Independent Bookstore Day, Week 2: 'Owning It'
"We're into our second week of Independent Bookstore Day! (I know it's impossible for a day to last two weeks, but we are owning it.)"
"We're into our second week of Independent Bookstore Day! (I know it's impossible for a day to last two weeks, but we are owning it.)"
Although Samantha Schoech, program director for Independent Bookstore Day, indicated the organizers don't yet have statistics, she said, "I've heard nothing but good news." Many stores, she said, had lines outside when they opened. As for the most popular IBD items, "it completely depended on the store. "Green Apple Books on the Park sold out of the Bad Citizen Graffiti Stencils first," she added. "For other stores, it was the Jenny Lawson print or the Mo Willems onesie."
For Short Stories Bookshop & Community Hub, Madison, N.J., founded in 2014, this past Saturday marked the first time the store celebrated Independent Bookstore Day, which managing director Rachel Kempster Barry called "terrific."
Among its activities, Ame Dyckman read from her book You Don't Want a Unicorn!, "bedecked in her very own unicorn horn!" Illustrator Scott Campbell read XO, OX, then showed customers how to draw ox and gazelle. The kids helped him invent a new character, Alex the Bear--a formally dressed, video-game-playing bear carrying a foam sword.
In addition, Alice came from Wonderland for an Alice in Wonderland Tea Party. Short Stories staffer Laura Jacobson dressed the part and even practiced a British accent for weeks to convince kids she was the real deal. And Madison town council member Maureen Byrne read along with Clifford at Story Time, including some classic Clifford tales and one of her favorite books, Tacky the Penguin.
On Independent Bookstore Day, Rainy Day Books, Fairway, Kan., featured Kirsty Melville, president and publisher of Andrews McMeel, working with staff and customers. Also, as the store's newsletter said, "André's Confiserie Suisse Chocolate Hearts and the Classic Cookie Cookies were enjoyed by each and every customer of all ages. Customers registered to win prizes and surprises, including six themed gift bags from Andrews McMeel Publishing. The themes of six gift bags with books celebrated: Father's Day, Mother's Day, graduation, humor, Kansas City, and the modern poetry gift bag included a framed 8"x8" print of a reading-themed poem by Rupi Kaur."
At Gibson's Bookstore, Concord, N.H., traffic and sales rose about 4% over IBD last year, owner Michael Herrmann reported. The day adds about 40% in sales to the store's last Saturday in April, "so we were very happy to build on previous success."
Among the store events and treats were its usual IBD literary treats baked by Gibson's booksellers. One, brought by events coordinator Elisabeth Jewell, was raisin oatmeal cookies called "13 Raisins Why."
|Quail Ridge speakeasy|
On Saturday evening, Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, N.C., featured a 1920s-style speakeasy called the Quail's Nest. Trivia teams, "a few dressed to the nines in '20s wear," as events coordinator René Martin put it, entered through the store's blue side door, where they sipped on cocktails FitzBourbon (old fashioned), "Zelda Gin" (gin Ricky) or "Stein Ale" (ginger ale) and answered questions on topics ranging from Vonnegut and Faulkner to Hunger Games and Harry Potter. There was even a brutal round compiled from difficult questions submitted by Quail Ridge staff. Winners took home gift cards and totes full of ARCs, while small literary prizes were given out for creative team names, hilariously wrong answers and best costumes.
|Yes, a miniature pony dressed as Harry Potter (at Quail Ridge Books).|
Quail Ridge also had tiny literary ponies from Stampede of Love, which provides therapy ponies for kids.
Readers' Books in Sonoma, Calif., had what Barbara Hall called "a festive day-long celebration" for its customers and friends. The store offered chocolate chip cookies and brownies inspired by the books If You Give a Mouse a Cookie and If You Give a Mouse a Brownie, both by Laura Joffe Numeroff, illustrated by Felicia Bond.
Chapter One crew:(l.-r.) Randi Burdette; Mikaela Downing (Mara's daughter); co-owners Mara Luther and Shawn Wathen; and Tamsen Mitchell.
On IBD, Chapter One Book Store, Hamilton, Mont., asked some of its well-read customers to be "a bookseller for an hour": they provided the store with titles they wanted to recommend, the store ordered them in quantity and the guest booksellers pitched those picks for an hour. Other events included a puppet-making station, followed by a puppet show, a wind tunnel for kids to play with gravity and a Skype visit with Hannah Lillith Assadi, author of Sonoma, for the Chapter One Book Club. The store was full all day, and sales were three times a normal Saturday in April.
As part of its IBD celebration, Scattered Books in Chappaqua, N.Y., shared a new music video, Bringing Bookstores Back! "Big thanks to DJ Catch1 Hopeton Lemon for filming and the awesome dancers for participating," the store noted on Facebook. "And most of all, thanks to everyone that helps keep local business thriving!
On April 1, Oscar and Ana Armendariz opened Capitulo Uno Librería, a 670-square-foot Spanish-language bookstore in Puyallup, Wash., about 10 miles south of Tacoma. The store, whose name translates to Chapter One Bookstore, sells new books in Spanish across all genres and for all ages. The only English-language books Capitulo Uno carries are resources for learning Spanish.
"We decided it was something we really wanted to do, as a community service more than anything else," said Oscar Armendariz. "We realized we wanted to help our community."
|Inside Capitulo Uno|
Capitulo Uno is the first business that Oscar and Ana Armendariz have opened, and their first foray in the book world. By trade, Oscar Armendariz is a mechanical engineer, and he turned to books gradually: after he was laid off from a previous job, he began volunteering with a charity organization in Tacoma called Centro Latino, which provides educational, employment and family services to Pierce County's Latino community. While working there, Armendariz wanted to do something else for the community and got the idea of opening up a Spanish-language bookstore, to make it easier for Spanish speakers to find and acquire books, and to help those trying to learn Spanish. He and his wife weighed the pros and cons, and decided that the financial risk of opening a bricks-and-mortar store was worth it.
"It happened very fast," said Armendariz. "We said okay, let's just do it."
At the moment, the focus of Capitulo Uno is entirely on books and book events. The only nonbook items are bookmarks and gift cards, though Armendariz is planning to add diaries and journals. He'd also like to carry custom coffee cups, but that is a longer way off. And though the stock is mostly new, the store has carried a very small selection of used books since opening. But once those sell out, the store won't bring in any more used books. For events, the store has already hosted a few readings for children featuring Spanish books and Spanish-speaking authors. In May, Capitulo Uno will start to host its first adult events, and Armendariz has plans for the store to host at least three book clubs, with one being focused on romance novels and another on self-help books and personal growth
|Oscar and Ana Armendariz|
Armendariz reported that the response to the store has been very strong. People are happy to have a wider selection of Spanish-language titles available and to have a place to browse and hear about new books that may otherwise have escaped their attention.
"Most of the time, people don't know what they want until they see it," said Armendariz. "Everyone who has come by says they're very happy we opened the store."
In the immediate future, Armendariz plans to start partnerships with a variety of local organizations. He is on the board of Centro Latino and is working both to get it involved in some way and to get word of his store out in the community. He has reached out to Seattle Escribe, a group that supports Spanish-language creative writing in the Seattle area and is made up of local authors who write in Spanish. He hopes to carry members' books in Capitulo Uno and host book launches and event for them. Armendariz has likewise reached out to the University of Washington Tacoma's Spanish department, in the hopes of being a resource for students learning Spanish.
The "most important long-term goal" that Armendariz and his wife have for Capitulo Uno Libreria is to create scholarships and sponsor students once the store is financially stable. Their second most important goal, he added, is to turn the store into a place where anyone, especially children, can go to explore new things. As an example, he said he plans to draw on his background as a mechanical engineer and host basic robotics classes for children, in which they could learn to build an RC car or write and transfer a program to a microcontroller. Being exposed to something like that early, he continued, may make those children want to pursue science and technology later in life.
He explained: "We want this to be a discovery place for kids, where they can find out what they want to be." --Alex Mutter
|Tribeca GalleryCafe & Bookstore's Watertown location.|
Tribeca GalleryCafe & Books, which last month celebrated its 10th anniversary in Watertown, Wis., has signed a lease to open a second store, in the Freshwater Plaza mixed-use development in Milwaukee that's nearing completion, the Milwaukee Business Journal reported.
The 180,000-square-foot development in the Walker's Point neighborhood will also have a Cermak Fresh Market, a women's fashion boutique, a café and other retailers.
Last month, owner Julie Crnkovich noted that "Tribeca's foundation is based on the desire to be very community involved, and not just by having author events and coffee tastings. We offer a wide variety of educational classes covering topics such as gardening, adulting, open discussion on children and teen anxiety, knitting, and living a more green and sustainable life. Communities, such as Watertown, are being enhanced incredibly by energetic and thriving small businesses."
Sad news: Harleysville Books, Harleysville, Pa., founded in 2006, is closing by the end of June. Owner Stephanie Steinly, who bought the store in 2014 from founder Shelly Plumb, wrote on the store's website: "It is with great sadness that I announce the closing of my beloved bookstore, Harleysville Books. While our events and book clubs are extremely popular and routinely sell out, our day-to-day traffic and sales do not support the ever-increasing cost of doing business in today's world. Over the past year, the store has become more of a 'showroom' for those looking for reading suggestions who then choose to purchase the books from other vendors. It is my sincere hope that those who have enjoyed shopping with us over the past 11 years will stop in during the next few weeks to share their memories and say, 'Goodbye.' "
Steinly told Montgomery News that the store's move last year also hurt sales because many infrequent customers mistakenly thought that the store had closed when they found another business in its old location.
Steinly had worked at Harleysville Books for five years before buying it, a move that she considers a bit of a stretch. "To have two kids in college and a husband who's a public school teacher, and to try to buy a small business after being the employee at that small business, is quite a leap of faith, both professionally and personally," she said. "And it just didn't work out as we had hoped."
Posted on Facebook by the Booksmith, San Francisco, Calif., during Independent Bookstore Day: "A true tale of international concierge service: This morning a woman called from Sweden. She asked us to pick 20 books in an alternative American literary canon, wrap them, and deliver them to the hotel her son and husband are staying at for her son's 20th birthday weekend in San Francisco. Happy birthday, new friend!"
Angela Baggetta, currently managing director at Goldberg McDuffie Communications, where she has worked for 14 years, has founded Angela Baggetta Communications, a public relations company that will work with "authors, thinkers and doers" on publicity campaigns. She will be at Goldberg McDuffie until May 31, then do some work with the firm after that date on particular projects.
Baggetta has worked in on books ranging from serious nonfiction, politics, economics and business books to lifestyle, memoir and design. She has worked with Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Senator Olympia Snowe, Google's Eric Schmidt, Garry Wills, Henry Louis Gates, Mark Penn, Simon Johnson, the late Christopher Hitchens, and many others.
"I'm delighted about Angela's next step in her estimable career," Lynn Goldberg commented. "Her excellent work at GMC over the years has been an integral part of our success and a source of pride to me, and I look forward to the continuation of our professional and personal relationship."
David Coyotl to associate publisher for Spanish Bibles at HarperCollins Christian Publishing, as part of the publisher's effort to expand its efforts in Spanish Bible publishing. He had led the company's Bible and reference marketing.
The focus for the new Spanish Bible publishing program will be to increase distribution and awareness of the NVI (Nueva Versión Internacional) translation of the NIV (New International Version). Editorial Vida, the Spanish publishing imprint for Zondervan, holds worldwide licensing rights for the NVI, a publishing partnership with Biblica. Zondervan is also the North American publisher for the NIV Bible translation, the most read English translation of the Bible.
What to Do About the Solomons by Bethany Ball (Atlantic Monthly Press).
Fresh Air: Richard Ford, author of Between Them: Remembering My Parents (Ecco, $25.99, 9780062661883).
CBS This Morning: Sheila Nevins, author of You Don't Look Your Age... and Other Fairy Tales (Flatiron Books, $24.99, 9781250111302).
Dr. Oz: Richard S. Isaacson and Christopher N. Ochner, authors of The Alzheimer's Prevention & Treatment Diet (Square One, $17.95, 9780757004087).
Steve Harvey: Charlamagne Tha God, author of Black Privilege: Opportunity Comes to Those Who Create It (Touchstone, $25.99, 9781501145308).
Harry: Lilly Singh, author of How to Be a Bawse: A Guide to Conquering Life (Ballantine, $26, 9780425286463).
Ellen: Alec Baldwin, author of Nevertheless: A Memoir (Harper, $28.99, 9780062409706).
Daily Show: Michael Bloomberg and Carl Pope, authors of Climate of Hope: How Cities, Businesses, and Citizens Can Save the Planet (St. Martin's Press, $26.99, 9781250142078).
Before actor Scott Glenn shot his recently-aired solo episode of The Leftovers, the HBO series based on Tom Perrotta's novel, "a fateful book changed his approach to acting--and then it changed his career, forever," Indiewire reported
"I learned the whole thing like a play," he said. "Prior to that, I said [to co-creator Damon Lindeloff], 'What can I work on?' And he said, 'Walk in the woods a lot. Read Bruce Chatwin, The Songlines. Read books about the clever men and clever women. Get a didgeridoo. Learn how to play it.' He just gave me all this stuff to do, and I did it."
The Chatwin book helped, but it was Karen Prior's Don't Shoot the Dog:The New Art of Teaching and Training that made the biggest difference. "I was reading a book about dog training," Glenn said. "It's one of the best books I've ever read in my life.... If you read the book, it's really about training your partner, your kids, and, ultimately, yourself. It's about positive reinforcement and operant conditioning. In the section of the book I was reading when I got the script, she says an interesting way of memorizing long speeches is starting at the end and memorizing to the beginning. It will take you longer, but once you've done it, you'll find you know it in a more thorough way.
"[That way] once you launch into [the speech], as you're getting near the end, you'll be going into more and more familiar territory. It'll be like walking home. You become more and more relaxed and feel better and better, rather than what has always happened to me in memorizing speeches not even half that long. I'm great at the beginning, and then as I get to the end and [Glenn gives an exhausted look]."
For his intense, seven-page monologue, he said he "almost burst into tears, I was so happy.... I love poetry. I love to read, and I've read about those moments, and it actually happened to me. It was the happiest I've ever been."
T. Geronimo Johnson has won the inaugural Simpson Family Literary Prize, sponsored by the Simpson Family Literary Project, which awards $50,000 to "an author of fiction in the middle of a burgeoning career."
Johnson is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, a former Stegner Fellow at Stanford and has taught writing at UC Berkeley, Stanford, Iowa Writers' Workshop, the Prague Summer Program, San Quentin and elsewhere. His first novel, Hold It 'Til It Hurts, was a finalist for the 2013 PEN/Faulkner Award. Welcome to Braggsville was longlisted for the 2015 National Book Award, longlisted for the 2015 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction, named one of the 10 books all Georgians should read by the Georgia Center for the Book, included on Time Magazine's list of the top 10 books of 2015, awarded the Saroyan International Prize for Writing, and named the winner of the 2015 Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence. Johnson was a 2016 National Book Award judge.
The Green Carnation Prize has unveiled its shortlist of five books that, according to chair of judges John Boyne, "combine great storytelling with poetic language and authentic voices. Individually, each one has the power to move the reader while collectively they display the extraordinary diversity at play within the literary work of the LGBTQ community." The winner will be revealed May 22 at Foyles' flagship store.
The prize, with the support of Foyles, "seeks to champion the best writing by an LGBTQ author in the U.K. It is a vital recognition and celebration for books as diverse as the community it represents and unified by a common thread: sheer quality of writing." This year's shortlisted titles are:
London Lies Beneath by Stella Duffy
How to Survive a Plague by David France
What Belongs to You by Garth Greenwell
A Portable Shelter by Kirsty Logan
Augustown by Kei Miller
Greer Macallister is a poet, short story writer, playwright and novelist who earned an MFA in Creative Writing from American University. Her debut novel, The Magician's Lie, was a USA Today bestseller, an Indie Next pick and a Target Book Club selection. It has been optioned for film by Jessica Chastain's Freckle Films. Her new novel, Girl in Disguise (Sourcebooks, March 21, 2017), is about America's first female private detective.
On your nightstand now:
It's a mishmash for sure. The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd is on top, then The Book with No Pictures by B.J. Novak, which my kids are always sneaking into the pile so I'll read it to them yet again. Then there are two advance copies of novels that haven't come out yet, which I always feel so lucky to get my hands on: The Cottingley Secret by Hazel Gaynor and Club Deception by Sarah Skilton.
Favorite book when you were a child:
Early childhood, I was extremely attached to The Monster at the End of This Book (ostensibly "by Grover"). Later on it was A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle, which I still re-read once a year or so.
Your top five authors:
At this point in my life it's more like top five books from the same author. All Margaret Atwood, all the time. Alias Grace and Lady Oracle are tied for the lead, and of course The Handmaid's Tale is a must-read, which I think everybody knows by now. Cat's Eye is up there, too. And when I read The Robber Bride for a grad school course and admitted to my professor that I didn't love it, she told me to read it again in my 30s and I might feel differently. I did, and I did.
Book you've faked reading:
I've never claimed to read something I haven't, but the first book I went to a book club meeting without reading was Marley & Me by John Grogan. I figured I'd fess up if someone asked, but no one asked! I have now realized this is a pretty decent life philosophy.
Book you're an evangelist for:
I adored H.P. Wood's novel Magruder's Curiosity Cabinet, which has the most compelling, original cast of characters I've encountered in a long time. It's this group of sideshow performers in turn-of-the-century Coney Island and what happens when death arrives on their doorstep. When people shrug off historical fiction as somehow lesser than other genres, this is the book I thrust into their hands and say, "Oh yeah? Read this."
Book you've bought for the cover:
Can anyone who's ever lived in New York City resist the cover of The Golem & the Jinni by Helene Wecker? A nighttime Washington Square: snowy, hazy, haunted. It pressed all my buttons.
Book you hid from your parents:
Never had to. When I was home from college one summer my mom and I watched the entire series run of Peyton Place together because she'd had to hide the book from her own mom when it came out. Want your kids to love something? Forbid it.
Book that changed your life:
A Wrinkle in Time showed me how it was possible to build a world and pull your reader deep into it, with nothing more than words on a page. I've been building worlds with words ever since.
Favorite line from a book:
"I planned my death carefully, unlike my life, which meandered along from one thing to another, despite my feeble attempts to control it." First line of Margaret Atwood's Lady Oracle. Now that's an opener.
Five books you'll never part with:
I've moved house four times in the past three years, so I've definitely had the opportunity to test this. I've held onto hardcovers of The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver, Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides and American Gods by Neil Gaiman; one very heavy volume of the complete works of Shakespeare; and my copy of The Blind Assassin signed by Margaret Atwood.
Book you most want to read again for the first time:
I just finished reading The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie, but I knew the identity of the murderer going in, which of course makes it much less fun. If I could get a highly targeted mind-wipe, I'd want to read it without knowing. Such a brilliant setup.
Your favorite detective, either historical or fictional:
I have a real soft spot for Lew Archer, a P.I. created by the incredibly talented Ross Macdonald. He's hard-boiled but poetic. Macdonald explores so much rich territory--class differences, questions of identity, innocence and guilt, the awful things people do to protect their secrets--and Archer is the perfect guide to this compromised world. Intelligent, dedicated, fiercely protective of the innocent. The Blue Hammer is probably the best of his books, and although it's last in the series, go ahead and read it first.
Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal (Morrow, $26.99 hardcover, 304p., 9780062645128, June 13, 2017)
The Southall, London, Sikh community gets a sexual awakening when an adult literacy course becomes an adult literature workshop in Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows. Author Balli Kaur Jaswal hails from Singapore, and this delightful and provocative novel is her first published in the United States.
A modern Punjabi woman holding no stock in tradition, Nikki is aghast that her sister wants an arranged marriage. Likewise, Mindi is mystified by Nikki's stubborn sense of feminism, which has given her only singlehood and an unimpressive apartment above the divey pub where she tends bar. Jaswal gives both perspectives due diligence in an era when progressive ideals are viewed as untenable and conservative traditions as restrictive. Far from lacking agency, Mindi repeatedly approaches her life and decisions more proactively than her sister.
Before their father died, he'd had high hopes for his daughters to be a lawyer and a doctor. Neither panned out, and the effect of grief on family expectations reverberates throughout the novel. Nikki eventually agrees to post Mindi's profile on the marriage board at the large Sikh temple in Southall, where she discovers an opportunity to prove to her mom, sister and herself that she's not a complete failure: she takes a job teaching what she thinks is a creative writing class for women.
The course is the brainchild of Kulwinder Kaur, the temple's new community development director, but it quickly becomes apparent that Nikki and Kulwinder have conflicting notions of what these classes are for. The students, primarily widows, are illiterate. Faced with the arduous task of teaching ABCs, or chalking up yet another arrested development, Nikki perseveres. The surprises don't stop there, though. These widows are a sharp, lively bunch, with plenty to say. When they discover a collection of erotica in Nikki's bag, the group begins an eye-opening new oral tradition.
The storytelling sessions are as sexy as they are hilarious. Frequently reaching for euphemism when Punjabi words fail them, the widows offer priceless observations like, "Mine tried to put his banana between my breasts once. I don't recommend it. It was like seeing a canoe trying to edge its way through two hillsides." But religious communities are often known more for their rumor mills than their sexual openness, and the Sikhs in Southall are no exception. Some young women have even turned up dead for not conforming to traditions of honor, and Nikki and her students are in danger as the classes grow more and more popular.
Jaswal juggles humor, grief and suspense magnificently as she weighs modern ideas against tested traditions. While the expectations of first-generation immigrants don't always align with the experiences of their offspring, Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows makes an excellent case for continued conversation. As one student puts it: "These storytelling sessions are good fun but I think I've also learned to speak up for what I want. Exactly what I want." This novel is a treat, sure to leave readers breathless--more than once. --Dave Wheeler, associate editor, Shelf Awareness
Shelf Talker: Punjabi widows turn a literacy course into an erotica workshop, and the result is both hilarious and tender.
The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by IndieReader.com:
1. The Hot Shot by Kristen Callihan
2. Fallen Crest Home (Fallen Crest Series Book 6) by Tijan
3. Trailer Trash by Denise Grover Swank
4. The House Mate (Roommates Volume 3) by Kendall Ryan
5. Provocative by Lisa Renee Jones
6. The Bowie Bride by Suzan Tisdale
7. The Player by K. Bromberg
8. Trophy Wife by Alessandra Torre
9. Myths and Legends by Various
10. Mister Moneybags by Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward
[Many thanks to IndieReader.com!]