We hit triple digit territory with this newsletter. It’s not quite the two year anniversary (that comes at the end of the month), but it’s getting close, and we’re a bit kerfluffled about the fact that we’ve been here every week for—damn!—a lot of weeks. We have some statistics for those who are curious about those sorts of things, which are down at the bottom of the newsletter, instead of our regular installment of “Overheard at the Store,” which—we know—is like telling you that nothing happens in your favorite show this week. Twin Peaks fans will understand this feeling. 

So, let’s get on with the books then! What’s this week got for us? Seven thousand titles coming out this month. Let’s try to pretend that we’re going to cover them all. No? Half? No? A quarter? Whatever! Books!

First up, we have I am Pusheen the Cat, the print edition of your favorite Internet-ready iconic . . . what? This came out in 2013? Oh. Well, how about Pusheen the Coloring Book? 2016? Drat. How about Pusheen the Magnetic Stickers—oh, September? Well, whatever. We’ve got cute Internet cat crap back in stock. How about that? 

Okay, how about Better-Than-Takeout Thai? Hold on. That’s a terrible title. Really? That’s not insensitive. “Hey, you can cook Thai food in your own kitchen better than, I dunno, actual Thai people can.” We’ll shelve that one right next to 101 Asian Dishes You Need to Cook Before You Die. And yes, part of the marketing message on that is “learn the secrets of making your favorite Asian dishes taste better than takeout.” 

Look, we’re all for well-crafted cookbooks that elaborate on some of the world’s fascinating cuisine, but seriously? Can the marketing message be a little less derogatory to other cultures? 

Like, Peppers of the Americas: The Remarkable Capsicums That Forever Changed Flavor. Well, maybe that subtitle can dial it back a notch or two. Let’s just stick with Peppers of the Americas, and leave the histrionics of subtitling for Pay-for-View Professional Wrestling. 

Oh, and this one contains “on-trend” recipes, because you wouldn’t want to be caught buying a cookbook that has “off-trend” recipes, would you? 

[You know what else is 100 today? The outside air. It’s cause for grouchiness. Just so you know. That’s how we’re celebrating our centenary—which is way too close to ‘cemetary’ for our liking, by the way.]

And speaking of summer weather, Mark Lamprell has a love letter to a city itself with One Summer Day in Rome. Lamprell’s novel takes us into the lives of three couples who come to Rome for completely different reasons, but who are all captivated—in one form or another—by the eternal and irresistible magic of the city. We’re sure it has nothing to do with the gelato. 

And speaking of cold treats, how about Ernest van der Kwast’s The Ice-Cream Makers? It’s like The Man Called Ove meets The Odd Couple, but in Rome! With ice cream! 

And speaking of books in translation, over here we have Linnea Hartsuyker’s The Half-Drowned King, a mythic saga of ninth century Vikings. With Ragnvald and Svanhild, Hartsuyker has given us an engaging and mesmerizing brother sister team on par with those two Lannister siblings from Game of Thrones

And speaking of strange tales of strange lands, Natasha Pulley lands this week with The Bedlam Stacks, a 19th century adventure novel about an irascible protagonist’s quest for quinine in Peru. The quest is a terrible idea—everybody agrees it is so—but our protagonist goes anyway because he’s got some home issues that he’d like to get away from. 

[How many discoveries and great adventures happen because someone just had to get out of the house? This week, though? No one should be going outside. Stay indoors. Read a book. It’s safer that way.]

[*EDITOR’S NOTE: The editor of this newsletter would like to remind you that the bookstore has air conditioning, and if you do need to leave the house, you can always take a break in the stacks, where we don’t mind if you read for a little bit before venturing back outside.]

In fact, if you’re going to curl up and read something light and breezy this week, may we recommend Urban Enemies, an anthology of villain-centric stories from some of the brightest in contemporary fantasy. Not only will you find new stories from authors you know, but you might discover a new series or two. We don’t mind helping you out there—wink, wink. 

And speaking of ham-fisted hand-selling, we’d like to remind you that our bi-monthly salon is next week. Come by the store next Tuesday evening for a series of entertaining presentations and snacks. With air conditioning. 

Some Statistics in Regards to this Newsletter 

- The first newsletter went out August 29th, 2015 to 70 people. We glossed over thirteen books. 

- Alice and Bob showed up in the first “Overheard at the Store” in newsletter #2. 

- We did International Talk Like A Pirate Day twice, once with newsletter #4 (which was written in full-on pirate speak) and with newsletter #55, wherein Alice showed up and did some "Yee har mateys!" Now that we pause for reflection, that may have been where the first bloom of attraction started between Alice and Ferdie . . .  Anyway, ITLAPD is about seven weeks away, so you can start planning now.

- Colby’s first real introduction was in newsletter #7, which he took over and reviewed books that were on the bottom shelves around the store. Marmot height, you know?  

- We numbered two newsletters with #10, because counting is hard. 

- By January 1st, 2016, our readership had grown to 426 readers. 

- Newsletter #23 reviewed no books because it was our Blind Date With A Book rollout. That was February 10th, 2016. Since then the writer we have shackled in the back has written blind date profiles for more than 160 distinct books. 

- We debuted our own bookmarks (the infamous Space Monkey one!) in June of 2016. We blew through 2,500 of those in about three months. Since then we’ve been working our way through Nature Reads, a wee series of factoids about the animal kingdom and their relationship with literature, as written by our own in-house marmot. So far, we’ve done rabbit, wolf, bear, fish, squirrel, and dog. You probably haven’t noticed how the circle on the front of the bookmark changes color, have you? 

- Newsletter #58 had a limerick about Colby instead of the normal “Overheard at the Store.” Why yes, we were behind that week.

- We made up for it the following week, which was all about Colby doing intern orientation for the Twin Peaks Haunted House project. 

- Somewhere around the first year anniversary, we started covering 8 - 12 books in each newsletter, whereas we’d been doing 4 - 7 each week during the year prior. All told, we’ve highlighted more than 630 titles during this run of the store newsletter. 

- During newsletter #62, Alice was named “Anne” for some reason, probably because Mark needed to call his mom and hadn’t gotten around to it yet. Thankfully, he’s since called her. 

Speaking of names, “Alice” and “Bob” are standard placement names when you are talking about cryptography examples. They’re probably also used for stand-in names in other industries as well. In addition to Alice and Bob, we have introduced Colby, Daphne (the ghost), Ferdie (the new bookseller), Ginger (who works at The Battered Casket), Horace (the breathlessly hopeful ex-publisher), Irene (the as-yet-unseen ex-publicist), Jasper (the grouchy ex-book designer), and K (the mysterious housebound author). 

Walk-on parts went to Henry, Quinn, Timothy, Angeline, and Bretteny (interns that didn’t last long), as well as Glom-Glom and Zip-Zip, who live out in the woods near Bob’s cabin. 

Sharp-eyed readers will notice that we skipped the letter ‘E.’ But we didn’t, really, because Evelyn was here before the newsletter started. Twenty years, in fact. That’s how long your local bookstore has been, uh, “local.” 

- Ferdie, by the way, showed up in newsletter #52. 

- Newsletter #74 featured a bit of cipher code. We only had one sharp-eyed reader figure it out and send us a picture of peanut butter pickle toast, which we featured in the header graphic in newsletter #75. (Alice figured it out too, but she’s a pirate, so what would you expect?)

- Whenever Horace and Jasper show up, “Overheard at the Store” runs long, but we think newsletter #87 has the longest transcript, clocking in at nearly a thousand words. Seriously, who does this much work for a passing add-on to a bookstore newsletter? For the record, more than 30,000 words have been written for “Overheard at the Store,” which is getting dangerously close to a novel. 

- With newsletter #100, we are about to break 1,000 readers. Thank you all for your continued devotion to the store and its shenanigans. 

If you wish to wander through the newsletter archives, you can always find them here on the bookstore's newsletter webpage. 


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