Edward Gorey Quote of the Week

clock February 27, 2015 11:40 by author Paul Ryall

This week's quote comes from the magnificent Edward Gorey. Eccentric, and brilliant, his illustrations for his macabre children’s books are unmistakable- and clearly have made their mark on the work of Tim Burton. His stories are hilariously dark, I highly recommend “The Gashlycomb Tinies” – I mean, any book for children which teaches the alphabet beginning with, “A is for AMY who fell down the stairs” has to be a keeper. Do you have a favorite by Edward Gorey?

Toni Morrison Quote of the Week

clock February 19, 2015 12:40 by author Paul Ryall

This week's quote comes from Toni Morrison. She is one of the greatest writers of her generation and is the winner of The Pulitzer Prize (for Beloved), The Nobel Prize in Literature and received the Presidential Medal of Honor in 2012. My favorite of her novels is A Mercy- an extraordinary book about early America. Which is your favorite by Toni Morrison?

The Big Sleep At 75

clock May 5, 2014 11:59 by author Paul Ryall


The Big Sleep at 75


The Big Sleep at 75
In 1939 Raymond Chandler's The Big Sleep was published, introducing the world to Phillip Marlowe, the classic hard-boiled private detective. Chandler said, 'Marlowe just grew out of the pulps. He was no one person.' And this was not just true of the character, the novel was derived from several short stories with different plots and characters. This did lead to unresolved plot lines, but for Chandler character and atmosphere were paramount and 75 years on this classic continues to shine.
The Big Sleep > More By Raymond Chandler > More Hard-Boiled Thrillers >
Fun Fact
In 'cannibalizing' his short stories to write The Big Sleep, Chandler managed to leave one murder totally unexplained. When Howard Hawks was adapting the novel for the film he was perplexed by this, so he called Chandler to ask who the murderer was and Chandler told him...he had no idea.
If you like Philip Marlowe, you should check out...
Sam Spade - Dashiell Hammett's private detective appears in The Maltese Falcon and 3 short stories.
Mike Hammer - Mickey Spillane's very tough private detective appears in more than 15 novels.
Easy Rawlins - Walter Mosley's PI appears in 10 novels including Devil in a Blue Dress.
Lew Archer - Ross Macdonald's classic Marlowe-esque PI.
VI Warshawski - Sara Paretsky's classic tough PI appears in 16 novels to date.
Kinsey Millhone - Sue Grafton's hero appears in the Alphabet series - currently at W.
Spenser - Robert B Parker's PI is another in the mold of Marlowe - although he is in a committed relationship.
Humphrey Bogart in The Big Sleep
     More By Raymond Chandler
Farewell My Lovely
Raymond Chandler
The High Window
Raymond Chandler
Lady in the Lake
Raymond Chandler
The Little Sister
Raymond Chandler
Raymond Chandler
     More Hard-Boiled Thrillers
Drop Shot
Harlan Coben
The Maltese Falcon
Dashiell Hammett
The Narrows
Michael Connelly
Indigo Slam
Robert Crais
O Is For Outlaw
Sue Grafton

Charles Dickens: Greatest Novelist?

clock February 5, 2014 07:30 by author Paul Ryall


Charles Dickens
The Greatest

February 7th marks the 202nd birthday of Charles Dickens, perhaps the greatest novelist of the Victorian era. He traveled widely, giving readings in both the UK and USA, and was the most famous living novelist up to that time, being a master of both popular media and live appearance; this level of celebrity for a novelist was unprecedented. And so 200+ years on, we consider some of Dickens' most enduring works.

At the top of our list is the classic “Great Expectations,” the story of Pip and his growth and development from orphan to gentleman. The novel includes an array of memorable Dickens characters, including Abel Magwitch, Mr. Jaggers, Miss Havisham, Joe Gargery, Herbert Pocket and Pip himself. Dickens popularized the publication of novels in serial form with his novel “The Pickwick Papers,” and “Great Expectations” was in turn serialized in the magazine All the Year Round over nine months. Unlike many who utilized this format, Dickens wrote while the novel was being serialized, allowing him to create suitable cliffhangers to keep the reading public wanting more. After "Great Expectations" was published, Wilkie Collins said the ending was too sad, so Dickens decided to go for the Hollywood happy ending long before the film pioneers had headed west.

Dickens the social activist shone a very bright light on the squalor and poverty in the newly industrialized London, and particularly on child labor and the recruitment of children as criminals. "Oliver Twist" depicts the social ills and hypocrisies of society with a grim realism, and even if the plot eventually ends on a happy note, the power of Dickens depiction gave rise to the term “Dickensian.” Oliver Twist, The Artful Dodger, Fagin and Bill Sikes are some of the most memorable characters in literature, and have moved from novel to stage musical to film and television with a regularity matching the apparently insatiable demand of the audience.

And so to "A Tale of Two Cities."  The cities in question are London and Paris, and the story is at once a tale of espionage, social injustice, obsessive shoemaking, assassinations, unrequited love, doppelgangers, ultimate redemption and a whole lot more, including the French Revolution. One of only two historical novels Dickens ever wrote, it has sold over 200 million copies and is perhaps his most satisfying. It also includes, one of the most moving quotes in all of Dickens: "It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known."

And what of the rest? There are a couple of other novels you might just have heard of, “David Copperfield,” “A Christmas Carol,” “Nicholas Nickelby,” “Little Dorrit,” and the list goes on. Dickens was prolific and his writing is extraordinary, and as we approach his 202nd birthday I heartily recommend that you revisit your favorite Dickens.

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Top Stocking Stuffers

clock December 9, 2013 08:33 by author Paul Ryall






The stuffed stocking is the place where some of the finest literature (or certainly funniest) can be found. Here is a round-up of some of our favorites, please feel free to share yours!


NaNoWriMo: Our Top 5 Tips

clock October 28, 2013 16:26 by author Paul Ryall



Our Top 5 Tips

As NaNoWriMo kicks off, we want to offer some tips and invite you to join our Twitter round robin event!




Stephen King: Top 5

clock October 1, 2013 12:14 by author Paul Ryall



Stephen King:
Top 5
Horror Stories

As we enter the time of the year when all things ghoulish, creepy, scary and spooky are celebrated, we present our selection of Stephen King's top 5 horror books. We are sure there is a wide range of opinion on his top 5 horror books, so we welcome any and all suggestions in comments!


Back To School Top 5 And New Pinterest Contest!

clock August 30, 2013 15:26 by author Paul Ryall



Back To School:
A Top 5

As we enter back-to-school season, we present our top 5 books about schools and school children, which range from the sentimental to the magical to the frankly gruesome (but nevertheless brilliant). Plus, you can enter our new Back to School Pinterest Contest. Simply pin three (or more!) classic books you enjoyed reading in school and share what stood out for you about the book. Click here for full details.


Ken Goldstein to join Thrift Books Board of Directors

clock August 30, 2013 11:59 by author Mike Ward

I am really excited to announce today that Ken Goldstein has joined the company as a member of the Board of Directors. Mr. Goldstein most recently served as Chairman and CEO of SHOP.COM, a market leader in developing creative new experiences for online consumer commerce through the convenience of OneCart®, its patented universal shopping cart. SHOP.COM was acquired by Market America, where he became a strategic advisor to the company’s founders and senior management. He previously served as executive vice president and managing director of Disney Online, the business unit of the Walt Disney Internet Group that produced the leading entertainment web destination for kids and families.

Ken brings a deep set of e-commerce, media, and strategic skills to our company. He is passionate about technology and the internet and is an accomplished author as well.  He has a work of fiction releasing in October (http://www.amazon.com/This-Rage-Silicon-Valley-Madness/dp/1611880718/) and he writes a popular blog which you can find at corporateintelligenceradio.com.  I love his blog's description: "This is a creative forum for exchange where we talk about Innovation, Learning, Life, and Career. We share insights into company success where people matter most. People, Products, Profits—in that order."  It fits so well with the ethos here at Thrift Books.  He will be a huge asset to the board and our company and I look forward to adding his energy and enthusiasm to the team.

Ken had this to add when I asked him for his thoughts, “When I was introduced to Thrift Books, I was immediately inspired by the tremendous creativity and dedication of the founders, the staff, and their shared mission to share the joy of reading. The innovation in the digital commerce platform they have created from scratch, combined with a mastery of supply chain logistics and expert warehouse management, all combine to make this a company of the future with limitless possibilities. Even more, I deeply admire Thrift Books commitment to the re-use and recycling of used books as a green strategy that makes wonderful business sense. This company is going places and I am honored to be on the team.”


-- Mike Ward, C.I.O.

10th Anniversary Top 10

clock July 18, 2013 16:06 by author Paul Ryall

Top 10

Ten years - WOW! It all began in a small garage in Kirkland, Washington (just across the lake from Seattle) in the summer of 2003. From our first customer's online order for E.B. White's classic Charlotte's Web, to the thousands of titles a day we currently ship out, our love of the books we sell has grown right along with our business. So to celebrate our tenth anniversary, we've selected a few favorites from each of the last ten years to share with you. We would also like to see your favorite books from the last ten years - check out our contest, share your favorite books, and you could win a gift card!



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