What is in a name? A lot I guess, but it's hard to figure out what. If my name was Steve instead of Mark would my li…
Selling books is the best. The greatest. So much fun. But you know what is even bester, greatester and funner? Buying books. My favorite feeling in the world (one of my favorites, have you noticed I love hyperbole?) is having a van load of books from a great house call and then bringing in the books box by box to price and shelve them.
Did you know today, August 20, is National Lemonade Day? The age of social media has meant a new random holiday to celebrate every day, mostly so we can use hashtags to generate likes and follows. A less cynical view is that they exist to bring greater attention to things that often get overlooked. August is also Women in Translation Month, and that’s an internet holiday I can get behind.
I love restaurant life, and the behind the scenes (or in the cave) stuff is really fun to explore. My favorite book on restaurants is so scarce I don't think it exists, but it was titled something like 1,500 Things Restaurants Do Wrong. With a title like that you would think I would shrink away from it like Dracula from pizza.
Over the years I have amassed a collection of a few thousand of these page rememberers and small advertisements. I love them. Right now, I'm using a Brattle Book Shop bookmark to keep my place in the book I'm reading (The Drowned and the Saved, Primo Levi is one of the greatest humans ever).
It’s raining—again—as I write this. And I’ve just finished reading The Lost Boys of Montauk by Amanda Fairbanks, which means I’ve got water on the brain in more ways than one.
Like any good Massachusetts native, I’ve spent a fair amount of time on Cape Cod. Ever since moving to the North Shore eight years ago, though, I’ve visited less and less. Why bother when we have better beaches in our own backyard?
Anytime anybody told me to read something I instinctively loathed it. I couldn't be told what to read, it was my prerogative to find the treasure on my own. Not too bright, I must say. But now I've gone back and re-read books from my high school curriculum (Hamilton-Wenham class of 1987.) And I find that they were right, and I was wrong.
Last weekend my husband and I took a quick getaway up the coast to Camden, Maine. It’s an occupational hazard that I must stop into any bookstore that exists in any town we are visiting. On the one hand, I want to buy a book and show support for my fellow independent bookstores. On the other hand, I like to see how other stores arrange their inventory; I like to check out their stock and get reminded of deep backlist titles I’ve forgotten about but love.
Books come through the store in a relentless tide, which is great. And they are all good books, since I am the gatekeeper against lesser works. But since everything is so interesting, I get caught up in reading instead of working (part of the job I say.) This often leads to great rewards.
While the official start of summer may be June 20, for me Memorial Day weekend has always signaled the start of the season. With the upcoming long weekend in mind, here are a few books I’ve already read but am excited for you all to get to read on the beach, by the pool, and late into the longer, warmer nights.
In the forward to Twin Lights Tonic, by Paul St. Germain and Devlin Sherlock, Philip Elliot Hopkins, Co-executor of the Twin Lights Trust, recalls a childhood trip to the Little Art Cinema in Rockport. He was there watching a special screening of Cinema Paradiso, eating popcorn and sipping birch beer made locally by Twin Lights Tonic; It was a perfect moment.
Most of the time I have a reading project. Like when I read the Top Hundred 20th Century children's chapter books (according to Scholastic). (What a great experience!) Or, I'm reading within my ongoing unending project to read all the literary classics (a richly rewarding never ending saga). Or, I'll go through a phase like when I read a whole bunch of books written by chefs and food workers (my favorite was called Waitress, written by a woman who had been a waitress for over 50 years -- what a book!).
Manchester native Sarah Beckmann’s Naiad Blood is a first collection of poems, published this month by Fishing Line Press. It’s described as a “vibrant formal intelligence at once various in its embodiments and dexterous at every turn. With near mythic urgency, these poems evoke the pulse and discipline—the adrenaline-fueled duende—of the rower’s life on water.”
Jennifer Dupee has released her first novel, The French Bridal Shop, which is already gaining traction and awards, including being named to Good Housekeeping magazine’s top Book Club pick last month. Readers will find the setting of Dupee’s book very familiar.
On Sunday, April 25, I had the pleasure of moderating a panel discussion with an exceptional group of writers who also own bookstores: Ann Patchett, author most recently of The Dutch House and owner of Parnassus Books in Nashville, TN; Kelly Link, author of short story collections like Get In Trouble and owner of Book Moon in Easthampton, MA; and Alex George, whose The Paris Hours is out in paperback on May 4 and who also owns Skylark Bookshop in Columbia, MO.
People in my shop often ask, How do you get your books? And I say, “There's this little old lady who lives deep in the woods and I go to her house at midnight on the full moon and she gives me piles of books. The only catch is that she claims I will owe her something after I'm dead. But I'll be dead so who cares! Look at all the free books I'm getting!”
How did Newburyport put together such a prestigious festival each year? After a friend connected me to one of the directors and I found myself joining monthly meetings to help plan the following year’s festival, the answer soon became clear: a small group of passionate and dedicated volunteers, who love both literature and the North Shore of Massachusetts.
Long time writer and author Anna Kasabian recently completed the Trustees of Reservations book Castle Hill on the Crane Estate. The book captures the essence of Chicago industrialist Richard Teller Crane Jr.’s summer home’s history and serves as well as a visitor's guide.
Whenever a book of poems comes into the shop, I read a poem from it before I put it on the shelves. So, I've read hundreds of poems from hundreds of books over the last 22 years. And yet, I invariably will read the shortest poem in the book!