Winter 2014. Unrelenting.
I haven't posted lately. It just -- well, it gets busy. I was going to write up my trip to Chicago to buy remainders back in October, and Otis' Old Curiosity Shop here this holiday season, and then my trip to Seattle for Winter Institute (a booksellers' forum), and, and... But you know how that all goes.
So, what's up this week? Here's a peek into the life of a bookseller.
Tomorrow, Thursday, we meet with Andy from Fujii & Associates to discuss new book releases from a myriad of publishers, including Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Workman, IPG, Candlewick, and others. In the evening, we have an Annex Gallery opening reception for Irwin Weinberger, whose watercolor flowers offers a pleasant respite from the doldrums of winter.
On Friday we sell books at Michael Grant Jaffe's book launch party, an off-site event. We're excited to try out our new mobile credit card reader. Saturday brings us International Women's Day, and we'll celebrate with the rest of the street, and give a portion of our sales to Seeds of Literacy, as well as some books.
Monday brings many regional booksellers to Cleveland for a conference by the Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association (GLiBA), and the reception following the seminars will be held at Loganberry! We gotta clean up for our special guests (booksellers! authors! out-of-towners!), and you'd think it was spring with the number of new acquisitions we've been buying lately. I swear, when you turn your back, the books multiply.
We also have a new website in the works. It's many months in the making, but there's finally something to really look at (still beta, not yet live), and there's much content improvement on the horizon. We're really looking forward to sharing it with you. All this, and it's tax time, too! So... I found a minute to procrastinate that work to let you know what's up in bookseller's workaday. All good!
If you've ever worked in a bookstore (or wondered what kind of exotic creatures work in bookstores), The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry
is a good place to start. Our title character is the depressed, widowed owner of an indie bookstore on a little island off the coast of Massachusetts. He's let his social circle and life shrink down to almost nothing. He has only his work and his books, one rare copy of Poe in particular. Don't let the curmudgeonly facade keep you away, however. A.J. is caustically, terribly funny. He has warmth and a touching humanity that is awakened by an unusual package that's left at his store. Have we seen echoes of this story elsewhere? Probably. Does it matter? Not at all. Author Gabrielle Zevin has created a wonderfully structured novel around superbly real characters who like books as much as the reader. Reading may be a solitary activity, but A.J.'s life and Zevin's book ultimately demonstrate the simple truth that literature can unite us and enrich any life, storied or not.
Advanced Reader’s Copies of forthcoming books are sent by publishers to booksellers and reviewers. They are not supposed to be sold. So they pile up. We have decided to GIVE THEM AWAY. As long as they last, we will let each of our customers select a free book from the display of ARCs every time they purchase a book from stock. There are some good recent titles in the bunch. Come find yours!
Wally Lamb combines complex characters and an intricate plot with an array of contemporary topics and timeless issues to produce this engrossing novel. A wife and mother leaves her family to pursue an artistic career and an unconventional relationship. A husband and father abruptly abandons his longtime profession as a psychologist. Their children wonder at these transformations but hide secrets of their own. As the plot develops and the narrative shifts among characters, secrets are revealed and motives become clear to the reader. But even as the individual characters reach out to each other and achieve ostensible connections, secrets linger. In the end, each remains an enigma, known only incompletely by the others. Essentially, Lamb has addressed the longstanding question of whether anyone can really know the truth of another person, and the answer is a resounding “no.”
We lost our sweet Kandinsky yesterday. I am forlorn.
He was named after the Russian painter, and was nicknamed Baby K.
I am sorry to say that he never graced the front of a Loganberry postcard, although really there's no excuse. There were just kittens around who got the honor instead. But his poses, his love of art, literature, and ladders are all well documented. And he was a sociable and amiable fellow; he could have made a shop cat had that been a possibility in the old location. I'm sorry, K.
As you see, he had the computer skills necessary for the job.
But being a shop cat isn't the ultimate goal for every cat, nor should it be. Who is going to be my Scarf-Boy in winter? Who will entertain the Otis?
Ah, sweet pile of fur, we will miss you.
He was 14, and suffering from hyper thyroidism. He died on his way to see the vet. He was not well, he was skinny and solitary in his last days, and he hated his medicine. I am relieved he avoided any further indignities. And I miss him sorely.
Adieu. Farewell. Godspeed. Lebewohl. Pax.