Friday, October 25, 2013

Rebranded and Relaunched

I began this blog six years ago, combining my love for books with my job managing the book department for the University of Utah Bookstore.  It became the de facto blog for the book department, and over the years, I wrote about good books, changes in the book business, and hosted great guest posts from a number of authors.

Yet, the blog fell behind.  With my staff being reduced one by one I had less and less time to write and was compelled to devote more and more time to running every aspect of the department, until finally, in April of this year, a choice was made.  The University Campus Store (notice, they'd already changed their name) decided they no longer wanted to be in the book business (well, they still have textbooks, but who really likes those).  My position was eliminated, as are the general reading books.  Unfortunately, it's a choice many college stores are making- eliminating books and filling that space with clothing that can be sold to the fans of the athletic teams.

The Campus Store had eliminated links from their webpage to this blog some time ago, and so here it sat, unattended, languishing with a two year old review of a really good mystery book by Michael Harvey on the front page.

Since this blog began, it remained under my personal Blogger account, so I recently decided to rebrand and relaunch it.  It is no longer The Bookmark at the U.  It is now, Wanna Bookmark With That?  I gave it that title after hearing cashiers at a bookstore (unfortunately, I no longer remember which store) say that as they rung up customers, playing off the oft repeated fast food cliché.

I hope to make this blog more fun and edgy than I could when it was representing the University Campus Store.  It'll be about books, authors, publishing, writing, and occasionally, bookmarks.  If your looking for reviews of blockbuster authors like James Patterson or John Grisham, you're not going to find them here.  New York Times bestsellers?  Probably not.  I like discovering authors that I haven't read before or that don't have a wide audience.  I tend to lean towards mysteries because that is what I personally like, but I read a wide range of titles, so there might be a little something for everyone.  And I won't waste your time telling you about bad books.  If I didn't like it, there's no need to waste your time or mine writing 300 words about why I thought it sucked.  I'd rather share what I thought was worthy of your time to read.

New books, old books, guest posts, author interviews, eventually some podcasts and videos, possibly some book giveaways, and maybe even some bookmarks.  You can never have enough bookmarks.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Book of the Month, May 2011

Michael Kelly, former officer with the Chicago Police Department and now a private investigator, is approached by his old partner, John Gibbons, who is trying to solve an eight year old sexual assault case. Shortly after Kelly agrees to look into it, Gibbons is found dead near Navy Pier. What seems like a coincidental death becomes just the first in a series of murders that has Kelly asking questions in all the wrong places and looking under rocks all around the city of Chicago. He finds a cover-up in the police department, tied to a death row inmate, and of course, the all pervasive Chicago political machine.

Harvey has written a book set in contemporary Chicago that gives the reader a taste of the Windy City salted with touches of Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler. This is a gritty crime novel that makes you feel the grime and never stops moving once you start turning the pages. This is a great crime novel replete with complicated friendships and a little romance that stays a couple steps ahead of the reader, setting you up for a surprise at the end.

This is a novel that was first published in 2007, but that I only recently discovered by happenstance. I was so intrigued by "The Chicago Way" that I also read the two sequels, "The Fifth Floor" and the "The Third Rail" in short order. Disappointed that I had reached the end of the series, I was heartened to find out that Harvey has a fourth book in the Michael Kelly series being released this summer (July 2012), titled, "We All Fall Down."

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Simba's iPad Survey Is A Bit Misleading

In the past few days I’ve come across a news story about about the percentage of people who use the iPad to read an ebook. Simba Information conducted a nationwide survey which found that 35% of iPad owners have never used it to read an ebook. Simba’s spokesperson tries to make this sound like a shocking statistic, especially with the statement that “over a million iPad buyers haven’t used the gadget for e-books shows that not all new gadgets equate to a new e-reader.”

What?! You have an iPad and haven’t read a book on it?

This is a load of carefully concealed hyperbole and makes me wonder who is behind the survey and about ulterior motives. We could easily take this report and turn it on its head saying, “65% of iPad owners have used the iPad to read a book.” This is a higher percentage than the number of adults in the United States who said they have read a book in the last year.

The problem with this survey is that it engages in making an implied comparison, which is, “While 35% of iPad owners haven’t read a book on the iPad, 100% of Kindle, Nook and Sony Reader owners have used their device to read a book.”

What makes this statistic so laughable is that the the Kindle, Nook and Sony Reader (and a slew of other devices) are dedicated e-readers. These devices do one thing really well- let you read ebooks. The iPad is a platform that happens to have an app (which you must download from the app store) to read ebooks, but also lets you to read email, surf the web, play games, listen to music, watch movies, and on and on.

Maybe Simba should also conduct a study to inform us that “100% of physical book readers have used an amazing device to read. It’s called a book.”

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

From Whence Do Those Relics Come?

To whom does the past belong?

Historic landscapes around the world, once virtually littered with archeological treasures, are being looted at an alarming rate, particularly in the American Southwest. Do these artifacts belong to those who find them, to museums, or to the past? Craig Childs, in his book “Finders Keepers,” argues that these artifacts might be best left where they lie, unless the only way to protect them is in a museum. Even then, he scrutinizes museums methods of acquiring and storing these artifacts. He relates stories of how unscrupulous museum directors knowingly turn a blind eye to the questionable provenance of an item and worse yet, of so poorly storing these items that they may eventually rot away in storage spaces.

While Childs uses examples of artifact looting from around the world, he concentrates the story in his own backyard- the Four Corners region of the Southwest, centering on Blanding, Utah. Having worked with and interviewed many of the people involved in digging up and selling archeological artifacts, he tells the story of how many of these people were caught and prosecuted by the Federal Government, and how many of them don’t see a problem with selling these artifacts for personal gain, while others committed suicide rather than be prosecuted.

Childs addresses the issues of archeology, looting, museums and Native American tribal rights with a thoughtful and respectful approach, giving you his thoughts, while acknowledging that he doesn’t hold all of the answers.

“Finders Keepers” is a fascinating, true story of history, archeology, passion and greed.

Get your copy at the Campus Store and receive 30% off. Reg: $24.99 Sale: $17.49

Thursday, September 30, 2010

What Is Happiness, and Where Do I Find It

October's Book of the Month "Hector and the Search for Happiness", while technically a novel, is also an exploration into what makes people happy- a self-help novel, if you will.

Hector is a psychiatrist who is at a crossroads in his life. He is single, working in a profession where people who seem to have everything are constantly unhappy, and he is unsatisfied with himself. He decides to take a trip around the world, meeting old friends and new acquaintances, trying to understand what makes people happy.

From Paris to China, Africa to the United States, Hector makes observations and speaks with people, making a list of about what makes them happy. Along the way he spends an evening with a beautiful woman, befriends a drug lord, is kidnapped by a third world gang, and shares his findings with a world renowned professor.

Hector and the Search for Happiness” is an international bestseller that is part novel, part self help guide. Optimistic and simple, it is a book that highlights what you may already know about being happy, but might have forgotten.

Pick up your copy at the Campus Store and save 30%. Regular price $14.00. Sale Price: $9.80.