection of books, valued at $500, for her school's library. If you're an educator of kids age preschool through grade 12, our Institutional Sales Department can help with orders large and small, and offer you a 21% discount on most titles for schools, libraries, and classrooms. * * *
NC BOOKWATCH ON UNC-TV
NC Bookwatch with host D.G. Martin airs on Sundays at 11:00 a.m. and Tuesdays at 5:00 p.m. This week, D. G.'s guests are Cindy Waszak Geary and LaHoma Smith Romocki, with Going to School in Black and White. The authors call the book "the story of how we, Cindy and LaHoma, one of us white and one of us black, come of age in the midst of 1970s' court-ordered school desegregation--and what this experience means to us now." Find the full cable schedule and a link to watch online here. * * *
UPCOMING QRB EVENTS
TONIGHT, NOV. 7, 7:00 p.m. Bestselling author of young adult literature L. M. Elliott visits with Hamilton and Peggy!: A Revolutionary Friendship. It's an historical novel for ages 13+ that will appeal to all fans of the smash Broadway musical sensation Hamilton. Drawing from original journals and letters, Elliott weaves a richly detailed story about the extraordinary Peggy Schuyler and her revolutionary friendship with Alexander Hamilton.
TONIGHT, NOV. 7, 7:00 p.m. Bridging the Divide Book Club, The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure by Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt. Kory Swanson will moderate tonight's meeting. The club's goal is to foster dialog and better understanding between people with different political viewpoints. The club will be moving in a new direction in 2019; visit our website for more information.
THURSDAY, NOV. 8, 7:00 p.m. Nell Painter, Old In Art School: A Memoir of Starting Over. Reserved Seating Event. After retiring from Princeton, celebrated historian Dr. Nell Irvin Painter surprised everyone by returning to school―in her sixties―to earn BFA and MFA degrees in painting. She'll discuss the journey with Kate Douglas Torrey, a long time friend and retired Director of UNC Press. Visit our website for information about attending.
FRIDAY, NOV. 9, 6:00 p.m. Art Chansky, Blue Blood II: Duke-Carolina. An event for all the Battle of the Blues fans out there! Thirteen years after Blue Blood was published, Chansky revisits what ESPN's Dick Vitale called "the greatest rivalry, not just in college basketball, but in all of sports." Blue Blood II explores the more recent on-and-off-the-court dramas, challenges, and triumphs of Duke versus UNC. It's a must-read for all college basketball fans. (Please note the 6:00 p.m. start time.)
SATURDAY, NOV. 10, 6:00 p.m. Mike Lupica, No Slam Dunk. Sportswriter and novelist for young readers, Mike Lupica is back at QRB with a fast-paced, heartfelt story for basketball fans that proves being a good teammate remains the most important quality in basketball--and in life. For ages 10+.
SUNDAY, NOV. 11, Noon. A Meet and Greet with Sara Foster, Pie: a Savor the South® Cookbook. Sara Foster takes the expression "easy as pie" seriously. New and experienced bakers alike will thrill to her encouraging approach to tossing together the most delicious made-from-scratch pies. She will be here with samples, and will answer your questions about baking, and will sign books.
MONDAY, NOV. 12, 10:30 a.m. A special Jewish-themed storytime for children 2–5 and their caregivers, with Morah Dassy Cotlar. Join the adventure and fun as we read and learn about tzedakah--the joy of giving to others. The program will last 20–30 minutes. Please plan to stay with your child, and park strollers outside our front door so that we'll have room for all!
TUESDAY, NOV. 13, 7:00 p.m. Natasha Ngan, Girls of Paper and Fire. Fantasy fiction for young adults, age 15+. In the face of sexual violence, these fierce young women are fighting to control their own story. This mesmerizing diverse fantasy will leave you breathless! Debut author Ngan will be in conversation with Leigh Statham, local author of Daughter 4254 and the Perilous Journey series.
WEDNESDAY, NOV. 14, 7:00 p.m. Join us for our inaugural "Books and Beer" event, with author Ben Fountain, discussing Beautiful Country Burn Again: Democracy, Rebellion, and Revolution. This is a Reserved Seating Event. In a series of essays exploring the recent political upheaval, Fountain says that the United States may be facing its third existential crisis, after the Civil War and the Great Depression. Crank Arm Brewing Company of Raleigh will provide free beer, while supplies last. Visit our website for information about attending.
THURSDAY, NOV. 15, 7:00 p.m. Rob Dunn at Hunt Library, Never Home Alone. Join Dunn and fellow scientists for a gala event, a kind of public science party at the Hunt Library at NCSU. Never Home Alone: From Microbes to Millipedes, Camel Crickets, and Honeybees, the Natural History of Where We Live tells the big story of the tens of thousands of species that live on our bodies and in our homes. Tickets are free but must be reserved on Eventbrite. This event is supported by NCSU Libraries and the NCSU Department of Applied Ecology and Quail Ridge Books.
THURSDAY, NOV. 15, 7:00 p.m. at the store, David Grann, The White Darkness. Reserved Seating Event. Polar explorer Henry Worsley was obsessed with following in the footsteps of Ernest Shackleton, and in 2015 he set out to walk across Antarctica alone. Grann (author of Killers of the Flower Moon and The Lost City of Z) tells Worsley's remarkable story with the intensity that has led him to be called "simply the best narrative nonfiction writer working today." Illustrated with more than 50 stunning photographs from both explorers' journeys. Visit our website for information about attending.
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BOOK CLUBS & MEETINGS (Everyone welcome)
TONIGHT, NOV. 7, 7:00 p.m. Bridging the Divide, The Coddling of the American Mind by Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt.
SUNDAY, NOV. 11, 2:00 p.m. Writers Coffeehouse. Every writer of any kind at any stage in their writing career is welcome to join this discussion and networking group, and there is no set agenda. Not a peer review/critique group.
MONDAY, NOV. 12, 7:00 p.m. Not For Men Only, Hillbilly Elegy by J. D. Vance.
TUESDAY, NOV. 13, 2:30 p.m. OLLI (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute), The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead.
The Freakin' Awesome Book Club, for young adults with developmental disabilities, meets Sundays at 4:45 p.m. at QRB or in members' homes. Currently reading Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling. Email MarlynWells@gmail.com for more information.
QRB Teen Writers Collective, always meets virtually and usually meets physically at the NC State University Club on the first, third and fifth Wednesdays of the month at 7:00 p.m. Email CrisCrissman@gmail.com for more information.
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Quail Ridge Books
34 Years of Independent Bookselling
“I can read a book twice as fast as anybody else. First I read the beginning, and then I read the ending, and then I start in the middle and read toward whichever end I like best.”~~Gracie Allen
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