Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Publisher's Weekly editor-in-chief, Sara Nelson, laid off

I can't pretend that I'll be able to wax eloquently on the subject of Sara Nelson's recent dismal from Publisher's Weekly, but I must admit to shock.

I always found Ms. Nelson's articles in PW to be very well-written, fair, informative, what have you. I know nothing of the man taking over her position, but she's going to be a tough act to follow and I can't help questioning Reed Publications judgment on this.

Anyone out there have any enlightening information?


Monday, January 26, 2009

One of my favorite posts from a fellow book-blogger....

This has to be one of my favorite posts from a fellow book-blogger, because I swear my husband and I have had this same conversation, verbatim, right down to the extra floor supports. This from Bookdwarf, who is much better at this whole blogging thing than I am.

Get Rid of Books? Pshaw!

I think Mr. Bookdwarf expects to die under a pile of the many many books I bring home each week. I can see it now, coming home to find him under that pile of fiction that I swear I'm going to get to read one of these days. Or perhaps it will be one of the cats, swerving too close to the piles during their daily prancing. You would think that reading this article in the NYT about purging your book collection would inspire me. Not so! My collection does not need to lose 50 pounds, rather it needs to tone itself some more (excuse the weight analogy, but it sprang to mind). For every book I get remove, I probably add back two or three. It's getting to be a dangerous habit. Mr. Bookdwarf says that we will have to add some support to the floor of our second floor apartment if we keep going this way—okay, if I keep going this way. One day perhaps I will do a large purge, but for now, I'll just keep being creative, getting new bookcases and dreaming of a world where I can actually find the time to read all these books.

Here I Go...

It will probably not come as a surprise to most people that book lovers aren't exactly the most technologically savvy group of individuals out there (apologies to anyone I've offended who was blessed with both aptitudes). My husband, in fact, cheers every time I can switch our television from "tv mode" to "DVD mode" without eight questions and one tantrum.

However, since we're in the middle of an economic meltdown and independent (this is a word you'll be reading a lot, so you better get used to it) booksellers are all trying to figure out ways to get books heard, I am jumping on the bandwagon and starting my own book blog. So, here I go...

A little bit about me: I currently work at one of the best independent bookstores in New England, The Odyssey Bookshop, and am having more fun than I could have ever hoped for when I took this job. I came to the Odyssey after spending five years in New York City as an assistant literary agent, which was a great job, but ultimately not for me. As an agent, you're inundated with hundred and hundreds of partial and complete manuscripts, out of which maybe 3 will work out each year -- if you're lucky. It's absolutely necessary that you love a manuscript 100% before you decide you want take on, and therefore, you have to be incredibly discerning and critical. My brain, however, just doesn't function that way. I love books, LOVE them, but I found myself ultimately looking for reasons NOT to take on a book -- looking for what was wrong with it instead of what was right with it. Being so critical all of time took all the fun out of it for me and probably made me a miss a couple of gems. This is by no means a commentary on the company I worked for, just a note on how my brain works.

Now I am free to love a book for all of its successes and its faults. And in all reality, how many books out there are absolutely perfect?

I love fiction and read very little non-fiction, though I am trying my best to branch out. I read Carolyn Jessop's Escape recently and just picked up Jonathan Harr's A Civil Action, another classic I never got around to reading until now.

Also on my nightstand, and by nightstand I mean the tote bag full of books I've recently started carrying me everywhere, I have galleys of some really great upcoming novels that are currently under consideration for The Odyssey's Signed First Editions Club.

These are: T.C Boyle's The Women, Thrity Umrigar's The Weight of Heaven, Paulette Jiles's The Color of Lightning and Reif Larsen's The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet, which is taking the publishing world by storm and apparently the editor paid oodles and oodles of money for it. That doesn't always mean it's a terrific book, but I remain quite hopeful.

Unfortunately, today, as I'm trying to plow through these four novels and make decisions within the next few days for the March and April selections, a galley copy of Stieg Larsson's new novel, The Girl Who Played With Fire, lands on my desk (ok, fine, I squealed like a pig with delight when my co-worker said it had arrived and had to grab it before my boss saw it, as we are currently in competition for who loved his last book, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo more.) I read 25 pages during my 20-minute lunch break today and I am going to have trouble going back to the task at hand.

Hmmm, what else do you need to know about me immediately? Oh yes, I never received a proper education in grammar, and therefore make tons of editorial mistakes. Apologies.
My husband came up with the title for this blog as he insists that this is how I will meet my death. He might be right.

That's all for now and I promise a couple of actual book reviews in the near future.