This Week @ LBB: Summer Reads, School Shopping, Star Wars, and Sparks

Own a signed copy yet? We still have some available!

Happy August! No doubt you feel like summer’s winding down already, but it’s never too late to book that last minute vacation. You’ll need something to read, of course, while you soak in those rays, and you’re in luck: Publishers Weekly just released their Best Summer Books of 2013, with St. Louis’s own Curtis Sittenfeld making an appearance on the fiction list for her novel, Sisterland. A personal favorite of mine, the third volume of Russ Kick’s Graphic Canon series, was touted as the “most beautiful” book of 2013, and I couldn’t agree more. The series gorgeously and creatively illustrates classics from The Faerie Queen to Great Expectations all the way up to Infinite Jest, and can give you a fresh perspective on the familiar stories you “suffered” through in your high school English classes.

Summer Reading
See something on your list? Give us a call and we’ll put it on hold for you.

Speaking of English class, does your child or teenager have a summer reading list? Did they just tell you about it now? They haven’t even started yet? Never fear! Many customers have come in with just this dilemma, so we’ve devoted space in our YA and children’s sections to books on local summer reading lists. Give your kid a nudge about their own list, and don’t panic if they’ve conveniently “forgotten” about it until now. We’ve got you covered.

Jabba the Puppett
May the Force be with you, and the kids of McQuarrie Middle School.

We have some awesome kids’ events lined up for August. For your little Star Wars fans, Tom Angleberger will be at our Downtown store next Thursday (the 8th) at 2pm for the newest book in his Origami Yoda series, Surprise Attack of Jabba the Puppett. The Origami Yoda series is a staff favorite, and Tom’s presentations are always fun and interactive, with crafts, doodling, and (you guessed it) origami. Plus, Tom covers a lot of great issues in his books, from children with different learning styles to the importance of an art curriculum in schools, and the The Strange Case of Origami Yoda was one of our picks for reluctant readers. Read a review of the series from our own children’s buyer, Sarah, here.

Nicholas SparksTickets for our event with Nicholas Sparks on October 9th went on sale yesterday, and his fans showed up in full force. We sold over 200 tickets in less than eleven hours, beating the record previously held by David Sedaris for fastest tickets sales at Left Bank. Tickets for the main auditorium at the Central Library are sold out, but you still have a chance to hear about The Longest Ride by buying tickets for the Creative Experience area, which will have audio and video of Nicholas Sparks’s presentation, and you will still get a pre-signed book, a meet & greet opportunity, and a chance to participate in the Q&A!

Billy Lynn
“Wild, emotional, semi-political, and amazingly well written,” says Shane.

If you’re a fan of contemporary fiction, Shane has a new staff pick: Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain. An extra incentive: Luis Alberto Urrea, author of The Hummingbird’s Daughter and Queen of America, recommended this book to Shane when he visited the CWE store this past winter. That’s a bookseller recommendation and an author recommendation! Doesn’t hurt that it was nominated for the National Book Award, either.

Gatsby Shirt
Aisha Tyler’s new book gives it a thumbs up!

And, new in Sidelines That Lauren Has To Own (And Probably Already Does): Out of Print T-shirts! I’m sure you’ve looked at your favorite book cover and thought, “I’d really like to wear that.” (Just me?) Well, now you can. I bought the Pride and Prejudice one, but there’s also The Great GatsbyA Clockwork Orange, as well as The Very Hungry Caterpillar in children’s sizes, to name only a few. Now, if they just made a Les Miserables one…

A sneak peak at next week’s events: Apart from Tom Angleberger, we have Victoria Christopher Murray on Monday, the 5th, at the Carpenter Library, and Julie Garwood on Wednesday, the 7th, at the Central Library. Can’t wait to see you there!

First Look: What’s New on Our Shelves This Week

New releases arrive at Left Bank every Tuesday! Here are a few of particular interest to us this week, that we encourage you to check out.

Real TalkReal Talk For Real Teachers by Rafe Esquith

The only classroom teacher to have won the National Medal of the Arts, Rafe Esquith is famous for transforming a group of fifth-graders into what Publishers Weekly calls “classical music playing, Shakespeare-performing superachievers.” He’s been recognized by Johns Hopkins, Parents Magazine, and Oprah Winfrey. And he’s back with his new book, Real Talk For Real Teachers, a book of advice for those who struggle day to day in the world’s hardest profession. Plus, we’re bringing him to MICDS on Friday, July 19th (you can purchase tickets here). If you’re an educator at any stage in your career, this is going to be an inspirational night you absolutely don’t want to miss.

Countdown CityCountdown City by Ben Winters

Second in his Last Policeman trilogy, Washington University alumnus Ben Winters tells the story of Detective Hank Palace who, 77 days before an asteroid collides with earth, takes on the case of a woman from his past and her missing husband. A sci-fi mystery that asks the big questions:  What do we as human beings owe to one another? And what does it mean to be civilized when civilization is collapsing all around you? And you can meet Ben on Wednesday, July 24th, at our CWE store. Come on out and give him a warm welcome back to St. Louis!

BelladonnaBelladonna by Fiona Paul

Staff and customer favorite Fiona Paul returns with the sequel to Venom, her YA mystery set in Renaissance Venice. In Belladonna, the second chapter in the Secrets of the Eternal Rose series, Cassandra Caravello is trying to forget Falco, the wild artist who ran off with her heart, while searching for the Book of the Eternal Rose, the only evidence that will save her fiance, Luca. Left Bank is the official home store for signed copies of Fiona’s books, so you can order an autographed copy of Belladona today!

Also new in-store this week: The English Girl by Daniel SilvaThe Secret Keeper (in paperback) by Kate MortonThe Light in the Ruins by Chris BohjalianThis Town by Mark LeibovichThe Never List by Koethi ZanThe Poisoned Pilgrim (in paperback) by Oliver PötzschWitch Wraith by Terry Brooks; and The Violet Hour by Katherine Hill.

Pups, Pancakes, and Press Here: Adventures in Storytime

Storytime has gone social!

Not only is there a page on the Left Bank Books website, and the occasional Storytime blogpost from Miss Jonesey (me!), but we’ve entered the social network arena with – you guessed it – a Facebook page.

If you have any pictures from Storytime, the Easter Egg Hunts or Trick-or-Treat that you would like to share, please feel free to email them to me at (You may notice that there are many pictures of my hair falling into my face as I read books upside down. (Reading out loud and upside down was not listed on the job description, PS.)(Booksellers have a strange range of skillz.))


Theron Humphrey is going to be in our Downtown store on Wednesday, July 10th at 7:00pm for his book Maddie on Things. Brilliantly, Maddie the coonhound will be here with him! My co-workers and I have been giggling our way into and out of this book of beautiful, lighthearted and creative photographs for days. I decided that my Storytime crowd was down with the picture book of a dog standing on a bunch of things, and I was not wrong. These photos are more than documentation of a really long trip, both in miles and in days. They are the picture of a friendship and an awareness of space and circumstance. The favorite photo was of Maddie wearing a donkey head mask, but mostly that may have had to do with how completely otherworldly she looked. I mean, really.

PressHere4aThe power of Press Here was proved yet again this morning as our newest Storytime attendee came over to help press the yellow dots and make them turn red, or blue. It is such a simple and creative idea and I’ve loved sharing it with children and families for the last year and a half. This is a fantastic gift from a hapless aunt or uncle for any child between the ages of birth and about 4 years.

Next weekend Stefano’s restaurant will host a Neighbors’ Morning Out pancake breakfast to support Friends of Lucas Park. 20% of all proceeds during the Pancake Breakfast from 8am – 1pm will go to support Friends of Lucas Park, a group of Downtown Residents who are committed to providing safe and active space at Lucas Park. Pancakes before Storytime? What could be more fun? (Not much, says this Storytime Lady.)

In Case You Missed It…

This week at LBB:

Spike!!!  7-1-13
Maybe just one treat? Because I’m cute?

No doubt you’re preparing for a long weekend full of fireworks and barbecue and lake visits and long naps. Rest assured that Left Bank store cat, Spike, is way ahead of you there. In fact, he’s already staked out two of his own favorite napping spots for the holiday: best friend Jay’s inbox, and right in the middle of the floor, probably where you’re about to walk, next to that book you really want to look at, so that it wouldn’t be so hard to reach out and give him a nice rub on the tummy, would it? He doesn’t think so.

Booksellers rock the race.

Let’s not forget about last weekend, though, which was Pride weekend in StL! The staff was out in full force to celebrate, of course, with David and Kris participating in the Pride 5K downtown. David ended up winning first place in his age group and second overall, and Kris won second place in her category.  A big congrats to both of them, and here’ s hoping everyone had their own fun Pride adventures this weekend!

Farewell, Priya!

We also said bon voyage to a good friend and wonderful bookseller, Priya, who’s leaving Left Bank to attend grad school in the fall – but first, to take a cross-country road trip, of which we’re all enormously jealous. We will miss her dearly, and wish her the best of luck!

photo (17)
I’ll take five.

Just in! These beautiful new Left Bank mugs arrived on our shelves today. How much have you always wanted to drink coffee out of a mug with your favorite shop cat on it? So much. I know I’ve already staked my claim on one (the big secret to purchasing sidelines at Left Bank: will Lauren buy it?)

And a brand new staff pick to check out, next time you drop in: Jonesey just finished The Art of Joy by Goliarda Sapienza, which was released to critical acclaim in France in 2005 and has just arrived in America, and she calls it an “entirely worthwhile” endeavor with an “unforgettable and influential” main character.

Come see Maddie downtown on July 10!

Took a little breather from events this week, but there’s a lot to look forward to next week. At the CWE, Shane and his reading group, Read this Play, will be reading Sons of the Prophet on Monday, Linda Hull will be in to read from her “Mrs. Frugalicious” mystery, Eternally 21, on Tuesday, and Victoria Wilcox will discuss the first book in her Doc Holliday trilogy, Inheritance, on Friday. Downtown, photographer Theron Humphrey and his best friend, Maddie the Coonhound, will stop in to autograph and “pawtograph” the book companion to the internet sensation, Maddie on Things on Wednesday. And on Saturday at the Central Branch of the St. Louis Public Library, YA author Laura Nowlin will read from her debut novel, If He Had Been With Me. You don’t want to miss any of these!

We’ll leave A Song of Ice and Fire for a few years down the road.

Bookseller Story of the Week: a young boy of around eight years old approached Robert and asked for fantasy recommendations. After covering all the familiar bases (the boy had already finished the Harry Potter series, Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series, the Ranger’s Apprentice series, and was currently in the middle of Tolkien’s Return of the King, with hopes to read The Silmarillion), Robert knew he was going to have to aim a little higher. A few recommendations later, boy and mother left the store happy with a copy of the nearly 700 page Theft of Swords in hand, and a promise that they would return for more personal recommendations from Robert. Need some fantasy recommendations for your precocious young reader? Robert might be your guy!

And the Bookseller Find of the Week: a customer came into the CWE store searching for “a book written by a psychiatrist, about the statute of limitations on how much you can blame your parents for things, and it had a really clever title.” FOUND! One copy of Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart by Gordon Livingston to a good home.

Have a safe and fun holiday weekend, and hope to see you next week in the bookstore!