Blue Willow Digital Marketing Team's blog

Book Bites: Yorick and Books

We continue to be closed to the public—the storefront has turned into one big shipping warehouse—and as the weeks roll by, we find ourselves missing you more than ever. Even though we know it’s the right thing to do, it has been hard. We miss seeing your faces, and talking about books and life and how the two reflect one another and intertwine. We’re tentatively looking at early June for a quiet, socially distant reopening of some kind. Stay tuned for details. Until then, we know just what will lift your spirits and ours—a classic all-ages, all-interests recommendation fest featuring some of our very favorite new books. Buckle up and read on… no matter what you’re looking for, you can find it on our shelves.

Book Bites: Future Faves

Friends, you’ve probably heard that shops like ours have the go-ahead to reopen. We’re not quite there yet, though. For one thing, our shelves are dusty, all the tables are covered with partial orders, and half the store is devoted to packing needs. We like to joke that the shop doesn’t have her makeup on. She’s looked cuter. And at the end of the day, our priorities are everyone’s health and safety. For now, we have decided to keep the door shut for at least another week. We promise that when we’re ready, we will welcome you inside with more love than you can imagine. Until then, it's a wave through the window and your books waiting for you on the porch. And in the meantime, we’re highlighting a few new releases from some big names below—whether you’re looking for a picture book, middle grade, YA, or a juicy novel, we think you’ll find something you’ll love.

Abby Jimenez on THE HAPPY EVER AFTER PLAYLIST and What's Next

One of the things we miss most about business-as-usual is bringing great authors to the shop and connecting them with you, our extended family of Houston readers. One of the authors we were looking forward to hosting was Food Network champion-turned-novelist Abby Jimenez, whose latest book, The Happy Ever After Playlist, hits that lovely sweet spot between humor and heartstrings. It's witty and warm, and is a great read for fans of Casey McQuiston, Beth O'Leary, or Jasmine Guillory. (If you don't know those authors yet, don't worry—The Happy Ever After Playlist also picked up a trio of starred reviews!) We've got copies on hand, so give us a call to reserve one. And be sure to enter the $50 Blue Willow gift certificate giveaway sponsored by Forever, Abby's publisher! In the meantime, enjoy a conversation between the author and our very own indefatigable events coordinator, Cathy. And stay tuned for more ways you can connect with us—and with other great authors—during these strange times.

Book Bites: Replenish That Nightstand!

It’s been weeks since we’ve been able to welcome you into the shop to browse our shelves, and we miss you all like crazy. Things are a little different here than you may remember—the shop has turned into a miniature warehouse. All our tables have turned into packing lines, and we’re setting rows and rows of bags outside for porch pickup. So give us a call or send us an email—we’re here to meet your reading needs, and we’d love to share some of our favorites with you. Below are a few recent picks we’re especially excited about. Read on!

Book Bites: Reads For Your Isolation Rotation

We’ve been keeping busy here at the shop, but not in the way we’re used to. Our happy place, usually bustling with life and laughter, has turned eerily silent. Instead, we’re processing web orders, answering phones, and arranging books, puzzles, and games for curbside pickup. You’ve been so generous with your support, and we’ll never forget the gratitude we’ve felt over the last few weeks. We’ll get through this together, and we’re so looking forward to seeing you all on the other side. Until then, books are some of the best company we can keep. While away some time, escape to another world, or try on a different life for a few hours—books are essential, and we’ve got recommendations for readers of all ages. Stay well, friends, and read on.

Gilly Segal & Kimberly Jones on I'M NOT DYING WITH YOU TONIGHT

Friends, the current health situation has upended life here at the shop, and has reminded us that our top priority is always to keep our customers and staff healthy and safe. That's meant a lot of event cancellations and a lot of curbside pickup for the last two weeks. We're carrying on as well as we can, but we're still bummed beyond words that one of our event casualties was this year's TeenBookCon festival. To us, the festival is a joyful, life-giving day each year where we get to see a lot of hard work and planning pay off and connect thousands of young local readers with some of our very favorite authors.

Two of those authors—Gilly Segal and Kimberly Jones—have written an urgent page-turner of a debut that tackles big topics like race, privilege, violence, and coming together. I'm Not Dying With You Tonight is the story of Lena and Campbell, two very different girls from very different backgrounds, who are forced to rely on one another in order to survive a riot. We know it's not the same as attending a TeenBookCon panel, but we were able to ask Gilly and Kimberly a few questions about the book, what it's like to write together, and which books are on their nightstands. Read on!

Book Bites: Stocking Up

Friends, we’ve been so moved by your support over the last week. Our online orders have spiked, the phone’s been ringing off the hook, and so many of you have stopped by to browse or to take advantage of our curbside delivery program. Small businesses across the country are facing closure and uncertainty. We feel immeasurably lucky to belong to such a kind, generous, compassionate community. 

One thing's for sure: We’re going to need a lot of reading material to get through the next few weeks! To that end, here’s an all-ages roundup of some of our favorite new and recent releases. Our inventory is changing rapidly—if we don’t have one of these titles on our shelves by the time you’re ready to buy, we’d be happy to order it in for you or recommend something similar. In the meantime, we’re wishing you all good health and happy reading.

Lisa See on Research, Writing Female Friendships, and THE ISLAND OF SEA WOMEN

Friends, what a month we've had here at the shop, in Houston, and as a country. During times like this, we really do find that there's nothing quite like the comfort of a good book.

On a store programming note, we're devastated not to host so many of our favorite authors in the weeks ahead—we were looking forward to great conversations with authors like Ann Patchett, Angie Thomas, Mac Barnett, and Lisa See. Today, we're here with the next best thing—an exclusive Q&A between Lisa See and Valerie, all about her fabulous book The Island of Sea Women. We've even added a few photos from Lisa's last visit to give the post that Blue-Willow-Bookshop-event feel. It's not the same, we know, but right now it's for the best.

If you already ordered your copy of The Island of Sea Women, or are looking for reading recommendations for the next few weeks, give us a call! We're offering $5 priority shipping right now, and free shipping on orders over $50. You can also take advantage of our curbside delivery program, or just stop in—we're still open as of March 18 and have put additional sanitation measures in place to ensure your safety and the safety of our staff. 

Book Bites: Middle Grade Madness

March madness is here at Blue Willow! Not the one you’re thinking of, though—we’re talking about the explosion of exciting new books that are hitting our shelves. This week, we’re feeling especially giddy about our middle grade shelves, where we have four fantastic recommendations for you to check out. If that’s not quite your lane, fret not! We’re based in Houston, after all—if there’s one thing we have lots of, it’s lanes. So merge on over to a must-read YA collaboration between Jason Reynolds and Dr. Ibram X. Kendi. Or, speed through a few terrific novels. There’s a great rom-com follow-up that we know you’ll love, and a powerful WWII-era book from Jennifer Rosner. To cap it all off, Alice just loved the new book by the legendary Louise Erdrich. Get comfy, folks—there’s some serious reading to be done.

TeenBookCon Author Phil Stamper on Space, Romance, and THE GRAVITY OF US

There's something especially magical about reading a book set in your hometown, right? Now imagine that the book has multiple starred reviews and glowing blurbs from the likes of Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera. And that we've been counting down the days until its February 4 release for, oh, about ten months.

That's the situation with The Gravity of Us, the debut YA novel from Phil Stamper. It's part space-race adventure, part queer love story, and it's wise, funny, and charming as all heck. We are absolutely beside ourselves with glee that Phil will be joining us for our eleventh annual TeenBookCon festival at Cypress Woods High School on April 4. You can register for the festival here, then check out the full author lineup to see who else is coming to town. In the meantime, check out our exclusive Q&A with Phil!

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