You can always tell if you're at a book party when you can't get away from the passionate, nerdy discussion. One woman threatens to stop talking to another partyer because of a humbly admitted distaste for Jane Austen. Exasperated, she digs further into the Austen-hater's tastes: "She says she likes the Brontës, but she hates Jane Eyre!" When someone shits all over Middlemarch a few minutes later, we all half-expect her head to explode.
Someone keeps chastising Party Crasher for a negative review of The Merchant of Venice that was published in The Stranger exactly two years ago tonight. As people drink more beer and wine, the brainy conversation gets earthier. One woman defends Twilight, and someone else tells a story about the time her long hair accidentally fused with Fabio's product-besotted mane during a romance-novel-promoting photo op.
We're here to celebrate the fourth anniversary of Shelf Awareness, a free daily e-mail newsletter that reports on industry news and opinion. Movers and shakers from several local bookstores mingle with a couple of charming Amazon employees, and book reviewers for national publications chatter over flank-steak sliders and crab cakes. But this isn't just a business party: Some time ago, Shelf cofounder Jenn's house burned down, and a sizable collection of books perished in the flames. She has rebuilt in the same spot, and guests are all bringing copies of their favorite books—Lolita, The Cat in the Hat, White Noise, The Namesake—to jump-start Jenn's new library. It feels hopeful and supportive, like a bookish barn raising.
Want to tell The Stranger that we have "a problem with the subjunctive" in our column at your house party? Send the date, place, and party details to firstname.lastname@example.org.