Welcome to the official blog of Third Place Books

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Meet our Booksellers: Halloween Edition

Jane & Emily
Rene K
Annie as Charlie Brown
Erin as A Pink Slip
Stan as King Kong
Monica as a Yoga Instructor
Sarah as Fancy Nancy

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Last Minute Costume Ideas (or five reasons to justify buying this awesome tutu!)

Who doesn't love a good tutu? Sarah, who can usually be found in our Kid's department, has combined two of her favorite things, kids' books and tutus, to bring you five (easy) last minute costume ideas!

1) LADYBUG GIRL = red tutu + red shirt painted with black dots + attach pip cleaners to a headband for antennae  (Bonus: does your LadyBug Girl have a little brother? Try Bumblebee Boy = black pants + yellow and black striped shirt)

2) PINKALICIOUS = pink tutu + pink shirt + pink tights + pink shoes + pigtails & a tiara

3)FANCY NANCY = any color tutu + lots of accessories! (bows, jewelry, glitter!)

4) LITTLE MERMAID = green tutu + bathing suit (try a long sleeve shirt under your swim suit if its cold)

5)ANGELINA BALLERINA = any color tutu + paint mouse nose & whiskers on (an eyeliner pencil works great) + optional: ears and tail

Already have a costume? The greatest thing about a tutu is they are fun for the whole year!  So stop by our kids' department today and grab yours before they're gone! (And maybe stay a little while to read a book or two. Sarah highly recommends the new Fancy Nancy, Fancy Nancy and the Fabulous Fashion Boutique, and Mo Willems' Knuffle Bunny Free.)

Friday, October 22, 2010

Publishing Through Print on Demand

This weekend marks the first public event in what we hope will be the beginning of an exciting and fun partnership. Publication Studio, a small innovative press in Portland, OR, is allowing us to "co-publish" an edition of their latest book, A River Story  by American Book Award winning author Anna Odessa Linzer. Publication Studio and Third Place Press are excited to partner on this real-time publication project that models the use of non-exclusive rights and multi-publisher collaborations.

The Book : A River Story  is a novel about Fish Town, a self-invented community that took root along the banks of a river much like the Skagit, near La Conner, Washington, in the 1960s. Poet Mike Dillon calls it a "subtle, knowing" book that "nails the hubris, hypocrisy, and genuine hopes of the 60s and 70s all too believably."

 The Philosophy : Publication Studio is a press that is carving out new ways for books to be circulated, author's to be paid and the book industry to think about the "life" of the book. Here is part of their mission statement

Publication Studio is an experiment in sustainable publication. We print and bind books on demand, creating original work with artists and writers we admire, books that both respond to the conversation of the moment and can endure. We attend to the social life of the book, cultivating a public that cares and is engaged. Publication Studio is a laboratory for publication in its fullest sense — not just the production of books, but the production of a public. This public, which is more than a market, is created through deliberate acts: the circulation of texts; discussions and gatherings in physical space; and the maintenance of a digital commons. Together these construct a space of conversation, a public space, which beckons a public into being. - read more


The Edition(s) : Third Place Press is creating 2 editions of A River Story through its print on demand Espresso Book Machine (Ginger). Each with original art by two local artists, Charles Krafft and Eli Hansen.

The Event : Sunday 10/24 5:30pm  - Matthew Stadler founder of Publication Studio, Robert Sindelar Managing Partner of Third Place Books and Vladimir Verano of Third Place Press will all be present along with the author and artists to celebrate this book launch and new partnership. Those interested the book machine are reminded that they can arrive as early as 4:30 pm, when they can order a copy of A River Story and actually watch their book as it is produced by Ginger.

Monday, October 18, 2010


Here at Third Place we are very lucky to have the lovely and talented Wendy Manning as our Gift Buyer (and assistant manager, author event coordinator, music coordinator, marketing manager, and resident fashionista) because our Sidelines section is often praised by customers.  Whether you're just looking for a birthday card to send to Aunt Mary-Jo or you're on the hunt for the perfect wedding shower gift, our sidelines section has something for everyone.

If you're looking for something a bit more..."off the beaten path" shall we say, than a leather-bound journal or a booklight, we've got you covered there too.  In fact, you might say that we specialize a bit in the wackier side of the gift realm.

In this picture we have a set of miniature chattering teeth, ninja nesting dolls, a pink glitter-covered skull (To be or not to be fabulous?!), a squeezably soft Salmonella, curry flavoured mints, and the oh-so-classy Farts in a can.

So while books may be the name of the game here at Third Place don't forget about our fantastic gift selection!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Sloane Crosley Interview, part deux

VV: Take a Stab At It is a good example of what I kind of see as a bit of hyper-realism that approaches fiction. It was a very interesting surprise that happens in the middle of that essay suddenly I found myself in the middle of a ghost story and I didn’t expect it. Your essays made me think of – I had to look it up because I’d forgotten what the term was but now they call it New Journalism, Creative Nonfiction, authors like Didion and Wolfe and Truman Capote – were they a big influence on you?

SC: They definitely are. Oh my gosh! They’re so big that that I wouldn’t even name them as influences because I feel almost uncomfortable at all being mentioned in the same breath. It’s not like I was writing and I thought, “Well, God, you know, geez, what did Truman Capote do? Let me look.” And think that I could possibly even pretend to imitate. But I think there’s some sort of subconscious way that they’re influencing me while I write. I try not to read – I read those people or reread works of theirs that I love, you know, God, I mean, Truman Capote, Other Voices, Other Rooms, and Goodbyes and all that and the Didion and stuff like that. But you go back and visit something like Slouching Towards Bethlehem, but afterwards. While you’re writing it, I think it’s important to read the phone book, or the back of cereal boxes—or a big giant novel, or anything, anything else. But yeah, that particular essay, it’s funny, because people have all these tiny little things that seem embarrassing that really aren’t risking that much. And you know? That’s the gamble of the last essay, that’s risking a lot. And that essay you just referenced, Take A Stab At It, is risking a lot because it’s much more risky to say, “I full-on believe I saw a ghost when I was nine and here’s the story,” versus, you know, “Oh, I got caught picking my wedgie in the street.” Wooooooo! It’s not – it’s so funny that the things people think are everyday embarrassments, I don’t feel remotely shy about sharing.

VV: Ah, yes. An Abbreviated Catalog of Tongues. It’s a great title and also the experience of raising countless amounts of animals is really spot on because that’s what happened with me and my family. My mother and my older brother were always having this just obsessive need to have pets around. You know, they did have a lot of pets in the family –

SC: [Laughs.] Oh, they’re family. Don’t confuse, yeah – if you have a loyalist in your household, do not make the mistake of calling them ‘pets’ – they’re brothers and sisters. [Laughs.]

VV: And it was really funny, because, you know, you’d think you’d go through as traumatic an experience as the loss of an animal and then, nope, a few weeks later or a few months later, there’d be a new animal.
Do you own a pet now?

SC: I’m so happy you asked, because I’m proud to be a crazy cat lady. Although I think you’re not a crazy cat lady if you have one. And I do have one, and her name is Mabel. And she was adopted from a family. She was abandoned in an apartment complex in North Carolina and my friend who went to West Point and was stationed at Fort Bragg and was renting out somehow an apartment in this complex and found Mabel as a kitten. She was given birth to by this cat who had been abandoned, I’m sure – and this is not a very interesting story – but the one funny part is that I ended up adopting her and she – you know, if you’re going to get a cat and adopt it, you should have it litter trained by someone who went to West Point.  Because the cat has never done anything wrong. She’s like the most perfectly affectionate, lovely animal, who’s never pissed or shat anywhere otherwise than where she’s meant to. So – it’s not my fault she’s so cute. She was born that way. So that is my story, to answer your question, “Do I have an animal?”

VV: Well, I was wondering if you had been burned out by the whole experience of growing up with animals.

SC: I had a long, long time in which I had no pets, and perfectly happily, so, I mean, obviously through college, and about the first four or five years in New York, and you know, and then I had no intention of getting one, actually, and then she came my way.

VV: Well, okay. So a couple of very brief questions, and I know you hate being put on the spot about this sort of stuff.

SC: I do? I do hate that? Have I gone the record saying that I hate –

VV: Phobias.

SC: Phobias. Oh yes do I ever. I hate knives. And little kids with sticky lollipops who are unmanned – just running around with sticky things, and I don’t know where their parents are. And then my biggest phobia by far is, I don’t like speed. Roller coasters. Planes taking off. Motorboats, that’s a big one. Just speed. Anything that moves super-duper-duper fast.  I really, really, really hate it. That is my biggest fear. So…

VV: Huh. So no dream of being an astronaut?

SC: No.

VV: [Laughs.]

SC: I hate planes; it’s funny. I have a pretty terrible fear of flying and turbulence and things of that nature because of that. It’s very specific –I have no claustrophobia, I’m not afraid the plane’s going to crash, I’m fine with being in that space for a while. None of that’s a problem. So it’s funny when you’re flying and you explain what it is to people and they’ll inevitably – even if you explain it’s takeoff – they say, “Oh, but it’s a short flight!” Well, do you have to leave the ground because of it? So I guess a speedy chamber with lollipops everywhere and knives sticking out would be my worst nightmare.

VV: Wow. That would be one interesting astronaut training program.

SC: Yes.

VV: So several of your essays involve traveling to places like Alaska and Portugal and so on. Any places you’re still craving to visit?

SC: Oh, my gosh. Yes, tons.
The truth is, if anyone expects this to be a travel book, they’re going to discover that I’m quite poorly traveled. I mean, I would love to go to Japan, Thailand, Africa especially, India.  I would love to go to Brazil. Yeah, places like that. So the list is endless. Unlike the fears, which are finite, the list of places I want to travel is pretty huge.
I can’t read a travel article without thinking, like, “Okay….now how am I going to do this?”

VV: How involved are you with the Internet?

SC: I am poorly involved with the Internet. I do have a Twitter feed and I do have a Facebook account. I try and keep them up, and I think certain writers, Colson Whitehead is a good example, we were just talking about him earlier, and he has taken to it like a fish to water. And certain writers have the humor of the pithy remark. And some just don’t care for the format of it. I do like it but I don’t do it nearly enough. But I also don’t have the Internet at home.

VV: [Laughs.] Really?

SC: Total Luddite. Yeah, I don’t have it at home. I mean, I have a day job where I have it all day long. I’m constantly exposed to media, all sorts of magazines, books, whatever. I’m constantly online, you know, refreshing various web pages. I have a BlackBerry for emergency emails, and I just don’t have it at home.
It’s rarely, rarely a problem.

VV: The reason why I was asking is that it crops up with certain writers about how distracting the Internet is.

SC: Yes. I’m not really distracted by it.

VV: The other part of that question was, “Do you Google yourself?”

SC: Oh, yeah. Sure. I’ll self-Google. But not a lot.

VV: Is it surprising what you come across sometimes?

SC: Mmm – nah. I don’t think I’ve ever been just shocked or anything like that. I’m not surprised by reviews. I think sometimes people’s personal blogs can be surprising because I think, even if it’s negative, a weird part of me is flattered because I rarely have the urge to share my opinion with everyone constantly. And that can be good or bad. I’m certainly grateful for the people that have enjoyed my stuff and they do share it with their friends. I mean, word of mouth and buzz is really I think how a book like this exists. And sometimes it can be intense – really, really fun. I mean, critiques like, “Why are you not writing for somewhere else?” And sometimes the negative ones can be fun too. But I’ve just never had  the urge to directly interact with the person who either provided the entertainment or the horror.  I‘ve enjoyed something, or been appalled by it, and I’ve taken it into my own life and told people about it.

VV: How does it feel being in the publishing industry now you’re actually kind of the product rather than the promoter or the publisher? How does that inform your overall understanding publishing now?

SC: Well, think there was something I had lost a little bit when my first job was for a literary agent where you’re taught,  the author is right’ and you’re ‘protecting the author against the big bad publishing house,’ and then pretty quickly I ended up working for a big publishing house, and then another big publishing house, and I’ve been there for about nine years. And I think that you now realize, you see things a little more balanced. I think I’d gone too far the other direction of thinking that people’s expectations were too high, or not worrying enough about different authors’ feelings, and I now see what it’s really like to be on the road and it’s rough. But on the other side is, not that rough. You know, I’m sorry you have to wake up at 6:00 AM so that you can then go to a bookstore where people will listen to what you wrote, because someone’s bound it. Like, that’s a pretty sweet experience. So unless you’re AS Byatt, you’re Philip Roth, you’re Toni Morrison – who should never be woken up at 6:00 AM for a flight, you know – aside from that? Suck it up. That’s my conclusion.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Sloane Crosley Interview

Sloane Crosley stopped by Third Place Books recently to sign some copies of her newest collection of essays, “How Did You Get This Number?” While she was here Vladimir, who runs Third Place Press and operates ‘Ginger’, our Espresso Book Machine, had the opportunity to ask Sloane a few questions:

(Vladimir is introduced to Sloane Crosley. A brief moment of awkwardness while they discuss accents, podcasts, the Espresso Book Machine in the room, being a fan, and finally Vladimir figures out that his tape recorder is actually working)

VV: When you first started writing, was the essay form your aim, or just something that kind of happened to come up?

SC: I think the concept of making people laugh is certainly an aim. It’s not always the aim, but when I first started writing I thought I was going to write fiction – and I still might write fiction but the essay form for now, at least, is what’s coming more naturally to me.
Writing is a strange thing. I mean, you’re a volunteer. No-one needs you, so the question is sort of, “Why write?” Because you try to respect yourself and you try and get close to whatever it is you feel you have to say or whatever it is, the combination of what you feel you have to say and what you feel other people have to hear. It’s important to have the balance between that. I start writing essays, I generally know about 80% of what’s going to go in there. And then I generally end up learning, through a boomerang effect about 20%, something I didn’t know before I started writing about how I feel about an experience or really about what something means. And that’s what I do like about the essay format, and when you get that with fiction.

VV: How does the humor always slip in?

SC: Hopefully naturally and hopefully amusingly. I don’t really know. I think humor is a very difficult thing to talk about because the second you try and address why something is funny, how it’s funny, – when do you pull back,?when do you insert something? – . It kills it a little bit. Yyou do have a natural instinct when you’re editing, thinking, “Well, this is going too far in one direction. You know, too slapsticky, or this is trying too hard, not trying hard enough.” You have a sense when you edit it, but when you first write it, I have no idea. It’s a funny thing that – I mean, I don’t know how one gets funny or how –

VV: You’d rather leave it a little mystical?

SC: I would actually rather do the opposite. I’d rather know exactly how it works, because then I could harness it a hell of a lot better and make all these essays perfectly funny.

VV: Do you think the label of a “humorist” can get in the way of a writer’s ability to grow?

SC: I think any kind of label does that, I mean, unless your label is, you know, “Pulitzer Prize winner.”
You could probably grow under that, with that kind of soil. But it does get in the way a little bit. You just want to make sure people know what they’re buying. It’s the same thing as if you label something “chick lit” and it’s not, or you label something as “Memoir” but this doesn’t really feel like a memoir to me. I mean, they’re essays. That’s something very different. I don’t think of myself as telling my life story, you know. If people are disappointed because they don’t like your book, or they think they wanted it to be better, or they don’t think it’s “whatever” enough, that’s fine. That’s totally their right, but it’s dangerous if they think, “Oh, this is going to be just like this other writer,” and then it ends up being maybe a little sadder, maybe a little darker than they thought it was going to be. You just want to make sure that everyone knows what they’re getting into.

VV: So, it must be risky to lay your life out so honestly. What kinds of reactions are you getting from friends and family?

SC: Mostly good. While this sort of a slightly darker, more melancholy book [Than the first collection, “I Was Told There Would Be Cake’], it is nicer in a way. I think [the people I’ve written about] could take it in a lot of ways and there are a couple tributes to certain friendships and obviously those people aren’t going to complain. Most of them sort of aim the ridicule at me, and sometimes they turn the shield outwardly [toward] people that I’m not really talking to so I don’t know what they think. But they know that they’re buried, any identifying characteristics or salient details are completely glossed over. They’re not their real names or where they work and they’re also essays, so therefore they’re not, you know, permeating the entire collection, so at a certain point the responsibility comes off me and is back on to them. If they want to tell everybody that they’re outraged that I said that I had a roommate I didn’t get along with—I’m not telling anyone who it is.
It is kind of a funny line to walk, though. At what point does the responsibility no longer become you. It’s the same thing with reading in general. At what point have you lost control of what you’ve written and the fact that it’s now public domain?

VV: True. When people sit around and discuss your book and it turns out they’ve pulled things out that were never there?

SC: Mmm. That’s amazing. I mean, that’s actually something everyone learns in fifth grade when you start reading the sonnets or whatever, and you start: “ the host of golden daffodils” and what this means and you think, “I had that, Marshall McLuhan moment from Annie Hall when Woody Allen is, you know, on a line and someone’s debating about the director’s work and what it means. And all of a sudden the director appears and says, “Actually, no, that’s not at all what I meant. You’re totally wrong. You’re way off base.” You kind of wish for that.

VV: This is kind of a follow-up to what you just mentioned, but I did notice that your new book is – it’s more nuanced. It’s still very funny, but you’ve developed a deeper sympathy towards the world at large and how your personal experiences fit into it which I think enriches the whole experience of your essays. Was it harder to write this book because of that?

SC: It’s interesting. I mean I thought maybe people might read this one. [Laughs.] I didn’t write the other one thinking that anyone would, and I think that honestly maybe it boils down to something as simple as that. But beyond that, I wanted to challenge myself a little more. I wanted to write about things that were objectively unfunny. Being lost; Having a weird crisis about furniture; Having a violent experience with a bear; Being broken up with; almost moving into a crazy old brothel. You know, these are not always really funny. And I think the trick is to make them funny, and if you can do that—I don’t know if all of these pull it off or not—but when they do, I think that’s the writing I’m most proud of. And really the last essay, which is almost novella-like, was really hard to write —I’ve never really written about relationships because it’s not something I’m particularly interested in writing about. These aren’t very female-oriented essays except that one. That is the only one that kept me up at night.

VV: Well, speaking of that essay, that was probably the one that I connected with the most, and I think any writer’s hope is to be able to make that kind of connection with someone. You mentioned that was more of a female kind of perspective, but I think you really managed to walk that line. I have to say, vouching from a guy’s point of view, I think that the things you explore in that story are universal. I personally found it cathartic for personal reasons so I really appreciate it.

SC: Oh good! I mean, that’s the thing. It’s so hard, especially with narrative non-fiction – if something—not bad, even, but just off-kilter—something significant happens to you, the world is not your therapist. What are you working out on the page? And that line between essentially blogging and journaling and actually creating something that has structure, that has meaning, that is at least trying for something. I would never say that all of these succeed in that. But I know I can say with authority that they’re all at least trying to connect somehow.
I think the “only connect” thing – might be the answer to why I’m writing to begin with. [Laughs.]

VV: I get that. I think ego is kind of out of the equation when it comes to writing. At a certain point, everybody just wants to get in touch with the world at large sometimes.

SC: Yeah, it enters back in when you’re thinking, “Which one of these should be my author photo?” But you cannot possibly be in your head when you’re writing, if you want to write anything.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of the Sloane Crosley interview coming tomorrow!