Alfredo Sosa
Providence, R.I.'s Books on the Square is one of the indie bookstores signed up to participate in Indies First on Small Business Saturday.

Indies First: What's happening at a bookstore near you?

Indies First, in which authors appear at independent bookstores and sometimes work as booksellers, will be happening again this year on Small Business Saturday. Take a look at who's signed up.

Indies First is back for 2014’s Small Business Saturday.

Last year, “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” writer Sherman Alexie proposed that writers work as booksellers at independent bookstores on Small Business Saturday (the Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend where consumers are encouraged to patronize their local stores). More than 400 bookstores were estimated to have participated, with more than 1,000 writers participating.

The idea spread, followed by Indies First Storytime Day, in which authors and illustrators came to indie stores and read books this past May, and then Upstream, an effort spearheaded by “A Series of Unfortunate Events” writer Daniel Handler to have authors bring signed copies of their books to independent bookstores, born later on.

This year, according to The New York Times, more than 400 stores are participating so far and more than 1,200 writers will be part of the event (the NYT noted that this counts authors who are signing books and saying hello to patrons as well as those who will work as booksellers that day).

According to IndieBound, participants will include Alexie, “Outlander” writer Diana Gabaldon, “Some Luck” writer Jane Smiley, and married couple Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer (Palmer just released a book titled “The Art of Asking”), among many others. Check out this IndieBound list to see what’s happening at a store near you.

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

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