Ep 15: Javier Ramirez, The Book Table
We are thrilled to welcome our new BFF to Drunk Booksellers: Javier Ramirez, manager of The Book Table in Oak Park, IL and co-host of industry get-together Publishing Cocktails.
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This episode is sponsored by Books & Whatnot, the newsletter dedicated to books, bookselling, and bookish folk; check out their newsletter archive here. Follow Books & Whatnot on Twitter at @booksandwhatnot.
In which we apologize profusely for the delay in our episode posting, bond over Kelly Link, and get excited about books that are… already out
We had the pleasure of chatting with Javier nearly every week for a month while trying to record this episode (#techfail), then ran into a few other delays (#lifefail), but WE HAVE PREVAILED. That said, we talk about books that are already out as if they’re forthcoming and we’re drinking a nice “summer” drink because it was, you know, still summer when we first started this wild ride of an episode. Just pretend you’re a time traveler visiting the halcyon days of late August 2017.
Vodka & Tonics with NO FRUIT
a bunch of nonfiction for the Kirkus Nonfiction Prize
The Sun in Your Eyes by Deborah Shapiro
Heartbreaker by Maryse Meijer
The Seventh Function of Language by Laurent Binet
Ranger Games by Ben Blum
Mother of All Questions by Rebecca Solnit
You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me by Sherman Alexie
The Store by James Patterson… ’cause Patterson is awesome, gives booksellers (including your grateful hosts) money for fancy things like student loan debt and ridiculous urban rent, trolls Amazon for funsies, and rocks a photoshopped Santa hat like a boss:
Kim’s reading aloud: My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George
MIS(H)Adra by Iasmin Omar
Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado… Emma’s favorite story from the collection is “Inventory”
Lumberjanes: Unicorn Power! by Mariko Tamaki
Spinster by Kate Bolick
Forthcoming Titles We’re Excited For
Kim’s Epic List of Titles that Are Already Out
The Golden House by Salman Rushdie
Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward
Miss Kopp’s Midnight Confessions by Amy Stewart
What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
Afterglow by Eileen Myles
Never Stop by Simba Sana
The Origin of Others by Toni Morrison
Javier’s Excited About
The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne
The Gone World by Tom Sweterlitsch (pubs 2/6/18)
The Grip of It by Jac Jemc
Emma’s Excited About
The Glass Town Game by Catherynne M Valente
In Other Lands by Sarah Rees Brennan
A Loving, Faithful Animal by Josephine Rowe
Chapter I [26:50]
In which Javier conquers the Chicago bookselling scene
Javier started at Tower Records (RIP)
He currently manages the Fiercely Independent Chicago-area bookstore, The Book Table.
Javier has worked at pretty much every bookstore in Chicago. Other than the OG Powell’s. Unless you’re talking time travel.
Javier’s epic Tour de Bookselling (chronologically):
Chapter II [33:45]
In which we talk Publishing Cocktails and how to network IRL in the internet age
Publishing Cocktails, created by Javier and Keir Graff (senior editor at BookList) brings Chicago-area book industry folk from around the country together. They have two primary meetup events: Book Swap & Cash Mob.
Follow Publishing Cocktails on Twitter at @PubNight.
Sign up for the Publishing Cocktails email list for future updates.
Chapter III [38:20]
In which Emma is, once again, deeply disappointed
Book Description Guaranteed to Get You Reading
Anything not blurbed by Lena Dunham (shout out to Gary Shteyngart’s epicly excessive blurbing). Anything blurbed by Kelly Link or George Saunders. Check the blurbs on Patrick Rothfuss’s Name of the Wind. Plus time travel! Kim and Javier bond over All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders (shout out to the Booze and Lasers Book Club at Third Place Books Seward Park), with references to Michael Crichton’s Timeline and, you know, Harry Potter. Emma ruins the ending of one of the stories in A Guide to Being Born by Ramona Ausubel.
Desert Island Pick
The entire body of work of Agatha Christie
Station Eleven Pick
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, which has Javier’s favorite first line: It was a pleasure to burn.
In case you were wondering, Emma’s favorite first (and second) line(s) come from Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House. Javier’s posting staff’s favorite lines from literature in his store and he drunkenly promised Emma that he’d post hers too. Pics or it didn’t happen, Javier.
The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben
HAS ANY BOOKSELLER ACTUALLY READ HARRY POTTER? JESUS, YOU GUYS.
Geek Love by Katherine Dunn
Here’s Javier’s blurb, blatantly stolen from The Book Table’s website:
When confronted with the “What is your favorite book of all time?” query, most people will often pause, looking over the inquisitors head while thoughtfully scratching his or her chin. I, on the other hand, will not hesitate when I tell you this. Geek Love is my favorite book. Of all time. Period. This oddball masterpiece (a National Book Award Finalist in 1989) shaped me as a reader and more importantly as a bookseller 20+ years ago. It’s one of those reading experiences that make you feel like you’re in on some life-changing secret. A novel that will chill you, move you and make you laugh, often at the same time. Help celebrate the 25th anniversary of the publication of Geek Love, quite possibly the best novel you’ve never read.
Master & the Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov: There’s a cat that drinks vodka and talks!
Bonus Bookseller Confession from both Emma and Kim: They’ve never read either of Javier’s go-to handsells. #booksellerfail
Also mentioned, the origin impossible handsell: Tampa by Alissa Nutting
Book for Booksellers
The Grip of It by Jac Jemc
Another stolen blurb from The Book Table’s website:
In Still Life with Tornado A.S. King captures the human condition we refer to as “being a teenager” with so little effort I found myself utterly floored. Exploring the way that memory affects grief and vice versa was second in genius only to how King manifests said memory/grief in the mind of 16 year old Sarah. King weaves family history, art and what our past, present and the future can tell us about ourselves into a perfect storm of a book.
The Last Bookstore in LA
Favorite Literary Media
This podcast you’ve probs never heard of called Drunk Booksellers.
Beth Golay’s Books & Whatnot
In which we tell you where to find us, but not Javier, on the Internets
Javier is a ghost and cannot be found on the internet. He has… a work email… and a telephone number… neither of which we are going to post here. You’re welcome, Javier.
You can find us on:
Kim tweets from @finaleofseem less frequently than Drunk Booksellers posts new episodes. #sickburn
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