Tuesday, March 24, 2020

The latest update on closures

Hi folks, at a press conference today, the City of Portland announced a shelter-in-place order taking effect tomorrow, Weds March 25 at 5:00pm. I have linked to a report about it below.

What does this mean for the shop? It means I won't be available for local touch-free pickup any more, but (until otherwise announced) I can still mail items to your doorstep. You can email michelle.souliere@gmail.com if you have any requests and I will do what I can to fill them.

To those of you who have gone out of their way to try to buffer this blow by supporting the shop with your purchases of gift certificates and books, I cannot adequately express my fathomless appreciation. It has been tremendously touching to me to know that my business is not just a business, it's a big, wonderful, book-filled family that sprawls across the country and back. Thank you, thank you, thank you, from the bottom of my heart. --Michelle

I hope you are all safe at home and staying well. It's important! Hang in there, everyone. We will get through this together. Stay smart!!!
Wonderful sketch from happier days by Jamie Hogan.

Friday, March 20, 2020

Temporary closure - but you can still have books! Phew.

Hi folks -- After being open through the weekend (3/15), and weighing the options in my mind, I decided that instead of opening as usual for my normal winter hours on Thursday, for the time being, I will remain closed. Events have moved quickly, and to me this seems like the most responsible course of action.

However, if you would like to help the shop through this disastrous period with no income, there are several things you can do.

If you want to come pick up books, please email me at michelle.souliere@gmail.com with your wishlist (authors, titles, or subject matter, etc). I'll let you know which books I have, and we can go from there.

You can also call the shop at (207)253-6808. I will be in the store working and available for calls during these business hours: Thurs-Sat 11:00-6:00, Sun 12:00-5:00, or you can leave a voicemail.

I am also very happy to ship books if you would like them to arrive at your doorstep. Media mail is an affordable option.

Another great option is to purchase a gift certificate, either for your own later use, or for someone who would love some books to get them through this period of social isolation.

To purchase a gift certificate in the amount of your choice for use at the Green Hand Bookshop, you can do one of the following:

1. Call the shop at (207)253-6808 during regular business hours. I will take your credit card number over the phone and process the purchase for you. I can mail the gift certificate to you or the recipient for free. If you get the shop voicemail, leave your name and phone number and I will call you back.

2. Send money via Paypal.com to michelle.souliere@gmail.com -- don't forget to include your email (Paypal doesn't include it automatically) and mailing instructions! :) If you feel trusting, you can use the Friends & Family setting to alleviate fee cost for me.

3. Mail a check or money order to the shop in the amount desired. Please include contact information in case of questions, and mailing instructions for the recipient.

Gift certificates can be used on any new or used items in the shop (661 Congress St, Portland ME), and do not expire.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions! :)

Take care, and be well!

Sunday, March 15, 2020

What's happening?

Hi all!

We're open today (Sunday) until 5:00 as usual, but like everyone, we're not sure what's going to happen in Portland over the next couple of weeks. We may close the door to foot traffic but will remain able to ship books to you, just email me at michelle.souliere@gmail.com with requests.

Be well, and stay tuned!

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

ReaderCon Recap - Shirley Jackson Awards!!!

Now, normally this would be the last post in my roundup. However, I don't always get all the intended ReaderCon posts done, so to forestall inadvertently leaving this very important part of the story out, I am doing it waaaay ahead of the other posts I have planned!

For those of you who are unfamiliar with this element of ReaderCon, it is one of my favorites. It is often one of the important ingredients in building my to-read list for the rest of the year. If you missed out on it and are curious, I brought extra copies of the programs from this year's award back to the shop for all of you -- just ask for one at the counter!

But in real-world terms, the Shirley Jackson award recognizes "outstanding achievement in the literature of psychological suspense, horror, and the dark fantastic." Nominees are gathered from published work of the prior year, and assessed by a panel of jurors, assisted by both a Board of Advisors and a Board of Directors.

This event occurs at the tail-end of ReaderCon each year, and gathers in one room a very exciting and formidable conclave of extraordinary writers, editors, and creators. The award was created in honor of the legacy of Shirley Jackson's writing, and with the permission and support of the author's estate, for which we are all grateful, and for which fine gesture our hearts burst with gladness every year.

John Langan
John Langan welcomed us all with customary relish, and F. Brett Cox followed up with further illumination cast on the subject.

It was with great regret that two authors were mentioned In Memoriam: Kit Reed, whose work received two nominations over the years and who gave the opening address at the awards not long ago, and Jack Ketchum, who was an early advisor to the jury.

Nisi Shawl
Next, this year's ReaderCon Guest of Honor, Nisi Shawl, delighted the crowd with her charm, both during her opening address and throughout the award announcements.

Among her remarks was the observation that she had learned from Shirley Jackson to "make the familiar strange." She had some interesting thoughts to relate on how that ties into the field of science fiction, and how it can be used to break up the taboo authors encounter in the SF field against that most familiar part of life -- domesticity.

An additional seasoning of levity was contributed by John Langan's continual return to the podium, as he cheerfully accepted awards on behalf of authors who were unable to attend the ceremony in person. We were assured that he was not any of those people, but by the end of the affair, one wonders if perhaps Mr. Langan has been sweeping the awards by applying vast numbers of pseudonyms to his works in varying styles...? Naaaaahhh...! Couldn't be, right? He did reassure us.

Nisi Shawl & Justin Steele
At first glance it was clear that Looming Low, edited by Justin Steele and Sam Cowan, published by Dim Shores, had dominated the Short Fiction category, with three stories as candidates in that category (3 out of 5, that is!). The winner was "The Convexity of Our Youth," by Kurt Fawver, and Justin was on hand to read Kurt's short acceptance speech to us.

The winner in the Single Author Collection category was Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado.

Nisi Shawl & Michael Kelly
The Edited Anthology category must have been a heck of a task to settle, with a line-up that just wouldn't quit. But after the dust settled, the winner for 2017 was Shadows and Tall Trees Volume 7, edited by Michael Kelly. After a tearful start, he got down to brass tacks and finished to rousing applause.

Here just a tiny bit of his acceptance speech, which made me want to yell, "Hear hear!" afterwards:
"This is a truly humbling moment. [...] I'm heartened by your belief in me and the books. And thank you to all the readers, reviewers, artists, and others who have supported the press. Finally, it's safe to say that many of us wouldn't be here today without the influence of Shirley Jackson. So, here's to Shirley Jackson. May her memory be eternal." Hear hear!!!

The Novella category was no picnic for the jury either, because a rare tie occurred! The award was given to both Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin, and to The Lost Daughter Collective by Lindsey Drager.

The Novelette category was awarded to Chavisa Woods for "Take the Way Home That Leads Back to Sullivan Street," part of her collection titled Things to Do When You're Goth in the Country.

The prize for best Novel was awarded to The Hole by Hye-young Pyun, another battle that must have caused some deliberations, considering the other heavy-hitters on that list of finalists.

All in all it was a terrific affair, and big thanks to everyone involved, including award administrator JoAnn Cox, who ties all the loose ends together and without whom the ceremony wouldn't even happen.

CONGRATULATIONS to all those who were nominated and those who won, it is wonderful to see all your hard work honored in this way. I look forward to next year's awards with (if possible) even more enthusiasm!


This year's nominees (plus those from prior years, and all sorts of other info about the award) can be found on their website here:

Friday, July 20, 2018

ReaderCon 2018 - Recap #1

Last weekend I undertook my annual pilgrimage to ReaderCon, down in Quincy, MA. Each year I am entertained and confounded by the epic schedule of panel discussions, author readings and discussions, and of course the delight of the dealer room, and the treat at the end of it all, the Shirley Jackson Awards.

2018 was no exception!

I started out Friday by going to "The Book As Object," a good warmup for the weekend.j I missed part of the memorial panel in honor of Ursula K. Le Guin, but did get to hear about how (among other things) her story "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas" continues to generate a remarkable level of response. In particular, short story submissions continue to be sent to current science fiction editors by authors who feel compelled to write their own stories in response to Omelas. This is pretty exciting, considering that Omelas was published in 1973, 45 years ago! It's one of those stories, as observed by a panel member, that "changes people's lives."

You can find the story in a number of places:
-- New Dimensions 3, ed by Robert Silverberg (1973) (and later again in The Best of New Dimensions)
-- The Best Science Fiction of the Year #3, edited by Terry Carr (1974)
-- The Wind's Twelve Quarters, Le Guin short story collection (1975)
-- The Hugo Winners, Volume Three, edited by Isaac Asimov (1977)
-- Wolf's Complete Book of Terror, edited by Leonard Wolf (1979)
... and many more. For a full list, see the Internet Speculative Fiction Database.

The next panel was "Nesbit & Eager: Works in Conversation."  This time the discussion was about the relationship between the writing of Edith Nesbit and Edward Eager. Not only their literary work but also their biographical histories were compared and contrasted, lending illumination to the dim corners of their careers and writing.
LtoR: Nisi Shawl, Marissa Lingen, Lila Garrott, Julia Rios, Veronica Shanoes
Like the best panels, it raised additional questions beyond the ones it answered, and made us all want to go read both authors' books.

Here's an illustration of the Bastables' uncle being fierce with a pudding, from The Bastable Children by E. Nesbit. You're welcome.  😉
[to be continued...!]

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

John Jude Palencar redux

This post is long overdue -- I should have written it late last fall, but when the bookshop picks up between Thanksgiving and Christmas, all those "really should have" things turn into "whoops I meant to" things!

Well, here I am, reminded that I was supposed to point out a little bit of wonder that is in the shop that might be missed by you otherwise.

The Palencar Project by John Jude Palencar
Last year was a banner year in terms of my efforts to reach out to the wider world, and getting to work with a great team of artist co-curators down in Providence, Rhode Island. Together, we hand-picked pieces for an artshow that surpassed expectations, Ars Necronomica: Wonders of the Visible Weird. This was the third biannual Ars Necronomica exhibit, organized in conjunction with the NecronomiCon, a convention created from a swirl of literary, visual, and elements, intellectual and otherwise, all orbiting around the kernel of author and Providence native H.P. Lovecraft -- a heady and thought-provoking brew.

The convention attracts a diverse array of creators and fans, and every year I meet new people that go on to become friends and peers, a support network of cosmic scale built hand to hand, face to face, conversation to conversation, idea to idea.

Meeting the man himself! (That's me with the frizzy hair.)
In 2017, our Artist Guest of Honor was John Jude Palencar. For those of you who think you don't know his work, you would likely be surprised to find out just how familiar you are with it, without ever having known his name. johnjudepalencar.com The image shown here as an example, The Palencar Project, is far more evocative when you encounter it in person (my snapshot does not do it justice), a quiet masterpiece painted in acrylic on mounted ragboard.

If you are curious to find out whether you know his work or not, I invite you to look at copy of his art book, Origins, which I have here at the shop -- signed copies, even!

Here's a silly little timelapse GIF of me putting mylar sleeves on the books when they first came in:

The exhibit of Palencar's work was phenomenal -- to be able to see the artwork full-size and in person was a memorable experience, perhaps a once-in-a-lifetime experience for those of us in attendance. Even better, we got to meet and talk to John Jude himself, and true, those of us who had our own work hung alongside his paintings felt an extra bit of thrill. The scale and the depth of subtle hues and the intense composition of his pieces rewarded those who lingered or paid second and third visits to the pieces, as many of us did.

Luckily, the folks at the Lovecraftian journal, Dead Reckonings were inspired to ask some of us to record the event and its after-effects, and as part of that effort, I was able to commemorate and expand upon the event by interviewing John Jude Palencar himself.

This chain of events brings me to the point of this blog post, which is to let folks know that I have copies of the late Fall 2017 issue of Dead Reckonings here at the shop, so that you yourself can take one home! You will find among its pages many delicious goodies, including:

-- my article about and interview with John Jude Palencar
-- an article co-written by myself and fellow artist Dave Felton about the experience of attending Ars Necronomica
-- musings by Ars Necronomica Head Curator, Brian Mullen III

-- a review of Grady Hendrix's Paperbacks from Hell (yay!)
-- a range of historical & contemporary considerations, from Sidney Sime's artwork and Victorian gaslight and ghosts, to an interview with T.E.D. Klein, all the way up to the current horrors of Ramsey Campbell and the Kings' Sleeping Beauties
-- and more...!

... in other words, plenty of ghosts, monsters, and other more abstract horrors and delights.

P.S. If you want to see some of Dave Felton's increasingly amazing artwork, by all means go here!!! https://www.instagram.com/dfeltonillustration/

P.P.S. If you want to see the Ars Necronomica: Wonders of the Visible Weird exhibit, go here:
Ars Necronomica 2017 album, or
see photos of the opening night reception here:
Ars Necronomica 2017 opening night album

Here is my piece from the show (us curators had to demonstrate that we had some chops ourselves!), which was inspired by H.P. Lovecraft's story The Dunwich Horror, reinterpreted from the point of view of the locals in the area as Feeding Time at the Whateleys', drawn in graphite.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

SUMMER HOURS! now through Sept

Yes, we rejoice, summer is here! Maine gave spring a miss this year, and froze us until suddenly it's 80 degrees again. Welcome to the warmer weather, and with it our expanded hours.

We are closed on Mondays only now through September, with the following hours:

Tues-Thurs 11:00-5:00
Friday 11:00-6:00
Saturday 11:00-7:00
Sunday 12:00-5:00

See you soon!  😎