If you’ve worked in a bookstore, you’ve probably had some experience with (and some opinions about) the ubiquitous floor display known as the “permanent spinner rack.”
Presumably the “permanent” tag differentiates it from cardboard displays, or “dumps,” that usually end up in the recycling bin after a season or so; though I’ve never seen a temporary spinner, cardboard or otherwise, so I sometimes wonder at the nomenclature. But I digress…
Hello again! Returning from a two-and-a-half-week vacation is overwhelming and comforting at the same time, between getting caught up and getting back into a routine. I admit I had grand plans of posting from the road, but between my kids’ unpredictable sleep schedules and computer issues, my various plans all fell apart. But I had a great time off, and as with any good vacation, books played a big role.
For just over a week of our trip, my husband Samir and I went to Iceland to drive the famous Ring Road. Inspired by a stack of books in a remote gas station gift shop, I decided that the best way to while away the 30+ hours was to read the brutal (and lengthy) Njál’s Saga aloud. Trapped in the car, Samir couldn’t exactly stop me, but he ended up warming to the literary adventure.
The other day, a mom came into the store raving about Jason Reynolds’s Ghost. While this is nothing new — it’s a perfect book — her reason for raving was that the book was a turning point for her son, who hadn’t ever loved a book (past the age of six) and could rarely be persuaded to open one voluntarily. Ghost captivated him, and proved to him that a book could be more than worth his while. He went on to read everything Jason has written, and was beyond thrilled when we gave him the ARC to Ghost‘s forthcoming sequel, Patina (both books published by Atheneum).
We’ve heard this story so many times in our 20 years, and so many different and unexpected books have been the turning point for young readers. Continue reading
Dear Staff: Cynthia will be gone July 1st–8th, but reachable by text and (in emergency) on her cell phone. Please be aware of the five-hour time difference in London, and plan accordingly. As always, she trusts your judgement on returns, refunds, and other customer service issues. There is an extra set of keys at the dentist next door, and plenty of snacks in the fridge. Daily project lists are on the front counter, and most of the purchase orders you should receive are in the top drawer. (Let’s not get creative with pricing on these, OK?) Most importantly: any last-minute shift changes need to be logged in on the scheduling app (NO POST IT NOTES!), and please remember to bring the giraffe inside every night.
As reported here earlier, James Nicol’s The Apprentice Witch was the winner of Summer’s All Glade Gather. This clearly called for further investigation! You see, The Apprentice Witch‘s victory will surprise no one who has read it, but the qualities which make the book so unusual are hard to define. There is something in the air of its world that causes a reader to breath deeply and be immersed. Its characters feel known to us, its forests trodden by our feet. To find out more about this story of a young Apprentice Witch, sent to a small country outpost when she inexplicably fails her exam, author James Nicol has kindly agreed to answer a few questions for us.
Kenny: I know you are planning The Apprentice Witch as a multi-book series. How much will Arianwyn age during the course of the story arc?
James: The plan is that by the end of book 3 (current contract in the U.K. is for three books in the series) we will have been with Arianwyn and all her friends (and foes!) for just over one year.
So she will have a birthday at some point! A few people have said it would be nice to see her age over several books, like Harry Potter, but as I’ve been planning the stories in books 2 and 3, time frames are a little more compact than The Apprentice Witch which happens over approximately 8 months, to something more like 3 or 4 months for the sequels.
Spellbound’s tiny back room, approximately 70 square feet serving simultaneously as stock room, break room, and broom closet, reached a breaking point last week. Or, rather, I did.
The phrase Where’s Waldo generally conjures searching for Waldo within a crowd favoring red and white striped garb. Not so for me this year. We have been running a Find Waldo Local event since they began, making this our sixth year, and I find myself looking for Waldo not in the pages of a book, but in our photo archives as I recollect all the DDG Waldos to wear the stripes. This is particularly true as July 4th rolls around. Our Waldo always marches in the Farmington July 4th parade. In fact we have two 2nd place ribbons to our credit. The parade is an awesome vehicle for distributing the passports. The DDG Waldo works the crowd, handing out hundreds of passports to the children lining the parade route, and does so in high style as our ribbons attest.
Yet the parade is just one of three DDG Waldo aspects. There is also July 31st party Waldo and around town delivering search items and collecting prizes from participating downtown merchants Waldo. Here then are our Where’s Waldos past and present.
We have a thriving birthday party business at our shop, both to the joy of our bookkeeper and the local bakery that supplies our cupcakes, but sometimes success is just, well, exhausting. We began offering parties when we moved to this location some 10 years ago, using our back room/event space/Lord-where-do-all-these-boxes-go? space. Over the years, this business has grown to a consistent weekend schedule, often hosting up to five frosting-filled celebrations in a weekend (followed by almost as many glasses of wine and a nap for yours truly).