Showing posts from April, 2009

Link-Mad Wednesday: Comics, ebooks, and a semi-hiatus

Blogging has been, and is likely to remain, sparse... as Greenlight Bookstore prep ramps up, the rest of life ain't going anywhere, and your friendly neighborhood Book Nerd is feeling a bit under the gun. I'll try to get up here once a week or so, but forgive me my semi-absence, okay? Still, there's time for a few links. In e-reader news: The IndieBound iPhone app makes me long even more for that lovely little piece of hardware. Props to the ABA for rolling this out so fast! The IndieBound app means that you can use the iPhone to find bookstores and other indie shops, search books, buy books online -- along with reading books and emailing and making calls (and, as I learned at a delicious early summer barbecue this weekend, mapping the stars ... ) In the meantime, not only does your Kindle become a brick if you lose your Amazon account, but rumors persist that Apple is coming out with a more book-friendly device . E-reader enthusiasts, start your engines! In comics

The Handsell: The Manual of Detection and The Secret Currency of Love

Some of the good stuff I've been reading lately... The Manual of Detection by Jedediah Berry (Penguin Press) If you like your mysteries with a bit of meta, but still insist on being richly entertained, you are so in luck -- this is the book for you. Rain-slicked streets and wood-paneled halls, sinister carnivals and decaying mansions, trench coats and fedoras and femmes fatales -- the iconography of the genre makes up the dreamlike landscape of this tightly structured and chaotically effulgent novel. Yet it's also a moving story of a humble Everyman trying to make his way in an incomprehensible system of institutions and obligations, and filled with both pathos and humor. My tagline: Chandler meets Kafka for whiskey-laced tea at G.K. Chesterton's house. I'm one of two booksellers at my store who LOVE this book to the point of obsession. And now I'm starting to see fedoras and pin-curls, mysterious briefcases and memorable umbrellas on my rainy commute to work.

Blog proliferation... and pirates.

How many blogs can one bookseller blog? Here's yesterday's Greenlight post ... ... about the New York Times Local post that went up on Wednesday (a profile of FG resident / food book editor extraordinaire Emily Takoudes)... ... and here's Wednesday's post on McNally Jackson's blog The Common Reader (recommendations for great books by overlooked women writers sent in by Deirdre Shaw, who reads at the store next Wednesday)... ... and here's today's post on the Emerging Leaders blog (about EL Council members at the day of education, and free passes to BEA). ( Email here if you want in.) But after all this blithe blogging, it's time to address some real issues. There's been a lot of news about pirates these days, from the Somali coast to the music downloaders of Sweden to the DRM fears of publishers. (Would this make Amazon the British Navy, then?... but never mind.) It's all fun and games, as long as you're not the one being keelhauled.

Friday Fishmen

Lots of work to do today, so I'll just share with you some of the random tunes stuck in my head. I love that the fans of early 20th century horror writer H.P. Lovecraft -- purple-prose writing, misanthropic, paranoid, and kinda racist (check out his descriptions of the "swarthy races" of Brooklyn if you doubt me) -- are themselves such a fun-loving and cheeky bunch. On the McNally Jackson blog the other day, Dustin posted a video touting the benefits of "Eldritch Sign", a product designed to thwart, um, some sort of floaty Lovecraft monsters, much to the bewilderment of the customer/participants. It's pretty funny. But my favorite Lovecraft homage will always be this: Good luck getting that (or its Christmassy counterpart) out of your head. Ha! Happy Friday.

Talking about e-readers with smart booksellers

Sometimes these days I feel a little like I did at my high school and college graduations, watching my best buddies up on stage or leading the procession: man, my friends are some smart people. (True, I did get to hold the NYU banner for a moment to relieve the brutally hungover valedictorian, one of my best friends, but I was only a Magna, not a Summa, myself.) I feel that way this week listening to the conversation about e-readers and ARCreaders, let by my bookselling colleagues/buddies Stephanie Anderson (WORD, Brooklyn) and Jenn Northington (King's English, Salt Lake City). Both are fellow Emerging Leaders types, and they're leading the charge in embracing the possibilities and pushing the boundaries and fostering the conversation. That conversation has been going on for a while on Twitter . Jenn made a modest proposal on her blog a couple of weeks ago. And Stephanie brought it together with today's column in Shelf Awareness . The question is, generally: would it

Literature and race

Been thinking about literature and race today. I noted on the Greenlight Bookstore blog that Nelson George writes in the Times today about the changing racial demographics of Fort Greene, and how that changes the artistic scene -- in his view, for the worse, though I'm not sure I agree. Tonight at McNally Jackson we're hosting a panel discussion about the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., with some amazing experts in the field, and good writers, too. I'd like to have today's National Poetry Month Twitter entry reflect something about that, but I can't think of anything appropriate except for maybe Langston Hughes, and the old folk song about Martin and John. What can literature do against racism? Or is it more useful in forming racial identities? What do I, a white person, have to do with literature by black writers? Am I meant to appreciate it apart from the writers' identities, or is it meant to allow me to identify with someone other than my

A Word from IndieBound at 1 year

I'm posting here an email announcement from Paige Poe, the liaison for IndieBound at the ABA, and Meg Smith, the marketing guru. Bloggers, booksellers, and readers: spread the word, and share your ideas! (You can click on their names below to email them directly, or share ideas on the forums they mention.) Hello— It’s hard to believe IndieBound is nearly a year old. But in that time it’s been adopted by hundreds of indie bookstores, recognized by thousands of consumers, and commented on by countless bloggers and others. Check out the attached stats and examples for the evidence! IndieBound has potential to grow even more, and so much of that growth can—and should—come from you and other ABA members. We would love to visit every store in person, see how we can help, explore the DIY, but it’s just not possible. (We do hope to offer a series of webinars to chat with members…) Booksellers like you are talking—whether online, at conferences, even visiting each others’ stores. All