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Bookie Blog

18 Apr

Soul Searching with Bookmans

A night at the opera is a night well spent. As the din of sound and energy rushes from the stage, each member of the audience lends their ear to awe-inspiring sound. Perhaps for the gentleman in the front row, the pounding of the timpani drums are enticing to his senses but to the ladies in the back of the house the stringed instruments carry their melody and sound especially sweet.

Soul Searching

03 Apr

Book Review: The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

Review by Darcy Short

It’s nice when a novel lives up to the hype surrounding it. The Goldfinch does just that. It has been placed on numerous best-of-the-year lists and for good reason. The book follows the life of Theodore Decker, a New York boy whose life is pushed into an unusual trajectory after his mother is killed when a bomb is set off in an art museum. In the confusion surrounding the explosion, a concussed Theo makes off with a beautiful painting of a goldfinch done by an obscure Dutch master.

The Goldfinch A Novel

28 Mar

Brand New Books Available at Bookmans

Yes, we do! Bookmans now carries brand spankin’ new copies of your favorite, high-demand books. While we bibliophiles love the smell of old books, the thrill of cracking open a brand new edition is an unrivaled experience. Check our shelves and displays regularly as we update them daily. Come see what we have for you now.

Brand New Books

27 Mar

Middle Earth Magic at Bookmans Phoenix

Bookmans Phoenix celebrated Tolkien Reading Day at our Shindig in the Shire. Many attendees dressed for Middle Earth mirth including first and second breakfasts at the Prancing Pony and a cakewalk for trade credit at the Hobbiton Hoedown.


26 Mar

One Choice Can Transform You: Divergence at Bookmans Mesa

The first installment of a trilogy by author Veronica Roth, Divergent is set within a dystopian version of Chicago. The nationwide film adaptation release was Friday, March 21 and we couldn’t wait to celebrate. Bookmans Mesa invited fans to spend an evening getting to know one another and choosing their faction.


18 Mar

Keith Parkinson Tribute

Bookmans is a popular hang out for creative and artistic types. We think of it as your Third Place. It is hard to predict what you may find or who you may meet at any of our seven locations. In the few years that I have been an employee, I have met Grammy winning musicians, prolific authors of inspiring fiction and countless fanatics of all things artistic. Recently, I met a relative of one of my favorite artists and want to share the experience.

Keith Parkinson Tribute

14 Mar

Bookmans Satisfies Your Crafty Craving

Tired of television? Burnt out on blogging? Has the creativity bug bitten you but you aren’t sure where which activity is your salve? Then we are just in time. Bookmans is getting crafty and we have the ideas and materials to help you make it this March. You won’t have to take out a bank loan to test your new hobby; pay with trade! There has never been a better time to try something new and create a one of a kind treasure.

crafting materials

12 Mar

Book Review — Role Models by John Waters

Reviewed by Darcy Short

Once in a while we come across a book that, after reading the first three pages, we know will be one of our all-time favorites forever. A book that we know we’ll read until the cover disintegrates and then, regardless of how broke we are, we’ll immediately run out and buy a new copy. Role Models by John Waters is one of those books.

Role Models by John Waters Book Jacket

05 Mar

Science Rules at Bookmans

Science is amazing. It is incredible to think that science happens everywhere! No matter where you look, science, all the time. And so many different fields of scientific study! Earth sciences (geology, hydrology, ecology), natural sciences (biology, chemistry, physics), and social sciences (anthropology, psychology, sociology) make up a fraction of the science to be studied. There is never a shortage of areas to investigate. A person could pursue a lifetime studying science and never run out of things to learn. There is a whole world of information out there to seek and discover!

science books

26 Feb

Darcy Shares Her Top Books for Love of Reading

Love of Reading month is a time to honor the pastime that molds our lives and allows us to grow in countless ways. We are thankful for every moment spent reading. Books are a gift given to us by the authors who spend their lives pouring their ideas, creativity and talents into crafting stories. Take time this month to remember the books that made the biggest impact on your life. By rereading such books, you can rediscover parts of yourself that you may have thought you lost.

Bookmans Love of Reading

20 Feb

Love of Reading Is Funny

We want to celebrate our love with you. If that makes you a little nervous, we understand. Love is funny like that. Anyone who has recommended a book they love only to be spurned by another knows what we mean. If you want to “wow” your favorite book lover, even if that means practicing self love, come to Bookmans. We have all of the ingredients to support and share your love of reading.

Bookmans Speedway Valentine

Bookmans Speedway sets the mood.

08 Aug

Featured Book Review: What Remains by Carole Radziwill

Tragedy whores. We aren’t fond of this term. Carole Radziwill pins it to the reader and that judgment makes the story she wants to tell you about Carolyn and John Kennedy, Jr. uncomfortable to read, like watching The Real Housewives of New York City. Theirs isn’t even the compelling story. Radziwill’s fixation on the Kennedy’s story distracts from hers, the brutal story of a fairy tale marriage cut short by cancer. Fortunately, that story is also redeemingly contained within the pages of What Remains: A Memoir of Fate, Friendship and Love.

What Remains is Radziwill’s memoir about how she moved to New York City from a working-class town to become a journalist and television producer when she meets and marries a prince, Anthony Radziwill. As a non-royal American nobody, fitting into both European and American aristocracy proves a challenge. Complicating that stress is a cancer that invades, as Radziwill puts it, right on schedule. The strong parts of this book describe what it feels like to be a caretaker and not a bride, the guilt of selfish feelings when unflinching selflessness is required, the feelings of loss that come long before a death. We appreciate the story about how Anthony’s family and friends do their part for the doomed effort to escape cancer, including hijinks to keep each other feeling vital. Unfortunately, John Kennedy, Jr.’s plane crash not only frames, but also casts a shadow upon what should feature Anthony Radziwill.

Radziwill is a good storyteller and the reader gets the feeling this book was composed from stacks of journalistic notes, but she should have written two books — one to wallow in the tabloid story proving she was friends with the Kennedys and feeding her tragedy whores and another to tell this gut-wrencher of a story about young love with no possibility that you can’t put down. We recommend reading this book but skipping over the unnecessary stories Radziwill shares about Carolyn Bessette’s childhood. If “tragedy whore” were a term we’d use, we’d say Radziwill was doing that with Carolyn’s story. We’d also gloss over the Kennedy couple’s funeral, which Radziwill describes as the hottest ticket in town and again implicating the reader as a tragedy whore for learning this information. We would reread Radziwill’s depiction of her complicated feelings, her conflicting desire to do one thing while restricted to doing another, the oppression of the family and her admiration of her husband — in fact, we’d like to read more about that last bit.

What Remains: A Memoir of Fate, Friendship and Love
by Carole Radziwill
Scribner 2005

21 Feb

Book Review – The Witching Hour: A Novel by Anne Rice

At first glance, fiction and travel guides don’t have much in common, however fiction can set a mood where travel guides primarily address logistics. When I travel I always read fiction set in the region I am visiting. When I first read The Witching Hour in 1995 in preparation for a trip to New Orleans. Anne Rice’s descriptions of The Big Easy were so spot-on that I knew the city before I even stepped off the plane.

Reading this expansive tome of over 1,000 pages seemed a daunting task, but once I began this story I found myself waking up an hour early each day to have some reading time before going into work. Sounds crazy, but I gladly sacrificed sleep to become lost in the gothic world of Rice’s native New Orleans.

The novel spans 500 years and 13 generations in the lives of the Mayfair Family, a family blessed with riches yet cursed by a disembodied spirit who becomes the familiar of a chosen female in each generation. The novel begins in 1980’s New Orleans but swiftly whisks the readers back in time to the 16th century in the Scottish Highlands during the height of the European witch hunts. The narrative moves through time and space from Amsterdam to Saint-Domingue just prior to the slave revolts into Antebellum New Orleans, thru the Civil War to present day. One reviewer characterizes the rich and descriptive writing as “dripping off the page”. I couldn’t have described it better.

I recommend this book (the first in a series of three) to fans of history, horror, romance and mystery genres. Many people over the years have purchased this novel at my suggestion and each one returned to tell me how The Witching Hour has become one of their favorite books. The Witching Hour is my absolute favorite novel and I have reread it several times over the years.

Readers of The Witching Hour will find themselves lost in a supernatural world that isn’t so different from our own. Don’t be surprised if after reading this novel, you find yourself planning a trip to Louisiana. I did and stayed for 11 years.

18 Mar

Toddler book recommendations from my 17-month-old daughter

We started reading, if you can call it that, just after Maxine was born, with picture books of baby faces, photos of animals, and lift-the-flap books. I rarely read the actual words of the book (until she was close to 1-year-old) and tried to keep everything interactive, or at least active. Some of our favorite first books were Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? Where is Baby’s Belly Button?, Daddy and Me, and Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You? I make lots of gestures, faces, and animal sounds, to the point of embarrassing myself in the Bookmans kids’ room and at the public library!

Now Max is becoming interested in one of my favorite things: narrative. Finally, a real story with a simple plot holds some allure! This is where books like In the Night Kitchen, Is Your Mama a Llama and Good Night Gorilla get fun, and we can read books about subjects like going to school, naptime, and potty training. Our time spent reading together has already been worth it: she will now sit quietly for 15 minutes or so at a time flipping through familiar books—I call that sweet respite!


Here is a short list of books we’ve read until they have almost fallen apart:

Boynton, Sandra (all) but we love Snuggle Puppy and Barnyard Dance best

Brown, Margaret Wise. Big Red Barn; Goodnight Moon; The Runaway Bunny.

Eastman, Philip D. Are You My Mother? and Go, Dog. Go!

Freeman, Don. Corduroy Hill, Eric. Where is Spot?

Keats, Ezra Jack. The Snowy Day.

Lansky, Bruce. The New Adventures of Mother Goose: Gentle Rhymes for Happy Times.

Martin, Bill Jr. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?

McClure, Nikki. From Awake to Nap (illustrated with gorgeous woodcuts which I also used to decorate Maxine’s nursery!)

Ormerod, Jan. Sunshine (less known, but gorgeous)

Piper, Watty. The Little Engine That Could.

Rey, H. A. Curious George.

Scarry, Richard. Best Word Book; Richard Scarry’s Cars and Trucks and Things That Go.

Seuss, Dr. Hop on Pop, and Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You? (although some Seuss is too wordy for young toddlers, the early readers are great)


We all know the reasons why we should read to our kids, but it is easy to forget how fun it can be! Also, it really pays off even in the short run, with a calmer, happier kiddo. There are lots of neat new books out there, but the classics are great too, since they often have some quality about them (amazing illustration, fabulous rhymes) that really hold interest in the long-haul.

Happy reading!

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