Friday, April 27, 2012

Only Good Book News This Week

I bring you great tidings of joy, fellow bibliophiles! Herein are articles about Baker Street Books revitalization by a new owner (Hurrah! There will still be a bookstore within shouting distance of Maple Valley!) and Poetry, World Book Night in Iowa and all over the place (who can resist free books?) and literary tourism, something I've long dreamed of getting into. By the way, I cornered the new owner, Todd Hulbert, at the farewell for Mr Charles, and told him that I'd be willing to volunteer to help stock the shelves or whatever he needs doing, just to give the store a good head start.

Baker Street Books: New Owner Solves the Case In a plot twist worthy of Arthur Conan Doyle, patrons of Baker Street Books, Black Diamond, Wash., gathered last Sunday "to mourn its closure, celebrate the joy the business had brought to the community as well as its owner, when it was announced that Kent resident Todd Hulbert was the white knight who had purchased the business from owner Bob Charles," according to the Reporter. "My specialty is in Internet marketing," said Hulbert, who owns an online clothing and apparel business, as well as 150,000 books that will now have a home. "Books fit so beautifully into that. I wanted to get into the online book business, so I started buying very large lots of books all up and down the West Coast." Charles announced in March that the store would close. "I had been thinking about it the past six or seven months, business had been going down because of the economy and people switching to e-books," he recalled. "Then on March 8 I took a tumble and fell on my back. I like to joke that the bookstore was getting even with me." Hulbert plans to close the store for 60 days to make some upgrades, then reopen in July under a new name, Finally Found Books. "Bookstores are integral to any community," he said. "Having a bookstore within any community is important. Books are so important. This particular store is an icon within the community because it's been around so long."

 Here is a lovely quote from a poet to finish out national poetry month, April: Bulgarian poet Nikola Madzirov. Here’s him on translation, in an interview for the California Journal of Poetics: "There are many poems in which we can recognize ourselves without having written them, just as there are cities where we have imagined ourselves much earlier before we travel there. The translator is a silent deconstructor, a night guard of the bridges of difference and understanding."

World Book Night is a big hit in my home state of Iowa, which is no surprise, as Iowa's always been a state of readers: In Iowa, more than 100 people attended a WBN event outside the Clinton Public Library, and library director Amy Birtell told the Herald she "would like to start up book discussions based on the books dispersed." "We had people waiting for the 6 p.m. time," she added. "The Hunger Games was definitely a hot one."
"Tonight, all over this country, thousands of people are distributing books in celebration of World Book Night. We would like to thank everyone who volunteered as a giver here in our area, and we hope that you will share photos or stories to share about your experience. "Each day we take pleasure in suggesting great books to read to our customers. Today, thanks to the generous support of all of the authors and publishers of thirty fantastic books, many, many people will experience the joy of passing on a great book to someone else." --Next Chapter Bookshop , Mequon, Wis. (e-newsletter) 

"Sometime today, if you're lucky, somebody will shove a paperback book in your face and demand you take it home and read it. There are worse fates that could befall a person," the Riverfront Times in St. Louis noted, adding that staffers from the RFT would be participating, but "before that, we stopped by the Arch to check out the ReadMob, organized by the St. Louis Independent Bookstore Alliance. About 150 people, including a couple of busloads of students from Christ Community Lutheran School, gathered on the Arch steps at 12:30. The booksellers had marked off, with chalk, where everyone should plop their butts down to read so their bodies would spell out 'Read Books.' So many people showed up, the crowd had to form the letters twice, so everyone would get a chance." "It was so much better than I expected," said Jarek Steele of Left Bank Books, who, along with Nikki Furrer of Pudd'nhead Books directed the readers into position. "It was beautiful!" "It got really quiet," said Left Bank's Kris Kleindienst, Steele's co-owner. "Everybody was reading. I'd like to stay and read for a while." Check out the very cool ReadMob video here 

I really wish that book lovers would head to the Pacific Northwest for something better than those awful Twilight books, but I suppose as long as they're reading, I should not complain: Fans of Twilight head to the Pacific Northwest. Monroeville, Ala., is marking the 50th anniversary of the movie release of To Kill a Mockingbird with events for literary tourist. And devotees of The Help flock to Greenwood, Miss., a state that--as home to William Faulkner, Tennessee Williams, Richard Wright, Eudora Welty, Willie Morris and Shelby Foote--has become a "literary mecca" for tourists, Richard Howorth, owner of Square Books, Oxford, told Reuters. "Literary tourism's been going on in this town since before Faulkner won the Nobel Prize in 1950 because he created this mythical kingdom of Yoknapatawpha," Howorth said. "People were curious about it. They came from all over the world to see Faulkner's home."

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