Category Archives: Book Industry

Suzy’s Personal Note to the Selection Committee

Note: This personal letter to the Selection Committee was written by former Co-op employee and bookseller Suzy Staubach and was attached to the proposal. We share it here. And please, if you have not yet signed the petition, take a moment and do so now. And share.

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Dear Martha Bedard, Alan Calandro, Eliza Conrad, Patti Fazio, Michael George, Robert Hasengratz, Mike Kirk, Kyle Muncie and Sally Reis,

As a former longtime employee of the Co-op and member of the community, I am writing to ask you to Choose the UConn Co-op.

As you read and consider the proposals that have been presented to you and deliberate amongst yourselves, I would ask you to bear in mind, that the UConn Co-op’s sole purpose is to serve its members, all of whom are affiliated with the University of Connecticut. The UConn Co-op is here for UConn. The Co-op and all the people who make up the Co-op, love and celebrate UConn. For the corporate entities that you may be contemplating, the University of Connecticut is only one school in a harem of schools across the country. No matter what their representatives tell you or the Administration during this courtship period, and perhaps further during a honeymoon period should they prevail, the University of Connecticut does not come first with them and never will. They “serve many masters,” but primarily they must serve their own corporate bottom line. In their portfolios, UConn would merely be one of many. Nothing special. For the UConn Co-op, UConn is not only number one, but the only one.

I recognize that there have been some problems with the Co-op in recent years, some frustrations with the Co-op’s top management, and some misunderstandings between the Co-op and UConn. Communication has not been what it should have been. But these problems can all be, and indeed are being, addressed and solved. Locally owned and operated, the Co-op brings much to the University that a corporate entity could not and would not bring. I ask that you choose the UConn Co-op to continue as your partner. There is, as the saying goes and a senior faculty friend pointed out, no need to throw out the baby with the bath water. Let the Co-op fix what’s not working for UConn. But lets also keep the magic, keep what makes having a cooperative for a bookstore special.

In this letter I will not tell you in detail what you have already read or will read in the Co-op’s proposal: that the Co-op is indeed solvent; that the Co-op collaborates deeply and personally across disciplines with the English Department, School of Fine Arts, faculty, student organizations, departments and institutes, Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry, Dining Services, and cultural centers; makes thousands of dollars of contributions to student groups each year; works closely with the local community including area schools, art galleries, organizations, and libraries including Hartford Public; has lower textbook prices than the lease operators; keeps money in the community; provides jobs, brings writers to campus, is a good citizen.

Instead, what I will focus on here is some of what you get with the UConn Co-op that you will not get with a distantly managed corporate entity.

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Sharon Ristau, Children’s Buyer

I will start with buyers. The bookstore employs professional staff, some of whom are buyers. With the lease operators, all buying decisions are made centrally in the corporate offices. A handful of remote buyers select and buy books, clothing, supplies, technology and gifts for all their stores. Why does this matter? Let’s look for a moment at Sharon Ristau, the Co-op’s Children’s Buyer who is also responsible for customer orders and much of the backlist. Why is a children’s buyer important to UConn? As you know, UConn offers classes in children’s literature and illustration, and is home to the Northeast Children’s Literature Collection, all constituents for a good children’s book department. The UConn Co-op is a place to discover new authors and illustrators. But UConn also has young faculty with young families and married graduate students with young families. These families are served by the children’s department of the UConn Co-op Bookstore. It makes them feel welcome. With an in-house buyer, the Co-op can adapt to the needs of the UConn community and respond. Sharon is actually on the floor much of the time. She interacts with customers: young faculty, grad students, area teachers, parents, children, and the many UConn students who read teen fiction. She listens. Additionally, Sharon works with area schools, not only ordering books for them, but bringing them authors, providing advanced reading copies and occasional posters and literacy promotion items from publishers. The Co-op’s children’s book department serves as a town-gown bridge. And like all of the buyers at the Co-op, Sharon can react to a request, or help solve a problem, with great speed. She does not need corporate approval from Chicago or New York to order books by an author who has decided to visit a UConn class or local school at the last minute. She does not need corporate approval resulting in a time lag of weeks to create a display of books that support a performance, conference or workshop at the Ballard Institute.

Similarly, other buyers and staff members in the Co-op can and do react to special needs, demands and situations. When a teaching assistant or adjunct is hired days before classes start, the Co-op’s text buyers immediately respond to assure the books are on the shelves for the students without delay. When Athletics turns in the list for scholarship students scarcely a week before classes, the UConn Co-op’s Julie Laumark does not say that getting the books ready for the first day of classes “Can’t be done.” She goes to great lengths to accommodate the late request, so that the athletes have their books on time. With centralized buyers in corporate headquarters, this is not only impossible, but to them, not desirable. They have their layers of protocol and procedures in place. There is no local buyer to deal with the situation, listen to a request, or remember a customer’s taste.

The Co-op can say “Yes” without the red tape of corporate distant management. Hang up the Teale lecture poster and keep it up all year? The answer is “Yes.” Can a student group hold a poetry slam in the theater? The answer is “Yes.” Can the town’s Santa have a spot in the bookstore? The answer is “Yes.” Can the jazz band store their drums in the bookstore between performances? The answer is “Yes.” Can athletics use the conference room before a game? The answer is “Yes.” Can the Community School for the Arts have a student art show and reception in the bookstore? The answer is “Yes.” All these yeses are made quickly, in order to best serve UConn.

There are many everyday small things that the Co-op does that, in the larger world, go unnoticed. For instance, when a Ballard performance attracts a larger audience than anticipated, Co-op staff cheerfully move fixtures away from the folding doors between the theater and bookstore and help set up chairs in the cleared space. During the design process, it was Co-op staff, myself actually, who asked for this flexibility. For a corporate lease operator, however, sales per square foot are the holy grail, not the success of a UConn puppetry performance.

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Or think about the mural on that same wall I just spoke of. The architects were going to put a commercial wallpaper design on it. But we thought: we are surrounded by art students and faculty, let’s ask them if they would like the opportunity to design a large mural. The result was a wonderful collaboration between the bookstore, the museum, and the illustration students in the School of Fine Arts and resulted in a spectacular mural, but more importantly an extraordinary learning experience for the students. In fact, the faculty shared that it was a learning experience for them too. Had the bookstore been run by a lease operator, the mural would not have happened.

I also want to point out to you, that when we talk about what the Co-op does, and will continue to do should you choose the Co-op, and what the lease operators say they will do, we are not talking about the exact same things. For instance, one collaborative project, of which I am personally proud, is the Connecticut Children’s Book Fair. This is a project of the UConn Libraries and the UConn Co-op, as Martha will tell you. It has been suggested to me, that a Barnes & Noble College Division store or Follett could replace the Co-op in this endeavor. Sure, they order books. But the Co-op’s role is far greater than buying and selling books. The Co-op was not only an initiator and founder of the Fair, but Co-op staff members are deeply involved, through personal relationships with publicists and authors and illustrators in bringing authors and illustrators to the book fair. Co-op staff write and produce the programs, obtain costume characters, create the autograph and presentation schedule, handle autograph lines, order, receive and display the books, handle all the sales, go into the schools with books and authors, take photos, write thank you letters, report to the New York Times Bestseller List (very important to authors & publishers), work with media, whatever else needs to be done, and take a leadership role. The Co-op devotes substantial resources – staffing, equipment, and money – to the Book Fair. And on top of this, it donates 20% of the gross sales to the Book Fair and NCLC. Without the Co-op, the UConn Libraries would have to vastly increase the resources and staffing it devotes to the Fair. In fact, there are no state level book fairs that are supported by lease-operated bookstores. Independents have a good reputation and the Co-op in particular has a good reputation when it comes to treating authors and illustrators well. Authors and illustrators participating in the book fair need to know in advance that they will be pampered. And that special pampering that the Co-op provides, reflects well on UConn and the Collection. And authors and illustrators gossip. Word gets out.

Not only would B&N or Follett or Amazon, not be able to bring to the Book Fair what the Co-op has brought these past 24 years, executives in their corporate headquarters would not embrace such a labor intensive and non-income producing enterprise with the devotion and fervor that the Co-op has.

The UConn Co-op is about personal commitment. It is about many relationships with students and faculty. I was honored by the many relationships and collaborations I enjoyed during my tenure at the bookstore. I will always cherish my UConn friends and experiences. Today, the UConn Co-op staff is deeply committed to continuing to foster these relationships and partnerships.

We all want what is best for the students and what is best for UConn. I think letting the students keep their co-operative bookstore is in their best interest. UConn can choose B&N for 5 years and change to Follett at the end of the contract if they are not pleased. But UConn cannot choose a B&N or Follett and then say at the end of five years, it wants the Co-op back. There would be no Co-op to bring back.

I have been very impressed with the present Board, and especially the Chair Tim Dzurilla, that the Co-op has had in place since September. Their work has been impressive. They are exactly the kind of students and young faculty that would make any university proud. How wonderful that they are part of UConn. I am confident in their leadership, dazzled, actually, at the work they have done, and appreciate the plans they have put in place to conduct a search for the general manager who will guide the Co-op in the next years. I am confident in the UConn Co-op’s ability serve and thrive going forward. I hope that you and the Administration see the performance of this Board as a huge step forward for the Co-op. I am pleased, too, that they are putting in place measures that will ensure this continued good work.

I was startled to hear Scott Jordan characterize the University’s relationship with the Co-op as a “real estate deal.” We have never understood it to be that. The Co-op was not founded or designed as a “real estate” deal. Indeed, from the founding, the mandate was for the Co-op to be far more than merely a venue for retail. The Co-op was instead given a mission of service to students and has taken that charge seriously, working hard to add to the cultural life of students and faculty.

Friends and Committee Members, I ask you to Choose the Co-op, UConn’s devoted friend and supporter; UConn’s partner of forty years; UConn’s locally owned and operated, student-run Co-op, as the bookstore. I ask you to say Yes to the UConn Co-op and No to outside corporate entities. I ask you to support a future in which the UConn Co-op and the University of Connecticut work together for the good of the entire “UConn Nation.”

Thank you!

Suzy Staubach

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UConn Co-op Bookstore at Storrs Center Updates

We are beginning to shelve. Here Bob S is hard at work.

We are beginning to shelve. Here Bob S is hard at work.

At last we have begun to bring books into our new UConn Co-op Bookstore at Storrs Center. Oh how good it feels! Not all of the fixtures are in place yet, so we are putting books out while other work goes on around us. It’s going to take a bit of time but we did not want to wait until everything was ready.

Our goal is to be open the week before Thanksgiving (in time for Small Business Saturday, for which we have many exciting things planned). The bookstore portion will open a few weeks before the Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry or Le Petit Marché open but hopefully by mid-December everything will be open.

The store will be light and airy with comfy places for you to sit and lots of wonderful books for your reading pleasure. We look forward to welcoming old and new friends.
Cheers,
Suzy

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Where Are the Books?

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Yes, our General Books Department is relocating to the new downtown as UConn Co-op Bookstore at Storrs Center. We will have a comfy seating area for your browsing pleasure, a dedicated event space that we share with the Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry, a robust schedule of readings, an expanded children’s area, and lots and lots of good books. Happiness. In addition to the bookstore and BIMP, the café Le Petit Marché will offer a French inspired menu including crepes. Plus UConn ice cream!

We had hoped to be moved by the end of August so that we would be ready to welcome everyone back. Oh how we hoped! Alas, with the vagaries of construction and unforeseen circumstances, we are delayed. We are now expecting to be open and ready for you in October.

Meanwhile, we have a small section of books – bestsellers, Co-op Picks, UConn authors, study guides, and a few children’s books at the front of the store overlooking the patio. This will be our small general books section in the main store.

While we all eagerly await the opening of our new space, we can still get you whatever you want to read. And we are busy working on events. Here is our lineup so far:

UConn Co-op Fall Literary Events 2013

We will add more events as it gets closer to fall. Once our new bookstore opens in October in Storrs Center, we will hold our events there. Exciting! Please check our website or Facebook page (UConn Co-op Where Readers and Authors Meet) for updates. If you would like a book autographed but cannot attend, let us know and we will take care of it for you.

 

September

Kevin Cullen on Whitey Bulger

Saturday, September 14, 3:00 – 5:00 pm, Rain date, Sunday September 15, 3:00 – 5:00 pm Church Farm, Ashford

Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Kevin Cullen will speak and autograph copies of Whitey Bulger: America’s Most Wanted Gangster and the Manhunt that Brought Him to Justice.  Cullen, who writes for the Boston Globe, was part of the team that exposed Whitey Bulger as an FBI informant in 1988. He has covered national and international news including the conflict in Northern Ireland and the war in the former Yugoslavia. In the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings he wrote 12 columns in 11 days. Tickets are $25.00 and are available at the Ashford Library and at the door. Friends of the Ashford Library Wine Tasting.

Forrest Pritchard on Farmer’s Markets

Sunday, Sept. 15, 11:00 am – 2:00 pm, Coventry Regional Farmers Market

Forrest Pritchard, author of Gaining Ground: A Story of Farmer’s Markets, Local Food and Saving the Family Farm will be in the barn with us at the Coventry Regional Farmer’s Market. Pritchard is a professional farmer with degrees in English and Geology from William & Mary. His poems have been published in national literary magazines. The CRFM is one of the largest and surely the liveliest farmer’s market in New England.

Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read

September 22 – September 28

Like you, we strongly support the First Amendment and the Freedom to Read. Unfortunately, censorship continues to be an issue in this country. We are joining our fellow booksellers, librarians, civil liberties groups and readers like you in a Virtual Read Out which will be posted on YouTube. We invite you to read a few passages from She’s Come Undone or one of your favorite banned books. We will film you and post the video to the Virtual Read Out channel.

She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb was recently banned by the Department of Corrections. It was an Oprah Pick. It has moved millions of readers. And Wally has tirelessly volunteered his time to work with inmates at York. Fortunately, the DOC’s decision to ban She’s Come Undone was reversed the next day by the governor’s office.  But sadly, censorship is still an  issue in this country. Please join us for the Virtual Read Out.

Festival on the Green Parade

Sunday, September 22, noon, Storrs Center

We may not be open yet, but we will be joining the parade. Watch for your favorite storybook characters!


 

Celebrating the Publication of Gathered Light

Thurs. Sept. 26, 6:00 pm, UConn Co-op (location may change)

Lovingly edited by Lisa and John Sornberger, Gathered Light: The Poetry of Joni Mitchell’s Songs is a dazzling collection of pieces on Joni Mitchell’s iconic songs and the impact they have had on our culture. More than 50 contributors share what Mitchell’s music means to them and to the world of poetry and song. Join us in celebrating the publication of this important book.

October

A Visit with Christopher Moore

Saturday, October 5, 6:00 pm, UConn Co-op

Christopher Moore is the author of eleven novels, including the international bestsellers, Lamb, A Dirty Job and You Suck. His latest novel is Fool, a retelling of King Lear from the perspective of Pocket, the Fool. Before publishing his first novel, Practical Demonkeeping in 1992, he worked as a roofer, a grocery clerk, a hotel night auditor, an insurance broker, a waiter, a photographer, and a rock and roll DJ. Chris has drawn on all of these work experiences to create the characters in his books. When he’s not writing, Chris enjoys ocean kayaking, scuba diving, photography, and sumi-e ink painting. He divides his time between Hawaii and San Francisco.

 

Steve Straight Poetry Reading

Tues. Oct. 15, 6:00 pm UConn Co-op

Steve Straight is a professor of English and director of the poetry program at Manchester Community College. His most recent book of poetry is The Almanac (Curbstone/Northwestern) of which Billy Collins said that every poem in the collection is “just plain interesting.”  An earlier book of poetry, The Water Carrier (Curbstone), was featured on the nationally syndicated radio program “The Writer’s Almanac with Garrison Keillor.” Co-sponsored with Creative Writing.

Ron Tanner on Fixing Up His Old Victorian

Tuesday, October 15, 7;00 pm, Hartford History Center, HPL

Ron Tanner, author of Animal House to Our House will give a presentation at Hartford Public Library. In the book, he tells the story of the dilapidated Victorian that he and his wife bought and lovingly (though not without mishap) restored. Tanner teaches writing at Loyola University in Baltimore and directs the Marshall Islands Story Project (mistories.org). He is the author of two books: Kiss Me, Stranger and Bed of Nails, which won both the G.S. Sharat Chandra Award and the Towson Prize for Literature. He has won many other literary prizes as well, including a Faulkner Society gold medal, a Jack Dyer Fiction Prize, and a Pushcart Prize.  Tanner lives in the big Baltimore brownstone featured in this memoir with his wife, Jill, and their many pets. We will join Tanner for a booksigning after his talk.

Howard Mansfield on Dwellings

Thursday, Oct. 17, 6:00 pm, UConn Co-op

Howard Mansfield, author of Dwelling in Possibility: Searching for the Soul of Shelter will join us for a talk and reading. Mansfield is the author of seven books of creative nonfiction. The mystery that attracts his attention is that some houses have life– they are home; they are dwellings. Others lack this quality. Dwellings is his lyrical meditation upon what accounts for these differences. Co-sponsored with Creative Writing.

Gregory Frost, Science Fiction and Fantasy Author

Thursday, October 17, 7:00 pm, Stern Room, Austin Bldg.

Gregory Frost is the author of the Shadow Bridge series, Fitch’s Brides, Attack of the Giants and other novels. His short stories have most recently been published in Supernatural Noir and Apex Magazine.  Karen Traviss bestselling author of City of Pearl, called Frost, “one of fantasy’s most challenging thinkers.” The New York Times Book Review said, “Frost is both merciless and artful.”  A pleasure for the casual reader of science fiction and fantasy and the aficionado.


 

Wally Lamb Launch for We Are Water

Mon. Oct. 21, 7:00 pm, UConn Co-op Bookstore Storrs Center

We are deeply honored to be the venue for the launch of our friend Wally Lamb’s new book We Are Water. We think it is his best yet, and we are huge fans of all his books. This will be an evening to remember.

Opening for Wally

Justin Lamb, New Orleans based spoken word poet and Wally’s son will perform.  He recently released the CD However It Turns Out Is Perfect.

Zack Lamothe, author of Connecticut Lore:Strange, Off Kilter and Full of Surprises will also join us. He will share a few surprising stories.

Wally

Wally Lamb is the author of She’s Come Undone, I Know This Much Is True, The Hour I First Believed, Wishin’ and Hopin’ and with contributions from the women of York, Couldn’t Keep It To Myself and I’ll Fly Away. Wally’s awards include the Connecticut Center for the Book Lifetime Achievement Award, The New England Book Award for Fiction and others. She’s Come Undone and I Know This Much Is True were both Oprah Picks.

Wally has many friends and fans. We expect a crowd. Please sign up early. The purchase of a copy of We Are Water from the Co-op admits two. You can purchase in the bookstore or online. Co-sponsored with Creative Writing.

Richard J. King on The Devil’s Cormorant

Thurs. Oct. 24, 7:00 pm, UConn Co-op Bookstore Storrs Center

In his new book, The Devil’s Cormorant: A Natural History, Richard J. King, senior lecturer in literature of the sea with the Maritime Studies Program of Williams College and Mystic Seaport, looks at this misunderstood and too often maligned bird. Andrea Barrett, author of Ship Fever and Voyage of the Narwhal writes, “Before I read this marvelous, idiosyncratic book, I might have said I wasn’t interested in cormorants. Now—I’ll never not be interested.”

Andre Dubus III

Tuesday, October 29, 7:00 pm, Konover

Andre Dubus III grew up in Haverhill, Massachusetts, and is the author of Townie (winner of an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award), The Garden of Last Days, House of Sand and Fog (a National Book Award Finalist and Oprah pick), Bluesman, and The Cage Keeper & Other Stories. In Dirty Love, his recently released collection of novellas, he peoples his narratives with a fragile Irish teenager, an Iraqi vet, a bartender who longs to be a famous poet, and other finely wrought characters. Kirkus called Dubus “a dazzling talent.” Sponsored by Creative Writing.

November

Living and Sustaining A Creative Life: A Discussion

Monday, November 5, noon, UConn Co-op Bookstore Storrs Center

UConn Alum Sharon Butler (MFA) will lead a discussion on Living and Sustaining A Creative Life: Essays by 40 Working Artists by Sharon Louden. An essay by Butler is included in the book. You are welcome to bring your lunch or pick up something from Le Petit Marché in the Co-op.

 

Roar Reading Series

Monday, November 4, 7:00 pm, UConn Co-op Bookstore Storrs Center.

The Roar Reading Series is an eclectic new monthly reading series curated by Elephant Rock Books. The first Monday of every month join us for a variety of fiction, poetry, CNF, and other works, read by the authors. Reader TBA.


 

Markham Starr On Barns of Connecticut

Thursday, November 7, 6:30 pm UConn Co-op Bookstore, Storrs Center

Acclaimed photographer and author Markham Starr will give a presentation on his stunning new books Barns of Connecticut and End of the Line: Closing the Last Sardine Cannery in America. In Barns of Connecticut, Starr looks at this too rapidly vanishing icon of our state. The book includes more than one hundred full color photographs, diagrams and historic photos. End of the Line has 210 photos and chronicles the rise and fall of Stinson Seafood in Maine. Starr exhibits work and has won numerous prizes at the Mystic Arts Center, the Slater Memorial Museum and the Norwich Center for the Arts, and a portfolio of his work has appeared in the fine-art black and white magazine Lenswork.

22nd Annual Connecticut Children’s Book Fair

Celebrating Children and the Books They Read

Saturday November 9 and Sunday November 10, 10 am – 5 pm, Rome Ballroom.

Meet your favorite author or illustrator. Have a book signed. Listen to presentations. Two days of fun. We have an especially extraordinary lineup of authors and illustrators this year including Aaron Becker, Jonathan Bean, Nicholas Blechman, Elise Broach, Nick Bruel, Paul Catanese, Elisha Cooper, Diane deGroat, Etienne Delessert, Tomie dePaola, Elizabeth Eulberg, Robie Harris, Jeff Hirsch, Alaya Dawn Johnson, David Johnson, Steven Kellogg, Jarrett Krosoczka, Michaela MacColl, Rita Marshal, Ann Martin, Michael Northrop, Shelley Rotner, David Schwartz, Phoebe Stone, and Mark Teague. Storybook characters include Strega Nona, Spot the Dog, Very Hungry Caterpillar, and Clifford the Big Read Dog. The Connecticut Children’s Book Fair is a project of the UConn Co-op and the UConn Libraries to benefit the Northeast Children’s Literature Collections.

Kate Schapira and Tim Stobierski, Creative Sustenance

Tuesday, November 12, 6:00 pm, UConn Co-op Bookstore, Storrs Center

Kate Schapira writes socially engaged poetry. Her four books include How We Saved the City and most recently The Soft Place. Her work has appeared in many literary journals such as the Denver Quarterly and Drunken Boat. Tim Stobierski is an alumnus of UConn where he worked on the Long River Review for two years. His pieces have appeared in The Hartford Courant, Grey Sparrow, and The Good Men Project. Creative Sustenance is a project of Creative Writing in support of the Covenant Soup Kitchen. Please bring your generous donation.

Hilary Plum and Zach Savich, Fiction and Poetry

Wednesday, November 13, 5:00 pm, UConn Co-op Bookstore, Storrs Center

Hilary Plum’s first novel,They Dragged Them Through the Streets, was published this spring by the Fiction Collective 2. She is the co-director of Clockroot Books and a graduate of the MFA program at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Her recent prose and criticism have appeared in the Kenyon Review Online, the Collagist, Critical Flame, Requited, DIAGRAM, the Quarterly Conversation and The Rumpus.

Zach Savich is the author of three books of poetry—Full Catastrophe Living, Annulments, and The Firestorm—as well as a chapbook, The Man Who Lost His Head, and a book of creative nonfiction on art and the imagination, Events Film Cannot Withstand. He has won the Iowa Poetry Prize, the Colorado Prize for Poetry, the Omnidawn Chapbook Poetry Prize, and the Cleveland State University Poetry Center’s Open Competition. His poems, essays, and reviews appear widely in journals such as A Public Space, Denver Quarterly, Boston Review, Jellyfish, and Gulf Coast. He serves as book review editor with The Kenyon Review. Savich is a graduate of the MFA programs at the University of Iowa and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Co-sponsored with Creative Writing.

Paul Di Filippo Science Fiction Writer

Thursday, November 14, 7:00 pm, UConn Co-op Storrs Center

Best known for his widely published short stories, Paul D. Filippo will read from his new collection Wikiworld. His novels, which he calls “unclassifiable” include Freaks in a Box, Steampunk Prime, Strange Trades, Fuzzy Dice and more. Publisher’s Weekly writes, “Di Filippo is one of the most talented humorists in contemporary fantasy and science fiction.” 

One Book: One Hartford Featuring Angela Johnson

Saturday, November 23, 2:00 pm, Hartford Public Library

Welcome Angela Johnson to Hartford for A Certain October, this year’s One Book. Johnson, who has been awarded the Coretta Scott King Award three times and was the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship is the author of more than 40 books including poetry, picture books and books for young adults. We will join HPL for this special event and have copies of Johnson’s books.

Small Business Saturday

Saturday, November 30, 10:00 am – 9:00 pm, UConn Co-op Storrs Center

December

Roar Reading Series

Monday, December 2, 7:00 pm, UConn Co-op Bookstore, Storrs Center

The Roar Reading Series is an eclectic new monthly reading series curated by Elephant Rock Books. The first Monday of every month join us for a variety of fiction, poetry, CNF, and other works, read by the authors. Reader TBA.

Robert Thorson on Walden’s Shore

Thursday, December 5, 4:00 pm

Popular professor, geologist, author and columnist, Robert (Thor) Thorson will discuss his newest book Walden’s Shore: Henry David Thoreau’s Nineteenth-Century Science. In Walden’s Shore, Thor shows that Thoreau was deeply interested in the geology of Walden Pond and conducted some remarkable field studies that have been largely overlooked or misunderstood. He was in many ways ahead of his times. Thor himself looks deeply at the geology of the famous kettle pond. As anyone who knows Thor, his passion and excitement for his subject is contagious. He brings rocks to life.

Check our website for additional literary events. We also post on the Daily Digest and on our Facebook page UConn Co-op Where Readers and Authors Meet.

Posted by Suzy

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The End of Vacation

As the dog days of August arrive, it seems as if everyone’s summer vacations are starting to wind down. I, myself, am fresh-back from a week in Maine spent relaxing, reading and visiting bookstores. One of this year’s finds was a little gift shop Imagein Brooklin, ME called Betsy’s Sunflower that has, among great gift items, a small but interesting selection of Maine-specific books and local authors while also hosting occasional author events.  Of course, I left there with a couple of signed editions of works by Brooklin author Peter Behrens. It’s places like this and the UConn Co-op that reaffirm my faith that bookstores are still a vital part of a community providing a place where “readers and authors meet.”

Also, in the Maine woods, I always take time (for a few moments, at least, before being devoured by mosquitoes) to look up and see the millions of stars in the night sky including the milky way. You’ll be hard-pressed to see many stars here, but if you stop into the well-lit UConn Co-op you can easily find a copy of the intriguing, new Co-op Pick,Image The End of Night: Searching for Natural Darkness in an Age of Artificial Light, by Paul Bogard–a book that laments “how upside down this world where what was once a most common human experience has become most rare. Where a child might grow into adulthood without ever having seen the Milky Way and never feel as though lifted from earth into surrounding stars. Where most of us go into the dark armed not only with ‘a light’ but with so much light that we never know that the dark, too, blooms and sings.”

Also, while most of our trade book inventory is still in storage awaiting completion of our new Storrs Center store, we still have a great selection of Indie Bestsellers (which are always 20% off), Co-op Picks (15% off), local-interest books, children’s books, and many others. You’ll be surprised at the variety we’ve crammed into such a small space. We’ve also just put out a large quantity of bargain books, in which, there are many terrific and unique finds to be had for a pittance.  And, as always, we’d be happy to order most any book that you want and have it for you in a couple days.

So, stop in today. We’re still here and would be glad to help you with books, or anything else for that matter–in addition to books, right now we have a very good selection (though going fast) of UConn Husky insignia wear and other UConn trinkets at clearance prices.

–Bob Smith

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July 30, 2013 · 2:45 am

John Sargent’s Letter Upon Deciding to Settle

After a long and brave battle John Sargent, CEO of Macmillan decided he could no longer hold off the terribly misguided DOJ, announcing today that Macmillan is settling. We understand the onerous situation he was in. We are deeply grateful to him for trying. We applaud him for his courage. A victory would have been a huge step towards strengthening our book culture and the well being of authors, illustrators and bricks and mortar bookstores. It is not to be.

In a letter to booksellers he wrote, “Please see the attached letter to authors, illustrators and agents about our decision to settle our suit with the Department of Justice. This is just a quick note to say thank you directly. Many, many of you have supported Macmillan, and me, both privately and publicly over these last months. I just wanted to let you know that we deeply appreciate it.”

Here is his letter in full:

John Sargent's Letter

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Nikki M’s Favorite Books for Reading and Giving

Books for young readers and teens.

Books for young readers and teens.

Norman Bridwell’s Clifford Collection by Norman Bridwell 9780545450133 $12.99 All Ages This isn’t just any collection of classic books; it is THE collection of classic books. THE ORIGINAL 6 Clifford books, as they were originally illustrated (yes, they look different and beyond lovely), complete with an introduction by Norman himself. The Clifford books were a love letter to Norman’s daughter, the REAL Emily Elizabeth, and now they can be a love letter for your child or grandchild. A perfect gift.

Unspoken: A story from the Underground Railroad by Henry Cole 9780545399975 $16.99 All Ages Turn the pages slowly. Listen to a story being whispered into your ear. A story of courage. A story of hope. A story of doing what is right in a world full of wrongs. This is the book that EVERYONE on my Holiday list is getting from me this year.

every day by David Levithan 9780307931887 $16.99 Ages 14+ Imagine every day waking up in a different body. A different face looks back at you from the mirror every morning. Every day, a new life, a new personality awaits. And yet…you are still you, trying to maintain that thread while living a different lie every 24 hours. Now imagine falling in love for the first time, and breaking all the rules you set for yourself to stay with that person and finally live a life that is only yours. Breathtaking and life affirming, this book takes no prisoners except for your heart.

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater 9780545424929 $18.99 Ages 14+ If you’ve discovered Maggie already, then congratulations—she is the BEST teen writer on the planet. If you have yet to meet her, now is the time. On many year end lists for the BEST YA BOOK THIS YEAR, The Raven Boys is all that and more. What would you do if you were told that your kiss would kill your first love? For Blue, that means not getting close to anyone…until she meets the Aglionby boys and becomes wrapped up in a mystery that they are trying to solve. The twist will leave you breathless, and a Maggie fan for life. BUY TWO COPIES—you will want to keep one for yourself.

Undead by Kirsty McKay 9780545381888 $17.99 Ages 14+ If you had told me that I would fall for a zombie end-of-the-world thriller, I would have laughed at you. Undead has me laughing for a different reason—fresh, funny, exciting, suspenseful, somehow romantic throughout all the gore, this might very well be my favorite read of the year. Because it was a happy surprise to find something so fun with something so unexpected. And next fall, book two: Unfed. Die young, stay hungry. Hungry for more good books.

For the adults on your list.

For the adults on your list.

The Vanishing Act by Mette Jakobsen 9780393062922 $23.95 Good things come in small packages. This slim novel is a gem, and a must read. The four inhabitants of a very small, snow covered island are living with a secret. Twelve-year-old Minou is determined to find out where her mother went. Wistful and bittersweet, a ghost of a novel that will long haunt your dreams.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern 9780307744432 $15.00 The Night Circus casts a spell from the first sentence: “The circus arrives without warning.” What circus? Where does it come from? This is that book that you fall into, head first. When you turn the last page, and are pulled out of the spell, you look around, blinking, thinking you should be inside a big, striped tent, sipping on apple cider and wondering at the magic all around you. Erin Morgenstern weaves a world that you wish was real, and that deep down, you know must be real. Because you were there.

Peyton Place by Grace Metalious 9781555534004 $17.95 Every winter, I want to re-read an old favorite—a book that wraps itself around me and keeps me safe and warm no matter how frightful the weather outside may be. One of my go-to books is Peyton Place—a small town New England book about, well, small towns, and the people who live there. Delicious, quite scandalous, and completely un-put-downable.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn 9780307588364 $25.00 I’ve been hearing people rave about Gillian Flynn and her amazing ability to weave a story for a few years, but it wasn’t until Gone Girl that I actually gave her a try. And I think I have found a new author to love. Dark, twisted, funny, smart, sexy—Gillian delivers all that and more. I COULD NOT stop thinking about this book. I gasped out loud at parts, and stayed up way past my bedtime to discover all the twists and turns, trying to guess what would happen before it happened. This woman knows how to tell a story. I know that I will be on the lookout for whatever she writes next, even if it’s just scrambled words on a cocktail napkin.

barefoot contessa Foolproof by Ina Garten 9780307464873 $35.00 This Contessa is more of a Goddess. I have every single one of her cookbooks, and use them often. This one is particularly a great gift for an unsure cook (or even someone who loves to mess around with the mixing bowls). Easy, delicious, and palate pleasing. And did I mention the best feature? A picture for every dish! (This is a MUST for me when buying a cookbook.)

Nikki M

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Bob’s Picks for the Booklover On Your List (or admit it, for yourself)

Books on Books

Books on books for the readers in your life.

I still fondly remember the “sure, sure” looks that I received when going to the library to pay for their copy of  A Gentle Madness that I somehow misplaced (I, really did lose it). That was about 20 thousand volumes ago and my collection has most likely passed the level of the local library. Anyway, here are my picks for a few recent books about books:

My Ideal Bookshelf by Jane Mount (ISBN 9780316200905, $21.24)It is always interesting to see what writers and other cultural figures have read, value, and keep on their bookshelves. This volume is presented in a unique, illustrated way that is perfect addition to any bookshelf or coffee table.

One for the Books by Joe Queenan (ISBN 9780670025824, $24.95) A hard-to-put-down volume of funnyman Queenan’s thoughts on reading and books, filled with humor and insight.

This Is Not the End of the Book by Umberto Eco, Jean-Claude Carrière. (ISBN  9780810127470, $24.95). Some of the best thoughts on the future of the book in world of overwhelming digital media by two masters of the literary essay.

Phantoms on the Bookshelves by Jacques Bonnet (ISBN 9781590207598, $17.95) A wonderful little study of how personal libraries reflect the individual, written by a collector who is almost as mad as I am.

Forgotten Bookmarks by Michael Popek  (ISBN 9780399537011, $18.95) Unfortunately the coup of a hundred dollar bill found between the pages of a used book still eludes me. But recently, I found about a dozen neatly-pressed marijuana leaves inside a book that I picked up at a thrift store. Now I can joke that I bought pot at Goodwill. This book showcases many similar type items found in books–a welcome sort of “Found” book for the booklover.

Weird Things Customers Say in Bookstores by Jen Campbell (ISBN 978-1468301281, $15)Not specifically about books, but that sometimes hilariously funny space where the booklover and the general public meet.

Bob

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