Posts

Ensemble.

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  Last week I went to a literary gala and I may be still processing it.  The lovely folks at Other Press extended an invitation to their table for the PEN Gala, the annual fundraiser for PEN America 's vital work in freedom of speech for writers worldwide -- though I admit when I saw the invite I was thinking anxiously less about authorial freedom and more about the words "BLACK TIE".  Luckily I had a ten-year-old dress I love in the back of the closet (small designer, punkish fabric pieces, long train at the back) so I put myself together as best I could and went to the American Museum of Natural History on a Tuesday night.  Arriving, I found that Other Press had also extended an invitation to several fellow booksellers, including two of my own Greenlight colleagues, who were a delight to encounter in a sea of suited-and-gowned strangers. We talked a kind of shop, about the challenges of curation vs. the demands of free speech over cocktails around the giant skeletons i

Wild.

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I had the pleasure of speaking with the lovely Damian Barr on Instagram Live this morning, as Greenlight was featured as Bookshop of the Month on his Literary Salon . I feel like I used to be one of those in any gathering of booksellers who was more comfortable with tech than my elders; I've now passed over into being a grownup who needs gentle coaching on how to update the app, etc.  But once the transcontinental connectivity issues were overcome, it was great to talk about the bookstore, about mutual friends and events and parties, about ideas and books.  Wow I've missed conversation about books -- I'm resolved to re-integrate it into my life, however long it takes. We talked about Greenlight's name and its origins in (among other things) the green light at the end of the dock in The Great Gatsby , and whether "So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past" is ultimately optimistic, an aspiration for a better future, or hope

Shuffle.

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Like every other bookstore I've spoken to or heard about, Greenlight has spent the past year and a half of pandemic-era retail in a state of near-constant reinvention.  I could talk about the moment-by-moment agony and uncertainty of it, the second-guessing and the exhaustion of decision making, but in retrospect it looks like a rollercoaster that you managed to stay on.  We were lucky we already had an e-commerce website -- we just had to reallocate a ton of resources to expand it it. We were lucky our stores are in dense residential communities where folks weren't going in to the office -- sales in some categories actually grew (and we sold a lot of puzzles). We were lucky to have staff and customers pushing us forward as we examined our own institutional structures -- we're in a still-very-ongoing state of becoming a more transparent, more inclusive business.  It takes a kind of gallows humor to see it, but the hustle that has been required to keep our little bookstore&#

Seed.

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I wrote the last entry in this blog over ten years ago -- I was honestly surprised to find it's still here (thanks for saving everything, Google!). In May of 2011 the Greenlight Bookstore venture was new, and my focus had shifted from writing and networking about books and bookstores to working all the time, every day on my own little seed of a venture. It was an exciting and transitional time, and it was only a little bittersweet to let it go. I wrote the first entry in this blog over sixteen years ago, in October of 2005. I was working in a bookstore and starting to conceive of the first seeds of my plan to open my own, but still feeling a little isolated and in need of community.  It was a great moment for literary blogs, many/most of which are now gathering their own cobwebs -- largely because their founders (me included) created a platform and developed connections which allowed them to create the next phase of their literary career.  This blog served its purpose well, and th

Moving On, Moving Over

Dear readers of The Written Nerd, if there are any of you still out there, As you may have noticed, I haven't posted anything here in almost six months. This blog served a great purpose for me for five long years -- from October 2005, when I declared my geeky book and bookstore love and my quixotic intention to open a bookstore. As you know if you've been reading me, that dream has come true . Which means any blogging time and energy I had is now dedicated to the bookstore. And to a degree, it also means that I don't need this outlet for my thoughts about book culture anymore, since I have coworkers and customers and a whole industry with which to explore them. Not to mention that there's a whole new generation of book bloggers who have a lot more interesting things to say! So I'm officially signing off from The Written Nerd. This means two things: 1) If you are a publicist, please don't send books to The Written Nerd anymore. I get far more books than

2010 Year-End Roundup, and a Call for Ideas

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Here are all the books I read (that I know of) in 2010, in crude alphabetical order. This doesn't include children's picture books, cookbooks, single-issue comics, magazines, or uh, the Internet. My own personal Best of the Year are highlighted in bold. And thanks to the superquick book search on greenlightbookstore.com (where, ahem, you can purchase any and all of these titles), you get pictures! The call for ideas is at the end. A. D.: New Orleans After the Deluge by Jo sh Neufeld ( reviewed ) Agents of Atlas by Jeff Parker and Leonard Kirk ( reviewed ) Air, Volume 2: Flying Machine by G. Willow Wilson & M.K. Parker (reviewed) Arrow Pointing Nowhere by Elizabeth Daly (reviewed) Batwoman: Elegy by Greg Rucka, J. H. Williams, and Dave Stewart (reviewed) The Box of Delights by John Masefield: A Christmas book, quintessentially English in a Narnia kind of way, dreamy and eccentric and magical and stiff-upper-lip. Practically perfect. Co wboy Ninja Vik

All the Rest of the Books I Read This Year

Okay, so perhaps I was slightly overambitious, or just unorganized, thinking I would write about every book I read this year in order. Even though I felt like I didn't read nearly as much as I wanted to / ought to this year, the pile of read books grew much faster than my time to write about them (or inspiration to do so). So here's what I didn't get to write about before, but did read -- I can't remember any longer which order they went in, and the shortness that this last-minute approach will require does a disservice to some truly wonderful works, but there you go. To save time and space, instead of including pictures I've added links to the book detail page on greenlightbookstore.com whenever available, if you want to see a picture or read more about the book. Before the end of this month, I'll post the complete list of what I read this year, highlighting my own personal best-ofs, with links to where I wrote about them. Here goes the last round! A. D.