Jan 19 2012

Great Expectations…

Published by under Current Read,Events

…are what we have right now for our January and specifically for a very exciting event we’re hosting next Thursday, Jan. 26. All of us at Subterranean are proud to be the venue for another John Hendrix author appearance and signing — this time for John’s brand-new book, A Boy Called Dickens (Schwartz & Wade Books, $17.99). Deborah Hopkinson, who’s worked with JH before, has written the text and John’s supplied the beautiful illustrations. Really, this guy is extremely talented and he happens to live right here in St. Louis. It’s a win-win for this lucky bookstore and the entire community. Please attend if you can; the event starts at 6 p.m. and of course it’s free. For further details please check our website.

Hendrix’s new book comes out as one element of the wave of publications and events worldwide coinciding with the great Charles Dickens’s upcoming 200th birthday celebration (he was born February 7, 1812). There’s far too much Dickensian stuff happening to try to summarize here, but let me mention a couple of other Dickens-related titles we have in stock — ones I can heartily recommend, along with John’s new one.

Claire Tomalin’s new biography, Charles Dickens: A Life (The Penguin Press, $36), is where I’d start if you’re wanting the life story of the man and the writer. Tomalin is in the first rank of literary biographers; she captures the human essence of her subjects and her knowledge of their work is second to none. Her study of Thomas Hardy from a while back was incomparable and one of the very best things I read that year (2007). I have great expectations that this new Dickens bio will be just as good.  

If you’d prefer a brief biography of the man, look no further than Jane Smiley’s superb offering, also entitled Charles Dickens: A Life (Penguin, $14). At 209 pages it’s half the length of Tomalin’s, but you won’t sacrifice depth of insight or erudition to brevity. Smiley’s biography is one of the best studies of a writer, living or dead, I’ve ever read. And, being a professional novelist by trade, she knows a thing or two about writers and their inner lives and motivations. This is a great, great little book.

My (and this store’s) friend Fergus O’Shingles stopped in last night and we had another chat about CD and his work. Fergus is a Dickens neophyte but I think I’m making progress on getting him hooked on the expansive ocean of the man’s writing and his supercharged imagination. If I succeed and O’Shingles dives in, I’m fairly confident he’ll enjoy the swim. Just wear some proper Speedos, Fergus: the nude swimming you’re used to won’t fly here. This isn’t Croatia.

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Jan 14 2012


It is a chilly and sunny Saturday in The Loop. Lots of people are coming in from the Ice Carnival who have never been in our store before.

It’s always exciting to see the magical look on someone’s face when they realize they have a real, honest to goodness local bookstore that they can shop at. The enthusiasm is pretty cool.

Again we are a locally owned, independent business and your support keeps us open. So please consider us for your literary needs.

We also want to remind you of the awesome other business neighbors we have in The Loop which are locally owned as well. Shop as many as you can since it keeps your money in our community.

I’ve had some wonderful conversations about books today which always makes our day as booksellers.



I spent lots of time watching MTV in my youth and have always been fascinated by the subculture it helped create. MTV shaped fashion, affected record sales and helped bring rap and grunge to the forefront in the 1980s and 1990s.

A new book, I Want My MTV not only gives a history of the network but also interviews the VJs, producers and creators who made the network happen.

It is a funny, insightful and informative read that sheds light on an interesting era in music history. The book also explores how MTV helped turn Madonna, Michael Jackson and others into stars via the video medium.

MTV also served as a filmic panorama of the politics, culture, music, style and history of the 1980s and 1990s. It created the reality show and made ‘alternative music’ a popular genre.

This has been a very fun read so far and is recommended for anyone who loves popular music, pop culture and the history of the 1980s.


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Jan 12 2012

What WE Can Do For YOU!

You know that we are an independent bookseller who works hard 24/7 to feed your literary habit. You know we always strive to stock new and interesting titles that are often popular but also under the mainstream radar. However you may not be aware of some of the great extra services we offer for our patrons beyond selling books in the store.


If you are in a book or reading club we want your business! We can order the titles your group is reading on a monthly basis and give you a sweet discount on each title for those folks in your book club. All you need to do to register is come by the store and sign up with one of our booksellers. It’s really simple and it gives us a lot of business.

If you are interested in having your book club meet here we can arrange that as well. We also are here to suggest book club titles for your group if you require it. 

But the most important thing you can do to keep us afloat is to tell your friends, relatives and colleagues that we offer this service. Unlike Fight Club we want you to tell members about us.


For devout bookworms we offer various registry services. You can do your birthday, wedding or holiday book gift registry here. It’s simple really. All you have to do is give us a list, then we’ll get the books and you don’t get a crap fruitcake or ugly sweater as a gift.  


Attention all librarians! We can get you books! We want to get you books! We need to get your books! If you work for a library please stop by, email or call us to see how we can be a provider for all or any of your literary needs. We have a strong title list and can get a lot more titles just for you. Also, if your school or library is hosting an author we would love to be on site to handle book sales for you.


Did you know that several professors at Washington University use Subterranean Books to provide books for their classes?  We would love to do this for your school or classroom. Getting your books here saves you some time, energy and money while getting new business for us.


Subterranean Books has a special program for organizations of all shapes and sizes whereby we can provide books for you at discounted pricing. This is a great service for your business, church or non-profit and we encourage you to ask us about being your book provider before you consider other options.

By doing this your company keeps money in the community and sustains an independent bookstore.  Bulk sales not only help us keep the lights on they allow us to make new friends in the community and spread the word about our business to new audiences.

This service is great for any conferences you may be hosting as well as training sessions or for just keeping your staff up to date on current goings on. Churches and civic organizations can participate as well. We also will offer direct and bulk shipping options if needed.

The bottom line is that this is a win/win situation. Your organization or company get books at a reasonable price and can boast of supporting a local small business and we reap the rewards of making your clients happy and getting new business.


In addition ot the Business To Business services we offer we want you to know that if you are having a convention or attending one, ask us about providing items for your gift bags.  We also can have booksellers on site to sell books for your conference, convention or meeting.


If you are a local author and have a new title to sell we offer consignment services that allow you to get your book on our shelves. Stop by and fill out some simple paperwork to make this happen. We also are willing to host events and readings for local authors. Again just call or stop by for information.


We care a lot about the town we live in. That’s why we can provide gift certificates or even books in some cases for your triva night or charity auction. What we require from you is a letter on your organization’s letterhead with a copy of your non-profit certification. What we ask in return is recognition at your event and maybe even the opportunity for signage or bookmarks.


We are always happy when we get to ship books to fun and far off places. We have several regular out of town customers who use us for their book needs. We love that.

So we want you to know that we are happy to ship books to family, friends and colleagues for you. Additionally, we can bulk mail books for your ogranization as well.

If you want to save paper or are always on the go, we sell ebooks online as well so you don’t need to rely on Amazon.

At Subterranean Books we are all about meeting your literary needs. Whether this is in our store, over the phone or online, we are here for you. However we want you, our valued customer, to know what services we provide outside the normal realm of a bookstore.

We are a part of this community and are always looking to broaden our business by forming partnerships, collaborating and providing extra special services to meet your literary needs in these changing times. Hopefully this overview of our services will encourage you to use us for your business needs as well as for pleasure reading. Please tell your friends and networking circle about Subterranean Books and don’t forget us for your business needs!

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Dec 31 2011


Published by under Misc.

Everyone here at Subterranean wants to wish all of you a Happy 2012.

We also want to thank those of you who made an effort to help us out in 2011. It began as a dark year as we really thought we were done for. It ends today with the conclusion of a holiday season filled with new customers and lots of returning friends. We’ve had a great holiday season! Again, thanks to everyone who shopped with us online or in person in 2011.

As for 2012, remember that we are an independent business and literally every dollar you spend keeps us going (really, we are not kidding). This means that in order to keep things chugging along in 2012 we’ll need you to come back. So, please come back and tell all of your friends about us so we can grow the business even more.

We are trying to turn a corner and grow the business. Don’t panic we are not planning anything ridiculous. We are talking about increasing awareness in the community about us and having more great books in stock all year long. In 2012 we’ll continue to sell great books, provide awesome customer service and host cool events to tingle your literary hearts.

But we cannot do this without you, our customers. You all have given us the best present ever this year, your support and business. You stepped up for us and we are SO grateful!

It was has been an honor for all of us to engage you in conversation about books of all sorts. We love the fact that we have such an eclectic customer base who are wonderful and intelligent.

The new friends we have made each day (some who had never been here before) are also to be credited for taking a gamble on a local business. Your dollars are staying where you live and they make a difference in the lives of all of us involved with this store. So please stick with us!

We are a family of sorts here and we each enjoy what we do. We love books and talking to our patrons about their reading interests. We know you hear a lot of slosh about loving customers from other companies and businesses, but we sincerely mean it.

The bottom line is that you have made a difference this year in our survival and that is pretty awesome! Because of you we are still standing and working to improve our selection and services.

2011 was a great year for books. Having the year end with new titles by Stephen King, Murakami, Eugenides, George R.R. Martin and Peter Nadas, amongst others, didn’t hurt either.

Finally, as 2012 promises an even better slate of new reads that we cannot wait to get them into your hands, we want to wish all of you a happy and healthy 2012. Mayan calendar be damned we assure you we’ll be here to provide all of your literary needs!

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Dec 17 2011

What a Saturday

Published by under Misc.

Free gift wrapping today from 2-6, provided by UC High School students involved with Spectrum Literary & Art Magazine.

AND celebrity booksellers Scott Phillips, Matt Kindt, & Ella Kindt from 12-2.

What more could a Sat shopping spree need?–Kelly

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Dec 15 2011

Holiday Update, Giveaways & Events!

Published by under Misc.

We are 10 (yes 10!) days away from Christmas!

As the holiday draws near we would like to thank our customers for shopping with us and welcome our new friends who have discovered us for the first time. You are keeping us going and we sincerely appreciate your business.

With that in mind, please remember that we are a locally owned, independent business right here in University City, Missouri. Local bookstores are neat, fun and integral to any strong community. With that in mind  we hope you remember us for all of your literary related needs in the future.

Although Kelly owns the store each of us who work here feels like we have a vested stake in making the business grow, continue and thrive. We love books, read books and want to sell books because we love them. When you shop with us and we get a book in your hands it is a win/win situation for all of us.

So as the holidays grow near we thought we’d give a little back…..


John Le Carre is a literary treasure and his novel, Tinker, Tailor Soldier, Spy has been made into a film starring  Colin Firth and Gary Oldman. There is some serious Oscar buzz already for the movie.

We have the book in stock and encourage you to read it. But we also have passes to the preview screening at 7pm. on Dec. 21st at Plaza Frontenac.

The best part is that we are giving these passes to our patrons with any purchase! All you need to do is ask for a pass. This will be a tough screening to get into and we want you to see the movie.


In the spirit of holiday giving we also are giving away tickets for the January 3rd performance (opening night) of La Cage Aux Folles at the Fox Theatre.

Here is some info about the show from the Fox press release:

The Broadway classic, La Cage Aux Folles hits the Fabulous Fox Theatre from January 3rd-15th, 2012. This all new  Tony Award-winning production is a celebrated musical smash starring the one and only George Hamilton!

Georges is the suave owner of a glitzy drag club on the French Riviera. Partnered romantically with his high-strung star performer, Albin (who goes by the stage name Zaza), the pair live a charmed life until Georges’ son, Jean-Michel, turns up engaged to the daughter of a conservative right-wing politician who’s coming to dinner.

With a glorious score of hummable melodies and a dynamite cast featuring the “notorious and dangerous Cagelles,” LA CAGE is an indisputable musical comedy classic… and this extraordinary new version shows you why!

We are having a drawing for the tickets on December 24th!  To register simply fill out your name, address, email and phone number at the time of check out.

Also, please remember that we are collecting canned and shelf worthy food for Operation Food Search. The collection bin is upstairs but you can leave your food with our cashiers.


We are proud to co-sponsor An Evening with Amanda Doyle with the University City Library on January 19th. Doyle’s new book,  Finally, a Guidebook to St. Louis by and for St. Louisans, Neighborhood by Neighborhood is flying off our shelves.

For more information visit our website for our updates since we are still ironing out details.


We also are welcoming the infamous Bob Reuter to our store on January 5th at 7:00pm for a book signing of his latest, Light Fuse and Run, a collection of film photography. More details are forthcoming so please check our website, www.subbooks.com for more information.

Finally, we are excited about the next few weeks. We love selling books for people to give as presents. Whatever your holiday book needs are we can handle it. We can special order titles, ship books or even make recommendations for gift ideas. We also sell gift certificates f0r those persnickety loved ones who are tricky to buy for! Also check out our rad selection of t-shirts which have been big sellers for us this holiday season.

Happy Holidays from all of at Subterranean Books!

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Dec 08 2011

The Late Thanksgiver

Published by under Misc.

Yup, that’s me: slow on the uptake, late with the thanks. I’d intended to send this out right before Thanksgiving, but brisk sales and very busy days put paid to that idea. Here goes anyway …

Thank you to all the loyal store friends (I’d try to list you all but the list would go on too long, and anyway you know who you are) and regulars who keep us going day in and day out. Thanks to all the folks who might only have time to come in once or twice every few weeks; you help sustain the good fight too. We couldn’t keep doing this without you all. Personally, I look back on a year of many fantastic conversations with both familiar faces and brand-new customers who’ve come into the bookstore for the very first time. Usually it’s the high point of my workday when I can talk to someone who’s as passionate about what we sell here as I am. Thanks for making an average workday feel more like a great barroom conversation. If we served drinks I’d buy you all a round — and stick Sir Paul From Across the Street with the tab!

Happy Holidays to everyone, Subby patrons and staff (Kaveh, Kelly, Rob, and Tori) alike.

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Dec 02 2011

The Holidays Are Here!

Published by under Misc.

With the Holidays upon us we at Subterranean Books decided to do some wonderful things for the community for the holidays.

It’s great to be an independent bookseller but it is even better to enrich our community!

We are participating in Hope For The Holidays Book Drive in conjunction with the St. Louis Independent Bookstore Alliance. Here is information on our Hope For The Holidays Book Drive.


We also are helping Operation Food Search with their Holiday Food Drive. We have a bin here in the store and all you need to do is bring in a canned food or a pantry ready food item to make a difference. For more information on this great organization visit: http://www.operationfoodsearch.org/

Finally A Locally Produced Guidebook To St. Louis By And for St. Louisans

Every holiday season a book emerges as an early seasonal favorite. While we have lots of great books, this one seems to be the big hit of the early holiday season.

It’s a great St. Louis Guidebook by our city’s own Amanda Doyle. It is loaded with interesting facts about our city that will tantalize locals and tourists alike. It takes a neighborhood by neighborhood look at St. Louis and our institutions, businesses and community.


We love Murakami here and although this one logs in at over 1000 pages it reads well and features Murakami’s patented poignancy and prose.

He weaves a lot of different stories here adeptly and never loses your attention.  This is his most daring, bold and challenging novel to date yet it flows with a serenity and ease most writers would kill for. A recommended read for lovers of contemporary fiction.

This holiday season more then ever it is vital that you shop local and support independent businesses. We’re still standing and want to have a bang up Christmas while giving you the books you need for personal reading or gifts.

We have been buffering up our stock and new books are coming in daily! If there is a title you want and we do not have it on the shelves we can special order it for you and get it fast. We also sell ebooks and gift certificates. We will ship books for you as well.

As booksellers we all love finding the right book for our customers and getting it in their hands. It’s what we do and we want to do it for you, your friends and even people who used to shop at Borders. So please remember us with your holiday giving!

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Aug 30 2011

New in fiction…

Published by under Misc.

Brand-new in hardcover today are, respectively, a novella, a novel, and a short story collection by fiction writers with big followings: Train Dreams (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $18) by Denis Johnson, The Leftovers (St. Martin’s Press, $25.99) by Tom Perrotta, and Steven Millhauser’s We Others: New and Selected Stories (Alfred A. Knopf, $27.95). Stop in today to peruse!

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Aug 22 2011

Hey Ho, Let’s Go

Published by under Current Read

I’ve had a very good summer so far. Got the chance to go to New York City and then the Hill Country of Texas, two locales I have a lot of affection for. But what I really want to do (my wife as well) is tour England. Finances preclude this dream materializing anytime soon, though, so it’s necessary to make do with the next best thing: cheap travel via armchair.

Hugh Palmer’s The Most Beautiful Country Towns of England (Thames & Hudson, $40) will lead you on a guided tour of some of the country’s must-see towns and smaller cities. The title is straightforward enough and says it all: these old towns really are incredibly, almost improbably, beautiful. “Stunning” sounds like a book-jacket blurb word (i.e., a bit overused and shopworn because of it), but what the heck — Palmer’s photos are stunning. He wrote the succinct text, too, which perfectly accompanies the striking pictures. This coffee table-format hardcover is pure eye candy and will please any Anglophile’s palate. Moreover, The Most Beautiful Country Towns of England is a Thames & Hudson edition; is it possible to dislike anything these people publish? I don’t think so.

The Blue Guides are brief, easy-to-carry paperbacks (being rather small and slim) devoted to particular countries and/or regions and cities. In this case I’ve been enjoying The Blue Guide to Hay-on-Wye (W.W. Norton, $12), by Robin Saikia. Hay-on-Wye is the famous “book town” situated in eastern Wales just inside the Welsh-English border. It’s an ancient place, and though its current notoriety is due to its international preeminence as a center for the used-book trade, its history encompasses a lot more than just books and booksellers. You can learn all about the town’s past in this hugely enjoyable little paperback. Saikia’s witty prose style is a specific delight; he knows seemingly everything there is to know about Hay and conveys it all with a brisk panache.

The old green island is closer than it appears. These fun books pull it right toward you, and you won’t have to cope with jet lag.

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