Posts Tagged ‘Unbridled Books’

Rich Rennicks: Father, bookseller, gardener, writer, jack-of-many-trades

Rich Rennicks

Oh dear, lately we seem to have gotten a bit lax here at Follow the Reader. But, today we are making up for our recent lack of quantity, with a whole lotta quality in the form of a lovely chat with the Word Hoarder‘s own, Mr. Rich Rennicks.

Rich is a self-described “father, bookseller, gardener, writer, and jack-of-many-trades,” who works as bookstore liaison for Unbridled Books, and part-times it as a book seller for Malaprop’s Bookstore in Asheville, NC.  As you will find out, Rich also enjoys the pleasure of a good book.

If you needed another reason to be fond of him, Rich is a huge advocate of book sellers using social media to engage with their customers, and has a fantastic post all about it over at Word Hoarder. Go check it out after you read our equally fantastic interview with him.

Kat Meyer: Through extensive research (I clicked on the “About” section at your blog), I discovered you are not native to North Carolina, but hail from Ireland with some time spent in the UK. You mention on your blog that your  library reflects your travels. Can you elaborate? Are there any titles that stand out as touchstones for particular times and locations of your life?

Rich Rennicks:

There are several books that impacted on me for one basic reason: their authors lived (or had lived) nearby, and that brought the world of arts and letters close enough to home that I began to think I might have a part in it some day.  Brendan Behan’s memoir Borstal Boy, J.P. Donleavy’s hilarious The Ginger Man, and Francis Ledwidge’s poetry, were particularly impressive and remain so..

I read Pynchon, Rushdie and Eco for the first time while I lived in the UK. Any of their books could change a person’s life.

I read Silas House’s marvelous Clay’s Quilt on a trip to NC while I lived in Michigan. That book, with its warm and nuanced understanding of Appalachian culture, had a great deal to do with my family deciding to relocate back south after years up north. Also, Look Homeward Angel is one of my favorite books of all time — and one of the few to reduce me the tears – so, Asheville carries a certain aura and romance for me because of Thomas Wolfe.

I almost began grad work in Indian and post-colonial literature after falling under the spell of Rushdie, Roy, Mukherjee and others. My wife and I traveled throughout India in 1998, and I brought home a ton of Indian novels and some literary nonfiction. Upamanyu Chatterjee’s hilarious English, August is one of those special books for me. I’ve discovered an informal fraternity of travelers who have spent serious time on the subcontinent and have often read that book. It captures the distaste the urban, educated Indian often feels for the raw, superstitious life of rural India, which often mirrors the first impressions and feelings westerners have of the country. It’s a book I’ve bonded with a few people over, and one that is something of an antidote to the glossy, sprawling family sagas that were being published as fast as possible for a few years. English, August is no more comprehensive or representative of India’s myriad communities than those sagas, but is one of the few books I’ve found that takes a brutally and humorously honest look at what’s often romanticized.

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Fraser Kelton of Adaptive Blue

Fraser Kelton of Adaptive Blue

In the third of our profiles on nifty websites and tools that help readers and bookish types connect online, we bring you a glimpse at Glue. Fraser Kelton from Adaptive Blue, the company behind Glue, was kind enough to answer a few questions and shed some light on this very interesting and literally ubiquitous new way for readers to share their thoughts about books.

Q: What exactly is Glue, and how does it work?
Glue is a web-wide social network for books, movies, and music. It appears automatically as you browse popular sites to show you friends who have visited the same item and what they think.

The cool part about Glue is that it uses semantics to connect people around a common object, regardless of where it’s visited. This means that if you visit a book on Powells, you’ll be able to see what your friends thought of that book even if they visited it on Amazon, B&N, IndieBound, or dozens of other popular book sites.

Glue is a browser add-on, so it can bring you contextual information where and when it makes sense – while you’re looking at a book or movie on a popular site. (more…)

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[Update: This contest has now ended.]

As the debate over our “Free Sony Readers for Booksellers” post rages on, Unbridled Books and NetGalley have thrown some fun into the mix (disclosure – NetGalley sponsors this blog). To encourage booksellers to read e-galleys, they are challenging booksellers to come up with hand-selling pitches for Emily St. John Mandel’s debut novel,  Last Night in Montreal. The three most creative pitches will each be rewarded with a SONY ereader.

For those who want to know more about the fine art of hand selling, MJ Rose has an old but great post about this very essential skill over at Buzz, Balls, & Hype.

For more information about the contest, check out the press release below. And here’s wishing all you booksellers good luck! (If you win, can I borrow your SONY Reader? Promise I’ll give it back… eventually!)

Unbridled Books and NetGalley announce a contest inspired by author Emily St. John Mandel and our bookseller partners.

(April 20, 2009, Denver, CO) Unbridled Books and NetGalley announce a contest inspired by author Emily St. John Mandel and our bookseller partners. We want to encourage booksellers to read e-galleys, and to make this possible, we are offering a SONY Reader to the three booksellers who craft the best handselling pitches for Mandel’s debut novel, LAST NIGHT IN MONTREAL (pub. date June 2). The contest runs from May 1, 2009 through midnight on June 1, 2009.

One (1) SONY Reader will be awarded to each of the three (3) winning booksellers. Unbridled Books will decide on the winners, and the winning handselling pitches will be posted on www.unbridledbooks.com and shared with media and through social networking sites. Please, only one (1) submission per bookseller.

You can download a galley of LAST NIGHT IN MONTREAL right now at www.netgalley.com. [Upddate: This title is no longer available at NetGalley.]

If you want to participate, please email Unbridled Books Sales Director Steven Wallace at swallace@unbridledbooks.com“>swallace@unbridledbooks.com with your handselling pitch. Please include your name, your store name and full contact information, including email and phone number. In the email subject line, please reference SONY READER/NETGALLEY Promotion.

This contest is limited to booksellers in the United States.

For more information, please contact Caitlin Hamilton Summie, Marketing Director, at caitlin@unbridledbooks.com or 888-732-3822 (888-READ-UBB), x104 and Susan Ruszala, Director of Marketing, at Susan.Ruszala@netgalley.com“>Susan.ruszala@netgalley.com or 908-456-3383, or please visit:


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