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Results 1 - 25 of 38
1. Stanley Milgram: Life and legacy

Stanley Milgram was born on the 15 August 1933. In the early 1960s he carried out a series of experiments which had a not just a significant impact on the field of psychology, but had enormous influence in popular culture. These experiments touched on many profound philosophical questions concerning autonomy, authority, and the capacity of individuals to do the right thing in difficult circumstances.

The post Stanley Milgram: Life and legacy appeared first on OUPblog.

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2. Defining Moment

You know the one.
It's the moment where you realize you don't have to defend yourself.
That revelation split second in time when you ask yourself the question,
"Why did I ever think I did?"

A smack your forehead kind of time in life.

The Bible speaks repeatedly about God being our judge and counselor. Now I am not talking about going out on Saturday nights and partying and then coming to church on Sunday morning hung over. I am talking about making decisions to do something that is in the best interest of an innocent even when it doesn't make sense to others. Even when it offends them.

The Bible also speaks about standing up for truth. I am not going to stay somewhere that His word is compromised, sugar coated, or twisted. I'm not even talking about a church right now. I am talking about anywhere I go.

People are going to sin. It's human nature. But to live with your head in the sand for the sake of appearing tolerant is something completely different. I am going to tell the truth. And I am not going to add sparkly wings to it.
When it comes down to it-
I don't allow magick wands in my presence.

If I am unaware of it, I pray for God to make me aware. It takes a while sometimes, but then God will do something amazing like give me scripture about dusting my feet. I know then I had better act.

If we don't listen in those moments my darlings- we will be sorry later.

I don't like offending people. But every time I have ever tried to be subtle about something, it ends horribly. So I have to be who God made me to be.
Imperfect. Determined. Strong. Loud. Alarming. Honest.  Creative.

Who has God created you to be? Do you know for sure? Are you seeking His face in order to know? Whoever HE has made you to be, be that person. And nothing else. Please. It will not end well. If you are meant to be a sweet and quiet example- be that. If you are called to be the loud one who climbs on tops of buildings and yells down to the masses, then do so. If you are told to be still, then be still. But know His voice. Know it well. Don't listen to other voices. Block the noise from your ears and heart.

Sometimes if I am running around in circles- I will stop somewhere at a stop sign and suddenly someone will pull up next to me with a license plate.

Saturday it said JAE (that would be my name) 9213. Saturday was 9/13... Just saying.
What about the two? Perhaps something happened at two o'clock that day that I will never know about. But it slowed me down to take the time to listen to my Father. And I had peace about what is coming for us. In that moment I hadn't been sure I was headed in the right direction, and too many other voices were trying to speak to me (children, spouse, parents, friends). I had to know whether to head up that mountain and take the tiny place that was offered to me- or to stay here and wait for the farm to come. I know now. And now I am moving.

Moving to a tiny place now forces me to get rid of all the unimportant things in my life. To clear out the clutter. At one time nine people lived in this five bedroom home (my five kids, us, and a couple of extra teenagers). The mess was easily hidden in closets. But you see, God has been revealing things in the natural as much as in the spiritual. Although I had gotten rid of half my belongings months ago, I needed to get rid of more. Moving to my tiny place before the farm causes me not to carry all this clutter with me to a farm. My promised land. It's up that mountain. I am going there. I will sit and wait. Prepare many stories for publication, and instead of wasting time finding the perfect place to try and put those stories- The Lion's Roar will do so for me...

If the Lord tells you to do something my lovelies, no matter how badly it hurts, do it. You won't be sorry. Know it's Him before you act. And then ACT. Please.

I love you all. Have a blessed week. If you don't hear from me for a little while, it's not because I have forgotten you. It's because I am embracing a life on TOP of the mountain.


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3. Father of Nations – Terrible Babysitter

I like to think I was a good sitter for the kids when they were little. I mean, I’m dad, so I should be able to provide for their basic needs on occasion. I remember a particular Saturday when our first was a toddler. Instead of playing the usual dolls and house (which I was excellent at, by the way), I decided that her tummy, back, and arms made the perfect canvas for a jungle mural. It seemed like a good idea at the time. We drew and drew until elephants, lions, and zebras were marching all over her flesh. Great, giggly, tickly fun.

Great fun until Mom came home and the little fink sold me out. My lovely wife hadn’t gotten two steps into the kitchen before the scamp had pulled her shirt up to reveal the masterpiece. I don’t recall if it was the classic grocery bags hitting the floor or not, but her fury stretched across the room and melted part of my ear. Something about her perfect, beautiful baby looking like a tattooed Harley rider.

That was the day I received a fairly detailed list of appropriate activities for times when mommy was away. I also learned the difference between permanent and washable markers.

That was a “first child” thing. She’s mellowed about keeping them in pristine condition and maybe I’ve matured a little. Either way, I pale in comparison to the worst babysitter ever. Some of you look for deep meaning in Bible stories and I applaud you. My infantile mind reads some of the odd ones and starts playing Paul Harvey – looking for The Rest of the Story.

When I read Genesis 22, I am awed by Abraham’s obedience. To listen and follow God at the expense of the one thing he had waited a hundred years for, his baby boy, is incredible. For so long he had begged and schemed for a son, but couldn’t have one with Sarah until he completely gave up his own plans and got to a place where he put his utter reliance on God and not himself. Only God.

obras maestras de la pintura - juan carlos boveri

We know how the story goes. Just before he offers Isaac as the sacrifice, God shows him a ram to use as a substitute, sparing his son’s life. Can you imagine the sheer joy? Can you picture the relief of his heart? Do you think Isaac flinched when the knife went up? Do you wonder at what Sarah said when they got home?

Seriously, how do you relay that to your wife?

“Hi Honey, we’re home.”

“Oh, I missed you two so much. How was the camping trip?”

“It was fantastic. You’re never gonna believe what God did. First, he told me to sacrifice Isaac. So I built this altar and put him on it. Just as the knife was about to come down…”



The Bible omits that part of the story. But I wonder sometimes.


I wonder what things I hold too dear to put on the altar. I certainly wouldn’t put my kids on there. (Heck, I won’t even draw on them anymore.) But there are other things too precious to me that I hold back. I know it – and so does God. Lord help me to have more faith and obedience like Old Abraham. I just pray I’m a better babysitter.


 Artwork Credit: Ferdinand von Olivier [Public domain]



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4. "Switchblades, bicycle chains and adventuresome tailors": Colson Whitehead on Brooklyn literary culture

As a last treat before you start your weekend, you gotta read this brilliant piece by Colson Whitehead about being a writer in Brooklyn. He lives here (in Fort Greene), he loves it, but he hilariously pierces the hype about "Brooklyn writers."

Sometimes it's a relief to admit it's just the same here as everywhere else.

And Whitehead ends with an extended metaphor from The Warriors. What could be better?

Enjoy, you kooky literati borough-dwellers. And happy reading.

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5. WILLIAM STEIG: Y R U A Writer? Because You Want To Create Deep, Funny Stories Just Like He Did

A fascinating essay in today's New York Times reinforces my love for children's books and children's authors. A must read: a true fan piece spotlighting William Steig's world and the current exhibition of his work on display at The Jewish Museum here in New York. Better get thee to the exhibit soon as it ends March 16th. (Why do I feel as if I am the last to know all the good stuff?)

Things I didn't know: Steig was Brooklyn boy. (Instant rapport.) A Brooklyn Jewish boy. (Who knew?) That he sold his first cartoon to THE NEW YORKER magazine when he was 23 to help support his family. That he began publishing his children's books when he was 61 years old. (Okay. I am not giving away my age. All I am saying: there's hope, there's time, there's time! I feel better now.) ;}

Things I did know: some of his books have been my best friends as both a writer and children's book aficionado. The less-talked about, less seemingly impossible BRAVE IRENE was a story I read over and over again to my children-- and to myself. Irene was the girl I never thought I was, the girl who never gave up, despite the obstacles of the wind, the snowstorm, the darkness, the impossibilities...

If I couldn't be that girl when I was little, I am determined to be her now. {}

From the William Steig website:

double click to enlarge

From ART KNOWLEDGE NEWS: “I often ask myself, ‘What would be an ideal life?’ – I think an ideal life would be just drawing,” William Steig said in 1992. He died in 2003 at the age of 95.

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6. Brooklyn is Cool and What are You?

In my ever-obsessive need to stake my claim as a Native Daughter of the lovely borough other writers now think they discovered circa 1985, I post this hip, hot essay from author Colson Whitehead as originally read in this Sunday's New York Times Book Review section:
I WRITE IN BROOKLYN. GET OVER IT. (his title, not mine)

I started reading Colson's novel JOHN HENRY DAYS and I can't remember why I put it down. It was during Springsteen's Seeger Sessions tour and I was big on learning more about the iconic John Henry, the Steel Driving legendary hero.
(I think I stopped reading more due to my Springsteen show schedule and less because of the quality of the writing. I remember the reviews. They liked it.)

statue of John Henry

In case the memo has not reached your desk yet: Brooklyn has always been cool and kind to writers. I should know. Stamping foot, pouting lips. I was there before you. So get over it. ;>

pretty little map of Brooklyn; double click to enlarge for a better view

My cordless mouse is dying so I am about to melt into the ether, like the Wicked Witch of the West. Foiled by technology. And I have no idea where the replacement batteries are. What kind of modern convenience is this?

I so wanted to write about the biography I just bought from Amazon. I could not find it in the stores. I can't wait to crack it open and fall in: it's the biography of Betty Smith, author of one of my favorite books... wait for it... A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN. (Click link to browse its glorious, Brooklyn-authentic pages.) Better yet, because I don't want you to leave here without a gift, Browse Inside here (and don't say another disparaging word about Brookly bum-types again): ;}

Browse Inside this book
Get this for your site

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7. Daniel's Lot Now Available

Put some faith on your Kindle!

Daniel's Lot is now available from Trestle Press on Amazon Kindle.

This Kindle version is Mark Miller's adaptation of the Dove Foundation award-winning motion picture starring Gary Burghoff of TV's M*A*S*H, now available on 0 Comments on Daniel's Lot Now Available as of 1/1/1900

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8. Twelve Steps from Mark Miller's One

Another good day in a busy week, so gives thanks in the manner to which you are accustomed!

12 Steps (Mark Miller's One)

Here we go, Story Two in our spiritual series is now available from Trestle Press.

Mark Miller’s One is a spiritual anthology examining True-Life experiences of Authors and their Faith. As the series evolves expect to discover what it means to have faith, no matter what that faith is and no matter where they live. Remember that we are all part of this One World.

In story two, De Miller tells something of his life growing up and compares it to his new existence as a Born Again Christian. He has strong influences from both his mother and father that shaped his whole life. After forty years, he is learning something new. 

De Miller is my father and the creator of the faith-based movie Daniel's Lot, now available on D

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9. Getting On The Air

I am involved with a new Christian radio station preparing to go on the air in Central Florida. As this is a non-profit, it will rely heavily on volunteers and pledges.

WTYG 91.5 FM will broadcast out of Sparr, FL, but we still need a little help. Maybe you've heard of Kickstarter? It's a great website for fundraisers of all sorts. Well, we started a campaign and you can get to it at this link: 

Besides the satisfaction of helping spread a good message, I wanted to give you an extra incentive. We all know money is tight these days, but if you can spare a little for a good cause, then I want to share my writing with you.

For anybody that donates $5 or more, I will send you not one, not two, but three eBooks! 

Once you make a pledge, send me an email to Mark@MillerWords.com or Mark@WTYGFM.com and I will send you all three stories:

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10. Nick Hornby’s SLAM

Just finished reading Nick Hornby’s new “Young Adult” novel called SLAM and I really liked it. I also read this article about Hornby getting into the young adult market, and thought it was worth sharing.

It’s hard to know where to stock books like this in the store, because I think many adults, like myself, would really enjoy reading them, even though they are marketed towards the young adult (14 and up) market. But the problem is, kids that age aren’t usually looking in the kids’ section for books anyway, so it makes it all the more complicated. At last month’s book club meetings we discussed this issue at length when we read THE BOOK THIEF, another young adult novel that adults enjoy.

There’s no point to this post, it’s just what I’m thinking about this rainy evening.

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11. A Day in the Life of Jonathan Lethem

We liked this piece in NY Magazine, we thought you might like it too.

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12. More about the National Book Critics Circle

They put us on their blog. Check it out here.

And then check out the snarky reply I couldn’t help posting to some bitter woman’s comment. I hate when people make assumptions and insist on criticizing people they know nothing about.

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13. Customers who stick with me for life

As you know, I owned a small, half-used, half-new bookstore in Northport, Long Island for six years prior to moving to Brooklyn. Some of my best and most loyal customers still order from me on a regular basis, emailing or calling when they need something shipped to them.

One customer has used me as her personal shopper for the last several years, providing me with a list of her nieces and nephews, their ages and interests, and I come up with gift ideas for all of them. She would usually pick up the boatload of books on Christmas Eve when she traveled home to be with her family, but she moved to London this year so she won’t be home for Christmas. However, she still emailed me her ever-growing list and I have been wrapping and shipping books to her various family members all weekend. This is the kind of loyalty that really touches me, and makes me feel like all my hard work does often pay off.

PS: Sure, I’ll be your personal shopper too, just ask. That’s what I’m here for.

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14. Post-holiday wrap-up

Whew. What a great holiday season. You needed gifts? We sold them. You wanted boozy hot chocolate? We served it. You supported us in our first holiday season here at WORD and we thank you for it. We’re trying to get back into the swing of things, after several days sitting on the couch playing Guitar Hero. But we couldn’t let the holidays wither away without sharing our holiday card with you, it was sent to all our nearest and dearest and proclaimed the two things we were most thankful for in 2007: WORD and Wii. Enjoy!


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15. Link-Mad Monday: Anthologies for Good (Brooklyn) Causes

Naturally, I've had my eye on Brooklyn Was Mine, an anthology of essays by Brooklyn writers on the borough of dreams. I'd planned to ask for a reading copy, as usual, but actually, I think I'll buy it. I hadn't realized that proceeds from the book are going to Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn, the non-profit that's fighting the crazy, terrible, eminent-domain Ratner development of the Atlantic Yards (thanks to GalleyCat for the heads up). The Fort Greene Courier has more about the book, and about several readings with contributors happening in the next week or two to raise money and awareness. (Just for the record and because I'm even more steamed about it now, I tried hard to set up a reading at my bookstore for the anthology, but by the time the publicists at Penguin responded to my multiple queries, it was way too late to set a date.)

Coincidentally, I'm currently working through another anthology that benefits a Brooklyn nonprofit. The Book of Other People (also from Penguin), the long-awaited (by me anyway) collection of character sketches edited by Zadie Smith, benefits 826NYC (also known as Brooklyn Superhero Supply Co., where I volunteered in a less time-bereft time in my life). There's also a ticketed reading for this one on the 16th; ticket sales also benefit the tutoring center, which is doing really good work (not hurt by having lots of famous friends).

I DID buy this one, for a funny reason: the ALP and I took the train to Boston to see friends over New Year's, and while waiting to meet up with our ride in South Street StationI was so delighted to discover a little independent bookstore that I bought the first book that looked readable -- in this case, the just released BOOP. I guess Barbara's Bestsellers isn't exactly an independent -- they seem to have locations all over the country -- but it's definitely got an indie vibe, and I'm always glad to add to my collection of souvenir bookmarks from my bookstore visits.

Anyway, in addition to stories by my favorites Jonathan Safran Foer, Andrew Sean Greer, Nick Nornby, A.L. Kennedy, Jonathan Lethem, and Smith herself, there is also (drumroll please)... a new story by David Mitchell! I didn't even realize this when I plunked down my cash. A karmic payback for buying a book for a good cause. I recommend you do the same at your local indie bookstore, ASAP.

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16. Greenpoint’s literati

I just finished the new novel by Greenpoints’ own Kate Christensen called The Great Man. I realized half-way through that I was pretty wrapped up in it when I actually thought a customer in the store could have been Teddy, a character in the book. The book takes place in Greenpoint and the writing is so good, it’s hard not to picture these characters roaming the streets around WORD. I definitely recommend reading this one, especially if you’re a Greenpointer.

Yesterday I read an article about another Greenpoint writer, Anna Godberson, whose young adult book The Luxe is getting great reviews. I was happy to recognize her name as a customer here at WORD. I just ordered her book in and will check it out soon.

Watch your back Park Slope! Greenpoint’s writers are ready for a fight.

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17. Thanks L Magazine! We love Scrabble too.

We had a great listing in the L Magazine for our first monthly game night which happened last night.

Check it out here.

And from the turnout, obviously other Greenpointers like games too. Here are some pics from our packed Scrabble night. Each third Tuesday of the month at 7:30pm we will have some fun game thing going on, as always with free booze. We’re thinking Taboo for next month, what do you all think?

scrabble 1

scrabble 2

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18. Tuesday

So much going on there's just not enough time for everything!

I'm working some extra hours at the bookstore this week because some of our staff will be gone at the ABA Winter Institute. It looks like a fantastic program this year -- I'll be thinking of all of you who are there! (And if you're going and feel like writing up your experiences, I'd love to have some guest bloggers about WI3 on Written Nerd -- send me an email if you're interested.)

Wednesday evening is the awards ceremony for the Brooklyn Public Library's PowerUp! business plan competition -- the ALP and I will be there to hear the winners announced. I'm looking forward to seeing what great businesses are being planned in Brooklyn, and getting some feedback on my bookstore plan... so send some good vibes my way if you think about it.

I've got some new writing assignments lately -- I'll let you know when there's something to read, but I don't want to jinx myself by promising too much. Right now I'm feeling a bit too sleepy to imagine writing. I spent part of the morning at Old First with an incredible project for fighting homelessness in New York -- the staff and volunteers of Common Ground work 24/7, and the people they're helping don't always have the luxuries of hot showers and naps. It's good to put things in perspective, and better to try to help -- I don't know how much good my presence did, but I was there, and I'm hoping I can go again.

Hope you're having a good Tuesday, too.

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19. Chronicle: Brooklyn Business Library PowerUp! Business Plan Competition Awards Ceremony

Um, I won.

I actually had a very productive day at work yesterday -- I finished writing up descriptions of upcoming events for February, posted author photos on the website, responded to a number of event requests to tame my overflowing inbox, worked the cash register and answered some customer questions, and even pulled some returns from the interior design section. A good day in the life of a bookseller. I felt content in my life as it is, not filled with longing or anxiety, and just a little excited that at 5:15 I was going to put on my good shoes and go down to the Central Branch of the Brooklyn Library for a swanky awards ceremony and some snacks. Everyone at the bookstore knew I was going to the business plan awards ceremony, and I got lots of "good luck"s as I went out the door.

The ALP was waiting for me in the reading room -- we spend half of our Saturdays at the Central Library anyway so it wasn't hard to find him. The awards ceremony was held downstairs in the newly renovated Dweck Center -- I'd never had a reason to explore that part of the library before, and it was cool to see. On the way in the gifts started to flow: a free totebag from Citibank (the sponsor of the award), a business card case from PowerUp. Arcola, one of the Business Library librarians, handed me back my original plan, and I was told to sit in the first three rows reserved for finalists and judges. (We took this too literally at first and the ALP sat in the fourth row, but it later dawned on us that there was room for spouses of finalists in the reserved seating as well.)

I saw some of the staff from my BEDC class in the audience, and the judges before whom I made my presentation back in November, and the owners of Bogota Bistro, the first winners of the award (conveniently located about half a block from our apartment). Maud Andrews, my favorite librarian (because it seems to me she's found her calling too), asked me about the correct pronunciation of my new last name -- they were confirming with all the finalists, she said. It felt so good to be sitting there next to the ALP, the work all done, the prayers for blessings all said, and I felt I would honestly be content whatever the outcome.

There were, of course, lots of speeches preceding the awards: Dionne Mack-Harvin, the BPL's executive director, was the MC (I know her name and title because they're printed on the giant check on my kitchen table), and we heard from the Deputy Borough President (not Marty, sadly, but woman with a lovely Jamaican accent) and a City Councilwoman and representatives from Citibank, congratulating the library and the contestants on the increasing success of the contest. Previous winners also said a few words; the owners of Bogota (who were also the evening's caterers) talked about what an affirmation it had been to receive the award, and how many no's it took before they heard yes, and how well they're doing now -- they grossed over a million last year. Another previous winner, a two-woman toddler t-shirt company, brought up their own kids to showcase their wares -- the tots stole the show, in typical Brooklyn fashion. Then, suddenly, it was time for the awards.

The presenters would read a description of the business plan, then announce the entrepreneur's name and have them come forward for the award and photographs. As they announced the first honorable mentions ($500), I thought how that would be a nice chunk of change to start an account with. But I wasn't with the honorable mentions. Then the $750 honorable mentions were presented, and I thought how great nearly a thousand bucks free and clear would be. But I wasn't with those either. Then they announced the two second place winners, and I thought, five grand would be perfect, wonderful, not too much pressure. But the awards went to a woman with a line of aromatic soaps and cosmetics (who couldn't stop crying and saying "I have labels to buy!" - she knew exactly how she was going to spend her money), and another woman who wanted to open a healthy soul food restaurant (I hope she caters next year).

Well, it's all or nothing now, I thought. Probably nothing. And that's fine. I wrote the plan because of this deadline, which I might never have done otherwise, and I learned so much, and I met such great resources in the Brooklyn business community. Blessings on the winner, whoever they are.

And then the presenter announced that the winning plan was a business that would benefit the readers and writers of Brooklyn. The ALP and I looked at each other, oddly worried expressions on our faces. The presenter described someone who had worked for seven years in the book industry, made lots of contacts, who wrote a bookselling blog. I started to cry. The ALP told me not to cry, so I started to laugh instead. They called my name, pronouncing the difficult hyphenated last name correctly but getting my first name wrong. I somehow made it up to the stage. They handed me a gigantic posterboard check with my name (spelled right) and the words FIFTEEN THOUSAND DOLLARS. The Daily News photographer took pictures. All I could hear was my own ragged, laughing/crying breath.

The MC apologized for asking me to say a few words. I hadn't thought seriously about having to speak (okay, it had occurred to me, but I shoved the thought away with an eye-roll at myself and didn't prepare anything), but I found I wasn't afraid. Here's what I remember of what I said -- a bit paraphrased, and minus the stutters and repetitions.

"Luckily I host events at the bookstore four or five nights a week, so I'm used to being in front of a microphone... but it's not usually this important. I love what the guys from Bogota said -- one of my favorite restaurants -- about what an affirmation this was for them. I know there's a perception out there that independent bookstores are a dying breed, a bad bet. I know that's not true, because I've seen the ones that are working, that are doing vibrant wonderful things in their communities. And I've gotten so much support from people in my industry -- from publishers, from our trade organization, from other booksellers -- especially from other booksellers, who are such a great community to each other. But I wasn't sure what the response would be when I took this plan to people outside that community, to business people. Would they think I was crazy? And it's so wonderful that you thought this was worthwhile. I honestly was thinking there at the end it's all or nothing, and it's probably nothing, and that would have been okay, because I have gotten so much already out of PowerUp, I've learned so much, and the librarians have been so wonderful. But this money is going to be the seed that I can use to make this dream happen. So... thank you. So. Much."

And then about fifteen thousand more pictures, and I could see the ALP still standing there in our row while everyone went out for the reception, and I just wanted to go and hug him, but it was great to be up there with the other laughing/crying winners and their own big posterboard checks. And then I did get to hug him, and we went out and had empanadas and champagne, and I handed out about fifteen business cards and got fifteen more, and heard from a dozen people why I should open my bookstore in their neighborhood, and talked about collaborating with half a dozen other entrepreneurs, and met people who read my blog, and gradually came down to a less ragged high. Then the ALP and I left the library, which was already closed (we showed the check to the security guards at the door, who pulled out pens to joke about having me sign it over to them), and picked up a bottle of champagne at a Park Slope wine shop on the way home. I called my mom, we watched the Muppet Show on DVD, we talked about having the check made into a coffee table. Then we went to bed.

There will be a lot of details to work through -- where and how to receive and deposit the money, how to use this as leverage to get additional grants and loans. To be fair, it's less than a tenth of what I've calculated I'll need. But it's fifteen thousand dollars more than I had before, not to mention the $5,000 in in-kind gifts: consulting services, marketing services, a Chamber of Commerce membership, even a gift certificate to Bogota. And perhaps more importantly, the experts of the Brooklyn Business Library think my plan is viable -- is the MOST viable, out of all the ones they've seen. Kathleen, the Citibank rep responsible for creating the contest and the head judge, told me that it was my presentation that made the difference -- that the judges were skeptical about the wisdom of opening an independent bookstore given all they'd heard, but I sold them on the idea with my data and my passion.

If I can do that -- and I guess I did -- maybe I can do anything. Maybe I can make this dream happen, after all.

Thank you to all of you who have also given your affirmation. Thank you for saying yes in a world of no's.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to bask in the glow for a little while longer.

P.S. They tell me I'll be in the Daily News on Tuesday, in the Brooklyn section or the business section, if you want to take a look.

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20. Media for the Big Win; Dream Bookshops

So my win of the $15,000 PowerUp! Award for my bookstore business plan got written up in the Daily News yesterday, complete with photo of me with a goofy grin on my face (high on endorphins, as John T. surmised). I know the word got passed around at Winter Institute in Louisville, too.

Thank you so, so much to all of your for your congratulations and your support. Got ideas, suggestions, thoughts? Email me, for goodness' sake -- I'd love to hear from you! (Forgive me if it's mercenary to mention it again, but the one thing still standing between me and opening the bookstore doors is capital -- I'm looking for grants, loans, or any other creative means of pulling it all together, so if you have any suggestions in that regard, I'll probably be interested.)

Anyway, the congratulations keep coming -- from friends and strangers, many of whom think I should open the bookstore in their Brooklyn neighborhood! It's fantastic to know there are so many folks longing for a bookstore out there.

I was curious about how everyone was hearing about the news, and so I admit, I did that vaguely shameful thing authors often resort to -- I Googled myself. And here's who's writing about it (forgive the self-absorption -- it's kind of just for my records):

Chad Post (formerly of Dalkey Archive) in Three Percent, his new blog for Open Letter at University of Rochester...

Bookselling This Week had a nice mention, and Karen Schechner is writing up a more in-depth piece to run later this week...

Levi at Litkicks includes it in his roundup...

Shelf Awareness featured it front and center...

P.J. at Books in Northport gave me a bookseller-to-bookseller shoutout...

And Bud Parr at Chekhov's Mistress has a great post about what kind of bookseller he would be (a bit of a cranky one), along with his congratulations about the win...

Which leads me to another great post at BookNinja about George's dream bookstore (Lisa Loeb is involved)...

Inspired by this piece in the Guardian, about Lee Rourke's dream bookstore...

Which is really about two entrepreneurs (like me!) working toward opening The Big Green Bookshop in London, and writing a blog about the process (they've also apparently been bowled over by the publicity from the article). Warning: the blog opens to the tune of "Pleasant Valley Sunday," which I love but you might want to be aware of if you're in a quiet place.

I love reading all of the literary folks whose dream bookstore resembles that of Bernard Black in Black's Books, a hilarious cancelled BBC sitcom I've been obsessed with lately. Bernard loves drinking wine, reading books, and being left alone, and hates cleaning, anything new, and customers. Obviously he's a terrible bookseller. And as they admit, many of those who dream of the bookstore life aren't really cut out for it. But as my very first bookstore boss used to say, "that's why there are so many books [or jobs] in the world -- so not everyone has to like the same ones." And it doesn't hurt to dream, does it?

Happy Wednesday!

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21. Getcha used books in Brooklyn this weekend

A couple of summers ago, on a weekend ramble through the neighborhood, the ALP and I stumbled on signs directing us to a used book sale at the Methodist Church. We followed them, of course, and found ourselves in a basement full of the best castoffs Park Slope had to offer. The ALP, who has an astounding memory, remembers purchasing Death Ship by B. Travern (author of Treasure of the Sierra Madre), and a hardcover edition of a little-known Victor Hugo novel called 'Ninety-Three; I think I bought an early Joan Silber novel whose title I can't remember (holy cow, get your hands on a galley of her new novel if you can, or reserve it for when it comes out in June), and another find or two.

So I was delighted to get an email from book sale coordinator Nancy letting me know that it's Methodist Book Sale time again! I'm just pasting the whole press release below. If you're a Brooklynite or can make it out here this weekend, it's a great chance not only to find some great treasures, but actually to cull your own book collection. Maybe we'll see you there!

* * *

The fabulous 15th annual BOOK SALE at Park Slope United Methodist Church is almost here!

* SATURDAY, Feb. 23 (8:30am to 4pm)

* SUNDAY, Feb. 24 (afternoon only – 1pm to 4pm)

As always, there will be thousands of new & used books as well as DVDs, CDs, records & tapes. Also a terrific Children’s Corner with books, games, videos & puzzles.

Books will be replenished throughout the day. This year we have a special collection of hundreds of early 20th century German language books (fiction & nonfiction), numerous French books, and lots of first editions of English and American fiction, drama & poetry. A browsers paradise!

Great prices! Cash only.

The church is on 6th Avenue at the corner of 8th Street in Park Slope.

We are still accepting donations (excellent condition only), on the following days:
* Monday, Feb. 18: noon to 7pm (Presidents Day)
* Thurs., Feb. 21: 7pm to 10pm
* Friday, Feb. 22: 10am to 9pm

No magazines or textbooks, please! To arrange a car pickup (Park Slope & vicinity only), please call Rick at 347.538.7604.

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22. Define-a-Thon

A brave group of 15 contestants participated in our first WORD Define-a-Thon last night, and everyone seemed to have a blast. Free beer was flowing to calm the nerves, and our grand prize winner of a $25 WORD Gift Certificate was Brianna McGurran. We’ll definitely make this a regular event here, so start brushing up on your definitions!

Our brave participants:


Sipping and thinking…


Our winner!


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23. Regional book conference

Last weekend was the New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association’s annual conference, so Vinnie and I spent the weekend (our 12th wedding anniversary!) in Baltimore.

As with any independent bookseller meeting, the morale boost is the best part of it all for me. I leave there with lots of hope and great ideas of how to improve my store, and I just hope now I’ll be able to find the time to implement them all. As always, please feel free to pass on your suggestions of things you would like to see here at WORD.

It was our first visit to Baltimore and even though we didn’t have time to see much of the city, we had a delicious dinner at a tapas restaurant called Pazo and really enjoyed visiting some local bookstores. One store that made us green with envy was Atomic Books, be sure to check it out if you get to Baltimore one day. They specialize in graphic books and comics, but have a great selection of lit mags and toys and just expanded to a second store around the corner called Atomic Pop. They are way cool and so is their website, and we hope one day we will be able to sell our stock online as they do. So much time, so little to do….

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24. Someone in Williamsburg loves us


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25. A recommended list that reflects our tastes…

I find that the New York Times bestseller list often does not accurately reflect the books we sell here at WORD, so I was happy to see today that the National Book Critics Circle just launched their Most Recommended List, a monthly list of book recommendations compiled from votes cast by NBCC members as well as famous writers and critics. It seems more up our alley, so I will try to post it each month in the WHAT WE’RE READING section of this site. Check it out when you’re looking for recommendations for something new and exciting.

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