12 May
2012

Last Minute Mom Gifts!

So tomorrow is the big day! Whether you are looking to add a few more things to your Mother's Day gift or you're just starting, we've got one more  last minute gift list for you! Books, bath, booze and candles! Really there are few other things anyone needs!

 

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12 May
2012

A Beginner’s Guide to P.G. Wodehouse

Holy Mackeral! We have tons of P.G. Wodehouse books! And for good reason. They are all great, and he wrote over 100 books. However, it can be tough to figure out where to start, and the truth is you can start anywhere you want! There isn’t really a plot line to catch up on, and when he references past stories he always explains enough to know what’s going on. There are two main stories: Jeeves and Wooster, and Blandings Castle.

Jeeves and Wooster is about the wealthy and scatterbrained Bertie Wooster, the unfortunate situations he and his friends get into, and how his ingenious valet, Jeeves, gets him out of them. If you want to read chronologically, the first three books are “My Man Jeeves” (1919), “The Inimitable Jeeves” (1923), and “Carry on, Jeeves” (1925). “Carry on, Jeeves” includes the story “Jeeves Takes Charge” which explains how Jeeves came to work for Bertie Wooster. Other recommendations for Jeeves and Wooster books include “Right Ho, Jeeves” and “Mating Season.

Blandings Castle is concerned with Lord Emsworth and the residents of Blandings Castle, who also get themselves into unfortunate and hilarious situations. The first Blandings Castle book is “Something Fresh” (1915), but I would recommend starting with “Heavy Weather” or “Lord Emsworth and Others.” One of Wodehouse’s most beloved characters is Psmith (the “P” is silent, as in pshrimp) and he is part of the Blandings series. His first book “Psmith in the City” but I would go for “Leave it to Psmith.”

For a complete list of P.G. Wodehouse's fantastic books click here. Also, dont forget about the hilarious BBC adaptation of Jeeves and Wooster, starring Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry! You can watch the first part of the first episode below, or just search on YouTube for a ton of clips.

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8 May
2012

Whats Cookin’ Good Lookin’- Mother’s Day Edition!

There are those who might think that getting someone a kitchen related gift for Mother's Day is stereotypical and boringville. I used to be one of these people UNTIL I started working at KU and saw our incredible cookbook section. Then, last Mother's Day we received aprons that were so beautiful I gave serious thought to buying a couple and turning them into dresses. My no-cookbooks and aprons for Mother's Day grinchy heart grew three sizes that day! Now all I want to do is buy cookbooks for everyone  including myself! If food is love our cookbook selection would be ...a mix of every romantic movie ever made and some erotic fiction thrown in there because it's THAT DARN GOOD. So check out our slideshow and remember - this is only a sampling of our smorgasbord.

 

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8 May
2012

In Memory of Maurice Sendak

We are sad to hear of the passing of one of our favorite humans. We look back on an ode we wrote for him in 2011:

Ok before I get started, we need to get something adorable out of the way. Something that will bias you into loving this man like I do.

This is Sendak's dog Herman. NAMED AFTER HERMAN MELVILLE. SITTING ON A WILD THINGS RUG. I KNOW. IT'S AMAZING. It's true. It's all true. The dog. The Melville. The rug. It's all true.
He was once quoted in an interview on PBS about Melville, "My gods are Herman Melville, Emily Dickenson, Mozart. I believe in them with all my heart." IKNOWRITE. Swoon. For being a children's book author, he's not really...child-like...so to speak. He attributes this difference between himself and other typical children's book authors--especially when he started out--to his Jewish European background. In an interview with Npr's Jennifer Ludden, he remembers the many bedtime stories about Jewish friends and relatives dying horrible deaths and how it gave him insomnia, as well as a sense that he could never really be joyful in the presence of his parents without feeling guilty. WOMPWOMP. When Wild Things came out, parents and librarians freaked out because they thought it was too scary, little did they know Sendak's favorite thing to do is scare children. True story. Same interview.
Ok so are you ready to hear the most beautiful thing ever? I can't wait. I'm doing it now. I'm playing my trump card.

"I picked a modest form...I didn't have a lot of confidence, I hid inside this modest form called the children's book and expressed myself entirely. I wasn't going to paint, I wasn't going to do ostentatious drawings, I wasn't going to have gallery pictures, I was going to hide somewhere where nobody could find me."

CCCCCCCCCRRRRRRRRRRRYYYYYYYYYYYYIIIIIIIIIIIIINNNNNNNNNNNGGGGGGGGGG.

This is from an interview with Bill Moyers, YOU NEED to watch it. It's only 17 mins. Here, DO IT. And if you want to hear him call Mickey Mouse a whore, listen to this interview. He used to be obsessed with Mickey, in fact was inspired to draw because of Fantasia, and has an incredible collection of Mickey shiz.

He even wrote Walt Disney a letter asking him to adopt him, but never heard back. He has since become disillusioned with Disney, hence the whore comment.

Ok here's the next super awesome hilarious thing. After years and years of apprenticing and illustrating other people's books (there's like a billion) he finally gets his chance. So he goes to his editor, Ursula, whom he describes as "torrential" (another reason i love this man) and pitches her the title for his yet unwritten book,

 WHERE THE WILD HORSES ARE

I'm sorry. I'm not sure you heard me. Let's try that again. The original title of Where the Wild Things Are was

WHERE THE WILD HORSES ARE

But here's the best part. He then realized he COULDN'T DRAW HORSES. I'm sorry. I'm not sure you heard me.

 HE REALIZED HE COULDN'T DRAW HORSES

That's pretty much adorable.

Oh and get this. This is messed up. His book, 'Outside, Over There' published in 1981, is a story about a girl who resents her baby sister and then the baby gets stolen by goblins and she has to go into the goblin world to rescue her. Now let me tell you about a movie called Labyrinth from 1988. It's a story about a girl who resents her baby brother and the the baby gets stolen by goblins and she has to go into the goblin world to rescue him. I don't think you heard me. A story about a girl....ok i won't.

Oh and also get this. He illustrated an unpublished edition of the Hobbit. It's part of the Rosenbach Museaum and Library in Philly along with thousands of pieces of Sendak memorabilia. Oh and get this. Spike Jonze made a documentary about him called 'Tell Them Anything You Want' which follows Sendak during the making of Where the Wild Things Are--a movie that I want tattooed all over my body, all the images in it, on my body, for always.

 

 

Thanks Maurice, for hiding in these books, for expressing yourself entirely, and for bringing out the beasts.
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7 May
2012

For the Moms with the Green Thumbs

So your mom (or any lady you'll be celebrating this Sunday) likes to spend a lot of time in the great outdoors. Maybe has her own garden or maybe she just likes to throw a little water on a plant in the windowsill from time to time. No matter what her pleasure we've got something for her! Check out the slideshow!

 

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7 May
2012

We LIVE for Children’s Book Week!

Limited Edition KU Bookmarks!

Ok, so children's books usually make me do one of two things: cry or laugh, much like my two reactions to wasabi. So I'm going to tell you about my new favorite cry and laugh tales in honor of Children's Book Week, which is weird, because we really like to talk about the classics. A lot. But the new kids on the block are pretty cool too and we thought we'd introduce you in case you hadn't met, so that at the next party you go to you can impress people. You should make sure to have one of these AMAZINGLY AWESOME FREE BOOKMARKS YOU SEE ABOVE because we are also amazing and awesome. It's how we roll. Start your child off on the right path by teaching them NOT TO DOG EAR PAGES! Now there are staff who vehemently disagree with me and think it's ok to deface the written word with a painful and cruel crease, BUT THIS IS MY BLOG AND I DO WHAT I WANT. Ok now that you know where I stand on bookmarks, (I know it was keeping you up at night) let's get down to gold safety pins. I mean brass tacks. WORD PLAY! GOTCHA! That's the kind of fun you can have reading kids books, because children's book authors are the wisest, clever-est, best-est thinkers in the whole wide world and although you think their grammar is simple and sometimes nonsensical, their words are some of the truest ever written. Despite my ability to run-on, I think brevity is beautiful. I like to pack in in. (Ew.) Children's book author's are the best at this; they manage to take all the big heavy meaningful stuff and put it through the sieve that is the heart of a child. As we grow up, we just complicate things with language. So without further ado...

The Heart and Bottle by Oliver Jeffers

The AWESEOME SECRET COVER of The Heart and Bottle

The cover of this book is enough reason to crack it open.  BUT HERE'S THE THING. THIS IS A SECRET SO COME CLOSER....so this isn't the ACTUAL cover. The actual covers we had were torn so we undressed them and THIS was underneath! Why you would cover up this cover with a cover is just crazy talk. So, we've decided to display it as such. It’s like you’re on drugs. fun for you AND the kids! But seriously the cover rules. It’s got space, whales, squirrels, elephants, Buckingham Palace Guards, bees on fire, yes i said bees on fire, and yellow duckies. Ya that’s just the cover. It begins with illustrations of the many curiosities in a little girl’s head; in one of my favorite images she is under the water passing by a whale and the little speech bubble says, “oh, hello” and another favorite is a ship falling off the edge of the world. BUT I DON’T UNDERSTAND THE BEES ON FIRE. BUT WAIT I HAVEN’T EVEN TALKED ABOUT THE BEST PART...THE WWUUURRDDDSSS! And the point they make in sentence form. Some like to call it the lesson, the moral of the story, the point, if you will. You might cry. I may have cried. If we’re being honest here. And I think we are. I’ll just say this; any story that reminds adults to be child-like is.....wait hold on...crying again...ok ...any story that reminds us what our hearts were like when we were small is my kind of story. This is one of those books ; that transcends age; it’s for all of us. YAY!

 

Leon and the Place Between by Grahame Baker-Smith

Cover of Leon & The Place Between. I KNOWRITE!

“With a ripple of gold braid, the curtains slowly parted... Leon could smell the magic”
“Where am i? asked Leon.
“This is the place between,” said the boy.
“Between what?”
“Between there and back again. This is the place where magic sends you.”

Hold on i’m crying, I just finished this.
Ok. I’m ok. Let’s talk.  This is a book that has that Peter Pan-esque “if you believe” vibe AND it has absurdly gorge illustrations so it’s a win win. The cover is what first drew me in, (because you know, that's how that works) but the story kept me there. My favorite part about this story is that instead of a special girl or boy experiencing an adventure (whoch does happen) Leon assures his friends that anyone can go where he went, as long as they believe. SOBBBBB.

 

 

 

Then there is the stunning "Snow Rabbit, Spring Rabbit" by Il Sung Na:

This makes me want bunnies and sheep badly!

A page from Snow Rabbit, Spring Rabbit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is a simple yet lovely tale about the changing of the seasons. A cute bunny peeks in on various animals as they hibernate or migrate and its terribly sweet and beautifully illustrated.

Don't like crying or being swept off your feet by the wonder of a beautifully written children's book but do enjoy laughing at sometimes cold and harsh reality of karma? Then check out the adorable, no gimmicks tale "I Want My Hat Back" by Jon Klasson.

I Want My Hat Back

 

This was a wonderful surprise for us when we read it; word spread through the unbreakable KU grape-vine to check it out and check it out we did. Now we are spreading the word to you! Voted one of the 10 Best Illustrated Books of 2011 by the NyTimes, its illustrations are clean and simple. If you want something different, check this AHT.  See also: "Walter the Farting Dog", and "Poop".

Tell us your favorites!

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4 May
2012

Can Anybody Find Me Somebody to Love?
C-3P0’s Adventures in Dating

Did I stutter?

Hello! My name is C-3P0, human-cyborg relations. Has anyone ever really thought about what I mean when I say that? I know not everybody can be fluent in over six million forms of communication, so allow me to translate: My name is C-3P0 and I am trying to get down with some human-cyborg relations!!! The girls (Yes, girls. Despite what your human stereotypes have taught you) in this galaxy have been a pain in my shiny, rock-hard, metal ass since it was a dull, beat-up piece of tin. It seems I was made to suffer. It's my lot in life. But this is not one of those extreme circumstances where surrender is a perfectly acceptable alternative. Allow me to share the woeful tale of my romantic adventures.

Friend-zoned.

It all started on Tatooine, where I was built, with the first girl I ever met. I wasn't as good-looking then as I am now, but what I lacked in shiny, gold exterior I made up for with manners and a charming British accent. Her name was Padme Amidala, and she was the first girl I ever loved. We traveled the galaxy together, but it was not meant to be. Turns out her boyfriend was a BIT of a psycho. Those who know me are aware that courage is not exactly my strong suit. I enjoy scholarly pursuits.

Chill, bro.

Schwing!

The next girl I met was probably the hottest girl in the whole galaxy, and she knew it. She had it all: Looks, class, wealth, and just a little bit of moxy...well maybe more than a little bit of moxy. Plus she could sing! 

Yes, Princess Leia was the catch of a life time, and everybody was trying to get a bite.

Nobody could tie this little mamasita down. Well, actually one guy managed to tie her down, but it didn't turn out so well for him. He died. Luckily I'm not really that into B&D, so I still thought my chances we looking pretty good with Leia. She wasn't really going for the two mooks we were with, and I saw her checking me out. In hindsight, she may have just been using my reflective body to make sure her cinnabons were tied properly.

And then this happened:

Chewy likes to watch.

 

 

 

Right in front of me too! I was shocked! Shocked, I tells ya! I saw my new hopes pulverized before my very eyes. I thought she was gone forever; That my odds of getting the girl of my dreams had increased to approximately 423,000 to one. I couldn't take much more of that.

But there was one thing that nobody there knew.

They are brother and sister.

NASTY!

And just like that, I was back in the running. Of course, so was everyone else. And when I say everyone...I mean everyone. Her worshipfulness got around, my friend...if you know what I mean. Check these scandalous shots I found on her facebook page.

Hell, even I finally got a slice of that, but by the time she got to me she had already shagged the wookiee and a gamorrean guard. Suddenly human-cyborg relations weren't so appealing anymore.

More like Princess Lay-a, amirite?!

But I won't give up. I am getting back on this crazy ride. So all the single ladies, check out my eHarmony profile and gimme a call! Here are some photos of what I have in mind:

I see what you did there...

HAPPY INTERGALACTIC STAR WARS DAY, EVERYONE!

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3 May
2012

Star Wars Gift List

Star Wars Day comes but once a year! Don't miss out on this chance to wow the Star Wars fan in your life. We have everything you need to make this Star Wars day really count. Just remember, we do not accept Republic Credits, and mind tricks don't-a work on us.

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