Category Archives: Bookstores

Monday, Monday.

Soooooo… Friday’s Porter Square Book Blogger Event was a success! I arrived a little early and scoped out the crowd. Sadly, there seemed to be no one there, which actually eased my nerves a bit. I met Josh Cook of Porter Square Books, Ann from Books on the Nightstand and Marie from The Boston Bibliophile. Sadly, the other bloggers couldn’t make it, but it was a nice intimate event with a kick-ass group of people there to see it. The whole thing sort of turned into a chat about book recommendations, with members of the audience telling us what they’d recommend, asking about blogging, and the three of us telling stories about blogging. Among the audience members was Tahleen of Tahleen’s Mixed Up Files. I’d highly recommend checking out these blogs for great (and a wide range) of book recommendations and thoughtful book reviews. Books on the Nightstand also offers a weekly podcast, so if you’re more interested in listening to book talk, that’s where you should go.

The event lit a fire under me to spruce up the blog, so expect a few changes coming. There are some things I’ve had on the docket that I figured would make the whole operation run more smoothly and make the site easier to navigate, but I’ve yet to incorporate them. I’m excited to update my calendar with book events coming up around Boston that I can write about and more up-to-date books that I’ll be reading.

What functionalities or topics would you like to see covered on the blog?

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One Week Away!

The list for the Boston Book Bloggers Summer Reading Suggestions is up at the Porter Square Books blog! I’ll presenting alongside some wonderful book bloggers, which means a very nerve-wracking and humbling experience, for sure. If not to see my sweaty hands, come for these guys and gals: 3 Guys One Book; Books on the Nightstand; Boston Bibliophile; and Boston Book Bums. Check them out, check out their recommendations, and get excited. Come join us at 7pm at Porter Square Books for book talk and The Things They Read stickers!

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Another weekend, over. Okay, so the weekend was over well before today, but still. Today it’s really real.

I’m so close to finishing Joyce Carol Oates’s memoir, it’s sickening. The chapters are getting shorter and shorter, and she’s starting to use closure language. I feel silly saying this, but I’ve actually been preparing myself for the end of this book. I’ve become so invested, and it’s been such an emotional ride that I fear I may need a week or two to recover afterward. And as much as I want to read Joan Didion’s memoir, but the wiser part of me tells me I should space them out about a year. What books have you read that have left such an impact you needed a recovery period afterward? Suggestions of good transition reads for after?

Well, today’s my final day to contemplate what books I’ll be discussing at the Porter Square Book Bloggers Event on June 3 at 7pm. I think I have it narrowed down to three… but, you’ll just have to come to the event to find out what they are! I’ll update you with pictures and a list of the other bloggers’ picks after the event. But until then, soak in that suspense, baby!

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The Things They Present!

I still consider myself and this blog babies in the blog world. And so, when opportunities to broaden my experience and outreach in the book world present themselves, I get real excited and nervous. Recently, I was contacted by Josh at Porter Square Books about a book blogger event he’s organizing. Book bloggers from around Boston will present their summer reads at Porter Square Books on Friday, June 3, at 7 pm. I will be among the presenters!

I’m stoked to meet other bloggers and to be able to reach out to new readers, not to mention add to my list the recommendations of other avid readers.

But since I’ve never done anything like this before, and I tend to be on the shy side about public speaking, I’m freaking out about what to say. I’d love suggestions for summer reads. If you’ll be in the area, you should definitely come out and say hi! I’ll have stickers to hand out and hopefully some other swag I can round up.

Here’s to new things…

(Photo of Porter Square Books from their website)

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What does Borders bankruptcy mean for the book?

By Melanie Yarbrough

I love new Twitter followers, particularly non-spammy ones who have connected with me for the things we have in common. Today Josh Cook, or InOrderofImport started following me. Upon browsing his blog, In Order of Importance, I stumbled upon this little gem of a thought on the recent Borders bankruptcy:

Like pretty much everything else, the bankruptcy of Borders isn’t just one thing; its recent changes in technology, long term shifts in American culture, and the particular decisions made by Borders. Prices at Amazon. Supermarkets selling Harry Potters at next to nothing. Erosion of book coverage in the media. Hopefully something positive will come from the Borders bankruptcy. Maybe publishers will become more assertive against Amazon. Maybe more book buyers will shop at indie bookstores. Maybe the book as objects sold in bookstores will continue to diminish and eventually be replaced by something else. It is far too early to tell, but as with all news making events, the Borders bankruptcy gives a chance to ask big questions. The question here: how important are books to society? And, since we’re asking: what are you willing to pay to make sure there are books around for your grandchildren.

Head over to Josh’s blog on food, sports, politics, and books for more of his insight into Borders bankruptcy then share your own.

What discoveries have you made this week?

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Pop Up Bookstores?!

By Melanie Yarbrough

One of the squares near my house – Central Square – has been undergoing some serious revisions as of late. They’re not all good revisions; they’re major changes and emptying out of local businesses and staples. I lived there almost two years ago, and it no longer feels like home the way it used to. One of the most dreary parts about Central now are all of the empty sites with “For Lease” signs hanging in the windows. So when I read Karen the Small Press Librarian‘s announcement of a traveling bookstore that’s planning to pop-up in a recently closed Borders in Pittsburgh, I thought, “Aha!” Just what Central Square needs. But that’s not where the goodness of this story ends.

The bookstore, Fleeting Pages, seeks books by indie presses and self-publishers from all over, and even have a Submit section on their website. Get more information on the project and how you can get involved here.

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Some local love: The Inman Review

By Melanie Yarbrough

Y’all. I love where I live. There is an amazing coffeeshop, bookstore, vintage store, pizza cafe, and bar within a block of me. There are also movie theatres, bakeries, a beautiful library and at least four other squares within a short walking distance. I live in heaven. Or, Inman Square. Another thing I’m grateful for? We’re sort of the land of the quote unquote hipster, but once you get to know these people and this community, you realize how unfair all that talk is, and you can revel in knowing that there are other people who genuinely appreciate warm days, bike rides, old books, good beer, good music, community, and art in all its forms. Tonight, there is a celebration of just that. From an email I received about two seconds ago:

Inman Review Volume 3 is out
Join us at Lorem Ipsum Books tonight for St. Patty’s fun and to celebrate the launch of the latest volume of the Inman Review.
The Inman Review is published by the Cambridge Street Press, a gang of local creatives who are committed to collecting and showcasing the writing, arts, and culture of Inman Square.

Sponsored by Inman-dwellers Pretty Things Beer and the 1369 Coffee Shop, local poets and authors will read from their works, punctuated by acoustic sets by Bell and the Bees, Chris Fullerton, and Girl Bullets. The party will continue afterwards with a DJ set and St. Patty’s treats.

Festivities will begin at 7:30 pm. Copies of the Inman Review will be available for purchase.

So if you’re a local and you love it, I’ll see you there!

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Why Google and Amazon Don’t Change a Thing

By Shane Solar-Doherty

In the early 90s, Barnes & Noble and Borders bookstores were popping up everywhere. I was young, so I don’t really know what it was like to see that happening. But there must have been a lot of people who said to their friends at dinner parties and such, There’s no way you’ll ever catch me step foot in one of those stores. And they stayed loyal to the owner of the bookstore down the street who had character and a unique business model. Occasionally they would travel away from home and, for lack of other options, they’d go into a chain store and perhaps purchase a book to read on the flight back home, promising over and over to themselves that for every book purchased at a chain store, they’d purchase ten at their local indie. And they would follow through on that. Not a mile away from where they lived there would be a Barnes & Noble or a Borders, where the selection was bigger and the prices a little cheaper, but they would not stray. It became second nature, and they passed it on.

Readers like the ones I’m describing understand this one simple concept: no matter where you buy the book from, the content within the book will not change; your purchase, however, will have an impact on the business that you’re buying it from and the people who run the business.

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A Follow-Up to Greg Schutz’s Bookstore Love Letter

By Melanie Yarbrough

This past weekend I visited my sister in Virginia, where I spent two very short days playing with my nieces and nephew, cooking, eating and watching TV. Over the years of visiting and an increasing child to adult ratio, I’ve learned to stop packing multiple books (I was an optimistic youngster). Now I just bring some stories or a Ray LaMontagne playlist for the short plane ride there and back. This past weekend, in my TV-induced withdrawals from my daily dose of literature, I was caught vulnerable by multiple Nook color commercials. In one fell swoop I caved and decided I want a Nook. I began daydreaming about all of the literary mags I could read, the diminishing piles of papers and folded magazines on my floor and on my bookshelves. No longer would I be a potential candidate for Hoarders!

It was this unexpected dive into sudden want for an electronic device I have so adamantly declared I would never need that caused a bit of introspection. And this morning, I was reminded that I do still, and will always, save the biggest part of my heart for bookstores.
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