Marginalia

The 2017 Book Concierge

The 2017 Book Concierge

NPR’s 2017 Book Concierge comes out today! Here’s the link!

The Book Concierge is a web-based app that features more than 300 titles NPR staff and critics loved throughout year. This list has been published annually since 2008. It includes filters like “staff picks” and “book club ideas” and “eye-opening reads” and dozens more that can be combined to help listeners find their next great read.

Independent bookstore patrons tend to be NPR listeners, so it’s not a bad idea to familiarize yourself with the list (even though you’ve probably read everything on it).

In fact, if you provide book coverage for your local NPR station, there’s a good chance your reviews were submitted to the Book Concierge project; if any match the books on the list this year, a link to your coverage will be included.

It’s December. Time for those lists.

It’s December. Time for those lists.

Do you compile an end-of-year “Best of” or “Top 10” list from your staff? Instead of prompting booksellers for lists during the last week of December, you might establish a timeline now so there are clear expectations of format and deadlines. This gives everybody time to consider books, alter their lists, and have time to actually participate.

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.

Video: Mike Lowery’s ‘Doodle Adventures’

There’s something a little mesmerizing about watching author/illustrator Mike Lowery doodle in his Doodle Adventures books: The Search for the Slimy Space Slugs!, The Pursuit of the Pesky Pizza Pirate!, and The Rise of the Rusty Robo-Cat!

I like that he’s introducing the entire series, and that he’s showing and telling how to use the books–demonstrating that it’s actually okay to write in some books. (A hurdle I only recently cleared myself, but that’s another story.) The video production is well-done.

If you want to be mesmerized a bit more, check out more videos on Lowery’s Instagram. But don’t plan on getting any work done for a while.

And if you’d like to share this video with your customers, here’s the embed code:

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Say As I Do: John Boyne

Say As I Do: John Boyne

John Boyne’s book The Heart’s Invisible Furies (Hogarth | 9781524760786) was released last week and I interviewed Boyne for this Friday’s Marginalia podcast. While I had him on Skype, I asked if he had a message he’d like to send to independent booksellers. Here’s what he said (as well as how to correctly pronounce his name):

 

 

This is John Boyne. I’m the author of the novel THE HEART’S INVISIBLE FURIES.

My younger sister actually works in an independent bookshop and has done for many years now in Dublin. And I worked in a bookshop for many years as well–for seven years–while I was getting my writing career off the ground. So I know what it’s like to be in those places, to work in them and the joy of really hand selling to customers… of feeling that kind of passion for books.

And you know that lovely moment where somebody comes in maybe and says, “My 13-year-old kid has just really got into reading and has read this and this. What would you recommend next?” And the bookseller goes, “Great! Well, come with me!” I miss that; I loved that; and I am grateful for the passion and support that all booksellers really bring to bookselling and to literature and to writers. I think all writers should be grateful for that.