Local independent bookstores help foster a sense of community, and that's what drew me to Little Shop of Stories in Decatur, Georgia. The first time I walked through their doors during the Decatur Book Festival many years ago, I could see that this bookstore was doing more than selling Children's and Young Adult books. They were promoting a literary community in Decatur for children, adults, and even dogs (more on the dogs later). Little Shop of Stories is the type of bookstore that I walk into knowing I'm going to end up finding at least one or two things I have to buy. It's the type of place I recommend to friends whenever they're visiting from out of town and looking for something fun to do. Because, as corny as this might sound, it's more than a bookstore. It's a fun place to be.
This past weekend while I was in Atlanta visiting friends and family, I had an opportunity to sit down with Justin Colussy-Estes to talk more about Little Shop of Stories, what makes this store so awesome, and its connection to the Decatur community.
If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to apartment hunt in NYC, this book is for you. There’s a section of the book which, though it has a few funny moments, is way too long and detailed about Andi’s search for a place to live. (Also, I imagine that most other people who are not Andi Dorfman couldn't just pick up and move to NYC with no job and afford an apartment without a roommate.)
In a town where there aren’t a lot of independent book stores, Church Street Coffee and Books in Birmingham, Alabama is a sweet little refuge where you can find your new favorite book – and enjoy one of the best cookies you’ll ever taste.
It's Month 2 of YA Book Club Winter Games, and I bet you thought you were going to see a picture of the book we read up at the top, huh? Well you guessed wrong, and you'll soon see why we chose a picture of Sonic slushies instead. Besides just being delicious, Sonic is an integral part of our January novel There's Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins. Let's get into it, shall we?
Emily: So what happens when you mix Scream with YA Romance with a dash of Sonic slushies? You get this book, There's Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins, a book about high school and cliques and getting the hell out of your crappy small town, and of course, murder. Lots and lots of murder. This novel was advertised as a horror novel for teens, which was a shocker for many YA aficionados because Stephanie Perkins usually writes romance novels, such as Anna and the French Kiss, so this was supposed to be a big departure for her. What did you think of Perkins's first foray into horror fiction?
It's January again, which means it's time to reimagine our lives and expect more from ourselves.
For me, that means considering tidying up my apartment. For real this time. And while I made this resolution on January 1st, it's taken me half the month to move on from thinking about it to developing a plan of attack. Maybe my next move, after fifteen more days of planning my strategy, will be to actually start tidying up. But we'll see. According to Marie Kondo's manga version of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, aptly titled The Life Changing Manga of Tidying Up, I'm right on schedule. So if you're thinking two weeks into the new year is a great time for you to drop your New Years resolutions, think again, because it's time to get into the Konmari method, manga style.
Mary: So The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue is a young adult novel by Mackenzi Lee that has swept the young adult world by storm a bit. The novel is a piece of historical fiction, following young Monty and his best friend and traveling companion Percy as they embark on their Grand Tour around Europe. The boys are to take in the sights and sounds of Europe, escorted by a guide hired by Monty's father and Monty's younger sister Felicity. BUT things go awry when the group is ambushed by highwaymen. And it's just all hijinks from there. This book has a little bit of everything, which I really enjoyed--historical notes, adventure, romance, pirates (!), alchemy, and mysteryyyyyy!
Emily: Yeah so like... read on for spoilers I guess? Cause there will probably be some?
Mary: Yes, major spoilers.
Because I’m a masochist, I decided the best way to read Carrie Fisher’s memoir, The Princess Diarist, was not to read it at all, but to listen to it. I knew going in that it was Fisher herself who narrated her story, detailing her life before, during, and after Star Wars: A New Hope. Like many of the people Fisher writes about in her memoir, I was introduced to Star Wars at a young age. I think I was seven; my brother would have been two. We rented A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi on VHS and our lives were never the same. I wrote ardent fan mail to my heroes — addressed to Leia, Han, and Luke. My brother wept openly when Darth Vader died. We kept A New Hope, never returning it to the video store down the block. It was, and is, part of our lives.
One of the things Fisher said she loved hearing about most was which characters the littlest Star Wars fans loved. But The Princess Diarist isn’t just the ultimate cache of knowledge for the nerdiest of us all. Instead, Fisher’s memoir works through some of the most fundamental questions that a woman is faced with as she grows up, in each stage of growing up. The memoir can be split thematically into three sections—before, during, and after—though they weave together throughout the entirety of the book, which gives the listener a sense that Fisher is speaking directly to them. Storytelling, the way you might talk to a friend as you recount the most important things in your life.
Thanksgiving can be a hard time. Stuck with family and friends and forced to be social, many of us retreat to the comforts of literature. This Thanksgiving, pair your favorite foods with 8 captivating young adult books to get you through the holidays!
List after the cut.
Final Girls by Riley Sager is a new release horror/thriller/mystery novel, and it's basically a slasher movie in book form. So of course Kelli and Emily were fully on board to read and review this book, especially because Halloween exists, and it's today. So Happy Halloween, Book Squad Goalies! Read on for our thoughts on this here book.
Kelli: So, for spooky reasons, we thought it would be fun to read some horror fiction this month and have a little chat with each other about it. Emily, you suggested the book Final Girls by Riley Sager - a book which boasts praise from the one and only Stephen King on its cover.
Emily: Yeah but I feel like those are a dime a dozen really. Stephen King has a lot to say about a lot of people.
Kelli: Where does he find the time to do so much reading?
Emily: He is a speed reader and writer.
Kelli: I want that.
Emily: Same. Though I read this book in two days, so maybe I'm on my way.
Kelli: Anyway, Final Girls follows Quincy, a woman who is the lone survivor of a brutal attack on her group of college friends at a cabin in the woods. The book takes place... ten years after that? I think?
Emily: Something like that, yes.
Kelli: The concept is that there are three different women - Quincy, Lisa, and Sam - who all survived similar attacks roughly ten years apart from one another, and the three of them have been labeled 'the Final Girls' by the news media, based on the horror trope we all know and love. I have a hard time believing the news media would actually employ film trope terminology, but whatever.
Emily: Also the author doesn't do a very good job of crediting Carol J. Clover, the person who came up with the trope. Or explaining what the trope is really about, which was disappointing for me because I'm a theory nerd. I'm just here to trash this novel. I'm sorry if I'm jumping the gun.
Kelli: Yeah. And we're both familiar with it, but I'm sure a lot of the people reading this book aren't.
Emily: So you wrote a paper about the Final Girls trope, which makes you an expert.
Kelli: Yes, I'm an expert. Definitely.
Emily: So for people who don't know what it is, would you care to briefly give us a run down?
It’s not a secret that Emily and I love Grady Hendrix. While I was dogsitting last fall, Emily suggested I read My Best Friend's Exorcism. Though I had lots of work to do, I plowed through the novel with a faithful pug by my side (Frederick the pug has been featured on our Instagram, for reference). I couldn’t put My Best Friend's Exorcism down, like I was cursed to bear witness to the gruesome story of demons, high school, and friendship. The book horrified me for reasons I won’t write here (because it would ruin your own enjoyment when you inevitably read it!), but trust that I loved it. Hendrix employs a type of humor that balances his use of horror.
Hendrix’s new book, Paperbacks from Hell, does something different than My Best Friend’s Exorcism and Horrorstor--both of which we’ve discussed on the blog and podcast before. Paperbacks from Hell is a nonfiction look at the history of horror novel covers, which leads to an examination of the trends in horror fiction.
About the Blog
The authors of this blog are four women with opinions about pop culture. That's all you really need to know.