Summer reading keeps kids, bookstores busy

Used booksellers see big upturn in business in recent months
By: Megan Wood The Press Tribune
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Know and Go The Almost Perfect Bookstore Where: 1901 Douglas Blvd. Hours: 10 a.m.- 7 p.m. Monday- Saturday 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. Sunday Phone: 781-7935 Kai’s Books Where: 8799 Auburn Folsom Rd. St. A Granite Bay Hours: 10 a.m.- 7 p.m. Monday-Saturday Noon- 5 p.m. Sunday Phone: 783-5247 This summer, instead of jaunts to Europe or diving the Barrier Reef, the money conscious have been staycationing and getting lost in a book. Don’t believe it? Just ask Kelley Ulmer, owner of The Almost Perfect Bookstore in Roseville. “By noon (last Monday) we’d gotten 100 bags of books turned in to sell,” Ulmer said. “Usually we might see that by 3 p.m. or 4 p.m. In 18 years of business I’ve never seen it like this.” John Duplice, owner of Granite Bay’s Kai’s Books, agreed citing the economy as the reason for people looking to sell their old books and pick up new ones at a discounted price. “I think a lot of people are staying home or sticking around in the area going camping or to the beach,” Ulmer said. “And when you do that, you tend to catch up on your reading.” Big retail bookstores can make a reading habit expensive, which is why used bookstores are the go-to spot to find the classics, rare and even new titles begging to be cracked open. “There are still people that buy the newest titles when they first come out (at retail bookstores),” Ulmer said. “But when they’re finished with them, where do they go to sell them? Used book stores.” Ulmer said she typically has the newest titles being traded in within a week of their release, while Kai’s specializes in the rare and out of print titles. With thousands of titles on the shelves how does a reader, from casual reader to bookworm, sift through it all to find the perfect summer read? For the Young Reader: Both Ulmer and Duplice have noticed a re-ignited interest in the Harry Potter series thanks to the newest film adaptation released last month. Readers young and old are revisiting the Potter series or picking up where they left off to catch up with the new movies, Ulmer said. “Harry Potter never really wanes,” Ulmer said. “It definitely waxes, we’re seeing that now but it’s never not popular.” Another cult classic is Lemony Snicket’s “A Series of Unfortunate Events” series, which Ulmer said is experiencing a bit of a renaissance since its release 10 years ago. At Kai’s, Kids should look for the Newbery Award winners in the large kid’s fiction section. “Those are the ones that a lot of the schools not only recommend but even require for school,” Duplice said. Eight-year-old Morgane Simkowski was shopping at The Almost Perfect Bookstore with her mother when she hunted down the next book in the “Circle of Magic” series by Debra Doyle. “They’re like Harry Potter, but different,” Simkowski said. “I’m on the second one and I love them.” For the Teen: Now is the time to devour books of your choosing before teachers begin to pile on the required reading. If you haven’t heard of Twilight (but really, who hasn’t?) Ulmer, Duplice and 15-year-old Vanessa Bozzuto strongly recommend the series by Stephenie Meyer for the teenage reader. “Twilight got me hooked on reading, I loved (the series),” Bozzuto said. Duplice said the science fiction and fantasy genres are a huge hit among the teen readers with the Lord of the Rings series seeing more popularity as well. Taking an obscure sci-fi twist on classic literature is the new book “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith. “It’s essentially the same classic story but with zombies thrown in,” Ulmer said. “Who knew? But zombies are hot right now, especially with teens.” If getting a head start on fall’s required reading is a priority, Ulmer says teachers often look for copies of Willa Cather’s “My Antonia,” John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men” and Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s “Crime and Punishment.” For the Ladies: “The younger, college-aged and Post College go for chick lit, while the older crowd tends to go for the memoir-type fiction,” Duprice said. Chick lit authors making it into beach bags and pool totes include Meg Cabot, Jane Green and Mary Kay Andrews. While Jeannette Walls’ “The Glass Castle” and Sara Gruen’s “Water for Elephants” have been hits among those looking for a deeper summer escape. For the grown-up “Twilight” lover, Ulmer directs women to Charlaine Harris whose “Southern Vampire Mystery” series inspired the HBO television series True Blood. Tish Santor, a Granite Bay resident said her book club has her reading an eclectic mix but her favorite summer read has been Amy Tan’s “Saving Fish from Drowning.” “It’s perfect, she writes in a way that you can just let the story wash over you,” Santor Said. “It totally just takes you away.” For the Guys: Though not the rabid, voracious reader like their female counterparts, men tend to gravitate towards the backlist, tried and true authors Ulmer said. “Most aren’t as caught up with the newest authors,” Ulmer said. “But, they’re more willing to pick up what’s there and try something new.” Authors that tend to be read and re-read include Lee Child, Vince Flynn or Brad Thor. “They tend to have re-occurring characters and are tried and true among men,” Ulmer said. Historical non-fictions have also grown in popularity among men as well as history-based fiction books, like those written by Jeff Shaara, which include historical facts around a fictional story. “It can be more entertaining because the author has liberty to throw in a nicer story,” Duplice said. “Sometimes history with fiction is more fun.”