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Showing posts from September, 2007

Wednesday chronicle: upcoming events

I'm both feeling ill AND extraordinarily busy today, dear readers, so no time for the thougtful review I was hoping for. Instead, here's some of what I've got coming up -- maybe I'll see you around... I'm headed to the New England Independent Booksellers Association (NEIBA) trade show in Providence on Friday, where I've been invited to speak on an ABA panel titled "Doing Digital Right." Robert Gray of Fresh Eyes and Shelf Awareness and Heather Gain of Harvard Bookstore will be my illustrious co-panelists, and the inimitable Len Vlahos is moderating; it's at 3:00 PM. Next, of course, is the New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association trade show (or NAIBA-Con ) in Baltimore -- hooray! On Sunday, October 14, I'll be joining Robert Gray (again) and Felicia Sullivan on a panel tentatively titled "Getting the Most out of the Internet" at 3:45 PM. Hope to see you there! Then, closer to home, I'm honored to participate in t

Brooklyn Lit Life: Nicole Steinberg

I have to admit I've never met BOMB editor Nicole Steinberg in person -- our connection was forged via an email chain, friend to associate to colleague etc. And I'm thrilled to admit I've never been to half of the Brooklyn literary venues she describes -- because that means there's so much more still to discover! Her responses to the Brooklyn Lit Life questions renew my optimism for the borough all over again (I love her thoughts on neighbors and neighborhoods), and inspire me to widen my own circle of literary experiences here (if only in hopes of running into her). Read on, and get out there! Brooklyn Lit Life Interview: Nicole Steinberg Describe your particular literary project, and your role in it. I’m the Associate Editor at BOMB magazine , a not-for-profit arts and culture magazine in its 26th year of publication. BOMB used to be located in Soho, but moved to Fort Greene in 2004 and is now a very visible publication in the Brooklyn literary scene. My posi

Graphic Lit Galore: Kabuishi, Bechdel, Robinson

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Man, I've been hitting the graphic novels hard lately. Here's a rundown on recent reading. Flight, Volume 1 edited by Kazuo Kibuishi (Villard, April 2007) Don't let the publication date fool you -- the Flight project is one that has been building and gathering steam for a long time, and just recently burst unavoidably into the consciousness of folks like me (i.e. "mainstream" readers). The anthology, first published by Image Comics in 2004, gathers short works by dozens of young (sometimes VERY young) independent comic artists and writers. Many relate, more or less, to the "theme" of flight, whether it's a boy and his dog building a dirigible to traverse a fantasy world, a nerd and a popular girl bonding over kite flying, or a penguin who finds a way to transcend the whole flightless bird thing. As with any collection, it can be a bit uneven -- some of these artists were in their late teens when they did this work, and a few feel a bit tee

The Times, The Post, and the Daily News on New York Bookstores

Monday, an article in the New York Times confirmed the story that the Barnes & Noble on Astor Place in New York is closing , and put to rest the rumors we'd been hearing that a new branch would open in Chelsea. The Astor Place branch will close on December 31, citing astronomical rents, the bane of all bookstores in NYC. (Strangely, the quoted yearly rent of $1.15 million for 32,000 square feet works out to only about $35 per square foot -- well within reasonable range, even for a bookstore.) The Times reports that a new B&N will open at 270 Greenwich Street in TriBeCa on November 28, "so the total number of Barnes & Noble stores will be unchanged." However, a Tuesday article in the New York Post makes that last statement questionable. Real estate sources say that the Chelsea Barnes & Noble won't renew its lease when it comes up next May, though Barnes & Noble hasn't confirmed this. But the Post also says the chain may have signed a

Link-Mad Monday: Festival Edition

Yesterday, September 16, was the Brooklyn Book Festival ! What a day, and what a turnout. The ALP and I had a socially/personally packed weekend (turning in my business plan was just the beginning), so we didn't head over to Borough Hall and environs until around 3:00. But we still managed to fill a tote bag (purchased from Word ) with new books, and see a lot of new and familiar faces, some of whom I'll name-drop here First stop was the Small Beer Press table, where the inimitable Gavin Grant was fending off the hordes. I chatted with Gavin about an event at the bookstore with their Interfictions anthology later in October, and snagged a copy of The Best of Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet , published by Del Rey but edited by Grant, to peruse for potential additions to our Halloween party lineup (and for the joy of smart, literate genre fiction, of course). This was about the time we realized we were going to need to hit the ATM. We'd already done some dama

Link-Mad Monday: Good News & Deadlines

Dear readers, the end of this week is the deadline for the Brooklyn Business Library's business plan competition , and I still have some elements to pull together. So blogging will be light, if it happens at all. But just in time, Shelf Awareness linked to three articles about independent bookstores making good. Explore Booksellers and Town Center Booksellers are among the only local shops lauded for good customer service in an article about the trade-offs of shopping local in the Aspen Times. (Note to self: customer service is a key component of a successful indie.) The Raven Bookstore in Lawrence, Kansas is getting new owners after twenty years, according to this article in LJWorld . Click on the video link to hear Kelly Barth, a long-time employee who is one of the three new owners, talking about plans for the future, including focusing on the store's strengths and providing space for local writers. (Note to self: the neighborhood is the strength of a successful indi

Can I just say...

Apparently no more than five minutes before I arrived at the bookstore for my shift yesterday, George Saunders ( The Braindead Megaphone ) was sitting in my office chair, talking on my phone, doing the pre-interview for his gig on Letterman. You can see a video clip of the show here (thanks to Ed for the link.) He was gone before I got there. But the day wasn't a total loss. A couple of hours later Junot Diaz stopped by to sign stock of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao before his big reading uptown that night (thanks to Richard Grayson for the write-up), and he kissed me on the cheek not once, but twice. And in the evening Edward P. Jones was in the store, fresh from an interview on Leonard Lopate (thanks to Maud for the link) to introduce writers from the anthology he just edited, New Stories from the South 2007 . Just one of those days, I guess.

Brooklyn Lit Life: Richard Grayson

Richard Grayson is the real thing: born and raised in Brooklyn, he's equally at home in the old neighborhood and the hipster revival. His name may be new to you, but he's been writing fiction and nonfiction since the 1970s, and he often writes about current literary events in New York on his MySpace blog . I'm grateful that he followed up on our earlier email correspondence by writing about his memories of the bookstores of Brooklyn; his knowledge of the borough, and his love for it, is deep and wide. Brooklyn Lit Life Interview Richard Grayson Describe your particular literary project, and your role in it. I’ve been writing stories since the early 1970s. They’ve been collected, rather haphazardly, into various books, but I never intended to write any books. My first three books, published in the late 1970s and early 1980s, were all the result of publishers contacting me, taking all the stories I sent them, and working them into collections. Later books were pub

Double-Duty Wednesday: Links & Bookstore Visits

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Link Madness (late edition) I guess I was overcome by Labor Day laziness and forgot to blog on Monday, so here are some late and rather eclectic links. * Author Alex Kuczynski has a somewhat smirky article in the NY Times about the contemporary book party , describing the "colossal blowouts" for books by Tina Brown, Holly Peterson, and Patricia Marx, as opposed to the warm-wine-and-skimpy-brie affairs of yesteryear. Her contention is that today's parties are hosted not by publishers, but by wealthy authors and friends of authors; hence the extravagance in hopes of garnering publicity. (Thanks to Ron at Galleycat for the link, and I'll second his notion that if it's media mentions you want, invite a blogger or two along with the glitterati!) I'm not sure I agree with Kuczynski; we've hosted some pretty swanky publisher-sponsored digs at the bookstore, and sold books offsite at several more, though there are still plenty of author-sponsored cheap w