November 2010

Dear Reader,


One thing I hear most often from my customers and friends (well, aside from “When are you getting Stephen King/ Harry Potter/ insert your favorite author here?”) is “I love being in your store – but it isn’t always easy for me to get to Madison.” You want to be able to find out what your favorite bookseller is reading, browse and shop for books, sign up for events – when you want to, not just when we’re open. I’m thrilled to finally be able to say, yes, you can! Our lovely, newly-designed and easy-to-shop website is open for business.


Here are a few things you can now do at www.rjjulia.com that you couldn’t do before. Our book search database is much more extensive than it used to be – no need to search on any other website! The shopping cart is much improved and works like a dream. I love the new events listings; you can pull up the entire month’s calendar on one page, or look at just fiction or just cooking or just kids. If you decide at three in the morning that you must come to Rachael Ray, no problem – you can buy event books and tickets online easily. Want Wally Lamb to sign his newest book to your Aunt Betty in California? We can do that (and ship it) for you, too.


I also love the fact that I no longer have to worry about anyone driving off the road trying to jot down titles from the Faith Middleton Show – the link is on our front page. And you have to “Meet our Booksellers” (under “Shop our Shelves”) – Suzanne, Lori, Mary – all of our wonderfully fabulous booksellers’ reviews are here.  And shortly, we’ll have our annual Holiday catalog up - so you can do all of your Christmas and Hanukkah shopping from the comfort of your own couch. If you prefer paper, the pdf will be posted, and of course the catalog will be available at the store. I know I say this every year, but 2010’s really is the most gorgeous, with the best titles.


To celebrate our marvelous new website (can you tell I’m excited?) and encourage you to visit us online, we’re having a very fun treasure hunt. We’ve “buried” gold coins throughout the website – find one and you’ll win one of several great prizes. To sweeten the pot even further, we’re also offering free shipping on all online orders over $75. Now you have two reasons to check out the new www.rjjulia.com!


One of the most uproarious, laugh-out-loud funny women I’ve ever met has to be Nora Ephron. Her newest book, I Remember Nothing: And Other Reflections, not only dissects the indignities of aging, but also looks back over her early life growing up with an alcoholic mother, dealing with “the D word,” and her memories of the many incredible celebrities she’s met. You must join me at the Long Wharf Theater on December 4th – this is a Read to Grow benefit, so please contact www.readtogrow.org for tickets.


Now, what books will you find me recommending on the website? I just finished Michael Cunningham’s latest, By Nightfall. At first I thought it was too precocious and too immersed in a New York City upper-middle class artsy milieu. But he quickly had me hooked – Cunningham has a kind of thoughtfulness about middle age and the loss of beauty and youth and a graceful acceptance of who you are and, more importantly, who you aren’t.
I just started How to Read the Air by Dinaw Mengestu, who was chosen as one of the New Yorker magazine’s Twenty under Forty. I was riveted, both by the story – of Ethiopian immigrants striving to adjust to America – and by Mengestu’s writing, which has an incredible wisdom and elegance.


I hope nobody missed Rosanne Cash last month – what a magical evening – she is my new best friend! She spoke about her memoir, Composed (she writes books as well as she writes songs), and sang a couple of songs. Rosanne is incredibly grounded for someone who had Johnny Cash for a father. I urge all of you to treat yourself to her book – we even have a few signed copies left.


See you in the store,