Anna Quindlen on What She’s Reading (and What Drives Her Nuts on Downton Abbey)

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You might call Ann Quindlen a trendsetter.

Before countless bloggers started chronicling their lives online, she was keeping up a steady stream of writing about life, home, and family – blended with opinions on cultural and political trends – in “Public and Private,” her Pulitzer Prize-winning column in The New York Times. Long before Buzzfeed began feeding us daily listicles on every subject imaginable, Quindlen was publishing her own top-10s (such as “10 Mystery Novels I’d Most Like to Find in a Summer Rental”) in How Reading Changed My Life. And since before social media ever existed, she has made a habit of noticing how people stay connected (and don’t) in relationships. Read the rest of this entry »

Notes from Ann: The Smart Staff Grows Up

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Photo by Heidi Ross

(Photo by Heidi Ross – EveryOneNightStand.Tumblr.Com )

Read any of the countless (and oh, I do mean countless) interviews I’ve given about the bookstore and there you will find me talking about how smart our staff is, what great readers they are, and how much they love books. The smart staff, real live human beings as opposed to computer algorithms favored by some of the online booksellers, are what make the experience of independent bookstores so deeply satisfying. Read the rest of this entry »

What’s Your Superpower? Our Booksellers Reveal Theirs

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SuperFriends image from The Hollywood Reporter, courtesy of The Everett Collection

What does it mean to have a specialty? That you know a lot about something? Sure. In our case, that’s books; when it comes to the printed page, our booksellers know their stuff. But true specialists have more than just knowledge. They have particular abilities specific to their field of expertise — skills so finely tuned, you might even call them superpowers. Read the rest of this entry »

Will Greg Heffley Ever Grow Up? “Wimpy Kid” Author Jeff Kinney Considers His Most Famous Character’s Future

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Photo via

Last week, crowds gathered at Ensworth School to help Parnassus Books welcome Jeff Kinney, bestselling author of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, who spoke about his work, his characters, and his latest book, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Hard Luck. We learned that readers young and old love to recount the story of Kinney’s early career, when — after his dream of becoming a newspaper cartoonist fizzled — he turned his fate around, taking the drawings critics had called “too childlike” and putting them into a new (and perfect) context: the diary of a fictional middle schooler. Read the rest of this entry »

Notes From Ann: Home

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Since last I wrote I have seen America, one bookstore at a time. Book tour is hard to explain. People want to believe it’s glamorous. They ask me what my favorite city was, or what the most surprising question was, but the cities and the questions all blur together, along with the airports and the hotel rooms. There isn’t enough time to tell Portland from St. Louis. Book tour makes me feel like I’m Dorothy up inside the tornado – everyone I love spinning past me, waving and then shooting off again. Read the rest of this entry »

“OK, You, Just Talk” — How Sue Monk Kidd Brings Characters To Life

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Sue Monk Kidd

Bestselling author Sue Monk Kidd’s new novel, The Invention of Wings, begins in Charleston, South Carolina, with a gift. For Sarah Grimké’s 11th birthday in 1803, she receives a slave, and her story first intersects with that of Hetty (known as “Handful” to her mother, a slave in the same household). Read the rest of this entry »