Tag Archives: Riley Michael Parker

Shelf Talker Shelf Talker Shelf Talker…

What the heck is a Shelf Talker you ask?

It’s one of those pieces of cardstock paper you see on a bookstore’s shelf that tells you when an employee really loves a book and wants to draw attention to it. I think the best bookstores are the ones full of passionate readers always willing to share their literary discoveries while also cultivating a sense of community. You can learn a lot about a bookstore’s collective personality by scanning what they choose to give shelf talkers to. I have been to a couple of bookstores where there are NO shelf talkers at all and it always jars me a little, like the store is saying: “You’re on your own here. We are not excited about anything and we have no opinions.”

Oof. What a downer.

Bookstores: Show us your shelf talkers!!

Last year, at work, we introduced a whole line of new shelf talker designs to freshen up the look of the store. That’s cool and everything, but (like a bibliophile hoarder) I am a little sad about throwing away some of my old stand-bys. I love making shelf talkers for my small press section. I think it has really helped a lot of readers discover new talent through the past fourteen years I’ve been in charge of it.

So before I tossed them in the recycling, I took photos of some of my favorites and decided I’d post them here (about 140 more are not pictured). That way, they live FOREVER! Enjoy this journey–and read these books!

(click on the pic to make it bigger)

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For Cowboy Maloney’s Electric City (Dark Sky Press)

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The first shelf talker I wrote for Gary Lutz, when 3rd Bed republished Stories In the Worst Way.

The first shelf talker I wrote for Gary Lutz, when 3rd Bed republished Stories In the Worst Way.

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Another book that we've sold a ton of at Powell's.

Another book that we’ve sold a ton of at Powell’s.

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Zachary Lipez, Stacey Wakefield, and Nick Zinner did a great reading for this book at Powell’s back in 2010.

I was so excited to introduce Chelsea Martin's magic to the world.

I was so excited to introduce Chelsea Martin’s magic to the world.

I think this was for Greg's first book, I Have Touched You.

I think this was for Greg’s first book, I Have Touched You.

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For CA Conrad

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I love Spork Books!

I love Spork Books!

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Proof of my early love of all things Iredell.

Proof of my early love of all things Iredell.

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My favorite literary journal.

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We've sold so many copies of Ghost Machine. One of my all-time faves.

We’ve sold so many copies of Ghost Machine. One of my all-time faves.

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Still pretty obscure, SJB was one of my first writing influences.

Still pretty obscure, SJB was one of my first writing influences.

I still think this is kind of a minimalist classic.

I still think this is kind of a minimalist classic. By Paul Fattarusso.

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Like how I burned the edges?

Like how I burned the edges?

The first shelf talker for Chloe's classic.

The first shelf talker for Chloe’s classic.

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When Did August Become the Busiest Month Ever?

This is one of the craziest Augusts I’ve had. It just seems like a ton of stuff was happening every week. Here were some of the highlights (and there’s still a couple of days left before September!):

B. Frayn and I had a long overdue dinner with the wonderful Cheryl Strayed and her husband, Brian Lindstrom.

Cheryl and B. on a hot August night

Went to the wedding of friend and Back Fence PDX co-babe, Melissa Lion.

Hung out with new Portland friends Leni Zumas and Luca Dipiero.

Read at the release party for the book, Nouns of Assemblage, with a bunch of other friends. I’m super happy to have a story in this killer book, published by my friend, Riley Michael Parker.

Read in Seattle with Lidia Yuknavitch and Kerry Cohen, then went out with pals Richard Chiem and Frances Dinger after.

Had some food and drink at the new Trader Vic’s with longtime friend from Chicago, Rob Christopher. (Psst: I didn’t really like Trader Vic’s)

Saw Ned Vizzini, Sabra Embury, and their baby at Powell’s and gave them a mini walking tour of Portland’s Pearl District.

Hosted a reading at Ampersand with Emily Kendal Frey, Sarah Bartlett, and Jamalieh Hailey.

Went to the big Plazm 20th anniversary party at Disjecta.

Played ping pong on the rooftop of Nancy Guppy’s Seattle condo (B. Frayn is the ping pong champ!).

Found the newest Future Tense acquisition (to be announced soon, for a summer 2012 release). And did some edits on other upcoming books.

Got to the revising, editing, and sequencing stage of the novel I’m working on.

Got a story accepted for the 2012 issue of The Fairy Tale Review.

I was interviewed a couple of times too. Including this one at Used Furniture Review.

Started getting ready for the Literary Death Match!

Also–I taught a flash memoir writing workshop, visited my son at his Youthcorps summer camp near Wenatchee, went to other friends’ readings, took my wife on some dates, paid rent on time, and went to the dentist!

ALSO ALSO– I made this list!

Talk to you in September!

The Gray Shadow

Hey friends,

What’s been going on? I’ve had a couple of things pop up recently and I wanted to share them with you, but first–a few serious words about facial hair…

I stay fairly clean cut. I shave every other day usually. If I don’t, the grayness of my stubble threatens to overshadow my face in (what I think is) an unflattering way. But the other day, I let three whole days go by without shaving. When I saw my friend Riley at the store he was like, “Whoa! Hey, that looks cool.” 

I trust he was being honest, but still–I feel self-conscious about my “gray shadow.” What do you think?

I keep expecting some former football player to come up to me with that Just For Men darkening gel and say, “Your beard is weird.”

I don’t think I’d ever use that stuff, you know, but I’ve wondered if it would work or if I would look like that weird pitcher for the San Francisco Giants.

So, unless people tell me they want to see more of my gray shadow, I’ll be doing this on a regular basis…

Anyway, now you know what I obsess over when I’m having writer’s block (which I’ve had for the last month or so).

But before I had writer’s block (or “writer’s blah”) I did write a few things that recently popped up. Check them out. A piece of reportage for Robert Lopez’s No News Today and some fresh word collage action at the great new Unshod Quills web site.

In other news, I’m part of the advisory board for this exciting new small press community called The Lit Pub. They have good taste and the books they’ll be talking about here are going to be ones you’ll remember and love.

In upcoming event news, I’ll be part of the awesome Mortified shows happening Thursday and Friday night at the Mission Theater. If you haven’t been to one of these shows (in Portland or another city), they are a lot of fun.

Later this month, I’ll be teaming up with one of my favorite Portland musicians and reading two musical narratives at Entertainment For People at the Woods (can’t tell you who this “secret guest” is just yet because she has another show that week). Catch this rare collaboration on June 22nd in Portland and then June 24th in Seattle at Theater Off Jackson (two shows, two cities!).

I wanted to end this post with a photo that I took last year when B. Frayn and I were down in Houston. I just randomly found it still on my phone.

Thanks for riding by.