Bookish Tuesday

Summer Reading Recommendations!

One of my favorite parts about working at a book store is recommending books. One of the most rewarding parts, is when people tell me how much they love said books and then we get to fangirl/boy over them together! Below are some that I’ve picked for those two biggest reading seasons, summer and the winter holidays.

Summer 2019

At the store, everyone picks three summer titles, and they must be paperbacks (so people can enjoy more of them!) Mine are as follows:

Medium Raw is probably one of my all time favorite nonfiction books – and as it’s been a year since we, the people of the world lost our dear Tony, it felt like a good time to remind people of his brilliance. While many have commented in the store that Kitchen Confidential would be the “normal” pick, Medium Raw is my favorite of all of his books.
City of Dark Magic is probably my favorite fiction books – the perfect escape for a quick and light-ish summer read with a little bit of history, magic, and… smut.
And last but not least, The Lost Queen is my newest obsession, and the book I’m currently reading. It’s a sweeping historical novel set in Arthurian-era Scotland. After my recent trip to the country, it seems to be all I want to read about!

Previous Summer Picks

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, A Discovery of Witches, The Bookshop on the Corner, Good Omens & A Court of Thorns and Roses

Diary of a Bookseller

The Role of the Book Buyer

Right now, we are in the middle of one of my favorite times of the year at the bookstore – the fall buying season. The reps from the major publishers are stopping by the store to tell me all about the big books for the fall and I love it.

Diary of a Bookseller, Day 4

Meeting with Reps

As an established independent bookstore (we’ve been around 28+ years), we are fortunate to benefit from face-to-face meetings with sales representatives from all the major publishing houses, as well as some of the smaller ones. They stop by the store for sales meetings (that are really 1/4 sales, 3/4 “hey, how’s life”) and fill us in on all the top titles, as well as bring us Christmas, almost literally – most show up with boxes of advance reader copies for us to dig through – it is, the best. Looking for a job as a buyer? Good luck – it’s mostly luck getting into the role. There are roughly 500 positions in the country, most owners are also buyers. But if you happen to get the role, it’s probably my favorite job/role/position I’ve ever had.

Re-Ordering

There is nothing harder than trying to make sure that the store stays well stocked with both bestselling titles and lesser known titles. The hardest? Keeping the first of a series on the shelf. Wonder why your favorite store doesn’t carry particular books in there 1,000-100,000 book inventory? Odds are, they had so many other titles to worry about, it slipped through the cracks. Best way to ensure your favorite store has your favorite titles in stock? Support them! Buy a book there! I can promise you every book buyer is paying attention to what their customers are buying and they will tailor their backlist (re-order) inventory to their customers’ tastes!

Maintaining Balance

One of the hardest things to track and worry about is the balance of genres in the store. You may only have 3 romance readers that visit, but you want to make sure they have choices. Recently we tried branching out to support our customers who are interested in LGBT+ books, and it was received incredibly well. As section for millennials? Not so much. No one really knew what to do with it. We integrated Chick Lit into general fiction, and we’re constantly moving things around to, hopefully, help our customers find what they’re looking for. But it will occasionally backfire. It’s the best part of the puzzle, to figure out how to keep a 28+ year old store fresh.

Want to know more about working in a bookstore? Let me know!

Memoir/Autobiography, Non-Fiction, Travel

Second Wind by Nathaniel Philbrick

This weekend my father came out to visit and stay with my husband and I in our new house to help us do some outdoor work. He was the first overnight visitor to the new abode, and he slipped and fell, injuring his shoulder. I blame myself, and was reminded of all the other times he’s told me not to worry about him, and one that stands out is when he flipped his little Sunfish sailboat over in the lake. I gave him Second Wind for Christmas last year and now that we’ve both read it, it felt time for a review.

Synopsis

From the Inside Flap:
In the spring of 1992, Nathaniel Phibrick was in his late thirties, living with his family on Nantucket. Feeling stranded, he longed for that thrill of victory he once felt after winning a national sailing championship in his youth. Was it a midlife crisis? It was certainly a watershed for the journalist-turned-stay-at-home dad, who impulsively decided to throw his hat into the ring, or water, again.

With the bemused approval of his wife and children, Philbrick used the off-season on the island as his solitary training ground, sailing his tiny Sunfish to its remotest corners, experiencing the haunting beauty of its tidal creeks, inlets, and wave-battered sandbars. On ponds, bays, rivers, and finally at the championship on a lake in the heartland of America, he sailed through storms and memories, racing for the prize but finding something unexpected about himself instead.

Review

My father has loved sailing for as long as I can remember. As a builder and contractor, he’s had the opportunity to build many houses, but the one that made him happiest was his own, lakefront house in south central Pennsylvania. And with said house, came the opportunity to sail. And for just as long, it’s been my favorite pastime of his, and one to share. Just don’t ask me to get in the boat with him – the aforementioned flipping was done for fun.

Second Wind seemed like a logical book to give him for Christmas, now that he’s starting to slow down with the building a bit (though this recent injury may lay him up for longer than he would like) and take some more time to pursue leisurely activities. The sailboat is no longer one of them (he no longer resides on a lake), but can vicariously live through Nathaniel Philbrick.

If looking for a leisurely story about one man’s journey to find himself and reclaim some lost youth by reconnecting with nature and the seemingly distant past of sailing, Second Wind is perfect. It’s not my favorite Philbrick, but it certainly like the breath of fresh air that powers his sails – the perfect recovery book – one to be read after heavier fare or finishing a long series. It asks little of the reader’s brainpower and seeks only to share a story. As I’m also reading A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson, I can definitely recommend it to readers who enjoyed his adventure of the Appalachian Trail.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Second Wind

Blog Information

Blogiversary #2!

It’s been 2 years since the launch of the present incarnation of Celebration of Books! And while the past 6 weeks have included a pitiful amount of reading, I’m still going to celebrate!

A Huge Thank You!

The fact that anyone reads anything I have to say still surprises me, so thank you to everyone who has taken even a passing glance at one of my reviews, every view means a great deal to me!

The Stats

From the beginning, we’ve grown in followers, likes, and views! Our nonfiction numbers are slowly but surely catching up with our fiction numbers, 107 fiction reviews to 85 nonfiction. And while my two year kick of nonfiction is still going strong, I have started jumping into fiction once more! My current read (and present favorite) is The Lost Queen by Signe Pike. The image above is from my favorite book of the past review year, In Extremis: The Life and Death of War Correspondent Marie Colvin by Lindsey Hilsum – I’m still obsessed these 9 months after reading it!

So once again, a big thank you, and I promise reviews will start again TOMORROW!