Friday, September 30, 2011

A New Bookstore Nearby!

This is from Shelf Awareness, and I am nearly giddy with excitement that there will be a new bookstore opening up in a town that is only 15-20 miles away!

University Book Store to Pop Up in Renton
University Book Store, which has eight stores in and near Seattle, Wash., is opening its ninth store, at the Landing in Renton, next month. It's a 3,000-sq.-ft. "pop-up" store that may lead to a permanent store in the area. The store will offer new,used and bargain books, University of Washington Husky gear and gift items.Bryan Pearce, CEO of University Book Store, said that the store aims to serve "a special and growing community of people, those who enjoy reading and appreciate the value and experiences provided by a high quality independent bookstore. We also know that there are many long time University Book Store customers and University of Washington fans and supporters in the greater Renton area."University Book Store is 111 years old and has four stores in Seattle and one each in Bellevue, Mill Creek, Bothell and Tacoma.

And though I am not a huge fan of his show, No Reservations (he eats stuff I wouldn't feed to my worst enemy) I can totally understand this quote, because I grew up in the same way:

"I come from a house filled with books. I had very good English teachers in high school. I was something of a reading prodigy when I was a little kid. When I was in kindergarten, I stole my parents' copy of Why Johnny Can't Read. It angered me that they would have such a book, and I read the whole thing. I was reading way ahead of my grade level for all of grammar school and beyond. I read very quickly. I read a lot. I read widely. It is a pleasure for me, a passion."--Anthony Bourdain

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Valuable ARCs and A New Wishlist

This is a good question, from Shelf Awareness:How can ARCs be valued at 50 times the finished version? After posingthis question, the Guardian noted that "book collectors are a funny lot readers, who are concerned with what's inside the book, the truedelight of any volume for a collector lies in the nuts and bolts of the book's production. First editions, signed copies, limited releases...these are valued above rubies by the book collector. But there's also ashadowy gray market in book collecting--that of dealing in proofs."The used book market "is currently convulsed by one of its periodic kerfuffles" because an uncorrected proof copy of Hannu Rajaniemi's science fiction debut The Quantum Thief is listed for sale at 275(US$432). Among the puzzled onlookers is Jon Weir, senior publicitymanager at Orion imprint Gollancz. He told the Guardian that the book was being sold "with my press release in. I mean, it was a good press release, but not worth 275!!"

I think this is a fascinating idea, going on a tour of author statues:
Monumental Works: Statues of Famous Authors
Flavorwire "collected a series of statues of some of our favorite authors, from the surreal (Kafka) to the cheeky (Hemingway) to the monumentally brooding (Tolstoy)," observing that "there’s something satisfying about a life-size (or larger than life) statue of a beloved figure, able to be touched and taking up space in the world."

Meanwhile, here's a (wish) list of books I want to read, or explore reading:
A Long, Long Sleep, Anna Sheehan
How to Save a Life, Sara Zarr
Changos Beads and Two-Tone Shoes, William Kennedy
The Night Circus, E Morgenstern
Admission, (forgot the authors name)

Friday, September 23, 2011

Seattle Should be in the Top 10

I can't imagine why Seattle isn't in the top 10 on this list, as we still have a number of great bookstores and plenty of readers and reading groups! From Shelf Awareness for Readers:

Top 10 Cities in U.S. for Book Lovers's "Top 10 Cities for Book Lovers" list highlights "some of the independent bookstores that are still standing and the cities that support them. We started our search by looking at cities with either iconic bookstores, huge numbers of bookstores or emphatic bookstore supporters. You can see which stores maintain the independent spirit and the cities we deem best suited for book lovers. But one cannot live on books alone. That's why the cities we picked offer a great quality of life, plenty of entertainment and awesome outdoor activities." The top 10 are:

1. Portland, Ore.
2. Kansas City, Mo.
3. San Jose, Calif.
4. Charlottesville, Va.
5. Iowa City, Iowa
6. Traverse City, Mich.
7. Pueblo, Colo.
8. Coral Gables, Fla.
9. Spokane, Wash.
10. Charlotte, N.C.

A lovely poem by Dante Gabriel, who has the same initials that I do:
I have been here before,
But when or how I cannot tell;
I know the grass beyond the door,
The sweet keen smell,
The sighing sound, the lights around the shore,
You have been mine before--
How long ago I may not know;
But just when at that swallow's soar
Your neck turned so,
Some veil did fall--I knew it all of yore. --Dante Gabriel Rossetti

I hope that they have this for the Nook e-reader soon, as I have a Barnes and Nobel e-reader and not an Amazon Kindle:

Borrowing Kindle Books: Seattle Libraries Beta-Lend

Some libraries in Seattle are beta testing
the Amazon Kindle feature that lets patrons select and place holds on
Kindle versions of books, Brier Dudley wrote in the Seattle Times,
noting that the "downside, from my perspective as a fan of public
libraries, is that the process requires you to visit to
borrow a book and have commercial offers interjected into the process.
But then again, you're opting to consume a public library book via the
world's largest e-commerce business, on a device optimized for selling

"It's a big deal for us because so many of our patrons have purchased
Kindles, and they've been asking for the longest time," said Bill
Ptacek, director of the King County Library System, which began offering
the service Monday.

"I hope libraries are getting a deal on the service and the Kindle
editions they acquire, because Amazon will benefit from the traffic and
profiling opportunities generated by the public libraries, not to
mention the big improvement in the Kindle's utility and appeal that
library lending brings," Dudley observed.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Selected Tidbits from Shelf Awareness

Great Quote, and so true!

"Books can be passed around. They can be shared. A lot of people like
seeing them in their houses. They are memories. People who don't
understand books don't understand this. They learn from TV shows about
organizing that you should get rid of the books that you aren't reading,
but everyone who loves books believes the opposite. People who love
books keep them around, like photos, to remind them of a great
experience and so they can revisit and say, 'Wow, this is a really great
book.' " Daniel Goldin, owner of Boswell Book Company

World Book Night Book Nominations!

The top 100 nominations for World Book Night in the U.K. next year have been
unveiled. During the past two months, more than 6,000 people submitted
their 10 favorite reads. The collated results will inform the choices of
the editorial selection committee, chaired by novelist Tracy Chevalier.
A final list of 25 titles for World Book Night 2012 will be announced
October 12 at the Frankfurt Book Fair.

The World Book Night Top 100 is led
by Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, followed by Jane Austen's Pride
and Prejudice, Marcus Zusak's The Book Thief, Charlotte Bronte's Jane
Eyre and Audrey Niffenegger's The Time Traveler's Wife.

I love the smell of books, the feel of them, the joy of shopping for books that contain whole new worlds to explore, in the palm of your hands.

"Eric Hellman explored the concept of people who claim to love the smell of books, noting that it seems odd "until you think about the time-travel aspects of smell.... I've been talking to a lot of people about the books that they love. 'Love' in this context is not the 'love' people might use casually to describe their relationship with a product for sale. Instead, people seem to relate to books the way they relate to people. There's the love for a teacher who makes a difference in your life. Love for a friend you helps you feel joy. The thrill of discovering a soul mate. And among authors, there's the blind love for a child that goes beyond all rationality.

"The intensity of these emotions must get bound up with smells in the hippocampus to create a lasting impression on book lovers. When we smell a book all of these feelings resonate across time and they comfort us. Even in the future when all our reading is done on e-book readers or other screens, we'll keep real books around us like the clothing of a spouse or a parent lost to a tragedy, left in the bed to warm and comfort. And then we'll find strength to move on, but the spirit of the book will remain."

The Tempest is my favorite Shakespeare play, because the words are so beautiful and the characters so lush and real. This whole idea of revisiting it intrigues me, especially when another favorite author, Neil Gaiman, is evoked!

When Prospero Lost came out in 2009, L. Jagi Lamplighter's modern
version of the characters from Shakespeare's The Tempest seemed to draw
inspiration from Neil Gaiman, especially the Sandman comic book. It
wasn't just that Prospero's daughter Miranda--now the head of a
multinational corporation that keeps supernatural powers in check so
they don't wreak havoc upon the earth--had a full contingent of equally
immortal brothers (and a sister), each with their own magical weapon. A
more profound similarity lay in Lamplighter's efforts to create a
totalizing worldview, one in which all mythologies and folklores are
equally valid and capable of commingling.

Lamplighter built that premise up slowly in the first book and its
sequel, Prospero in Hell, as Miranda struggled to reunite her estranged
siblings after discovering that her father was being held captive by
demons. Their rescue mission was disrupted on the very last pages of
that second novel, and Prospero Regained picks up the story almost
exactly where it left off, as the family slowly reassembles itself once
more and then heads to the tower where their father is being held

Along the way, Lamplighter resolves several issues that have been
kicking around throughout the trilogy. Is Miranda's devotion to Prospero
simply a matter of familial affection, or could it be sorcerous
compulsion? Why does her brother Erasmus hate her with such intensity?
And where does Caliban fit into all this, exactly?

Prospero Regained also pushes the trilogy's theology in a new direction.
From the beginning, Miranda has maintained that her devotion to the
unicorn goddess Eurynome is not incompatible with her professed
Protestant faith. During this final novel's long treks across Hell,
there is much occasion for religious debate--since one of her brothers
was once a pope, such debate is perhaps inevitable--and Lamplighter
eventually puts forward a scenario that strives to reconcile pagan
pantheons with Christian views on salvation. (Sometimes the argument
gets especially wordy, and when the demons chime in, there's at least
one monologue that lays out its agenda so baldly it's as if we've
temporarily wandered into an Ayn Rand novel.)

Unfortunately, this isn't a story you can jump into mid-stream: although
Lamplighter recaps as much of the previous two novels as she can without
dragging everything to a complete halt, there's only so much internal
monologues and "let's go over what we've learned so far" conversations
can cover. To fully appreciate the magnitude of Miranda's dramatic
transformation over the course of Prospero Regained, readers need the
earlier books--but for contemporary fantasy fans who enjoy a healthy
dose of the epic, that won't be much of a burden. --Ron Hogan

Friday, September 09, 2011

I Can Think of Many More Awesome Female Heroines!

Topless Robot has this list of Badass Women from Fantasy Novels on it's website today, and I had to add, in the comments, about 10 more that they completely missed, including Yelena from Maria V Snyder's Poison Study series and Karin Murphy from the Dresden Files (Harry Dresden would have died a lot sooner without her help).

Also, I've asked my husband to get me tickets to see Neil and Amanda for our 14th wedding anniversary in October, and he said yes! I wonder if the estimable Mr G will allow time for the signing of some of his wonderful books?

An evening with Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer
Beginning in Los Angeles on Halloween, "pop-culture freaks and geek
newlyweds" Palmer and Gaiman will be "taking their domestic and creative
union to the West Coast this fall with a short tour," Wired reported,
noting that the project "already boasts a complementary Kickstarter
project that has grabbed more than $70,000 in funding in just a few days, with
weeks to go."

According to Palmer, "This show will be very different beast from the
loud, crazed rock shows that I'm accustomed to... and also very
different from the relatively well-behaved readings to which Neil is
accustomed. This tour is a like one big, long reception in which our two
fan-families get to meet each other."

Gaiman hopes "that Amanda's fans will put up with the messy-haired
Englishman reading them stories, and that mine will enjoy the beautiful
lady singing them songs of angst, post-modernism and woe. Or possibly
vice versa."

Not only has Jane Lynch made Sue Sylvester an iconic character on the brilliant TV show "Glee" she apparently has excellent taste in literature, as well:
Book Brahmin: Jane Lynch

Television and film actress Jane Lynch (who
plays Sue Sylvester on Glee) grew up on the South Side of Chicago and
currently lives in Los Angeles. She married Dr. Lara Embry in 2010, and
was lucky enough to get two daughters in the deal. Happy Accidents, her
memoir, has just been published by Voice (September 13, 2011). Watch
Jane's hilarious book trailer here.

On your nightstand now:

The Wisdom of Menopause by Dr. Christiane Northrup. I usually read it in
the middle of the night while hot-flashing.

Favorite book when you were a child:

Johnny, We Hardly Knew Ye by Kenneth P. O'Donnell. I was
Kennedy-obsessed as a kid.

Your top five authors:

David McCullough, John Irving, David Sedaris, Nora Ephron, Dr.
Christiane Northrup. After I read historical biographies, I like to

Book you've faked reading:

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. I was about 23, and I would "read" my
dog-eared Penguin copy while on the subway trying to look educated.

Book you're an evangelist for:

Seat of the Soul by Gary Zukav. I bought multiple copies to give away to
friends. I inscribed them with "this will change your life."

Book you've bought for the cover:

The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley. I read it and loved it in
the early '80s and re-read it recently and thought it was rather silly.

Book that changed your life:

Seat of the Soul by Gary Zukav.

Favorite line from a book:

"An authentically empowered person is one who is so strong, so
empowered, that the idea of using force against another is not a part of
his or her consciousness." --Seat of the Soul.

Book you most want to read again for the first time:

A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Shelf Awareness Widget to Win a Free Book!

Subscribe to Shelf Awareness and enter to win a free book!
Many thanks to all the booksellers and bloggers who've embedded our spiffy book giveaway button. This week our signed, first edition giveaway is The Winters in
Bloom by Lisa Tucker.

If you'd like to put this on your website or blog, go here

If you already have the button, it will automatically update!

And if you have friends who are not subscribed to Shelf Awareness for
Readers, they can sign up and be entered for a chance to win a copy of
The Winters in Bloom here

Friday, September 02, 2011

On Labor Day, Thank a Bookseller

This essay is from Shelf Awareness, and I completely agree that Booksellers are under-appreciated for what they do so well--keeping bibliophiles like me in good reading materials! My thanks to Jeff Morris, Roger Page and Mr Charles (all bookstore owners) for their hard work!

Robert Gray: Bookselling Is Harder than It Looks

They say it all the time. Right this minute, somewhere in the world, a
customer is waiting at the POS counter, chatting with a bookseller while
purchases are rung up, appropriate currency exchanged and selections
bagged (or not, depending upon local custom and environmental
awareness). They may be talking about one of the chosen titles or the
weather, favorite authors or town politics. But sooner or later the
customer will be compelled by some mysterious cosmic force to embark on
the requisite traditional litany.

"It must be so wonderful to be surrounded by books all day," he or she
will say. "You have the best job in the world. I've always wanted to
work in a bookstore."

If you are that bookseller, you will smile and nod... knowingly, yet
still guarding a secret of the ages that only those in the trade

Bookselling is harder than it looks.

Customers enter your bookstores because they want to. By contrast, they
enter grocery stores because they have to. Bookshops are both a refuge
and an adventure for them. Once inside, they move through a sensory
wonderland--row upon row of books; soft strains of music in the air,
mingled with the scent of coffee or baked goods.

All over the world, booksellers greet them courteously, ask how they
are. Perhaps no one has asked them that question all day, not even their
families. They say "fine" in the language of the land because, quite
suddenly, at this moment and in these special places, they are fine.
There are empty chairs in quiet corners. Maybe they will just sit and
read for a little while... in paradise.

Ten minutes later, they glance up from their reading to watch
booksellers shelve a few novels. It's a beautiful, universal and almost
ceremonial tableau. They think about the jobs they must return to when
this break is over, the bosses who are mad at them for no reason,
co-workers who are driving them crazy and the mountains of work piling
up incessantly.

They can't help but consider an alternative: How pleasant it must be to
just work in a bookstore.

You know the truth. It is pleasant most of the time--you can't imagine
doing anything else--but it's also complicated. It's bookselling.

Labor Day weekend is an appropriate time to celebrate the work of
booksellers. Your totem animal is the duck, which appears to float
serenely on the water's surface while paddling like hell underneath.
That is also your job description.

Here's just a bit of what those customers nestled in their comfy reading
chairs planet-wide don't see because you are doing your jobs so well:
today's deliveries stacked up in shipping & receiving; cartloads of as
yet unshelved books; sections needing to be culled for returns; returns
waiting to be boxed and shipped; staff meetings; internal staff
rivalries; scheduling conflicts or sick days that result in
overstaffing/understaffing (whichever is the worst one that could happen
at this particular moment); ordering to be done; bills to be paid (or
strategically delayed); websites and blogs to be updated; author events
to be planned and executed....

Part of the magic and mystery of bookselling is never letting customers
see below the surface. Who wants to look at a duck's feet when they can
just watch the tranquil pond? The other part is that you wouldn't have
it any other way because, for the lucky ones, bookselling is a vocation
as much as a job. You could have done something else and certainly made
more money. You chose this profession. If you're one of the best, it
also chose you.

When you interview a prospective bookseller, you probably don't tell
them about the phone calls from lonely people who'll talk to them for 15
minutes and may or may not order anything. You probably don't mention
the occasional customer who takes a day's (or a lifetime's) worth of
frustration out on you at POS because your books are more expensive than
Amazon's. You probably don't ask them how heavy a box they can lift or
if they can fix plugged toilets or shovel snow. If they are meant to be
booksellers, they'll find all that out soon enough and it won't really

You're a bookseller. You work hard, so enjoy Labor Day and a well-earned
rest, though you're probably working this weekend.--Robert Gray (column archives available at Fresh Eyes Now

I will admit to being one of those people who longs to be a bookseller, but, as I have no money to start a bookstore, it's just a long-held dream.

This is a great idea, from a wonderful blog called Mr Micawber Enters the Internets:

Sometimes the customer is really right. A few weeks ago, a patron of
Micawber's bookstore, St. Paul, Minn., asked co-owner Hans Weyandt for a list of his top 100 books. He thought she
meant the shop's all-time bestselling titles, but she quickly said, "No,
I mean your personal favorites." From that catalyst, a great idea was
born. Weyandt has since contacted several other booksellers nationwide
with the aim of getting top 50 lists from at least 20 different people
or stores.

Last night, he posted his own selections on Mr. Micawber Enters the
Internets blog and plans to add a new
list each weekday. Thus far, he has received 20 lists (a total of 1,000
books) from booksellers in 17 states.

"All contributing stores will get copies to place in-store or use
on-line as they please," he noted. "Once I've posted all of the lists, I
will compile the most frequently mentioned titles. What I told everyone
was that I was looking for either a top 50 list or 50 favorite books to
handsell. Some booksellers chose to add their own restrictions, such as
fiction only, deceased authors only, etc."

Weyandt added, "All of this has been a great deal of fun and an
incredible way to touch base with some old friends and a way to open the
door on new ones."

To whet your biblio-appetite, these are some of the booksellers who have
agreed to contribute to the project:

Staff lists from Subterranean Books, St. Louis, Mo., and the Harvard
Bookstore, Cambridge, Mass.
Neil Strandberg from the Tattered Cover Bookstore, Denver, Colo.
Michael Boggs of Carmichael's Bookstore, Louisville, Ky.
Libby Cowles of Maria's Bookshop, Durango, Colo.
Liberty Hardy of RiverRun Bookstore, Portsmouth, N.H.
Jay Peterson of Magers and Quinn, Minneapolis, Minn.
Toby Cox of Three Lives & Co., New York City
Matt Lage of Iowa Book Co., Iowa City, Iowa
Emily Pullen of Skylight Books, Los Angeles, Calif.
Emma Straub of BookCourt, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Paul Yamazaki of City Lights, San Francisco, Calif.
Paul Ingram of Prairie Lights, Iowa City, Iowa
Stacie Michelle Williams of Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, Wis.
Joseph DeSalvo of Faulkner House Books, New Orleans, La.

Weyandt noted that if "there is a bookseller out there that would like
to join this you can contact me and I will continue this project until
its very end. Being involved in this has been the highest honor

This is totally because of the luscious Alan Rickman!

In an upset, potions master Severus Snape was voted favorite character
from the Harry Potter series
the boy wizard himself--in a recent fan poll conducted by Bloomsbury.
The Guardian reported that Snape garnered 13,000 (20%) of the 70,000
votes cast, with Hermione Granger finishing second, followed by Sirius
Black, Harry and Ron Weasley.

I love this, that Ian Fleming wrote a letter to ease his fans fears about the death of a main character...Jim Butcher, take note!!

In 1957, Ian Fleming tried to quell the fear among his readers over the
apparent death of James Bond

at the end of From Russia with Love. Letters of Note featured one of the
"charming letters" the author wrote to thousands of worried
correspondents. It includes a "confidential" bulletin, signed by
neurologist Sir James Molony, that had been "recently placed on the
canteen notice board of the headquarters of the Secret Service near
Regent's Park."