Showing posts from October, 2008

Happy (Literary) Halloween!

Soon, very soon, I'll be heading to McNally Jackson to prepare for our Second Annual Literary Halloween Party ! It promises to be a blowout this year -- even the New Yorker has taken notice . We've got monsters telling stories for kids at 4:00 (dude, they are gonna LOVE our Frankenstein and Dracula, and guest author Siobhan Vivian's vegetarian vampire from Vunce Upon A Time ) and grown-up shenanigans at 6:30, including a Scary Story Slam (three minutes to wow us with your true ghost story or Poe reading or whatever) and Literary Costume Contest. And of course we're welcoming guest authors Doug Dorst, David Wellington, Stuart Moore, Joe Harris, and comic artist fan fave Bill Sienkiewicz. You know you're totally invited -- hope to see you there! If you need inspiration for the Literary Costume Contest, check out the Flickr group here , or the New Yorker's gathering of ideas . We'll definitely be taking photos tonight to submit, so it's your chance

Can't blog. Reading.

You know how some books take over your life, so when you're not reading them you're thinking about them, and looking for spare moments to sneak in a few more sentences, and all kinds of other projects fall by the wayside? The last book that did that to me was Junot Diaz's The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao , which took over three or four days I had set aside for other work and left me stiff in weird places from being immobilized in my bed reading (or actually, lying on my stomach with the book on the floor and my head hanging over the edge of the bed -- I didn't intend to stay that way, but once I started reading I couldn't stop to change positions). Before that it was Adam Mansbach's The End of the Jews , which didn't make quite the splash in the larger world that Oscar did -- no Pulitzer or anything. But one's own obsessions are not always everyone's, and I wrote here about the effect that book had on my social life. The book currently ruining

Bookstores in Bad Times

Note: At last weekend's meeting of the board of NAIBA (the regional booksellers's assocation of which I am an executive board member), secretary Eileen Dengler "comissioned" a piece for the upcoming NAIBA newsletter. This is something I've had on my mind lately, so it was a great motivation to write out my thoughts, and Eileen graciously agreed to let me cross-post it here. Your comments are most welcome. Bookstores in Bad Times At this particular moment, it’s a challenge to be an idealist and an optimist: two labels I’ve embraced as I’ve found my calling as an independent bookseller. Newspaper headlines, daily sales totals, and our own tightening belts tell us that things are tough, and getting tougher. As we head into the holiday season, where most of us make 40% of our yearly sales, it can seem logical to throw up our hands and wait for the apocalypse. But booksellers are tough, and relish a challenge. And somehow I keep finding reasons to be optimistic. For

Link-Mad Monday: Verrry eenterrresteeng...

Sorry, I'm already getting in the Halloween mood, so that was my Transylvanian impression. Today is full of interesting links, though. - - - After L.A., BEA is gonna change. The Publishers Weekly article here catalogs some of the discontent and/or desire for progress. And show director (and stellar human being) Lance Fensterman talks about being on the inside of those changes here . I love how he describes meeting with disgruntled publishers: "The conversations have been frank, straightforward conversations - the kind you have with your parents when you are 17, came in an hour after curfew and clearly have vomit on your shoe." Personally, I'm looking forward to the revamped education roster. It's always interesting to see what happens when a longstanding institution gets re-imagined from top to bottom. - - - Other changes: some publishers are giving away books for free. Michael at Books On The Nightstand talks about Concord Free Press's intriguing book

Emerging Leaders: Do you want to go to Winter Institute??

Duh, the answer is yes. Anyone who has been to Winter Institute , the ABA's bookseller education event, in the last three years has come back raving about the intense experience of professional development, camaraderie, new book discoveries, and just plain fun -- it's one of those mountaintop high experiences that brings you back to the bookstore with a huge morale boost and an arsenal of new tools to make the store better and become a better bookseller. When we Emerging Leaders Council members met with the leaders of Ingram Book Company back in August, we agreed that one of the best things we could do for our constituency -- that is, younger booksellers still working on creating a career in bookstores -- was to get them to that experience. It's one of the ways to empower the next generation to keep bookstores growing and thriving into the future. And Ingram, which believes in that future, put their money where their mouth is. They have agreed to sponsor six full scholar

Link-Mad Wednesday, Guest edition

Today's links are mostly courtesy of the ALP , who has been more on top of breaking news than I have lately. More interesting stuff later this week... First, an interview with one of my favorite authors, Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket); I couldn't sell the fabulous The Basic 8 to save my life, so I'm glad he's a bestseller now... One blogger dares to put a number on what constitutes good sales for first-time literary fiction. Agree? Disagree? (I admit my guess about the number was way off...) The Guardian collects their top ten books about whaling -- because they can. Bookninja points us to perhaps the coolest private library in the entire world . And some topical links (because as the publicists keep telling me, it's hard to get people to think about books in an election season): What better guide in choosing your elected representatives than classic works of science fiction ? The New Yorker speculates on the Republican relationship to words , or "v