Books make the Best Gifts.

Books make the best gifts.  Full stop.  

Books are the most right because they are perfectly personalized and customized for anyone's unique and strange and beautiful taste. Perhaps you find yourself stuck when considering what you can buy for your hipster-doofus-intellectual snob-sweet-little-brother-music-lover-history-and-law-student? How about The History of Rock and Roll in Ten Songs, by Greil Marcus?  Cool, that sounds great. He'll love it, even if he hides his smile behind his beard. 

What about your little niece, just mastering and falling in love with reading - enjoying every new chapter book she can get her hands on?  Well, my favorite book in second grade was a tie between The Little Match Girl and a picture-biography of Jackie Robinson, so what if you went with Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker by Patricia Hruby Powell and Christian Robinson? It's a beautiful story, gorgeously told - and every girl needs a good hero, and who better than the glamorous Josephine Baker? No one. 

And what about your super-sophisticated, art-loving friend?  You know the type - she knows everything, on the bleeding edge of all things beauty and fashion and literature and pop and art and relevant. You don't know what to get her because she has everything OR because she's above material things and free from 'want' - your love and affection and good sense of humor is all she wants for Christmas. Cool, well; regardless, the laws of Secret Santa must be abided.  Maybe this powerful and beautiful meditation, How to be Happy by Eleanor Davis will delight and surprise her.  

And your dear friend, embarking on a new business venture while getting married and upending everything she knows about the professional and personal world?  Well, Delancey, of course.  Thanks in advance!

More suggestions to come, but allow me to emphasize - books are the best.  I can't wait to help you tick off all your loved ones on your list next year!  

Also, if you want to spend house on a spectacular website with book recommendations, check out NPR's Best Books of 2014 app.  I want to crawl into this website and live there, if that's meaningful to you in any way.  

*all characters referred to in this post are totally fictional or maybe based on real people. 

The Truth about Scary Stories for Kids

"Scaring and disturbing children is essential—but it has to be done right."

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Studying children's literature was one of my favorite parts of undergraduate, and for reasons beyond the immediate - sure, the stories were limitless and illustrations gorgeous and capacity for meaning exceptional; but the business behind it is almost equally fascinating.  

The Atlantic just published a short article about the imperative of some children's books to be...scary.  To expose a fantastical realm necessary for children to acceptably reason with right and wrong and the ambiguities inherent within those poles is one charge that many of these authors take on, and with gusto. As Maurice Sendak said, it's "an awful fact of childhood… The fact of vulnerability to fear, anger, hate, frustration—all the emotions that are an ordinary part of their lives and that they can only perceive as dangerous, ungovernable forces. To master these forces, children turn to fantasy: that imaginary world where disturbing emotional situations are solved to their satisfaction."

The article is a quick read and reminded me of all the ways I loved to be scared as a kid - by reading Scary Stories collections, being an early adopter of Goosebumps and, when those lost the thrill for me, quickly moving on to Christopher Pike and the Remember Me series, soon thereafter, Stephen King.   

But these creepy childrens books discussed in the article are from an even earlier period in childhood literacy development - recalling even the Grimm fairy tales, which have much darker and more sinister endings than the Disney-fied versions we're more familiar with. There is a benefit to scaring children, and vitally - there is an art to it, and a benefit, and a balance.

To return to fairy tales for a moment...although we might be compelled to love the happy endings, the romance of Prince Charmings and Fairy Godmothers and magic, the truly dark twists that the original legends and fables told always held a special hold on me. That's why fairy tales (and God narratives) retold remain some of my favorite books to read. Books including The Rose and the Beast by Francesca Lia Block and American Gods by Neil Gaiman appeal to this love of fantasy turned fear that I love.  I also love scary movies. I don't know if that's connected. Probably?


Bad Sex in Fiction Awards (yes, it's a thing...)

Some of us like to hate-watch certain TV shows - to watch something purely for the suffering, the scorn, the superiority we feel in the comfort of our homes knowing that we are watching this because it is so wretched, not despite it.  Some people choose to do this.

Alternatively, some people over at Britain's Literary Review  like to identify some of the worst-written attempts at intimacy - in particular, sex scenes.  This year's shortlist of candidates includes some especially heavy-hitters in the literary world, so this dubious selection must feel...at least a little unwelcome. Haruki Murakami makes an appearance on the list, as do Richard Flanagan, Saskia Goldschmidt (my vote for the worst passage), Ben Okri, and MIchael Cunningham. If you can bear it, some of the passages are worth reading just for the sheer enjoyment of squirming through the horrible metaphors, the terrible imagery, the strange, strange choice of words.

Given that any reader won't necessarily know the context of many or any of the stories from which the passages are selected, the language alone is enough to warrant a good hate-read.  But those sex scenes...whoa.  I wish I could think of some better erotic fiction but alas that is one genre I have yet to truly explore.  Suggestions are welcome!

So...who do you think should win this year's Bad Sex Award?

(Passages courtesy of The Guardian's review of the Bad Sex Award)

1. The Legacy of Elizabeth Pringle by Kirsty Wark

He said my name over and over as he lifted me up, my legs curled around him, and laid me down beneath him on the high bed. I had never imagined that I was capable of wanton behaviour, but it was as if a dam within me had burst and we made love that day and night like two people starved, slowly suffused with more and more pleasure, exploring and devouring every inch of each other, so as not to miss one single possibility of passion.

2. Desert God by Wilbur Smith

Her hair was piled high, but when she shook her head it came cascading down in a glowing wave over her shoulders, and fell as far as her knees. This rippling curtain did not cover her breasts which thrust their way through it like living creatures. They were perfect rounds, white as mare's milk and tipped with ruby nipples that puckered as my gaze passed over them.

Her body was hairless. Her pudenda were also entirely devoid of hair. The tips of her inner lips protruded shyly from the vertical cleft. The sweet dew of feminine arousal glistened upon them.

3. The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan

Whatever had held them apart, whatever had restrained their bodies before, was now gone. If the earth spun it faltered, if the wind blew it waited. Hands found flesh; flesh, flesh. He felt the improbable weight of her eyelash with his own; he kissed the slight, rose-coloured trench that remained from her knicker elastic, running around her belly like the equator line circling the world. As they lost themselves in the circumnavigation of each other, there came from nearby shrill shrieks that ended in a deeper howl.

Dorrigo looked up. A large dog stood at the top of the dune. Above blood-jagged drool, its slobbery mouth clutched a twitching fairy penguin.

4. From 'DD-MM-YY' in Things to Make and Break by May-Lan Tan

She wriggles down under the blankets and pulls off my jeans and skivvies. I lie back and her hair tickles my stomach, her mouth wrapping over me. I'd forgotten this about her: she has the smallest, hottest mouth, as if she's storing lava in her cheeks. I shut my eyes, holding her hair by the roots. My bones start to liquefy.

When I'm about to come, I flip her onto her back and take off her underwear. I roll her nipple on my tongue and rub her clit with my thumb until her lips get slippery. I glide my middle finger in and out, then fold her legs up and push in. God. It's like sticking your cock into the sun.

5. The Hormone Factory by Saskia Goldschmidt

She was moaning softly now, her breath coming faster. She tasted of apples. Her soft warm flesh was driving me crazy – that dish of delight my tongue was now lapping at frenziedly. Her suppressed cries were coming faster and faster. I unbuttoned my pants, pushing them down past my hips, and my beast, finally released from its cage, sprang up wildly. I started inching my way back up, continuing to stimulate her manually, until the beast found its way in. She opened her eyes and said softly, 'I'm still a virgin, please be careful.'

I kept myself quiet for a moment, kissed her and said, "I'll be very gentle, all right?"

Running her tongue over her lips she nodded; she was as hot as boiling water in a distillation flask, and it wasn't long before I was able to really get going. We both came at the same time. I stayed inside her for a few seconds, gazed at her, and smiled.

6. Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami

The girls entwined themselves lithely around Tsukuru. Kuro's breasts were full and soft. Shiro's were small, but her nipples were as hard as tiny round pebbles. Their pubic hair was as wet as a rain forest. Their breath mingled with his, becoming one, like currents from far away, secretly overlapping at the dark bottom of the sea.

These insistent caresses continued until Tsukuru was inside the vagina of one of the girls. It was Shiro. She straddled him, took hold of his rigid, erect penis, and deftly guided it inside her. His penis found its way with no resistance, as if swallowed up into an airless vacuum. She took a moment, gathering her breath, then began slowly rotating her torso, as if she were drawing a complex diagram in the air, all the while twisting her hips. Her long, straight black hair swung above him, sharply, like a whip.

7. The Lemon Grove by Helen Walsh

She closes her eyes. Shakes her head.

"We can't," she begins. His mouth is on hers; his tongue is jabbing around her gums, the wrinkled roof of her mouth. He pulls away a second time.

"Look at me," he says.

She looks him in the eye. She reaches out and cups his balls and squeezes gently. Nathan closes his eyes, bites his lip. Then he steps into her, furious. And when it hits her, it slams her hard and fast, as life once had.

8. The Age of Magic by Ben Okri

When his hand brushed her nipple it tripped a switch and she came alight. He touched her belly and his hand seemed to burn through her. He lavished on her body indirect touches and bitter-sweet sensations flooded her brain.

She became aware of places in her that could only have been concealed there by a god with a sense of humour. Adrift on warm currents, no longer of this world, she became aware of him gliding into her. He loved her with gentleness and strength, stroking her neck, praising her face with his hands, till she was broken up and began a low rhythmic wail. She was a little overwhelmed with being the adored focus of such power, as he rose and fell. She felt certain now that there was a heaven and that it was here, in her body. The universe was in her and with each movement it unfolded to her.

9. The Affairs of Others by Amy Grace Loyd

I continued to tell her flesh of its gifts, such pleasure, gently but insistently given, even biting her earlobe with my front teeth, sweeping her hair from her face, her neck, as she cried, and breathed less jaggedly, "It hurts, it hurts." I did not stop until it stopped hurting, until I heard pleasure articulated from her. Her throat as open as her body, wet everywhere from tears and the coming, and I did hear it, a long high twisting cry and a twisting in my arms as my fingers dove up and up into the full expressive wetness of her. Hold me, hold me. Here and here, she said after she came, placing one of my hands between her legs to press again, another over her breasts. Hold me tight.

10. The Snow Queen by Michael Cunningham

They both know they have to do this quickly. He slides his dick into her. She sighs more loudly, but it's still a sigh, not a sex moan, though this time there's a soft gasp at the end. Tyler is inside her, here's the heat, the powerful wet hold, and fuck, he's about to come already. He holds off, lets his cock rest in her, lies on top, his face pressed to her cheek (he can't seem to look directly at her), until she says, 'Don't wait.'

"Are you sure?"

"I'm sure."

He thrusts once, cautiously. He thrusts again, and he's gone, he's off into the careening nowhere. He lives for seconds in that soaring agonizing perfection. It's this, only this, he's lost to himself, he's no one, he's obliterated, there's no Tyler at all, there's only… He hears himself gasp in wonder. He falls into an ecstatic burning harmedness, losing, lost, unmade.

And is finished.


Happy Monday, y'all!

 

...and here we are!

Well, our first stage of branding has been built, and I'm so proud to show off Bookspace Detroit's new logo! Designed by the talented and brilliant artist Regina Pruss, this logo came from hours of thoughtful exploration and inspiration. We were inspired by the city around us - the Art Deco shapes that make our skyline, the intricate patterns woven into our city streets and buildings.  I love the gold and black, the pyramid that doubles as the corner of a well-loved and open bookpage, the rays that could be a cityscape or a packed-in bookshelf. I love it all, and could not be more excited about sharing it with you.  

Stay tuned, I'll be writing updating this blog with more big news and the wheels keep on turning.  

Neil knows.

“What I say is, a town isn't a town without a bookstore. It may call itself a town, but unless it's got a bookstore it knows it's not fooling a soul.”

Neil Gaiman, American Gods

This was spotted outside of Green Apple Books on the Park, in San Francisco (thanks Mark and Lindsey!).

A quote from one of my favorite books, espousing one of my favorite sentiments.  

What's with the Radio Silence?

It seems that the past few weeks have been a little bit quiet on our front, and we want to apologize.  Things have been moving behind the scenes, and we're sorry for seemingly keeping you in the dark. We have a couple big announcements coming your way, and we're so excited to share the news - but in the meantime, let's get back to basics.

Bookspace Detroit is deep in the search for the exact right space to call our own.  We claim to be located in the 'heart of Detroit,' but Detroit beats to the rhythm of countless hearts, and we are looking for the one that matches our own.  As the search continues, we will keep you posted as to where we land.  In the meantime, we are looking for ways to create a presence downtown in a slightly-more transient, dare we say 'Moveable' way...but more on that in the days and weeks to come.

 photo by the exceptional  John Hardwick !  

photo by the exceptional John Hardwick!  

You might be saying to yourself, who is we?  What is 'our'?  So, I'll take this opportunity to explain the 'we' - which, while it feels like the Royal 'we,' truly is not.  The 'I' is me, Tara - the founder and future-Chief Proprietor of the Bookspace space.  The we is the collective energy and people behind me and this vision - professionals from every corner of industry in the city and suburbs, mentors and business leaders and teachers and consultants and friends and family who have been so generous with their time, wisdom, and encouragement. By 'we' I generally me and all the support I've been so lucky to receive - but I suppose it's unclear when I write that 'we' have some exciting news to share.  I will try to reconcile what feels natural to write and what is accurate in the world (really, I have some great news to share - but would you believe it more if I say we?).

Personal Update:

I think it's only fair to share with my readers (or, reader: hi Mom!) that I am currently in a state of serious distress. Heartbroken, devastated. You see, I finally finished the fifth installment of the Game of Thrones series (A Song of Ice and Fire), and it's hard to know where to go from here. How do I go on with my day-to-day responsibilities when there is so much story left to tell?  Thankfully, my brother has turned me on to a loving fan community with academically rigorous and dissertation-worthy conspiracy theories, character timeline breakdowns, and more (the conspiracy theories are amazing! Some are more tin foil-y than others, and it just keeps the books so alive).  

So, why am I telling you all of my most-recent heartbreak? Well, for one - there's no shame in my game. I am a fan of Game of Thrones, I fell in love over and over again with characters born to rule and die dreadful, horrible deaths - and I loved every second of it. It has taken me about six months to get through all five tomes, and I can't remember a time I've been so immersed in a book. Every second I spent not reading, I wanted to be reading. This includes driving to work, eating, spending time with friends and loved ones - I'd just rather be back in Westeros.  That should be a bumper sticker, I think.

 Only funny for fans of GoT. Sorry, haters.

Only funny for fans of GoT. Sorry, haters.

And there was a real sense of dread and mourning as I finished that last book - what would I do now? I have so enjoyed living these other lives - when will the next book arrive? How will he tie up the loose ends - there are so many stories left to tell! Would another book ever be able to pack as much punch? And I remembered, yes.

Beyond Game of Thrones, I have absolutely been enthralled with other books in the past year alone - so wholly captivated by characters and stories that it's hard for my fiance to register his presence with me sometimes (sorry boo, love you promise).  But starting with The Orphan Master's Son, continuing with The Goldfinch and Gone Girl (which I read in its entirety on one very long plane ride, barely looking up even once) - there are plenty of stories which have had me in their grips over the past few years.  

I'm hooked already on the third installment of The Last Policeman trilogy - so clearly, all is not lost.  This three-part series, by Ben H. Winters, is a brilliant study of the human condition and societal breakdowns when faced with imminent death and destruction - sound fun?  It is! It is SO much fun! It is fascinating; a doomsday fantasy wrapped in a murder-mystery wrapped in a vest.

All this is to say that there are infinite books to get lost in, and I've been so lucky this past year to be immersed in so many of them.  If you have any books you've recently devoured at the expense of your relationships, your health, or just your typical TV schedule, please leave it in the comments below!    

 

Read at Your Own Risk.

I can't promise you that your life won't be changed for reading these books. I especially adore A Light in the Attic, and remember fondly how it warped my young and nubile mind.   

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Here's a link to 100 Classic Books that have been banned, including Rabbit, Run; Lolita; Lord of the Rings; The Great Gatsby; Huckleberry Finn; Of Mice and Men, and so many more.  Where would tenth-grade English courses be if not for banned books?

It's almost laughable until you remember that in parts of the country, people are still threatening to ban books and even burn them. It's still the middle-ages out there, folks, and if you think about it too thoughtfully you might get scared.  

Oscar Wilde had it about right, when he said:

"The books that the world calls immoral are the books that show the world its own shame."

So let's save the Bonfire of the Vanities for another time (or never) and just indulge in some world-shaking storytelling, these week and all weeks.    

Goodnight.

It has been a long week here on Amelia Island. The business of bookselling is incredibly complicated, with twists and turns and so many intricacies and variables your head spins from sun-up to sundown (my head spins, not yours.). We have talked about lighting designs and ordering forms and inventory checks and budgets and shelving and ceilings and planograms and software and hardware and rewards programs and Amazon and oy oy oy.

But at the end of a long week, it's clear that there is magic in the details. I think the vision of Bookspace Detroit has come to a beautiful place. We are ready to run with it, and I can't wait for you to see what it will be.

In the meantime, I guess thank goodness for this.

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Top 10 Books? Yeah right man. Here are Ten of the Top.

A few weeks ago there was a flurry of Facebook activity with people posting their Top 10 Books of All Time, or something to that effect. Only two friends tagged me, but still I never thought I'd actually fulfill my end of the implicit 'tagging' agreement, since the idea is preposterous.  Top ten books? Top ten books of what? For when?  

The only way I could wrap my head around this was by changing the game. There may be lists often on this blog - consider this fair warning. Today, this list is Ten of the Top Transformative Books - these books are certainly among my favorite, and above all else informed my continued interest in reading.

So, here we go.  

  1. The Little Match Girl, Hans Christian Anderson:  A completely heartbreaking story, and the first time I cried over words I read.  Devastating for a seven-year old and a 27-year-old alike.  I took this book out of the Green School Media Center every week for all of first and second grate.  
  2. The Phantom Tollbooth, Norton Juster: I remember asking my mom what all the different words meant, and how the definitions had me laughing in delight. This was an eye-opening book about the magic of language, and a lesson in cleverness.
  3. Marjorie Morningstar, Herman Wouk:  I still look for this book in every bookstore I go to. This was my mother's favorite book and I was so confused when she recommended it to me-  was she endorsing open rebellion? Smoking pot with nonconformist, artsy beautiful boyfriends? Straying from the path of highly demanding Jewish parents? Surely not. But it's a beautiful story, and the first story I read when I realized that people have been rebelling against the norm for ages - history was not so cleanly slated as I had imagined.  Reading it today is worlds different from reading it as a ten-year-old. 
  4. Girl Goddess #9, Francesca Lia Block: A collection of nine short stories, beginning with little girls and ending in (fully?) realized young adults, these stories painted a picture for what I imagined life could look like, feel like, smell like, sound like.  So vivid, so romantic, so ethereal - prime fodder for a tween looking for something beyond boybands. It inspired my near-decade-long dream of moving to Berkeley and writing poetry in petticoats (I know!) while running through canyons.  She remains among my favorite all-time authors, and now she is a facebook friend. #fact.  
  5. Norwegian Wood, Haruki Murakami:  The first of his books that I read, and one I've re-read most.  A story that bleeds loneliness, and the first that I read that inspired by (ongoing) fascination with Japan. It makes me think of highschool, and heartache, and looking for something else, something better (but I love the feeling). They made a movie of it, but I have not seen it yet.
  6. The Prophet, Khalil Gibran:  Poetic essays, written with what I read as wisdom and poise and music and love. We used to write quotes from this all over the insides of our notebooks, in the margins of our study guides. Beauty where you can find it, I guess.
  7. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Ken Kesey:  I read this in class and my mind was blown by the symbolism. The story is outrageous, the moview phenomenal - but the intentional choice of language was like a science, and it's the first time I remember cracking the code without (much) of my teacher's guidance (he just confirmed my suspicions). Trilogies, messianic figures, the works. I loved that this book became more than a story but was like a code that I could work out on my own.  This might be the pivotal moment when I realized I might be not just an avid reader but maybe a clever one too?
  8. Slaughterhouse-Five, or, the Children's Crusade, Kurt Vonnegut: I love nearly everything I've ever read by him, not least of which his stunning account of the Dresden Bombing as told through the experience of one Billy Pilgrim.  I read this book first under the personal instruction of a beloved high school teacher, who broke his own rules by allowing me to take a 'individual study' course with him when I was a second semester senior. Such a phenomenal opportunity - I was granted access to one of the best educators in the school and given free reign to focus on this one spectacular writer. I learned so much, and read so much, but in the end I disappointed the teacher - the only paper I was asked to write, about humanity and Vonnegut and humanism and storytelling, essentially tying a semester's worth of learning and conversation together - I never got around to it. He allowed me to pass the class, of course, but what a shit thing to do. So my freshman year of college I wrote my term paper on it, but I never sent it to him. I'm still so ashamed
    1. And still, I love that book.  Special mention to Welcome to the Monkey House, and my favorite short story, "Harrison Bergeron."
  9. Pale Fire, Vladimir Nabokov: This is another function of having the unbelievable good luck to have spent an entire semester immersed in the study on one particular artist - in this case, Nabokov. What a privilege to chart an artist's course and growth and development. Pale Fire was the most outrageous, though I loved Lolita and Humbert Humbert - one of the first times that an unreliable (hateable) narrator really drove the story home for me.  
  10. Troublesome number 10.  To be fair, I'm writing on the road and don't have the luck to be sitting in front of my bookshelf, reliving old lives brought to me from old bindings on the shelves. Maybe The Orphan Master's Son, a book that was more immersive tome than anything I've read in the last three years (barring GoT, because that's not fair).   Maybe I'll Love you Forever, because I can't wait to buy it again and read it to my own little one (eventually).   Maybe You Shall Know Our Velocity!, but only for its title; only for the title. Nothing brought my brothers and I together quite like Stephen King's Dark Tower series, and I could speak to that benefit for ages. "The man in black fled across the dessert, and the gunslinger followed."

Sorry for the disappointment, I guess it's not a proper Top Ten. But those lists seem so finite, and my love for these books is anything but.  Don't make me decide if I don't have to - I promise to create another list next Friday.    

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Genius Awarded! Beauty Prevails!

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This year's MacArthur Fellows were announced, and Bookspace Detroit would like to congratulate all the winners!  The MacArthur Fellows receive $625,000 over six years, to use however the winners choose.  Here's a link to the full list of winners, but we'd like to highlight one name who we've followed for years.  Alison Bechdel is a cartoonist and graphic memoirist (a unique and stellar title if we've ever heard one) and her work transcends any outdated notion of what those mediums can communicate. For those who have never heard of the Bechdel test, it is a measuring tool for films that Bechdel came up with in a comic strip called The Rule back in 1985.  In total: a movie that passes the Bechdel Test if (1) there are at least two women in it (2) who talk to each other (3) about something other than a man.  She is an amazing artist and thinker and all my kudos in the world for her.

A MacArthur grant also went to Dr. Jennifer L. Eberhardt, who works at Stanford doing amazing research in social pyschology related to our inclinatinon to racially code and categorize people, and the way this results in our judgments on society.  Here is an excellent video about her research and another reason to feel good: the world has done something right, and genius has been rewarded today.  

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And, in other awards, check out the National Book Award Longlists - in categories including Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, and Young Adult Literature.  Did anything you love not make the cut?  Let us know!  

Fiction:

Nonfiction:

Poetry:

Young People’s Literature:


"One must still have chaos in oneself...

...to be able to give birth to a dancing star."

-Friedrich Neitzsche

amelia island

This week, I am holed up in a charming motel near the beach in northern Florida. Before images of idyllic sandscapes and round-the-clock mojitos float to your mind, let me add that the power has gone out three times tonight because of a wild thunderstorm that I have to assume is located directly above our hotel, and that I've been spending all day from 8:30am until 5:30pm holed up in a cozy conference room - not frolicking on the sand. (Note: don't let the picture fool you. I took ten minutes on my lunch break to stick my toes in the water - it was glorious, though.)  

I'm here to learn about the science, business, and art of bookselling. This conference/workshop/amalgam of all things had been incredibly eye-opening, and I can't wait to hit the ground running when I get back to Detroit.

But what can you learn, in only six days? And how will this help you lead a brand new life? I hear you screaming those questions at me, through this virtual wall. To summarize: we have discussed the identity formation, community assessments, and financial projections necessary for moving forward. We'll touch on design and inventory curation as well as investment strategies, marketing benchmarks, and best practices. We've only had two full days, and I feel like a wizened old soul who has been at this for nigh-on forty years (just kidding, I feel mostly bewildered but also jazzed).  

I am taking oceans of notes, using a brilliant sticky-pad system, and even taking pictures of my notes as an aded protection.  For some of the lessons, I'm letting the information wash over me, and break through me, and hopefully I'll have absorbed enough of the brilliance to take it home with me. But I'm looking forward to taking something else home with me, which is a new community of emerging booksellers from all over the country.

Men and women from all over (Philadelphia, Austin, Chattanooga, Chicago, Minnesota, Lagos (Lagos!), DC, Durham...) are here, learning together. It's incredible hearing their ideas, and their priorities, and their visions. Some are so clear and crystallized that I can see myself walking into their stores tomorrow.  

Every night I come back to my room, dizzy and energized by the designs that have bubbled to the surface over sangrias with my colleagues (we do end our days with sangria - that much I'll admit).  And there are mountains of spreadsheets ahead of me I'll dream of SWOT analyses for the foreseeable future, but I cannot wait.

I know this was a long post, but don't worry - I'll treat you to some fun book reviews in the near future.

Thanks for hanging in there, kid.


The first.

Bookspace Detroit is born of the confluences of serious necessity and many happy accidents.  Driving from our home in downtown Detroit to the nearest open bookstore during one of those awful wintry days this season was the first time the thought entered my mind - we should have this. 

Detroit should have a plethora of places to go and to browse, to be inspired by magical periodicals that feel like they are just waiting to be discovered by the right person,  clever titles artfully arranged by genre, by season, by author.  Detroit has so much and more, and yet not this. Not yet.

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At this moment I'm down in Amelia Island, waiting for my book workshop to begin.  I cannot wait to immerse myself in the study of the business, in the realities and opportunities for a small and independent bookseller.  Paz and Associates is a 'Bookstore Training Group' who aims to help entrepreneurs realize their dreams to own a bookstore, to make a living doing something they love.  Everything from architecture consultants to business plan reviews, merchandising support and location analysis - we cover it all. How solid will this be? How much content, how much value?  

And who is joining me?  I hope to journal every day this week to record the most fascinating bits I learn, or the most troubling, or the most illuminating.  Or the most damning. No one knows.

But my hotel room is nice and cool, a Breaking Bad marathon is on TV.  I'm tired and a little hungry, so I guess I'll just go back to sleep.


Until tomorrow.