Category: Seasonal

Come catch the holiday spirit with Greg Pizzoli’s ’12 Days of Christmas’

We all know how the song goes: “On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…a partridge in a pear tree.” 12 days of christmasFollowed by turtle doves, french hens, and five golden rings. Greg Pizzoli re-imagines this classic Christmas carol in his newest picture book for children, The Twelve Days of Christmas. With each introduction of a new day of Christmas, an elephant family receives the gift that corresponds to each day according to the carol. Have you ever really stopped to think about what would happen if you had a room filled with an assortment of birds? Namely, six geese a-laying and seven swans a-swimming? It would be chaos. Pizzoli takes the this carol and makes it literal, making parents and young readers alike giggle over the growing amount of gifts that the little elephant family just does not know what to do with.

You may recognize Greg Pizzoli from his picture book The Watermelon Seed, which won a Theodor Seuss Geisel Award in 2014. Join Greg at Lemuria Books on Friday, December 1, to kick off the holiday season with a signing and story time for The 12 Days of Christmas, from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Can’t make it but want to reserve a picture book as a gift for the holidays? Call us at 601-366-7619 or visit our website.

Halloween Double Feature: ‘Burntown’ & ‘Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore’

Halloween. It’s almost here!

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I am proud to present my second annual pair of Halloween reading recommendations. Both novels are are just fantastic, creepy mysteries. Both of these are a little light on supernatural mischief, but no less spooky for it. Truly, the scariest thing to confront is the possibility that the monster is actually inside any one of us.

burntownThe first book I would like to recommend is Burntown by Jennifer McMahon. This mystery tells the story of Necco, a teenage street urchin once known as Eva Sandeski. Necco used to have a picturesque home life, with a brother and two loving parents, but one night, ‘the Great Flood’ (as she remembers it) changes all that. She lives on the streets of Ashford, Vermont, with her half-deranged mother, who has taken in with a local cult of four mysterious women called the Fire Eaters who ingest the Devil’s Snuff for visions from the Great Mother. I know this book sounds a little out there, but that sentence contains some of the book’s most outrageous elements. Well, that and the telephone that can speak to the dead, whose plans have been passed down the Sandeski family, and may be at the root of all their misfortune.

What I really loved about Burntown, besides the crackerjack, page-turning momentum, were the characters. Besides Necco, the novel follows the intertwined stories of Theo, a local, lone wolf overachiever for whom a chance love affair draws her into a drug-dealing operation; and Pru, the gargantuan lunch lady at the local Catholic school who dreams of being the star of the circus—and then paramour of local delivery man and part-time detective Mr. Marcelle. All three characters have fantastically defined motivations, which make their characters seem real and dynamic. The setting of Ashford (and its alter ego Burntown) is almost a character itself. It has an uncanny, unstuck-in-time quality that seems to reinforce that the main characters must figure their own problems out, because the cavalry is not coming to save them.

midnight at the bright ideasThe second recommendation I have for you is Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew Sullivan. Sullivan is a former bookseller at the Tattered Cover Book Store, an esteemed indie in Denver. The action in this thriller begins where and when as described in the title, at a fictional bookstore in the Lower Downtown section of Denver. Out protagonist, Lydia, is a regular bookseller recovering from a long-ago dark past. She looks after the local vagabond BookFrogs (so named for their resemblance in her mind to Mr. Jeremy Fisher) that populate Bright Ideas during business hours. One of the youngest, and most mysterious, of these BookFrogs in Joey Molina, barely out of his teens but already irreparably damaged in some way. When Lydia finds Joey has hanged himself in the Western History alcove, she is saddened and disturbed. And when she finds a childhood picture of herself in his pocket, she is also frightened, for she is about to be thrust back into her traumatic past.

Lydia was the lone escapee of a crime that was particularly grisly and remains locally infamous. Lydia has to solve the mystery of why Joey killed himself, helped along by his odd, bibliographic clues, but also finds herself pondering the events of her childhood and the night of the Hammer Man, who murdered an entire family when Lydia was staying at their house at history’s worst sleepover. She has to revisit both her past and explore Joey’s, confront her estranged father, and keep her current life together in the process before she finds any peace.

James Joyce said it best: history is a nightmare from which we struggle to awake. That can be either cultural or personal. But these gripping mysteries remind us that we don’t have to go looking for terror this Halloween, because there is often something within our own memory that lives with us always.

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Get Your Dad the Perfect Book for Father’s Day

Father’s Day is THIS SUNDAY. If you’re like me, then it snuck up on you. Don’t have a gift yet? Lemuria is here to help! We’ve got a book for every dad out there.

For the dad that loves thrill seeking:

Camino Island – John Grisham

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This is Grisham’s latest book, out just in time to give to your dad for Father’s Day!

No Middle Name – Lee Child

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Another recently published book, No Middle Name is a collection of Jack Reacher stories.

For the Dad whose favorite room is the kitchen:

A Southern Gentleman’s Kitchen – Matt Moore

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Classic Southern recipes, with a twist!

Reel Masters – Susan Schadt

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This not only has recipes, but big fish tales, as well.

For the Dad who prefers the past over the present:

The Flight – Dan Hampton

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The story of Charles Lindbergh’s famous 1927 transatlantic flight.

Killers of the Flower Moon – David Grann

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The incredible true story of the FBI’s first big case about the murders of the Osage Indians.

For the Dad who watches the big game every weekend:

Ballplayer – Chipper Jones

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Jones’ autobiography about his 19-year career as an Atlanta Brave.

The Last Season – Stuart Stevens

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A touching story about a man and his father, and the lifetime of college football games they attended.

For the Dad who seems to already have everything:

Atlas Obscura – Joshua Foer, Dylan Thuras, Ella Morton

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An encyclopedia like you’ve never seen. You can find all sorts of amazing factoids about places you’ve never heard of!

The Revenge of Analog – David Sax

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Have you ever heard your father complain about the “kids these days”? This book laments the long lost art forms of brick and mortar stores, vinyl records, etc.

If none of these strike your fancy, the folks at Lemuria have hundreds more books to recommend! We would love to help you out, and we will even wrap your book for your dad.

Find a classic Easter adventure in DuBose Heyward’s ‘The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes’

“One day a little country girl bunny with brown skin and a little cotton-ball of a tail said, ‘Some day I shall grow up to be an Easter Bunny: –you wait and see!’”

country bunnyI’m bringing back a classic Easter book here, guys. The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes by DuBose Heyward, which was first published in 1939. This is not only one of my favorite Easter books, but also one of my favorite picture books in general from my childhood. My sister and I would go over to my grandmother’s place and have her read it to us repeatedly. It didn’t matter if it was Easter or not, it was the book we asked for. We even fought over who got my Grandmother’s copy just last summer (we’re high school and college students). This just goes to show how the books of your childhood can leave a mark.

Part of this book’s appeal for me as a child was, to be honest, the bunnies and the golden shoes (What can I say? I like my shoes). On the surface, this book is about a cute momma bunny (of 21 little bunnies) who wants to be the next Easter Bunny. The country momma bunny is named Cottontail, and she enters to be the next Easter Bunny. All the other rich white bunnies laugh at her and tell her that she can’t do it, but she is determined to prove them wrong. For kids, the idea of an Easter Bunny that wears golden shoes to deliver their Easter goodies is just so much fun, and you just can’t go wrong with bunnies.

I’ve recently gone back and reread it and I was shocked by its deeper meaning, and how wonderfully it is crafted for both children and parents. Not only is this a cute book about Easter Bunnies but it speaks to race relations, social standings, and gender roles. Cottontail is not only a brown, country bunny but she is a lady and a mother, at that. How could she possibly be able to be Easter Bunny? hoppsThis digs into the bigger issues in a very subtle way that is appropriate for small children, but also makes it more interesting for the parents to read. They question her color and class standing, but she overcomes this. They suggest that because she is a woman and a mother, there is no way she could be the Easter Bunny, but she proves them wrong. She never gives up and in the end, she is rewarded for this determination.

This is one of the sweetest picture books out there and my favorite Easter book. It’s a beautiful story of motherhood and following your dreams.

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