Monday, August 31, 2009

The big fall and some little treasures

Jonathan Lethem gave an almost ecstatic review in yesterday's NYT Book Review to Lorrie Moore's new book--which is now in stock with lots of other fall releases coming in day by day.

The downside of the massive list of big-name authors with new books is that, even more than usual, it becomes more difficult for small press books to get review attention or other prime placement. No attention=no sales regardless of how fine a book it is or who publishes it.

So we've decided to do a little focus on some of our smaller friends in the book world. For the next month we'll have a rotating display of books from presses such as Ugly Duckling Presse, Fence Press, Wave Books, Dzanc Books, Telegram, Persephone Classics, Atlas and Co., AK Press, Europa Editions and Hotel St. George Press to name just a few currently displayed. This, of course, without even mentioning our local friends and any number of university presses.

Small publishers fight the same fight we do. To get noticed despite larger places. To grab people's attention without massive advertising budgets. To do quality work and contribute to art that they think matters.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Two things that are not ours

As I've mentioned before, the coming months are very exciting times in the world of book publishing and selling. Two other reasons to smile are a little closer to home.

There is a great literary scavenger hunt that is being run and supported by our local stalwarts at Coffee House, Graywolf and Milkweed Presses. Here is the link to all of the info and story about They've already gotten some great local and national press. Please join in on the fun.

The launch for the whole thing is on October 10, 2009 at the Twin Cities Book Festival. has all the info on the festival including a fantastic line-up of authors/speakers.

We are one of the sites participating in "Around the Twin Cities in (Almost) 80 Days and are happy to be part of such a vibrant community of the written word. More info will come from us regarding the particulars once the hunt begins.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

"A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."

Optimism abounds these days. It is, in part, due to the truly gorgeous summer we've had here in Minnesota. Also, as a certified sports nut, this is the time of year when so many teams have high hopes. Football teams are in the midst of training camp and everyone thinks they can do well. Big-time soccer is in full-swing and even Americans are taking notice. Mostly, though, the optimism has everything to do with the books we're starting to see trickle in. The trickle will become a monsoon come September-December.

As each month comes along I'll be focusing in some detail on a select grouping of titles. For now, even to start a list is to shove aside so many great books/authors. But as I've talked to so many of our book-slinging colleagues in New York, Miami, Boston, San Francisco, Milwaukee and other stores locally, I've heard the same refrain: "I cannot remember a Fall season like this. I'm so excited."

Booksellers can rarely agree on any one thing--we're iconoclastic by nature--but we love to put good books into the hands' of our customers. There is no greater joy than opening boxes for some highly anticipated book. And for the next sixteen weeks or so there will be much joy across the country.

Come September I'll start highlighting these many gems. One book I will single out right now is "Homer and Langley" by E.L. Doctorow. The book releases 9/1/09 and it concerns the infamous Collyer(yes, Homer and Langley) brothers--NYC's greatest recluse/hermit/scavengers/former socialites. Doctorow does a marvelous job of inhabiting the different brothers minds and ideas. His sense of their time(1880's to late 1940's) is so engaging to all the senses. It is a real treat to be in the hands of such a master of language and human emotion.

Almost forgot to cite the quote above. Mr. Winston Churchill said those words--and, today, I agree.