Viewing posts categorised under: Support your local bookstore

Posted by Ann Evans in book readings and events, Book Sale, Daring to Date Again, support your local bookstore, The business of writing | 0 comments

DARING TO DATE AGAIN will be on sale for $.99 at your favorite ebook retailer from September 3-7:  AmazonBarnes & NobleKobo, and others...

summer-sale-meme-date (1)  


Posted by Ann Evans in book readings and events, book reviews, Book Sale, Daring to Date Again, publishing a book, support your local bookstore, The business of writing | 0 comments

DARING TO DATE AGAIN will be on sale for $.99 at your favorite ebook retailer from September 3-7:  AmazonBarnes & NobleKobo, and others...

summer-sale-meme-date (1)      

YOUR BOOKSTORE: Little City Books, Hoboken, NJ

Posted by Ann Evans in book readings and events, support your local bookstore | 0 comments


little city books

If everyone in Hoboken buys one book a year, we’ll be fine.”

One of the founders of Little City Books, Kate Jacobs, wrote a delightful post about the day Little City Books opened. The gist of her post is, “People walk in beaming. ‘A bookstore’ they say. ‘Thank you!’” Hoboken, you see, did not have a bookstore. It is a city of about 50,000 bounded on its four sides by cliffs, the Hudson River, the Lincoln Tunnel, and water between between it and Jersey City. You can’t just pop up to the next town to buy a book. So we are indeed beaming and grateful that Little City Books has arrived. Other bookstores were blown out of business when Barnes & Noble moved in a couple of decades ago. We went there – where else was there to go? But we didn’t like it. Then Barnes & Noble left, and there was more than just no book store; there was disgust at the irresponsibility of putting others out of business and then leaving town yourself—a familiar cycle of dysfunction in our towns and cities. When everybody who was anybody said that, duh, e-books would displace hard-copy books, it seemed inevitable. But it turns out that the People prefer books they can hold in their hands; only 25-30% of books sold are e-books. As an author, I often send books to people to read, and by a large margin, they want something which has been signed by the author on their bookshelf, and my sales figures show a similar distribution of e-book sales. The general assumptions (that box stores and e-books would dominate) did not work as prophesied. What would be the next business plan? Kate Jacobs, Donna Garban, and Emmanuelle Morgen thought about that as they strategized over the creation of Little City Books. They began their public presence with an Indiegogo campaign. A snarky blogger wrote, “starting an Indiegogo campaign to help them pay for this sounds shitty. Who commits to starting a business unless they can afford it on their own?” Here’s who and here’s why. The whole community suffered by not having a bookstore. Local authors had no place to build up their audience, people turned to the less popular e-books but not because they wanted to, students and teachers in city schools were hampered, parents needed a storytime place on Saturday morning (the library and the used book store were not enough for the many families with young children in Hoboken), and a city which prides itself on its sophistication HAS TO HAVE A BOOKSTORE! The sense of participation among those who contributed to the Indiegogo campaign deepened their pleasure when Little City Books opened in May. The burden of opening the store was not only on the owners, but on the rest of the community as well, for their mutual benefit. In one early announcement, Little City Books quoted urban sociologist Ray Oldenberg to explain their vision. Places like bookstores “are social hubs that support civil society, democracy, civic engagement, and a sense of place." In order to do this, Kate, Donna, and Emmanuelle hope “to have strong partnerships with all the local schools -- bringing authors, hosting book fairs, and maintaining teacher wish lists… We want to develop literacy support programs, and collaborate with other local businesses on events." Plans for permanence also include a presence at the nearby train station. This bookstore has the city of Hoboken behind them, starting with our rockstar mayor, Dawn Zimmer. They have a chosen a strategic location, superbly curated their selection of books, easily make friends with their customers, and are riding on a new tide. If everyone in Hoboken buys just one book a year, LCB will be a success. People walk in beaming. “A bookstore!” they say. ‘Thank you!’” Tell the snarks to go to hell.   Little City Books, 100 Bloomfield Street, Hoboken, NJ 201 626-READ (7323)      

Review: If I Could Paint the Moon Black, by Nancy Burke (Lakeshore Press, 2014)

Posted by Ann Evans in book readings and events, book reviews, support your local bookstore, Writing your story | 1 comments

Nancy Burke read from her book, If I Could Paint the Moon Black  (Lakeshore Press, 2014) at Watchung Booksellers recently. Her book is the story of an Estonian woman, Imbi Peebo, and there were quite a few Estonians there, including Imbi. They were gratified that their story had been told, and had some more information for us. We also were treated to an Estonian Apple Cake.  When I got home, I read the book, and here is my review. At the heart of If I Could Paint the Moon Black is the winsome voice of Imbi Peebo. The author, Nancy Burke, casts herself more as a scribe than a storyteller, allowing Imbi’s voice to speak freely, uncensored and uncrafted. The reader learns Imbi’s story from three points of view: 9-year-old Imbi, 77-year-old Imbi, and Burke. The ride gets a little bumpy from time to time as the points of view shift. In wartime Estonia, Imbi and her family are grateful when the Germans replace the Russians as occupiers. The Germans are good to Imbi and her family, and she sticks to those guns, even after learning about the atrocities of the SS. That is understandable, since without the kindness of German soldiers and citizens, she and her mother might not have survived. The German army is depicted as so benign that Burke feels she has to interject a sterile page of historical fact – there was a concentration camp in tiny Estonia, and Estonian young men were forcibly recruited into the German army. But little Imbi didn’t know that. Compared to other Estonians, Imbi is well off, given the nightly bombings, the sudden disappearances, and the starvation rations. Her family spends summers on a farm where they bathe in the river and eat well, especially enjoying meat, which is unavailable in the city. Imbi’s schooling continues even when schools are shut down because her mother is a teacher. At their city home, she is blessed with 142 gooseberry bushes, giving her family access to fresh fruit. This reader will remember the gooseberry bushes. After spending the night in a bomb shelter expecting death by explosion at any moment, then emerging to find a city half destroyed, what does the girl notice? Not the dead bodies, but the gooseberry bushes; they are still standing. Imbi always clings to salvation. Imbi and her cousins find dead airmen in the cockpits of military planes which crash near her family’s farm. They drag the bodies from the plane and bury them. In reflection, the 77-year-old Imbi doesn’t seem to have suffered any deforming trauma from these experiences, and enjoys telling about the naughtiness of having traded food for the services of a seamstress who turns the airmen’s nylon parachutes into blouses. Her buoyant and unrepentant voice is refreshing. I read If I Could Paint the Moon Black as I would look at a Grandma Moses painting. The palette is simple and the author has not struggled over transitions and the other stuff of high-fallutin’ writing. Burke lets the rough edges of the story show – the characters which spring out of nowhere and then recede, the “I” which shifts within the same paragraph, the semantic simplicity and lack of context. As a professor of writing, she knows what the rules are, and ignores or defies many of them, giving the story its simple quirkiness. Whatever the author’s intent, I learned about an ignored corner of recent history, and felt reassured. In the midst of uncertainty and terror, some people slide through on wit, courage, and good will. Such a person was Imbi Peebo. As we read of similar uncertainty and terror today, it is encouraging to know that I might possibly be able to do the same.

Life went on

Life went on again after Daring to Date Again: A Memoir ended, so I began this wide-ranging blog about life as a writer and as a woman in the early 21st century, especially as an older woman.

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