Still Time To Order Books

December 19, 2009

We still have a great selection of books in stock. However, if you need something we don’t have in the store today, we are still placing orders for books that should arrive before Christmas.  Let us know what you are looking for and we can tell you if we will receive it December 23 or 24.


It’s Not Too Late To Order Books For Christmas

December 14, 2009

Books are arriving daily.  In fact, we’ve been receiving a shipment of books five days a week.  Most orders take 2-4 business days to arrive.  Our Monday orders arrive Wednesday around noon.  If you need a book that we don’t have in stock, let us know and we’ll do our best to obtain a copy ASAP.  We’ll even discount most special orders for new books 10%.  Shipping is free.  Our orders typically arrive faster than Amazon’s free shipping option. Imagine that. Monkeys are faster than rivers.


More Games

December 11, 2009

Yesterday, I posted a list of some of the games we carry. Here are a few more. These are some of our favorite games.  Each one is fun and will test your cognitive skills.


Games

December 10, 2009

We’ve been selling games for three years now. Games by  Set and Gamewright have been popular.  We added Bananagrams last year and that has been huge.   I love games.  For less than $20, you’ve got hours of family fun.  The games pictured below just arrived in the store.


Yes, We Are Open

December 9, 2009

I rode the bike to work today and we are open.  But only until 6:00.  Jon was not brave enough to drive to Northfield today.  He’s at home in his snuggy.

I even shoveled out the bike rack if you want to ride to the store.


Customer Service

December 9, 2009

We order a lot of books for people. If you need something we don’t have in stock, we’ll do our best to track it down.  Most Special orders get a 10% discount off the cover price. These books arrive quickly.  3-5 business days is normal for new book orders. We pay the shipping, not you.

If you need a book sent to someone special.  We do that too.  1.5 million titles are available from our wholesaler.  We can send these to your friends or family with ease. Warehouse to doorstep in just a few days.

We offer free gift wrapping all year.  But December is the month when most people take us up on the offer.  Here are the choices we are wrapping gifts in now.


Hollowing Out the Middle-Midwest Connections

December 8, 2009

“The undoing of Middle America is the great secret tragedy of our times. For shining a bright, unwavering light on the unfolding disaster Patrick Carr and Maria Kefalas deserve enormous credit; for proposing solutions that actually have a chance of succeeding, they deserve the gratitude of frustrated midwesterners everywhere.”
—Thomas Frank, author of  What’s the Matter With Kansas? and The Wrecking Crew

“A solid and important work of first-rate ethnography. Hollowing Out the Middle is a rural panorama of heart-wrenching proportion.”
—Stephen G. Bloom, author of Postville: A Clash of Cultures in Heartland America and The Oxford Project

“The book is compelling. It could be the right book for the right times as we look ahead with the economy in mind. Young people are more than ever examining their options.”
– Patty AcheyCutts, University Book & Supply, Cedar Falls, Iowa

Deft and detailed case studies bring the population to life, making the poor prognosis heartrending. . . . Whatever the future may hold, the authors alert readers to this major change with clarity and compassion.”
Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

When the MacArthur Foundation’s Network on Transitions to Adulthood dispatched sociologists Patrick Carr and Marie Kefalas to Ellis, Iowa, their interest was in examining the experiences of young adults from rural communities as compared to that of their peers in the cities and suburbs of the coasts and the Midwest.  Ultimately, though, Carr and Kefalas’s research took them beyond an analysis of young people’s experiences and into the heart of how small town America is sowing the seeds of its own decline.

In Hollowing Out the Middle, Carr and Kefalas link the troubling exodus from America’s small towns to the ways young people’s paths are shaped by the adults who surround them as they grow up. They describe a selecting and sorting process in which some of a town’s young are positioned to leave for higher education and lives beyond their rural roots, while others are sidelined, destined to become hourly wage earners in their hometown’s struggling economy. They underscore how this process, long practiced and rarely questioned, is contributing to an out-migration epidemic that is slowly destroying America’s heartland.

Drawing on over a hundred interviews with young Iowans spread over fifteen states, Carr and Kefalas follow the trajectories of college-bound “Achievers”; working-class “Stayers,” trapped in a dying agro-industrial economy; “Seekers,” who join the military as a way out; and “Returners,” who eventually circle back to their hometowns. They talk to graduates from the University of Iowa who head for cities and high paying jobs; to those who made it through high school, but are stuck making $15 dollars an hour building ambulances and assembling microprocessors; to high school dropouts who put eggs in cartons or slaughter hogs at the meat processing plant, and to enlisted soldiers who joined the military for a number of reasons, from the signing bonus and medical coverage to the promise of a college education.

Noting that it is critical for Americans to understand the importance of investing in rural communities, Carr and Kefalas go on to examine the range of solutions that governors and senators from Maine to Montana have put forth in trying to lure twenty-somethings back home, including tax cuts and credits, loan forgiveness and free land programs, and focusing on “the three Ts”—talent, technology, and tolerance—in building a more vibrant cultural scene.  Iowa’s “brain-gain” campaign, they report, has included invitations to attend lavish cocktail parties with the governor and ads promoting the state as more than just “hogs, acres of corn, and old people.”

The authors contend, though, that most local and national policies are aimed at attracting the educated leavers while ignoring both the untapped resources of those who stayed and the reasons the non- professional Returners came back.  They call for economic initiatives that would satisfy the job needs of knowledge workers, as well as those that don’t have college degrees. They point to how the heartland could meet emerging demands for local food production, sustainable agriculture and renewable clean energy and underscore the importance of building microeconomies, upgrading small towns’ digital technology infrastructure, and investing in human-capital development so that rural areas can compete in the globalized marketplace.

Carr and Kefalas also offer specific educational solutions, including using the community college infrastructure to build technical skills among Stayers and Returners and creating high school vocational and pre-professional programs in accounting, business, nursing, and medical and computer technology for non-college bound students.  Finally, they look at how immigration, if managed in ways that reduce intergroup tensions, can contribute to a region’s growth and viability.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS Patt Carr

Patrick J. Carr is associate professor of sociology at Rutgers University-New Brunswick, and Maria J. Kefalas is associate professor of sociology at Saint Joseph’s University in Pennsylvania. The authors, who have three published books between them, live outside Philadelphia.Maria Kefalas

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Gift Ideas

December 7, 2009

Ross Currier has been wandering around downtown Northfield getting gift suggestions from local retailers.  Check out his blog to keep up.

He stopped by the Monkey last week. I picked out some games to recommend.  We should be receiving more games this week.

I’ve been reading Lorrie Moore’s latest novel, The Gate at the Stairs. I’ve only just begun and I love this book.  Lorre Moore is one of my favorite writers. The New York Times Book Review just picked it as one of the 10 best books this year.  We still have some copies of The Gate at the Stairs in stock as well as some of her earlier books in paperback.


Seldom Seen-Midwest Connections

December 5, 2009

In May 1995, with nothing but a backpack and a vague sense of disquiet, Patrick Dobson left his home and a steady if deadening job in Kansas City, Missouri. Over the next two and a half months he made his way to Helena, Montana, letting chance encounters guide him to a deeper sense of who he was and where he was going. His chronicle of this journey charts his experiences with the seldom-seen people of the small towns, the far-flung outposts, and the Great Plains that make up “our America.”

Beginning as a seeker, Dobson becomes a faithful recorder of other people’s search for contentment, introducing us to a firefighter with a farm at the end of the world, a fiery Christian conservative, a man sharing a van with a crowd of cats, a former circus carny who’s found the secret to living life, and a homeless Native American offering a special and enduring gift. Ridden out of a hostile Kansas town, sniffed by bears, confronted by bison and recalcitrant moose, Dobson cannot help but see how land, sky, weather, and a world of circumstances influence people. Against the majestic sweep of the open plains and endless horizon, his story is one of hope and desperation, richness and simplicity-a portrait of who we are in the heartland of America.

“Lighting out for the territories-as Mark Twain would have put it-Patrick Dobson discovers his country, his neighbors, himself. Peter Jenkins (A Walk across America) meets Robert Pirsig (Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance). Seldom Seen inspires the adventurer in me-as it should all of us-to go out and do something similar.”
– Eddy L. Harris, author of Mississippi Solo: A River Quest and Still Life in Harlem

“With open eyes and open heart, Patrick Dobson shows us the heart of the nation.”
– David Shribman, executive editor of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and syndicated columnist with Universal Press

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

PatrickDobsonAUTHOR - high res

Patrick Dobson is a freelance writer, former journalist, and working member of Ironworkers Local Union no. 10 in Kansas City, Missouri. He is pursuing his doctorate in U.S. environmental history and American literature at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.  Visit his website at www.patrickdobson.com.


Gravel Ride

December 4, 2009

The weather has been pretty nice this fall which makes for good riding.  I took these pictures the Sunday after Thanksgiving.  I’m not entirely sure where I was riding, but it was south of Northfield on gravel roads. I rode for two hours covering 30 miles. The Temperature was 33-35 F.  These country roads have a lot of nice hills.Valley Grove church


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