Our round-up of great science fiction novels that have come into the store. What did we miss that you loved?
Tiamat’s Wrath, James S. A. Corey
The latest and eighth book in James S. A. Corey’s Expanse series, Tiamat’s Wrath is obviously not a good place to start reading the series if you haven’t already, but it does place you in a wonderful spot to have eight wonderful sci-fi novels to read through. That being said, spoilers ahead. Corey opens with a memorial service for the recently deceased Chrisjen Avasarala and picks up with James Holden in his new role of honored prisoner. The narrative also follows the continuing adventures of Elvi and the crew of the Rocinante–split up but are still fighting–and we find Teresa trying to keep up with her father’s ambitions as well as keep a couple of secrets of her own. James S. A. Corey has definitely outdone himself with this latest addition to the series.
Fall; or, Dodge in Hell, Neal Stephenson
Neal Stephenson will always have a soft spot in my heart after Snow Crash, and his newest book brings a lot of the themes that I have loved for ages plus a couple of new ones that are welcome additions. Fall; or, Dodge in Hell brings us into a world where Richard “Dodge” Forthrast is pronounced brain-dead, and, due to a stipulation in his will, his brain is scanned by a cryonics company, and years later, his brain is turned back on and loaded to an afterlife called Bitworld. However, this wouldn’t be a novel by Stephenson if it didn’t have a few dark twists in store for the readers.
Velocity Weapon, Megan E. O’Keefe
Megan E. O’Keefe has the start of a brand new series in the making: Velocity Weapon is the first book in The Protectorate series and introduces us to Sanda, who awakens from a cold sleep to find that she is missing a leg, naked, on an enemy ship that happens to be sentient and goes by the name of Bero. And to make things worse, it is 230 years in the future. O’Keefe does a fantastic job of creating a setting that is new and exciting and full of drama. This is definitely the beginning of a series that everyone will enjoy.
The Hive, Orson Scott Card and Aaron Johnston
The Hive is the second book in the Second Formic War series and picks up where the first book left off—with a humanity that just barely eked out a victory over the scout ship sent by Formic and that is now looking at a mothership preparing to invade. And if you enjoy this universe, you still have the First Formic War series, as well as all the rest in the Ender universe to enjoy.
Eve of Man, Giovanna & Tom Fletcher
The first book written by Giovanna and Tom Fletcher as a couple, Eve of Man follows Eve, the first woman born in 50 years, who after her 16th birthday is set to meet three potential males who have been preselected for her based on their prospects as a perfect genetic match. But that all changes when she meets Bram, the boy behind her best friend. The Fletchers do an amazing job creating a realistic dystopian world where abuse of the environment has led to massive and destructive storms, people fighting in the streets, and an authoritarian control on women’s rights. Equal parts believable and horrifying, this is a great start to a new series.
Today’s graphic novels, while kin with the comic books that pioneered the genre, their diverse stories, art styles, and narrative voices have burst through those old boundaries. Whether you’re new to graphic novels or you’re a connoisseur, these new releases need to be on your radar. If you’re a newbie, these are great entries that show the range and impressive promise of graphic novel storytelling. If you’re an old hand, these are titles that bring new spirit and creativity to this already incredible genre.
As of the date of this post, we have all of the books below in the store. You may check availability in our online store. If a book sells out, you may order it from our online store, and we’ll message you when it arrives in the store (or have it shipped to your home/work).
Brian McDonald and Les McClaine have brought us Old Souls, a story about a world in which you can unlock and live through your past lives by using a form of hypnosis, and for Chris, it very quickly becomes something of an addiction. After meeting an elderly homeless man named Jack, who claims to have known him in a past life, Chris is dragged into a world in which he gets to re-live everything and everyone he has been, but he soon starts to slip further and further away from his family and those that care about him, and an unhealthy obsession begins to develop. Both McDonald and McClaine are masters in their respective fields and together they have created something truly beautiful.
BTTM FDRS by Ezra Claytan Daniels and Ben Passmore is an important narrative and stylistic entry into the graphic novel cannon, which currently lacks in the area of Afrofuturism. But more than offering a stellar instance of Afrofuturist style, BTTM FDRS, much like Jordan Peele’s Get Out, explores the horror/comedy of everyday social injustices–gentrification, in this instance. The symbolism of an insidious force drawing evil power from the oppression of a vulnerable group is intentionally evident–and it becomes the source of both biting satire, absurdist comedy, and genuine, well, horror. Brilliant, striking, unique, compelling, and just a damn good read, BTTM FDRS is a triumph.
It is such a milestone to see this book back in print. The first fully painted graphic novel, Moonshadow was originally published by Marvel Comics’s Epic imprint in 1985, and then again by DC comics in 1998. There have been a few collections of the complete series, including a limited signed edition by Graphitti Designs, but now Dark Horse has stepped in with a new complete collection, and they’ve done an admirable job on the production value. The titular character, Moonshadow, is the child of a 60’s flower child and a orbish alien. Moonshadow, his cat, and Ira, a fairly obscene alien, wander through the stars as Moonshadow searches for his father and the reasons for his abandonment.
The paintings by Jon Muth are really well done, and Dark Horse’s reproductions do them justice. Moonshadow is an odd book, and one that should have gotten wider recognition but that was probably too early for its time. It’s a book that will appeal to a broader audience when presented in a complete package like this. Get it before its out of print for another 20 years.
In Midnight Radio, four strangers in San Francisco grappling with various life struggles from sexuality to PTSD, are unexpectedly brought together by a mysterious late-night radio message that changes their lives. Artist Iolanda Zarafardino’s style is beautiful and captivating, its color palette warm and striking, and the story feels personal, topical, and important. The characters put us affectingly in their shoes, making the issues they struggle with feel raw and real. It’s an important work and a compelling story done in beautiful style.
Blackbird is the story of Nina Rodriguez, a young woman who lost her mom at a young age and become obsessed with the idea of a secret society of Paragons, or wizards, and is treated as if she is crazy for it. All that changes after a giant monster kidnaps her sister and she is thrust into a world that she had always hoped to find, but nothing is as it seems, and she soon finds that everything that she knows has been a lie. Sam Humphries, Jen Bartel, and the rest of the team behind Blackbird have given us a fantastic and beautiful story full of intrigue, and I cannot wait to see what comes next in the series.
Richard Marazano and Christopher Ferreira bring us the story of young Milo, a boy who stumbles across a magic goldfish that brings him to another realm where he must help stop an evil sorcerer. With the help of a thief, a goldfish, a grumpy villager, and his aunts, he will help to restore peace to a world on the other side of the lake. Milo’s World is a very sweet story with a charming cast of characters with an adorable art style that draws you into the story. Marazano and Ferreira do an amazing job with what is sure to be a beautiful and charming story.
I don’t even know where to begin with this book, Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda have won multiple awards and received high praise for this beautiful graphic novel already, and I can see why. The story follows Maika Halfwolf as she hunts for a link to her past, and those that hunt her for the crimes she has committed in an attempt to find freedom. Accompanied by a talking cat, a fox-child, and an eldritch abomination, they are continuously and viciously pursued as they try their hardest to stay one step ahead of everyone. Anyone looking for something new and unique needs to pick this up; the artwork is beautiful, the story is full of beautifully done characters and environments and features a matriarchal society, and the world-building is staggeringly deep. Do yourself a favor and get a copy as soon as you can.
Summer is upon us, so it’s time to kick off grilling season. Tom and Danielle turn it up a notch this year with these genre-defining (and -defying) guides to perfect grilling! As of the posting of this article, all of these books are available in the store.
Weber’s Ultimate Grilling: A Step-by-Step Guide to Barbecue Genius
The experts from Weber, the most venerable name in grilling, bring you this collection of 100 barbecue recipes perfect for barbecuers of all stripes, from tender beginners to well-seasoned grillmasters. Every recipe includes full-color photos that illustrate step-by step instructions designed to make grilling accessible to even the least confident among us. The guide leads you through the tips and tricks of lighting the grill, perfecting the temperature, and grilling everything from vegetables to seafood to poultry, pork, and beef. You can’t ask for a more comprehensive or authoritative guide to all things grilling.
With trademark gorgeous photos, Martha Stewart’s Grilling presents classic grilling recipes with an elegant twist, from honey-brined chicken wings to kielbasa bites, all perfect for memorable meals to celebrate summer. And beyond the excellent recipes, Martha Stewart covers the secrets to good grilling, from why pressing the meat into the grill is a terrible idea to what temperature the meat should be when it hits the grill. Don’t miss this classically smart, stylish, and, above all, delicious guide to grilling.
The Bacon Bible by Peter Sherman and Stephanie Banyas
From Peter Sherman, the renowned bacon maestro behind New York bacon-gastropub BarBacon, comes this aptly named biblical tribute to that delicious, beloved, and infinitely versatile meat, bacon. With over 200 recipes, The Bacon Bible shows you how to incorporate bacon into virtually every imaginable meal in every imaginable way, from bacon rubs to bacon cocktails, from bacon pancakes to bacon hot chocolate (and there’s even a bacon-free chapter just in case you’re feeling wild and crazy). And with information on how to cure your own bacon from scratch and how to turn pretty much anything into bacon (hello, tuna bacon), this book will truly make you nothing less than a bacon god. If you didn’t love bacon before, you definitely will now!
The Campfire Cookbook by Nico Stanitzok and Viola Lex
The Campfire Cookbook brings together camping veteran Viola Lex with chef Nico Stanitzok to explore the possibilities of cooking on an open flame, be it a fire, a grill, or a camp stove. And the possibilities they discover! Recipes run an impressive gamut, from the traditional kebab skewer to the unexpected chocolate cake…baked inside an orange. But beyond wildly inventive recipes, the book also includes clever camping hacks and packing lists. With its beautiful color photos and simple step-by-step instructions, this is a book for connoisseurs, apsirationists, and master campers alike.
Wow! It really has been quite a while since I last wrote a blog post. I actually feel like I’m crawling out of the hole that sucked me in when we started renovating the store space 6 months ago. Yeah, we realized this evening that it’s been half a year since we started on this crazy idea of ours to open a bookstore in Downtown Sacramento.
Over the last 8 weeks, we sold more than 1,000 books.
We’re supporting the Cottage Foods industry by occasionally having pop-ups in the store. We’ve had some lunchtime pop-ups and weekend pop-ups. Vegan and non-vegan. Even though the vast majority of people coming in for the foods are not buying a book, we figure it’s at least letting them know that a bookstore exists in downtown Sac and to come by next time they want a book.
Sidelines to support the books are starting to arrive. We needed to first focus on making sure we were adequately stocking our shelves with books, but now that we’re set with that, we can start to add in other fun things. I also wanted to get a feel for what other things our patrons were asking us to carry, like greeting cards. You asked, and we now have a very nice variety of cards. Coming in future shipments will be a few “gifty/kitcheny” items to support our cookbook/wine/beer section, because many of the downtown workers were wanting to be able to pick up gifts along with a book on their lunch hour. I’m working with a company to create our very own candle line that will be exclusive to us. We’re calling it Capital Scents: Where Do You Read? We’ll carry five scents to start with. The candles will be very eco-friendly in that each jar is meant to be refilled with the soy bead wax and cotton wicks that you also will be able to pick up at the store. Really excited about this! We’re also going to soon be carrying custom-designed (by us) t-shirts, coffee mugs, hats, and more tote bags, vinyl window clings, and bumper stickers.
Author appearances will begin this week. Nervous about this. I’m just so afraid that we will have built it, but no one will come. For now, we’re selecting (mostly local) authors that we know already have a Sacramento following. In due time, we’ll build our own following.
Ross, Tom, and I are settling in and starting to forge a weekly routine and work schedule now. This means that I get one day working at home on the computer, and both Ross and I get to spend every Sunday away from the bookstore while Tom is at the helm till 2:00. The one thing that surprised both of us was how running the bookstore has consumed our lives. Sure, we expected it to be A LOT of work, but we’re working at the store until 7pm, coming home to do the computer work we couldn’t do at the store, pouring some sort of Trader Joe’s bagged meal into a pan for dinner, working till 10pm, sleeping, then doing it all over again.
How Is the Store Doing?
I’ve been asked this quite a bit lately — partly because I haven’t done my “statistics board” in several weeks. I guess you guys like seeing the numbers.
Yes, we’ve sold 1,000 books, but that doesn’t tell you, financially, how the store is doing. Basically, we need about $500 a day in sales to break even with our rent, inventory costs, and payroll for our one part-time employee (Tom). We’ve been hovering at about two-thirds of what we need. For now, that’s okay. We expected a long ramp-up for people to realize that we’re here and to start buying from us instead of ordering their books from Amazon. We have an incredible landlord who has made this ramp-up doable for us (for a while). But reality will hit in time, and our numbers will need to be at that $500 a day level. And that doesn’t even account for expanding to the second floor — which everyone is really excited for us to do. That’s going to be expensive. Like elevator expensive!
By now, people are starting to get with the “Shop Local” mentality. But we’re not quite there yet. It’s easy to say that you want to buy from locally-owned small businesses, but putting your money where your mouth is is another thing. I’m certainly guilty of it. Being tied to the store all day means I can’t get out there to shop at MY favorite small businesses in town. Everyone needs to make a conscious effort to follow the 3/50 rule: Pick three local small businesses you want to support that month and spend at least $50 at each of them.
We’re starting to get to know our regular patrons and what they enjoy reading. Your loyalty and friendship already mean the world to us. You know who you are — the ones who come in several times a week and buy books. Thank you.
In closing, we’re off to a good start. We’re here to stay as long as the community supports us. We hope that’s a good, long time. We’re committed to Sacramento’s literary community. We are betting on Sacramento supporting us.
Monthly Newsletter Sign-Up
Our “regulars” already know that we offer a loyalty program. Once you’ve purchased $100 worth of store items, you’ll receive at least a $10 credit the next time you come into the store. So, that’s certainly worth signing up for the next time you’re at Capital Books. We’ve already had a few people hit their $100 target.
I’m going to be starting a monthly emailed newsletter for those interested. I’ll discuss upcoming events at the store, books we think should be on your radar, and literary-type things. If you’d like to sign up, all we need is your name and email. We do NOT share this information with anyone outside of Capital Books.
Email can be tricky. I hate it when something I’ve signed up for lands in my Spam folder and I never know it. So, if you’re signing up, add info@CapitalBooksOnK.com to your email CONTACTS. This will help make sure it lands in your INBOX.
It’s amazing how many times this one children’s book, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, can be applied to real life. Starting on one project, which leads to a whole new, unplanned-for, project, happens to all of us. Despite our meticulous planning for renovating the space to become a bookstore, things creep up that we figure might as well do this now before furniture and books arrive.
Renovating the bathroom was completely unexpected. It originally was the ugliest of all the ugly bathrooms (think gas station bathroom), but I was willing to ignore it because we hadn’t planned on offering it as a public bathroom anyway. As long as it was clean, I was as okay with it as one can be with a Bodega Bathroom.
I saw this SNL skit a few weeks ago and yelled downstairs to my husband: “SNL did a skit about our bathroom!”
Just as renovations were starting, we made the decision to make the bathroom ADA-compliant, just so we wouldn’t be sued by anyone we took pity on and let them use the bathroom. That led to another while we’re at it moment. May as well make space for a future elevator.
So, now, you sit on the toilet and it takes you to the second floor.
But wouldn’t that be fun?
After the wall and toilet were moved (still ADA-compliant, you bastards!), well…I just had to make it look like a cool bathroom, right? So, add that to my long to-do list.
This became The Bathroom That Required Two Doctor Visits and Vicodin.
Tiling, grouting, and wallpapering did me in. Aggravated a healing leg muscle injury that had me in tears last week. After taking a few days off, I’m ready to start painting the existing floor tile — because why not hurt myself one last time? — that’s what Vicodin is for. We didn’t want to go through the expense of ripping out the existing tile, so I played around with painting it to go with our Art Deco theme:
Every patron who comes into the bookstore is going to be asked if they have to tinkle and want to see our cool bathroom.
The painting: It just never ends. I never want to paint anything ever again. And I haven’t even been the one doing the bulk of the painting. Ross and Tom have been the chosen ones for most of it. And, of course, it has snowballed to more things. We originally were going to carpet the mezzanine office, but then I got the idea to paint the ugly floor white and do a harlequin stencil on top of that. It’s going to look cool, but it’s yet another task for me before we can put desks in there. I know. I know. I do it to myself. But it’s now or never to do it.
It’s hard to see the forest for the trees this week, even though I know we have made great progress from where we started. It’s just … the dust. It’s everywhere. I’m tired of feeling grimy. We’re coughing all the time because of it. I walked in the door the other day to see a layer of construction dust on the newly laid floor planks. Not our contractor’s fault. We’re putting the cart before the horse on probably every task we’ve done. We’re working concurrently with the contractors, just trying to get the bookstore open on time. Flooring probably should be last, but it’s going in now, and that’s just the way it is.
For the last month, the only running water we’ve had is from a disgusting bathroom in the basement. The contractors installed a line from the pipe for us to get water for construction needs. So, we traipse down there with buckets to siphon water and try to not spray it everywhere. Not that it would matter. That bathroom gives me the heebie-jeebies. It’s the kind of bathroom that men see no problem with because they don’t have to sit.
Now that our *real* bathroom toilet has been re-installed, in frustration last night with dust and dirt everywhere, I decided to glove-up and super-clean the main floor toilet so it looks brand-new. I just needed something to be clean in the space. Having a clean bathroom lifted my spirits so much. Granted, the contractor will be installing the sink today, so “clean” may be fleeting. But I had my Moment last night.
A good friend told me today that this is like having a baby. Right now, I’m in transition, and I need to throw up, push harder, then all I’ll feel is the euphoria of what we created.