My Evening with Neil deGrasse Tyson

April 8, 2014

by Rob Eckman


Excerpts from my Journal of Unusual Book signing Events:

Six unusual items that three amazing booksellers assisted author and inspiration-to-the-masses Neil deGrasse Tyson autograph at Kingsbury Hall:

1-      T-shirts.  While still on the owners.

2-      iPhones, hard drives and other e-devices and cases.

3-      Signage torn off the walls of Kingsbury Hall.

4-      20-year-old DK “Stars” book, tattered and taped together, that inspired owner to study astronomy.

5-      Random college text books.  Even texts that were not penned by Dr. Tyson.  The people wanted this autograph for inspiration.

6-      Journals, old copies of Carl Sagan’s COSMOS, blank pieces of notebook paper and dozens of event ticket stubs.

And almost anything else that Dr. Tyson’s fans could have autographed but the stones of the building itself.  And he autographed it all. 

I know that night, all of Salt Lake City’s coffee houses, pubs and places of conversation, real and virtual, were vibrating with inspiration for the thousands of people that watched this event live or from the three completely packed remote viewing locations. 

The most beautiful exchanges between the author and his public were the private meeting with a boy, having his dream come true, from Make-a-Wish Foundation and the gift of a dream catcher to Dr. Tyson from the Navajo Nation.

 Until next time…

Young Adult Recommends: Dorothy Must Die

April 8, 2014

“Dorothy Must Die”
By Danielle Paige


Amy Gumm is definitely not in Kansas anymore. When a tornado sweeps her up and takes her to Oz, she discovers that it’s not the land she remembers from the story. Up is down, down is up, and good is wicked. This book was pretty entertaining and original. All in all, not a bad read. 


HarperCollins, 2014, 464 pages, $17.99

Paula Recommends: The Dead in their Vaulted Archways

April 8, 2014

The Dead in their Vaulted Arches by Alan Bradley
A Flavia de Luce Mystery

by Paula Longhurst


“The Gamekeeper is in jeopardy.”

So says the stranger on the station platform. Before Flavia de Luce can find out more, the stranger has an unfortunate accident.

Her mother, Harriet, is coming home to Buckshaw to be buried and to distract herself from this pending reunion, Flavia retreats to the attic, unearthing an old reel of film and realizing it is footage of her mother and father in happier times.

As Harriet’s funeral draws ever closer, questions crowd Flavia’s mind. Who shot the footage? How many branches of the de Luce family are there? And why on earth are those in the know all talking about pheasant sandwiches?

When Flavia hatches a plan to resurrect her mother and the de Luce fortunes, the scheme veers off course but Flavia and her trusty bunsen burner are about to learn a shocking secret that could take her away from her beloved Buckshaw forever.

Delacorte Press, 2014, 336 pages, $24.00

Paula Recommends: The Blood Promise

December 26, 2013

9781616148157by Paula Longhurst

Hugo Marston, head of US embassy security, is stuck with babysitting duty. His charge, blue-collar senator Charles Lake, is a potential presidential candidate. Lake is in Paris to sort out a minor diplomatic matter and bolster his foreign policy credentials. The talks come to a crashing halt when Lake accuses his hosts at Chateau Tourville of going through his papers.

The matter takes on a different complexion when fingerprints taken from the senator’s room link one of the guests at the Chateau to an unsolved crime–a murder that unearthed a secret dating back nearly two centuries. And it’s one that puts Hugo’s close friends in danger.

This is the third in the Hugo Marston series (Bookseller and Crypt Thief).

The Blood Promise, Mark Pryor, Prometheus, $15.95

Paula Recommends: Critical Mass

December 17, 2013


by Paula Longhurst

V. I. Warshawski (or Vic to her friends) is drawn into the investigation of a missing meth addict and her genius son. Vic’s longtime friend Dr. Lotty Herschel shares a past with the missing woman’s grandmother. What seems like a simple addict-on-the-run case turns complicated as Vic uncovers connections between the great-grandmother and a Nobel-winning Austrian scientist who worked on the Manhattan project. And her investigation is ruffling some pretty high-level feathers . . .

Critical Mass, Sara Paretsky, Putnam, $26.95

It’s a Man Thing

December 5, 2013

by Lou Borgenicht

So I rarely take an hour or two to sit down and read concertedly. My habits are sporadic and it takes me a long time to finish a book.

Every night I go to bed with the promise of reading at least a few pages of the book I currently say I am reading. I sit propped up for only five or ten minutes before the urge to hit the pillow overcomes me. I toss the throw pillow on the floor and go to sleep.

On my night table currently are the following unread books: In One Person, The Cat’s Table, Far From the Tree, Parisians, FDR and the Jews, Turn of Mind, The Human Stain, and The Last Manly Man (a paperback mystery mysteriously given to me by Dawn Houghton).

I just finished And the Show Went On (I have to read occasional books about France during the Nazi occupation–I think I had a previous life there as a French Jew). As I reached the last thirty pages I decided I would sit down in the middle of the afternoon and plough through the end in anticipation of opening my next book. I had already picked it out, The Devil in Silver.

Finally, the night before Thanksgiving I opened my new book at 10:00 p.m. and quickly read the first chapter before going to sleep. On Thanksgiving I lay down to take a nap but could not find the book. I looked under the bed and carefully checked the night table, but I could not find it. Could Jody have picked it up out of curiosity and not placed it back where it belonged?

I checked in the living room, my study, and the bathroom. No book.

I would have to wait until Jody got home.

Barely after she got in the door I confronted her.

“I have a mystery,” I said. “The book I was reading last night has disappeared.”

“What do you mean? What was the title?”

“I don’t know,” I admitted. It is not unusual for me not to recall either the author of a book I am reading or the title.

Without taking her coat off she went into the bedroom. There behind my night table was The Devil in Silver.

“Where was it?” I asked sheepishly.

“Behind the night table,” she said with understandable incredulity. “And how can you not know the title of the book you are reading?”

I had no answer.


The ABC of It

November 25, 2013

logo_72photoshop“Books for Young People Have Stories to Tell Us about Ourselves”

by Vivian Evans


Several weeks ago I had the opportunity to visit the New York Public Library’s exhibit entitled: “The ABC of It: Why Children’s Books Matter.” This exhibit continues until March 23, 2014. The show’s nearly 250 books and artifacts are woven together by the curator, Leonard S. Marcus. The moment I stepped through the door I felt like a child stepping back in time to the candy store down the street. Memories of delicious thoughts and feelings arose as I viewed books I devoured in my youth and then revisited with my children. The exhibit argues, “books for young people have stories to tell us about ourselves.”

The first artifact is a 1727 edition of “The New-England Primer” –“the oldest known copy of the most influential American children’s book of the 18th lessons found in books of that time. It is open to A for Adam: “In Adam’s Fall/We Sinned all.” B is for Bible: “Thy Life to mend/This Book attend.” Continuing on are other examples of books written to teach.

This historical survey of children’s books is the first part of the exhibit. Moving along, one finds displays of fairy tales and the progression of the here and now in children’s literature. There is a life-size wall cut-out of a monster from Where the Wild Things Are with the quote behind “And Max the king of all wild things was lonely and wanted to be where someone loved him best of all.” After stepping through this cut-out, turning around you find the wall covered in fur.

There is a life-size cut-out of Alice whose neck grows and then shrinks with the quote beside it. “Just at this moment her head struck against the roof of the hall: in fact she was now rather more than nine feet high.”

An exhibit about Hans Christian Anderson, “A Great Dane,” tells about his life and the type of fairy tales he told. Several original copies of his work are displayed. Edward Lear’s Nonsense Verses are recorded and can be viewed on a nearby wall with an original drawing of his.

The great green room of Margaret Wise Brown’s Goodnight Moon appears with the window cut out for stepping through. There is also an enlargement of Charlotte’s web with the words “terrific, radiant and humble” woven into it.

Some of my favorite artifacts on display were the original stuffed animals belonging to Christopher Robin, the peacock umbrella and nanny doll P. L. Travers owned, and the original manuscript to The Secret Garden written by Frances Hodges Burnett.

The exhibit has original drawings from The Wizard of Oz, Madeline, and The Wind in the Willows. A nice display of Eric Carle’s hand-dyed papers he created to use in his collages is shown. There is also a wonderful original die-cut from This Little Light of Mine. Quilts made by Faith Ringgold to honor African-American authors can also be found.

An excellent display of banned books really drives home the crazy reasoning over the years. Eight books are highlighted including: Little Black Sambo, Pippi Longstockings, And Tango Makes Three, and Huckleberry Finn. A large tower has been built with book titles stacked to the ceiling of books that have been banned.

There are also great displays about many authors and illustrators such as Randolf Caldecott, John Newbery, E. B. White, Wanda Gag, and J. K. Rowling.

Children’s books make such an impact on society and reflect our many values. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing this exhibition with the great information and artifacts it displayed. I highly recommend taking the time to see it if you are in New York over the holidays or before it closes March 23, 2014.

A long time member and former president of The Children’s Literature Association of Utah, Vivian loves people and books. When the two come together, she is especially happy.




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