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Friday, August 8, 2008


Age 14↑ Young Adult Fantasy

The Host by Stephenie Meyer--author of Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, and the new release, Breaking Dawn

“A fascinating, passionate, and unique psychological thriller. In The Host, Stephenie Meyer gives a new and surprising meaning to the phrase ‘being of two minds’!” --Review by Katherine Neville, author of The Eight

Those of you who are fans of the above listed titles will also find this one to be entertaining and suspenseful. If you have not purchased a copy of Breaking Dawn -- you can get your own personal copy in Oz at Lemuria Bookstore. See you soon!!


Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Reviews for several titles by Alley Fortner

From time-to-time I give some galleys to young people I know to get their thoughts on new titles soon to be released
Alley is a high school student in Phoenix, Arizona having moved there several years ago from Jackson
she is an avid reader, and is providing for you some thoughts on books either just published or to be released this fall:

Eon by Alison Goodman
"I absolutely loved it! The story line was fabulous--the words fit perfectly adding a certain amount of suspense that just keeps you reading."
she gave this title five stars on a rating of 1-5

Here Lies Arthur by L. E. Matthews
" It was well worth reading! It took me a while to realize what was happening because I don't have much experience with reading about Arthur, but it was well worth the effort."
she gave this title four stars

note: L.E Matthews also wrote Fish which is one of our all-time favorites in OZ

The Last Of The High Kings by Kate Thompson
" The Last Of The High Kings was fabulous both in plot and story line. The words were all splendid."
she gave this title four stars

Thanks, Alley!!!


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Tom Piazza's Novel, The City of Refuge, Relishes in the Spirit of Rebirth

City of Refuge: A Novel

Tom Piazza

Harper: August 19, 2008


Three years ago, so many lives in Deep Dixie were affected by Katrina. Many nonfiction books of essay, memoir, photo-essay, history and commentary have been published about this life-changing hurricane. Refuge, I believe, is the first piece of serious fiction to come out about this time. Ambitious and successful, I celebrate this novel’s publication by choosing it for our September, 08 First Edition Club Selection.


Refuge deals with two families (one 9th ward and one uptown) as we see windows into their lives and their souls. We live with these folks, as if they are real, which is a magical quality of very good fiction. Their story is told in this familiar plot as if they are breathing and somehow Tom maintains his vision of truth in fiction. Refuge is writing without too much sentimentality, neurosis and without contriteness that plagues many factual situational novels. His characters live and speak and you feel alive as a reader in knowing them. Their joys, their problems and plainly just their human ways of living and surviving.


I’m excited to be involved with promoting this novel, Tom’s my pal and I thought this book might be too much for him, I was so wrong. He excels.


Refuge is fresh, real and a serious page-turner. Oddly enough, I’m reminded of my first reading of John Grisham’s The Firm, many years ago. Good people make mistakes and you identify with their shortcomings. Troubled folks can learn how to enhance their lives and all the time, you the reader, are part of the feelings of pain, joy and truth. To the last page, Tom is successful and special with the ending, no sentimental sap here. Just the guts of survival.


In reading Refuge, I feel the heart of New Orleans vibrate with humanity and the livable party spirit which those of us who visit value and enjoy.


Anyone touched by the pain of association with this great storm, should enjoy the wisdom of this novel. And be motivated to get off your ass and go to New Orleans and party, and may haps find Chief Bo and his band of Indians chanting joy over the drums and rhythm relishing in the spirit of rebirth.


America, America

Until Liam Metarey takes Corey Sifter under his wing, Corey's life is like that of any typical boy growing up in small town America during the Nixon Administration, unremarkable. Liam Metarey's life, however, is anything but typical. As Ethan Canin's new novel, America America, unfolds, so, also, do the layers upon layers of people, places and beliefs that make America the unique and beloved country that it is. 


Light Comes Through, Dzigar Kongtrul

Light Comes Through

Buddhist Teachings on Awakening to Our Natural Intelligence

By Dzigar Kongtrul

Shambala (July 2008)


Last year, or so, I enjoyed DK’s other book Its Up To You in a large scale way. Excited about his 2nd book, I dived in ASAP. Learning how to work on our emotional selves is so interesting and it seems as constant as breathing, eating, sleeping and just seeing the world around us.


I believe, putting it simply, all of us want to love more, see our internal and external worlds as clearly as possible. We want to stay fully healthy while expressing insights and interpreting our lives. LCT is very clearly written, adaptively arranged for the reader, essay length chapters make DK’s knowledge and understanding accessible for us to study and grasp. Light is an excellent satisfying extension of Its Up to You.


Some fine endorsements:


LCT shimmers with frank advice on becoming more intelligent about our emotions. DK offers a practical path to clarify and peace.” –Daniel Goldman


“This is a wonderful fresh look at the amazing potential of our human mind. DK continues to challenge and encourage us.” –Pema Chodron


LCT is a wonderful guidebook for living a very different kind of life.” – Sharon Salzberg


The Selected Poems, Li Po

The Selected Poems

By Li Po (701-762)

Translated by David Hinton

New Directions (1996)


About 4 years ago, I read this collection and last month I decided to reread Li Po, one of my favorite Chinese poets.

Li Po was called the “Banished Immortal,” an exiled spirit moving through this world with an unearthly ease and freedom from attachment. He is free from the attachments to self, however he profoundly belongs to mother earth. Li Po’s life was full of travel, big time pleasure drinking and a disdain of décor and authority. His meditative poems reflect his unfolding of being, rooted in non-being stillness.

I find Li Po easy to read, and that his poems lean from reading to self-reflection. Contemplative, yet, fun, profound they exist, somehow, from within the writer so long ago to within the reader of the present. Timeless so to say.

In wanting to share a poem, I just opened to a turned down page, and this was the poem:

9/9,  Out drinking on Dragon Mountain

I’m an exile among yellow blossoms smiling


Soon drunk, I watch my cap tumble in the wind,

Dance in love—A guest the moon invites.


Li Po, ended his life out drunk in a boat, fell into the river and drowned trying to embrace the moon.


Michael Burkes

Michael "Iron Man" Burks' earned his moniker by his hours-long, intensely physical performances, fearsome guitar attack, and tough, smoky vocals. The Chicago Sun-Times recently said Burks is "poised on the brink of major stardom." And now is your chance to see this incredible performer! Burks is on tour to promote his brand new release, Iron Man, and will perform on Friday, August 22nd and Saturday, August 23rd at the 930 Blues Cafe in Jackson.


Michael "Iron Man" Burks' powerful presence, inventive and riveting guitar work and soul-shaking vocals make him the torchbearer of electric blues guitar heroes. Burks' new CD, Iron Man, is an electrifying slice of emotional, rocked out blues. His fiery fretwork, gruff, fervent vocals and overwhelming intensity are captured here live in the studio. Come out and see for yourself why GuitarOne called Michael "Iron Man" Burks "a legend in waiting."


Don't miss this show!


Concert information is as follows:


Friday, August 22nd - Saturday, August 23rd
930 Blues Café
930 N. Congress St.
Jackson, MS
10:30 p.m.
Ticket Price: TBA




Monday, July 28, 2008

My Mercedes Is Not for Sale

I admit that my reason for picking up this book was completely superficial -- I used to drive the same Mercedes that's shown on the cover. The concept immediately hooked me. The author bought a used Mercedes 190D in Holland and drove it across Europe and through North Africa before selling it in Ghana. Cars that are considered near the end of their useful life in Europe often find their way into North and West Africa to be used as taxis, and so a modest profit can be made by delivering especially desirable vehicles. Mercedes, renowned for their quality and reliability, are among the most envied taxis in Africa.

What I discovered in this book is that while the description of his journey is interesting, the real insight is his comments on Africa and how Western culture and African culture interact. My wife spent 2 years in Cameroon as a child, and as I would read her a paragraph or two from the book, I'd see her smiling and nodding as Van Bergeijk's descriptions of Africa brought her own memories back into focus.

Sadly, much as I loved my Mercedes, I did not love the summer heat with no air conditioning (a flaw shared by the author's 190D). It's not the Sahara, but Mississippi in July is brutal in its own right. My Mercedes was traded in for a Saab, with air conditioning. It might not make it all the way to Ghana, but at least I'm not sweating.


Thursday, July 17, 2008

Carolyn Meyer, In Mozart's Shadow

Hi, I’m back!!

Historical Fiction:

12↑ If you like historical fiction you will enjoy the next three books by Carolyn Meyer

Marie Dancing, a story written about two sisters who pose for the painter Degas. Marie is the younger sister who poses for the famous bronze statue of the young girl wearing the tutu This one has been out for about two years and is in paperback. A very good read!


Loving Will Shakespeare is the story of the playwright viewed through the eyes of his wife Anne Hathaway.


In Mozart’s Shadow: His Sister’s Story is the story about Mozart told from the point of view of the accomplished older sister who had to take the backseat to the somewhat spoiled younger brother.

Come see us in Oz!!


Dirty Joe the Pirate

Summer is almost over!!

Children Picture Book

Ages 5-8 Dirty Joe the Pirate: A True Story by Bill Harley

Dirty Joe and his crew sail the high seas in search of smelly treasure—dirty socks. They pillaged their way across the seas until they met another band of pirates who are led by the notorious Stinky Annie who is in search of underwear. Perhaps Dirty Joe has met his match?????



Thursday, July 10, 2008

Growing Up In Mississippi edited by Judy H. Tucker and Charlene McCord

A friend brought me a copy of Growing Up In Mississippi and I have now read all of the selections included in this volume of essays---poignant memories and thoughts written by some of our most beloved and distinguished Mississippians.
Elizabeth ( Libby ) Aydelott was my friend and mentor years ago when I was a Girl Scout leader. So, reading her selection as she recounts her growing-up years in Poplarville was a rare window into her early life.
Reading the poignant selection written by Sid Salter as he spoke of his beloved sister, Sheila, filled me with such sadness at his loss.
There are many other contributers, from statesman to news anchor, novelist, watercolorist---each entry giving us a glimpse into the lives of these extraordinary individuals. A rare gift, indeed.


Monday, July 7, 2008

The Truro Bear and Other Adventures--poems by Mary Oliver

On the Writers Almanac Garrison Keillor has, over the last few weeks, included two selections from The Truro Bear And Other Adventures in his daily newsletter and radio program. This volume of poetry written by Mary Oliver is due to be released this fall. I am, however, lucky to have been given an Advance Reader copy and have over the last week savored the selections----ten new poems, thirty-five of Mary Oliver's classic poems, and two essays all about mammals, insects, and reptiles. It is a virtual feast for the mind and spirit! Look for it in the months to come.

The Other Kingdoms

Consider the other kingdoms. The
trees, for example, with their mellow-sounding
titles: oak, aspen, willow.
Or the snow, for which the peoples of the north
have dozens of words to describe its
different arrivals. Or the creatures, with their
thick fur, their shy and wordless gaze. Their
infallible sense of what their lives
are meant to be. Thus the world
grows rich, grows wild, and you too,
grow rich, grow sweetly wild, as you too
were born to be.


Thursday, July 3, 2008

If You Can't Ride the Jitney to the Hamptons, Ride on Over to Lemuria to get a Copy of the J.J. Salem's Summer Novel, Tan Lines!

St. Martin's Press is releasing the latest novel by Mississippi's own, J.J. Salem, today. Salem's new novel is called TAN LINES. The USA TODAY quoted Lisa Senz from St. Martin's yesterday saying, 

"Summer is the only time of year when even the smart girl has permission to indulge in the guilty pleasure of a really sexy, commercial novel." 

The USA TODAY also said, "This weekend, copies of J.J. Salem's Tan Lines will be given away on the Hampton Jitney. Lemuria will be hosting a release party for Tan Lines on Tuesday July 8, with special hours for the party from 6-8! Come by for the party!


Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Work as a Spiritual Practice

Work as a Spiritual Practice:
A Practical Buddhist Approach to Inner Growth
and Satisfaction on the Job

By Lewis Richmond
Broadway (1999)

Around twenty years ago, I studied Paul Hawken’s book, Growing a Business.
Billy Neville, a clothing pal and fellow retailer told me about it, and
he was right.  Hawken’s book still remains a must read for small business

Lewis Richmond, ex-Vice President for Smith-Hawken, wrote this book about
10 years ago.  I missed it then, but had recently discovered it in a
particular reference and went back to get it.  Work is an excellent follow
up to Hawken’s book and for fans of Michael Carroll’s book about work. 
Now that it is out of print, I had to find it on the used market.  This
one should not be out of print.

Richmond, a Buddhist teacher and entrepreneur, explores ways to be
fulfilled with the pleasures of good, hard work.  He deals with the daily
issues we face and offers insight into the rewards of proper coping.

Work breaks down the issues of conflict, stagnation, inspiration and
accomplishment.  It deals with subjects such as: boredom, failure,
discouragement, quitting, money and time, control, power, gratitude and
etc.  Addressing the aforementioned, daily issues that we face in work
allow us to see our own attitudes about these issues.  By examining our
“work selves” within, we are able to address our strengths and weaknesses
in a more constructive way…should we make the choice to do so.


Pelican Road: Novel

Pelican Road: Novel
By Howard Bahr
Macadam Cage: May 9, 2008

Howard Bahr is a train man.  Pelican Road, Howard’s first non-Civil War
fiction, is a literary train novel.  This is the only serious railroad
fiction that I know of.

Pelican Road is the train route from Meridian, MS to New Orleans.  Set
around 1940, Howard captures the personalities; the way folks lived; their
meanness and their cares; their moments of good fortune and their
unfortunate times.

Through the eyes of the people in this era, we learn about the ways of the
railroad:  the trains themselves and their workings; train jobs and their
responsibilities; the real-life characteristics of railroad men; and
insight into the joys and hardships of the railroad life.

I especially like the way Howard worked the WWI (“Doughboy War“) into this
novel.  Dealing with flashbacks gives Howard’s Civil War fiction fans just
enough.  Pelican Road extends Howard’s fiction into a new, broader era
offering insight into the 2nd generation, post-Civil War life.

My favorite aspect of this fine novel laid in Howard’s ability to relate
the sheer power and force of the train itself and the way the machine is
revered in language.

There is no doubt, in his heart, Howard is truly a railroad man.