'I Prefer Watching the Launches of Independent Bookstores'
"I prefer watching the launches of independent bookstores. They're a lot more entertaining. And they actually occupy space."
"I prefer watching the launches of independent bookstores. They're a lot more entertaining. And they actually occupy space."
Pig City Books, a pop-up and e-commerce bookstore launched in June by Sedley Abercrombie and her daughter Emma, will evolve into a bricks-and-mortar store in the near future in uptown Lexington, N.C., the Dispatch reported.
"We are actively looking for a place," said Sedley Abercrombie. "We are looking for the right place that is sustainable."
The co-owners believe that "now is the time to strike to open a bookstore in downtown Lexington for several reasons," the Dispatch wrote. "One, there is so much great literature coming out weekly, they said.... Two, the buy-local movement has created a new generation of people who understand how spending their money in their hometowns supports local infrastructure. And three, both women said people value the social experience of visiting a bookstore and its events, which they have several planned."
After launching a successful book club called Books and Brews, which meets at Goose and the Monkey Brew House in Lexington, Sedley Abercrombie told her daughter, "Lexington really needs a bookstore."
"I said, 'Let's do it,' " Emma Abercrombie recalled. "This is happening so fast. We made Facebook and Instagram pages and things just really took off."
"You can spend $7.99 for a six-pack at a grocery store and have something to drink at home or you can spend that at Goose and the Monkey and have a drink and the social experience," Sedley Abercrombie noted. "People value that, and they will in a bookstore, too. There is something about coming in and talking with the staff and being guided to new books, attending a book club meeting, or author's event."
|Sedley and Emma Abercrombie|
The Abercrombies had pop-up bookshops at the Juneteenth celebration and Pride events in Lexington. Last weekend they held pop-up bookstores at the Ravenwood Collective store in downtown Lexington and the Arcadia Community Market in northern Davidson County.
Sedley Abercrombie has years of experience as a librarian and media specialist with Davidson County Schools and the Davidson County Public Library system. She is currently the branch manager at the West Davidson Library and has accepted a new position with the Lexington City Schools system this fall.
"I try to stay on top of what is out there and what is coming out," she said. "My experience as a librarian helps me. I know authors. At the store, we will have book signings, book talks, book clubs and other events."
Materialistic Uptown bookstore and gift shop opened recently at 76A San Marco Ave., St. Augustine, Fla., the former site of Anastasia Books. The Record reported that longtime city residents Trevor Smith and Melissa Gibson combined their business backgrounds to launch the new business. For the past 20 years, Gibson had managed Materialistic on St. George St., "a mainstay for St. Augustine" that sold T-shirts and eclectic gifts. The shop closed in April 2020 due to the uncertainty of the Covid-19 pandemic.
At about the same time, Smith's ownership of the Flagler College Bookstore ended after more than 40 years of local, independent Smith family management when in February, the college shifted the bookstore lease to Barnes & Noble.
His parents, Bob and Diana Smith, had opened the Booksmith in the late '70s, and Bob Smith eventually took over the management (and subsequently ownership) of the Flagler College Bookstore in 1978. Trevor began began working there in 2002, and when his father retired in 2010, he became the owner.
Gibson and Smith discussed the possibility of melding the two shops earlier this year. The Record noted that when he learned that longtime friend Sandra Parks, owner of Anastasia Books, was ready to retire, he "purchased the long-standing business and began curating the books to make way for his new business partner, Gibson, and her Materialistic experience and merchandise.... Materialistic Uptown is a balance of fine books, gifts and T-shirts. Paired with eclectic music and the subtle scent of incense, Materialistic Uptown is truly a unique combination."
Nowhere Bookshop in San Antonio, Tex., opened to customers on Monday after a delay of well over a year.
My San Antonio reported that owner Jenny Lawson, general manager Elizabeth Jordan and their team are still requiring customers to wear masks but there are no limits to capacity. Nowhere's bar, however, remains closed and will not open until the vaccination rate in San Antonio is at least 80%. The store will continue to offer curbside pick-up and online sales.
"It's been a dream for so long, and now it's hard to believe it's really happening," Lawson said. "We've had such amazing support from the community, and now we can finally open the doors and say thank you in real life."
Jordan and Lawson had originally planned for an opening date of April 1, 2020. Jordan had submitted her opening inventory orders to her sales reps in early March and was starting to assemble a staff when things shut down. Their next tentative date was June 1, 2020, but after Texas reopened early and saw a spike in Covid cases, they pulled back once again. That same month the store started offering curbside pick-up and online shopping of the bookstore's entire inventory.
"It's been quite a journey, but we're all very excited," Jordan told My San Antonio. "The booksellers that we brought on are super enthusiastic, and I think it's going to be a great place for the community to hang out and talk about books. We'll eventually get to a place where people can hang out all day, but, for now, we're just thrilled to talk to people about books again."
Thanks to a robust online business and support from both local and international readers, the Nowhere team was able to be as conservative as they wanted to be when it came to deciding whether they should open to the public. Nowhere's online sales actually began in October 2019, when the store started selling branded merchandise and books signed by Lawson. The store also has a subscription club that had around 2,700 members as of November 2020.
The winners of the inaugural George Markey Keating Memorial Scholarships, in memory of the longtime Simon & Schuster rep and sales executive who died in June 2020, have been announced. Sponsored by the New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association, the New England Independent Booksellers Association, the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance and the Friends of George Keating committee, and managed by the Book Industry Charitable Foundation (Binc), the scholarships provide $250 to a bookseller from each of the regional booksellers association to be used for professional development. The winners:
Bill Carl from An Unlikely Story, Plainville, Mass., is the NEIBA area winner. He said, "Thank you NEIBA, Binc, and the George Keating Scholarship Foundation for this honor. We truly work in a field where we help to educate, to entertain, and to provide escape when the world gets to be too much.
"In a sense, we sell dreams, and I love what I do every day when I help people choose just the right book or bring a particular author to their attention. Thank you for understanding the importance of this job and for helping me become even better at it. I will always strive to make those connections in the store, to bring readers and authors together, and to foster that love of reading that I have within myself and share it with others."
NEIBA executive director Beth Ineson called Carl "the kind of engaged, committed frontline bookseller that George Keating regularly took under his wing. I can't help but think that George would be thrilled that someone of Bill's caliber would be able to further their bookselling education under the auspices of the Keating Scholarship."
Alissa Redmond from South Main Book Company, Salisbury, N.C., is the SIBA-area winner. Redmond said, "I am so honored and am grateful for all that SIBA and BINC do for one-man shops like mine! I am still very new to this industry and there is so very much that I know I have to learn. Ideally, I'd like to use these funds to travel to the next SIBA Conference. If that can't happen in person, I've been registering for all the great virtual bookseller education programs that SIBA and NAIBA have put on recently, and I will continue to do so whenever I can. Thank you!"
SIBA executive director Linda-Marie Barrett said: "We are so grateful to the Friends of George Keating for creating this scholarship in his honor. What an inspiring legacy, supporting booksellers in the regions where George worked, so that they can pursue educational opportunities and advance their skills and careers."
Jen Cheng of Old Town Books, Alexandria, Va., the NAIBA-area winner, said, "I'm so honored to be the recipient of this year's George Keating scholarship! I've been in bookselling a long time, but I'm still a relatively new book buyer, and there's always more to learn. I'm excited to find and take advantage of opportunities later this year for professional development. I am grateful to Binc and NAIBA for the scholarship assistance, and also for how both organizations have adjusted and have done such an impressive job adapting to the conditions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. They've continued to keep indie booksellers connected and better able to help and support each other. I've learned so much from NAIBA colleagues, both during Zoom sessions over the last year, and also in sessions and roundtables in the years that I've been lucky enough to attend the Fall conference. While I like seeing booksellers and old friends from all over the country at national conferences, regional conferences are my favorite. The show floors, breakout sessions, presentations and meals are bustling and exciting, but it's easier to have real conversations. I'm looking forward to seeing everyone IRL again, hopefully next year!"
NAIBA executive director Eileen Denger said, "I'm so happy for Jen. She has taken advantage of the many NAIBA programs during covid lockdown, and this scholarship will help her attend our in-person events when we open up in the Fall and Winter. Jen is working hard in her career as a bookseller, taking on new roles in her store, and we are honored that the friends of George Keating have created a scholarship to help booksellers do that."
Author William F. Nolan, who was best known for the Logan's Run series of science fiction novels, the first of which was adapted into a film and TV series, died July 15. He was 93. Locus reported that Nolan worked as a writer and designer of greeting cards for Hallmark, a painter of murals, an aircraft assistant and at various other jobs in the '40s and '50s. In 1956, he became a freelance writer. In addition to his fiction and TV writing, Nolan was an editor for and contributor to auto and racing magazines, and a book reviewer.
In the 1950s, he helped found the San Diego Science Fantasy Society, contributing substantially to the fanzine Rhodomagnetic Digest, publishing and editing the Ray Bradbury Review, "working with 'The Group,' a coterie of up-and-coming young writers which included Bradbury, Richard Matheson, Charles Beaumont, John Tomerlin, George Clayton Johnson and others, and later served as managing editor of the first three issues of Gamma (1963-1964)," Locus noted. Nolan published short fiction and criticism frequently throughout his career under his own name and multiple pseudonyms.
His first novel was Logan's Run (1967, with George Clayton Johnson), which became a Nebula Award-nominated film in 1976 and later a TV series. Nolan wrote several sequels, including Logan's World (1977), Logan's Search (1980) and the novella Logan's Return (2001).
Nolan's Sam Space series was an SF/hardboiled homage to Dashiell Hammett's Sam Spade, and included the Edgar Award winner Space for Hire (1971). He also wrote horror and paranormal works, as well as numerous crime and mystery titles, among them one "Nolan considered his best novel, The Marble Orchard (1996)," Locus noted. He was a prolific anthologist, editing numerous reprint volumes and some originals, along with nonfiction books about authors and writing.
His many awards include a Living Legend Award from the International Horror Guild (2002), a SFWA Author Emeritus Award (2006), the HWA Bram Stoker Award for Lifetime Achievement (2010), and a Special Convention Award from the World Fantasy convention (2013). He was named a World Horror Grandmaster in 2015.
Sweet Home Books in Wetumpka, Ala., and The Bookstore in the Window in Laurel, Miss., have joined forces on a pen-pal program, the Wetumpka Herald noted. Residents of any age can join the program, and while children are paired together based on age, adult participants are not.
Sonya Dykes, owner of The Bookstore in the Window, came up with the idea and reached out to Diane Castro, owner of Sweet Home Books, about partnering. Castro explained that the two cities have become like sister cities after they were featured on the HGTV shows Home Town (for Laurel) and Home Town Takeover (for Wetumpka). Dykes wanted to give residents of the two cities a way to get to know each other and bond over their shared experiences.
So far 15 people from Wetumpka have been matched up with pen pals, and others are waiting to be matched.
Posted on Facebook yesterday by High Five Books, Florence, Mass.: "Friends, just a note of gratitude for your ongoing mask-wearing when you're in our shop. We know there are members of our shopping community who are immunocompromised, and the bulk of our patrons aren't old enough to be vaccinated yet. Continued thanks, from our families to yours!"
"We are here to help with the hard decisions," Highland Books, Brevard, N.C., noted in sharing a photo of the store's sidewalk chalkboard, which helpfully answered the question: "Should you buy a book today?"
Matthew Ballast has been promoted to v-p, executive director of publicity & marketing at Grand Central. Formerly v-p, executive director of publicity, he now oversees a combined publicity and marketing group for Grand Central.
Felicia Sinusas has been promoted to associate director of publicity for Harvard Business Review Press. She joined the press in April 2018.
The Secret of the Magic Pearl by Elisa Sabatinelli, illustrated by Iacopo Bruno (Red Comet Press).
A Little Late with Lilly Singh repeat: Amber Ruffin, co-author of You'll Never Believe What Happened to Lacey: Crazy Stories about Racism (Grand Central, $28, 9781538719367).
Warner Bros. has released a series of character posters from Dune, the highly anticipated film adaptation of Frank Herbert's classic sci-fi novel. Deadline reported that the movie, directed by Denis Villeneuve, is set to have its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival in September before hitting theaters and HBO Max on October 22. Villeneuve directed from a screenplay he co-wrote with Jon Spaihts and Eric Roth.
The character posters feature Timothée Chalamet, who stars as Paul Atreides; Zendaya (Chani); Rebecca Ferguson (Lady Jessica); Jason Momoa (Duncan Idaho); Oscar Isaac (Duke Leto Atreides); Javier Bardem (Stilgar); Josh Brolin (Gurney Halleck); and Stellan Skarsgård (Baron Vladimir Harkonnen). The cast also includes Dave Bautista, Sharon Duncan Brewster, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Chang Chen and David Dastmalchian and Charlotte Rampling.
The shortlist has been released for this year's Centre for Literacy in Primary Poetry Award (CLiPPA), which recognizes published poetry for children in the U.K. The winner will be named October 11 at the Cheltenham Literature Festival. This year's shortlisted titles are:
Slam! You're Gonna Wanna Hear This, edited by Nikita Gill
Bright Bursts of Colour by Matt Goodfellow, illustrated by Aleksei Bitskoff
Run, Rebel by Manjeet Mann
Big Green Crocodile Rhymes to Say and Play by Jane Newberry, illustrated by Carolina Rabei
On the Move by Michael Rosen, illustrated by Quentin Blake
The prize is part of CLPE's Schools Shadowing Scheme: "When the shortlisted collections are announced, our team of expert teachers write detailed planning linked to each collection which focuses on the appreciation, performance, response to and writing of poetry.... As part of the process, groups and individual children can pick a poem that they have particularly enjoyed and film a performance of this to submit to the shadowing scheme judges. The judges pick a winner for each collection, who will then be invited to perform at the award ceremony."
|photo: Ricardo Siri|
Katie Crouch is the author of Girls in Trucks, Men and Dogs and Abroad. Her new novel, Embassy Wife (Farrar, Straus, Giroux, July 13, 2021), is about two women abroad searching for the truth about their husbands. The book is in development with 20th Television. Crouch lives in Vermont with her family and teaches creative writing at Dartmouth College.
On your nightstand now:
I have a friend who owns an independent bookstore, and my favorite thing to do is sneak in and steal advanced reader's copies. So I have a huge stack of next season's fiction. Some are: Mrs. March by Virginia Feito, Libertie by Kaitlyn Greenidge and The Eternal Audience of One by Rémy Ngamije. Halfway through Mrs. March. Oh my God.
Favorite book when you were a child:
I was bullied as a girl and was so confused by my body, and Are You There God? It's Me Margaret by Judy Blume really saved my life. I just met the author this winter at her bookstore in Key West. (Can you sense a bookstore theme?) We had this totally nice writerly chat, and then I walked out and just started bawling. My daughter was terrified.
Your top five authors:
Jane Austen really knew how to organize a novel. And she's just so razor sharp. I find Jean Rhys's female characters comforting, because they have really dark thoughts and so do I. Every time I finish a Colson Whitehead book I have to lie down on the floor for a while and marvel at it. George Saunders's stories, even at their most grim, make me feel better about the world. And my best friend from high school is the author Grady Hendrix, and every year he writes a book that is wilder and better than the one before it, and I am just in awe of watching that happen in real time.
Book you've faked reading:
As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner. It's been assigned, recommended... I think an old boyfriend even gave me a first edition or something. Can't connect.
Book you're an evangelist for:
Once We Were Sisters by Sheila Kohler. It's a memoir about growing up in South Africa. It's super spare and novelistic, and just gutted me. Also, I think it's almost impossible for foreigners to understand race relations in that part of the world, but this gave me a tiny (terrifying) window.
Book you hid from your parents:
Judy Blume, don't you know it! Forever. (Ralph!)
Book that changed your life:
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. I was 14 and didn't understand depression was a medical condition. And I was like, Oh, Sylvia, me too! And then I was like, oh, right: me too. So I told my dad (a doctor), and he took me to a therapist, and I've been treated ever since. That book really warded off some bad things that might have taken place. And why I think there's nothing more important than an honest story.
Favorite line from a book:
"Goodnight, nobody." --Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
Five books you'll never part with:
Black Vodka by Deborah Levy, as a quick story from it feels like a shot. Birds of America by Lorrie Moore is like listening to a smart, acid-tongued friend. Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys, because, when I'm stuck, I need to hear from the lady in the attic. Let the Dead Bury Their Dead by Randall Kenan is a beautiful book--I read it after I met Randall, but he died recently, and I never got to tell him in person how much it meant. So I will hang on to that. And Maggie Brown and Others by Peter Orner, because it's gorgeous. Also, it's dedicated to me, and that doesn't happen every day.
Book you most want to read again for the first time:
The Secret History by Donna Tartt. (I wish I didn't know what happened to that farmer so I could go in again, wide-eyed, innocent.)
Fallout: Spies, Superbombs, and the Ultimate Cold War Showdown by Steve Sheinkin (Roaring Brook Press, $19.99 hardcover, 352p., ages 10-up, 9781250149015, September 7, 2021)
Three-time National Book Award nominee and Newbery Honor author Steve Sheinkin recounts the "most intense years of the Cold War" with a cinematic writing style that is keenly detailed.
In 1948, three years after the end of World War II, the Soviets and Americans, former allies who "crushed Hitler" and won the war in Europe, are clashing over postwar plans. The two countries find themselves "locked in a struggle for power and influence over the world" as American leaders encourage the establishment of democratic governments and Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin pushes for the spread of communism. Thus, the Cold War begins. In Fallout: Spies, Superbombs, and the Ultimate Cold War Showdown, Steve Sheinkin (Born to Fly; Undefeated) presents a well-researched, engrossingly written account of the events building to the Cuban Missile Crisis, the "single most dangerous moment in human history."
Sheinkin engages readers with both the big and small events of the Cold War by using dialogue, a conversational tone and descriptive language. His documentary-style writing is a bird's-eye view of incidents--for example, following Yuri Sokolov, a Soviet intelligence agent, on a hot day in June 1950 as he visits Lona Cohan, a New York librarian who snuck past FBI agents with "atomic bomb plans hidden in a tissue box." This marrying of perhaps lesser-known historical figures with high-profile events shows the human aspect of the war.
Sheinkin also incorporates the impact the war had on everyday life ("posters and pamphlets, urging every American to prepare for the worst," school safety drills, the conception of Godzilla). He points out how many of the decisions made during the Cold War were ego-driven, as when President Kennedy weighed nuclear disaster against his own popularity. This 20/20 hindsight adds a sense of urgency to how close the world really came to complete disaster.
That urgency is even more apparent as Sheinkin moves through the events that brought the world to the brink of World War III. Switching rapidly between the viewpoints of the Western capitalists and the Eastern Communists, Sheinkin tells the story as if it were a chess match between two grandmasters. In an epilogue, Sheinkin tells readers what happened to the major players in the years following the "eyeball-to-eyeball" moment in Cuba, and briefly touches on what finally ended the standoff between the two greatest powers in the world. Look no further for informative and entertaining nonfiction. --Lana Barnes, freelance reviewer and proofreader
Shelf Talker: In Fallout, award-winning author Steve Sheinkin thrillingly chronicles the events of the Cold War.