Thursday, June 21, 2012

On the Shelf: All About Books

Writer’s Block airs every Tuesday, at 9 a.m. MST on KFUN/KLVF, streaming live at 

Local Authors and Store Events Highlighted

Before focusing on his topic of the day, great mysteries for summer reading, Tome on the Range manager Michael Siewert talked about local authors and events of note and interest to Las Vegas readers.
Don Wales, now living in Albuquerque, has written an historical novel about first century Rome. Once a Warrior follows the life and times of a Roman legionnaire.

At a recent author event retired educator Jane Hyatt introduced her new book of short stories entitled Temporary Arrangements. Edwina Romero was on hand to talk about Footlights in the Foothills, her history of the early days of theater in Las Vegas and at Fort Union. Liza Hyatt read from Under My Skin and discussed the fine art of poetic writing. All the books are available at Tome on the Range. “Wonderful books, front to back,” was Michael’s comment.

Also available is Marcus Gottschalk newest edition of Pioneer Merchants of Las Vegas, complete with interesting illustrations and photographs. I agree wholeheartedly with Michael’s assessment that this is an important book, a focused history containing information you won’t find anywhere else. Michael said during the Romero Family Reunion Pioneer Merchants of Las Vegas, along with the J. Paul Taylor book, “…sold like hotcakes.” There are still some left. Be sure a pick up your copy.

On July 17 Ray John de Aragon will be a Writer’s Block in-studio guest talking about his latest book Enchanted Legends and the Lore of New Mexico. Ray John’s books celebrate Hispanic culture, history and folk lore. Enchanted Legends and the Lore of New Mexico is about witches, ghosts and spirits. Adults and children will get a kick out of reading it. On July 21 at 3 p.m. Ray John will be at Tome on the Range for an author event. 

Also of interest to writers, Alice Carney will be back with the Green River Writer’s Workshop July 19 – 22. On Friday, July 20 at 5 p.m., there will be an author event featuring the work of former workshop attendees, among them J.P. Baca.

Fifty Shades of Grey, a book read by “…half the female population of Las Vegas,” according to Michael, is a breakout phenomenon that leapt out of digital publishing and onto the page. Michael said during the week of Mother’s day, nationwide, it alone represented 46 percent of all book sales. Author E.L. James must be in a swoon, and if what I’ve heard about the books (Grey is a trilogy) is true, reading them will make you swoon as well.

Michael also reminded listeners with mid-school children that both school districts have summer reading lists out, most of which are in stock at Tome. If you don’t have the reading list handy, check at the shop.  

The 3rd Annual Literary Day Camp for children 8-12 (no exceptions) is scheduled for July 30 – Aug. 3. Riding the Rails will focus on Las Vegas’ railroading history and be highlighted by a train trip to Lamy for a visit to the rail museum. Two sessions will be at the museum and two at Our Lady of Sorrows Parish Hall. “The fee is $50 per child. We have worked hard to keep the content up and the cost down,” Michael said. Stop by the bookstore for details and to sign up.

Michael's recommended summer reading:

Cop to Corpse – Classic British police procedural by Peter Lovesey featuring Detective Peter Diamond. “British mystery writers write differently; the novels have more space, more air. The characters take time to reflect. In American mysteries you sometimes feel pushed along; British mysteries pull you.”

Don't Cry, Tai Lake:An Inspector Chen Novel –­ by Qiu Xiaolong is set in modern day China and gives the reader insight into a world and culture little understood by most Americans. “Interesting reading and you have to pay attention. The author isn’t as concerned with plot, although that’s there and important; the focus is on the characters.”

Beastly Things – is one of Donna Leon’s best, said Michael. As an American living in Venice for more than 30 years, Leon is able to create a sense of what the city is like. The protagonist is an inspector of the police force, Commissario Guido Brunetti. “In these novels the sleuth or detective is not threatened by the action – they have another life. The final scene portrays the funeral of the murder victim, a vet who has been moon lighting as an inspector at a slaughterhouse. It is one of the best funeral scenes I’ve never read. Leon is a terrific writer.”

Mission to Paris by Alan Furst –  This is one of Michael’s favorite authors. The stories are set in the days immediately preceding World War II and the protagonists are typically ordinary people who get drawn into intrigues. “They’re not super sleuths; they’re pulled into a world of espionage that is tremendously atmospheric, full of richness and complexity that only literature can bring.” 
Instruments ofDarkness by Imogen Robertson – This historical series is set in 18th century England. The puzzle here isn’t so much who the murderer is, but how the murderer is found out. Put Patricia Cornwell in the British country side with a curious early student of how the body works and you have a forensic duo to be reckoned with. “This is an early version of a pathologist. The books are gipping. You’re brought face to face with how little we understood, how little the medical profession understood, about the human body.”

The best way to find out more about these and other books is to visit your favorite independent bookstore, which in this case is Tome on the Range, 158 Bridge Street, Las Vegas, NM.
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