This week the university administration is reviewing applications for a new director of the Brown Bookstore at Brown University, Providence, R.I., the Brown Daily Herald reported. Manuel Cunard, who was director of the store since 2006, retired abruptly in February. During his tenure, the store had extensive renovations, opened the College Hill Cafe and revamped its online presence. Not long before his arrival from Wesleyan Unversity, an extensive campaign was successful in encouraging the university not to lease the store.
The New England Independent Booksellers Association board and advisory council are hosting an author luncheon and educational shop talk on Wednesday, June 17, in Brattleboro, Vt. Called "All About the Books," the event includes discussions by more than a dozen authors about their new books, readings and bookseller roundtables that will focus on sharing practical tools for weathering the current cold retail climate. The event is free for NEIBA members; space is limited. For more information and to register, click here.
The next Barnes & Noble Recommends selection is Prayers for Sale by Sandra Dallas, which is being published by St. Martin's today. Under the program, the book be the focus of a variety of B&N store events as well as reading group discussions. The store is also providing a free reading group guide about the book. B&N Recommends are chosen by B&N booksellers from across the country and are recommended unconditionally.
"Readers will be hooked on Prayers for Sale from the very first page," Jaime Carey, chief merchandising officer of B&N, said in a statement. "Sandra Dallas deftly blends historical details and quilting lore with authentic voices and emotional truths."
B&N called Prayers for Sale "the engrossing tale of a wise older woman with a lifetime of stories to tell, and a 17-year-old with prayers that need answers. Set in 1930s Colorado, it's a novel in which the drama, humor, and passions of one very full life are stitched into the fabric of another. Eighty-six-year-old Hennie has lived in Middle Swan, a gold-mining town in the Rockies, since before Colorado was a state. Nit has recently arrived in town with a recent history that reminds Hennie of her own youthful hopes and sorrows. Finding common ground in their Southern heritage and a love of quilting, an improbable bond is formed as Hennie captivates Nit with vivid memories that reach back to the mid-1800s. Summoning the feelings, dreams, and satisfactions of Hennie's years as a woman, mother, and wife, these stirring yarns serve as a healing balm for Nit--and help her piece together a new beginning for her own family."
"Iraq, once a country of fervent readers, now starves for books" was the headline for a McClatchy article that reported "students often can't find the books they need. Libraries and schools are understocked, and many bookstores are closed. At those that are open, academic selections are usually limited. College-level texts, books on specialized subjects and recent editions are the hardest to come by. Most elementary and high school students use decades-old materials."
"Some say books are a small matter compared to many of Iraq's issues, but I say this is not true," said Alaa Makki, a Sunni Muslim lawmaker who heads the Iraqi parliament's education committee. "Without knowledge and educated people, who will solve these things? I believe education is the path to solve all (Iraq's) problems, even the political problems and the security issues."
"It's true it may be hard to find academic books in Iraq, but the Iraqi reader is still an educated reader," Ahmed Basim, a Baghdad bookshop owner said. "So they appreciate this [book] fair. They long for these books."
Boing Boing highlighted "terrific Charles Dickens cigarette cards in the New York Public Library's Dickens' Gallery online collection."
The Guardian's book blog explored "the timeless appeal of the pony book," observing that "There can't be many girls riding actual ponies these days, but they still want to read about them. . . . How many small girls own a pony? How many small girls even come within mucking-out distance of one of these snorting, flatulent, white-eyed quadrupeds? How many would want to spring out of bed at stupid'o'clock and start grooming their vermicious mounts should they possess one? But still the pony book persists."
Richard Price, T. C. Boyle, Jorie Graham and Yusef Komunyakaa were named to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. The Associated Press (via the New York Times) reported that the "new members will be inducted in a ceremony next month and will be allowed to serve on academy committees that award prizes, but otherwise they have no official responsibilities."
The AP described Price and Boyle as "two authors generally not fond of honors or distinctions," noting that Price had said in 1999, upon learning he'd won a literary prize from the academy, that he "thought maybe I get discounts at local restaurants."