Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A Quiet Week

It's that weird week between Christmas and New Years.

Last week, leading up to Christmas, was a madhouse. In a good way. We were completely busy and it felt exciting and crazy at the same time. I love the busyness and energy of the holiday shopping season.

But I also love the quiet that comes after.

Yesterday, the day after Christmas, was quiet. The bookstore and I breathed a little deeper. People came in. We talked, just a bit. They browsed. It was leisurely. And nice.

Obviously, too much "leisurely" business would be very bad. But after the sometimes frenetic pace of holiday shopping, this week between Christmas and New Years is a nice change of pace.

Here's what I'm reading:

The Tower, the Zoo, and the Tortoise, by Julia Stuart, is a novel set in the Tower of London, about a Beefeater, his wife, and their 180 year-old pet tortoise. Someone has to look after the menagerie of exotic animals given to the Queen. It's Balthazar Jones' job to do so.

Did you know people actually live in the Tower of London? Would you want to, with all it's be-heading history?

Plus, as a side note, if you ever have a pet tortoise, or parrot, remember to bequeath them to a worthy person in your will. They will outlive you.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Rockin and Rollin

Things have been Rockin and Rollin at the bookstore lately.

Things had better be Rockin and Rollin this time of year, or there's trouble.

Small, independent bookstores make a huge portion of their income during the holiday season. It's really very fun and amazing to see.

Grandparents looking for books for their grandkids. Adults choosing books for their parents. Kids picking up the book they want for Christmas and saying, "It's here. This is the one!"

Since I'm the main kid book buyer, I love helping people pick out the "perfect" book for their child, grandchild, niece, nephew, neighbor, etc.

We all have our favorite books that we love to hand-sell. But, I try to listen closely before making any suggestions.

What age is the child?
What does he/she like to read?
What about fantasy? Sports?
What would you say the child's reading level is? Beginning? Advanced?
What about content? Can he/she handle some scary stuff?
and on and on.

Then, with this information, I create a picture of the child in my mind. And try to pick out the "perfect" book to suggest.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Home for the Holidays

I'm very glad to report that December is hopping at Micawber's so far! The first Saturday of each December is "Shop Home for the Holidays" in our neighborhood. All the local shops have special events and sales. Plus, there's a very cool sale with items by local artists. It's all very festive.

At Micawber's, the local elementary school is involved on the first Saturday. They provide treats and gift wrap books. They advertise to parents at the school and the school gets a percentage of the day's sales. Typically, this day is one of our biggest days of the year.

Here are a few of the Hot Sellers from this past Saturday:

The Invention of Hugo Cabret, by Brian Selznick.

Despite the fact that this is not a new book, Hugo Cabret has been hot this season. With the publication of Wonderstruck (also by Brian Selznick) and the release of Hugo, the movie, we have seen a resurgence of interest in this novel.

On the adult side, we've been selling a lot of The Art of Fielding, by Chad Harbach.

This is an "expansive, warm-hearted novel about ambition and its limits, about family and friendships and love, and about commitment to oneself and others." But, really, it's a book about baseball.

One of my favorite new books this season is Twelve Owls, by Laura Erickson.
I adore the woodcut illustrations by Betsy Bowen, and owls are awesome, so what's not to love about this book? Twelve Owls features, you guessed it, twelve different kinds of owls that inhabit Minnesota including the Barn owl, the Great horned owl, and the tiny, Northern Saw-whet owl. This book is great for older children and adults.