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Showing posts from November, 2006

Chronicle: ELNO Winter Edition; The Breathless Season

Folks, I'm still without a home computer, and to put the last topic first, it's begun to be a bit crazy around the bookstore. In addition to making schedules around everyone's vacation wishes and trading Secret Santas for the holiday party, we're working on beautiful new windows and display, a roster of staff recommendations, and other things to make the season bright. Yours truly is also scrambling to get the events schedule set in stone for the first few months of the new year and hoping against hope that our new website will be up soon, but those are my own struggles. Suffice to say, it's darned difficult to find a moment to blog. But will you be surprised if I admit that I love it? Aside from that whole magic-and-mystery thing, the Christmas season is a great one to work in retail -- at least in a bookstore, where you don't have to feel bad about what you're selling and the customers tend to be great. Folks are excited to buy, so every effort seem

Comment: Please Stand By... And Holiday Reading Anticipation

It's been an entire week since my last confession... er, post; my apologies. I'm having major computer trouble (i.e., I got a new one but it won't turn on - ??$#%@??), so I'm sans computer at home, and too busy to blog at work. But keep your eye on this space -- I'll be back as soon as I can with links, stories, and reviews. In the meantime, here's my question of the week: what are you looking forward to reading over your holiday vacation (if you're getting any)? I've got my eye on the Neil Gaiman collection FRAGILE THINGS -- I find good fantasy extremely appropriate for Christmas reading. (Of course, I am a big nerd about Christmas, among other things, and believe in the magic and mystery of it all wholeheartedly. You may find other genres express your sentiments...) I've also just dipped into THE WIZARD OF THE CROW, one of the nominees for the Litblog Co-Op spring selections, and have found in surprisingly engrossing for such Serious Liter

Mad Monday: Quick News, Quick Reviews #44, #45, #46, #47

Got stuff to do, but a couple of important notes before I dash. * I did succeed in honoring America Unchained! on Saturday. The ALP got up early to restock our coffee supply from local favorite Gorilla Coffee (gotta have Flash to see their site), which is not only locally owned and operated, but roasts the beans locally, and stocks only organic, free trade coffee. Hooray! We later went grocery shopping at our local Key Foods/Pick Quick; I did a smitch of research and found that apparently , Key Foods is a New York co-operative supporting local groceries like Pick Quick. Sounds good to me. We both need some new clothes, but decided we could wait on visiting mega-chain Old Navy until another day. I admit clothing stymies my ethical shopping impulses, since the only local places seem to be boutiques way out of my price range. I suppose I should just go back to the thrift-store shopping of my high school days. Anyone else got stories? * The New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Associati

Challenge: America Unchained!

The American Independent Businesss Alliance (AMIBA) has designated tomorrow, November 18, for America Unchained! Here's an excerpt from their press release (you can read the rest here ): "Independent Business Alliances, community groups, partnering national organizations, and individual locally-owned businesses nationwide are urging citizens of their communities to “unchain” themselves on Saturday November 18—to do all their business on that day only at locally-owned independent establishments. The efforts are part of America Unchained, a national campaign of the American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA). “Studies from small towns in Maine to urban areas like Austin, TX and Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood found locally-owned independent businesses to generate 3 - 3 ½ times the overall economic benefit to our communities as chains. Why? Home town businesses use far more of the goods and services provided by other local businesses, which chains centralize at co

Comment: National Book Awards

The National Book Award winners were announced last night. Hooray for ECHO MAKER! This Fox News article has quotations from Richard Powers' acceptance speech. The NY Times focuses on the nonfiction winner, Timothy Egan, author of highly acclaimed dust bowl history THE WORST HARD TIME. The NY Sun talks about the ceremony, with Fran Liebowitz, Adrienne Rich, and David Remnick waxing eloquent. GalleyCat was there, starstruck as I imagine I would be, and mentions the reading segment (with Gene Yang's AMERICAN BORN CHINESE and Danielewski's ONLY REVOLUTIONS projected overhead to help audiences follow their reading) and Nicole Kraus's remarks. LBC member Sarah Weinman was in attendance too, and has a similar reaction to Richard Powers' win, along with some choice remarks about attendees. And I missed hearing it on NPR this morning, but the ALP tells me that YA winner M.T. Anderson's remarks contained a declaration of respect for Gene Yang's work and

Link-Mad Monday: ELNO Winter 2006, Awards, Complaints, and the Pervasiveness of Powell's

Quick little link-madness for today. * The next Emerging Leaders Night Out has been announced! We'll be getting together on November 29, to celebrate the Small Press Book Fair on December 2 and 3. And thanks to the good offices of marketing wizard Steve Colca, Emerging Leaders NYC now has its own website . It's little more than a blog at this point, but it's a start, and hopefully it will be another resource for connecting with each other. Check it out, tell us what you think, and RSVP for the ELNO! * As I was making my Christmas wish list on Powells.com (yes, Mom, there are still books I don't have), I finally discovered the Powell's blog . And duh, it's great! Several of my links today are courtesy of the alert and witty folks at Powells, and there's more where these came from. Is there anything those Portland indies can't do? * The National Book Award winners are announced this Wednesday -- oh, the suspense! (If Richard Powers doesn't win, I

Comment: Check out the fat rat action!

I know it's weird for me to post on a weekend, but you should seriously check out the Litblog Co-Op right now , because FIRMIN Week is turning out to be awesome. Not only is there a fascinating conversation going on about whether or not Firmin is actually a rat, there's an opportunity to tell everyone which book you'd most like to eat (though the giveaway prize window is over), AND a podcast interview with author Sam Savage by the infamous Bat Segundo. Bat meets rat. Author talks about a book set in a bookstore. What could be better??? Have fun -- see you Monday!

Question: Who Needs a Bookstore?

No time for a real long post today -- my day-off schedule has been torqed nine ways from Sunday and I'm scrambling to get everything done. But I do have a question for y'all. This morning I had coffee with a woman who's about to make that crazy leap into opening a new independent bookstore. I think she's picked a great neighborhood. The rents are low -- there are some housing projects nearby -- but there are a few writers in the neighborhood, and she knows from living there that there are some folks with money to spend. Not much of a restaurant or bar scene, but it's one of those neighborhoods on the brink. And no bookstore for miles around. I'm excited for her. So my question is this: where do you think someone should open a bookstore? Is there a neighborhood, town, street or state that you think needs a bookstore and doesn't have one yet? Why would it be a good spot? What kind of bookstore could be a success there? Maybe we can get some more crazy folks

Link-Mad Monday: Housecleaning

I've got a bit of time this morning, so in addition to some recent links I'm excited about, I'm cleaning out my inbox of all the suggestions and requests I've received since way back in July. So it's a long list today. Enjoy! * It's Firmin week at the Litblog Co-Op ! Click over for the beginning of a roundtable discussion about Sam Savage's literate rat (including commentary by yours truly). Rumor has it Mr. Savage himself will join the discussion later this week. * Bookselling This Week has this article about the winners of scholarships to the American Booksellers Association's Winter Institute -- with some (as usual) slightly cringe-worthy quotes from your Book Nerd. * In the spirit of the documentary INDIES UNDER FIRE, Bookselling This Week also reports on a number of independent booksellers who are involved in fights to keep chains and big box stores out of their communities and encourage local, small-scale retail. In Montana and California , the

Book Reviews #39, #40, #41, #42, #43

I've finished two more books since I announced my recent reads, so I'll try to keep these reviews short, though I'm not always good at that. Here goes: Review #39 THE KILLING JAR by Nicola Monaghan (Scribner, April 2007) I have to admit this is one of those books that induced a groan when I got it in that Jiffy Pak mailer. Maybe it was the candy pills on the front cover, or the back cover copy comparing it to Irvine Welsh's TRAINSPOTTING. THE KILLING JAR looked like a sneering, adolescent, gratuitous drug trip of a book; not my favorite genre, as it tends to combine the self-dramatizing, overwritten prose I first encountered in my high school literary magazine with the self-righteous, damn-the-man self-destructiveness of drug culture. 'Scuse my snarkiness – I'm just not the Trainspotting audience, I guess. But Nicola Monaghan's story of growing up screwed up on one of Britain's "council estates" (suburban low-income housing projects) surpris