Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A Trip to Powell's City of Books in Portland, plus Tons of Tidbits

Just this past weekend, my husband, son and I drove to Portland, Oregon for my annual pilgrimage to get books, and for my husband to retrieve his older brothers ashes, police report and death certificate.
I managed to take with me a large box of books and a bag of books for store credit, and I got over $110 to try and get my lengthy wish list fulfilled. I got all but one of the books, and was thrilled to get a package from the Science Fiction Book Club yesterday when we got home, so that adds three books to my towering stack of wonderful reading. I also got a "7 Year Pen" that purports to not run out of ink, guarenteed, for the next 7 years. Considering how much writing I do by hand, I plan on putting this white, bespeck-ed beauty to the test, ASAP.
Meanwhile, RIP Maeve Binchy, the lovely Irish author of "Circle of Friends" and dozens of other great books, who died on Sunday. She was 72.
Here's a ton of tidbits from Shelf Awareness that I've been saving:
"Without libraries, we'd be dumb,"http://www.shelf-awareness.com/ct/uz3642037Biz13964715
sang Daniel Handler and Maira Kalman (co-authors of Why We Broke Up) in
their ode to libraries, which they performed during the American Library
Association's convention last month.

A perfect introduction to this brief tour of libraries that range from
large to small, and are sometimes located in unlikely spaces:
Searching for "libraries that were born from unused and abandoned
structures, from the large (drill halls and supermarkets) to the small
(phone booths and shipping containers)," Flavorwire highlighted "10
wonderful libraries repurposed from unused structures

In Bolton, Vt., the "prettily painted boxes on posts
look like oversized birdhouses--except they have glass doors that allow
passersby to see they are filled with books." The Burlington Free Press
noted that the project is an outgrowth of the Little Free Library
http://www.shelf-awareness.com/ct/uz3642037Biz13964718 movement that started in Wisconsin.

Bookyard, a vineyard-turned-outdoor-library
by Italian artist Massimo Bartolini in Ghent, Belgium, was also
showcased by Flavorwire.

I completely understand Robert Gray's lament here:
Robert Gray: Open Endings--The Art of the Unfinished Read
We're finished! I know we had fewer than a hundred pages remaining until
The End, but I can't go on like this. You were a fine book, with fully
developed major characters, engaging minor ones, a setting that
enveloped me in a deeply resonant sense of place and a plot that
unfolded dramatically. It's not you; it's me.

After a couple of decades in the book trade, I've become resigned to the
unfortunate reality that I often "bail out" of books--even those I'm
enjoying--for reasons rational and irrational. Maybe I lose a little
reader's momentum in the early chapters, or a potentially more
intriguing book comes along to tempt me; maybe the protagonist says
something that ticks me off or my to-be-read pile nags me into looking
for any excuse to head for the exit at intermission. Buffet reading was
part of the job description when I was a bookseller. It was a survival
tool. And yes, sometimes I even told a customer "I'm reading it" when I
had bailed long before.

An "unfinished" book is a different thing altogether because a much more
substantial commitment is required to reach the unfinishing point. If
bailing is a rational decision, unfinishing is subconscious and often

"There are lots of books I've never finished," Roddy Doyle
http://www.shelf-awareness.com/ct/uz3642037Biz13964756 has said. "But there's only
very few I've said I'm never going to finish, and a pile of books I'm
going to get around to finishing."

Interesting that they've applied a movie review format for book reviews here. I certainly wish some of the review services that I write for would apply this: http://www.mediabistro.com/galleycat/idreambooks-applies-rotten-tomatoes-model-to-book-reviews_b54320

There are some awesome bookstores in America (and elsewhere)...take a look!
'10 Truly Unique Bookstores in America'
"Bookstores outside the mainstream give cities across America (and the
world!) a dose of local spice and build supportive communities of
like-minded individuals," observed the OnlineDegreet.net blog in
highlighting "10 Truly Unique Bookstores in America
The blog also noted that while "many of them do carry popular literature
from major publishers, their true calling lay with offering a haven for
hobbyists, professionals and fans from oft-ignored or overlooked
markets. And the United States is certainly better off because of it."

Another great idea:
From a delightful, thoughtful post on the Rumpus called "Bartending,
Booktending: Three Years at Red Hill Books
in which Michael Berger looks back on his three years working at the San
Francisco bookstore.

"Under most circumstances it would be considered rude to eavesdrop, a
rent in the fabric of urban etiquette in which strangers remain
strangers. But in a bookstore, the books themselves become
interlocutors. So does the bookseller, who becomes a hub of all possible
inter-stranger conversations because he or she is the one person who
people talk to first. The bookseller is a stranger you're encouraged to
talk to; then other people can overhear what you're talking about and
are invited to join in. In some sense, the bookseller can orchestrate an
unlimited amount of enriching encounters between strangers and between
strangers and herself. The purpose is to create camaraderie, which is
conducive to good business and good citizenship. And it makes the hours
more pleasant which is good for everyone.

"[One] time, quite miraculously, it turned out that three people in the
store who did not know each other at all had all lived at one time in
Newton, Massachusetts. This brought them together round my counter in a
swirl of laughter, awe and reminiscences. Street names and markets and
museums I had no clue about were savored. They all ended up buying
something too."

There has been a lot of buzz about this movie flying around the internet, and I plan on going to see it, if for no other reason than it looks fascinating, and yes, the extra-long trailer is worth the time you spend watching it:
Cloud Atlas: Extended Trailer a Big Draw for Book Sales
"And, boy, what a trailer," exclaimed Indiewire as it showcased a
six-minute trailer http://www.shelf-awareness.com/ct/uz3642037Biz14060547
for Cloud Atlas http://www.shelf-awareness.com/ct/uz3642037Biz14060548,
the adaptation of David Mitchell's novel by Lana Wachowski, Tom Tykwer
and Andy Wachowski. The film, which will make its world premiere at the
Toronto International Film Festival, stars Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim
Sturgess, Ben Whishaw, Jim Broadbent, Hugh Grant, Bae Doona, David
Gyasi, Susan Sarandon, Keith David, James D'Arcy and Hugo Weaving. The
movie will be released here October 26.

"As big fans of the book, we've wondered for some time if the filmmakers
would be able to come anywhere close to its material, but we have to
confess that this is pretty stunning, for the most part," Indiewire
noted. "The production values look incredibly high, the scope and
ambition and variety is like nothing else we've seen in a long time, and
the cast, aided by some excellent make-up, look to be rising to the

In addition to the trailer, 20 new images
from the movie, as well as a "motion poster," have been released,
"giving us a closer look at many of the cast members in their various
multiple roles," Indiewire wrote.

Being the HUGE fan of Glee that I am, I couldn't resist posting this--go Chris!
Fans of Chris Colfer packed the Joseph-Beth Booksellers store in
Cincinnati, Ohio, on Sunday, where the Glee actor signed copies of his
first novel, The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell (Little, Brown Books
for Young Readers).

The store sold more than 800 copies of the book
according to the Community Press. "We would have sold even more if Chris
didn't have a plane to catch," Michael Link, Joseph-Beth's publisher
relations and events manager, said. Joseph-Beth celebrated Colfer's
presence in other ways: on Sunday, the store's Bronte cafe featured
Glee-inspired food, including slushies, a "Breadsticks Special,"
Mercedes's chili cheese tots and My Happy Happy Unicorn.

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