Author Archives: Josie Leavitt

Losing a Friend and Neighbor

Josie Leavitt -- August 3rd, 2015

Today is a sad day for the Flying Pig family. Michel Mahe, chef/owner of the Bearded Frog restaurant next door to the bookstore, passed away quite suddenly last week. His memorial is today. Michel was only 51 and it seems he died in his sleep after a night of working at one of his five restaurants. Working in a small town provides ample opportunities to get to know people and with this comes the risk of loss. We lose people and it hurts. This is the first time we’ve lost another business owner who we counted as a friend. Continue reading

This is How Community Should Work

Josie Leavitt -- July 24th, 2015

During the summer we don’t often see organized large groups of kids. Most of the local camps do not organize field trips to the bookstore. But this past Tuesday we were lucky enough to have 22 kids, ranging in age from 5 to 15, come to the store with their teachers. These kids are all New Americans who are in the English Language Learning program, and will be starting the local public school in the fall.  Continue reading

Two Great Fall Books

Josie Leavitt -- July 21st, 2015

I have been thoroughly enjoying reading a heap of young adult galleys this summer. Purely by luck, I feel like I’ve hit the jackpot with the very random stack of galleys I took home a few weeks ago.  I’ve found two more great ones to add to my list books to order more of for the fall season. One is a realistic teen novel and the other is a dystopian thriller. Both are set in high schools and have a cast of very compelling characters that will appeal to a broad range of readers.

Carolyn Mackler’s Infinite in Between, due out in September, is a fast read that captures all four infiniteyears of high school from the perspective of five very different teens who meet at freshman orientation. Each chapter is told in alternating voices and the book while seemingly just dips into a kid’s life- with a snapshot of what’s happening at any given time, it really does give the reader a well-rounded view of each person’s life. There is believable drama and romance and the book is peppered with humor and moments of sadness that had me reaching for the tissues on more than one occasion.

Mackler handles diversity well in this book. There is an out gay character (and how refreshing to have a gay kid in a book who is already out and comfortable with it) and a bi-racial student who grapples with issues of race as we get to know her through high school. This is not an “issue” book, so the characters exist in their school world first as themselves with their difference fully blended into their characters. This book is well written and really just keeps you reading until you’re done and the five students have graduated.

machiesWillful Machines by Tim Floreen is a riveting read. Set in an exclusive, very elite boarding school, we meet Lee, the closeted son of the President of the United States, who is championing The Human Values Party, which most decidedly doesn’t welcome gay people. Lee meets the very engaging new student, Nico, who is also gay. As Lee and Nico try to navigate their feelings they must grapple with attacks from Charlotte, a man-made artificial human who has a conscience of her own and who begins terrorizing the American public. And what better way to make a point than to start attacking the President’s son. As the attacks move to the school, Lee and Nico must find a way to stop Charlotte.

There are complex layers to this book. Lee is still mourning for his mother, killed by Charlotte when he was a boy. The reader is left wondering just who Nico really is, and of course, there is a rollicking mystery to solved lest all be lost. This book will appeal equally to boys and girls and fans of dystopian novels;  issues of sexuality are deftly handled.

Readers, what are some of the fall books you’re most excited about?

 

Two Plus One Does Not Equal Four

Josie Leavitt -- July 20th, 2015

Boxes of books and toys get delivered every day to all bookstores. We organize our deliveries by publisher and distributor, and then if needed, further organize the shipment by boxes. We look at the shipping labels to make sure we’re receiving boxes in the same shipment, so we get all the boxes together that say 1 of 3 and receive them at the same time so our receiving matches the invoice. In a perfect world, this is a foolproof system. As we all know, the world is far from perfect.  Continue reading

The Heartbreak of ‘Watchman’

Josie Leavitt -- July 14th, 2015

Today is the day many in the book world have been waiting for: the release of Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman. The book has been long-awaited since it was announced with much discussion about whether or not Harper Lee was of sound mind to actually approve the release. These rumors were quickly quashed by her legal team, but folks are still scratching their heads a little at the release of what is a draft of the beloved To Kill a Mockingbird. Obviously, it’s great fun to have another book by Harper Lee to read, but was it the right thing to do? I guess that doesn’t really matter now. The book is here and opinions are flying.
Continue reading

Another Favor Amazon Wouldn’t Do For You

Josie Leavitt -- July 13th, 2015

People ask us to ship books to them all the time. This is usually a very straightforward process: the book or audio comes in, we process an invoice, and then ship the items out via the customer’s designated carrier. Simple, right? Then there are the times when things are not as easy, or economical as they could be. But sometimes through these travails greater things are revealed, like the heart of a bookstore.  Continue reading

Happy Independence Day

Josie Leavitt -- July 3rd, 2015

The Fourth of July is a great holiday that celebrates our nation’s independence. I can’t think of a better weekend to shop at an indie bookstore. Small and large bricks and mortar stores represent everything that is great about our country: individuality, eclectic collections of books, and a deep commitment to community. Indies have great books for summer reading for kids and adults alike.  Continue reading

A Book to Watch

Josie Leavitt -- June 30th, 2015

As a die-hard mystery fan, I knew about Soho Press, but I have to confess, their teen imprint, Soho Teen, had flown a little under my radar.  Luckily for me, when I was packing up galleys to take home for the anticipated rainy weekend, I grabbed The Girl with the Wrong Name by Barnabas Miller. I had no idea about the book when I started reading, choosing not to read the blurb on the back of the book, but just diving in. I actually enjoy reading like this with no preconceived notion of what to expect. I started reading and was immediately hooked.  Continue reading

A Memo to the Credit Department

Josie Leavitt -- June 29th, 2015

Part of doing business in any field is dealing with your bills. Those pesky bills come every month and pastdueevery publisher has a different of reminding you about them. I would like to offer some tips for all the credit departments and bookstores on how to work better together and get paid faster. Continue reading

Amazon’s Latest Idea

Josie Leavitt -- June 23rd, 2015

I read with increasing fury the news of Amazon’s new royalty payment for authors who self-publish books for the Kindle. The Telegraph reported this new plan this morning. Rather than paying a royalty when the book is purchased like a traditionally published book, self published authors are now going to paid by the number of pages of the book the customer actually reads. This is a frightening way to value books and a very scary way to observe readers’ habits. So, if someone downloads a book but only reads 10 pages, then the author gets that percentage of his or her royalty.  Continue reading