What are some upcoming trends for 2014?
Political memoir is back in a big way, which is something our customers and community always respond really well to, hailing as we are from the capital. In May alone, we have sold out events with Sen. Elizabeth Warren for A Fighting Chance (2014)and retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens with Six Amendments (2014), and we’ve just announced an event with former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner in conversation with Ben Bernanke. And of course Hillary Clinton’s book this June, Hard Choices, is one we’re hotly anticipating, along with everyone else.
We’ve just begun looking over the great offerings for fall, so it’s a bit too early for details, but as ever, some big names are coming at the end of the year, including a new novel by Haruki Murakami that our staff has started salivating over. News of the first Kazuo Ishiguro novel in 10 years was also met with a lot of smiles at our offices.
Our Kids & Teens Department is noticing more novels in verse, nonfiction picture books and graphic novels for young readers. Our buyer, Mary Alive Garber, praises the publishers for one of the strongest spring/summer seasons in recent years. Some specific titles we’re excited to get on shelves include The Glass Sentence, I Kill the Mockingbird and, further ahead in fall, Carl Hiaasen’s Skink: No Surrender, the 25th anniversary of Lois Lowry’s Number the Stars, and Chris Van Allsburg’s The Misadventures of Sweetie Pie.
What book/genre/topic would you like to see cross your transom?
Our booksellers are voracious readers, and across our staff we have an expert in most any genre, but as a whole, new and exciting fiction is greeted with excitement at P&P. We have a standing feature, Cover to Cover, which is a monthly all-staff pick highlighting a new work (almost exclusively fiction, though we have had a poet as well) that we’ve been loving and can’t stop talking about. Recent featured authors include Jesse Ball and Molly Antopol, and we’re always on the lookout for the next stay-up-all-night-and-talk-about-it-all-day fiction pick.
We also love food and have recently started hosting dinners with cookbook authors at a great local restaurant, Buck’s Fishing & Camping. Alice Waters stopped by in the fall; David Lebovitz is upcoming in May, so gorgeous and delicious books in the food and wine category are most welcome.
What topic don’t you ever want to see again?
No matter what the topic, but especially if we’re covering well-trod ground, we’re looking for that new take, discovery or outstanding telling. We’re in D.C., so politics, the economy and history are some of our top-ticket items, and any time there is a great new book on some of the gold standards, that’s a really exciting moment. Just look at Capital in the Twenty-First Century right now. We’re also expecting some great works on World War I, as it’s an anniversary year in 2014.
What is unique about your corner of the industry?
P&P is celebrating 30 years in 2014, and our long-term and personal relationship with the community is all-important to us. Our booksellers greet customers and members by name. People walk in asking to talk over recent reads with specific booksellers whose tastes they’ve come to know and trust. We have regulars at the store who can remember carrying boxes of books across the street from P&P’s original location to the current one. Some staff first learned to read downstairs in our kids department. The relationships we have with the community are pretty unique and incredible and something we are grateful for daily.
Lena Khidritskaya Little is the director of marketing & publicity for Politics & Prose Bookstore, which in 2014 is celebrating 30 years in Washington, D.C.