Newsflash: Wimpy Kid Party Just Announced!

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We are VERY excited to announce that on Sunday, November 10, we will be hosting a special party to celebrate the publication of the next installment in the Diary of A Wimpy Kid series - WRECKING BALL.

And this will be no ordinary party. We will have copies of the book specially SIGNED BY JEFF KINNEY for sale - exclusively available for people who attend the event - but so much more…

  • There will be a Wrecking Ball-branded TOUR BUS parked outside the shop, and you’ll be able to have your photo taken in front of it.

  • We will have a, um, “real” Greg Heffley on-hand for fun photo ops! #selfie

  • There will be a THREE FOOT WIDE wrecking ball piñata FULL OF CANDY which people will have a chance to bust open!

  • We’ll be playing Wimpy Kid Bingo, with fun prizes for the winners

  • There’ll also be specially-designed Wimpy Kid cookies for everyone

  • There will also be a ton of other fun games, activities and prizes.

This event is free for everyone to attend, but you’ll need to register here as numbers are limited and we do expect demand to be heavy.

This Wednesday's Lit Lunch...

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As many of you will know, recently there has been some local controversy about remarks made by a pastor of one of Columbia’s churches regarding transgender people. In light of that, and because we ardently believe that books can help all of us understand things better and facilitate dialogue over difficult issues, we thought it would be a good idea to discuss some fiction and nonfiction books that address this topic. Pastor Simon, you would be more than welcome to join us.

Drag Story Time is this Saturday!

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Just a reminder that we’ll be having our regular Drag Story Time on Saturday, October 19 at 1:00 p.m. - but since it’s (almost) Halloween costumes will also be welcome for audience members! Come by and enjoy what is always one of the most joyful events we put on. We can’t wait! See you there?

Also, don’t forget that on Saturday morning we’ll also be welcoming architect Lynn Craig to Skylark for a talk about architectural drawing - we’ll be opening our doors early for this, at 9:00 a.m. The talk will be followed by a morning of building drawing by participants throughout downtown, culminating in a second gathering at Sager Braudis Gallery at noon.

Both events are free and open to the public.

Inclusion Celebration!

We’ve just added a new event to our calendar and wanted to tell you about it.

On Sunday, November 3rd at 3:00 p.m., we’ll be holding an Inclusion Celebration. This special event celebrates the release of Dr. Kathryn Fishman-Weaver's new book, When Your Child Learns Differently: A Family Approach for Navigating Special Education Services with Love and High Expectations. This family-friendly gathering features resource tables, children's activities, and a book talk and signing with the author. Additionally, we are thrilled to open with special performances by the DanceAbility dancers and possibly the Special Olympics Cheer team. Both this important new-release and our bookshop event celebrate advocacy, inclusion, and community. All children's activities have been designed with accessibility in mind.

The following organizations will be participating in the festivities:

  • Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders

  • DanceAbility

  • Special Olympics Missouri

  • Columbia, MO Special Education, Parent Teacher Association

Advocating for a child who learns differently can sometimes feel like an isolating and daunting task. Dr. Fishman-Weaver’s new book reminds families that they are not alone. When Your Child Learns Differently is a compassionate guide that:

  • Helps families navigate special education services from the inside out.

  • Offers targeted advice to families of children with a wide range of disabilities and challenges.

  • Shares valuable information about special education language, policy, procedures, and supports.

  • Reminds families that they are the most important advocates in their child's success plan.

  • Draws on the author's experiences as both a parent and special education teacher.

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Local Author Night Line Up! (Thursday, October 10, 6:00 p.m.)

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Heres’s who will be reading at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday at our regular Local Author Night:

Stan Adams. Drafted in late May 1968, Adams, barely 20 years old, was quickly transformed into an infantry rifleman on the front lines of the Vietnam War, where he survived a year of combat with the famed “Manchu” Regiment, 25th Infantry “Tropic Lightning” Division. In 2003, Adams began reaching out to the families of fallen comrades and reconnecting with his fellow Manchus. Fifty years later, through a photographic history featuring 250+ color pictures, Adams recounts his journey from a rural Midwestern town to the jungles of Vietnam, sharing what it's like to fight – and not die – for your country.

Jordi Alonso. Jordi Alonso graduated with an AB in English with an emphasis in Creative Writing from Kenyon College in the spring of 2014, where he studied poetry and literary translation. His first book, a collection of poems inspired by Sappho entitled "Honeyvoiced" was published by XOXOX Press in November of 2014. He is presently a graduate student at MU.

Lynn Rossy. What are you really hungry for? Is it food, happiness, or something else? In The Mindfulness-Based Eating Solution, mindfulness expert Lynn Rossy offers a proven-effective, whole-body approach to help you discover the real reasons why you’re overeating. She provides an innovative and proven-effective program to help you slow down, savor each bite, and actually eat less. This unique, whole-body approach will encourage you to adopt healthy eating habits by showing you how to listen to your body’s intuition, uncover the psychological cause of your overeating, and be more mindful during mealtime.

Tim A. Scherrer. Tim is the author of Crashed the Gate Doing Ninety-Eight: The Citizen's Band Radioand American Culture. The book tells the untold story of the very first electronic social network in America: CB Radio. Citizen's Band Radio grew from a small number of hobby users to a cultural phenomenon in the 1970s. CB life created it's own "slanguage," music and values. Users adapted CBs to their own economic and social uses, which in turn changed the character of the radio use. And then they disappeared.


Busy Times...

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It looks as if fall might finally be here, and with that comes a busy time of year for us. We have four events coming up in the next two days!

  • First of all, we’ll be hosting our usual Wednesday morning story time for our youngest readers today at 11:00 a.m.. This is always a wonderful event and we give away one of the books we read to a lucky participant in a raffle. Over the course of the last year, we have watched our guests grow from babies slumbering in papooses to energetic toddlers, full of vim and vigor. It’s our favorite thing in the whole week.

  • Then, at 12:15 this afternoon, Carrie will be leading this week’s Lit Lunch, which will be all about blue books. Not, we should add, blue in content, but blue in color.

  • Then, at 6:00 p.m. Carrie and her daughter Sky will lead the third installment of the Skylark intergenerational bookclub, which will discuss our biggest seller of the past several weeks, Margaret Atwood’s sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, The Testaments.

  • If all that wasn’t enough, tomorrow night, Thursday October 10, at 6:00 p.m., we will be hosting our next edition of Local Author Night. Come by and listen to some of our wonderfully talented local writers read from their work and answer questions. You will be entertained, moved, and inspired!

    See you at the shop!

Educators! Monday Night is Your Night.

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We’ll be hosting our second back-to-school educator night on Monday, September 30 - which is a teacher training day for Columbia Public Schools. This event is open to all educators and librarians at all levels.

This will be an opportunity for educators to shop, chat, and to meet with Skylark staff to discuss how we can help you in the classroom.  Talk to us about teaming up for author visits, trips to the shop, custom classroom or library orders, help in finding materials related to curriculum or for outside-of-the-box approaches to reading.

We’ll be giving away a ton of door prizes, from neat tote bags to signed books and exclusive copies of forthcoming titles.

Most importantly, everyone will receive a 20% discount on all purchases during the event.

THIS EVENT IS ABSOLUTELY FREE! All you need is your educator ID to participate. You don’t have to register in advance to attend, although if you do you’ll be entered into our grand prize drawing. Just shoot us an email at mail@skylarkbookshop.com to let us know you’ll be coming! The event will start at 6:00 (after the shop is closed for normal business) until 7:30.

Mark your calendars, and if you know a teacher, please spread the word!

Murder at the Bookshop!

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So we’re going to try something a little different.

To celebrate the publication of the brilliant new novel, IN THE HALL WITH THE KNIFE, a rollicking murder mystery based on, you’ve guessed it, the board game Clue, we’re hosting a very special evening during which our guests will attempt to solve a murder mystery of our own devising. Lord knows it helps to have a devious mind to work in a bookshop, and most of us at Skylark speak fluent Agatha Christie, so you can be guaranteed that you’ll be kept guessing until the very end. Some of the clues will be hidden in the shop, and some you will have to winkle out of your fellow competitors. There will be fantastic prizes for all participants - including a copy of the book for each team. We’ll feed and water you, too. All in all it will be an excellent (and very different) night out.

And since all teams will be working in pairs, it would make a memorable date night. Just sayin’.

Please note that tickets for this event (which will come per team, so each ticket admits two) will be very, very limited, so if you would like to reserve your place now, shoot us an email at mail@skylarkbookshop.com to let us know. The all-inclusive cost for two is $50, which includes all goodies and swag, all food and drink, and (of course) the book.

Stop Press: Just Added - Story Time with Hero Dogs this Saturday!

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We are very pleased to announce that we’ll be hosting a VERY SPECIAL edition of Saturday story time this Saturday afternoon, September 28, at 1:00 p.m. We’ll be welcoming some of our local First Responders to come to Skylark to read from their favorite books - including Tiberon, pictured above. (It’s presently unclear if Tiberon himself will be reading, or just keeping us all safe while his human does the work.) Come by, meet our wonderful friends, and enjoy some excellent stories and books! The fun starts at 1:00 - and, as always, this event is completely free for everyone to attend.

Cli-Fi Book Club!

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Beth writes…

We’re all familiar with sci-fi, but... cli-fi? Absolutely. Just as historically some of the most powerful pieces of writing and art often have been created during turbulent times, so too has climate fiction (cli-fi) emerged as a response to the global warming crisis.

One important early example of this relatively new genre is Barbara Kingsolver’s 2012 novel Flight Behavior, which examines the potential influence of global warming on monarch butterflies. When it was first released I devoured this book, and now I want to revisit and discuss it with other readers.

We will meet for a cli-fi bookclub on Wednesday, November 6, at 6 pm. Additionally, if a discussion of Flight Behavior isn’t enticing enough, we are excited to open our gathering with 15-20 minutes of performance from the MU Theatre Department’s Life and Literature Series, featuring Climate Change Theatre Action with Heather Carver, Artistic Director.

According to its website, “Founded in 2015, Climate Change Theatre Action is a worldwide series of readings and performances of short climate change plays presented biennially to coincide with the United Nations COP [Conference of the Parties] meetings. A global participatory project, CCTA uses theatre to bring communities together and encourage them to take local and global action on climate.”

The cli-fi literary genre is packed full of other books, and the list continues to grow. I’ll provide a selection of possibilities so that as a group we can choose a title for the next cli-fi bookclub meeting.

Hope to see you at this cool collaboration between Skylark and the MU Theatre Department, as we use literature and the arts to address global warming.

This week's Lit Lunch... short stories with Carrie

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We had a great time at our inaugural Lit Lunch about British mysteries and thrillers - thanks to everyone who came and ate their lunch while Alex spoke. A lively discussion ensured afterwards about time travel and various other things.

This week Carrie will be talking about some of her favorite collections of short stories. Escape the office, stop by, eat your lunch, and enjoy some civilized book conversation in the middle of your working day! The conversation starts at 12:15. See you there?

Come and Have a Lit Lunch at Skylark!

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Skylark strives to be a place where people can just come and hang out whenever the mood takes them. We love it when students spread out their homework on the upstairs table, or when people get locked in an epic chess game. And when it comes to folks browsing - well, in our view, the longer and more leisurely, the better.

In that vein, we’d like to invite you to lunch.

Every Wednesday, starting in September, we’ll be hosting what we’re calling a “Lit Lunch”. Come and escape your office (or home!) and bring your lunch to the shop for a bookish discussion with one or more of the staff. We’ll be talking about all sorts of things - the newest releases we’re excited about, beach reads, works in translation, ideas for book clubs… all sorts of stuff. The topic will change every week but it will be sure to be stimulating, fun, and always book-related.

The talk and discussion will start at 12:15 or so and go for about half an hour. Needless to say, it’s completely free to attend (although you have to bring your own lunch!!) and will be extremely informal. We’re looking forward to some excellent chats.

To kick things off, on Wednesday September 4, Alex will be sharing some of his favorite British mysteries and crime thrillers. He’s not quite sure why his fellow countrymen are so good at this twisted psychological stuff, but there’s definitely a trend…

Hope to see you there!

Thank you.

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As I sit here at my desk this morning, cup of coffee by my side, and contemplate the very long day ahead of me, I am filled with nothing but gratitude.

Today I will go to a place that I love to do a thing that I love with people that I love.

It’s not a bad way to spend our first birthday.

It’s hard to believe that Skylark opened its doors a year ago. The time has flown by absurdly quickly. The pleasure that I feel every time I walk into that space has not diminished one bit. The gorgeous building, those beautiful fixtures, all those damn books - it really does feel like home.

So I wanted to take a moment to say thank you.

Thank you to Carrie for being the best, smartest, hardest working business partner a person could ever wish for.

Thank you to Becky, Carol, Beth, Faramola, Erin and Chris for all the passion and smarts and good humor that you bring to the job every day.

Thanks to Theo, for being the perfect bookshop dog.

Thanks to the wonderful community of independent booksellers across the country who have cheered us on and offered advice as we have embarked on this journey.

Thank you to the wonderful writers and poets who have come to speak at the store. We wanted to make the shop a space for the community to gather and talk about books and you have made that happen.

Thank you to all the authors whose books we sell. Without you, we wouldn’t be here.

But most of all, I want to thank everyone who has come in to see us over the past year, and bought a book. Thank you for believing in us, and for supporting us, for helping us create an amazing community at Skylark around reading and books. It’s a privilege to put exactly the right book into your hands.

I’m looking forward to many more birthdays to come. Come help us celebrate today, if you can.

More Birthday News...

So we’ve already told you about some of the excellent stuff that is going on this Saturday to celebrate our first birthday.

On Saturday we’ll be launching our fabulous new T-shirts, and anyone who spends more than $20 will be entered into our birthday raffle for some amazing prizes, including a 12 month paperback subscription, a book spa, and FIVE 3-month audiobook subscriptions courtesy of our friends at libro.fm. But we’re also just giving stuff away. Anyone who spends more than a hundred bucks will have the choice of either this fabulous Litograph print of Pride and Prejudice

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or one of our new and quite swanky Skylark tote bags…

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And we’ll be giving away free temporary tattoos of our Skylark logo to anyone who buys anything. So much to celebrate. We do hope you’ll join us! Because there ain’t no party like a bookshop party.

New T-shirts coming this week!

You Know You Want One.

You Know You Want One.

As you’re probably aware, Skylark is TURNING ONE this week, and are planning a big birthday celebration on Saturday, August 24. As part of the festivities, we’ll be selling these beautiful new T-shirts, which we’re all a bit in love with. They are made from the same, extremely soft and comfortable material that we chose for our regular shirts - and, well, look at that design. Cute, no?

On Saturday, for the duration of our day-long birthday party, we’ll donate $5 for every T-shirt we sell to The Center Project, in loving memory of George Hodgman. We like to think he would approve.

It's Our Birthday! (Soon)

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We all love a party here at Skylark, and everyone knows that there’s no party like a book party. (Everyone does know that, right? It’s not just us? No? Good.)

Hard though it is to believe, next month we will have been in business for A WHOLE YEAR. We opened our doors on August 25, 2018, and to celebrate our anniversary we shall be pushing out the proverbial boat on Saturday, August 24.

Among other things, we’ll be giving away a ton of excellent stuff, including temporary Skylark tattoos (!), some of our fantastic new tote bags, and exclusive signed books. We’re also going to have a raffle - you qualify for one ticket for every $20 you spend that day - with a variety of pretty amazing prizes up for grabs, including:

First Prize: A twelve-month Skylark paperback subscription for you or someone you really, really love. (For more on what these are, go here.)

Second Prize: A Skylark Reading Spa (click here for details) worth $100 plus one of our lovely mugs. Again, you could in theory give this to someone else, but we’re not quite sure why you would…?

Third Prize: Thanks to our friends at Libro.fm, we have FIVE free 3-month subscriptions for audiobooks to give away.

Our brand new and completely gorgeous T-shirts will also go on sale for the first time that day. In memory of our recently departed and much-missed friend, George Hodgman, we’ll be donating $5 from every new T-shirt we sell on Saturday to The Center Project.

So come by, have some fun, and help us celebrate turning one!

George Hodgman

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We are deeply saddened by the death of one of our most cherished local authors, George Hodgman.

George was funny, and brilliant, and passionate. He was also an extraordinarily kind and generous man, especially when it came to books and writing. He was a supporter of the Unbound Book Festival before it even existed, breaking off from a national tour for his fabulous memoir, Bettyville, to come back to Columbia to speak and sign books at our first ever fundraiser. Such was his star power that everyone in the room that night wrote us a check. He appeared at the inaugural festival as a guest, and in the second year he brilliantly moderated a panel about writing and dogs. (Raj came along.)

He was a frequent customer at Skylark, and seemed to have read everything. I have fond memories of standing with him between the tables at the front of the shop as he passed judgment on the titles we had on display – often surprising me with his opinions. 

I read Bettyville twice. The first time, I laughed a lot. No surprise there: it’s hysterically funny. The second time, I saw past the jokes and was deeply moved by the heart-breaking humanity of his family’s story. That was George – his dazzling wit masking sadder stories beneath. I hope that this kind, sweet man has finally found some peace.

Alex

Do You Want to Appear in Rebecca Makkai's next book?!?

We love Rebecca Makkai. Her latest novel, The Great Believers, was a brilliant, richly rewarding story of the AIDS crisis in Chicago, and won (and continues to win) a gazillion awards and endless acclaim, and rightly so. It’s gorgeously written, completely engrossing, and a true triumph. Rebecca spoke at the Unbound Book Festival this April, and she’ll be returning to Columbia in August, as her novel has been chosen as the MU Honors College One Read selection this year.

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Rebecca is a big supporter of independent bookstores, and - since yesterday and today are, ahem, “Prime Days” at a certain online retailer whose name we can never quite remember - she has made a very cool offer: purchase a copy of The Great Believers at an independent bookshop before midnight tonight (Tuesday, July 16), send her proof of purchase, and she’ll name a minor character in her next novel after you or someone you choose.

The Great Believers recently came out in paperback. We have copies at the store of course - and we also have a few signed hardcovers left in stock from Unbound. So come by and pick up a copy today - and see your name immortalized in Rebecca’s next book!

Books. And Cats. (But Mainly Cats.)

From Beth…

We have a happy new addition to our household: a kitten named Gustav. No, he's not named after the composer Gustav Mahler (although I do sometimes call him Gustav Meowler) or after my ancestor Gustave Adolph. The quick reason is that the humane society randomly assigned the name, and it suited him.

Needless to say, Gustav is a crazy, inquisitive creature when he's not sleeping. Our other pets currently consist of an elderly beagle as well as an older outdoor cat, and their energy levels register at almost zero when compared to Gustav's. Gustav enjoys being part of the action at all times, including planting himself on me during my sacred introvert reading time. Therefore, my reading attempts these days often look like this....

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Or like this…

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Admittedly, the kitten's constant presence is hardly a huge deal and is undeniably a first-world problem.. Gustav is a cute companion, and I can easily shift my position or move somewhere else to continue reading.

But what interferes with your reading habit? Is it something big and seemingly insurmountable, such as a work obligation? Or is it something insignificant, such as my kitten, or a default to relaxing with Neflix that might require only a simple alteration in your life?

Think about it, and then consider what minor adjustment you might be able to make to add more reading to your day. In the meantime, I'll be cuddling with Gustav and a good book....just in a slightly different position than before.