So this happened

…for the first time ever, I have found my books on a shelf in a bookstore. Now, granted, it was the new Half Price Books that just opened on Grape Road, and the book was signed already to someone named “David,” but still– every time I walk into a bookstore I look in the S section just in case somehow magically one of my books is there, and never once has that happened until today. I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again for the sake of completeness: not everyone keeps every book forever like I do, so it’s not a hit to my ego or something that David sold my book off; he may not have liked it or he may have moved or maybe he just generally doesn’t keep books for long; one way or another it’s no skin off my back. But I had a strong enough reaction to seeing my book on the shelf that I had to explain myself to the dude who was standing next to me. He seemed to genuinely appreciate how happy I was about it, too, and gave the book a courtesy flip-through before putting it back on the shelf.

(Which was also kinda weird; I thought about pointing out the obvious, which was that I wasn’t going to worry about it if he put it back, but that might have made it even weirder than it already was. Either way, no buzz-harshing on my end.)

The place is planning on doing author signings in the future, and I got a copy of the manager’s card, so chances are I’ll be doing an event there sooner or later. I will, of course, keep everyone apprised once that comes to pass. Until then, I’m just going to have to go there three times a week until someone buys that book. ūüôā

RIP, Sarah Bird, the Griffon Lady

It’s been kind of a rough week.

Yesterday was … day nine, I think, of this school year? And there were three fights, two of which involved at least one of my students and both of which I was involved in breaking up. They are the first fights of the year that I’m aware of; in general, this building seems substantially less violent than others I have worked in, but breaking up two hallway fights in the space of two class periods is not a situation I care to repeat anytime soon, and you can likely imagine the condition the kids were in by the end of the day. It was bloody miserable.

Today, the power went out for the back half of the day, throwing basically every aspect of the building into … well, not chaos, as honestly I feel like everyone involved dealt with the problem as well as could be hoped for, but we lost just about everything– wifi, phones, half of the toilets, a number of the sinks, all of the drinking fountains, and oh hey it turns out that every calculator in the world being solar powered isn’t a great thing if you deliberately picked the room with one window and all the light you have is from that one window and the one light wired to the emergency generator. So, no, not chaos, but a whole lot of scrambling was going on.

And then, during my team plan at the end of the day, while attempting to find an article about ILEARN testing that two of us thought was on the Tribune website somewhere, I discovered Sarah Bird passed away this weekend, and I found myself unexpectedly somewhat overcome with emotion and having to take a moment.

It’s funny, how the passing of relative strangers can hit us hard sometimes. I have been shopping at the Griffon for something in the neighborhood of thirty years– I don’t remember the two original stores, as I started playing D&D in fifth grade, which would have been somewhere around 1988. Virtually every RPG rulebook I own was purchased there, and a bunch of our board games, as after a while I developed a rule that anything that could be bought at the Griffon would be bought at the Griffon, and I probably grace their doors somewhere in the neighborhood of once or twice a year. I am not a regular customer, per se, but I am certainly a long-time customer, and the fact that the same two people had run the store for the entire time is sort of hard to miss.

I’ve had several pleasant conversations with both Ken and Sarah over the years– the Griffon is the kind of store where you don’t really just buy something and wander out– but I’m sure neither of them would recognize me, and to be completely honest I’m not sure I could have remembered their first names yesterday had you asked me, as they’ve been “the Griffon guy” and “the Griffon lady” since I was a little kid. I certainly didn’t know her last name, but I recognized their picture and the interior of the store before my brain had processed the headline on the website. I’ve never actually played anything there– my gaming group always had places to go– but it’s weird to have to explain to people how difficult it could be to be a geek thirty years ago when we damn near run the world nowadays. There was no Amazon, remember. If you were a young geek and you wanted dice or miniatures or wargaming models or whatever, it was just where you went, because nobody else bothered to carry that stuff. The Griffon was always a safe space where people like me were welcome, and the place still just sort of feels like home even though I don’t necessarily shop there terribly often.

Sarah is one of those people who had an effect on my life without me ever really thinking about it before now– if she and her husband had never opened that store, and I’d never gotten into roleplaying in fifth grade, my life could have been substantially different from what it is now. They don’t even know me, and it’s still true. All through high school and into college a lot of my friendships were people in my gaming group– not all of them, certainly, but my closest friends were all people I played D&D with. And the Griffon was a common thing for all of us, our little secret downtown that most of the other kids our age didn’t know about. It was (it is; as near as I can tell there are no plans to close the store) a genuinely special place, and that’s all due to Sarah and Ken.

She will be missed.

Snow day Saturday

Not a whole lot to talk about today, unless y’all want to get into the absolute wonder that yesterday’s politics news was– Roger Stone getting arrested, then the air traffic controllers shutting down the Eastern Seaboard and LaGuardia Airport and the shutdown being done only a few hours later was a thing of wonder and a testament to 1) Nancy Pelosi holding the Democrats together and 2) the power of unions. ‘Twas awesome.

Today has mostly been a day for burrowing into blankets and avoiding the cold; we spent a pleasant 45 minutes or so checking out a relatively new local independent bookstore but other than that didn’t really go outside, and the three of us have basically been trading off the TV for Pok√©mon and Dark Souls since then. I’ve been doing this thing on Saturdays for several weeks now where I get up, have a large cup of coffee, and read in my recliner for a couple of hours. I’m rereading Yoon Ha Lee’s Machineries of Empire trilogy, or at least the first two books, in preparation for finishing the trilogy with Book 3, which I expect to be amazing.

Speaking of amazing books, you may want to check out The Tiger’s Daughter by K. Arsenault Rivera. There’s very likely to be a full review but I want to wait a couple of days for … reasons. In the meantime, it’s the first shortlist-for-the-top-10 new book I’ve read in 2019.

What are you doing to keep the cold away this weekend?

On used book sales and TERRIBLE LIES

I just discovered this.  Clicky to make with big:

Screen Shot 2015-01-28 at 10.00.53 PM

You may be anticipating that I’m about to go on a rant about people reselling my books– or¬†trying¬†to resell my books– for several times what they’re actually selling for.

But no! ¬†That is not this post. I don’t actually care if people resell used copies of my books. ¬†I am, in fact, quite fond of used bookstores.

Here’s the thing, though.

I know exactly how many copies SKYLIGHTS has sold in paperback.

And– and I’ll admit that this is just the¬†tiniest bit depressing– not only do I know exactly how many copies the book has sold, but I know¬†who bought them. ¬†I have accounted for literally¬†every copy. ¬†So these booksellers are advertising wildly inflated prices for used books that they¬†do not actually possess.

I’m tempted to order them, wait to see if my sales increment, and then cancel the purchase.

I can’t tell if this is a scam– who would buy¬†this book used for that much of a markup?– or if it’s just the result of bots trolling through Amazon, but either way it entertains me.