Out now is October's Indie Next List: new titles hand-picked and recommended by independent booksellers, plus October's Notable books, and past Indie Next List titles Now in Paperback.
We've got a video interview with Jeannette Walls on Half Broke Horses, as well as videos for Audrey Niffenegger's new novel Her Fearful Symmetry, Masha Hamilton's 31 Hours, and William Kamkwamba's memoir The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, with a special message from the author in Malawi.
You can find the printed list at an independent bookstore near you. We're also offering a print-at-home version, found on the Indie Next List page directly beneath the carousel of titles, so you can read at home and take it to your local indie.
I wrote about Naperville, Illinois' budding IndieBound Naperville group way back in January. Since then, it's only grown! Naperville News 17 recently explained what it's all about, highlighting their Independents Week celebrations.
Support Banned Books Week.
Book censorship of all kinds—even book-burning—continues today. Challenges may come from parents, teachers, clergy members, elected officials, or organized groups, and arise due to objections to language, violence, sexual or racial themes, or religious viewpoint, to name just a few. In 2008, the American Library Association counted 513 challenges. Many other cases go unreported.
Intellectual freedom—the freedom to access information and express ideas, even if the information and ideas might be considered unorthodox or unpopular—provides the foundation for Banned Books Week. Banned Books Week stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints for all who wish to read and access them.
The books featured during Banned Books Week have been targets of attempted bannings. Fortunately, while some books were banned or restricted, in a majority of cases the books were not banned, all thanks to the efforts of librarians, teachers, booksellers, and members of the community to retain the books in the library collections.
Imagine how many more books might be challenged—and possibly banned or restricted—if librarians, teachers, and booksellers across the country did not use Banned Books Week each year to teach the importance of our First Amendment rights and the power of literature, and to draw attention to the danger that exists when restraints are imposed on the availability of information in a free society.
Banned Books Week is sponsored by the American Library Association, the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, the American Booksellers Association, the Association of American Publishers and the National Association of College Stores, and was founded in 1982 to raise awareness of censorship problems in the United States and abroad. For the past 25 years, it has remained the only national celebration of the freedom to read.
The Philly Liars Club, a Philadelphia-based group of authors who “lie for a living,” have a lot of true things to say about indie bookstores. Since May 2009, the thirteen professional liars of the PLC have been on a Truth Tour of independent bookstore parties, with signings, giveaways, games, and general mayhem. I recently asked them a few questions about the club, their parties, and why they choose indies. I think they were telling me the truth.
How and why did you form the Philly Liars Club?
Jonathan Maberry: The Liars Club formed as a natural outgrowth of a lunch meeting I had with Gregory Frost. We got together to talk about networking and promotion ideas. We swapped emails about how we should gather a group of writers together to do the marketing thing as a team. At the same time we thought about how much fun it would be doing group readings and signings, maybe a few classes… We each invited in some like-minded authors, and soon we had a crew. Because we’re writers and we make stuff up for a living, I suggested that we call our gang the Liars Club.
The PLC authors are pretty diverse. What's the criteria for joining?
Maberry: Certain qualities of mind: optimism even in the face of the publishing industry’s financial troubles; enthusiasm for the craft and the business; a sense of fun; and a willingness to participate in projects that wouldn’t always directly benefit you.
Some have suggested that our requirements for membership also include low personal standards, a fast-and-loose attitude toward the truth, and no outstanding police warrants. But those are probably lies. We decided that there should be an even dozen, which is why (as liars) we have thirteen. Oddly, all thirteen members have never been in the same room at the same time.
How did you come up with the idea for the Truth Tour Parties? Were these an extension of any regular PLC meetings, or a totally different idea?
Don Lafferty: Ha! The "regular" meetings were held in a variety of dark local pubs where we brainstormed ideas. The time always flew by and there seemed to be so much more to talk about, but the positive events so many of us were having at indie booksellers always seemed to be a bright spot in an otherwise uphill battle to reach more readers.
Maberry: It was one of those out of the blue suggestions that was so right that we all tried to lie and claim that we each thought of it. In truth it was cooked up by Marie Lamba, one of our newest members. Marie suggested that we throw parties for indie bookstores. And not pity parties, but real parties with a focus on fun. That felt right and it felt like it would be a blast. We had a meeting and bashed ideas back and forth and what emerged was a solid plan for a monthly party, the Liars Tell the Truth About Independent Bookstores. And we were off…
Rhode Island indie shops and restaurants from all over. Get the full experience in eat.shop rhode island:
Tio Mateo's - "Left to my own devices, I might just layer mole over mole and call that a meal. Fortunately for my balanced diet, the fine chefs at Tio Mateo provide a simple and tasty menu of burritos, enchiladas and tacos over which to spread the liquid gold."
7 Ply - "'7 Ply has that air of coolness that compels you to pull over and check it out. If it's seductive to me, imagine how great it is for South County's many committed surfers and skaters."
La Laiterie - "Entomb me in La Laiterie, and I will undoubtedly make a happy passage and be content for all eternity."
Rocket to Mars - "Rocket to Mars is just good, clean, archetypal vintage. Atomic-era relics and childhood memories in plastic, lucite and needlepoint."
Alloy Gallery - "Inside the narrow, spare shop, you'll discover work by eight or ten designers, mostly RISD graduates. Each tall case features deeply original work gleaming in silvers and golds but also featuring enamels, wools and other fun materials."
Lucky Garden - "I can come in and say, 'Hong Kong menu, please.' And then, like the sudden shift to color in The Wizard of Oz, the world becomes a brighter place."
More interesting indie shops in Rhode Island—this time from Providence. Explore these selections from eat.shop rhode island:
Farmstead - "'To brie or not to brie' is not a question worth puzzling over. The answer is always yes, and doubly so, when it's a double cream brie, as you might find at Farmstead."
Frog & Toad - "If you need a little shopping thrill, a cool watch, or some small touch for your home or a hostess gift, it's all here in the wonderful kaleidoscope of color and texture that is Frog & Toad."
Javaspeed - "The bad boys who hang here and the women who love them mingle among the vapors of scooter lube, steamed milk, and the "eau de scooter" wafting off the members of the Death or Glory Rally Club."
New Rivers - "Even in Rhode Island you can collect some lettuce from this fella's farm, a few oysters from that guy's aqua bed, and maybe find a nice free-range chicken native to Tiverton. Bruce puts all this together masterfully."
Simple Pleasures - "Situated in a tiny 19th century forge building beside the Seekonk River, Simple Pleasures is, quite simply, one of the loveliest shops you'll ever see from the outside. Yet on the inside, it manages to somehow be even lovelier."
Julian's - "It's lunch. You ran today, and you're feeling healthy. What do you want to eat? Julian's tempeh wrap. It's evening. You've got friends visiting from somewhere really cool. What do you want to eat? Julian's board special. Julian's. Forever."
Check out all of the new stuff on IndieBound.org's book info pages!
Alternative Weekly Reviews
Book reviews from 131 independent, alternative newspapers across North America—all members of the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies (AAN)—are now featured on IndieBound.org's book info pages. The AAN covers every major metropolitan area and smaller cities and towns, plus its web presence on AltWeeklies.com. These newsweeklies focus on local news, culture, and arts, and their book reviews highlight local authors, events at indie bookstores, and books on community topics, in addition to new titles and great reads. See Love is a Four-Letter Word, with a review from Durham, North Carolina’s Independent Weekly.
Now on book info pages you can also find videos: book trailers, author interviews, skits and more. See All in a Day by Cynthia Rylant and Nikki McClure for an example, for a video interview with illustrator McClure.
Browse Sample Pages
Another treat from publishers on IndieBound.org is the ability to browse inside books. Over 10,000 titles now feature links to browse sample pages directly under the book cover image. See Haruki Murakami’s After Dark for an example.
Find out who else is wishing for books on IndieBound.org. Just under the Find Bookstores button, you’ll see a new feature: “This book is on these lists,” showing which users are wishing for which books. Explore your fellow readers’ lists, find books in common and pick up some new reading ideas. See The Magicians by Lev Grossman, a much-wished for book, for an example.
Ask Indies is a collaborative project by indie booksellers on Twitter, designed to use their expert knowledge to help you find books. Ask a question about books, and booksellers will respond with recommendations, ideas, and opinions.
Any Twitter user can publicly ask booksellers a question by coding a post with the hashtag #askindies.
Every book page on IndieBound.org now has an Ask Indies button which links to a Twitter form—here's an example. The book's URL and the #askindies hashtag are automatically entered for you. You can tweet your question directly from the site.
Of course, you can also use the #askindies hashtag wherever you post to Twitter -- through Twitter.com, or a desktop or phone client.
These videos were originally posted on The Green Apple Core blog.
Our next Indie City is, well, several cities... We're exploring the not-to-be-missed indies in Rhode Island, starting with Middletown and Newport. Check out these recommendations from Judy, Jenny, Molly and Marilyn of Island Books in Middletown, RI.
Jenny says, "KJ's Restaurant & Pub is one of my favorite places to eat with my family, especially in the summer. A pub style restaurant with a view of the ocean in Middletown, RI. The burgers are great, the nachos are a must, the decor is fun (my kids LOVE the giant saltwater fish tank that divides the upstairs bar from the dining room), and the downstairs offers a bar and game room for those times when we get out without the kids."
Molly says, "Down Under Jewelry showcases independent artists in an original, independent shop - an elegant yet comfortable place to shop for something special.
Marilyn says, "Thames Glass has a wide array of hand blown glass—great for wedding gifts. They also offer glass blowing classes, which is a fun way to do it yourself and have a memento from Newport."