November 11, 2009
Happy Wednesday! You’ll see that Jonathan Safran Foer, Jonathan Lethem, Jane Gardam, Street Gang, and The City Out My Window are still hanging out on the front table. Not a ton of new releases for us this week, so there’s a lot in common with previous weeks. But you didn’t click on this post to hear about what’s still the same.
First, let’s have a big round of applause for the return of Asterios Polyp, which is basically half the world’s favorite graphic novel (if not favorite novel, period) of the year! (The other half the world seems to have chosen Stitches, if you were wondering.) We could not be happier about its return. Hopefully it stays in stock through Christmas, because we plan on selling as many as possible. It, and that gorgeous shade of purple, get to sit on top.
Also new this week, though it’s hard to see it in the picture, is Zadie Smith’s new collection of essays, Changing My Mind. Do click on that link (or you know, visit the store) to check out the cover, which is lovely. The paperback of In Other Rooms, Other Wonders is also out, and highly recommended by WORD staff. It’s not a National Book Award nominee for nothing.
The last few weeks have been packed with BEST OF collections, and this week, we’re happy to be featuring the latest, from Dalkey Archive, Best European Fiction 2010. This is the first such collection from Dalkey, and it’s star-studded, assuming your idea of a star is Jean-Phillippe Toussaint, Victor Pelevin, or Christine Montalbetti. Keeping in the European vein, we also have The English American, by Alison Larkin. And a book about Russia by a Brit: Sashenka, by Simon Montefiore.
We hope we’ll see you for First Independent Bookstore Week NYC over the next seven days!
November 6, 2009
Last night we had our fourth installment of YA NOT?: a literary salon for not-so-young adults, and hosted not one, not two, but THREE fantastic YA authors. It was the sort of evening that started with the reveal that originally the authors had intended to name the evening “Hookers and Blow,” and ended with Robin recommending that everyone in the audience eat fruit.
Robin, on being asked what, if anything, she takes into consideration about her readers when writing, and whether YA authors have an obligation to think about their stories having a moral: “What is writing a book, anyway, if it’s not trying to convince people that this is the way the world is and this is how you should feel about it? Authors who write for adults do the same thing. They just don’t call it a moral.”
Libba, after being asked if being a parent has changed her mind about whether there is any content truly unacceptable in YA fiction and if there’s anything she wouldn’t let her son read: “I mean, are you asking if I’m worried my kid is going to go off and read books that are too grown-up for him? Because no, no I’m not at all concerned about my kid sneaking away and secretly READING.”
On the responsibilities of YA authors, Carolyn said: “The only responsibility authors have is to their story.”
And Robin said: “I think the only obligation we have is to acknowledge that books change people’s lives. We can’t control reader reaction to our books, good or bad. But we need to remember that our words matter.”
In case you were wondering which superpowers each authors would go for: Libba wants to be fluent in all languages. Robin wants teleportation. And Carolyn wants to be able to rewind time.
Perhaps the highlight of the evening, however, was Carolyn’s introduction of the word “spoony” to the proceedings (and to most of the attendees). Though none of us had heard of it beforehand—and Robin adamantly protested against its very existence—it nonetheless came to dominate the evening and appear in the answer to almost every question.
Unfortunately for Robin, though, it is a very well-documented word. Here, for example, is the Merriam-Webster entry: “silly, foolish; especially : unduly sentimental.” It’s also in the Routledge Dictionary of Contemporary Slang, along with this delightful example of usage: “I felt rather spoony upon that vixen.” The final nail in the coffin, however, is its use in David Copperfield, and yet another fantastic sentence: “There is no doubt whatsoever that I was a lackadaisical young spoony.“
Spoony! Please try to use it as many times as possible today, and keep last night’s YA NOT? alive.
I’ll end the post with this thought from Robin, who told us that she has not read many classic books:
“I do think it’s valuable to read them, though. I just don’t do it. Like fruit! I don’t eat it. But I advise that you do.”
YA NOT will be on hiatus next month, but stay tuned for more fantastic YA authors next year! To learn more about last night’s authors—all WORD favorites, all highly recommended—check out their websites: Libba, Robin, and Carolyn. Signed copies of their newest books available at WORD as long as supplies last!
October 6, 2009
There’s only 6 days left until Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days comes out, and we’re celebrating with a contest for teachers and librarians!
The publisher sent us that great big cardboard Greg in the picture and, while we love him, he is just a little too big for our store. We’ll keep him around this week while we prepare for the latest book in his series, but then he needs a good home where he will be properly appreciated. Do you think your school or library might be that place?
Then email us and tell us why! That’s right, it’s that easy to get this totally awesome display for yourself. Just email info (at) wordbrooklyn (dot) com and tell us why your school or library is the best home for Greg. The staff of WORD will pick our favorite.
We’ll announce our winner (and one runner-up, who will get a Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days T-shirt) next Monday, October 12, when the book comes out. So get to thinking about why Greg should go home with you and let us know ASAP…
September 4, 2009
Have you emailed the WORD Literary Fantasy Football Commissioner yet? There’s still time—the draft will be Tuesday, September 8, 7pm at WORD (or you can draft online if you can’t make it to the store).
Here are some of the awesome names suggested so far:
2666 All-Purpose Yards
The Lombardi Code
F Larry Fitzgerald
A Farewell to Stiff Arms
The Man in the Iron Facemask
The Lord of the Super Bowl Rings
The Maltese Falcons
The Receiver in the Rye
The Punt Also Rises
The Heart is a Lonely Punter
The Linebacker’s Guide to the Galaxy
July 21, 2009
Yes, folks, we’re unusual EVEN by Brooklyn’s standards. That quote comes from this lovely write-up in The Brooklyn Paper about our basketball league.
Another thing that’s unusual about us is our matchmaking board, about which Stacked Blog wrote a great post. So if being unusual means that we encourage athleticism and seek to spark romances, well, we’ll take it!
Feel free to use the comments to talk about other things that are unusual even by Brooklyn’s standards.
July 18, 2009
We know you love our staff picks in the store (how else can we explain Cloud Atlas‘s two-year streak on the WORD bestseller list?), but did you know that sometimes our staff picks go beyond our doors?
Kelly’s, above, is for Hothouse Flower and the Nine Flowers of Desire by Margot Berwin, a book she loved so much that the author is coming to read and sign at our Hot and Wicked Botanical Book Night this Tuesday! You can find this review in July’s Indie Next List in any independent bookstore in the country.
And Stephanie’s blurb for When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead is featured on a cardboard display made by the publisher to go next to the book. Good thing, too, since it’s her choice for the best middle grade novel of the year!
Convinced? Drop by the store to get your copies today! Actually, for Hothouse Flower, wait until Tuesday, that way you can meet the author. We’re so proud of these blurbs that the books will be in stock for quite some time, though in the case of When You Reach Me, the sooner, the better—we have a limited number of signed bookplates for copies purchased here. And as always, if you’re too far away to make it in, just email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be happy to ship either or both out to you!
July 10, 2009
That’s right, ladies and gents. Get your literary dealbreakers all sorted out and head down to WORD to finally meet your literary soulmate!
May we offer ourselves up as a good place to meet up before your first date? Nice, well-lit place to make sure your future beloved is just as cool as his or her taste in books would suggest.
June 26, 2009
Finish out your week with a smile—read this delightful missive from Katherine Arathoon, member of The Elements of Style!
“When I first agreed to join a dodgeball team (don’t worry, it’s just a quick tangent), I thought I was signing up for kickball. ‘Sure, that sounds like fun,’ I said, forking over a hefty enrollment fee, and forgot about it. It was only 2 days before our first game that I remembered that dodgeball is actually two teams actively trying to pelt each other in the face with hard rubber balls. In an instant I was transported back to those terror-filled sessions in my elementary school days, and I called my roommate, Sanam, in a panic, shrieking, “I’ve just remembered what dodgeball is! I don’t want to play any more!” Accustomed to my histrionics, Sanam calmly informed me it was too late to get my fee back and I was damned well going to play. So play I did, and it turned out it was actually pretty fun. Teams were more evenly matched, now that everyone’s pituitary glands have for the most part leveled off, and there was beer after every game. Can’t argue with that!
“So, when the Mediabistro blurb popped up recommending Literary Basketball, I was intrigued. Sure, I’d hated basketball in high school gym, but if a girl like me can learn to tolerate dodgeball, she can do anything. Plus, the challenge of answering ‘literary questions’ in order to qualify was irresistible. I answered the questions, a handful of friends joined in as well, and one short introduction meeting later I was on the white team.
“The name picking began. We were team White, so early options included The Eebees, The Mocha Dicks, Charlotte’s Web of Domination, Great White Taupe, The Invisible Jam, and Midnight’s Children But With Basketball. However, several clear winners emerged from the fray, and after pushing Comma Sutra out of the way with deft aplomb, The Elements Of Style reigned supreme as our name of choice. The Strunks became unofficial team nickname, and ‘Sucks to your ass-mar!’ is our (as yet still unused in battle) team slogan.
“It was during this discussion that our noble team captain, Mark, came up with the brilliant plan of creating team t-shirts and using punctuation symbols instead of numbers on the back. There was a furious scramble to claim interrobang, and a question arose that remains unanswered to this day: does a dollar sign count as a punctuation mark? (In the end, cool factor won out over questionable verisimilitude on that particular issue.)
“So now we were named and marked, and ready for action. By this point I’d had enough fun and nerdiness that I scarcely cared about the looming first game. Sanam–now $anam–explained the basic rules to me on subway ride over, and I figured I was prepared enough.
“Two things I hadn’t anticipated:
“1) Basketball requires a lot of running. Like, a LOT of running. Fortunately we had a good showing of teammates that first game, because there was a steady rotation of subbing-out-before-my-heart-explodes. Some of us were a little hung over from the previous night’s adventures; some of us were just woefully out of shape. Safe to say, by game’s end most of us looked like teammate Mike in this picture.
“Most of all, my teammates proved to be just as awesome on-court as off; encouraging, hilarious, and in some instances enthusiastically clad in short-shorts. From ampersand to ellipses, from asterisk to exclamation point, I couldn’t ask for a better group. Week after week we have thundered up and down the court with great dexterity, generally taking a triumphant second-place in every game we play, and once even winning!
“So, many, many thanks to WORD for organizing such a lovely literary league that has attracted such perspicacious people; I know where I’ll be doing my Christmas book shopping this year. And the basketball experience as a whole has reminded me not just to try out new things, but to re-visit old things as well. After all, if I find I now like dodgeball and love basketball, who knows: maybe it’s time to take another stab at Trigonometry?
The Em Dash