Showing posts from February, 2009

Shifting focus

The lack of posting around here should not be construed as a lack of activity. This has turned out to be a week with high demands from other aspects of my bookish life: Emerging Leaders, McNally Jackson (we -- by which I mean me -- are on Facebook AND Twitter now), a new blogging project (info TK), and mostly, working on Greenlight Bookstore. I've tidied up that other blog of mine (and Rebecca's) to reflect the evolving reality of our project, and in hopes that we'll be seeing some more traffic soon. We've also got a real estate lead that involves so many unknowns I can't even explain it right now, but it's potentially really exciting. So I've been kinda distracted. I do, however, have a pile of recently read graphic novels I want to write about, and not one but TWO thrilling not-yet-published books in my bag: the new Kate Christensen, Trouble (out in June) and the new Jonathan Lethem, Chronic City (out so long from now I don't even know the date

LinkIndie: Change Has Come to Book Linking

Lucky us that Bookavore has joined the ranks of booksellers and bloggers. She's kick-started a campaign I've been meaning to launch for ages: Litblogs linking to indie bookstores. It's long been a tenet of mine that bloggers and indie booksellers have a lot in common. We're the independent voice that's an alternative to corporate culture. We're beholden to no one but our own opinions of what's worth reading and recommending. We don't do it (just) for the money -- we do it for the love. So why shouldn't we support each other? Now that indie bookstores have figured out that blogging and reading blogs is good for them, it's time for bloggers to return the favor. When discussing a beloved book, rather than linking to you-know-what behemoth of online retail, why not link to your local indie bookstore, or a network of indie bookstores, instead? In the past, you could have linked to the book page of an indie store, but it would have involved a fa

Serendipity in Bookland

Or, It Just So Happened: Why I Love Being A Bookseller In New York (to the tune of "Lullaby of Birdland") On Monday night at McNally Jackson, we hosted one of our ongoing Author/Editor events, and I found out rather late in the game that I would need to moderate. So I did a bit of cramming on the novel over the weekend -- with events 4 or 5 or 6 nights a week, it's rare that I read many of the featured books. It just so happened that I love this book, Water Dogs by Lewis Robinson. I love the somewhat hapless narrator, the calmly skeptical girlfriend, the ridiculous male posturing, the snow, the sense of somewhat muted menace. I love that Mainers struggle with some of the same issues of authenticity that Brooklynites do -- are you a real [fill in the blank], are you one of us or an interloper? We had a great conversation with Lewis and his editor Laura Ford that night, and I'm still reading and loving the book. It also just so happened that among Lewis' frien

Guest blogger: The ALP on Black Lizard and Joe Lansdale

Happy holiday Monday, everyone (unless you work in retail, of course). I'm taking the day off from blogging and ceding book review duties to everyone's favorite, the ALP. * * * Back when I was in high school, I somehow stumbled across the Black Lizard edition of Jim Thompson's After Dark, My Sweet . I don't know how I came across it. I may have thought the book was about vampires or something. Anyway, back then, most of the Black Lizard books had a uniform look: a blurry black and white cover photo with bars of vivid color criss-crossing the photo. The covers had a matte finish that gave them a pleasingly thick and slightly pebbled feel, like really high-quality old paper. The look was distinct and badass. It had a lurid and pulpy edge, appropriate to the contents, but the quality of presentation also suggested something lasting and enduring. As physical objects, these books were a perfect manifestation of the publisher's philosophy that these unjustly neglected ge

The Word (and pictures) from New York Comic Con

You can read my (somewhat abridged) report from New York Comic Con in today's Shelf Awareness. I had a great time, but I know I only saw a tiny "swath" of what was going on over the weekend, and some of the other 77,000 fans who attended have been reporting back as well. Douglas Wolk & crew report on Scott Pilgrim #5 and other "big books" that were selling at NYCC in the fabulously titled Publishers Weekly piece " Scott Pilgrim Wins the Convention! " MediaBistro's GalleyCat blog asks " Can You Sell Comic Books In This Economy? " -- and the answer from the Con seems to be yes. (Great wookie picture, too.) They've also got a video interview about Pride and Prejudice and Zombies with an editor from Quirk Books, and some other vids from the Con. Show director Lance Fensterman has, of course, tons of good links on his blog. (I got a kick out of running into Lance on Thursday and giving him a big hug, though he was deep in se

Stepped Out. Back Soon

Having one of those weeks -- so much going on -- NYCC, NAIBA, industry stuff, store stuff, etc.... I'll be back when I can, promise...

Book Nerd vs. The Universe!

Guess what comes out in comic shops today? SCOTT PILGRIM NUMBER FIVE!! As you may have noticed, I am somewhat obsessed with this Canadian comic book series by Bryan Lee O'Malley . It's got everything you could want in a comic, or any book really: rock and roll, hapless hero, true love, kung fu, running gags, mysterious backstories, you name it. I've been one of the legions waiting breathlessly for the 5th and second-to-last installment, and early reports indicate that the wait has been worthwhile -- Scott Pilgrim vs. The Universe delivers the goods. I wasn't able to make it to last night's midnight release party with O'Malley at Jim Hanley's Universe , nor will I be able to attend this evening's book party with the author at Rocketship (I blame "making a living", which often interferes with my comic book reading.) But you can bet I'm jetting over to Rocketship as soon as they open this morning to pick up the copy the supernice owne

The Handsell: Jonathan Howard & Jim Lynch

I've spent an amazingly satisfactory day cleaning house, cooking soup, and enjoying the sunlight through the windows. Before I go in to the bookstore to host tonight's event , and while I wait for booksellers' reports on WI4, there's time for a book review or two. Neither of these books have been published yet, but they were both miss-my-subway-stop compelling January reading, so I wanted to talk about them now while they're still fresh in my mind. Johannes Cabal the Necromancer by Jonathan L. Howard (Doubleday, July 2009) The jacket copy on this beautifully designed ARC (it looks like a Mexican Day of the Dead woodcut, very creepy/fun) suggests that Johannes Cabal should be compared to Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell or Wicked . After we both read it, the ALP and I agreed that a more apt comparison would be Good Omens , the apocalypse comedy collaboration between Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. You've got your self-important forces of evil arrayed, co