Link of the Week: The Strand Bookstore

The Strand Bookstore is a Landmark shop specializing in new, used & rare books from philosophy to finance, plus bookish gifts.

The Strand is one of New York’s most popular independent book sellers, celebrating its 90th anniversary this year. The store was founded by Benjamin Bass in 1927 and has been kept running by his son, Fred, and now Fred’s daughter, Nancy.

According to the Huffington Post article, “How The Strand Has Made Indie Bookselling Look Easy — For 90 Years,” “The store operates in a constant churn of activity ― two events a day, seven days a week; pop-up outlets around town.” The store is constantly striving to expand its footprint on the New York literary scene.

The Strand has already implemented modern shifts in how the store operates like including bookish items like tote bags and magnets as well as books. Nancy told the Huffington Post, ““Our focus is on the books,” and went on tosay. “The way we put it is, the books are the sentence and the other items are the punctuation: They’re fun and more spontaneous, and books are a little bit more of a commitment.”

The Strand continues to live on as cultural staple for the literary New York. Despite having some hiccups along the way, The Strand has managed to push on and remain successful.

Harry Potter 20 Years Later: How Harry Potter Saved Young Adult Fiction

This month the magical realm of Harry Potter, created by J.K. Rowling, is celebrating it’s twentieth year. The success of the book series transferred into a successful film series starring Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint, as well as a popular website (Pottermore), Spin-off titles like Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (which also found success as a film), an amusement park attraction (The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios), and now a stage play, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

At the time that the first Harry Potter book was released, young adults and children were accustomed to titles and series such as The Babysitter’s Club, that were a bit more lightweight. The Harry Potter series made way for blockbuster sagas like The Hunger Games, Twilight, and Divergent. Harry Potter easily changed the game for YA fiction.

Though not necessarily original in its common tropes of magic, fantasy, adventure, unfair teachers, a common enemy, heroes, etc., Harry Potter was able to resonate with children and young adults in a way that other tiles could not. Claire Fallon in an article for the Huffington Post writes, “Children’s book writers, especially fantasy authors, who were once the masters of their domain found themselves ignored in media coverage and discussions of ‘Harry Potter.'” Perhaps it was Rowling who wrote the right book at the right time, or she was able to masterfully and creatively construct a seven-book mystery/adventure story arc following characters as they aged into adulthood that coincided with her aging and growing audience. Either way, as Joe Monti, Editorial Director of Saga Press says, “Harry Potter made the careers of many authors possible.”

Harry Potter was able to boosts the sales of YA fiction altogether because of its success. “The Atlantic reported that the number of YA books had increased by a factor of 10 between 1997 and 2009.” The series was also able to help rebuild the disparaging reputation that fantasy had as a genre in YA fiction. Monti says, “Fantasy is mainstream.”

Rowling and Harry Potter as a series took on many risks, including long-form story arcs, thick-sized books, and a fantasy genre as well as the idea that the books also age with the audience. Harry Potter takes on darker themes like lengthy battle scenes, concepts of mortality/fatality, and romantic relationships, all of which challenged what YA fiction was at the time and what publishers can put in front of children and young adults.

Harry Potter was able to open up the horizons for what YA literature could be. Rowling also capitalized on the success of her series, which is part if the reason why Harry Potter has been cemented in pop culture history. It continues, to this day, to pave the way for YA fiction authors.

Link of the Week: Unbound

Unbound is a crowdfunding publisher that gives people the tools, support and freedom to bring their ideas to life.

According to a Huffington Post article, 3 Ways Indie Authors Can Use Social Media to Attract Readers, Unbound is a lesser known crowdfunding site specifically designed to support independent authors by gathering resources to publish a manuscript.

Described as a “team of writers, designers, publishers and producers working together in a converted warehouse in central London,” the people at Unbound say that, “Half of us spend our time finding, commissioning and making our books. The other half builds Unbound and looks after our community.” The ‘community’ at Unbound have “pledged over £3 million to Unbound projects to fund everything from an anthology on race and identity in contemporary Britain to a compilation of terrible old video games you’ve probably never heard of.”

Crowdfunding, like with that of Unbound is what the Huffington Post describes as one of three ways to use Social Media to attract readers. Unbound will fund the book, publish it, launch it with promotion and all the while, keep the author well informed on the status of the book throughout the process.

15 Stellar Short Stories You Can Read Online This Month

Following April’s National Poetry Month’s celebration, readers can look forward to a Summer of beach reading. But, in between these two reading seasons is National Short Story Month, a form of writing dedicated to in the month of May.

The Huffington Post has compiled a list of 15 short stories that viewers can read online to kick off their summer reading lists. “These make for great lunch break reads,” as the writer, Maddie Crum, says.

Among the stories the made the list include:

The 37” by Mary Miller

Anthologized in Miller’s recent collection Always Happy Hour, this story follows a girl trying to get home to see her mother in Mississippi.

• “You Are Happy?” by Akhil Sharma

A boy observes his mother’s decent into alcoholism in Shamra’s story, which will appear in his collection out this summer.

• “A Hundred and Twenty Muscles” by Rachel Heng

In another great work of flash fiction, a young girl plays with her class pet ― a rabbit named Domino ― a little too violently.

Happy 100th Birthday Roald Dahl!

Roald Dahl

Today marks the 100th birthday for the late, great Author, poet, screenwriter, and fighter pilot, Roald Dahl. Dahl lives on through his amazing work such as James and the Giant PeachCharlie and the Chocolate FactoryMatildaThe WitchesFantastic Mr FoxThe BFG, and The Twits among otherssome of which were adapted into successful screenplays and films.

roald dahl works

Dahl had a way with words throughout his writing career, which the Huffington Post compiled in an article titled “50 Amazing Words Roald Dahl Made Up” You can click the link and read some interesting words that Dahl used in his stories.

“A person is a fool to become a writer. His only compensation is absolute freedom. He has no master except his own soul, and that, I am sure, is why he does it,” Roald Dahl

Happy Birthday Roald Dahl!happy birthday road dahl