Bestselling Nevada author Ellen Hopkins at Sundance Saturday

From a Sundance Books news release

smokeCvrWhat: New York Times bestselling young adult author Ellen Hopkins will read from her latest novel, Smoke (Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2013).

When/Where: Saturday, Nov. 2, at 2 p.m., Sundance Books and Music, 121 California Ave.

About Smoke: Pattyn Von Stratten’s father is dead, and Pattyn is on the run. After far too many years of abuse at the hands of her father, and after the tragic loss of her beloved Ethan and their unborn child, Pattyn is desperate for peace. But is it even possible to rebuild a life when everything you’ve known has burned to ash and lies seem far safer than the truth?

Bestselling author Ellen Hopkins continues the riveting story of Pattyn Von Stratten she began in Burned to explore what it takes to rise from the ashes, put ghosts to rest and step into a future.

Praise: “A strong, painful and tender piece about wresting hope from the depths of despair.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“Hopkins’ riveting story line is full of the perpetual premonition of danger, and the simple free-verse format belies the complexity of both plot and craft. . . . a compelling and thought-provoking read.” (Booklist)

About the Author: Ellen Hopkins is the New York Times bestselling author of Crank, Burned, Impulse, Glass, Identical, Tricks, Fallout, Perfect, Triangles, Tilt and Collateral. She lives in Carson City with her husband and son.

More information:

This program is made possible through a partnership with Nevada Humanities and with the support of the Nightingale Family Foundation.

Overdue library books? Pay your fine with food starting Nov. 4

From a Washoe County news release

It’s that time of year again: For three weeks this November you can get rid of overdue fines by helping those in need. From Nov. 4 to Nov. 25, patrons can bring cans or boxes of food to the library in lieu of fines to help feed the hungry.

Food barrels will be placed at library locations throughout Washoe County, and the food will be delivered to the Food Bank of Northern Nevada. (Food brought to Incline Village Library will be donated to Project MANA.)

Library patrons are asked to bring one non-perishable food item for every overdue book or other item. Food cannot be exchanged for lost or damaged library materials. Everyone is welcome to participate in this food drive that has delivered thousands of pounds of food to the Food Bank of Northern Nevada and Project MANA.

These food items are especially needed: canned meats, fish and peanut butter; macaroni and cheese and pasta meals; powdered milk, baby formula and baby food; complete meals in a can such as stew, chili, ravioli and hearty soups; canned fruits, juice and vegetables; and dry cereal, oatmeal, rice and pasta.

Last year we collected over 7,000 lbs of food. Help us top that number this year—now is the time to return library materials and help our community.

Food collection locations:

  • Downtown Reno Library, 301 S. Center Street, Reno, 327-8300.
  • Duncan/Traner Community Library 1650 Carville Drive, Reno, 333-5134.
  • Incline Village Library, 845 Alder Ave., Incline Village, 832-4130
  • North Valleys Library, 1075 North Hills Blvd. #340, Reno, 972-0281.
  • Northwest Reno Library, 2325 Robb Drive, Reno, 787-4100.
  • Senior Center Library, 1155 E. 9th St., Reno, 328-2586.
  • Sierra View Library (Reno Town Mall), 4001 S. Virginia St., Reno, 827-3232.
  • South Valleys Library, 15650A Wedge Parkway, Reno, 851-5190.
  • Spanish Springs Library, 7100A Pyramid Lake Highway, Sparks, 424-1800.
  • Sparks Library, 1125 12th Street, Sparks, 352-3200.
  • Verdi Community Library and Nature Center, 270 Bridge St., Verdi, 345-8104.

New Schopen novel to be launched at Sundance Tuesday

From a Sundance Books news release

CalamityJane_cover_smallWHAT: Sundance Books and Music’s Baobab Press will host the book launch for Calamity Jane, a new novel by local author Bernard Schopen.

WHEN/WHERE: Tuesday, Oct. 29, at 6:30 p.m., Sundance Books and Music, 121 California Ave, Reno.

ABOUT THE BOOK: After the publication of The Iris Deception, the final of his three Jack Ross detective novels, in 1996, Bernard Schopen’s literary voice went quiet. Nearly two decades later, that voice makes a distinctive return with Calamity Jane. Schopen’s new novel takes a hard look at the realities of rural and ranching Nevada while also examining the enduring myths of the West.

Calamity Jane is not a detective novel, but there are mysteries here, and fans of Schopen will recognize connections to his earlier work. Set somewhere in the arid basin and range wilds east of Reno and north of Las Vegas, Calamity Jane is told through the private journal of retired high school English teacher Winnifred Westrom, long-time resident of Blue Lake and a keen observer with a stake in the story.

This is grown-up fiction, asking serious questions about the fate and future of the West and exploring ideas as big as the Great Basin it inhabits. At the same time, it is storytelling worthy of the Western movies and pulp fictions it admires. Bernard Schopen in Calamity Jane is an old dog up to new tricks.

PRAISE: “A great novel of the American West both wildly entertaining and wise. An exploration of the old and new colliding and the chaos and disruption and drama that ensues.” – Willy Vlautin, bestselling author of Motel Life

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Bernard Schopen was born and raised in Deadwood, S.D. He attended the University of Washington and the University of Nevada in Reno whereupon receiving his PhD in English he taught for many years. He is the author of three Jack Ross novels as well as a study of the novels of Ross Macdonald.

How to get the most out of Grassroots Books warehouse sales

somanybooks“So many books, so little time” applies to shopping at Grassroots Books warehouse sales as well as to reading. Here are a few things I’ve learned about the experience that might be helpful:

  • The best selection is at 9 the first day. I’ve never seen that firsthand because I hate crowds, but people I know make their best finds then. I still find several books to buy no matter when I get there. (We’re talking about more than 8,000 books.)
  • Everything is 99 cents except children’s books, which are 25 cents. On the last day (Sunday), you can fill a grocery-size bag for $4.99.
  • If you ask an employee how the books are organized, everyone within earshot will be amused. The books are organized by size and shape.
  • With that said, there is slightly more organization than that (which may change from one sale to the next). In general, hardbacks are around the edges and paperbacks are in the center. All the children’s books are in the back corner. Fiction and nonfiction are mixed, but a lot of paperback novels are together. The oldest books (1940s and older?) are usually under the tables, but so are lots of others. Sometimes you can tell all the books in one box came from the same person, which is helpful if you have the same taste.
  • You won’t be able to look at every book in the sale. Even if you were compulsive enough to try (and I am) and even if you had a whole day and the stamina to do it (and I don’t), it wouldn’t be possible because the selection changes while you’re shopping.
  • Employees put out “fresh” boxes of books throughout the sale. They helpfully label them with the day and time, but then they unhelpfully stack them on top of other books and move books between older and newer boxes.
  • Go with a tolerant attitude toward inconsiderate people. If people who block aisles, talk loudly, or put books back upside down drive you nuts, it’s probably not worth going.
  • For obvious reasons, don’t take items from the front of the store into the warehouse.
  • Taking a list of books you hope to find is probably a waste of time and, again, amuses experienced shoppers.
  • What will you find? You never know. Any type of book that’s been published is there–fiction, nonfiction, textbooks, traditionally and self-published, children’s books. I’ve seen books in Russian and Japanese alphabets. Most are from the 1960s  through the present. I bought a copy of Guns, Germs, and Steel that was put in the warehouse sale only because the store already had several copies (at a higher price) on its shelves. Yesterday I saw a couple of trade paperback copies of Fifty Shades of Grey, which is still on the best-seller list. There are also CDs, books on tape, and even board games. Last month they had a case of farts in a can.

Going to a Grassroots warehouse sale to shop for a specific book is probably a waste of time, but if books, bargains, and serendipity make you happy, you should try it.

Seniors can start writing memoirs with Lifescapes

Have you ever thought about writing your memoirs? You don’t have to be famous to do it. Writing out the story of your life is well worth the effort even if only your family reads the result.

People can and do write autobiographies at any age, but most don’t start thinking about it until they’re older. To help local seniors share their memories in writing, Washoe County libraries along with the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) and the UNR Department of English offer a program called Lifescapes.

The program is ongoing and held in the afternoon on different days of the week at different locations. New members are always welcome. It sounds like a good way to get started.

Book Event: Co-author of ‘The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind’ to talk at UNR Oct. 19

From a UNR news release

William Kamkwamba is a Malawian inventor, author and student. He is the featured speaker for the annual College of Engineering Distinguished Lecture Series.

William Kamkwamba is a Malawian inventor, author and student. He is the featured speaker for the annual College of Engineering Distinguished Lecture Series.

William Kamkwamba, co-author of the New York Times best-selling book The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope will give a public lecture at the University of Nevada, Reno Sat., Oct. 19. Kamkwamba’s is a remarkable success story about the power of human ingenuity in the face of crippling odds. His talk will inspire anyone who doubts the power of one individual to change the world.

This 2013 College of Engineering Distinguished Lecture Series presentation will be in the Milt Glick Ballroom in the Joe Crowley Student Union. There is a 5 p.m. reception preceding the free 6 p.m. lecture.

Kamkwamba is a Malawian inventor, author and student. At the age of 14, after being forced to drop out of school because his family could not afford tuition, he regularly visited his village’s library and found the book Using Energy, which included illustrations and an explanation of windmills. Without any background in engineering and limited English skills and using only PVC pipe, a tractor fan, an old bicycle frame and tree branches, he, on his own, succeeded at erecting a windmill, which brought electricity, light and the promise of a better life to his home and community.

As a result of his invention, Kamkwamba received incredible international support, allowing him to return to school as well as complete other projects he envisioned for his community, including a solar-powered water pump to supply clean water, a water well drill to pump water from deeper spots and a drip irrigation system to protect his family from future drought. He is currently a student at Dartmouth College.

Kamkwamba has been featured on the front page of the Wall Street Journal and has appeared on numerous networks, including ABC’s Good Morning America, CSPAN’s Book-TV, NPR and Comedy Central’s The Daily Show. An accomplished speaker, he has addressed audiences multiple times on TED, at the 2008 World Economic Forum, and at schools and universities around the globe.

Please RSVP to or 775-784-6925 on or before Thursday, Oct. 10.