Showing posts from May, 2007

BEA Wednesday: Forecasted Schedule & Special Bonus Feature!

Holy Cow, it's BEA! Despite all my anticipation I still feel like the biggest industry event of the year has snuck up on me, and I'm still scrambling to prepare. For my own benefit as well as yours, please find below where I expect to be for the next three or four days. I'll try to blog daily about the experience, and if you're in town for the show, you'll know where to look for me. At the end you'll find a special extra bonus for Written Nerd readers... Wednesday, May 30: morning: at my house, frantically preparing for tonight's party and trying to get done everything else I'd usually do this week... 2:00 - 5:00 Brooklyn walking tours sponsored by BEA. I'm headed for Fort Greene -- it's the Brooklyn neighborhood I'm most fascinated by and know the least about, though I'd love to go on every one of these tours. 5:00-6:30 ABA Brooklyn author reception -- a chance to grab some snacks and meet up with Brooklyn authors as well as all

Comment: My Two Cents on Book Reviews

Though I fear it has been too long in coming and will be a bit underwhelming, I'd like to try to articulate my own thoughts on the nature and evolution of book reviews: mainstream media, blogs, print, internet, etc. And it turns out living read girl' s Lady T (who ought to have a paying gig as a cultural critic) got there first. To put it in a nutshell, she writes It's like public school funding, the arts are the first ones to take the hit, while the football team gets their new uniforms. It's all about money to the corporations who run the newspaper/magazine industry,not quality vs. quantity. Essentially, we (that is, bloggers and professional book reviewers, the internet and the newspaper) are not each other's enemy. I mentioned some time ago the Wall Street Journal article which observed that publishers' allocation of advertising funds -- that is, spending money to get stacks of bestsellers front and center in chain stores, rather than on advertising in book

Comment Roundup: Where You Get Your Reviews, And Why

Okay, this is the lazy girl's version of a Wednesday post. Below you'll find your comments and those of your fellow WN readers on reviews, in semi-abbreviated form, broken up by category: book industry, authors, and general readers (though of course there is some overlap). It's a bit long, but I thought it might be useful to see how people with different relationships to books are thinking about this issue. I'll have my thoughts on the issue on Friday. From the Book Industry: As a person who works in a bookstore, I find that a lot of customers still come in looking for a book that they read about in the Times (NPR being a close second in popularity.) Often, they don't remember the title or the author, so I try and read the Times book review so I can remember the name of the book based on their plot summary. (Noelle) Hi, I work in the bookselling industry so a lot of the books that I end up reading are just books which I've stumbled across while receiving book

Link-Mad Monday: Brooklyn Local Edition

I can't wait until all my fellow booksellers converge on Brooklyn for BEA starting May 30! You may have noticed my major passions are books and Brooklyn, and I'm giddy with excitement as the two get lots of attention this season. Bookselling This Week has Brooklyn restaurant recommendations from local writer Pat Willard. I have a special soft spot for Convivium, which is where the ALP proposed, and 5th Avenue in Park Slope is becoming a real foodie's paradise -- in addition to Pat's choices, I'd also highly recommend Bogota for exciting Latin American food, and Biscuit for mouth-watering barbecue. But Smith Street is even closer to Hotel ABA , and you can't miss with the strip's array of restaurants. I love Bar Tabac for the sweet Gypsy jazz often being played by a live band, as well as for their juicy burgers, and have to add to Willard's list my favorite pan-Asian restaurant Faan -- the ALP and I love ordering a couple of sushi rolls, some Pad T

TGIF: Bookstores to celebrate; ELNO-BEA!

I've been thrilled and intrigued by the answers to my questions about where you read reviews, and why . I want to keep the question open for a couple of days longer to get some more feedback and refine my thoughts on the subject. Look for a synthesis of your responses and my thoughts on the matter by Wednesday, and in the meantime, if you haven't responded I'd love to hear from you . (It's the end of Fundraising Drive Week at WNYC, which I listen to every morning, so forgive me if I sound like I'm soliciting pledges...) Instead, today I want to point out joyfully two major articles about independent bookstores that are NOT playing the same, sad "too bad independent bookstores are doomed" tune. Thanks to Shelf Awareness for the link to these two: The Colorado Springs Business Journal allows as how there are fewer indie bookstores in Colorado Springs than there used to be, but demonstrates that those that remain are growing and thriving because they have ad

Question: What Reviews Do You Read, and Why?

In case you don't read any blogs but mine, let me first clumsily sketch the current issues raging in the blogosphere at the moment, and in the world of book culture at large. The National Book Critics Circle has launched a campaign to preserve newspaper book review sections, beginning with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, which recently fired its full-time book section editor. You can read their reasons and their strategies here on the NBCC blog, Critical Mass . Some periodicals (like the New York Times ) and many bloggers, have picked up the story and interpreted it in terms of the rise of literary blogs. Some opinions (with which I risk offending someone even by summarizing): - book reviews are suffering because blogs are cheaper and easier to produce. - blogs represent contemporary, passionate criticism, while mainstream media reviews have gotten staid, elitist, boring, or irrelevant. - professional reviewers represent an educated opinion on books, while bloggers are often a

Link-Mad Monday

Back in blogland again, after a great weekend of eating, drinking and dancing, like you oughta. Still recovering a bit, but I've managed to pull together a link or two. But not many, because I'm sleepy. Michelle of The Inkwell Bookstore in Falmouth, Mass, suggests that indie booksellers tend to be obsessed with bookcovers -- she sites her store's link to Book By Its Cover , a blog by a designer here in Brooklyn whose posts are mostly just pictures of beautiful book images. Beware -- it's strangely addicting... Thanks, Michelle! The discussion of Alan De Niro's Skinny Dipping in the Lake of the Dead at the Litblog Co-Op has spilled over into this week -- there's a lot going on in those stories, so you've got time to read more. Speaking of the LBC, I want to send a signed book and publicity poster for Sacco and Vanzetti Must Die! to contest winner Ed Vick, but I can't seem to get ahold of him by email. Anyone know him, tell him to email me with


Dude, I totally flaked on posting yesterday, didn't I? Well, I was working in the Book Nerd cause -- attending a special session at the fabulous Brooklyn Public Library on starting a small business. Look out for more on that here in future. But I'm hoping all that good info for the future bookstore can marinate in my head and my notebook for a while, because I'm having a hard time concentrating for long on anything but marrying the ALP in June, and all that that implies in the meantime. He's headed out of town this weekend for some mysterious bachelor activity, while I've got my college girlfriends coming in to town for esoteric girl stuff (like champagne and dancing). So you probably won't hear from me tomorrow either... too much to do. I'll be back next week, though. There's still BEA and Emerging Leaders to keep me in the book world. And the Litblog Co-Op is still going strong with READ THIS!, focusing on Alan De Niro's Skinny Dipping in

Monday, Link-Mad Monday

Oh right -- blogging day. Where was I again? Folks, BEA is less than four weeks away -- do you know where your parties are?? I can tell you definitively about two: Emerging Leaders of Bookselling is planning a killer shindig from 7 to 9 on Wednesday May 30, and the Litblog Co-Op will work their usual magic on Thursday night. Stay tuned (or email me) for further details. And you can make your BEA plans and schedules at the BEA site , and the ABA site (check out the Brooklyn walking tours on Wednesday). Seriously, I expect to see you all there! BTW reports that two lucky young booksellers will be going to BEA for free, thanks to the ABA's "twice as nice" Emerging Leaders Scholarships: Mark Bradshaw of Watermark Books & Cafe in Wichita, Kansas, and Angela K. Sherrill of 57th Street Books, a branch of the Seminary Co-op Bookstore in Chicago. Major congrats, guys -- hope to meet you here in Brooklyn! And for all of you Emerging types thinking about opening a

Friday Reviews: Three Graphic Novels

Folks, let's not forget tomorrow is Free Comic Book Day ! Click on the link and enter your zip code to find a shop giving out yummy cartoon goodies near you. And in honor of that (and because I've had an astonishingly good run of comics reading lately), I'd like to present my take on three great recent graphic novels. (Please note I'm starting a new convention of linking to the publisher pages for books I review. That way you can take a look and find out more about the book, and you don't even have to go to Amazon. If you want to get yourself one AND make me happy, I recommend clicking over to to find your local indie bookstore.) American Elf: Book Two by James Kochalka (Top Shelf Productions, February 2007) At the panel on comics and interstitiality at MoCCA the other day, the question of web comics came up (they do kind of fall between your traditional publishing categories, yeah?) and I realized that two of my favorite comics of the last year st

Friday Frantic

Guys, I promise I'm gonna try to post later today -- have to run out the door, but I've got a stack of graphic novels waiting to be reviewed if I can find some time later. In the meantime -- happy Friday!

Wednesday Stuff: Book Talk

I've got books to review, too, but I'm behind on my links, so let's try to keep up! - In big book world/blog world news, the National Book Critics Circle led by John Freeman has launched a campaign to save the newspaper book section -- specifically, to keep the Atlanta Journal-Constitution from firing its book review editor and eliminating the section. The campaign has sparked interest everywhere, including this article in the New York Times positing that reviews may be moving from mainstream print media to blogs (and everyone's got an opinion on that one). The Times article mentions a bunch of my fellow Litblog Co-Op members -- major congrats, guys! I think many folks ultimately agree that newspaper book review sections and amateur literary blogs both are (or can be) vital parts of the nation's literary culture and conversation -- it's not an either/or thing. There's something to be said both for the professional editorial "filtered" atmosph