Posts tagged ‘titcomb’
What if you threw a 40th birthday party and nobody came? Luckily that was not the case for us, hundreds of people came! Sunday we celebrated our 40th anniversary with a birthday party complete with cupcakes and ice cream with 40 different toppings! Kids made crafts, got tattoos and some of the grandchildren made balloon hats and swords for them too. (They made balloon hats until they could no longer resist the call of the pool in the backyard!).
People came, ate their ice cream under the tents we had set up in the driveway, sat and worked on a jigsaw puzzle and just visited. We even got presents! You can see a picture of a young boy named Tony who made us a present. He decorated a beach rock for us and did a terrific drawing of our statue. How cute is that?
We did indeed have 40 toppings for our ice cream. If you ever have a need to do something similar, or you doubted we could find 40 toppings, here is the list of what we had!
Chocolate syrup, Strawberry syrup, Carmel syrup, Maraschino cherries, Crushed pineapple, Blueberries, Strawberries, Rainbow sprinkles, Chocolate sprinkles, Walnuts, Peanuts, Pecans, Sunflower seeds, Trail mix, Coconut, Chocolate chips, Butterscotch chips, Peanut Butter Chips, Andes mint bits, M&Ms, Heath bars, Oreos, Chocolate chip cookies, Oatmeal cookies, Sugar cookies, Reese’s Pieces, Gummy bears, Gummy worms, Sour Patch Kids, Marshmallows, Yogurt covered raisins, Chocolate covered raisins, Granola, Pretzels, Yogurt covered pretzels, Cocoa Krispies, Whoppers, Cinnamon & Sugar, Nutmeg, Crystallized ginger
This probably falls into the category of “fawning”, but oh well! Almost exactly one year ago (on August 1st) Henry Winkler came to our bookstore to talk about his Hank Zipzper children’s book series. He gave an unbelievably wonderful talk to more than 800 people in the high school auditorium. I am not an overly emotional person. I don’t cry at movies or my children’s ever progressing birthdays. But the night that Henry Winkler talked, I got chills. Literally chills. I remember just thinking how sincere this man was in reaching out to children of all abilities to tell them that they were special and that they would make a wonderful contribution to the world. He signed books well into the evening even when it was apparent that he was exhausted.
This warm feeling about Henry Winkler is shared by all of us at the Bookshop – even one year later! I know this is true, because this past weekend Elizabeth brought in a copy of the New York Times wedding section. Henry Winkler’s daughter got married and we read every word of that article as if we were long lost relatives whose invitations were inadvertently lost in the mail! We spent a total of maybe 6 hours of time with Henry Winkler one year ago, but he so touched us that we were excited to hear about his daughter’s wedding! How crazy is that? It’s actually pretty neat.
OK…when you are hosting events with the likes of Richard Russo, Wally Lamb, and Jeannette Walls, you think life can’t possible get any better! It’s too wonderful of a list.
Well…we just added someone to our 40th Anniversary Event List that I think is special even among this list of literary giants. Andrew Clements (author of Frindle, A Week in The Woods, No Talking and more!). What makes him special, is that his books seem to have a special understanding of the inner workings of elementary school life.
His books have a common theme of showing what clever and innovative thinkers can be found in grade school. The kids in his books all seem to challenge the status quo (in a respectful way) and in the end prove that their ideas have genuine merit. The kids end up learning something from the adults and the adults, particularly teachers, end up learning something from the kids.
Can’t you remember being in elementary school and feeling like no one ever listened to you or paid attention to your ideas? Did you ever get told that you asked too many questions? I wish that Frindle had been around when I was in 5th grade to show me that kids can question the way things have always been done…..and sometimes win! My boys (ages 9 and 11) have read all of Andrew Clements books and I am so happy that they got that empowering message (oh yeah…and they enjoyed them too!).
There are some books that are just fun to have in the bookshop and watch what happens with them. The books I am talking about are the ones that just seem to gather traction and find themselves flying out our door through the power of word of mouth. Examples? I remember when The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards was impossible to keep on our shelves. It wasn’t something that, at first, we heard much about in the press but friends told friends who told friends. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows was similar. It wasn’t a situation where people were seeing some star perennial best-selling writer interviewed on Good Morning America. People were just touched by the book and were talking about it among friends. (Well, actually, in the case of Guernsey I believe that it all started at our bookshop with the glowing recommendation by our own Elizabeth who got the ball rolling, but it doesn’t make my point as well to say so!)
Galway Bay by Mary Pat Kelly is turning into one of THOSE books. The turning point (I refuse to say tipping point!) for me was a comment from an employee this week. Her son is a doctoral student in colonial history at the University of Pennsylvania. He came home to visit this week and said “Mom, I’m reading a book that I think you should have at the bookshop. It’s fantastic”. You could have knocked her over with a bookmark when he pulled out a copy of Galway Bay – a book she was currently in the middle of! This sweeping historical novel seems to appeal to a wide range of people from a variety of ages and backgrounds, men and women. How often can you say that about a 567 page novel???
Ok, I admit it. I am late to the party. Vicky and Elizabeth were raving about The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins last fall when it came out. They loved it. Since they read it and were so enthusiastic I felt like I should read other things so we could talk about a lot more books, you know? Well…I picked it up the other day and just did not want to put it down! I was into it not in a “this is a young adult book I am trying out to recommend in the bookshop” kind of way but in a sincere “what a cool scenario I want to see what happens” kind of way. The Hunger Games is a futuristic story in the United States after a great war. Each of the 12 districts that make up the new country of Panem must send two teenagers every year to the annual Hunger Games. The Hunger Games is a week-long, televised event where the kids must fight to the death in a large arena the size of a state park. The winner and his or her family get food and shelter and a good life when they come home. This is a major motivator in a country where most are hungry. I was so intrigued by this futuristic “reality show” in the face of the reality show mania of today. People are willing to hurt themselves, humiliate themselves and others on reality shows for money or simply exposure. Is it really so far fetched to imagine a fight to the death? But I digress. A futuristic adventure with a romance mixed in! Perfect! Our heroine, Katniss, volunteers to take the place of her younger sister in the games. She is sent to the games from her district with Peeta, the baker’s son who has, unbeknownst to her, been in love with her since he was 5 years old. The problem? There can be only one winner at The Hunger Games. I can’t wait to read the sequel, which will be released September 1!! For the first time, I can understand the people who go to a midnight party for a sequel. Hmm…since our Bookshop is attached to my parent’s house, maybe I will sleep over the night before….set my alarm for midnight and buy the book the minute it is released! Hello Mom?
Book Expo America is the biggest book event in the country. It happens every spring and this year it was at the Javits Center in New York City. We hit the road at 4:00 a.m. on Thursday so we could get to the educational sessions for booksellers. It’s a good thing we like computers!! It’s all about tweeting and blogging and YouTube these days. We had an inspiring session with wine seller Gary Vaynerchuk, (to see the video and learn more about him, use this link http://news.bookweb.org/news/6808.html) who talked about doing what you love and doing it with passion. Please don’t expect an outrageous approach to bookselling from us – his message was to be who you are!
One very interesting session was an “Editor’s Picks” session where editors choose their very favorite book of the fall season. Here are a few to watch out for: Justice by Harvard philosopher Michael Sandal, Roses by Lila Meacham, a novel about a family in Texas, and Jonathan Tropper’s novel, This is Where I Leave You. Elizabeth and I simply could not put down review copies we got of David Small’s autobiography in pictures, Stitches. David is a children’s book illustrator we love, and the story of his childhood is utterly harrowing, honest and moving. We can’t wait until it’s published this September.
At the Children’s Book Breakfast the next day, Julie Andrews acted as host and brought in a surprise guest, Peter Yarrow from Peter, Paul and Mary. (Hmmm….Julie looks a LOT better in focus!)
Best of all was Literary Lions panel – an hour-long discussion about writing with Richard Russo and John Irving. Richard Russo’s new book is set on Cape Cod. For him, Cape Cod represents the notion of the finer place we all search for – a notion determined in part by the fact that it’s something that is just out of reach because we cannot afford it. (He was referring to Martha’s Vineyard!) Richard is coming here on August 15, so the discussion will continue! By the way, did you know that John Irving starts writing all his books with their last line? Serendipity occurs when the title of the book fits in the last line, which has only happened twice – in The World According to Garp and his new book, Last Night in Twisted River, which will be published this October.
There were fascinating and sobering sessions on the future of books and publishing. We can potentially look forward to huge changes over the next few years, including easier access to downloadable books. Even the publishers realize that some ways they are doing business are very dysfunctional. The large publishing houses are losing money by paying huge advances to big name authors, whose books are returned at the outrageous average rate of 40%, mainly by mega-stores of all kinds who stock mountains these books. The returned books are no longer saleable, so are sent to remainder houses. How can they afford to do this? By raising the prices of books across the board, so we all pay for this poor arrangement. (Independent bookstores have had a consistent return rate of about 10%!) Who wins in this scenario? Well, the celebrity authors are doing pretty well!
It wasn’t all serious, however……
Elizabeth and I were walking through the exhibit hall when we came upon our friend Jeff Kinney, who visited us last year. The 4th book in his Wimpy Kid series will be published on October 12.
Elizabeth met a new best friend, so don’t mess with her!
As always, it was such a treat to meet authors whose work we’ve long admired and whose new books we can’t wait to read! I sat with children’s author Rosemary Wells at lunch on Saturday and Kathleen chatted with Sherman Alexie. We had a really wonderful chance encounter with Silas House, whose book, A Parchment of Leaves was our very first our book club book over 5 years ago. A native of Kentucky, he was soft-spoken and kind and was attending the meeting to promote his new children’s book, Eli the Good. We also bumped into our good friend Claire Cook, who was at our bookshop last week for a signing of her new book The Wildwater Walking Club.
There was one final stop to say farewell to Clifford the Big Red Dog. A smaller version of Clifford will be visiting the bookshop this summer!
As many of you know, we love food! We couldn’t leave New York City without a stop at our very favorite grocery store, Zabar’s. Somehow calling it a grocery store makes it sound entirely too common – such great cheeses, breads, olives and coffee!! Perfect treats for the ride home!