Byte-Size Blair | March 28

We’re back with Byte-Size Blair, our weekly wrap-up of all things social media. If you’re not already following us on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram, give us a look.

Easter weekend is over but as you finish your chocolate bunnies we hope you’ll take a look at these delightful links.

  1. National Puppy Day was last week and Publishers Weekly was just in time with this great review of The Dogs Buried Over the Bridge by Rheta Grimsley Johnson.
  2. We love this picture of the off-Broadway cast of Fly with a copy of The Tuskegee Airmen (NewSouth Books).
  3. Congratulations to Matthew Neill Null, author of Honey from the Lion (Lookout Books) for winning an award that Ralph Ellison, Cormac McCarthy, Anne Sexton, Junot Díaz, and Anthony Doerr, among others, have won in the past.
  4. Have you ever wondered how much a librarian is worth? This infographic sheds some light on that for you.
  5. Sadly, over the weekend a great NC literary advocate and bookseller passed away. Here is our small tribute to Nancy Olson of Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh, NC.

Take some time to enjoy the spring weather this week!

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Byte-size Blair | April 6

We’re back with Byte-Size Blair, our weekly wrap-up of all things social media. If you’re not already following us on Facebook, TwitterTumblr, or Pinterest, give us a look.

We hope that everyone has recovered from their candy-induced stomach aches!

  1. Distributed line Lookout Books published an awesome interview with Parnassus Books. Read it here!
  2. It’s National Poetry Month – check out the titles by our fantastic poets. This is a perfect opportunity to order 27 Views of Greensboro!
  3. Our own Tiya Miles read at Country Bookshelf in Montana last week. There are some great pictures and a video, too.
  4. A review of The Ghost Will See You Now was published by the Tennessee Library Association.
  5. Today is the LAST day to enter our Goodreads Giveaway!

That’s all for this week, but keep in mind that tomorrow is National Coffee Cake Day, and that coffee cake pairs very well with a good book.

Blair Staffers Take Boston (and Freeze in the Process)

Last Wednesday, Steve and I left cozy North Carolina for Boston. “What’s in Boston?” you may ask. WELL, aside from Harvard Square, eclectic restaurants, and blizzards, Boston was the spot for this year’s annual Association of Writers and Writing Programs Conference. Blair and numerous other publishers set up shop at the Hynes Convention Center to schmooze writers from all over the world. Blair had a prime spot at the convention, and we displayed our books proudly:

Blair Table

Blair books, WHAT! WHAT!!!

And we had plenty of authors at our booth, including Steve Almond, author of God Bless Americawho stopped by to say hello.

Steve Almond at the Booth

Clearly, something very interesting is happening behind me.

Though the Hynes Convention Center has an adjoining Sheraton hotel, Steve and I weren’t able to reserve rooms there because the hotel sold out within the first few days of conference registration! Crazy, right?! Instead, we stayed at the Doubletree hotel just off the JFK/UMass T-stop (I sound so Bostonian!), which gave us a chance to ride the subway every day and really experience the city.

Boston Subway

Random subway-ites

Steve on the Subway

Steve taking the train seriously

It also gave us the chance to experience some good, ol’ Northeastern snow.

Boston in Snowfall Compilation

Boston = some snow + very wet feet

The highlights of our trip included eating at the Dumpling Café in Chinatown:

Dumpling Cafe in Chinatown

Attending the awesome panels AWP offered this year:

In a Panel at AWP

Visiting the Harvard Book Store in Harvard Square:

Harvard Bookstore Compilation

Yes, I totally am the lame nerd who bought a Harvard T-shirt despite never attending the school or having any affiliation with the university AT ALL.

Introducing Steve to shawarma:

Shawarma

I can’t even look at this picture without wanting to book a plane ticket back to shawarma heaven. Nom Nom.

And making time for the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston:

Domed Ceilings at MFA

A domed ceiling at the MFA in Boston

The museum had works by amazing artists including Monet, Degas, and Van Gogh.

MFA Compilation 2

But Steve said his favorite was the one below “because [he’s] a simple man”:

Crystal Jars at MFA

Whereas I liked this man’s sassy pants:

Sassy Pants at MFA

Look at him! Too sassy for his pants!

But my favorite was the postcard exhibit:

Publishing Postcard compilation

Wait a second! That bottom one on the right … is that? Couldn’t be. But I think … OMG, it is!

Look closely:

Blair Staff Recovering Books at MFA

It’s the Blair staffers re-covering books at the last staff meeting!

Both Steve and I agree, though, the BIGGEST highlight of our trip was seeing all of our friends.

Friends of Blair Compilation

Thanks to all the folks at Lookout BooksHub City PressSweet: A Literary Confection, and Press 53 for making Boston one of the best Blair trips ever!

Congrats to the ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year Award winners!

Congrats to Lookout Books, Eno Publishers, Edith Pearlman, Steve Almond, and Daniel Wallace! Their books received ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year Awards this weekend.

Binocular Vision, by Edith Pearlman (Lookout Books), took home the gold award in the short story category, while Steve Almond’s God Bless America received an honorable mention in the same.

27 Views of Chapel Hill, introduction by Daniel Wallace (Eno Publishers), won the bronze award in the anthologies category.

Congrats again!

Book trailer: When All the World Is Old, poems by John Rybicki

“Ordinary words are rooted to the great fires in the human heart. The same words we use every day, at the playground, at the bus stop, at the grocery store – when the poet takes hold of those tarnished, dirty words, they dunk them in the deep fires of the human heart and splash them on this canvas to bust open the chest of someone who’s listening.”

If you don’t read John Rybicki–you should! Last month, Lookout Books published his latest collection of poems, a tribute to his late wife entitled When All the World Is Old. Lookout also released this trailer for the book–and if Rybicki’s word’s don’t inspire you, I don’t know what will.

At the age of 29, just five years after they met, Rybicki’s wife, the poet Julie Moulds, was diagnosed with cancer. Here, in poems raw and graceful, authentic and wise, Rybicki pays homage to the brave love they shared during her 16-year battle and praises the caregivers—nurses and doctors and friends—who helped them throughout. He invites readers to bear witness to not only the chemotherapy, the many remissions, and the bone marrow transplants, but also the adoption of the couple’s son, the lifted prayers, the borrowed time, and the lovers’ last touches. A husband smashes an ice-cream cone against his forehead to make his wife laugh. He awakens in the middle of the night to find their dog drowsing atop a pile of her remnant clothes.

The lamentations and celebrations of When All the World Is Old create a living testament to an endless love. Braided with intimate entries from Moulds’s journal, these poems become the unflinching and lyric autobiography of a man hurtling himself headlong into the fire and emerging, somehow, to offer a portrait of light and grace.

Rybicki’s hymns rest in the knowledge that even though all love stories one day come to an end, we must honor the loving anyway. The poet has dipped his pen in despair, but as he cleaves his heart and our own, transmitting the exquisite loss into a beauty so fierce and scalding and ultimately healing that readers come out whole on the other side.

Because it’s still National Poetry Month…

…and on stormy Thursdays like today, you need a little poetry and a cup of hot tea in your life. So check out these recent titles:

When All the World Is Old

John Rybicki
Lookout Books
978-0-9845922-6-5
$16.95 paperback

At the age of 29, just five years after they met, John Rybicki’s wife, the poet Julie Moulds, was diagnosed with cancer. Here, in poems raw and graceful, authentic and wise, Rybicki pays homage to the brave love they shared during her 16-year battle and praises the caregivers—nurses and doctors and friends—who helped them throughout. He invites readers to bear witness to not only the chemotherapy, the many remissions, and the bone marrow transplants, but also the adoption of the couple’s son, the lifted prayers, the borrowed time, and the lovers’ last touches. A husband smashes an ice-cream cone against his forehead to make his wife laugh. He awakens in the middle of the night to find their dog drowsing atop a pile of her remnant clothes.

The lamentations and celebrations of When All the World Is Old create a living testament to an endless love. Braided with intimate entries from Moulds’s journal, these poems become the unflinching and lyric autobiography of a man hurtling himself headlong into the fire and emerging, somehow, to offer a portrait of light and grace.

Rybicki’s hymns rest in the knowledge that even though all love stories one day come to an end, we must honor the loving anyway

Home is Where: An Anthology of African American Poetry from the Carolinas

Edited by Kwame Dawes
Hub City Press
978-1-891885-80-8
$17.95 paperback

Kwame Dawes compiles the work of more than two dozen African American poets from the Carolinas, showcasing a vast array of original voices writing on subjects ranging from Jim Crow to jazz, haunted landscapes to romantic love—all in an attempt to define the South as home. The poets range in notoriety from National Book Award winner Terrance Hayes, PEN American Open Book Award winner Nikky Finney, and Ansfield-Wolf Book Award winner A. Van Jordan to poets less recognizable by name whose work readers will immediately recognize as powerful, musical, and accomplished.

What is in these pages is nothing less than a significant part of the contemporary poetry scene in America, as well as a piece of American history that in the past has not received its due credit. With Home is Where, that credit is finally bestowed.

Waking

Ron Rash
Hub City Press
978-1-891885-82-2
$14.95 paperback

Rooted in places like Watauga County, Goshen Creek, and Dismal Mountain, the poems in Ron Rash’s fourth collection, Waking, electrify dry counties and tobacco fields until they sparkle with the rituals and traditions of Southerners in the stir of their lives.

In his first book of poetry in nearly a decade, Rash leads his readers on a Southern odyssey, full of a terse wit and a sense of the narrative so authentic it will dazzle you. As we wake inside these poems, we see rivers wild with trout, lightning storms, and homemade churches, nailed and leaning against the side of a Tennessee mountain.

A two-time PEN/Faulkner Award finalist, Rash has been compared to writers like John Steinbeck and Cormac McCarthy. With his eye for the perfect detail and an ear for regional idiom, Rash furthers his claim as the new torchbearer for literature in the American South.

Here is a book full of sorrow and redemption, sparseness and the beauty of a single, stark detail—the muskellunge at first light, a barn choked with curing tobacco, a porch full of men and the rockers that move them over the same spot until they carve their names into the ground, deeper, even, into the roots where myths start, into the very marrow of the world.

Congrats to our Foreword Reviews Book of the Year finalists!

Several Blair and distributed titles were chosen as finalists for Foreword Reviews’ Book of the Year Awards.

ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year Award Finalists

The finalists are:

The awards were established to bring increased attention from librarians and booksellers to the literary achievements of independent publishers and their authors. ForeWord is the only review journal devoted exclusively to covering books from independent houses—ranging in size from university presses publishing up to a hundred titles a year to niche, POD, and small presses who may publish one title in a lifetime.

Winners will be announced Saturday, June 23, at the American Library Association Conference in Anaheim, California. Congrats and good luck to our Blair and distributed finalists!