Green Valley Book Fair

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Green Valley Book Fair

Several years ago my best friend told me we were taking a road trip for my birthday. She wouldn’t tell me where we were going or what we were doing. So, that morning we hit the road, listening to some Tori, talking and laughing, and basically being silly and having a good time.

We ended up in Staunton, Virginia. We parked and took a bus to downtown where we had lunch in a cute little cafe’. After lunch we wandered through some antique shops, a very cool art studio/store, and a few gift shops. It was a wonderful, special day. Then she informed me that this was not our final destination. I couldn’t imagine what else we might be doing but we took a bus back to the parking lot, got in the car and hit the highway again.

I was basically just enjoying the beautiful view of the Shenandoah Valley and the great company when she asked me if I had figured out where we were going yet. Confused, I asked her what she meant. She pointed to a billboard coming up on the side of the road. It was for the Green Valley Book Fair. I hadn’t noticed the previous billboards and I had never heard of the book fair before but I was beyond excited as she proceeded to tell me about it.

When we finally arrived and walked inside, it was a little breathtaking. I mean, rooms full of thousands upon thousands of books. All of them 60-90% off retail price! We wandered for hours. Sometimes we wandered side by side, sometimes I’d realize I was alone and we’d meet up a few aisles later with our baskets a bit fuller than they had been before. We shopped until our baskets were so heavy our arms hurt too badly to shop anymore.

I’ve been to the book fair several times since then and I’ve shared it with my parents as well. It’s a wonderful day trip if you live in the central VA area. People come from all over the country, and the world, to visit the book fair. They are only open a few times a year. You can sign up to receive email reminders of their schedule on their website.

Inside the Book Fair

So what exactly is the Green Valley Book Fair? Founded in 1971, the Green Valley Book Fair is a family owned business located on a farm just south of Harrisonburg, Virgina. It’s basically a huge book warehouse outlet store! There is only one catch… they’re only open at certain times of the year for about two weeks at a time. Admission is free and there is a large parking lot on the premises. And the warehouse buildings are heated and air conditioned.

Where do the books come from? The Green Valley Book Fair specializes in publisher’s returns. Publisher’s returns are books that have been returned to the publisher by other book stores. They have three floors of showroom space, totaling over 25,000 square feet. The stock changes at every Book Fair, with new titles being added and others selling out. But, they always have a good selection of children’s books (usually over 1,000 different titles), cookbooks, history, literature, general fiction, mysteries, reference, computer books, health and self-help, audio books, science, nature, fine arts, crafts, gardening, business and more. They carry 500,000 books in hardcover and trade-size paperback. Books are discounted 60%-90% off retail, with the majority being discounted in the 66%-75% off retail range. Basically it’s a book lover’s paradise!

Green Valley Book Fair from the air

Here is their schedule for 2011:
March 26 thru April 10
May 14 thru 30
July 2 thru 17
August 20 thru September 5
October 8 thru 23
November 25 thru December 17
Open Only during Scheduled Dates from 9am – 7pm Daily
Open Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day, and Columbus Day from 9am – 7pm

Check out their website gobookfair.com for more information, including directions, nearby hotels, lists of books they are most likely to have at the next Book Fair and more. You can also find them on facebook at Green Valley Book Fair.

They accept all major credit cards and checks with proper ID. I do suggest that you take a couple of your own reusable shopping bags to carry your books home. They do have some small boxes they can put your books in, but you can fit a lot more in a big shopping bag anyway! Personally, I always take at least two…

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An Author I'd Like to Have Lunch With

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To Kill a Mockingbird

I'd like to have lunch with Harper Lee. She's the author of my favorite book ever. It's a classic and kids all over the country are made to read it in high school (as well they should!). I personally read TKAM once a year. I'm not sure what questions I'd ask since she's a pretty anti-social persona I think I'd shy away from the typical fan type things. I'd probably ask her how she felt when TKAM was banned for the first time. Which just so happened to take place in my home state, not far from where I live. What author would you like to have lunch with and what would you ask?

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Midwives

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Midwives by Chris Bohjalian

“With a suspense, lyricism, and moral complexity that recall To Kill a Mockingbird and Presumed Innocent, this compulsively readable novel explores what happens when a woman who has devoted herself to ushering life into the world finds herself charged with responsibility in a patient’s tragic death.

The time is 1981, and Sibyl Danforth has been a dedicated midwife in the rural community of Reddington, Vermont, for fifteen years. But one treacherous winter night, in a house isolated by icy roads and failed telephone lines, Sibyl takes desperate measures to save a baby’s life. She performs an emergency Caesarean section on its mother, who appears to have died in labor. But what if—as Sibyl’s assistant later charges—the patient wasn’t already dead, and it was Sibyl who inadvertently killed her?

As recounted by Sibyl’s precocious fourteen-year-old daughter, Connie, the ensuing trial bears the earmarks of a witch hunt except for the fact that all its participants are acting from the highest motives—and the defendant increasingly appears to be guilty. As Sibyl Danforth faces the antagonism of the law, the hostility of traditional doctors, and the accusations of her own conscience, Midwives engages, moves, and transfixes us as only the very best novels ever do.”

When coming to mark this book as read, I saw that I had put it on my to-read list back in 2008. I don’t recall when or where I first heard about the book that caused it to be added to my list. After all, my to-read list holds over three thousand books. I do, however, recall seeing it on the shelf at B&N two months ago and picking it up to read the back flap.

The title alone caught my attention due to the fact that my very best friend in the entire world is currently pursuing her dream of becoming a home birth midwife. She has been an apprentice midwife now for just over a year, so my knowledge and interest of all things midwife-y has grown considerably. I figured, if nothing else, I’d read it, see if it was any good and recommend it to her. It turns out she beat me to it. I was telling her about this book that I had seen that I wanted to read and she had already read it, owned it as a matter of fact, and would loan it to me. I didn’t realize that it was an Oprah read until she handed me her copy and I have to admit to being one of those people who rolls their eyes every time they see an Oprah’s Book Club marker on a book cover. But, as much as it annoys me, typically, the books she chooses are very good.

As for the book itself, I thought it very well written. I liked the way it was told through the memories of the midwife’s daughter with small snippets of Sybl’s journals at the beginning of each chapter.

Now, I personally have never attended a home birth, or any birth for that matter. I do know several women who have had home births over the past two years and I am friends with a home birth midwife and her two apprentices. I am familiar with the attitude towards home birth that many in the medical field have and I felt that was realistically portrayed in the book. I am all too aware of the ignorance of the general public when it comes to home birth. I often get a good laugh when I tell someone my friend is a home birth midwife. “You mean people still have babies at home?”

My one major issue with the book was that I did feel that Sybil would never have called her mother’s “patients”, she would have called them clients instead. But overall it appeared to be very well researched.

Some of the reviews I’ve read say that they feel the book is an indictment against home birth but I don’t think that is the case at all. I haven’t asked my friend what she thought of the book yet, I wanted to wait until I was done with it to discuss it with her but I’ll be interested to hear her take on the story. Personally, I gave it 4 stars, I liked it very much.

Paperback
374 pages
Published November 8th 1998 by Vintage
ISBN13: 9780375706776

4 stars

Adventures…

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So, I’ve been sick this week. I woke up Saturday morning having apparently come down with the plague (also known as pneumonia). I went to the doctor on Monday and was told to stay in the bed and rest, and that I couldn’t go to work until next Monday. Under normal circumstances I would probably have read several books in that time. However, that has not been the case this week.

First of all, I’ve barely slept until today. For days and days I couldn’t sleep more than an hour at a time; night, day, didn’t matter, couldn’t sleep. I was so tired that I couldn’t concentrate whenever I tried to pick up my book. I’ve read maybe two chapters of my book in the past five days. (And that is seriously depressing!) Secondly, I’ve just hurt too much to do anything but lay here and whimper. And blow my nose. And cough. And cough. And cough. And blow my nose. And… well, you get the point.

So, instead of getting any reading done, I’ve vegged in front of some really bad daytime television (and one really good Law & Order: Criminal Intent marathon. Yay Bobby Goren!). So, for the past few days, I decided to watch the four movies I own based on one of my favorite books, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. And I thought I’d share the different versions, which I like for different reasons, with you all here. *Note: There are way more than four versions of Alice. Source: imdb.com


Alice in Wonderland (1933)
The screenplay for this film was pulled from both of Carroll’s Alice stories and was heavily influenced by Eva Le Gallienne’s and Florida Friebus’ Broadway version of the novel, which premiered onstage in 1932. Produced by Paramount Studios, the film was released on December 22, 1933 in hopes that it would revive the failing studio which was facing bankruptcy. However, the film was considered a box office failure despite it’s star-studded cast. The failure of the film at the box office was attributed to the fact that although a top-rank cast was used, many of them were virtually unrecognizable under their heavy makeup and costuming.
Over 7,000 actresses were screened over a five month period before Charlotte Henry was finally chosen to play Alice. Henry was relatively unknown in the film industry at that time, having only debuted on Broadway five years prior.
Some of the other stars in the film are W.C. Fields as Humpty Dumpty, Gary Cooper as the White Knight, and Cary Grant as the Mock Turtle.
It’s an old film, obviously. You can occasionally see some wires. The effects are hardly up to 2011 standards and the film is black and white. However, if you love old films, or even if you just have a love of Alice, you’ll probably like this movie. It was never legally released on any home viewing format prior to 2010. It was however shown on television and in schools in the 1950’s and 60’s. Thanks to the success of Tim Burton’s Alice last year, Universal (they bought the distribution rights from Paramount in 1958) released it for the first time on dvd.


Alice in Wonderland (1951)
Produced by Walt Disney Productions and released on July 28, 1951. Continuing the pattern of film versions of “Alice in Wonderland” not being commercially successful, this movie was a huge box office failure. However, it did become something of a cult film during the 1960s, where it was viewed as a “head film”.
The movie took five years to complete, but was in development for over ten years before it entered active production.
Alice was the first Disney theatrical film to be shown on television. In 1954 it was shown as the second installment of the “Disneyland” TV show, edited to fit into a one hour time slot. It is also the only Disney feature-length cartoon film to have its first theatrical re-release after it had already been shown on television.
This was the first feature film for which Walt Disney was able to use television for cross-promotion. Disney’s very first television program, One Hour in Wonderland (1950) (TV), which was broadcast on Christmas evening of 1950, was devoted to the production of this film. Naturally, the entire program, including the clips from the movie, were in black and white.
Early drafts of the script had Alice encounter the Jabberwock (to have been voiced by Stan Freberg), from Lewis Carroll’s poem “Jabberwocky”. The sequence was rejected, either because it slowed the story down, or because of concerns that it would be too frightening. Elements of “Jabberwocky” remain in the film, however: the Cheshire Cat’s song “T’was Brillig”, consisting of the opening stanza; and the Tulgey Wood sequence, which includes at least one of the creatures mentioned in the poem, “The Mome Raths”.
Disney also re-released this film on dvd after the success of Tim Burton’s Alice in 2010.
It’s Disney so I love it and it’s Alice so I love it even more. It’s not my favorite film version of the book, nor is it my favorite Disney film, but I do enjoy watching it from time to time. The characters and animations are cute and the songs are fun.


Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1972)
Released in the United States on November 20, 1972. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is a 1972 British musical film based on the Lewis Carroll novel of the same name.
It had a star-filled cast including Fiona Fullerton as Alice, Michael Crawford as the White Rabbit, Sir Ralph Richardson as the Caterpillar, Sir Robert Helpmann as the Mad Hatter, Peter Sellers as the March Hare, Roy Kinnear as the Cheshire Cat, Dudley Moore as the Dormouse and Hywel Bennett as Robinson Duckworth (a part with no dialogue). John Barry composed the score.
In 1973, the film won the BAFTA Film Award at the BAFTA Awards Ceremony for Best Cinematography, won by Geoffrey Unsworth, and Best Costume Design, won by Anthony Mendleson.
Fiona Fullerton is best known for her part as Alice in this film and as KGB spy Pola Ivanova in the 1985 James Bond film A View to a Kill.
Though it had previously been released on dvd it had not been properly restored. It was supposed to be restored and re-released on dvd after the release of Tim Burton’s Alice in 2010.
This was one of my favorite movies as a kid. I watched it over and over and over again on HBO. This is the movie that first inspired me to read the book. It was also my favorite musical film, though at the time the only other musicals I had seen were The Sound of Music, Mary Poppins and The Wizard of Oz.


Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland (2010)
A Walt Disney film, released March 5, 2010. The film was released on dvd just three months after it’s big screen debut. The film earned $116,101,023 on opening weekend in the US.
Casting auditions for 250 extras were held in the British city of Plymouth on 6th and 7th August 2008. Requirements were for people with a ‘Victorian look’ and for applicants to have no visible tattoos, piercings or dyed hair. Actress Mia Wasikowska beat out several candidates for the role of Alice, including Amanda Seyfried and Lindsay Lohan, who lobbied for the role. According to Tim Burton, it was Mia Wasikowska’s gravity that won her the role.
This film marks the 7th time Johnny Depp has worked under the direction of Tim Burton and the 6th time for Helena Bonham Carter.
Despite the fact that there have been many other Alice in Wonderland films, Tim Burton has said he never felt an emotional connection to it and always thought it was a series of some girl wandering around from one crazy character to another. (In fact, the original books are part of a once-popular fantasy genre in which the character does nothing except wander around from one crazy encounter to another. Those films which replicated this were being true to the spirit of the original books.) So with this, he attempted to create a framework, an emotional grounding, which he felt he never really had seen in any version before. Tim said that was the challenge for him – to make Alice feel like a story as opposed to a series of events.
Although Helena Bonham Carter’s character is named the Red Queen, and has a rivalry with the White Queen as does the Red Queen from Through the Looking Glass, the character is in fact in all other ways based on the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland, incorporating her anger management issues, decapitation mania, and fondness for flamingo-and-hedgehog croquet. This is why while the White Queen’s army is chess-themed, the Red Queen’s army is playing-card themed. The battle scene at the end resembles a chess scene from afar to pay tribute to the chess game that Alice is playing all throughout the original text, “Through the Looking Glass”.
This is my favorite Alice movie. First, I love love love Tim Burton. Second, well, Johnny Depp… Need I say more? I like that Burton changed the story and made it something new and different that hadn’t been done before. It wasn’t just the same old jumble of characters spouting the same nonsense lines over and over again. It was rather refreshing in that way. I think that Burton’s dark method of storytelling was perfect for creating a “modern” Alice. If you haven’t seen it then I must assume you have been living under a rock for the past two years. And you should remedy that as soon as possible. Unless you’re nine, in which case, you should wait until your parents give you permission to watch it. 🙂

TGIF!

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It’s finally Friday! Here’s a list of seven Friday books for your viewing pleasure. What are you reading this weekend?

Friday by Robert Heinlein

“Engineered from the finest genes, and trained to be a secret courier in a future world, Friday operates over a near-future Earth, where chaos reigns. Working at Boss’s whimsical behest she travels from far north to deep south, finding quick, expeditious solutions as one calamity after another threatens to explode in her face….”

I haven’t read this but it sounds interesting. I’ve been reading more science fiction lately so I’m going to add this to my to-read list and see if the library has it.

Paperback
384 pages
Published June 17th 1997 by Del Rey (first published 1982)
ISBN13: 9780345414007
Hugo Award Nominee for Best Novel (1983)
Nebula Award Nominee (1983)

The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs

“Juggling the demands of her yarn shop and single-handedly raising a teenage daughter has made Georgia Walker grateful for her Friday Night Knitting Club. Her friends are happy to escape their lives too, even for just a few hours. But when Georgia’s ex suddenly reappears, demanding a role in their daughter’s life, her whole world is shattered.

Luckily, Georgia’s friends are there, sharing their own tales of intimacy, heartbreak, and miracle making. And when the unthinkable happens, these women will discover that what they’ve created isn’t just a knitting club: it’s a sisterhood.”

Hardcover
352 pages
Published January 18th 2007 by Putnam Adult
ISBN13: 9780399154096

Black Friday by James Patterson

“The breathtaking suspense of Kiss the Girls and the authenticity of N.Y.P.D. Blue: Welcome to James Patterson’s classic super-thriller, BLACK FRIDAY. A courageous federal agent, a powerful and resourceful woman lawyer – only they can possibly stop the unspeakable from happening. New York City is under siege by a secret militia group – and that’s just the beginning of the relentless terror of BLACK FRIDAY.

Originally published in 1987 as Black Market, also by James Patterson.”

Mass Market Paperback
480 pages
Published April 30th 1989 by Warner Vision (first published 1986)
ISBN13: 9780446609326

Freaky Friday by Mary Rodgers

“When I woke up this morning, I found I’d turned into my mother. There I, in my mother’ bed, with my feet reaching all the way to the bottom, and my father sleeping in the other bed. I had on my mother’s nightgown, and a ring on my left hand, I mean her left hand, and lumps and pins all over my head.”

I love this book! I’ve probably read it 20 or 30 times. As a matter of fact, I think I’ll see if the library has it and read it again soon… (I also love the Disney movie starring Jodie Foster which I may now have to watch this weekend…)

Mass Market Paperback
Published 1972 by Scholastic
ISBN13: 9780590118484
Nene Award (1977)

Friday’s Child by Georgette Heyer

“When the incomparable Miss Milbourne spurns the impetuous Lord Sherington’s marriage proposal (she laughs at him—laughs!) he vows to marry the next female he encounters, who happens to be the young, penniless Miss Hero Wantage, who has adored him all her life. Whisking her off to London, Sherry discovers there is no end to the scrapes his young, green bride can get into, and she discovers the excitement and glamorous social scene of the ton. Not until a deep misunderstanding erupts and Sherry almost loses his bride, does he plumb the depths of his own heart, and surprises himself with the love he finds there.”

Paperback
376 pages
Published June 3rd 2004 by Arrow (first published 1944)
ISBN13: 9780099468042

Friday Night Bites by Chloe Neill (second in a series)

“The story of a young heiress’s initiation into the dark society of the Chicagoland Vampires continues…

Ten months after vampires revealed their existence to the mortals of Chicago, they’re enjoying a celebrity status usually reserved for the Hollywood elite. But should people learn about the Raves-mass feeding parties where vampires round up humans like cattle-the citizens will start sharpening their stakes.

So now it’s up to the new vampire Merit to reconnect with her upper class family and act as liaison between humans and bloodsuckers, and keep the more unsavory aspects of the vampire lifestyle out of the media. But someone doesn’t want peace between them-someone with an ancient grudge…”

A vampire series I’ve never heard of. Intriguing.

Paperback
357 pages
Published October 6th 2009 by NAL Trade (first published September 2nd 2009)
ISBN13: 9780451227935

Friday Night Lights by H.G. Bissinger

“Return once again to the enduring account of life in the Mojo lane, to the Permian Panthers of Odessa — the winningest high school football team in Texas history. Odessa is not known to be a town big on dreams, but the Panthers help keep the hopes and dreams of this small, dusty town going. Socially and racially divided, its fragile economy follows the treacherous boom-bust path of the oil business. In bad times, the unemployment rate barrels out of control; in good times, its murder rate skyrockets. But every Friday night from September to December, when the Permian High School Panthers play football, this West Texas town becomes a place where dreams can come true. With frankness and compassion, Bissinger chronicles one of the Panthers’ dramatic seasons and shows how single-minded devotion to the team shapes the community and inspires-and sometimes shatters-the teenagers who wear the Panthers’ uniforms. ”

I read this book years ago and loved it. I’ve never seen the movie or the television show but the book was great.

Mass Market Paperback
357 pages
Published September 28th 2004 by Da Capo Press (first published 1988)
ISBN13: 9780306814259

Mildred Pierce

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Mildred Pierce by James M. Cain

“Mildred Pierce had gorgeous legs, a way with a skillet, and a bone-deep core of toughness. She used those attributes to survive a divorce and poverty and to claw her way out of the lower middle class. But Mildred also had two weaknesses: a yen for shiftless men, and an unreasoning devotion to a monstrous daughter.

Out of these elements, Cain creates a novel of acute social observation and devastating emotional violence, with a heroine whose ambitions and sufferings are never less than recognizable.”

James M. Cain is recognized today as a master of the hard-boiled American novel. What the heck is a hard-boiled novel you ask? Hard-boiled is genre of fiction, a literary style most commonly associated with detective stories, distinguished by the unsentimental portrayal of violence and sex. The style was pioneered by Carroll John Daly in the mid-1920s, popularized by Dashiell Hammett over the course of the decade, and refined by Raymond Chandler beginning in the late 1930s.

I loved the book but occasionally, I want to reach through the pages, grab Mildred by her shoulders, and shake some sense into her! I definitely intend to read more of Cain’s work. He also wrote The Postman Always Rings Twice and I’ve already added it to my to-read list. If you intend to read this book you should keep in mind that it was first published in 1941 and it is about life in the depression, so the language used is quite different. I loved that it was written from a third person point of view. Lately almost everything I read is in first person pov so it was a nice change.

I think Cain did an excellent job of portraying Mildred as a woman who would do whatever she needed to do to give her children the best, whether or not it was actually the best for them. A lot of men try to write stories from a female point of view and fail miserably. Mildred is an enabler of the first degree but she can cook and bake better than anyone in Glendale, CA. Not to mention she’s apparently got sweet legs. She’s a strong woman, stronger than she gives herself credit for I think, but she can’t seem to grasp the one thing she wants most.

Paperback
304 pages
Published March 22nd 2011 by Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group (first published 1941)
ISBN13: 9780307946591