Joseph Patrick Pascale
Montclair Literary Tour
Updated: Sep 2, 2018
With the debut reading of my novel taking place in Montclair, NJ, I found myself exploring the town as I put some posters up (I'll share my exciting news about Watchung Booksellers and the Red Eye Cafe in just a bit further down in this post), and I was super excited by all the cool literary places to check out.
Montclair Book Center
Montclair Book Center has been part of downtown Montclair since 1984. They sell both used books and discounted new books, and they also have some interesting non-book collections, like their vinyl records.
The store features 10,000 square feet of browsing space, and the shelves of books reach up to the ceiling.
I found myself particularly captivated with the "Literary Biography" section. Sure, plenty of places have biographies, but this is multiple shelves of biographies about authors.
They've got large selections of a lot of genres from a prominent display of SciFi/Fantasy to poetry or the huge fiction selection titled "Literature."
And if you really enjoy your time at the Montclair Book Center, you can commemorate your visit with a t-shirt!
Montclair Public Library
Spacious and beautiful, the Montclair Public Library is the perfect place to spend an afternoon or a lifetime browsing and reading books.
It's true that libraries are a unique and valuable aspect of society, which provides equal access to books, media, and comfortable space for studying and inhabiting unlike anywhere else. They hold important programs to support their communities, often being one of the few places to offer support for those with little money or resources. This is especially worth emphasizing in an era when ignorant people inexplicably think Amazon or Starbucks come anywhere close to this.
And while there may be some libraries that are tiny and underfunded, there is no shortage of stunning libraries.
In fact, the Montclair Public Library had an extensive renovation and expansion in 1997 and was named one of the top five libraries in the entire United States by Library Journal in 2002.
Libraries always have cool projects to participate in.
This project of "Folds for Freedom" was inspired by Maya Stein, who folded 3,000 origami swans to represent all of the children separated from their parents at the US-Mexico border and held in detention centers. She used the project as a fundraiser to benefit "Kids at the Border."
There's no shortage of books to browse through in the library, and they've got other media as well.
I was impressed with their extensive collection of physical audiobooks. I like to use library apps to listen to audiobooks, but the collections are often small, there are long wait times to get books, and then you only get a week to listen to it when it shows up. Physical audiobooks are often my best bet, and they're easy to listen to in the car during my commute.
They had this great display of local authors right near the circulation desk.
And another nice display featured Spanish editions of books.
I also liked that they had baskets you could carry your selections in. I don't recall seeing that at a library before.
Your community bookstore, Watchung Booksellers is a fantastic independent bookstore nestled in a section of Montclair that feels like the peaceful suburbia of an Anytown, USA.
Watchung Booksellers is a long, cozy store with curated collections of books sure to grab your attention. I'm pleased to announce that among their collection, you can find copies of my novel How to Get a Promotion When Your Boss Is Trying to Kill You for sale today!
The Tiny Elephant cafe and bakery is linked to the bookstore.
Their section on "Writing Matters" particularly caught my eye. Watchung Booksellers really is a part of the community, and they host a "Great Writers" book group on Fridays. They have all sorts of awesome community events if you check out their calendar.
I also loved the way they put handwritten tags on so many books with descriptions to show potential readers why they'd selected that book.
The walls throughout the store are painted with authors.
The blank notebook pillow is what's in focus in this photo, which is exactly what I was looking at! This Books for Africa program also sounds great.
Watchung Booksellers was selected by author Ian Frazier as his favorite bookstore to include in the book My Bookstore: Writers Celebrate Their Favorite Places to Browse, Read, and Shop. He wrote a few pages about it, but I particularly liked this part where he tried to capture the energy of the bookstore:
"At Watchung Booksellers there's a daily rhythm to the life of books. Kids are running around--a bookstore like this is where kids are first brought into the wider world of reading--and there are the sounds of conversations about books, and the humming quiet of the browsers, and the crisp tearing and folding of gift-wrap paper at the counter, and it smells like books, with that fresh, subtly seductive smell. Independent bookstores such as Margot's collaborate with writing in an intimate way that makes cyber bookselling seem merely retail... Watchung Booksellers is, valiantly, a place where all of us who love books can be right now."
During my conversation with the owner, I also learned the Watchung Books is the supplier of the books featured for sale at the Red Eye Cafe.
Red Eye Cafe
The Red Eye Cafe is where I'll be holding the debut reading of How to Get a Promotion When Your Boss Is Trying to Kill You on Sunday, September 9th at 5:30 PM. Please check it out if you're in the area. This is an after-hours event when the cafe is usually closed, so we're just going to be there for the reading, signing, and book discussion over the delicious coffee, tea, and snacks on offer. I've already spoken with a bunch of people who will be in attendance, and I know we're going to have quite the celebration!
The Red Eye Cafe is a super cool place to have a cup of specialty coffee or enjoy the scrumptious menu offerings.
I thought it was cool that their outdoor seating area is a chalkboard for people to write their bucket list items.
And as I mentioned, you can enjoy a great selection of books with your coffee!
Ready to read?
That's right, after years of writing, editing, and other publishing magic, How to Get a Promotion When Your Boss Is Trying to Kill You is finally available for your eyeballs. As author Catherine Rankovic wrote, "Twists, laughs, and secret tiny mice fill Pascale's genuinely funny novel about the disquieting world of office work."
The novel is available for sale at Watchung Booksellers or at my book signing on September 9th. If you're not in the New York Metropolitan area, it is available at select brick-and-mortal locations working with Waldorf Publishing, or you can order it directly from the publisher here. It's also available at online retailers such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble if your membership with them makes it a better deal for you to have the book shipped. Please leave your review on GoodReads or Amazon after you've read it, as this supports authors and includes their books in search algorithms.