Archive for July, 2023

Wednesday, July 19th, 2023

An Interview with Sandra A. Miller

LibraryThing is pleased to sit down this month with Sandra A. Miller, an essayist and feature writer, whose 2019 memoir, Trove, chronicled her parallel searches for worldly treasure—$10,000 in coins buried somewhere in New York City—and a deeper sense of meaning, an answer to the sense of longing that was consuming her, despite an ostensibly happy and successful life. Miller’s debut novel, Wednesdays at One, released by Zibby Books earlier this month, is a work of literary suspense that follows the story of a clinical psychologist who is haunted by the mistakes of his past, as brought to light by a mysterious unscheduled client who begins to appear at his office every Wednesday afternoon.

Where did the idea for Wednesdays at One begin? Did the story idea come first, or did the characters?

The seed for the idea was planted twenty-seven years ago when my husband, who is a clinical psychologist, was stalked by one of his clients. She would come to our house and listen to our conversations through open windows, then bring that information into their therapy sessions. Without going into the details of what turned into a four-year nightmare for my family, I started thinking about what it would be like if a psychologist with a dark past had a client come into his office knowing something reprehensible that he’d done. I was interested in the idea of that role reversal–a vulnerable therapist and a client in the power seat. The idea stayed with me for decades in which I made a few attempts to tell the story from the female client’s perspective. It wasn’t until I got the voice of Dr. Gregory Weber—the guilty psychologist–in my head that the story really took shape.

The therapeutic process, and the relationship between therapists and patients, is a narrative element used in many stories, including your own. Why is that? Does it bring something important to your book, something that wouldn’t otherwise be possible, that the protagonist is a psychologist?

The therapy dynamic involves the exchange of deeply personal information that often no one else is privy to except the people in that room. There are clear parameters to protect the client who is disclosing that information, leaving room for trouble if the therapist steps outside of the professional boundaries and does anything even vaguely untoward or inappropriate. In Wednesdays at One, Dr. Gregory Weber does not maintain his professional demeanor, and that makes for a compelling and dramatic story. There most certainly wouldn’t be the same high stakes if Gregory worked in another profession—one that didn’t hold him to the highest of moral standards.

Your protagonist is described as having an enviable life, in many ways, but is afflicted by a secret sense of unease and dissatisfaction. This contrast between the outward and inward life is similar to the one explored in your memoir. Would you say that Trove was an influence on some of the themes of your story?

Absolutely. Several of the themes in Trove—Catholic guilt, classism, family dysfunction, and the conflict between our inner and outer lives—have reappeared in Wednesdays at One in a fictional form. Those were the most prominent themes of my childhood, and now I’ve explored them in my novel. In fact, I’m not sure I’ll ever be completely finished with these themes, because they offer rich opportunities to create tension between characters and deepen the plot. Another key subject in Trove was my father’s illness and death—something which my protagonist Gregory must deal with in the novel. As a creative writing teacher, I tell my students they may find that they have a key story or theme that will find its way into all of their work. Losing my father when I was nineteen is that subject for me. It shows up, if only subtly, in nearly everything I write.

Your essays and articles have appeared in hundreds of magazines and journals, and you have a memoir under your belt as well, but this is your first novel. Did your writing process differ with this book, when compared to your other work, and if so, how?

I recently realized that I wasn’t able to write a novel when I was raising my two young children, because I didn’t have the space required to build a complex fictional world—not when my real family needed so much of my energy and attention. In those years, I had far more success with creative nonfiction inspired by personal stories from my own life. I could easily write about my son’s debilitating eczema, my mother’s protracted illness, my beloved sister’s five year battle with cancer (she’s fine now). Those stories poured out of me, and I could find plenty of markets to publish my writing. But in the pandemic summer of 2020, with both of my children independent, this novel came to me like a download, and I had the mental and emotional space to write it. I wrote 1000 words a day for three months and by the end of the summer, the novel was complete. It felt like a gift. Or maybe the story was building inside me, waiting for the right moment to emerge.

What was your favorite part about writing Wednesdays at One? Was there anything about the process you didn’t particularly like?

The writing process for this book was magical. In thirty years as a creative writer, I never experienced anything like it. I enjoyed writing all of the characters, which made them a delight to interact with on the page. I guess the hard part happened when I started getting feedback from my beta readers and had to go in and make some changes to the characters I’d gotten to know and care about as they were.

Tell us about your library. What’s on your own shelves?

I read pretty widely, but my weakness is for rich, emotional family dramas with some dark turns. Glancing at my shelves I see many books by Elizabeth Strout, John Irving, Annie Ernaux, and Jumpa Lahiri. I also read a fair amount of memoirs, as long as they have a strong narrative arc, such as Barbarian Days by William Finnegan or the heartbreaking, Know My Name by Chanel Miller.

What have you been reading lately, and what would you recommend to other readers?

I’m really enjoying Long Bright River by Liz Moore and just finished listening to Viola Davis’s memoir Finding Me, which is one of my favorite audiobooks. Don’t miss that one.

With Milan Kundera’s recent death, I was reminded of how much I loved all of his books, most of which I read in my MFA program. But The Unbearable Lightness of Being is one of my favorite novels, and it taught me so much about structure and point of view. It’s a great book for readers to enjoy and writers to learn from.

Labels: author interview, interview

Wednesday, July 12th, 2023

TinyCat’s July Library of the Month: Les Fruits de Mer’s Soualibra Library

TinyCat’s Library of the Month goes to a wonderful non-profit, Les Fruits de Mer‘s Soualibra Library, which is focused on educating the public about all things St. Martin. (St. Martin is the northern French side of the Caribbean island shared with its southern Dutch counterpart, Sint Maarten.) Being a personal repeat visitor to the island, myself, I was thrilled to interview the association’s co-founder and volunteer Mark for this month’s questions:

Who are you, and what is your mission—your “raison d’être”?

Les Fruits de Mer is a non-profit association based on the island of St. Martin. Our mission is to provide education on local nature, heritage and culture. We have a free museum, Amuseum Naturalis. We also publish books about local subjects. One of our goals is to give a book to every student on the island every year they are in school. To do this, we’ve been developing books for all ages on a range of local subjects. Last year we gave away over 7,500 books. All our books are also available as free downloads.

Volunteers at one of Soualibra’s local events.

What an incredible project! Can you tell us some other interesting things about how your library supports the community?

Our library is called Soualibra. It’s named after one of the Amerindian names for St. Martin, Soualiga. In 2017, Hurricane Irma destroyed all the libraries on the island. Because we had a museum, students were coming to us when they needed to do research. We decided to start Soualibra as a research library. Our collection is focused on books about St. Martin. 

What are some of your favorite items in your collection?

We have quite a few books by Lasana M. Sekou and other local poets that are currently out of print. They are a really great window into the cultural life of the island before I lived here. And really enjoyable. Ideally, they would all be back in print, but at least we have copies available to people who are interested. 

What’s a particular challenge your library experiences?

We would love to have every book about St. Martin, but some of the older ones are very hard to find. On the other hand, we have managed to track down many older books, even ones with very small local printings. This is one thing that motivated us to publish books, because they do survive. It’s the best way to ensure information is still accessible in 100 years.

What’s your favorite thing about TinyCat, and what’s something you’d love to see developed?

I love that it is easy to use and for most books I can scan the barcode to add them. I don’t know if I need any new features, since we probably only use a fraction of the current capabilities. We have book clubs and a lot of book lovers on St. Martin and I wish there were more local reviews of local books. I am always looking for someone interested in reading and writing about St. Martin books and it would be great to integrate those local reviews into the catalog.

We could always consider allowing internal reviews for TinyCat libraries, down the line, thanks for your feedback!

Want to learn more about the Soualibra Library and Les Fruits de Mer?

Visit the library’s website at, Les Fruits de Mer’s website at (with all of their published books at, and explore their full TinyCat collection here.

To read up on TinyCat’s previous Libraries of the Month, visit the TinyCat Post archive here.

Want to be considered for TinyCat’s Library of the Month? Send us a Tweet @TinyCat_lib or email Kristi at

Labels: libraries, Library of the Month, TinyCat

Wednesday, July 12th, 2023

Job: Systems for LibraryThing (full/part-time, remote)

Update: LibraryThing has filled this position. Thanks to everyone who shared and/or applied!

LibraryThing is looking for a systems administrator / reliability engineer.

Job: Systems for LibraryThing (full/part-time, remote)

$1,000 in Books! As with our Developer Job, we’re offering $1,000 in books to anyone who finds us a person—or finds themselves.


About Us: LibraryThing is a small team of developers and librarians. We need a systems administrator/reliability engineer to power our products, including, Syndetics Unbound, and

Qualifications: We’re looking for someone with broad systems administration experience, who can quickly pick up unfamiliar technologies, diagnose problems, and keep everything running smoothly. You need to be calm under pressure, cautious, and an excellent communicator.

Experience: Applicants need considerable experience running websites on Linux hosts. Experience with MySQL is also important. You will need to be able to demonstrate experience with remote server administration including lights-out management techniques and equipment.

Technologies: We use the following technologies:

  • Puppet/Chef
  • Terraform
  • Prometheus/Grafana
  • Nginx
  • Docker
  • PHP
  • MySQL, with replication
  • Memcached/Redis
  • Elasticsearch
  • Rabbitmq
  • Git
  • Python
  • Logstash (ELK)
  • Managed Kubernetes
  • KVM virtualization on physical hardware
  • AWS

Work Anywhere. LibraryThing is “headquartered” in Portland, Maine, but the servers are in Massachusetts and most employees are in neither. We would need daily overlap between your location and Eastern US time.

Hours: We are open to both full-time and part-time applicants, as well as contract workers, depending on skills and experience. A full-time employee may wish to contribute to our product as a developer. See our recent Developer Job for more information on our development.

Compensations: We will consider both contract and salaried positions. If salary, we offer great health insurance.

How to Apply: Email Send an email with your resume. In your email, review the blog post above, and indicate how you match up with the job. Be specific.(1) Please do not send a separate cover letter.

The Fine Print

LibraryThing is an equal opportunity employer and will not discriminate against any employee or applicant on the basis of religion, race, color, national or ethnic origin, age, sex, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, pregnancy status, parental status, marital status, veteran status, or any other classification protected by applicable federal, state or local law.

Did you read this far? This job is going to be posted in a lot of places, and that means we’ll get a lot of people “rolling the dice.” If you don’t seem like you’re applying for this job, we’ll ignore your email. If you want us to know you read the job post–and are therefore a detail-oriented person–please title your email Systems Job: [Your name] (Mango). Really.

Labels: jobs

Wednesday, July 5th, 2023

LibraryThing Needs a Great Developer (Work from Home)

Update: LibraryThing has filled this position. Thanks to everyone who shared and/or applied!

LibraryThing is looking for a great remote developer to work on our library projects.

LibraryThing DeveloperWin $1,000 in Books!

If you find us one—or you find yourself—you get $1,000 in books from the independent bookstore of your choice! (See details at bottom.)

The Job

This job is focused on what LibraryThing does for libraries. This includes Syndetics Unbound, co-developed with ProQuest, TinyCat, and our new AI-based library product You will probably also be involved in projects for

Depending on interest and experience, your job may involve working with Large Language Models, machine learning, systems administration/operation, or mobile programming. You will at least be trained in the basics of LLMs.

We Use

  • PHP. LibraryThing runs on PHP, in mostly non-OO code. PHP isn’t rocket science, so other, flexible programmers are welcome to apply.
  • JavaScript. We try to do as much as possible on the back end, but JavaScript is a must.
  • English. Remote work requires skill and a commitment to communicate clearly and effectively.

Good to Have

  • Library Experience. This job will primarily be working with library facing products; library technology experience is a plus but is not required.
  • Library Degree. An MLS or equivalent degree is a plus.
  • Book Experience. Understanding books from work as a bookseller, a publisher, an author, or just as a reader would be helpful.
  • UX/UI Experience. We will use any design, UX, or UI experience you have.
  • Python. We also use Python, both for working with library data and machine-learning.
  • MySQL. Again, not rocket science, but true expertise in MySQL takes time and is valuable.


  • LibraryThing is an informal, high-energy, small-team environment. Programming is rapid, creative, and unencumbered by process. We put a premium on speed, reliability, communication, and responsibility. If this sounds attractive, we want you.
  • LibraryThing has been proudly remote for 18 years, so we put a premium on communication skills, discipline, and internal motivation.
  • All LibraryThing employees come up with ideas and solutions to problems on their own. We also develop and refine ideas together. We need your ideas and your criticism as much as your labor.
  • All LibraryThing employees interact with LibraryThing members directly, and library developers work with library customers. We believe that “the user is not broken.”
  • Interesting, passionate people make interesting, passionate products and are fun to work with. This is also the rare job for which a degree in Arabic, or an interest in watercolor painting, are a plus. We all love books, libraries and bookstores.

Location and Compensation ($65–130k)

This is a remote job open to anyone eligible to work in the US. We’d love to employ people outside the US, but the legal hassles are generally too much for us as a small company.

We are looking to work with the right person, not filling a spot with a clearly-delineated set of responsibilities and a predetermined salary. We will consider everything from junior to senior candidates. The salary range reflects that.

LibraryThing offers excellent health and dental insurance. Employees pay no premiums. We require hard work but are unusually flexible about hours and family commitments.

How to Apply

Before you apply, you should make sure you can do the LibraryThing Programming Quiz, which is something like Jeff Atwood’s “Fizz Buzz.” Our interviews include a simple programming quiz not unlike that. If you object to such things, please do not apply.

Send a cover-letter email and PDF resume to Your cover letter should go through the key parts of this job advertisement, responding to it, briefly.

The Fine Print

LibraryThing is an equal opportunity employer and will not discriminate against any employee or applicant on the basis of religion, race, color, national or ethnic origin, age, sex, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, pregnancy status, parental status, marital status, veteran status, or any other classification protected by applicable federal, state or local law.

Did you read this far? Prove that you did by making your email subject line “Camembert Job: [Your name].” Really.

$1,000 Rules

Rules! You get a $1,000 gift certificate to the indie bookstore of your choice. To qualify, you need to connect us to someone. Either you introduce them to us—and they follow up by applying themselves—or they mention your name in their email (“So-and-so told me about this”). You can recommend yourself, but if you found out about it from someone else, we hope you’ll do the right thing and make them the beneficiary.

Small print: Our decision is final, incontestable, irreversible, and completely dictatorial. It only applies when an employee is hired. If we don’t hire someone for the job, we don’t pay. If we’ve already been in touch with the candidate, it doesn’t count. Void where prohibited. You pay taxes, and the insidious hidden tax of shelving. Employees and their families are not eligible to win.

Labels: jobs

Monday, July 3rd, 2023

July 2023 Early Reviewers Batch Is Live!

Win free books from the July 2023 batch of Early Reviewer titles! We’ve got 148 books this month, and a grand total of 2,714 copies to give out. Which books are you hoping to snag this month? Come tell us on Talk.

If you haven’t already, sign up for Early Reviewers. If you’ve already signed up, please check your mailing/email address and make sure they’re correct.

» Request books here!

The deadline to request a copy is Tuesday, July 25th at 6PM EDT.

Eligibility: Publishers do things country-by-country. This month we have publishers who can send books to the US, the UK, Canada, Switzerland, Cyprus, Denmark, Israel, Austria, New Zealand, Sweden and more. Make sure to check the message on each book to see if it can be sent to your country.

On Moonberry LakeThe Cook's Book: Recipes for Keeps & Essential Techniques to Master Everyday CookingAgainst the WindA Super Scary NarwhalloweenJust East of NowhereLean on Me: A Children's Picture BookRavage & SonThe US Constitution in 5 MinutesWho Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?Megabat MegastarThe Map ColoristCleveland NoirTranscendentPresident Garfield: From Radical to UnifierThe Woman They Wanted: Shattering the Illusion of the Good Christian WifeAppalachian SongDouble O Stephen and the Ghostly RealmSuper Family!A Sin OfferingLost and FoundRace to KrakatoaBest of British Science Fiction 2022Illusions of Camelot: A MemoirThe School of HomerJane Austen Had a Life! A Guide to Jane Austen's JuveniliaAll's Fair in Love and ChristmasThe Unfortunate Side Effects of Heartbreak and MagicGrimm Machinations: More Steampunk Faerie TalesThe Legacy of Longdale ManorMaking the Low Notes: A Life in MusicThe Girl Who Was Too Much And Not EnoughOBD-I and OBD-II: A Complete Guide to Diagnosis, Repair and Emissions ComplianceMissed CueBash and Lucy Say, The UnseenIndigo Hours: Healing HaikuCamaro Special Editions: 1967-Present: Includes Pace Cars, Dealer Specials, Factory Models, COPOs, and MoreResearch Randy and Grandma's Half-eaten Pie of DespairPractical Life Skills for Young Adults: Everything a Teen Should Know to Live Independently and Thrive in the Real World with Confidence; Cooking, Health, Manage Money, Relationships, and More!You Make It Feel Like ChristmasThe HeirloomThe Secrets BeneathMy Goodbye GirlThe River Runs SouthThe Cry of Dry BonesThe Exorcist and the Demon HunterA Ray of HopeThe Wind Blows in Sleeping GrassCourage in the People's House: Nine Trailblazing Representatives Who Shaped AmericaWitchy Way to MurderMy PianoTango Red Riding HoodIzzy Hoffman Is Not a WitchAugust Wilson: A LifeFinal LullabyQueen MargaretAunt Claire's SecretBeasts of LondonHouse AretoliMinesweeperRestaurant Review Travel Guide: Columbus, OH: We Review the Best Restaurants in the CityeJunkyReturning the BonesThe Art Of Gratitude: Cultivating A Thankful HeartWord: An 11-Session Study of MatthewChatGPT Profits: The Blueprint to Becoming a Millionaire Using Artificial IntelligenceThe Secret Map of the Fairy KingdomFirebrandTroubled By LoveA Footnote to PlatoDeficientGeneration AnnihilationWith a Blighted TouchSalt on the Midnight FireThe Stories We Cannot TellA Deathly Irish SecretSevered RootsThe Last GenerationNo Small ChangeThe Blizzard's SecretsThe Murder of Angela Mischelle Lawless: An Honest Sheriff and the Exoneration of an Innocent ManThe Problem with the Male GazeThe Cry of Dry BonesNew HorizonsChaos and CrownsTwelve Past MidnightGrowing Connected: Living for LoveFirebrandFire ScarsMac: The Wind Beneath My WingsThe Taking of the First LadyThe Andromeda's CrewThe Ranch: An Adult Erotica Novel EpicThe 5-Day Job Search: Proven Strategies to Answering Tough Interview Questions & Getting Multiple Job OffersLicense To DieBlu RainPaRappa the RapperThe Vitruvian MaskThe Abduction of Adrienne BergDivine InterventionThe DisappearedThe Lazarus StoneRe: Apotheosis - AftermathRe: Apotheosis - MetamorphosisAlphaThe Toxic Female Gaze: Cue the 'Mean Girls' ReferencesWonder Woman 84's Mistaken Message to WomenGenerational PaymentThe Exile's PromiseThe Invisible BrightGravity Gone: The Stone MysteryTransformer KitBare MetalEuphoriaBond and SongDigital SAT Reading and Writing Practice Questions (2023)Entrepreneurship Essentials You Always Wanted to KnowLearning AnewDiscover the Power of Your Iphone 14: A Comprehensive Guide for Users of All Levels-Simplifying Technology for a Better Experience with Large Print and IllustrationsAll That Glitters: The Dark Side of Winning the LotteriesBlood in the HollerLess ThanFalse Summit: The Truth Is Hard to Face...The WishMurder So FoulSketching RebellionEveryone is Batsh*t Crazy: How to Overcome Adversity and Achieve Success in LifeAll the Parts of Your SoulTea Time With TollyA Measure of RhymeTick TuesdayKillianThe Secret HumankindAutodriveDalton Kane and the Greens5 Nocturnes: Opus 2NemesisBlaze of AngerA Change Would Do You BetterOut Of Darkness Comes: The First ThreatYou Are Not Alone—Understanding And Working Through Postpartum Depression: A Common Condition So Often MisunderstoodThe Core of RageThe Yawning GapSeeking Hearts: Love, Lust and the Secrets in the AshesSilver LiesLevel Up!: Your Strategy Guide to the Game of InvestingMermaid for DangerK.I.S.S. Parenting: Beginners Guide for New Parents

Thanks to all the publishers participating this month!

Akashic Books Alcove Press Bandwagon Press
Beaufort Books Bellevue Literary Press Bethany House
BHC Press Boss Fight Books Broadleaf Books
CarTech Books Cinnabar Moth Publishing LLC City Owl Press
Equinox Publishing Ltd. eSpec Books Fawkes Press
Gnome Road Publishing Islandport Press Legacy Books Press
Liz Fe Lifestyle NewCon Press Open Books Press
PublishNation Revell Rootstock Publishing
Sea Vision Publishing Simon & Schuster Somewhat Grumpy Press
Tundra Books Tuxtails Publishing, LLC Tyndale House Publishers
University of Nevada Press Vesuvian Books Vibrant Publishers

Labels: early reviewers, LTER