November 23, 2012

A Humming, Shivering Little Caravan of Abercrombie

What the staff is reading this week:

Alan: "RED COUNTRY by Joe Abercrombie."

Cary: "RED COUNTRY by Joe Abercrombie."

Claud: "CARAVAN, by Dorothy Gilman (reread); THE MAN WHO FELL IN LOVE WITH THE MOON, by Tom Spanbauer (reread); BLACK SHEEP and BEHOLD, HERE'S POISON, by Georgette Heyer (rereads); CLOSE TO THE MACHINE: TECHNOPHILIA AND ITS DISCONTENTS, by Ellen Ullman (reread); THE EXECUTOR'S GUIDE: Settling A Loved One's Estate Or Trust, by Mary Randolph; LITTLE BROTHER, by Cory Doctorow (reread); and HOMELAND, by Cory Doctorow."

Heather: "Still reading BEST SERVED COLD by Joe Abercrombie.  Haven't had to take MUNI as much lately so haven't had as much reading time."

 Jude: "Just finished RED COUNTRY by Joe Abercrombie. (See a theme among the staff this week?) I enjoyed it SO much; just loved it!  I haven't been so enthused about a novel in ages."

Naamen: "Just started THE HUM AND THE SHIVER by Alex Bledsoe. It's about a group of people called the Tufa who wield music and magic in the Appalachian mountains and who've been there as long as they remember. Bronwyn Hyatt is just returning from a tour in Iraq, injured and being hailed an international hero for an act she can't remember, to a city she couldn't wait to leave. Meanwhile tragic portents haunt her people and n apparition has appeared to her family for the past week waiting to speak with Bronwyn. Really interesting set-up that plays on my literary kink for different humanities and cultures existing alongside our own, and the POV voices are great so far."

November 08, 2012

Rescuing the Last Wicked Cold Silent Film Nuns

What the staff is reading this week:


Cary: "BORN WICKED by Jessica Spotswood."


Heather: "BEST SERVED COLD by Joe Abercrombie.  Strange how something can be so violent and yet so damn funny."

Jude: "I'm alternating between THE HYDROGEN SONATA by Iain M. Banks and THE LAST OUTLAWS by Thom Hatch, which is about Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid."

November 07, 2012

Thanks for the Past Fifteen

by Alan Beatts

A few days ago we celebrated the 15 year anniversary of Borderlands Books and, at the same time, the three year anniversary of the Cafe.  We had a big sale and a party afterwards.  It was all really lovely and a good time was had by all.

Leading into the party I went looking for some amusing trivia to thow into my "thanks for coming, now go have a drink" speech.  Here's a tid-bit that I especially enjoyed -- if you took all the books that we've sold in the last 15 years and placed them, spine up, on the sidewalk along Market St. in San Francisco they would reach from the base of Market St. at the Ferry Building all the way to the intersection of Market and Castro Streets at the base of Twin Peaks.

If you don't live in San Francisco, let me give you two other comparisons - The same line of books would reach from Lakeshore Drive in Chicago all the way up Michgan Ave. to the Art Insitute . . . and all the way back again.  And, for those who prefer New York, the line of books would go from Washington Square Park up 5th Ave. all the way to E. 77th St!

Any way you measure it, that's an awful lot of books.

A milestone like a 15 year anniversary is an obvious time to reflect on the past, which is what I found myself doing.  The end product of all the reflection was positive but the process wasn't really very pleasant.  As many of my long-term customers and readers know, I have quite a checkered past -- firearms instructor, labor dispute security officer, bodyguard, night club promoter, motorcycle shop manager and, for the past 15 years, bookseller.  As I was thinking about how I got here, as a store owner and 15 year bookseller, I realized on a visceral level just how messed up I was as a person through my teens and 20s.

Not that this was something I wasn't aware of at the time or later.  I knew that I was angry and violent.  I knew that I had a hard time functioning in a "normal" sort of way.  But time has given me more perspective and I see more clearly the problems that I had.  And the magnitude of them.

Opening the bookstore was probably the first thing that really started me on the way to coming to a relatively comfortable accommodation with the things that were getting in the way of me having a happier and more healthy life.  Now I have a much better perspective on myself, my failings, and the things that shaped me as I am.  I'm not sure I would have gotten where I am now were it not for Borderlands.

I know that running Borderlands has given me the chance to meet some of the best people I've ever known.  In addition I've gotten a job that I love and a way to make a living that is a million miles from what I had thought was my profession.

For that I am immeasurably grateful.

The gratitude that I feel extends to everyone who has helped Borderlands survive and succeed.  The people who've worked for me, the countless authors, editors, publishers, artists and fellow booksellers who've supported me, and, most of all, the customers who've kept me in business for these 15 years.  Words cannot express how thankful I am to each and every one of you.

It's been a great 15 years.  I'm pretty sure that I'm up for another 15, assuming that you're all willing to come along for the ride.

October Bestsellers

1. Pirate Cinema by Cory Doctorow
2. Bowl of Heaven by Gregory Benford and Larry Niven
3.The Hydrogen Sonata by Iain M. Banks
4. Rapture of the Nerds by Cory Doctorow and Charles Stross
5. The Dirty Streets of Heaven by Tad Williams
6. Dodger by Terry Pratchett
7. The Twelve by Justin Cronin
8. Forge of Darkness by Steven Erikson
9. Devil Said Bang by Richard Kadrey
10. Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan

Mass Market Paperbacks
1. A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin
2. A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin
3. Zero History by William Gibson
4. Ashes of Honor by Seanan McGuire
5. A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
6. Seeds of Earth by Michael Cobley
7. Count to a Trillion by John C. Wright
8. Micro by Michael Crichton
9. Changes by Mercedes Lackey
10. Feed by Mira Grant

Trade Paperbacks
1. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
2. Little Brother by Cory Doctorow
3. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
4. The Cold Commands by Richard Morgan
5. The Wonderful Future That Never Was by the Editors of Popular Mechanics and Gregory Benford

October News Roundup

* For all of you Cthuluhu fans, something I never expected to see on NPR: "'Softball-Sized Eyeball' Washes Up In Florida; Can You I.D. It?"
And then the mystery was solved:

* A bit of post-Halloween creepiness for you: skeletal remains found in 100-year-old tree uprooted by Sandy:

* Robert J. Sawyer shares the five biggest misconceptions about science fiction writers:

* Thanks to Chats for the link to this New Yorker article on how bookstores select their stock & why even esoteric human selections trump suggestion engines:

* The restored desk where Bram Stoker wrote DRACULA is up for auction, if you happen to have an extra $60,000 - $80,000 lying around.

* Overheard in the store: "There ought to be a word for wanting to hug someone and strangle them at the same time.  There probably is, in German."

* Thanks to Amanda for this link to the Dead Author Podcast:

* Holiday Hours:
Borderlands Books will be closed on Thanksgiving (November 22nd), Christmas Day (December 25th) and New Year's Day (January 1st, 2013).  We will  close early, at 6 pm, on Christmas Eve (December 24th) and New Year's Eve (December 31st).  We will be open late, until 10 pm, the week before Christmas (December 17th - 23rd).

Borderlands Cafe will be open from 8 am to 6 pm on Thanksgiving Day.  On Christmas and New Years Eve we'll be open from 8 am to 5 pm and on Christmas and New Years day we'll be open from 10 am to 5 pm.

November Upcoming Events

S.G. Browne, I SAW ZOMBIES EATING SANTA CLAUS: A BREATHERS CHRISTMAS CAROL (Gallery Books, Hardcover, $14.99) Saturday, November 10th at 3:00 pm

SF in SF at the Variety Preview Room in the Hobart Building (582 Market Street) with authors Cecelia Holland and Kim Stanley Robinson, Saturday, November 10th at 7:00 pm

Max Gladstone, THREE PARTS DEAD (Tor, Hardcover, $24.99) and Ben Macallan, PANDAEMONIUM (Solaris, Mass Market, $8.99), Saturday, November 17th at 3:00 pm

An Evening with Patrick Rothfuss: A Reading, Q&A and Signing, Monday, November 19th at 7:00 pm

Drop-By Signing with Nalo Hopkinson, Saturday, December 8th at 3:00 pm

Details after the break