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Spider Bites

It’s Saturday! Must be time for “Spider Bites,” the weekly feature where we crawl around and across the Web to find interesting book-related news.

One peek into the future

Kassia Krozser at booksquare.com makes the case for “Bookstores. Now More Than Ever,” coming down firmly on the side of a future where the curated bookstore with a passion for customer service will be essential. As quoted in Shelf Awareness, she says why indies (like Destinations Booksellers) have leverage. “Customer service. Community. When it comes to a physical store, I go there because I want a certain level of interaction. I want human contact. I want tactile. I want readings. Events. Original content. Something unique that I can’t get anywhere else. I want to be seduced by a cover with a striking image, and, honestly, I think booksellers have a better idea of what attracts readers than publishers (especially those publishers who don’t leave New York very often).”

Passages to get your blood pumping

Evolution of Bruno Littlemore

True love

Kathleen Massara, writing for Flavorwire, offers up 10 suggestions for the best literary sex scenes not penned by a great male novelist. It’s a little hard to understand precisely why she chose that distinction, but it turns out she is on to something here. She selected an evocative scene from The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore, which is the story of a truly evolved chimpanzee in love with his lab attendant. Don’t worry. These aren’t selections that will even make you blush, but they do show the power of words to evoke the essence of love. Happy St. Valentine’s Day.

Booksellers at the White House

My colleagues in the American Booksellers Association renewed an 82-year-old tradition last month when they met with President Obama in a distinctly oval office in Washington. They donated books to the White House library from authors as diverse as Cynthia Ozick, Ron Chernow, and Matt Taibbi. You can read the entire list here and see the official photo. Good looking digs, eh?

Out of control?

Customer service is our bread and butter. Some people value it. Some couldn’t care less. The Taiwan bookstore manager in this Youtube video found himself doing damage control after a dicey try at providing good customer service backfired on him when another patron took her objections to the next level. Be sure to click the “CC” for closed captioning before launching the online video. Anyone willing to stage a tantrum in exchange for a 20% discount? You have to let me record it on video and put it up on Youtube, though. No ambushes, please. Offer subject to discontinuation at my discretion.

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Spider Bites: How Do You Make a Sniper a Hero?

Saturdays are for “Spider Bites.” Get it? Spiders make webs, and what’s on the Web is certainly worth sharing, right?

Hot Springs, an Earl Swagger novel

Father and son snipers

Today we feature the Website(s) of author Stephen Hunter. For me, his ongoing series of books about Bob Lee Swagger, and the companion books about his Dad, Earl Swagger, have been a pure pleasure.

The Swaggers are not quite anti-heroes, but the efficiency with which they dispense justice does put them outside the boundaries of your normal thriller hero. Some of you probably saw the movie Shooter, which starred Mark Wahlberg as a contract protective sniper who is framed for an assassination – an “executive action.”

That movie burst forth from Stephen Hunter’s book Point of Impact, and was drastically adapted to reflect a different backstory from the character of Bob Lee Swagger in the 1993 book.

One of my favorite Hunter books is Hot Springs, in which Bob Lee’s father Earl finds himself called on to clean up Hot Springs, Arkansas at a time when the place was totally mobbed up.

Anyway, the purpose of these Saturday Spider Bites is to let you explore on your own. Below are some links to sites by and about Stephen Hunter. Did you know that Hunter’s day job before retirement was as the film critic for the Washington Post? He turns 65 in a couple of months.

On Wikipedia

The author’s unofficial Website is at www.stephenhunter.net

His publisher (Simon & Schuster) author page is here.Stephen Hunter

Finally, here’s his page on the British Website Fantastic Fiction, a site I use extensively to help me annotate books in series – because publishers change and they are all terrible at letting us know the chronological order of series books.

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