Poet-Tree!

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April is National Poetry Month, and Beth wanted to celebrate this in a special way. We’ll let her tell the story…

So....why is that twiggy branch resting in the front corner of the shop anyway? That....drumroll....is our poet-tree. During this April's National Poetry Month, we invite you to celebrate with us at Skylark by adding any type of rhyme or line that you'd like, so that our poet-tree bursts full of beautiful leaves. We're providing some tiny green leaves, crinkly blue yarn, and a Sharpie marker, but you're welcome to go even more big and bold with your own designs.

Share some of your favorite poet's lines, or pen something yourself. Here, for example, is my brilliant haiku, written after mangling an attempt to cut a leaf silhouette:

Cutting crazy leaves

Do not leave me with scissors

This one is a mess

As you can see, absolutely anyone can compose poetry.

If you’d rather not try to write something yourself, be sure to check out our amazing three-bay poetry section up on the second floor to find something that sings to you.

Happy Trails

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Carol has something she would like to say…

While life at Skylark has had one rather large upcoming event to focus on in April, I did not want to let the chance to talk about a cause near and dear to my heart pass by without mention.  This Saturday, April 13, marks the day when people can celebrate the opening of many trails, including our own beloved Katy Trail, to the myriad of activities that make trails great.  Just to name some: hiking, running, riding (bike and horse), skating, skiing, strolling, watching for wildlife and volunteering.

For those of you who do not know, I spent nearly 25 years in Washington, D.C., and while there, I became affiliated with a great national organization called the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC for short).  RTC helps advocate for groups that want to turn unused rail beds into walking, hiking  and riding trails. They are currently supporting the effort of the Rock Island Trail organization, which, if the ongoing Missouri State Parks study finds in favor of and the trail is completed, the Rock Island and Katy Trails will form a 459-mile loop, unlike any other trail.

 The Rock Island Trail would be boon to the smaller towns located along its route—you can read more about their efforts here.  I attended a rally at the State Capitol in Jefferson City last year, and the enthusiasm of the towns was fantastic to witness, even early on a lousy weather day.

So stop by the shop on Saturday morning if you can;  I will be glad to chat more about RTC, the Rock Island Trail or just generally rave about trails. 

Busy Week Ahead!

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It’s all go around here.

Every day we’re getting deliveries vast numbers of books in anticipation of the Unbound Book Festival in two weekends’ time - we’ll be selling books at the event and are gearing up for that. With 56 authors and poets in attendance, it’s not a small thing.

If that wasn’t already enough, we also have three events this week, and on consecutive days, no less.

On Tuesday at 6:00 p.m. we’re pleased to welcome Romalyn Tilghman to the shop to talk about her fabulous novel, To the Stars Through Difficulties.

On Wednesday, also at 6:00 p.m., two wonderful poets, Cassie Donish and Stacey Lynn Brown, will be reading from their work. April is National Poetry Month, so to celebrate this, come out and hear some brilliant poetry performed live!

On the subject of performance, on Thursday at 5:00 p.m., the MU Jazz Combo will be playing in the store in celebration of Jazz Appreciation Month (April is a busy month.) Wine will be served so you can sip and enjoy live music while you browse. Oh, and we’re giving a 10% discount on all jazz-related books thoughout the month of April.

Now that we’re finally enjoying some nice weather, it’s a wonderful time to visit downtown and stroll about the District. Come by Skylark and say hello!

Tonight! The Unbound Book Club discusses "American Prison" by Shane Bauer.

We’re very much looking forward to this evening’s discussion of American Prison by journalist Shane Bauer. We think that the Unbound panel, Prison Sentences, will be one of the most important and popular events at this year’s festival. If you’ve read Shane’s book, you’ll understand why it was named as one of the New York Times’s Best Books of 2018. It’s shocking and brilliant and vitally important.

We’ll be talking about all that this evening at 6:00 p.m., and who knows? Perhaps there’ll be one or two other sneak previews of other Unbound events as well. No need to pre-register and (of course) the event is completely free. See you there?

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Ten (OK, Eleven) Reasons Why You Should be at Skylark on Thursday evening

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We have talked with many of you about The Altruists, and about how the Gary Shteyngart quote on the front (“Super brilliant, super funny.”) is super true. We might have also said that it is super ridiculous that Andrew Ridker gets to have such a super first book with super kudos when he is super young.

In all truth, this book deserves all the hype, and Ridker deserves to bask in it. There are a lot of reasons we think you should consider coming to the event (6:00 p.m. this Thursday!) and picking up a copy. I’m going to try to stick to the top ten.

 1.     It really is super brilliant. No, really. The writing is careful and patient.  The plot is intoxicatingly layered. The characters make you want to hug them, fix them, and smack them upside the head.

2.     The cover is gorgeous. Okay, so I love dandelions. I painted a mural of one on my daughter’s wall. I have been known to make bread with the flowers and every spring the kids harvest from our lawn with delight for fried dandelions (oh my yum). The cover also holds a lot of meaning. You will know the scene when you read it, and you will adore it.

3.     The book is set in St. Louis. Chances are you know these people. You have been to these places. Ridker has expertly made the setting of this novel another character. You will want to hug it, fix it, and smack it upside the head.

4.     Family is complicated. This family more than many, but still. Their feelings and circles of foolish behavior will gut you and leave you thinking about someone you love . . . or want to love . . . or hope loves you.

5.     It says the things that are not said. Novels have this sneaky way of saying all the things the characters are afraid to say. It is all in these pages. I have rarely read a book so good at holding everything back and putting it all out there at the same time.

6.     We could all use a little introspection. There is so much subtle character analysis going on, that I guarantee you will have a moment of personal reflection at one point or another . . . and another.

7.     Did I mention St. Louis? You sat on that bench once. You definitely know that frozen custard. There is a strong likelihood that some of these people are your relatives (without any of those silly flaws, of course).

8.     The story centers on “Danforth” . . . which is unabashedly Wash U . . . really any University in an education obsessed town . . . okay, here.

9.     Ridker knows that home is everything you love and everything you want to forget. And he doesn’t just remind you of that, he smashes that pie into your face and rubs it into your hair. You both laugh.

10.  Needing is the hardest and most wonderful part of being alive. Ridker takes you through the rollercoaster of need. The want, the rejection, the failure, the success, the impossible everything of it. Then somehow, he says a few words and makes you know that your own particularly nagging need makes you who you are in such a beautiful way.

11.  Okay, one more . . .
Respect people. Respect yourself. Eliminate Hate. Ridker address the toxic world we live in with the subtleness of someone who knows that the peculiar politics of today infuse every single story we now tell.

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"Guilty Pleasures"? Not. A. Thing.

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Carrie has some words of wisdom for you today. Co-signed by everyone who works at the shop!

We have heard two words a lot lately. Two words we don’t really believe in: “Guilty Pleasure.” 

It comes in a lowered voice as someone discovers Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander. “It’s a bit steamier than I normally read.” It comes with a pink-cheeked glance as someone tucks a Young Adult title into their stack. “I need something fun before I dive back in.” It comes with shyness when we ask, “What are you in the mood for today?” and we hear, “I’d really like something on the lighter side.”

 So we want to put this out there. We have an amazing selection of books in our shop. We work hard choosing titles. Titles with important content, titles that can drop your jaw and slip into your dreams, titles that are filled with extreme brilliance . . . but we also have some delightfully fun books, some quick reads for the airplane, some palate cleansers.  What we don’t have are “Guilty Pleasures.” If you are reading a book and enjoying it, then there is nothing to feel guilty about. Will Schwalbe taught us that.

We would also love for you to keep this in mind for some of our younger customers. Just because they can see over the counter, that does not mean that they don’t still have a soft spot for picture books. If they are able to read at a high school or college level, they might still enjoy that graphic novel or that silly chapter book that you know they’ll finish on the way home.  The secret is, they also love a range of books. We see their longing looks as they sneak open a book they don’t think they will take home. The other secret is, that book they finish in one quick sitting? They will pick it up over and over and over and over again. You really will get your money’s worth. And you will help them grow up to be proud readers across genres and topics. And maybe, just maybe, we can wipe this feeling of guilt away when talking about something as wonderful as reading!

Come and hear Sherry Jones talk about Josephine Baker on June 4!

We’re pleased to announce a new event, featuring international bestselling author Sherry Jones, who will be at Skylark to discuss her wonderful novel, JOSEPHINE BAKER’S LAST DANCE.

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Josephine Baker was a legendary performer, a trailblazing activist, and one of the most remarkable and powerful cultural icons in history. In this moving and insightful biographical novel, Sherry Jones lifts the curtain and pays homage to her fascinating life.

Josephine Baker was born an illegitimate child of poverty in St. Louis, Missouri but emerged as a black ingénue in Paris at the height of the flapper movement. Sherry Jones creates a fictionalized reimagining of Josephine Baker’s rise to international fame and success as a headlining performer on Paris’s grandest stage.

A celebrity in the midst of the Roaring Twenties, the Great Depression, World War II, and beyond, Josephine Baker also had a secret career as a pilot in the French Air Force and intelligence spy for the French Resistance. She took center stage as a dedicated Civil Rights activist, becoming the only woman invited to speak at the 1963 March on Washington, and her views on social justice and advocacy continue to influence American life today.

Symbolic of her life, JOSEPHINE BAKER’S LAST DANCE is structured around the program of Josephine Baker’s final triumphant performance. As the final curtain falls, Sherry Jones brings this remarkable and compelling public figure into focus for the first time in a joyous celebration of a life lived in technicolor, a powerful woman who continues to inspire today. Come and listen to Sherry Jones read from her book and share the stories behind this enchanting novel.

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THIS EVENING: Carping on

This evening we’re very much looking forward to welcoming Andrew Reeves to Skylark, where he’ll be discussing his book, OVERRUN: DISPATCHES FROM THE ASIAN CARP CRISIS, a brilliant synthesis of intelligent investigative writing and experiential journalism about one of North America’s most voraciously invasive species.

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Politicians, ecologists, and government wildlife officials are fighting a desperate rearguard action to halt the onward reach of Asian Carp, four troublesome fish now within a handful of miles from entering Lake Michigan. From aquaculture farms in Arkansas to the bayous of Louisiana; from marshlands in Indiana to labs in Minnesota; and from the Illinois River to the streets of Chicago where the last line of defense has been laid to keep Asian carp from reaching the Great Lakes, Overrun takes us on a firsthand journey into the heart of a crisis. Along the way, environmental journalist Andrew Reeves discovers that saving the Great Lakes is only half the challenge. The other is a radical scientific and political shift to rethink how we can bring back our degraded and ignored rivers and waterways and reconsider how we create equilibrium in a shrinking world.

With writing that is both urgent and wildly entertaining, Andrew Reeves traces the carp’s explosive spread throughout North America from an unknown import meant to tackle invasive water weeds to a continental scourge that bulldozes through everything in its path.

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Tonight! Unbound Poetry!

What’s better than reading a book of wonderful poetry? Hearing the poets who wrote that wonderful poetry read it themselves.

This evening at 6:00, come and listen to Gabe Fried, Poetry Director of the Unbound Book Festival, introduce the six poets who will be reading their work at this year’s book festival on April 20. He will talk a little about each poet and offer some examples of their work. An acclaimed poet himself, Gabe is also a professor in the English Department at the University of Missouri, and he knows of what he speaks. If you’ve ever heard him talk about poetry, you will know it will be an illuminating and entertaining talk.

While we’re on the subject, Unbound have announced one more poet they’ve just added to next month’s roster - Aaron Coleman. Aaron is the author of Threat Come Close (Four Way Books, 2018) and his chapbook, St. Trigger, was selected by Adrian Matejka for the 2015 Button Poetry Prize. A Fulbright Scholar and Cave Canem Fellow, Aaron’s poems have appeared in journals including Boston Review, Callaloo, and New York Times Magazine. Winner of the American Literary Translators Association’s Jansen Fellowship, the Tupelo Quarterly Poetry Contest, and The Cincinnati Review Schiff Award, Aaron is currently studying 20th-century poetry of the African Diaspora in the Americas in Washington University Saint Louis Comparative Literature PhD program.

Photo Credit: Katherine Simone Reynolds

Photo Credit: Katherine Simone Reynolds

Louder Than A Bomb!

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Louder than a Bomb is the largest youth poetry slam competition in the world. Based out of Chicago and birthed by Young Chicago Authors, Louder than a Bomb has expanded to over a dozen cities since 2001.

The Mid-Missouri chapter includes 7 high school teams from Columbia, Jefferson City and Mexico, who have gathered to build bridges across our communities with words, verse, and conversation.

Their 2nd season kicks off with the first preliminary bout at 6PM on Tuesday, March 12th, 2019, and Skylark is very proud to be hosting the event. This will be the first of four rounds (the second is Tuesday, March 19th, also at Skylark) and the final of this year’s competition will take place on the campus of Stephens College on Saturday, April 20, as part of the Unbound Book Festival.

Poetry is gonna change the world, ya'll. Come get your soul shook and stand witness as the next generation of leaders take center stage!!

Book Review - SOUNDS LIKE TITANIC, by Jessica Chiccehitto Hindman

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Travis read this new memoir recently, and has this to say about it:

One of the fabulous perks of being a bookseller is the opportunity to read advance copies of books. As soon as Sounds Like Titanic arrived in our advance copy stack, I knew I had to read it. I mean come on, the story of playing a silent violin while music blares from a CD player is a must read.

The first several chapters are dedicated to laying out this premise -- how she landed the gig and what led up to it. But when you delve more into the story a number of other intricacies and insights are revealed. After all, Hindman began playing in the “fake” orchestra in college so there is invariably a coming of age understory (what she calls “life in the body”) that focuses on gender and the perceptions of women and girls in the United States. But it is perhaps Hindman’s area of study at university that is the most interesting.

With the halfway point of this memoir falling around 2001, the tale cannot be complete without a discussion of 9/11. And Hindman’s area of study in Middle Eastern study sets her at the forefront of what could be a hot commodity as a journalist but what she finds is interesting, leading her to instead continue playing her silent violin and selling her eggs.

A fully humorous, enjoyable read -- Hindman masterfully weaves a story so odd, endearing and with such topical range that it seems Sounds Like Titanic should be fiction and not non-fiction.

We of course have several copies so come on in and grab a copy!

Another Top Ten - from Faramola

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I have come to realize that the worst question you could ask any bibliophile is what their favorite book is, or what their top 10 favorite books are? If you do, you will just be met with a blank stare and a sassy response in which you will be told that asking what someone’s favorite books are is equivalent to asking who their favorite child is. Personally I think that picking your favorite books might be harder than deciding on your favorite offspring, but that’s just me (besides the fact that both will drain your bank account, books will never cry, scream, wail or give you any sort of attitude). Therefore, you can imagine the difficulty I had when trying to decide on the top ten books that I think you should read before you die. There was a lot of huffing, pacing, and some good old human suffering while I was putting together this list, and while you can’t see the blood, sweat, and tears on this list, trust me, they are there. So without further ado…

“Inkheart” by Cornelia Funke was my introduction to young adult fantasy fiction, and it helped me to value the beauty of books and the way in which they provide a platform for the most fantastical of stories to be told. So while my friends were obsessing over the Harry Potter series, I was obsessing over the Inkheart series.

“A Little Princess” by Frances Hodgson Burnett is a novel that I will never forget, despite the years that have passed since I cracked it open. Just looking back, I cannot help but smile a little bit. As a young girl, or a little princess myself, this was a book that helped me to appreciate the literary world of classical novelists such as Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte.

“The Color Purple” by Alice Walker. I am sure that I am not the only one that has this on their list. While reading this book, I experienced anger, pain, love, and triumph. While some of these emotions are incredibly uncomfortable, Alice Walker had this beautiful way of making me embrace these feelings. This book made me appreciate both the good times and the hard times in life.

“Americanah” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was a book that I absolutely loved not only because of the story itself, but the way in which it was told. It was so beautiful because it told the relatable struggles of living in a new country as an immigrant, and the ebbs and flow of love that one experiences along the way.

Books such as “Just Mercy”, “A Long Way Gone”, and “Little Bee” are all incredibly special because they each tell the story of endurance in a world of injustice and tragedy. “Three Cups of Tea” is a story of bravery and selflessness, and in different ways, “The Art of Racing in the Rain” and “A People’s History of the United States” grant a unique perspective, whether that's looking at the history of our country differently, or the viewing the world through the eyes of a dog.

These are all books that have been unforgettable in the way in which the stories were told, and have had a profound effect on the way in which I have come to view the world around me. In some way or another, they have become landmarks for my life, different checkpoints of my own maturity, and so I have come to associate different times of my life with these books. Everybody has their Top 10 Books that have had an irreversible effect upon themselves as individuals. These books are special because while reading them I was not a reader from the outside looking in, but it was I who was enduring, I who was experiencing, and I who experienced every single written word to the core.

It's World Read Aloud Day!

From Carrie…

My computer informed me that today is World Read Aloud Day (WRAD). Founded by LitWorld in 2010, WRAD shares all sorts of fun statistics about how reading out loud helps develop everything from literacy to empathy to financial security. The numbers are pretty clear; reading in any form is good.

Even though I knew this, I felt myself nodding as I clicked through the pages. Mmmmm books. Yay books! I might have even gazed fondly at one of my many to be read stacks.

Then I looked through the doorway. On our table is one last holiday gift. It has rested, unopened as my family waits for a good full day together. Life is busy, with school events, competitions, work, and well, life. Thankfully, none of us feels particularly rushed. We know what it in package.

Shocker . . . it is a book.

But, it isn’t just a book.

Every year we get a read aloud book. Something I have chosen carefully to please the whole crew. Even before we had kids, I used to read to my husband. Then, I read piles and piles of picture books and chapter books to the kids. But this one-book-a-year choice is special. We gather in the living room, with proper blanket supplies and hot tea. We open the gift and dive in.

When the tradition started, I thought we would read a chapter, perhaps two a night. My mistake was starting with Harry Potter. Let’s just say I lost my voice many times in the years we worked through that series. Rowling is a master at propelling her audience forward.

Another favorite was TumTum & Nutmeg, by Emily Bearn. It was adorable and sweet, but with purpose. Katherine Applegate’s The One and Only Ivan was a quick read, and it was the type that required lots of tissues. I never did get to finish Douglass Adam’s Complete Hitchhikers Guide to the Universe. Opening a bookshop required some extra time, and my now teen kiddos decided to take matters into their own hands. Lesson learned, I picked out something shorter this year, something to bring us back to the couch together. We are all taking comfort in the promise the package holds.

Perhaps my computer was telling me that tonight is the night. I can’t wait.

Perhaps my computer was telling me that Skylark Bookshop could help pass on our tradition.

Join us for True/Love on February 2 (that's this Saturday) and get a free ticket to Ragtag Cinema!

We love the True/False Film Festival, and are eagerly awaiting the next edition of the event, which takes place from February 28 to March 3. Downtown will be packed with happy film-lovers - we’re hoping they may pop in to see us, and buy a book, too.

We’re proud to be supporting the incredible things that True/False does for our community by participating in the inaugural True/Love fundraiser, which takes place downtown this Saturday, February 2. We will be contributing 10% of sales that day to True/False to enable it to continue with its mission.

Here’s the good bit: anybody who purchases more than $20.00 of goods from participating retailers will receive a free ticket to Ragtag Cinema (provided it’s redeemed within 10 days of purchase.)

You can read more about the event, with a complete list of participating stores, here.

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Blind Date with a Book!

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Looking for a Valentine’s Day date or gift? Forget Tinder or roses; Skylark has you covered.

We are proud to introduce: Blind Date with a Book!

Here’s how it works: Between February 1 and Valentine’s Day, visit the shop to “meet” specially wrapped books.  Check out each book’s first line—its “pickup line”—that will be written on its wrapping paper, in order to determine whether you (or the recipient of your gift) and a book make a perfect match.  You’ll also be able to tell whether a book is fiction or nonfiction.

Questions…?

  • I’m in a monogamous relationship with my soulmate; neither of us needs a Blind Date with a Book.  Yes, you do!  Giving your partner a mystery book, or trying one out yourself, will add unpredictability and surprise to your relationship! 

  • I’m getting to know someone special; I’m not sure as to whether they’d like receiving a book instead of chocolate.  What better way to figure out if they’re worth your time? If they don’t read, they’re not your type, right? [See also: very rude quote from John Waters on this subject]

  • I loathe Valentine’s Day; it’s an overly pumped-up day that is loaded with commercialism.  You, my friend, especially need a Blind Date with a Book.  Shun that sappy pressure, and go home to curl up with a good book. ­­

  • I don’t like spending much money on dates; I really can’t afford to fork over a lot for a blind date.  That’s cool; we respect your wallet and the fact that you’ll be taking a risk. All our Blind Date books are heavily discounted.  

We’ll look forward to hearing about how your blind date goes!

Buy Your Audiobooks From Skylark!

We have a lot of conversations with our customers about books of all kinds - including audiobooks. They are becoming increasingly popular as busy people have begun to listen to books while they walk the dog, take their children to school, cook dinner, and so on. (This may also have something to do with the fact that the news on the radio is becoming harder to listen to, but what do we know?)

Anyway - we’re very pleased to announce that our customers can now purchase their audiobooks through Skylark! Thanks to our newly minted partnership with the very excellent company Libro.fm, you can now buy audiobooks online - so you can play them on your usual device - only now each book you purchase will benefit Skylark, and not line the pockets of a certain online gazillionaire.

Libro.fm offers over 100,000 audiobooks, including New York Times bestsellers. If you sign up for a monthly membership, which means you get one heavily discounted audiobook per month, you’ll get your first month absolutely free. (And, if you haven’t tried an audiobook before, but perhaps you’re, um, audio-curious, then this is a perfect, risk-free way to try it out.)

Click here for a list of all the perks of membership. It’s awesome.

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It’s incredibly easy to do. You can either come into the shop and we’ll help you get signed up, or you can click here and follow the super-easy instructions. You’ll get an email confirming everything, then you download the free app, and can start choosing your audiobooks! You can either choose your audiobooks a la carte or do a monthly membership (which is far cheaper.) The site also has excellent bookseller recommendations from people just like us, some interesting curated lists if you’re not sure what to listen to, and all sorts of other cool things. Plus, books purchased through Libro.fm are DRM-free, which means you can listen on multiple devices.

Also, you can give audiobooks as gifts - and you can even give subscriptions, too.

Here’s the link again. Happy listening!

The Customer Is Always... Wonderful

Marsha’s Reading Recommendations

Marsha’s Reading Recommendations

A note from Carrie:

When Alex and I began discussing opening Skylark Bookshop, I immediately began craving the community I knew would develop. My previous bookstore experience nostalgia is firmly rooted in people - the people I worked with and the customers I developed relationships with. The quick friendship that Alex and I formed showed me that Skylark would most certainly satisfy that craving.

What I did not expect was for the relationships to settle so quickly. Within our first weeks, the Skylark crew felt like home. And just as quickly, we had familiar faces at our shelves . . . “regulars.” Bonding over books, talking about everything from life to the escape from it, the relationship with our regulars carries a special magic.

To start the New Year, we wanted to find a way to honor these special people, and came up with the idea of asking them to curate our “gallery shelves” with some of their favorite titles. We are kicking off our customer adoration with Marsha, known for her beautiful heart, open mind, and quick turning pages. Marsha is a former English teacher with a passion for reading and sharing the resulting lessons learned. Her passion extends to daily life, with a bouncy step and ultra-cozy huggage.

We asked Marsha to come up with a list of ten titles she wants to share with the Skylark world (see above). She dug in with enthusiasm and returned with ten impactful books. These books are proudly displayed on our Gallery wall, just as you come in the door. We invite you to come in and pick up her titles, read the backs of the unfamiliar to see what tugs at your soul, or see some familiar covers (Charlotte’s Web) and remember how they impacted you in your own formative years. If one calls to you, make it your purchase of the day and we will pass on to Marsha that her books found a new friend.

Beside these titles, you will also see a selection we pulled together for Marsha (see below). These are recommendations based on her list. If you feel a connection to her choices, this is an opportunity for you to see a few more options. This is also an example of the recommendation work we do on a daily basis. It is one of our favorite things, to pull obvious “if you liked that you will love this” books - alongside “this sounds like a stretch, but try this” titles.

Thank you all for being a part of our Skylark Bookshop community. And thank you, Marsha . . . for being wonderful.

And a few titles that we’re recommending for Marsha

And a few titles that we’re recommending for Marsha

 

Introducing... Skylark's Unbound Book Club!

Most of you probably know that the Unbound Book Festival is coming to Columbia in April this year. We’re excited - we can’t wait to meet the wonderful authors who are coming this year.

The Keynote address by George Saunders is on April 19th, a perfect way to spend your Friday evening. Saturday the 20th will be a flurry of activity, with the remaining authors in conversation in various locations on the Stephens College Campus. The lineup is making us drool.

The collection of festival titles on the shelves in the window stage area of the shop is growing as each author is announced.  It is going to get crowded up there (in the best “read as many of these as you can before you hear the authors speak in person” sort of way)!

But . . .  we don’t really feel like waiting until April to get Columbia talking about these great books, so Skylark is launching a Wednesday Evening Unbound Book Discussion Series (WEUBDS? OK maybe not). For eight Wednesdays leading up to the Festival, our staff will lead book club style discussions on a selection of eight Unbound Book Festival titles. There is something for everyone at Unbound, and we hope our selection of titles provides the same breadth.

Of course, we hope that participants purchase their books at our shop in preparation for the discussions, but that is not a requirement. Those who do will enjoy our Skylark Book club discount of 10%. Simply leave your name and contact information at the front counter when you purchase any of the eight titles to reserve your spot and we will send you a reminder a few days before the appropriate discussion.

We’ll be announcing a full line-up of the books shortly, but wanted to let you know that we’ll be starting with the astonishing, Booker Prize-winning novel by George Saunders, Lincoln in the Bardo. We’ll be discussing the book on Wednesday, February 20, at 6:00 p.m. See you there?

(And while we’re on the topic of Mr. Saunders, don’t forget that FREE TICKETS to his keynote address in the Missouri Theatre will be available online tomorrow morning, Thursday January 17, at 7:00 a.m. Snag yours early - they go fast! The link to tickets will be posted on the festival website tomorrow.)

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Are You a Local Writer? Would you Like to Read at Skylark?

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We had so much fun on our inaugural Local Author Night that we can’t wait to do it all again on Thursday, February 21! As before, we’ll have a mixture of readings and interactive Q and A with our chosen writers.

If you would like to participate, please drop us a line to mail@skylarkbookshop.com. If we don’t already stock your book, please tell us a little bit about the title that you will be reading from.

We’ll announce the participants as soon as we have filled all the spots - but in the meantime, mark your calendars for another great evening to enjoy some of our local writing talents!