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Grateful

Grateful, relieved, happy, and hopeful for so many things, a handful of them below:

1) Grateful that our president will be returned to office with the support of a majority of the nation’s voters; that so many progressive women will be serving in the Senate; and that marriage equality has been affirmed on the east coast and the west coast.

2) Relieved that the policies and cohort of the challenger won’t be installed in the White House.

3) Happy that I was able to lend my support to the Obama campaign with some phone banking (not as much as in 2008, though I still made some calls); that I connected with the Obama Campaign’s digital outreach staff, especially Teddy Goff and Erica Sackin, and was able to inform this blog with their informed content; and that the curation and writing of this blog spread accurate information and motivating commentary about the campaign to a widening circle of readers and sharers. Thanks to all.

4) Hopeful that four more years of President Obama’s astute leadership will heal our economy with more opportunities for all; nurture civil and human rights; and lead to more global understanding.

As this first day after the 2012 election goes along, I may have more items to list, but for now these will suffice. As always, thank you for subscribing, reading, and sharing from The Great Gray Bridge. If you care to, please share some things for which you are grateful, relieved, happy, and/or hopeful in the comments field below.

New Features at The Great Gray Bridge, One Year Old Today

Today October 30, the day after Hurricane Sandy struck New York City, is the one-year anniversary of The Great Gray Bridge. To mark this occasion, I’ve installed some new features here that will make it easier for you to to read and share the content I create and publish. First, as you’ll see near the top of the right-hand column, you may now “Sign up to get posts by email”–which means you can by signing up there  get every new post I publish sent directly to your email inbox. If you sign up for this option, you may easily forward a post to any of your own contacts, people who may not yet know about The Great Gray Bridge. If you do entrust me with your email address in this fashion, I promise to not sell or give your info to any third party. And, if, for any reason you want to unsubscribe later, you may just click “unsubscribe” at the bottom of any the emailed posts sent from the site.

I should add that you don’t have to do any of this–if you enjoy visiting the site periodically to see what’s new and surfing around, please continue doing that.

Second, above the email sign-in window, is a grid with active buttons to connect with all of my social media accounts, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, tumblr, Pinterest, and an RSS feed from this site. I will be rolling out other new features in the weeks ahead, such as a youtube channel connected to The Great Gray Bridge.

After years curating publishing lists that reflected my understanding about what people wanted to read, and editing the words of other writers, it is a joy to be writing on my own, to publish it here, and to share it throughout our inter-connected world. Thank you very much for reading and sharing what I publish.

Coming Back from Hurricane Sandy in NYC

In response to friends and readers who’ve begun asking about the welfare of me and my family, thank you for your concern. I’m posting with the good news that my wife and son and I are all well this Tuesday morning, after the hurricane blew through the tri-state area. Despite the widespread loss of electricity throughout New York City, reportedly affecting more than 750,000 fellow NYers, we did not lose power, nor suffer any issues with our apartment on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. While our hearts bleed with the news that there’ve been at least 10 fatalities in the city, and an incalculable loss of property and key city infrastructure, we are okay.

I should add that this day, October 30, is the one-year anniversary of the first blog item I posted on this site, Seasonal Thoughts. Interestingly it was about another weather event, a big snowstorm that occurred last year on this day. So, it’s a kind of birthday for The Great Gray Bridge.  Thank you for being one of my readers, and for your concern about our well-being.

August Sign-off

Bye, bye August, it was nice knowing ya.

The George Washington Bridge, aka The Great Gray Bridge, taken during a bike ride along the Hudson in upper Manhattan, August 30, 2012.

300th Blog Post

When I look at the dashboard for this website I feel as I’ve lifted the hood of a car and am peering in at all the belts and fans and cables. The difference is that just two months shy of a year since I started The Great Gray Bridge, I pretty much know what’s going on under its hood, whereas with an automobile I never will. One thing the dashboard shows at a glance is how many posts I’ve published, counting from the very first one I put up October 30th last year. As you can see from the screenshot pasted in below, a handy counter shows that the next post I put up–this post, in fact–will be my 300th since the blog’s inception.

While I concede that the recognition of benchmarks like this one is only as important as we make them, I want to pause a few moments over this milestone. In ten months as a (near) daily blogger, what have I learned?

1) I now know for sure that by last fall–nearly three years after I had stopped working as an editorial director for a major publishing house–I missed having a list of new books to acquire, edit, package, and assemble for each new publishing season. I wanted something to curate, a garden of words and enthusiasms to plant, tend, and share. This blog has allowed my curatorial instinct to bloom again.

2) I know for sure that I am fortunate to have a loyal cadre of readers who, over the past several months on average, number between 850-1100 unique visitors to the site every day. I also know that my readers–you–average three pages viewed on the site during each visit. I am very grateful for this attention to what I write and post and pledge to keep writing and posting with the frequency and variety that I have done for the past ten months, hopeful that the time spent here you regard as well-rewarded.

3) I see from the second screenshot shown here that the categories forming the super-structure of the site, with each new post being assigned one or more categories under such rubrics as Art, Film, Photography, Design; Books & Writing; Canada; Media; Music, Bands & Radio; Publishing & Bookselling; and Urban Life, New York City & Bicycling, to name only a handful of the fifteen total–form a telling cross-section of my interests and what I’m covering. The bookish buckets, Books & Writing and Publishing & Bookselling, combine to comprise two of the most heavily populated categories, with 138 and 55 posts respectively, while News, Politics & History clocks in at 101 (sure to keep growing as the fall political campaign heats up). Meantime, my musical mission is highlighted by the 68 posts falling under Music, Bands & Radio, with many of those overlapping with the 50 I’ve assigned under the category, “Canada,” whose indie music scene I follow closely, as fan and blogger.

I’ve recently added a couple new categories–Sports and Food & Spirits, and tacked Bicycling on to the Urban Life, NYC category, as I had earlier omitted it. Considering that I bike approximately 40 miles per week in the city, during which I get some of my best blogging ideas and have adventures I later write about, I’m going to be blogging about biking from time to time, especially as biking becomes a civic and political issue in Gotham, with the BikeShare program due to start in 2013.

Another recent addition is the page at the top of the site called PT–Personal, a biographical sketch that is a counterpart to PT–Professional. In the former I chronicle my personal history from teenage years in Cleveland to the point at which I became a bookseller and editor, covered in the latter page. I will also soon be creating a page called PT–Photographs, where I’ll be posting pictures relevant to my personal history and pursuits.

Whether this is your first time on my site, or if you’re a frequent visitor, thanks for dropping by and spending time here. Please feel free to comment and share, or just to poke around and read. You needn’t leave any footprint at all, as I know that many readers prefer not to.

I want to close this 300th post by saying that in the build-up to what will be the one-year anniversary of the site in October, I will also be marking the 80th anniversary of the opening of the George Washington Bridge, aka The Great Gray Bridge, which I’ve previewed in this post. I invite you to check back again soon.

 

A View From our Train Window

A view of The Great Gray Bridge from the Amtrak train we recently rode from NYC to Cleveland. Photo by Kyle Gallup. Our route took us in to the open air for a few seconds, then back underground and under the bridge, then back out in the open again, north of the bridge, when this picture was shot. The train ride was the first leg of our current midwest road trip, which has continued by car through Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, and now to St. Louis. On the return leg of our trip, we’ll be dropping our car off in Cleveland and coming back to NYC via Amtrak. Cross-posted at my Great Gray Bridge tumblr.

Working with Speakerfile at BEA, June 5-7

June 5 Update: As you can read below, I was planning to put the Book Expo America (BEA) live stream on my site, but I found the link for it brings with it a jarring, noisy ad that disturbed and annoyed readers on my site the few hours I had it up as a preview. If you do want to view the live stream, I recommend you go to the BEA site and watch it there. Meantime, below is an updated version of my original post previewing BEA, which stands as relevant as when I first put it up last week. Now, I’m off to the first full day on the convention floor at the Javits Center!



May 31

Next week I will be attending Book Expo America (BEA), the book industry’s annual convention which I’ve been attending regularly since 1978, when with my family I began operating the bookstore Undercover Books. In those days it was known as ABA, named for the American Booksellers Association, the trade group that then ran the show. It’s a sturdy annual rite of rededication to the creative and commercial enterprise that is book publishing where acres of forthcoming books are displayed at publishers’ exhibit stands; authors sign advance reading copies (ARCs) for booksellers and librarians; and book biz friends who haven’t seen each other for at least a year meet and re-meet and share their enthusiasms for the upcoming year’s new books.

This year I will be working BEA with a new client, a Toronto company called Speakerfile who’ve hired me as an affiliate of theirs in NYC, representing them to publishers, publicists, agents, and authors. They’re building a great platform–think eHarmony®–with conference organizers and meeting planners on one side and experts and authors on the other. If you are an author who does public speaking–or you work with authors, experts, and thought leaders who speak in public–and are eager to have more and better bookings, I suggest you visit Speakerfile’s website to get a sense of what they’re building, and ask me for more information. To make it easy if you want to learn more, I’ve placed a promo spot at the upper right corner of my site–a click on it will take you right to Speakerfile’s home page. CEO Peter Evans will be at BEA, so please ask me for an introduction or a demo of their platform. If you’re looking for us, much of the time we’ll be at Bowker’s stand.

Also, for the first time I will be at BEA as an accredited member of the press, covering the event for this blog.One perk that bloggers have been offered is the chance to live stream on our websites the BEA’s own video feed of the convention from the Javits Center. So beginning next Tuesday, June 5 through Thursday, June 7, I invite you to visit this site where you can vicariously channel the experience of BEA.(A warning: the embedded link currently begins with an e-reading ad at high volume, so you may want to mute your volume for about ten seconds.) I have no input about which events they’ll be carrying but I suggest you keep an eye out for these two possible highlights:

♦ Wednesday, June 6, at noon when Patti Smith will engage in a conversation with Neil Young, who in October will be publishing his memoir, Waging Heavy Peace. June 5 Update: I’ve been told that due to permissions and rights issues, BEA will not be able to live stream this event. To view the BEA live stream, go to the BEA’s own web site.

♦ Tuesday, June 5, 3:00 PM, when Ami Greko and Ryan Chapman host 7x20x21. In this rapid-fire program speakers have 7 minutes and 20 powerpoint slides to present their publishing   obsessions. Participants are

*Statistician Nate Silver, who writes the FiveThirtyEight politics and polling blog at the New York Times

*Shelia Heti, author of Ticknor and the upcoming How Should a Person Be?

*Robin Sloane, former Twitter employee, writer, media inventor, and creator of the much-lauded tap essay Fish.

*D. T. Max, writer of the upcoming David Foster Wallace bio, Every Love Story Is a Ghost Story.

*Dan Wilbur, creator of Better Book Titles, a blog which offers this replacement title for “Much Abo about Nothing”: “An Extremely Complex Lie Will Clearly Solve Everything.”

Results in for Goodreads Independent Book Blogger Awards

I’m happy to announce that The Great Gray Bridge was in the end a finalist in Goodreads’ Independent Book Blogger Awards, in the Publishing Industry category. While this result is extremely gratifying, alas, it was not the winner. I want to thank the hundreds of readers who voted for this blog, and who helped make it a finalist, and after only six months of publication. Full results may be found here via this link on the Goodreads site, which includes the names of the winners in each of the four categories, and all fifteen finalists in each category who did not win. I’m grateful they held the contest and appreciative that I was able to enter my blog in it. I know it’s brought more readers to this site and I’m thankful for that.