Monday, October 27, 2014

Thank You Rick Riordan

Three brilliant books that arrived in the Kids section since last we spoke:

1. Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater
Oh man. Maggie Stiefvater is brilliant. We all know that already. Now she's given us the third book in her Raven Cycle. It's brilliant and now I might die before the last one comes out.

2. Once Upon an Alphabet by Oliver Jeffers
It's Oliver Jeffers. He does a little story for each letter. V is my favorite. Hands down.

3. My True Love Gave to Me edited by Stephanie Perkins
Stephanie Perkins, author of Anna and the French Kiss, is enough of a sell but with authors like Kelly Link and Holly Black this is the perfect winter anthology.

I spent most of my Saturday working the Booksmith table at the Boston Book Festival. This was the third year I worked it and we had, by far, the best weather and, by far, the biggest crowd.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Three other booksellers and I arrived down at Copley Square just after 8 AM. It was chilly and early. Coffee was much needed and I was barely functioning. We shuffled tiredly into the beautiful Trinity church and were welcomed by a most glorious sight.

1,000 Rick Riordan books sitting on tabled primed for signing.

I was not so tired anymore.

This wasn't a particularly thrilling sight to Peter and Clarissa who'd been there the day before to set them up but I was pretty excited about it. I've never been fortunate enough to be in the store when Rick Riordan has come in to sign stock so I was ready. Two things happened.

1. He signed 1,000 book in 30 minutes. He. Is. Magic.
2. I didn't say a word to him until he left and then it was a hurried "Thank you so much!"

Doesn't matter. I spent about 35 minutes in a room with Rick Riordan.

And that half an hour is what made the festival for me. Not just because I'm nothing if not a fangirl and I got to be there. It kept us busy most of the day. I got to stand at the end of the table and just keep refilling piles of his books. I got to talk to people about the books. I got to see the kids in Camp Halfblood/Jupiter tee shirts and camp necklaces and the one girl fully dressed as Annabeth. They were excited and that plus the adrenaline was way better than the coffee.

The kids book person in me was just so thrilled. We had a line for a solid two hours after Riordan's keynote and sold somewhere around 700 of his books and a lot of them were to people who already had them. It was amazing. And I loved that it was a kids author.

It's so easy to get discouraged when you're a kids book person. There are so many people who are determined to write it off and say that it doesn't count as "real literature" or that it's not worth anyone's time. When a book gets big then come all of the articles ripping it to shreds and explaining to us why it's not teaching kids anything. Sometimes that makes it hard.

To see people, most but not all kids, standing in line twice for Rick Riordan, the first to get into his talk (there was a line when we arrived at 8) and the second to buy tee books, was brilliant. It makes me a little more proud of what I do.

And I just really wanted a kids event to win this not-competition competition.

We totally did.

Thank you, Rick Riordan.

P.S. We still have signed copies of Blood of Olympus and Percy Jackson's Greek Gods come and get some!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Nonfiction Section is All Around You

Today is my last day working at Brookline Booksmith! Starting next week I will be working in a building in midtown Manhattan, at a new job about as far away from my Idaho origins as I could have ever imagined.

Furthermore, I will be not working at Brookline Booksmith for the first time in just shy of 4 years. That is just about the longest I have ever worked at one place (I'm young!) and has comprised the bulk of my life in Boston. I have met the most amazing people here, read the best books, shared them with you all, met lots of celebrities and learned the city inside and out while I was here!

This place is the craziest mix of unique staff, and we're incredibly lucky to be in a neighborhood full of die-hard buy-local bookworms that keep us around. It's also a place I've learned a lot about working hard, communicating with people, and being surprised daily by people you think you know. It's been a fertile training ground for my next endeavor, a place I've been nurtured in the book industry and will carry with me as I set off for the Big City!

Thanks so much for everything, take care of each other, and shut off your computer (after this sentence) and pick up a book :D

With Love,

P. S. Read Arto Paasilinna! 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

October Destination of the Month

From the amazing food beautifully melding sweet and savory, to the diverse natural landscape encompassing deserts and lush forests, mint tea and Berber music, beaches and arabesque arches, Morocco would be a perfect escape in October, as the weather cools but the vibrant artistic culture that has drawn expatriates for decades (notably Paul Bowles, William S. Burroughs and Tennessee Williams) is alive and well. Time to come stock up on guide books, maps and books inspired by Morocco!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Some Books Just Make it Hard

Also, Noggin is a National Book Award finalist (because you needed another reason to read it). Congratulations John Corey Whaley!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Books for the Fall

Three really exciting, super thrilling new books!

1. Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan
I mean...come on. It's the LAST BOOK! Then we have to wait for Magnus Chase (which is set IN BOSTON!). Did I mention that we have signed copies?

2. Red Knit Cap Girl and The Reading Tree by Naoko Stoop
We love the Red Knit Cap Girl in general. But we love her even more when there are books involved.

3. A Bean, A Stalk, and a Boy Named Jack by William Joyce
I love him. I love him. William Joyce's books are lovely and funny and just so brilliantly rendered. His newest, a take on Jack and the Beanstalk, is no exception.

A little while back I did a post on books that reminded me of summer. Now, it's fall and it's my favorite season and I haven't talked yet about books that feel like fall. This is a very important season.

So let's do that now. In no particular order I present Books That Remind Amy of Fall:

1. Doll Bones by Holly Black
Maybe it's the creepy factor. The potentially possessed doll, the late night bus ride, the cemetery. But this book makes me think of fall. Dead leaves and moonlit skies.

2. Fletcher and the Falling Leaves by Julia Rawlinson
My love for this book is no secret, neither are its ties to fall. When the leaves start falling Fletcher worries that is friend the tree is sick. It's sweet and lovely.

3. First Test by Tamora Pierce
Back to school books often have a fall-ish air to them, even though school starts in the summer. This isn't technically school and the books spans a year so it covers all of the seasons but there's still something so essentially autumnal about it.

4. 5th Wave by Rick Yancy
I could probably say that this reminds me of fall because it's sort of about the fall of humanity but that's not it...I don't think. It just has the same sort of Fall feel.

5. Flora's Very Windy Day by Jeanne Birdsall
The fall colors, the dead leaves, the wind stealing a sibling. I mean that all just screams fall!

6. Book of Shadows by Cate Tiernan
The start of school in the midwest mixed with a setting of graveyards and the discovery of magick. Tiernan's entire Sweep series is the perfect read for an autumn week.

7. Ballad by Maggie Stiefvater
This one I find interesting because the first in the series, Lament feels like a spring book to me. But this is the darker side to the story. It has more of an edge and that is all fall.

8. Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan
This is all fall. Creepy woods and sorcerers and small towns.

9. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz
Do I even need to say anything about this one?

10. The Lost Boy by Greg Ruth
Creepy woods. Even creepier creatures. Beautiful and unique artwork. A boy finds an old fashioned recorder on which he hears the story of a boy years before who gets caught in a good versus evil battle that goes wrong.

I was sitting here trying to figure out what it is about these books that make me think of fall. I'm not really sure what it is to be honest. As I was thinking of titles I was very quickly dismissing titles with a brief "No, that's winter/spring/summer." I'm not sure if it's just setting, or an unsettling plot, or just a feeling but something about all of these titles reminds me of fall.


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Travel as a Rabbit

Here's the latest and greatest happenins in the travel section!

Come scope our Destination of the Month display before it turns to October: SEATTLE

I am studying the Finnish language and just learned the sweetest idiom: "Matkustaa jäniksenä," or "to travel as a rabbit," meaning travelling for free, as a stowaway (like a bunny sneaking on a boat!). I prefer the first image the phrase brought to mind, a bunny too short to reach the Charlie Card machine so he just snuck under the turnstile and didn't pay his fare.

Anyway, everyone knows the best way to travel as a rabbit is to pack like and move fast, so do I have a grip of petite pocket guides for you! These adorable, fun-size guide books are full of off-the-beaten path trivia, must-sees and gorgeous design:

First up are the WildSam guides. Currently available for Nashville, Austin, San Francisco and Detroit, they have awesome almanacs full of local trivia, interviews with local movers and shakers, places to check out that are more funky and local haunts than tourist spots, and even a grip of pretty graph paper in the back for notetaking and scrapbooking on the fly! $18 each.

Citi x 60 guides are brand new, and available for all kinds of big-city locales: New York, Paris, Tokyo, Barcelona, Berlin and more. The idea here is that 60 local artists, business owners, writers, creatives and other influential and design-oriented share their favorite haunts, so you get a bunch of ideas for discovering a city from the people who love it the most, and seek out the most unique and vibrant offerings! Super inexpensive and pretty as well at $9.95 each.

The Hunt guides, representing cities from Austin to Singapore are beautifully designed with must-sees and local faves as well, an emphasis on shopping and amazing food make these guides a must for the urban adventurer. $16 each.

Happy travels!