Friday, July 31, 2009

All the pretty little new books

August is almost here--and, usually, that does not mean a whole lot book-wise. But 8/1/09 marks six years for us as the 'new' Micawber's. For that, alone, we celebrate our customers and the books that have enabled us to continue doing what we love to do.

Harry Potter, in both the books and the movies, has presented itself as an anomoly. Adults and children of all ages have attached themselves to the works of the one and only J.K. Rowling. We all know this. Amongst the scores of articles and stories regarding all things HP there are lots of other noteworthy titles that have gotten ignored by the mainstream media.

The Percy Jackson series for the YA audience has brought scores of teens and adults into bookstores across the land. The phenomenon of vampires has not limited itself to Stephanie Meyer alone--as the wild and unpredicted success of "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" has proven. 

Stieg Larsson has become quite an international scene-stealer in his own right even after his own early death. "The Girl Who Played With Fire" just released this past Tuesday and has already become one of our best-selling hardcover fiction titles of all-time. The follow-up to "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" has brought interest from all types of our fiction readers--mystery-lovers/avant-garde fiction/contemporary lit. lovers/international readers.

This coming fall brings new fiction from a wide range of novelists for readers to choose from: Barbara Kingsolver, Pat Conroy, Richard's Russo and Power's, Thomas Pynchon and E.L. Doctorow to name just a few. So, needless to say, there is no shortage of good novels to pick from in the coming months.

Fiction, in all its various forms and worlds, is one way for us to engage in the written word. To dive into the unknown or familiar and stay there for a little while.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A dirty book is rarely dusty...

The subject line is not attributed to anyone--and, maybe, with good reason for it doesn't make a lot of sense. But what is a book? That is the very serious question publishers, authors, agents and booksellers are currently asking ourselves.

Is a book an idea? Is it pages? Or plot? Or is it a legally licensed entity? Can one own a book like one owns a single title of music? There is no one answer to these questions. And even the real answers get tricky. When a hard-drive crashed on one of my computers I tried to re-create my musical "library." I was told that out of 1,317 digital files there were 31 that could not be obtained. So I had purchased a piece of art that was, for worse not better, temporary.

I don't mean to bash Amazon, ITunes, Kindle, Sony Reader or any of the other electronic arts devices. I try very hard to carve a fine line between what we do and the chains, big boxes and internet sellers do. They do bulk and discount much like  Target does. We do hand-selection. Both are fine.

But there are distinctions. Once you buy "1984" by George Orwell, for example, from us you can do whatever you want with it. Cut a certain passage out of it for a collage. Try to re-create the cover in a watercolor. Cross out lines you hate. It is yours.

Now, it seems, the folks at Amazon can edit your reading/listening tastes even after you have bought them. I don't need to go into detail about this--check out any number of newspapers for a recount of this very real, and scary, scenario.

We sell books. We sell words and pages and comma's(edit) and physical objects. What you do with them, once sold, is entirely your business. Cut them up. Annotate them. Read them. Love or hate them. Read them. Read them. And keep them, forever.

Friday, July 17, 2009

A little pretty picture

I'll be posting a couple things in the next few days--my brain has been conceptualizing but my hands have not done the typing--so I'll just leave you with a picture that Micawber's friend and on-call artist Stephanie Hynes took awhile back.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


Stieg Larsson became a fast star with his first book in a trilogy, "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo." It has just become available in the last two weeks both as a trade paperback and a mass market edition. Mass market books are the small paperbacks that are done for a lot of mystery titles and are featured in malls and airports. They're portable and cheap and easy to pass on to the next reader. For reasons I cannot fully understand or articulate we have not sold many mass market books that are also published in the standard trade edition. This book, however, has proven to be the exception to our normal rule. 

Larsson, sadly, died just before the first book was published. His books, however, continue to not only live on but strive. The second book, "The Girl Who Played With Fire" will be available on 7/28/09 and we have great hopes for it. His mystery books are both fast-reading and smart. If you're looking for something to treat yourself or as a gift this could be just the thing.