Monday, April 30, 2007

Blatant Bribery

I wanted to be a bookseller because you get discounted books. Then I found out you could actually get free books, and I knew what I wanted to do for life. Publishers send us ARCs (Advance Reading Copies) so that we will read the book, hopefully like it, and therefore want to sell it (with fervor!) to all who come in the door. I tend to call these freebies galleys rather than ARCs. This is because whenever anyone says the latter all I can think of are creatures from Lord of the Rings. Technically there is a difference between a galley and an ARC, but I’m going to go ahead and call them all galleys anyways.

So, the point of that was to let you know that I am going to bribe you to read my blog by occasionally giving away galleys to you, dear reader! I have two today up for grabs.

· Free Food for Millionaires by Min Jin Lee
Free food for millionaires, free books for Brookline Blogsmith readers, this just seemed appropriate. This is a great, sprawling first novel about the daughter of Korean immigrants that I enjoyed very much. It has been chosen as the top Book Sense pick for May with some very kind words by Betsey Detwiler from Buttonwood Books & Toys in Cohasset, MA: "Casey Han is well aware of the expectations of her parents, first-generation Korean immigrants. She has the Princeton degree, the smarts, and the connections to secure the law degree they hope for. But Casey is set on finding her own answers. There are many story lines and remarkably limned characters in this engrossing and satisfying novel."

· The Secret History of the American Empire: Economic Hit Men, Jackals, and the Truth About Global Corruption by John Perkins
In the follow-up to Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, Perkins talks with others of his (former) ilk. I’ll admit to not having read his first book, but it has been incredibly popular here at the store so I’m guessing there might be someone out there who is interested.

Here’s the fine print: The first person to post a comment asking for a title gets it. You can’t ask for both—don’t be greedy! You have to come into the store to pick it up; we’ll be keeping it on hold behind the register for a week. Good luck!

Saturday, April 28, 2007


The most frustrating thing in the world happened to me this week. A wonderful woman called to see if we could find a book for her. It was the type of request I love—she didn’t remember the title or author but had heard it on NPR a couple of months ago. I live for finding those books. But this time I just couldn’t get the right keywords to click, and I had to tell her I couldn’t find it. I hate giving up, so I tried again and inevitably found the book moments after we hung up. So, lovely caller, if you’re out there (I hope, I hope!) and want to know about urban bartering, you’re looking for Off the Books: The Underground Economy of the Urban Poor by Sudhir Benkatesh. This is going to haunt me for days.

Friday, April 27, 2007

A Blank Slate

Everyone here at the store wants to know what this will be about and offer suggestions and warnings and questioning looks. Right now this is definitely a work-in-progress. I’ll be making it up as I go along, and I hope you’ll come along with me. Suggestions are always welcome, and questions, and ideas. But please don’t be mean. It might take me a bit to get the hang of this.

A (very) little about me: I’ve come here after three years of bookselling at a great independent bookstore across the Charles. I’m a buyer here, which means I order the books you see on the shelves. I get to decide what we should stock and what just doesn’t make the cut (with lots of help from our senior buyer). I love it.

I have to admit that blogs (even though they're now omnipresent, and I think people are sick of them already) still makes me a little uncomfortable. So why am I bothering? Because now that I’m a buyer I spend a lot of time in an office and I don’t get to talk with customers as much as I did before. So this is a new way for me to just talk. I love books, I love talking about books, and I love to show off all the great stuff we have.

I want to let you behind the scenes a bit, I want to let you know what we’re excited about, I want to make sure you don’t miss anything great. There are lots of great book blogs out there, and I thank you for reading mine. I’ll definitely try to make it worth your while.