Sunday, July 24, 2011

National Book Club Conference Preview

As some of you may know, I will be attending the National Book Club Conference in Atlanta later Friday and Saturday. I will be leaving Thursday and will be going with my friend's book club, the Literary Divas of the Lowcountry. We will also be attend Ella Curry's Black Pearl Chocolate Social, which is Thursday evening.

There will be a lot of authors at the event and I so excited to take part in the conference. I will also try to get some signed books and meet the authors. I will try to blog from the event as much as I can. Maybe I will get a chance to meet you there! :-)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

My trip to Waldenbooks

As many of you may know, Borders and Waldenbooks are going out of business. There is a Waldenbooks in my city and since I was on that side of town anyway, I decided to go there this morning.

I got there close to 10 a.m., before the doors opened. Here are some things I saw during my 30 minutes at the store:

I didn't see a markdown on the new releases. Markdowns are based on what section you are in the store. If you want something in business or politics, you got 30% off. Biographies and DVDs were 20% off. Children's books, young adult books and various fiction - 10% off.

I know this store was catered for the tourists, but their African-American fiction and true crime section was poor.

Remember Steve Harvey's visit to Charleston a few months ago? Well, this was the store he visited and there is evidence of it. There are TWO FULL SHELVES of Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man and Straight Talk, No Chaser. And most of them are signed. But I didn't see any sale sign on them.

The only thing that was 40% off was the magazines, which I can understand why they would want to get rid of those. I took advantage by getting some Penny Press word search books.

They are not accepting checks, but only cash or credit. And of course no returns.

Besides the word search books, I bought a book my book club was going to be reading soon, two fairly new true crime releases and two book marks. In total, I spent about $40. Then I discovered a book that was suppose to be 20% off only showed up 10% off the receipt! I think I only lost .50.

I don't know if I will be able to go back to Waldenbooks, but if they want books to be flying off the shelves so they can close, they need to lower the prices.

If you decide to go to your local Borders and Waldenbooks to check out their out-of-business sale, here are some tips from Consumer Reports to help you while shopping.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Goodbye Borders (and Waldenbooks)

It's official: Borders is no more.

I am sad to see any book store go, but for the second-largest book store chain in the country to go out of business is a pretty big blow. But the signs were there: late to Internet shopping (by themselves), late to e-books (with crappy e-readers) and the closings that were happening way before the Great Recession.

But then I have a feeling of indifference about Borders closing and here's the reason: they never opened a Borders in South Carolina. Never. If we did want to go to one, we had to go to Charlotte or Augusta (which are both three hours away from Charleston). But I did go to a Borders once outside of DC, which I was in town for Obama's inauguration.

But I will mourn the loss of their smaller sibling, Waldenbooks (or Borders Express, in some places).

Years ago, almost every mall in South Carolina had a Waldenbooks. At that time, there were no Barnes and Noble or Books-A-Million in SC. My mother used to take me to the mall with my allowance and I would go and pick up the latest Babysitters Club. In later years it was to pick Christopher Pike, Fear Street or an African-American book.

Waldenbooks and B. Dalton (owned by B&N) started disappearing in the big cities, like Charleston, when B&N and BAM came to town. But a few of the smaller cities still have their book stores in the mall. But as time went on, those disappeared too. By the time yesterday's announcement came, only two Waldenbooks were left - the one in Charleston Place (right in the middle of the tourism section of town) and one in Sumter.

So as the going-out-of-business sales start, I guess I will find a way to make my way downtown and find some books on sale. And soon cut up the Borders Rewards card I hardly used. But I will also remember the good times and how it was great it was to shop at Waldenbooks.

(bookstore image from Digital Trends)

Friday, July 15, 2011

Redemption: A Story of Sisterhood, Survival, and Finding Freedom Behind Bars

I recently read a book about one woman's journey from abuse, then jail, and then to physical and mental freedom.

As a child, Stacey Lannert thought she had the perfect childhood. She had a loving father, caring mother and a little sister she tried to protect. Even though she moved a lot, her family was a constant presence.

Then cracks in the family facade started to show. Her parents started to argue more. Her father came home drunk many nights. And at age 8, Stacey experienced something no child should ever go through.

She was sexually abused and raped by her father.

The sexual and physical abuse continued for 10 years. During this time, Stacey was afraid to tell anyone about the abuse (including her mother) because of her father's threats. She also wanted to prevent her sister from also being abused.

But on Independence Day 1990, Stacey's worst fears were realized. Drunk and belligerent, her father raped her sister and Stacey was unable to protect her. Several hours later, Stacey shot and killed him.

She was convicted of murder and was sentenced to life in prison without parole. While in jail, Stacey was able to forgive herself and her father.

This book was a powerful story on how one can overcome childhood sexual abuse, even from jail. Stacey was also able to still help out her sister, which shows the power of sisterhood. She encouraged her sister to take a plea deal after being arrested for conspiracy for murder, which allowed her to straighten up her life and eventually raise a family.

Stacey was pardoned from jail two years ago. She now has a full life and has started a non-profit to give support to those who have also suffered sexual abuse.

And here is the musical selection for this post:

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Trading Books

As some of you may know, I finished graduate school in May. This gives me time purchase and read books that I would enjoy, instead of books about library science.

Since all of my books were purchased through Amazon, I was given the opportunity to trade in the books for items that I may want by giving me a virtual gift card. It's like trading your books back in while you were in college, except you mail them and probably get more money back. Once you let them know which books you are going to return, you print out a receipt that goes inside of the box and a postage label. After you mail them off, it will take several days for Amazon to notify you on when your credit becomes available.

This was one of the books I couldn't sell back (due to a new edition) but it is an example of what some of my grad school books look like.

So after searching for books at my parents' house (I moved while I was in school) and my house, I was able to mail off several books. I got a credit of almost $170.

When I was notified that my credit was applied to my Amazon account. I had to figure which books I was going to buy. I wanted books from authors I am a fan of, as well as new books I would be interested in and books I would like to have signed at the National Book Club Conference.

So which books did I choose?

Three books I've already read: 32 Candles, Wench and Push. I bought 32 Candles and Wench because the authors will be at NBCC and Push because...

I bought The Kid. I though I may need to refer back to Push, but from what I heard, there is no need.

Mogul because one of my friends recommended it and said I would like it because it's a lot like a E. Lynn Harris book. Speaking of E. Lynn I got...

No One in the World, which is also written by R. M Johnson (who will also be at NBCC).

Silver Sparrow
, because I have heard so many good things about it and couldn't wait to read it. The author, Tayari Jones, will also be at NBCC. Out of the bunch, this was the first one I started reading.

When The Thrill is Gone, because it is the NBCC's selection for the world's biggest book club meeting. And it doesn't hurt that Walter Mosley will be in the house.

Money Can't Buy Love
, because I am a Connie Briscoe fan.

And last, but not least, The VIPs, because Ebony gave it a good recommendation in July's issue.

I still have about $30 left in gift credits, as well as a few more books to sell back (which should net me another $40). I also have a $25 Nook gift card I got as a graduation gift. What do you suggest I buy next? And what books have you recently purchased that you enjoyed?