Off the Shelf — New from Louise Erdrich

Louise Erdrich is a master of magical realism and an intuitive genius who knows what is going on inside the minds and hearts of modern American Indians. Told from multiple perspectives, including the voice of a small child who inherits the spirit and name of the title character, La Rose is a tale that weaves intergenerational grief with the healing power of indigenous justice. This story emerges from Turtle Mountain, North Dakota, a place that holds a unique history of colonization by the often genteel French. Erdrich disrupts dichotomous thinking about history, justice, love, and violence by bringing indigenous wisdom to a seemingly tragic series of events. There are worse fates than death, more powerful grief than for the loss of a child. Like the severed head that rolls through the  book, LaRose will not let you rest until you have grappled with the raw intimacy of true community. 

--Kimberly Mckeehan

LaRose: A Novel Cover Image
Email or call for price & availability
ISBN: 9780062277022
Availability: Not Currently Available to Order
Published: Harper - May 10th, 2016

Meet a Bookseller — Katie

What do you do at the bookstore?

I am amongst the ranks of booksellers, and still learning how to be a good one. Helping people find books and recommending new great reads is a big part of my job, but I also do a lot to keep the store in good order. I am helping to host author events now, too, which can be fun.

What do you do outside of the bookstore?

I write articles for Rocky Mountain Gardening Magazine and a Blog called “The Last Best Plates”. The articles are about farming and gardening and local food and craft beer. I play outside, hiking, camping and skiing. Just mountain things mostly. I also like to play in my garden. I like to cook and will cook anything and everything. I’m trying to learn how to make as many different dishes as I can, and I’d say that my best dish is tamales.

What are a few of your favorite books?

I love The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky and Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIHM by Robert O’Brien is also a favorite. I prefer to read literary fiction and cooking literature, as well as science and nature writing, and cooking literature. I like to read children’s' books for a change of perspective when life feels too serious, and I'm trying to get more familiar with other genres.

A book about your life would be called...

Broccoflower and Other Stories. It would be a collection of essays about, life. The people, places, and experiences that have gotten me to here. I'd like to think it would be funny, poignant, and profoundly human—you know, like any good read. The voice would probably be something like Barbara Kingslover meets Bill Bryson.

What is your biggest accomplishment?

I get pretty excited about little things, like when I bake a really great loaf of bread.

What is a fun fact about youself?

Despite traveling around the world in college, I didn't seen a firefly until I was 26, and it was magical.


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Meet an Author — Janet Fox











Janet Fox writes award-winning fiction and non-fiction for children of all ages. Her published works include the non-fiction middle grade book Get Organized Without Losing It, and three YA historical romances: Faithful, Forgiven, and Sirens. Janet’s debut middle grade novel The Charmed Children of Rookskill Castle is an historical fantasy set in Scotland, and will be released on March 15, 2016.

What were some of the main inspirations for The Charmed Children of Rookskill Castle?

When I was a kid I read a lot of Greek and Roman myths and legends, as wells as fairytales. I think that formed the basis for my love of the mystery inherent in myths and fairytales. Once I got older I started reading more advanced things like Agatha Christie. The mystery themes in Charmed Children are very much a part of that formative stuff that I love…I love incorporating things that don’t normally fit together like history and fantasy, so that’s another thing I’ve done here that I will probably do more of in the future.

What inspired you to move from young adult novels to a middle grade novel?

It was completely determined by the voice of the story. When I start writing something new, I start by writing a couple of scenes involving a character, and this one came out in the voice of a middle grader. I knew right away that I couldn’t age it up. It definitely had that kind of feeling about it. I also, when I started writing, harked back to my roots as a child reader—back to the Narnia tales, because those are very middle grade books. That was the feeling I was trying to invoke with the starting of a new story, and it just cemented itself as middle grade rather than young adult. However, I am still writing young adult novels as well.

How does the fact that you’ve lived in a real haunted house influence the ghosts in your story?

I am preoccupied with the notion of death and life after death. I’m searching for answers to those big fundamental questions, and ghosts are one way of accessing that information. Maybe there is life after death, just not in a way that we understand it now—possibly some other dimension that we are shifting in and out of. I play with that a lot. Having had experiences that I would call spiritual, and having had family members who have had the same kind of experiences, I would say that it does color what I write all the time, but in different ways. It can be ghosts in one story but then a search for meaning in another story, or some kind of mix between the two.

Can you tell us a little bit more about the use of jewelry in the book, specifically the Chatelaine and its charms?

That has a very interesting backstory. I had just finished Sirens and had sent it off to my editor. I was sort of mucking around thinking, “What am I going to do next?” I went on Facebook and a friend of mine had posted a picture of a chatelaine. It was a 17th or 18th century German chatelaine, and I thought, “Oh, wow!” There were some ordinary charms attached to it, but there were also some really weird things too. The more I looked at it the weirder it got. I’m looking at this thing thinking, “Who would wear that and why?”

 Ironically, my agent at the time, that same day, send me an email saying there was an editor who wanted to work with me and asked if I had any projects involving jewelry. When things like that happen, you just have to go with it. I started writing and within a short amount of time I had a huge chunk of this story written. I knew exactly where it was going and I had the atmosphere and the characters.

Do you usually begin with the research or the writing?

I start writing first, because, to me, it’s the story I want. If there’s anything I need to know more of, I’ll do the research then and keep writing. I knew that kids had left during the Blitz, so I went online because I wanted to know more about the Pied Piper Movement, which was to get kids out of London. I’d find out more about that, like what terminals they would use or what train stations they would leave from and use that. But that research just comes on the fly as it’s needed, and as I’ve gotten into the heart of the story.

What are you reading right now?

I try to read in my genre. Not long ago I finished The Nest **, which I loved. And Echo **, which I also loved. I just finished Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert’s book on creativity, which I am trying to say to everyone I know who is engaged in creative thinking that they must read. I really look forward to a book that is being released the same day as Charmed Children called The Girl in the Well is Me. In the YA realm, I am a huge fan of Suzanne Collins, as I know everyone is. I love Lauren Oliver’s work. Anything that Laurie Halse Anderson writes in my favorite. I just adore her stuff. I just have a towering “to read” pile.

Can we look forward to Charmed Children becoming a series?

I am working on a possible sequel. There has been lots of noise about the possibility of a second novel. I have started working on one, and I am about 20,000 words into it. So maybe. We’ll see.


Meet Janet Fox at the store on Tuesday, March 15 at 7pm.

Meet a Bookseller — Kyle

What do you do at the bookstore?

I'm a bookseller. That means I do a little of everything, from keeping the store tidy to shelving books and putting up displays. The best part about being a bookseller is talking to people about books. That is literally my job. I sell books to people—books that I love and think they will love.

What do you do outside of the bookstore?

By day, I am a bookseller, by night I am an illustrator. Painting has always been a favorite hobby of mine, but it was only recently that I started doing so for profit. Besides that, I feel like my most notable endeavor outside the bookstore is being a good husband.

What are a few of your favorite books?

I do not really have favorite books, more like favorite series. My #1 will always be "A Series of Unfortunate Events" by Lemony Snicket, without which I would not be the person I am today. I also really enjoy "The Wheel of Time" series by Robert Jordan. I also consider H.P. Lovecraft to be one of the greatest authors of all time. Really I will read anything, as long as it is good.

A book about your life would be called...

Southern Drawl: The Life and Mind of a Creativity Enthusiast. It would probably have a lot of doodles in the margins and more than one recipe for good, southern food.

What is your biggest accomplishment?

A few people have told me that I look like Cillian Murphy. That is pretty cool.

What is a fun fact about youself?

I grew up in Southern Alabama, but have not been there in many years. My accent is usually hidden pretty well, but it still slips out from time to time.


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Welcome to the Country Bookshelf Blog

For nearly sixty years, we at Country Bookshelf have prided ourselves on being more than just somewhere to purchase a book. Of course, we do sell books (we have about 35,000 of them on our shelves and over a million online). However, we are also a community space that hosts around 100 events per year—including book clubs, author events, and workshops. We are a place for like-minded people to come together to discuss ideas or just catch up with old friends. And we think that’s the best part about being a local, independent bookstore—the human connections that exist amongst the shelves. There are a lot of places where you can buy a book, but not very many places where the joy of literature and community flourishes. We think that’s pretty awesome.

This meeting of minds, however, is not confined to the physical location of our store. It has the potential to go beyond that, and we hope this blog will be one more way that we can send that passion out the door and into the world to connect us with those who feel as we do. Although we are very proud to be a local business, we are delighted to be able to connect with you wherever in the world you happen to be. Check back here to find original content including our reviews of books, exclusive content from visiting authors, store news, and lots of behind-the-scenes looks at how we do what we do.

We’re thankful to everyone who has been along for the ride these past decades, and we look forward to all that is still to come.


The Staff at Country Bookshelf


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