April 2011

Dear Reader,

Thanks for all the wonderful ideas we received in our brainstorming sessions.  It was great fun and informative to hear from you by email, in person and by phone (over 500 of you got in touch!).  So, one of the top items, which may sound a little ridiculous (and I feel silly saying this), but we heard it over and over with resounding consistency is - you want to hear more about books we love, books added to staff suggestions and books written by authors coming to the store.  So one thing (duh!) we are going to do is change the format of some of our email newsletters to better showcase books.  I will also be tweeting about what I'm reading once or twice a week.  Please follow me @rjjuliarox.  I promise I will not be tweeting about where or what I ate for lunch, odd mishaps during my day, or my up-to-the-minute emotional states.  You will be getting meaty tweets full of what I'm reading, hearing about reading, interested or not so interested in reading, and thought provoking news, surrounding reading, books, and the industry.  We will be taking advantage of a lot of other great ideas that we heard in the coming months as well, so stay tuned. 


One of the best ways to get up to the minute updates about books we love, authors that will be here, and general store information is from our facebook page.  (http://www.facebook.com/rjjuliabooksellers)  Ok- so for anyone who knows me, you know I'm a little competitive...  Right now there are 921 people who like us on Facebook.  My goal is to reach 5,000 fans (there are over 10,000 of you receiving this email, so if half of you like us we'd be there).  I promise we will give you book ideas, author updates, fun videos, and pictures.  When we reach 5,000, we will have a party at the store, therefore, the sooner we get there, the sooner we party.

Those are some of the ways you can receive our best book thoughts.  You can also hear about books we love right here in this very email.  This month is poetry month so first I'll tell you about some poetry books I'm loving.


For any wife, mother, friend, woman, or anyone with a bookshelf

This is a book that everyone should own!  It is also the perfect Mother's Day gift.  She Walks in Beauty, compiled by Caroline Kennedy, is a superb collection of poems about the stages of a woman's life from falling in love, to marriage and kids, to aging.  She includes poems by Dorothy Parker, Elizabeth Bishop, Pablo Neruda and many more of the greats.  It's utterly lovely, utterly fantastic- love- love it.  It's smart, funny, sad, thought provoking and entertaining.


For anyone who would like to be surrounded by the masters of poetry

The Poets Laureate Anthology is the only current collection of all the Laureates' work.  It contains excellent and unusual examples of each poet's work.  One of the greatest benefits of having all these great poets in the same book is not that you get a collection of similar masterpieces, but rather that it highlights how different each style is and yet how masterful their works are.  The range is incredible from the accessible and simple to the dark and provocative; this collection allows another perspective on some of our favorite poets.


For young poets

This is such a cool idea- Poem in Your Pocket, by Bruno Navasky is a collection of rip-out poems.  The idea is that you can rip one out of the book and carry it around in your pocket for the day.  This is one of the tools he uses in teaching kids poetry.  Here is how he describes it:  "Teaching poetry often feels like one of those impossible tasks, like trying to tickle yourself, or keeping a secret.  A secret needs to be secret, but it wants to be shared, just like a poem.  So carry it with you.  Keep it hidden deep in your pocket.  But be careful!  Don't forget it wants to get out.  And maybe sometimes, once in a while, you let it fly."  Bruno will be here April 15th- please click here for details. 


April is not only poetry month, but it marks the store's 21st anniversary.  As you all know by now, keeping an independent bookstore in business is no small feat.  I want to sincerely thank you for each book you've purchased here, every author you've come to listen, and all the great discussions we've had about books over the past 21 years.  I hope that together we will be able to be here for another 21 years.


Staying in business for another 21 years is not going to happen by chance.  One study done recently showed that most patrons of independent bookstores purchase about 3 out of 10 of their books from their independent bookstore.  I know it's not reasonable to expect you to buy all your books here, but 4 seems like it might be doable.  If you could buy one more book from us each year that could mean all the difference- so, think "one more book"!


In honor of our 21st birthday, as thanks for your years of support, and in an effort to make purchasing one more book a little easier, we would like to offer you 21% off on some of my favorite books this month.   You will receive 21% off when you purchase any of the books mentioned in this email between now and our anniversary on April 19th!  Here are a couple more of my top picks...


For those looking to hear a fresh voice telling a beautifully written story                                            

The Tiger's Wife reminds me about the pleasure of reading international voices.  Told by native Croatian, and youngest of the New Yorker's 20 under 40, debut author, Tea Obreht, this story offers a refreshing new voice.  This is not a page-turner you cannot put down, but you will relish it every time you pick it up.


For people who enjoy finding art in surprising places and ways

Andy Goldsworthy's artwork, in Time, is utterly ephemeral and fleeting, and perhaps because of this, utterly transfixing. There is something of the ancients in the way Goldsworthy puts together stone, or wood, or leaves--or even in the way he lays himself down on a dry patch of ground in the rain so that when he gets up, we see a sort of reverse shadow of his body.  Truly inspiring and a wonderful narrative style of writing which makes you feel like you were there when the works were created.


For those looking for an inspirational real-life account

I was fortunate enough to meet Rye Barcott.  He was very impressive and I'm happy to say his book, It Happened on the Way to the War, is getting great reviews.  Here's what some reviews have said: 

Rye Barcott went to Kenya looking for answers to ethnic violence. What he found was a slum teeming with garbage, vermin, and .... talented people looking for opportunities. Through warm friendships with people living in the slum, he was able to assist in the building of a community organization that serves thousands of children.
Most inspiring is hearing the nuts and bolts of how an idealistic college student, and American Marine, was able to make this journey. Readers will never look at young adults the same way - like Rye, we are able to create amazing change if we have the courage and fortitude to work for it.  If you have ever thirsted to get out of your comfort zone and enter a place usually forbidden to travelers and foreigners, read this book, and experience life in Kibera.


For someone who enjoys a memoir history blend

I love Michael Frayn, and My Father's Fortune is no exception.  This is a story about moving from real poverty into the middle class, and the narrator learns as much from his father, an asbestos salesman, as he learns at Cambridge. It's also a close-up look at WWII from a child's-eye view (literally: from various bomb shelters, some homemade, some government-issued).  Love is always present, gratitude too, and a sense of proportion and good humor, no matter how hard life gets. It's a book that reminds you most lives are difficult and beautiful at the same time. 


I hope you enjoy some of these great reads.  As always, thank you for your loyalty.

See you in the store,

 Rox anne signature


P.S. We will be holding a Westbrook youth- group, club or team shopping day April 16th!  We have decided to offer shopping days to kids groups, teams, and clubs where they will keep 15% percentage of the sales their group generates.

Here's how it will work:

-Register your youth group- it could be a sports team or a club. Just call the store or come in to register by telling us the name of the club and a little about it and its affiliations. 203-245-3959

- Just tell us the name of your club at the register when you check out and your group will get 15 % of the total sales that group generates to put toward their fundraising!


* Anniversary discount cannot be combined with other discounts and cannot be used on ebooks.