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February 2018 News from Malaprop's!
A Note from Emöke
“Imagination itself was a magical act in which imagination altered reality and gave form to power.”
~From Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman
 
Here is to 2018!
 
We have come through 2017 with many good deeds and acts of kindness. The political toughness at times shaded our sunny days, but we are a diverse group of people seeing diverse groups of readers and many appreciated the selection and service we provided, not to mention all our gift wrappers. We see them year after year, and really could not do our stellar service without them. And we also wrap your books all year round also.
 
I have finished and begun books that are amazing for reasons too many to go into in this format, but I am happy to see the spring shaping up with wonderful workshops, teach-ins, and authors events to usher in new books released in early spring. My most exciting moment will be having Amy Bloom read from her new book about Eleanor Roosevelt and her friendship with Lorena Hickok, a  journalist at that time. The last time Amy graced our store, I was starstruck without words, just listening and wanting to hear more. Later on, I wrote a short poem about her called Amy Bloom at Malaprop’s (clever title, no?).
 
Amy Bloom at Malaprop’s
 
She blooms every morning
she is tall, lips and eyes to notice
her voice surprises all who listen.
 
She likes mostly writers named Alice
prefers to read authors already dead
no extra words skirt her courtyard
her smile is forever there.
 
Poetry is her lover
the wind lifts her Pegasus
three kids kindle
fire and ice around her.
 
In a small town of six hundred
she lives near the post office
and a Dunkin D shop
she wishes for a pad in Brooklyn
just for herself
and her Muse.
 
Amy Bloom will be at Malaprop’s in February. Make sure you check our calendar of events. It is also possible to check titles for in-stock and how many copies we have on hand.
 
Our goals and our resolutions are that we continue to be the best bookstore for our readers, that we aim for all of us to have fun, to be financially secure, and to ensure our ability to give our readers the best selection of books every day. We are thankful for that opportunity and will keep our promise. Local is the heart of our success and the strength of this community.
 
Be at peace and be well. Welcome 2018 with an open, glad heart, and it will be a better world.
 
Emöke
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Bobby
We use them everyday. Their existence pervades and informs our movement across the face of the earth, from the obvious to the obscure. And the way trails are formed tells us as much about ourselves and the world around us as anything. In On Trails: An Exploration, the debut book from Robert Moor, the history and impact of these wondrous guide systems is uncovered in a deft and informative work.  
 
A seasoned hiker of the Appalachian Trail, Moor uses his experience on that rugged throughway to weave together a study exploring trails from the first tiny land animals to elephants. He shepherds Navajo-Churro sheep in Arizona and hunts whitetail deer near Huntsville, Alabama. In Western North Carolina, which he mentions frequently, Moor maps the footpaths of the Cherokee, explores the role of the pathfinder, and explains how trails both inform and are informed by language.
 
The narrative contains morsels from his time on the Appalachian Trail. Spaceman was his trail name, he says, because of his lightweight gear. But this is not just another saga of inspiration. It does touch on those emotional and physical intensities one faces while hiking a 2,200-mile trail for four or five months. Importantly, Moor distinguishes between trails such as the A.T., with their recreational focus; trails less obvious, like the pheromone-laced trails of ants; and other more functional trails that animals, especially humans, create in order to carry out their daily lives.

The book itself provides a trail of sorts. At times, it unfolds before the reader straight and narrow and others winding and imaginative. Through scientific facts, historical accounts and Moor’s own adventures, the author leads the reader on an unforgettable hike. His writing is succinct and focused, and keeps the reader engaged the whole way through. His anecdotes add color and meaning to the narrative. This book will give the reader a new outlook on the concept of trails: how they emerge and fade away, and what they mean in our ever-changing world.

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Ryan
I try not to fly anymore. At first it was because I simply did not want to spend hundreds of dollars to be treated as a liability. Now, though, I’ve come to prefer ground travel. My wife and I recently drove north to visit family in Wisconsin, and it occurred to me that there’s no way to identify the boundary between the Midwest and the South. When one flies from, say, Chicago to Atlanta, the cultural difference is immediate and shocking. Less shocking is the difference between Chicago and Gary, Indianapolis and Louisville, Knoxville and Asheville. Driving north, it makes sense that Asheville’s mountains yield to bluffs and then the rolling hills of Lexington. It makes sense that the swamps of southern Indiana yield to the bald prairie of central Illinois and southern Wisconsin. The only good metric I can identify for where the South ends and the Midwest begins is that the transition from Waffle House to Bob Evans around Indianapolis. Even that, though, is far from the Mason-Dixon Line.
 
And all this got me thinking about books and section tags — fantasy, travel, history, conscious living, and something called “reiki” that I confess I do not fully understand. Mostly, I read essays. I’m studying nonfiction creative writing at Bennington College’s low-residency MFA. I’m headed there now on a train. (I think I’m in…Buffalo?) The trouble with only reading essays, though, is that it limits my experience as a writer. I become comfortable in the form. It’s like living in a small town and never traveling. Essays have begun to feel isolated and distinct from other forms of writing, and I imagine it would be the same if I focused on any kind of writing at the expense of others.
 
I’m not a big New Year resolutions guy. I feel like, if I’m serious about changing a habit, why wait until Jan. 1? I do, however, want to read more broadly in 2018. I want to visit sci-fi, history, and mystery. I want to travel through books and see new places. Our world is becoming increasingly fractured. I believe books can help us bridge the gaps.
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Christine
The Spider and the Fly: A Writer, a Murderer, and a Story of Obsession by Claudia Rowe is a fascinating, horrifying dive into the mind of a serial killer by a damaged young woman trying to understand evil and the demons within herself. It is written by an award winning journalist who doesn't flinch from the actions of her younger self. If you've ever wondered what drives some women to develop relationships with killers behind bars, this book is illuminating.  
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Patricia
Two years prior to The Handmaid’s Tale’s publication in 1986, John le Carré released The Little Drummer Girl. On the surface, these two books would seem to have little in common other than a conflicted female protagonist, but that’s why I savor them. Watching them fall apart and, in the process, reconsider the consequences of their actions (and inactions), remain very satisfying for me. The righteous, unreflective female characters who have all of the answers are less gratifying than the flawed women who test drive their convictions in reality and find, oops!, purity is like utopia: it doesn’t exist.
 
The Handmaid’s Tale is set in the future, but when I read it back in the 80s, I thought Atwood was actually predicting the future. Since I’m almost finished with The Pentagon’s Brain: An Uncensored History of DARPA, America's Top-Secret Military Research Agency by Annie Jacobsen, I have concluded she was on to something, but more along the lines of patriarchy and the participation of women in its perpetuation. Think Aunties, the gatekeepers of “the way we do things here.” There are plenty of secular versions of Aunties and their protégés, of course. Offred never really sees it coming because she wouldn’t know an ally if she saw one, even when she looked in the mirror. Whom to trust? Just women? Just men in power? Not that simple.

Charlie, le Carré’s little drummer girl, is a left-wing actress and radical who is recruited by the Israelis to target Palestinian terrorists. She thinks she knows which side is right, which side is evil, and who the terrorists are. Love, sex, and betrayal are integral parts of this spy thriller where Wonder Woman is nowhere to be found, and Charlie uses her actings skills and, most importantly, powers of self-deception to work as a double agent in the Middle East.
 
Recently, celebrated Korean director Park Chan-wook teamed up with AMC to begin work on a miniseries adaptation of The Little Drummer Girl. He said in a recent interview, “Of le Carré’s many masterpieces, the one I love ahead of any other is The Little Drummer Girl,” Park said. “At the core of this story is an extremely painful but thrilling romance. This is what makes the story universal, reaching beyond borders and languages and remaining incredibly current.”
Featured February Events
Friday, Feb 2 at 6pm
YA Panel with Rachael Allen and Laurie Devore
 
Wednesday, Feb 7 at 6pm
Dorje Dolma presents Yak Girl: Growing up in the Remote Dolpo Region of Nepal
 
Thursday, Feb 8 at 6pm
Cathy Cleary presents The Southern Harvest Cookbook
 
Friday, Feb 16 at 6pm
An Evening with Kristin Hannah
*Event at UNCA Humanities Lecture Hall
 
Sunday, Feb 18 at 3pm
Writers at Home Series with Tommy Hays 
  
See Full Calendar 

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Malaprops Bookstore/Café  •  55 Haywood Street  •  Asheville, NC 28801

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