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Queen of the TearlingRaised in exile by foster parents, Princess Kelsea Glynn always knew that on her nineteenth birthday, the Queen’s Guard would come and take her to the Keep, where should would then assume the role of her deceased mother as Queen of the Tearling. The years leading up to Princess Kelsea’s birthday have not been kind to the people of the Tearling. Princess Kelsea’s uncle has been ruler since her mother’s death and has made alliances with the evil Red Queen of Mortmesne. Neither her uncle nor the Red Queen want to see Kelsea become queen, but both have been unsuccessful at finding her. From the time the Queen’s Guard arrive at her doorstep on her birthday, Princess Kelsea must fight to be the kind of queen she wants to be so she can save the people of the Tearling.

The Queen of the Tearling is book one of the trilogy by debut author Erika Johansen. It is set in a post-apocalyptic world 300 years after a major disaster, with a setting that reads like the Middle Ages.  Kelsea is a veritable Robin Hood, exemplifying benevolence in the face of hardship.  I can’t wait to read book two!

As cinematic as the book feels, it’s not surprising that Warner Brothers has bought the rights to The Queen of the Tearling. They will collaborate with David Heyman, producer of Harry Potter films, and Emma Watson is set to star as Princess Kelsea.

Waldo Where’s Waldo? In Dickson, of course. The famous children’s book character in the striped shirt and black-rimmed specs is visiting twenty-five different local businesses throughout our community this July. Those who spot him can win prizes, including buttons, book coupons and more. From the Roxy 8 Movie Theater at 646 Hwy 46 S. to Preston Thompson’s Carpet Shop at 207 Henslee Dr., from House Blend at 124 N. Main St. to the TriStar Bank at 719 E. College St, Waldo and newly added for 2014, faithful dog Woof, figures will be well hidden in local business establishments. Find Waldo is a great summer vacation activity, and a wonderful way for residents to support local business and the Shop Local movement.

Anyone who wishes to participate can pick up a “Find Waldo Local in Dickson!” passport with the names of all the participating sites, and get their passport stamped or signed for each Waldo they spot. The first 100 Waldo seekers to get their passports stamped or signed at ten or more sites can bring their passports back to Reading Rock Books to collect prizes. Collecting store stamps or signatures at twenty or more businesses will entitle diligent seekers to enter in a grand prize drawing on July 31, with the top prize being a 6-volume deluxe set of Waldo books.

Where’s Waldo is the creation of Martin Handford, whose entertaining drawings of crowd scenes swept the world in the late eighties. Since then, the Where’s Waldo books have held a cherished spot on bookstore shelves the world over. There are now over 61 million Waldo books in print worldwide and they’ve been translated into over 30 languages. An entire generation has grown up searching for Waldo and his cast of wandering companions.

In celebration of Waldo’s longevity and popularity, his American publisher, Candlewick Press, is once again teaming up with the American Booksellers Association and 250 independent bookstores all across the country, including Reading Rock Books here in Dickson, for some hide and seek fun as well as to encourage communities to patronize their local businesses. There is no charge to participate, and the hunt lasts for the entire month of July. For more information about hunting for Waldo and Woof in Dickson, call Reading Rock Books at (615) 326-0401.

“Love makes us such fools.”

In March of 2014, 70-year-old Ava Lavender tells the story of her family. The Roux family has always seemed to be cursed with foolish love, with each generation passing it on to the next. That is until Ava Lavender, born with the wings of a bird and her mute twin brother, are born in March of 1944. Although in most every way she is just a normal girl, because of her wings, Ava is confined to her house for her own protection. The summer Ava is sixteen, she wants to prove that she is just a girl, not monster or angel as rumors have said. With the help of her one friend, Ava begins venturing out in the evenings and meeting kids her own age. After a summer of sneaking out, Ava makes plans to attend the annual summer solstice celebration. But on this night of celebration, the rains come and everything changes for Ava and her family.

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender is an amazing debut novel by author Leslye Walton. Her use of magical realism and beautiful language truly help express the beauty that can come from sorrow and pain, loves lost, and loves discovered. I had a hard time putting this book down.

Please note: This book is labeled as young adult fiction, but due to some of the topics discussed, I would put it in adult fiction.

Mark & Wendelin are touring the country in their van, stopping along the way to talk about books, writing, and what it’s like to be a writing couple. Expect arguments!

Wendelin Van Draanen, the author of the Sammy Keyes series, The Running Dream, Flipped, the Shredderman series, and other award-winning books for kids and young adults.

Mark Huntley Parsons, long-time non-fiction writer and now the author of Road Rash, a band-on-the-road YA adventure which released in February.

Come meet Wendelin and Mark on Thursday, April 24, at 5:30pm.

Tour Trailer

Book Trailer for Road Rash

Full disclosure: Lorrie Moore is my favorite writer.

Moore is a master of the short story and it has been sixteen years since her last short story collection (Birds of America) was published.  A lot can happen in sixteen years. In 1998, no one had heard of Barack Obama or Facebook, the economic downturn had not yet taken its toll, and the events of September 11, 2001 could hardly have been imagined.

The stories in Bark, which have appeared individually in various magazines and are now collected into a whole, show just how much the world has changed. In “Subject to Search,” you will find allusions to the Abu Ghraib torture scandal. “Foes” revolves around the polarizing politics of 21st century America. In “Thank You for Having Me,” a character, saddened by the death of Michael Jackson says, “I tried to think positively. ‘Well, at least Whitney Houston didn’t die,’ I said to someone on the the phone.” And yet, those concrete examples of the date and time, or the passage of time as it were, are only part of the issue. Lorrie Moore’s wonderfully-written dialogue simply wouldn’t sound right in a story from another time. There is something intangible yet undeniably effective in the way Moore portrays us.

It is us, after all, that she’s writing about. We’re there, in her words. Her characters struggle through dating after divorce, marriage before divorce, and parenting alone. One of my favorite stories in the collection is “Wings,” which speaks so much to the discrimination one generation uses on another and the undesired aimlessness of modern youth.

As I said to start, Lorrie Moore is my favorite writer. At least once in every story, I’ll come to a line that makes me stop and read it again over and over. Bark is another master work by one of America’s greatest living writers.

Available in hardcover, MP3 audiobook, and eBook.

Our Holiday Catalog is here!

Whether you’re hoping to give or to receive, click here to start browsing all the fabulous books for this Christmas.

Look for a paper copy of our catalog in the Nov. 29 edition of the Dickson Herald. We have copies in the store, too.

We especially recommend the gift idea and children’s sections.