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Finding the Way to Read “The End and Other Beginnings”

I’ve never read any of the ‘Divergent’ series, despite handling thousands of copies of the novels and special editions and movie tie in cash grabs when I was a bookseller.

We stocked so much of this series, especially around the holidays, that if we’d wanted to we could probably have built a table out of the books to display the books on. (When James Frey’s “A Million Little Pieces” exploded because of Oprah I’m pretty sure we did just that in the front window of the store just to save ourselves time.)

When “The End and Other Beginnings”, a collection of novella-length stories by Veronica Roth, popped up in Libby I thought it might be a good introduction to her writing.

Having just finished “No Country for Old Gnomes”—and the third book in that series not being available yet or I would have jumped on it immediately—some futuristic short stories might be just what I need to cleanse my literary palate of fantasy adventuring with magical creatures and those backstabbing halflings. And a goat-turned-human who really should be commended for controlling his bowels when frightened. I think we can all agree that’s an admirable trait in our leaders.

I can be a little hesitant with listening to short stories—I tend to agree with Mavis Gallant’s opinion that, “Stories are not chapters of novels. They should not be read one after another, as if they were meant to follow along. Read one. Shut the book. Read something else. Come back later. Stories can wait.”

And that’s definitely not how I consume audiobooks. Especially ones I’ve borrow from the library—there’s a deadline, after all, and one doesn’t have infinite time to savor the individual tales. I have a collection of Raymond Carver short stories that I pick up and read a story from every few months. Same goes for a collection of Hemingway short stories, my copy’s spine broken badly in several places to Mark “Hills Like White Elephants” or “The End of Something” and a few other staples of raw, concise, finely crafted short fiction. With a physical book its easy enough to do that, but not in this situation.

Does anyone out there have a preference for how you read books? Favored formats for specific subjects or styles? I like physical books for short stories, and I enjoy reading Ebooks for nonfiction. It’s almost like needing a certain pen or notebook for a particular writing project, like needing to change clothes to suit a situation.

Some books are best as mass markets, the pulp detective stories or movie-of-the-week thrillers; while some need to hardcovers, their physical weight mirroring the perceived heaviness of their content; and the English teacher’s favorite assigned reading, the consummate literary prize winner reprinted in trade paperback with delusions of hardcover grandeur with its cover flaps and jagged, uneven pages.

Or maybe that’s just me….

Give a Good Read Week and Little Free Libraries

Give a Good Read Week runs through Sunday, September 22. Which book are you going to share? 

In 2009, Todd Bol created the first Little Free Library book exchange in the front yard of his home in Hudson, Wisconsin as a tribute to his mother—a teacher.

Ten years later there are more than 90,000 Little Free Library book exchanges in 91 countries, and all 50 U.S. states. There’s a good chance there’s one near you that you can donate to or browse. See if there’s one near you on this interactive map.

If you’ve always wanted to start your own Little Free Library, this is the perfect opportunity! Browse the ready-to-use libraries here, and blueprints for building your own library here. You can check out some of the incredibly creative libraries others have built here.

If you’re unable to install a Little Free Library near you, another option is the Impact Library Program, which provides no-cost Little Free Libraries to high-need communities throughout the U.S.

Those prebuilt libraries can be a little pricey, even with the sales they’re running, but you could always pick up the new picture book instead. By Miranda Paul and John Parra, “Little Libraries, Big Heroes” tells the story of the organization’s history and goals, from the very first Little Free Library.

If you’re able to donate to a Little Free Library near you, (or find a great book you can’t resist) don’t forget to share a photo on social media tagging @goodreads and using the hashtags #GiveAGoodRead and #LFL10.

What book would you love to donate?

Village Green Bookstore

Village Green on Monroe Ave from Democrat and ChronicleVillage Green Bookstore opened in 1972 in a 600-square-foot basement store at 766 Monroe Avenue in Rochester, New York, before its reputation among the community’s book lovers spread and it expanded into the larger storefront upstairs.

 The store had a coffee bar before they became common in bookstores and despite starting out by selling only the local Sunday edition, would offer more than 100 newspapers and 2,400 magazines. Eventually, while books were still a staple of the business, they became lost behind their rapidly expanding merchandise line.

By 1992, Village Green had added as many as eight new stores throughout Central and Western New York, including locations at 1089 Niagara Falls Boulevard in Amherst and 765 Elmwood Avenue in the Elmwood Village.  But the growth for the company had become troublesome.  Hoping to solve their financial problems, the chain continued to expand locations and product offerings. In doing so, as tends to happen when a company forces growth in order to dominate the market, Village Green forgot their purpose and mission.  The company had forgotten what one of the founders, John Borek, had said not long after opening; their intention was to cater to “people who were hungry for books.”  Instead, they were selling ice cream and inflatable bagels.

Within a few years they had added stores in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, but with a series of catastrophic financial decisions that involved lawsuits, criminal charges and SEC investigations, the company began closing “underperforming” stores, including a third location in Western New York, in the McKinley Plaza in Blasdell. The closures and merchandise sell offs could not keep the company afloat however and in 1998 they had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

The following year, the flagship store on Monroe closed it doors for good, eventually becoming a Pizza Hut.

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The voice of Canisius College since 1933

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