Best of the Bookternet: December 2015

It’s easy to fall down the rabbit hole of the book-related Internet, sucking up hours reading reviews, bookish news, and memes. But that takes away time from reading and listening to great books! So we’ve curated a list of the best of the bookternet this month, saving you time. Enjoy!


authors-we-lost

Authors We Lost in 2015

We lost many beloved authors in 2015, including Terry Pratchett, Jackie Collins, and Henning Mankell. CBC Books pays tribute.

Via CBC Books


Veronica Roth
Photo © Alex Washburn/WIRED

About That Next Book

Veronica Roth, author of the mega-bestselling Divergent series, gives us a glimpse of her next series: a space opera already getting Star Wars comparisons. Plus, cute dog gifs!

Via The Art of Not Writing


Celeste Ng
Photo © Kevin Day Photography

Author Recommendations from Celeste Ng

Everything I Never Told You author Celeste Ng discusses some of her favorite coffee table books. Subjects range from portraits to food to letters.

Via Penguin Blog


Pandering
Photo © Heike Steiweg

Whom do You Write for? “Pandering” Essay Sparks a Debate

In case you missed it, in November, author Claire Vaye Watkins wrote a long essay for Tin House about writing for male approval. A Wide range of responses ensued, notably from Jamaican author and Man Booker prize-winner Marlon James. NPR brought them together to discuss the essay, and gender and race in publishing.

Via NPR


Powells

Thank You, From a Bookseller

James Patterson was at it again this year—no, not writing books, though he did that too—giving out bonuses to booksellers. He donated $250,000 independent bookstore employees, including Kevin Sampsell of Powell’s in Portland, OR, who is forever grateful.

Via Powell’s Books


Emma

Actually, Emma Is the Best Jane Austen Novel

A close look at Jane Austen’s Emma upon the 200th anniversary of its publishing, as well as the rich bitches we love to hate in literature and real life.

Via Literary Hub


Atwood

Margaret Atwood Is Writing a Superhero Comic Book

Author of realist and science fiction (and plenty in between) Margaret Atwood is working on a three-volume series of graphic novels. Origins-wise, the hero’s genetics are accidentally enhanced à la Spiderman, but knowing Atwood, this won’t be just a rehash of tropes.

Via Electric Lit


Emoji

Oxford Dictionaries Chose an Emoji as Word of the Year and Yet the Sky Still Hangs Above Our Heads

It will be hard to translate the Oxford Dictionary’s word of the year into audiobooks. They chose an emoji.

Via The Stranger


New Books

Top Ten 2016 Debut Novels We’re Looking Forward to

What books have you excited to ring in 2016? Book bloggers, who are often the best resources for bookish news and reviews, weigh in.

Via Broke and Bookish


Make sure to sign up for our newsletter for more bookish news!

The Bookseller Chronicles: Third Place Books

There are two Third Place Books locations. The original sits in the middle of a large strip mall in the tiny suburb of Lake Forest Park just outside of Seattle. The second is a part of the Ravenna neighborhood in Seattle proper. Both bookstores strive to bring a unique experience to their customers, acting as a social gathering space as well as bookstores.

Earlier this week I sat down with Erin Ball at the Lake Forest Park location. We found a table in the The Commons, a gathering space attached to the bookstore. Around us people studied, read books, hung out, and drank coffee from the restaurant. The din was minimal, and we were able to have a great conversation among the crowd.

Erin has worked at both stores off and on since 2008, before, during, and after attending law school. She recently became the assistant manager at the Lake Forest Park location. When I asked her if this meant she has decided that bookselling is a better choice than pursuing law, she laughs and says, “at least for now.”

[Judy Oldfield] Could you tell me in your own words the philosophy behind the “Third Place” in Third Place Books?

[Erin Ball] The philosophy is that you need three places in life. You need 1. your home, 2. your work, and 3. your community space. And that’s what Third Place Books tries to do with The Commons and the restaurant. It’s a place for people to gather, to have meetings, to study, that sort of thing. The bookstore is the centerpiece. They tried to replicate that at the Ravenna location, just on a smaller scale.

[JO] What does the Third Place mean for you personally? This is both a place where you work and a community space. Do those lines blur for you?

[EB] It does. Especially when I was at the Ravenna store, because there’s a pub in the Ravenna store. A lot of my friends would come visit there. After work we’d meet, and that would become more of a community space for me. It really does blur the lines. It’s hard to remember that you’re at work sometimes.

[JO] So it blurs it in a good way then.

[EB] In a good way, yeah.

[JO] Do you find there’s a difference between the locations? The Ravenna location is urban, it’s very close to the University of Washington. This one, the Lake Forest Park store, is a little farther out. It’s still very close to Seattle, but it’s more suburban. It’s in a strip mall.

[EB] Yeah, it’s a totally different feeling. This store feels a lot more like a community center, because Lake Forest Park is so small and this is the town center. People gravitate here. It happens during windstorms when the power is out, people come here. When it’s hot, people come here. And Ravenna doesn’t have quite the same feel. We still have a lot of customers who come in multiple times a week. But it’s less of a sit-down gathering place.

[JO] Is the tenor of each store different then? Is the clientele and the books that they’re buying any different?

[EB] It’s strikingly different. Here at Lake Forest Park it’s a little more conservative. Especially politically. In Ravenna there are a lot of young families and a lot more experimental fiction. It’s really interesting to see how how much of one particular title each store will sell. It’s crazy.

[JO] And you do a lot of book events here. You had Jimmy Carter come.

[EB] Yes, we did. That was very exciting. It was one of our biggest events. A thousand people went through the signing line. It was really fun, actually. We closed the store and it was really great.

[JO] What keeps you motivated to come in every day, year in and year out?

[EB] I find bookstores to be incredibly rewarding. Especially independent bookstores. Especially bookstores that the community revolves around. I think they’re experiencing a resurgence, which is great. . . . Books are my passion.

[JO] What books do you find yourself recommending over and over?

[EB] What I recommend most is probably a book called Stoner by John Williams. It’s not what it sounds like. It’s about a man named William Stoner. He’s born into farming in the early 1900’s but he ends up going to college and studying literature. It’s really just a quiet novel about his life. It’s so well done, and so perfectly paced and it’s sad and not sad and just really beautiful. And I feel like it appeals to so many people.

[JO] I find that a lot of booksellers carve out their niche in the bookstore that they work in. Do you have a special part of the bookstore that you’re really proud of?

[EB] Well I run the blog. But what I’ve started more recently is the Grown-Up Storytime that we have at the Ravenna store. I think it’s my favorite thing that I do. It’s the third monday of every month. They meet at seven in the pub in a secret room. We drink and read outloud. It’s mostly me reading. It’s gotten a really nice core following and I really enjoy it.

[JO] So you’re reading short stories—published works, right?

[EB] Yeah, published works. It’s not a writing circle. Usually I’ll do a short story, an article, and maybe a piece from the Internet.

[JO] What else is important to you, as a bookseller?

[EB] Books about women and by women. They should be read more. Especially by men.

When I started here a lot of the guys just didn’t read women and that was startling. Like some guys had never read Jane Austen.

[JO] And that’s crazy! People don’t realize that Jane Austen is satire. So it’s not the happy story of a marriage or anything like that. Yeah, they have a happy ending, but I almost feel like those are just tacked on.

[EB] To keep your interest, I guess.

[JO] Yeah. I’ve reviewed Bad Feminist and Everything I Never Told You, and I interviewed Dolen Perkins-Valdez for Libro’s blog. Because those were the books I was excited about and wanted other people to be excited about them.

[EB] There’s a website I get a lot of my reading lists from, FlavorWire. And they do pretty good lists. But there was another one I was looking at about the 50 coolest authors and there were two women on there. Two.

[JO] BookRiot’s pretty good.

[EB]. Yeah.

[JO] What’s on your TBR list?

[EB] Gosh. There’s a Claire Vaye Watkins book (she wrote a book of short stories called Battleborn a couple years ago). She has a new novel coming out called Gold Fame Citrus, which I’m really excited about.

[JO] Yeah, I want to read that too.

[EB] Yeah, I have the advanced review copy, I just haven’t gotten to it. The new Patti Smith book, because Just Kids was amazing.

[JO] I saw her at Seattle Arts & Lectures when she was promoting that one. And it was fantastic.

[EB] She’s coming again. And I’d love to go. She’s great.


What’s your favorite indie bookstore? Let us know!