Monday, December 28, 2009

Holiday Wrap Up

If I was feeling really creative, I would have made this into a rap, but alas (or perhaps luckily) my creativity is dulled by all the fat, sugar and alcohol I have imbibed these last few days.

We had a few bright spots this holiday season. Notably, we managed to keep some hot titles in stock (Rustic Fruit Desserts). We also managed to handsell all of our copies of the new Thomas Keller cookbook. Many customers were thrilled with how fast we could fill their orders. Others were thrilled that we could wrap their gifts! We had several positive comments about our extended holiday hours. And, we almost sold out of our favorite holiday gift item (see above - there are only two left!)

One dull and sour spot, that worked out ok in the end was the delivery of our orders from a major distributor. The morning of the 21st, when we realized our shipment was again going to be late, we were feeling down. I called the distributor, emailed my rep, begged, pleaded, offered my first born (they declined, thank goodness!) anything to get the books delivered that day. Low and behold, one of the heads of the warehouse decided to solve the problem. He loaded up his minivan with our six boxes, and drove them four hours to our store. I know that for many, the holiday spirit is about love, family, sharing and peace. This year, Wes from Ingram reminded me that it is also about gratitude and sometimes doing a little extra to help someone out. Thanks, Wes.


Monday, December 14, 2009

In the holiday spirit.

My friend Brad is a used book buyer at a Seattle bookstore. He is also a lovely man and his passion for fine literature knows no bounds. I have included here a link to him reading part of Dicken's The Pickwick Papers. He is a wonderful reader. I only wish I could see him read more Dickens in person.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Will the book really die?

People often ask me what I think about the Kindle and other e-reader technology. I have briefly perused an article from the New Yorker on my friend's Kindle. I thought it was a fine enough experience. I suspect that e-readers are more that just a fad, but I am not sure how much of a dent they will make in traditional book sales. I know that e-readers have already affected my little store a bit. I had several customers who used to spend and average of $60-$100 a month on books. Then they told me they got Kindles last year and I have rarely seen them since. A customer and his wife inquired this past weekend if we would ever have the e-reader technology for sale, and the e-books to go with it. These are smart, no-nonsense people; people I admire. They wanted to buy this technology, from me. It made me pause. For the last four months I have been wondering if/when I should try to get a piece of the e-reader market. The technology is almost there for me through the American Bookseller's Association. It is likely that within the next six-to-eight months, thanks to the ABA I will be able to sell e-readers at my store (probably only the Sony version) and sell e-books on my website.

I am unsure, however, about the viability of these sales for my store. There is a significant initial investment in time and money to upgrade my website so that I can offer e-readers. Then there are monthly fees (which are not cheap) and whatever kind of routine management the website will need. Do enough people in Yamhill County want to be able to buy e-readers to warrant this investment? That is what I am trying to figure out. There are many catches. Kindle users can only get books from Amazon. Nook users can only get books from Barnes & Noble. Sony e-reader users can get books from independent booksellers. How many people will get a Sony vs a Kindle? Or a Nook? These are all questions I ponder.

There is always some big drama in bookselling. When I started as a bookseller, it was the early days of big box stores coming to steal market share from the small independents. Many small stores closed. But many of those were poorly run and probably would have closed soon anyway. This is an ongoing process, highlighted by the current lackluster economy. Then Amazon came onto the scene. Amazon was a threat to all bricks and mortar stores. Over and over I heard the death knell being rung for traditional bookstores. People were saying that in ten years, there would no longer be any stores for people to walk into to touch a book before they bought it. This was back in 1995. Again, there were many stores that closed, but many also adapted to what their customers wanted and became better at what they could reasonably deliver.

An article in this morning's New York Times actually prompted this post. The article (you can read it here) talks about the resurgence of vinyl records. Remember those? I bet you or your parents have a stack somewhere in the garage, likely in an old milk crate. In this article, there was one line that made me stop and laugh a bit: "And with the curious resurgence of vinyl, a parallel revival has emerged: The turntable, once thought to have taken up obsolescence with reel-to-reel and eight-track tape players, has been reborn." Hmm. Now, vinyl record sales are no where even close to what they used to be, but there is a ton of competition. And people are rediscovering the superior sound quality that vinyl produces. So here is the question: Will this happen with books? I mean in ten, maybe fifteen years, will people be so sick and tired of everything being so rush, rush? Will we discover that e-readers give off some kind of noxious gas that causes painful pink blisters on our faces when we are using them? Will technology come full circle, and like vinyl, we will rediscover the book? I wonder.


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Eight Good Reasons to Shop Early, Shop Often.

I am shamelessly stealing this from a fellow bookseller's Twitter feed, via a trade newsletter, Shelf Awareness.

1. We have not yet started playing Christmas music.
2. That feeling of self-righteousness over starting so early translates into treating yourself to something as well.
3. You can make a list of all the things you want, so that you can hint liberally at Thanksgiving.
4. If there's a hardcover you've been eyeing, you have time to read the whole thing before giving it away.
5. We have free gift wrapping. By Christmas, you’ll forget what it was you bought. Aren't surprises great?
6. It’s much easier to stick to your budget when we aren't serving you eggnog like we do the week before Christmas. (*NOTE: We don't do this at TSB, but it might be a good idea!)
7. All versions of The Night Before Christmas are still in stock. You won't have to settle for that one weird one left over on Christmas Eve.
8. You'll bring smiles and joy and a twinkle to the eye of your favorite local, indie bookseller.

Katherine Fergason (@KatherineBoG), manager and children's buyer at Bunch of Grapes Bookstore, Vineyard Haven, Mass.


Monday, October 19, 2009

Our peeps! On bikes!

So for the last few years, we have been partial sponsors of a group of crazies who ride their bikes in the mud. Have you ever heard of cyclo cross? Non? Well, visit here the local organizers of semi-weekly races to get a better picture.

The main sponsors are our friends at Staccato Gelato in Portland. We were given the opportunity to help out and said, why not? We like bikes. Lots of people who ride bikes read books too, right? Ok, the logic may be a bit flawed, but whatever. Here are some pics of a few members of the team:

Here is our logo on the back of the jersey:

Doesn't everyone look swell? We will write about books again soon.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Ack! It is the last day of August!

We have been woefully absent from this blog. It doesn't mean we aren't reading, or thinking of books. It just means we are busy selling books and enjoying the summer. I sense that fall is in the vicinity. The light outside has changed. Did you notice? It happened very subtly. You were probably too busy swimming, or camping or complaining about the heat. The angle of the light is at a greater slant. I love this. I love the way it changes not just the shadows of the everyday stagnant objects around you, but the colors of them as well.

Slight distraction. We are headed to the PNBA Trade Show next week. That is the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Trade Show. We hope to meet with some authors, chat with other booksellers and gather information about the best books for the fall. This blog post is actually a break from writing orders for the show. Is there something in particular that you want?


Saturday, July 25, 2009

Fall books

We are finishing our fall buying right now and I must say the upcoming list looks very, very promising. A lot of these titles are coming out in October and November but you can come in and pre-order any of them now. There are so many good titles coming out I can't list all of them, but here is a little taste of what to expect this fall.

Young Readers

Waddle by Rufus Butler Seder: Seder has two other Scanimation books to his name but this one will be in color. (Available Oct. 1st)

Day Is Done by Peter Yarrow: Here is another book/Cd combo for those of you who loved Puff the Magic Dragon and the Peter Yarrow songbook. (Available Oct. 6th)

The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner's Dilemma by Trenton Lee Stewart: This is the third book featuring the wonderful Mysterious Benedict Society. Perfect for kids who like a light mystery story. (Available Oct. 6th)

Ghost in the Machine: Skeleton Creek #2 by Patrick Carman: A really creepy series set in a fictional Oregon logging town. This book has a multi-media approach. Kids can read the story and watch mysterious videos online. Lots of fun for adults and kids. (Available Oct. 1st)

Sent: Missing Book 2 by Margaret Peterson Haddix: Found: Missing Book 1 is on the Battle of the Books list for Oregon students this year. I haven't read anything from this series, but I have heard from many enthusiastic kids that it is fantastic. (Available August 25th)

Young Adult

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater: This book is perfect for Stephenie Meyer fans. It has werewolves, intrigue and a bit of a love story. Teens will love this first book in a planned series. (Available August 1st!)

The Amanda Project Book 1: Invisible I by Stella Lennon: This book is a bit like The 39 Clues but it is geared for teen girls. The Amanda Project has a dedicated website and the author is planning multiple books. If you want to get your teen hooked on a new series, this is a good one to try. (Available September 22nd)

Catching Fire: The Second Book of the Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins: Collins does not disappoint with this follow up to The Hunger Games. I'm already looking forward to Book 3! This book is great for guys and girls because it has strong male and female characters. (Available Sept 1st)

Fire by Kristin Cashore: Cashore's first book, Greaceling, is one of my top YA picks of 2008. Fire is presented as a companion to Graceling, but the books only share one character. If you have a teen girl who can't get enough to read, steer her to Cashore. The author does a wonderful job creating strong female characters who know what they want (and it's not always a boyfriend) (Available Oct. 5th)

The Maze Runner by James Dashner: I finished this book earlier this week and I cannot stop raving about it. Dashner creates a Lord of the Flies type world, only the boys are not completely wild, they have no memory of where they come from, they spend every day trying to figure out how to get out of a maze and there are really creepy creatures that try to kill them once they enter the maze. So, not really like Lord of the Flies, but a tense, quick read. Great for adults and teens. (Available Oct. 6th)


Gathering Storm: Wheel of Time #12 by Robert Jordan: It's almost here! (Available Nov. 3rd)

Lost Symbol by Dan Brown: I know a lot of people have been waiting years for this title. At 528 pages let's hope it's as intense as his other books. (Available Sept. 15th.)

Children's Book by A. S. Byatt: I'm working through this 688 page book right now. Even though it's long, it is very compelling and I am enjoying it. (Available Oct. 6th 2009)

Where Men Win Glory by Jon Krakaeur: Who doesn't love a new Krakaeur book? His subject this time around? Pat Tillman and what exactly happened to him. (Available Sept. 15th)

Stones into Schools by Greg Mortenson: Three Cups of Tea is still selling well for us. I know a lot of people who can't wait to get their hands on this book. (Available Dec. 1st)

Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters by Winters, Ben H: For all of you who have bought, read, and loved Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, here is another great title from Quirk Books. (Available Sept. 15th)


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Finally, an update!

Well, it's been far too long since we updated our blog! We've all been busy with getting out of school frenzy, early summer camping trips and, of course, selling books. I spent this past weekend in the Cave Junction / Grants Pass area and I finally got around to reading Coop, the latest by Michael Perry.

If you haven't read anything by Michael Perry you should check him out soon. I would recommend reading Truck: a Love Story first because Coop picks up where it left off. In Coop Perry writes about his family, the arrival of his first child and his new role as a farmer. As usual he writes with a certain Midwestern flair that will have you laughing one moment and wiping away tears the next.

For fans of the current vampire / paranormal craze I recently finished the Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare. I like this series because it appeals to teens and adults and it has more adventure than romance. This is a fast-paced read with lots of fight scenes that will appeal to everyone. Another plus of this series: it features every paranormal creature imaginable and the author does a wonderful job weaving the different factions together.

A few more updates: This week we received Border Songs, the new book from Jim Lynch, and The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. Next week the new Janet Evanovich will be available. This makes #15!!

We have most of the Battle Books available now. If you buy 10 off any list you get a 10% discount. Come in now and stock up!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Book Pirates!

Share this with a kid!

Thanks to Jessica at The Written Nerd for the link.


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Books as personality identifiers

In an article in this week's New York Times (the Fashion & Style section no less!) author Joanne Kaufman addresses the Kindle's affect on literary snobbism. She points out that seeing what other people read is for many a way to compartmentalize an individual. We have all scanned a friend's bookshelf and whether you want to admit it or not, you are impressed to see a dog-eared collection of Jane Austen's novels. Or someone who actually made it through one of Pynchon's doorstop books. With the Kindle, the ability to be surreptitious in your nosiness is a lot harder. Maybe the Kindle will become some kind of class equalizer (once they are free of course) and we will no longer judge a book by its cover?

I have mixed feelings about the Kindle. I touched my first one last week. It wasn't an entirely bad experience. Am I going to buy one? No, they are far too expensive for me. But I appreciate that they can be quite handy and imagine in some settings (especially academic circles) their usefulness is being embraced with arms wide open. Frequent travelers too would also appreciate the ease of use. However, for me, part of the fun of traveling is in visiting other bookstores and picking something up that I missed in my own. There are many arguments in favor of e-readers, but for now I am going to stick to my ink & paper reader.


Wednesday, April 8, 2009


We booksellers are lucky enough to get advanced copies of forthcoming titles. Here are some excellent titles from the first half of this year. A few of them aren't published yet, but that will give you time to get caught up on the author's other books!

Last night I finished Little Bee by Chris Cleave. What an amazing book. I'm not sure I even have words to describe how wonderful it is. Before its release the publishers didn't say very much about the book because they wanted readers to discover its content on their own. All I will say is that this is a very good novel about immigration, globalization and refugees. And it is definitely worth buying in hardcover.

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

This book is a must read for any teenager who is uncertain about leaving home for any reason. If you have a 16-18 year old in your life make sure they read this book. It's great for adults too, but I think it will really resonate with teens in the midst of making big life choices. If I Stay follows 17-year-old Mia for 24 hours after she and her family get in a horrific car accident. This is a fantastic story and it's available now.

The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

This is a prequel to The Shadow of the Wind and it is full of the intrigue and drama that Zafon does best. (June 16th 2009)

The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson

This is the second book in a planned trilogy by Swedish author Steig Larsson. The series was going to feature at least ten books but Larsson only completed three before dying suddenly of a heart attack. I don't usually read crime fiction, but these books are so compelling and well written I found myself wishing Larsson would return from the grave and write seven more titles. (July 28th)

Border Songs by Jim Lynch

Jim Lynch is my new favorite author. He has two fiction titles under his belt, Border Songs and Highest Tide. Highest Tide is the Mac Reads pick for this year and Mr. Lynch himself will be in town at the end of April. If you haven't read Highest Tide you have plenty of time left to do so. Both of Jim Lynch's books are set in Washington state and feature spectuacular characters. He will be in the store on April 30th from 3-4 pm for a signing before his 7:30 talk at the Nicholson Library at Linfield. (Border Songs pubs June 16th).

- Angela

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Thanks for partying with us!

Starting to get busy.
Happy Birthday Oregon display. Also, if you look closely, you can see my face directly under the red arrow! Fortuitous, non?
Husband extraordinaire (thanks babe!) and my grandmother!
Employees kissing their mothers. It was a really family friendly event!
More partying.

We had a great time. If you missed it, we are sorry. Maybe in five more years we will do it again!


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Happy Birthday to Us!


Saturday, February 28th from 5-8 pm, join us at the bookstore to celebrate our fifth anniversary! The store is in fact much older than five, but we wanted an excuse to celebrate, and this seemed like a good one. Live music, bubbles and snacks will great you that evening. Everything in the store will be 5% off for the whole day. Print out this email and bring it in for an additional 10% off! That means you could get a whole 15% off your purchase for that day! And we would get to say "thank you" to you for sticking with us!

Saturday, February 28th from 5-8 pm.
Bring your friends!

Before I get too mushy and weepy I have to say, thank you. Owning a bookstore has been a dream of mine for a long time. Once, during a performance review that I was having with a supervisor at Border's, she asked me where I saw myself in five to ten years (note: DO NOT ASK THIS QUESTION. It is really lame.) I honestly told her that I saw myself owning my own store. She thought I was nuts, and told me so. Well, if this is crazy, I'll take it.

Being a part of this community has been filled with all sorts of fun. Little things like walking down Third Street and waving to people as they pass by reminds me that my children will never get into too much trouble in a town where lots of people know their parents! Wearing my pj's to Roth's for some morning food shopping, and being caught by a customer who wants to know if I have a book in stock. Having the best staff ever help me guide this store into a real community bookstore. Working with other business owners and neighbors in town to ensure that people know about our great downtown and the importance of supporting locally owned businesses. Since I have taken over the store, not once have I woken up and thought, "Ugh! Today I have to go to work".

So to all of you who have watched us expand, stock the store, try different events, etc. and have stuck with us, we thank you.

NOTE: I have just been informed that almost all my postings and e-newletters have at least one spelling error. For the record. I am a lousy speller. LOUSY. I know, I own a bookstore for crying out loud, isn't there a dictionary around? Well, yes, but that would mean I would have to move. I am lousy, and lazy. You will still read this, won't you?


Friday, February 20, 2009

Citadel of the Spirit

I know Sylla mentioned Citadel of the Spirit: Oregon's Sesquicentennial Anthology in December sometime, but now that I've read it I have to throw in my two cents. I bought my Dad this book for his birthday. I had a few days before I was going to see him so I started reading excerpts from the book. After 4 or 5 essays I was hooked and had to buy a copy for myself.

I thought I would read the book over a long period of time (it's 400+ pages) but I read it in about 2 weeks! Matt Love did a wonderful job putting this book together and I found myself fascinated and enthralled with Oregon's history. I read some of the pieces out loud to my husband and after I finished the book he settled down to read through it for himself. My husband and I were both born and raised in Oregon and had no idea we knew so little about Oregon history.

We have lots of copies of Citadel of the Spirit. If you are at all curious about Oregon history, you need to read this book!


Sunday, February 8, 2009

Happiness is...

As you may know, dear reader, there are many things that make up the workings of our bookstore. Book ordering, customer service, displays, cleaning and organizing... Ah yes, cleaning.

D'you know what a mulching vacuum is? A vacuum that, rather than picking up dirt and depositing it in the collection bag instead spins it around and deposits it right back on the floor, sometimes flinging (at warp speed, no less) bits and pieces of dirt and pebbles willy-nilly. Apparently last week, our trusty Eureka-with-special-mulch-feature gave up the ghost. Finally. I walked her down to Boersma's to see if anything could be done, her wheels screeching a funeral dirge along the way. Dragging her back to the vacuum repair area, I asked if anything could be done, and the nice man at Boersma's asked me if I wanted her to be fixed. Do what you can, sir, I replied, and left her in his capable hands.

Fast forward to Sunday, finding me in the back of the bookstore turning on the heat, and there, in the corner, shining like a beacon, is a Miele Calypso Power Plus upright vacuum with automatic height adjustment and swivel neck. Swivel. Neck. That's power steering in vacuum speak, folks. This thing practically vacuums the place all by itself.

Anything to make our job easier. I thank you Sylla, (and Boersma's) for this wonderful gift.


Saturday, February 7, 2009

Happy Birthday Oregon!

Ok, I know the official day isn't until next week, but who cares? It is a beautiful sunny day, great for meandering down Third Street. I rode my bike around this morning and look forward to more errands taken care of by bike this afternoon. I have also been looking for some neat little Valentine's Day gifts for my family. Don't tell my husband, but I think that this year, I am going to go all out. Yep, I am going to give him what he really wants: a crossword puzzle dictionary. My poor children are always so bummed that we are not more romantic. Ah well. I will make them each a sweet Valentine and sooth their hearts with chocolate.

On Thursday, we are excited to host Matt Love, author and editor extraordinaire, and several authors from his book, Citadel of the Spirit: Oregon's Sesquicentennial Anthology - A Merging of Past and Present Oregon Voices and Stories. This event will be a great way to celebrate our state's birthday. Matt is a wonderful speaker, compassionate and inspiring, and we are looking forward to hearing other authors from the book as well. Just a little shameless self-promotion there.

I forgot to mention that we have an electronic newsletter. Maybe you already get it, I don't know. We announce our cool events, sales, and book reviews there. If you are interested in receiving it, please send your name and email address and we will add you to our list!

Off to hang out in the sun!


Sunday, January 25, 2009

Mystery Loves Company

Today for thee, a short list:
  • I confess my undying passion for Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley, Eighth Earl of Asherton.

  • I also confess that the above mentioned Thomas Lynley is, well, a fictional character from an amazingly well-written series of mysteries by Elizabeth George and my passion shall go unrequited.

  • *Sigh*

  • I highly encourage you to pick up the series, starting with A Great Deliverance and read it, read it as soon as you can.

  • The series need not be read in order, but it helps. (I read the most recent one, Careless in Red first.)

  • Make sure to set aside a goodly block of time in which to read each book, as they will suck you into what I refer to as "The Book Vortex," a curious place where time and space lose all meaning.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Nothing to read.

Sounds dumb, I know. I mean not only do I have a literal ton of books at home, I own a bookstore for crying out loud. But sometimes, I just cannot find something that tempts me. I want something light, but not fluffy. Nothing that is going to make me cry, or insert itself into my dreams. At the suggestion of one of my co-workers I read Dietgirl the other night. It was fine. A quick, easy read following the true story about one woman's quest to loose half her body weight (she started at 350 lbs and took five years to do it!) Like I said, it was fine. I want something with a leetle more teeth to it. I got half way through The Bone People last week. I will finish it, but need a break. I do most of my reading at night and I found that I have a hard time remember if someone is talking, or thinking, and who it is. I have some galleys that look promising, but I am still casting about for a nice toothy mystery. Any suggestions?


Thursday, January 8, 2009

I am always in search of something good to read. I know, I work in a bookstore and the possibilities are endless, yes? Well, sure, but sometimes there are so many choices it's hard to decide. I always seem to have good luck closing my eyes and playing eenie-meenie-miny-moe, but there is something to be said of making informed choices.

I picked up
The Whiskey Rebels because it was the right time. I had just finished Stephen King's latest collection of short stories (He is a great writer and there is no shame in having a diverse taste in reading material. So there.) and I started to feel panicked. Do you not feel somehow incomplete when you are between books? It really is best to have more than one going at a time but, hey, it was the holiday season and free time I had not. I had heard good things about David Liss and I am always drawn to history and historic novels.

The Whiskey Rebels did not disappoint. Set in post-Revolutionary America, Liss relates the stories of Ethan Saunders, a disgraced war spy accused of treason, and Joan Maycott, the widow of a whiskey distiller. Their stories intertwine until they finally meet on the proverbial battlefield, both with radically different agendas.

Liss has definitely done his homework as you can see; once you finish reading, I dare you not to look up the real Whiskey Rebellion and find out what politicians were up to at the dawn of our country.


Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Butt Humor

I know that I am likely to offend someone with this post, but here it goes. Butt humor. It is funny. You cannot deny it. Sometimes it is more funny than others. Usually, it is not funny if it smells really bad. I tend to buy the butt humor books for the store. This drives one of my booksellers nuts. She doesn't think they are funny. She thinks they are crass and rude. Hmm. Sometimes I am crass and rude (but I try not to be in front of you, dear reader). Here are some of my favorite butt humor books:

We all know a dog with horrible gas. If you don't, I suggest you get to know Walter. His flatulence is by no means indicative of his personality, which is mild and sweet.

I bought this last Christmas for my daughters to give to my brother. They gleefully showed the book to my mom before the holiday. My mother retorted that my brother was far too mature for a book about poop. Christmas morning came and guess which present everyone was reading all day?

As a kid it was common to get Mad Libs, and then fill in the blanks with the dirtiest word you could think of (poop, fart, stupid). I few years ago I hosted a party that my husband called Meatloaf, Martini's and Mad Libs. I had acquired a set of "adult" Mad Libs. We sat around and filled in the blanks with the dirtiest words we could think of (not appropriate to reprint here, there were martini's there after all). We decided that the clean "kids" Mad Libs with the nasty adult words were way better than the "adult" ones. This is a great activity for winter evenings (not one where I would include young children).


Monday, January 5, 2009

Class Matters

I have to be honest, I rarely read non-fiction. The other day, however, a used book called Class Matters by correspondents of The New York Times came through the store and captured my interest. I borrowed it for a few days and I have been absolutely fascinated by the essays. I'm not quite finished with it, but I can't wait to the end to write about it.

Class Matters Cover

In 2005 The New York Times did a large series on class and its function in America. After the series was published they compiled the essays into this book. I would find the book's commentary on our society interesting even if we hadn't just escaped the horror that was 2008. However, what happened in 2008 - to the nation's economy, the housing market, etc. makes this book especially eerie in its predictions.

In writing about class distinctions one journalist mentions how difficult it is to tell who is in what class. She writes that we may think we are a classless society, but it only appears that way because of how easy it is to get a credit card or a home loan. Within her article she quotes Travis B. Plunkett, the legislative director of the Consumer Federation of America. "Many families that never had access to credit now do. The problem is that a flood of credit is now available to many financially vulnerable families and extended in a reckless and aggressive manner in many cases without thought to implications."

Anyone else feel like clutching their head in agony after reading that quote?? Why didn't we listen!? Why didn't we pay attention so we could see the financial crisis coming instead of waking up one morning wondering what was happening to our country? Ah, well. Hindsight is 20-20, right?

As we move away from 2008 it's important to read books like this to see where we have been and where we may be going. Class Matters discusses health care, immigration, and other pertinent issues that will matter to all of us as we enter into this New Year with a new President.

Here's to 2009 - may it cause less panic, less worry, fewer bailouts and much joy.