We’ve put together a survey and we’d love it if you’d take the time to fill it out (available HERE). In fact, we’d love it so much that the first 25 respondents will get a free Malvern Books t-shirt and the first 100 respondents will receive a free copy of your choice of either The Hasty Papers, Life As It Is, or Voices from the Bitter Core. (Books and t-shirts must be picked up at Malvern Books.) Everyone who responds will be entered in the drawing to win a $50 Malvern gift card. Please respond by 11:59 pm, Wednesday, May 3rd. And thanks in advance for taking the survey—your feedback will help us make Malvern an even better bookstore!
In light of recent political events, we’d like to make it abundantly clear that Malvern Books is a safe space. A space where those who feel threatened may find refuge in literature and community. Misogyny, racism, homophobia, xenophobia, and cruelty of all kinds will not be tolerated. Hate is not welcome here.
I wonder who decided it was a FAQ? What’s wrong with a FLART (Folks Like Asking Repetitive Things)? Or maybe even an OPRAH (Often People Request Answers Habitually)? In any case… questions, we get asked ’em. Frequently. Here are some answers:
1. When do you open?
Because we have carpet, a phone, and a flushing toilet, the answer is: soon. Because we do not yet have shelves, the answer is also: not this week! At this stage, we’re going to say September. Check back soon for more information.
2. You’re opening an independent bookstore in this financial climate? Are you insane?
We get this a lot. And it’s quite possible we are insane, but I don’t believe our crushing looniness is evident in our decision to open a bookstore (it’s much more evident in our passion for Coronation Street and Eggo Drizzlers). It’s actually, believe it or not, quite a good time to be opening a bookstore—the American Booksellers Association tells us indie bookstores experienced record sales in 2012, and articles like this and this suggest your local bookstore is making a comeback. We fully intend to be a part of this revival…
3. Doesn’t Austin already have an independent bookstore?
You’re probably thinking of BookPeople. Yes, BookPeople is an indie bookstore, and a very good one. We like BookPeople (and book people) very much indeed. However, we believe Austin can support another shop o’ books. For one thing, ATX is now the fastest growing city in the country. (Yikes.) And BookPeople often has a fully booked events calendar, which suggests there’s room for another community venue for your literary shenanigans. Also, we’ll be concentrating on small press literature, works in translation, and local authors, so our focus is a little different. If you want Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls, you go to BookPeople; if you want Let’s Explore Owls with Diabetes, the intensely moving Latvian poetry collection, or Let’s Give Owls Exploratory Diabetes, the controversial novel by local anti-owl oddball Mike Fisherpants, you come to us. Capiche?
4. What on earth is Malvern? It’s a weird name!
Thanks for that question, Maurice McDungbeetle. You have a weird name too, but whatever. The long story: the name Malvern was chosen in honor of the great Medieval poet William Langland and his epic poem entitled The Vision of Piers Plowman. Alas, very few people read Langland anymore—the want of a firm grounding in medieval literature is clearly what is wrong with young people these days (that and sizzurp)—and we usually get a squinty, quizzical stare when we start banging on about the adventures of young Piers. For this reason, we have decided that the best answer to the question “What on earth is Malvern?” is this:
This is Malvern. You can call him Malvy if you want. He has taken up residence next to the public restroom, and we are teaching him to roar angrily whenever someone tries to steal a chapbook. If you rub his nose, it will bring you good luck. Or boils. (Currently too small a sample size to say.) Isn’t he handsome? He can’t wait to make your acquaintance.
Hope your Monday is merry, Malvernians! I’m sure you’re all anxious to hear news of the impending royal sprog (boy? girl? otter? named Harold? Diana? Steve McTits?). Allow me to distract you with birth news of a non-icky, non-inbred sort: Malvern Books recently gave birth to a page. (Okay, still kind of ew.) Yes, this amenable little blog has slid quietly over to the right to make way for a new home page. The home page might be looking rather… homely at the moment, but we’re working on it, and once the store is open you’ll find all sorts of useful info there, including the boring stuff (our location, hours, and rules concerning the use of remote control helicopters) and the really interesting stuff (new books in store, staff recommendations, events).
And speaking of events, we have a page for that, too. Be sure to check the calendar for details of all our upcoming shenanigans—or, better yet, sign up for our weekly newsletter; the sign up form is over there in the sidebar, waiting patiently to take your email address (which, of course, we will guard with our lives and use only for sensible newsletter purposes). Events are going to be a Very Big Deal at Malvern Books, and we plan on hosting a reading most nights of the week. If you’d like to get in touch with us regarding staging your own performance (preferably of a literary nature, though you’re welcome to try us on your nude yodeling shtick), please do email us. It’s never too early to begin planning your Malvern debut.
And an events page needs an events stage! The stage area (pictured above, with the mushroom wood walls) is pretty much done. And no, we haven’t opted for that ironic papery flooring all the kids are pinteresting—we’re just protecting our nice bamboo and marmoleum* while we continue to slap on the feisty blue paint (let’s call the color Malvern at Midnight).
* Marmoleum is the perfect name for a baby otter. Just saying.
We’re glad you stopped by. Malvern Books is a brand spanking new bookstore and community space for literary enthusiasts in Austin, Texas. Our bricks-and-mortar store will open its doors to the public this fall. We’ll specialize in visionary literature and poetry from independent publishers, with a focus on lesser-known and emerging voices the world needs to hear. Our inventory will be lovingly curated and delightfully idiosyncratic, with one common thread running from shelf to shelf: we sell books we love to read and are proud to press enthusiastically into your hands (and this gesture may possibly be accompanied by a bellowing “You must read this!” Don’t say we didn’t warn you.)
As long-time Austinites, we’re also thrilled to be providing a community space for book lovers. We’ll host book and poetry readings and musical performances, and provide a friendly meeting space for book clubs. We won’t sell coffee, because we’re better at books than espresso, but we hope you’ll feel welcome to pull up a seat with your purchased-very nearby mocha latte (securely lidded!) and spend a sunny afternoon or three perusing our titles.
As for the blog, this is the place to come for event listings, special offers, book reviews, small press news, local literary happenings, interviews with writerly types, bookstore gossip, and all the usual literary shenanigans. We’ll be posting regularly—no cobwebs in this here corner of the blogosphere—and with alacrity, so please do stop by often and join in the conversation. We’d love to hear from you. You can also visit us on Facebook, where you can Like us, really Like us.
And if you’re wondering about the name, Malvern was chosen in honor of the great Medieval poet William Langland and his epic “The Vision of Piers Plowman.” It doesn’t get as much love these days as The Canterbury Tales or the chivalrous (but slightly behead-y) adventures of Sir Gawain, but it’s one of the most significant works of Middle English, and well worth a read if you like that sort of thing, i.e. mad quests, spiritual visions, and a trio of allegorical characters—Dowel (“Do-Well”), Dobet (“Do-Better”), and Dobest (“Do-Best”)—who could teach those wise monkeys a thing or two about proverbial threesomes.