Beth Golay

Video: Steads in Studio

You know I’m a sucker for a good studio tour. Most of your customers are, too. This video features a studio that Caldecott Medal-winners Erin and Philip Stead created from a 100-year-old barn in Michigan.

The Steads recently published The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarinea book that Mark Twain started, and Philip and Erin finished, and I visited with Philip about it a few weeks ago for the Marginalia podcast.

Their respective websites are beautiful. Here’s Philip’s and here’s Erin’s.

National Book Award Whatnot

National Book Award Whatnot

Congratulations to all of the National Book Award winners announced last night.

Below are some of my favorite tweets from a couple of the winners as well as an audio clip from fiction winner Jesmyn Ward. I recently interviewed her for the Marginalia podcast and I asked her if her awards–the National Book Award and MacArthur fellowship–affected her writing. This clip was a favorite from our conversation. (To hear it–and see a nifty SoundCite feature from KnightLab–click on the paragraph below.)

“I don’t have any of my awards at my house. I bring them all to my mom’s and she keeps them at her house. So out of sight, out of mind. You know, it helps so that I can forget them, in some ways, when I’m writing. Of course, when I come out of the writing daze I remember that I’ve been really lucky and that I’ve won these things. But while I’m writing I can’t think about it. It really affects my creative process.”

300 Seconds: Battery Patrol

Daylight Saving Time ended last weekend, and I’m sure you saw the reminders from news outlets to change the smoke detector batteries in our homes. But I have a question for you.

Did you do it?

If you’ve been reading Books & Whatnot for a while, you know that I like to hop on the home safety bandwagon and remind you to not only check the batteries in your bookstore smoke detectors, but also check the batteries in your emergency flash lights.

Most smoke detectors use 9V batteries, but some of the newer models are switching to AA. And flashlight batteries vary so widely, it’s best just to open them and see what you need.

Since sensors in smoke detectors deteriorate, it’s recommended that you change your detectors–not just the batteries–every 10 years. If you’re at that point and you’re considering installing ‘smart’ smoke and carbon monoxide detectors — like The Nest Project, First Alert or Roost, which use wireless protocol to notify you on your phone of battery drainage DURING WAKING HOURS — be warned that if you replace one smoke detector with smart technology, you have to replace all detectors with smart technology.

For now, take 300 seconds to take inventory of your situation. And whether you spend a few minutes this afternoon changing batteries or placing a call to an electrician, hopefully you’ll end the day with peace of mind.


Interesting People Reading Poetry

Interesting People Reading Poetry

A few weeks ago I saw a tweet pointing to a website featuring Benjamin Percy reading poetry by Brian Turner. Intrigued, I followed the link and landed on a website called Interesting People Reading Poetry. I immediately thought, ‘This would be great content.’

I fired off a message to the email associated with the site and received a prompt reply from Brendan Stermer, who with his brother Andy, started Interesting People Reading Poetry.

Brendan describes Interesting People Reading Poetry as “a weekly podcast where artists and changemakers read a favorite poem, and talk a bit about what it means to them.”

“The goal of our show is to make the poetry world more accessible to the general public, and also to demonstrate that you don’t need to be a poet or an academic to enjoy and engage with poetry,” he says. “Our guests range from politicians to scientists, comedians to musicians.”

The end of every episode includes a selection of short, listener-submitted poems on a given theme. Listeners submit poems via text and voicemail on what the brothers call the Haiku Hotline. Three favorites are chosen to play on the show.

I asked Brendan quite a few questions, about the podcast, their background, the technical whatnot, and the criteria necessary to qualify as an interesting person. And he was gracious enough to answer my questions. Every. Single. One.

300 Seconds x 3

I write a lot about ‘300 second’ tasks: seemingly minor ‘to-do’ items that can really propel your marketing message a long way. It’s just 5 minutes of work, but sometimes we need the nudge to get started.

I’ve heard from many of you throughout the years that you really like the ‘300 second’ reminders.

Well, can you imagine what we could accomplish if we triple that time?

For those of you attending the Heartland Fall Forum in October, I’m scheduling ‘900 second’ appointments in my booth on Friday, October 13. We can look at your website. We can pick apart your newsletter. We can assess your social media strategy. Whatever you want.

If you’d like one of these appointments, just send me an email here. I’ll get you on my calendar and I’ll put your name on some special swag. (Although it’s not really considered ‘swag’ if only a select few receive it, huh? Hmmm.)