I am a sucker for a great American novel, in particular ones set in college and this kind of fits into both those categories but with a twist. This was originally described to me as Wonderboys meets The Art of Fielding which isn’t necessarily true. Instead imagine a novel like Wonderboys or The Art of Fielding and then imagine what happens to the author and his family forty years later.
After reading Ann Patchett’s This Is The Story Of A Happy Marriage I had to go back and read this book. Firstly because I learnt Ann writes non fiction just as beautifully as she does her fiction and secondly she talks in the book about a controversy surrounding Truth & Beauty.
In 2006, Clemson University assigned Truth & Beauty to the freshman class and Ann was invited to give the Convocation…
Poetry is not one of my strong suits. High School pretty much killed any joy there possibly could be in poetry in the way we were forced to study, dissect and apply the curriculum’s appreciation of poets and poetry.
However I did have a brief period where I started to get into the form. I was/am a massive Nirvana fan and one of the things I really like about their songs are Kurt Cobain’s lyrics.…
As a bookseller, I tend to talk about Amazon as little as possible. I think that, too often, my peers focus on what they don’t like about our biggest competitor rather than what makes their shops great and worthwhile. I don’t think that saying “shop with us, because these guys are meanies” or “take pity on us” is or will ever be a viable strategy.
With that said, stories like this are important, and rarely break through, and I’m not above boosting awareness of these terrible practices as much as possible.
"But should these marginal benefits to customers really be purchased at the price of a system that treats employees as untrustworthy human robots and relies on intimidation to push them to the limit, while denying them the rewards of their own increased efficiency?"
IMPORTANT READING. know what your dollars support!
my dream is that enough outraged customers call Amazon and complain, and management actually takes action, raise their prices in order to satisfy their customers’ wish that they treat their employees like human beings. not that Amazon go away, but that it becomes an actual business held to basic standards and regulations. that would solve most of my problems with them, as a bookseller and as a consumer.
I love independent book stores. I want them to succeed, and I hear and understand their frustrations about the Amazon situation. Over the years as an author, I’ve worked with some great, great indies and indie people who are on point with their management, strategy, customer relations, marketing, event planning. I have also worked with indies who are angry and distraught about Amazon but still running their businesses like there is no Amazon. Stores that make silly mistakes when it comes to using social media or don’t use it at all, stores that don’t communicate consistently or clearly with existing customers, or don’t try to figure out how to reach out to new ones, stores whose web sites don’t display their location and hours on the front page, stores that sell Kobos without explaining to customers how to set up an account so it actually benefits their store, stores that don’t hire smart, stores that have gone out of business two months after opening because they’re not creatively problem-solving how they can offer customers something Amazon can’t—because they have an attitude that says it’s the customer’s job to support and patronize them in solidarity against The Man (yeah, there was this one store that basically blamed local authors and its potential customers for its failure). I want indies to succeed and I do what I can to see that happen. But dude, in this climate, you gotta bring your A game.
Observe: Sara gets into one paragraph more compassion and pragmatism about the current state of indie bookselling than most people can manage in a full article.
I am a massive Sadie Jones fan. The Outcast was a debut from a writer of the highest calibre that could easily stand up to comparisons to Ian McEwan. Small Wars only confirmed this but The Uninvited Guestsdidn’t connect with me. So there was a little trepidation before I started reading her new book. Completely unnecessary trepidation because not only was this the Sadie Jones I loved, this was…
“Good Australian writing needs good Australian bookshops to prosper. Without them Australian writers are one more endangered species whose bush has been bulldozed”—2014 Indie Award nominee Richard Flanagan