Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Ensconced in YA turns ONE! Day 2: Left Bank Books Appreciation Post and Blogoversary Giveaway!

I would be remiss if I didn't include how awesome local bookstores are and how vital they are to bringing awesome authors into town for events. That's why a love letter to Left Bank Books, our local bookstore here in Saint Louis, gets a whole post during my anniversary week!

I am so excited to have Antony John, one of the great YA authors in St. Louis, present his thoughts on our beloved local bookstore, Left Bank Books. As you all know, he wrote the wonderful Five Flavors of Dumb and Elemental, the first book in a dystopian paranormal trilogy.

Since this is the first Left Bank Books[http://www.left-bank.com/]-sponsored giveaway on Christina's much-lauded blog, I thought it was a perfect opportunity to explain exactly how the giveaway came to be (it's not as random as it seems), and why it's proof that St. Louis is an awesome city.

Here are some things people told me about St. Louis when I moved here in 2008:

1. It's a city that feels a lot like a town. (Which, I think, means that it has the amenities of a city without the overcrowding. Those amenities include some astounding indie bookstores.)

2. It's a city that loves books. (Very true, as it turns out. St. Louis has the second-ranked library system in the US. Also, the intersection beside Left Bank Books has been designated "writers corner," [http://www.missourireview.com/tmr-blog/2011/10/word-missouri-st-louiss-literary-heritage-comes-to-life-in-the-central-west-end/] with bronze busts of neighborhood authors and poets: Tennessee Williams; T. S. Eliot; Kate Chopin; and soon, William Burroughs.)

3. Where the rest of the world operates on the principle of six degrees of separation, St. Louis has streamlined things to two degrees of separation. (It's true! Going to events here is kind of strange, because within five minutes everyone has worked out that they all have the same friends. I don't understand how this happens, although it definitely saves us from awkward small talk.)

When it comes to bookstores, though, two degrees of separation becomes one degree. If you are an author in St. Louis, booksellers and librarians will TRACK YOU DOWN. Admittedly, it wasn't a particularly challenging task for the folks at Left Bank Books -- I can see the store from my house -- but as soon as I arrived in town they offered to hold a launch event for my first book, helped to set up school visits, and gave my books such prominent window placement that I felt like I was someone famous, like Jonathan Franzen (coincidentally, another St. Louis-raised author). Since then, they've organized YA panels for me, given me free all-weekend tickets to Comic Con, and helped me meet countless other authors.

Left Bank Books (and the other local indies) aren't doing it for financial gain, either, let me tell you. The profit they make from book sales at these events probably wouldn't buy a six-pack of Bud (or Schlafly [http://schlafly.com/]). It's all about their role as promoters of literature and reading in St. Louis -- a job they take VERY seriously. They even team up with local bloggers like Christina, because awesomeness should be shared among all bookish folks, you know?

Here's a final St. Louis tidbit: The city's indie bookstores were the first to band together to promote each other. Left Bank Books, Main Street Books, and Subterranean Books are just three of the six members of the St. Louis Independent Bookstore Alliance [http://stlindiebook.com/]. The Alliance has become a model for other cities, and is cooperative bookselling at its finest.

So if you're ever in St. Louis, please stop by Left Bank Books and say hi to Spike the cat.

To help us celebrate local bookstores, Left Bank books has generously donated a signed copy of Elemental by Antony John (US only).

Elemental (Elemental, #1) Goodreads Book Description:
Sixteen-year-old Thomas has always been an outsider. The first child born without the power of an Element—earth, water, wind or fire—he has little to offer his tiny, remote Outer Banks colony. Or so the Guardians would have him believe.

In the wake of an unforeseen storm, desperate pirates kidnap the Guardians, intent on claiming the island as their own. Caught between the plague-ridden mainland and the advancing pirates, Thomas and his friends fight for survival in the battered remains of a mysterious abandoned settlement. But the secrets they unearth will turn Thomas’ world upside-down, and bring to light not only a treacherous past but also a future more dangerous than he can possibly imagine.

Today's question/comment: Please talk about your local bookstores. How have they affected you?

Enter to win some terrific prizes, including a signed hardback copy of Elemental (US only)!!! There are other prizes that are International :-)
a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Happy Blogoversary!

  2. My daughter loves the people at our local bookstore. It makes her feel special when they remember her!

  3. So cool to hear about the good work Left Bank Books does-I will need to make sure to visit if I'm ever in St. Louis.

  4. Happy Blogoversary! So jealous you have local bookstores. That is not the case in the city where I live for some reason.

  5. Happy Blog anniversary! Awesome post. I love local bookstores for sure. They are so great. And such great work!

  6. There are a few bookstores I go to but they don't all have a lot of english books. Mostly it's just one shelf but this one in the city where I live has more shelves with a lot of different genres and I love their store. I always enjoy going there whenever I have some extra money. :)

  7. That's awesome you have a great bookstore in your area! We have 2 indie bookstores that strive to help out authors. Page 1 does a lot for local authors and always arranges for book signings for those who are bestsellers. Then there's Bookworks (a bit of a drive and I always get sick when I visit, not sure why) and they have a whole bunch of book events. They helped organized the first ever book festival this past May.

  8. Happy blogoversary, C :)

    And why are you not using THAT as your twitter picture? Both of you are adorable and we must get the elusive Antony on the twitter one way or another.

    3 cheers for Left Bank and an extra cheer for Spike the cat, who never runs away when I come in, even though he probably should.

  9. It's great you have bookstores so close to you. I live in the country and usually have to order things online. My best deals are when I drive to a place where there is a large flea market. I go once a month there. A book store sets up and I can usually get great deals from them. Last month, they had an amazing sale. 20 books for $1.00 !! I was in heaven 8) I was able to find a lot of books that I have been 'out of print'. After the last trip my bookshelves are groaning, lol.
    Congrats and thanks for sharing all your great reviews and hosting your giveaways.

  10. good giveaway! thanks for sharing! but just not the one i was looking for. thanks all the same! :D

  11. Happy anniversary, Christina's blog. So pleased to be a part of it!

  12. My favorite blogs is first off yours Christina and I would have to say Winter Haven Books and A reading Nurse. Congrats again on the Anniversary.

  13. Happy blogoversary! Anyways, we only have two local bookstores near my place. The sad thing is, not all the books I like are available in their store. That's why I just enter giveaways for me to have a chance of owning a copy of the books I like.

  14. Here in Rockford, IL we only have one local bookstore left, because our city got hit horribly after the financial crash happened and the rest had to close down. But the one that is left is a mom and pop place that I originally went to before the crash. It is a place where you can sit and talk with the regulars that I have seen for years and the owners about books that they are reading and what they recommend. We talk about authors and so on. It is a fun place to go.

  15. We have one local bookstore left since the financial crash that hit us here is Rockford, IL very hard and our unemployment rate is so high. But it was the original one that I went to before the crash. There are a lot of regulars that go there and My husband, daughter and I all go there a lot and talk about books that we have read or are currently reading, plus give each other recommendations on books to read, talk about authors we really like and just chill and read and the owners are a local husband and wife.

  16. It's so good to hear that there are now SO MANY indie bookstores in St. Louis. I lived in St. Louis when I was a child/middle schooler, and I loved going to the library. I really enjoyed spelunking the downtown library - I found some WONDERFUL old, nearly-forgotten books there. I've now found myself a librarian in a small town in western Nebraska, and I know many of the patrons would love any of the books you're giving away.

  17. We have a great used bookstore in Woodstock, Georgia. They were the ones that opened my eyes to YA books. They really know the best books to recommend.

  18. i found a small bookstore in a town i was visiting. it had signed copies of a book i wanted & they even through in some stickers - very cool! i find local bookstores are more engaging & i prefer finding one in person or even online rather than using amazon.