Wednesday, February 06, 2013

A Brilliant Chabon Quote and a B&N Intervention

 This is a sensitive, heartfelt view of the world, from the brilliant mind of author Michael Chabon, whom I imagine knows something about the world, and the heart, being broken.

"The world is so big, so complicated, so replete with marvels and surprises that it takes years for most people to begin to notice that it is, also, irretrievably broken. We call this period of research “childhood.”

There follows a program of renewed inquiry, often involuntary, into the nature and effects of mortality, entropy, heartbreak, violence, failure, cowardice, duplicity, cruelty, and grief; the researcher learns their histories, and their bitter lessons, by heart. Along the way, he or she discovers that the world has been broken for as long as anyone can remember, and struggles to reconcile this fact with the ache of cosmic nostalgia that arises, from time to time, in the researcher’s heart: an intimation of vanished glory, of lost wholeness, a memory of the world unbroken. We call the moment at which this ache first arises “adolescence.” The feeling haunts people all their lives.

Everyone, sooner or later, gets a thorough schooling in brokenness. The question becomes: What to do with the pieces? Some people hunker down atop the local pile of ruins and make do, Bedouin tending their goats in the shade of shattered giants. Others set about breaking what remains of the world into bits ever smaller and more jagged, kicking through the rubble like kids running through piles of leaves. And some people, passing among the scattered pieces of that great overturned jigsaw puzzle, start to pick up a piece here, a piece there, with a vague yet irresistible notion that perhaps something might be done about putting the thing back together again"
Michael Chabon, from his article Wes Anderson’s Worlds in the NYT Review of books.

I'm very excited to see that "The Book Thief" which I read twice (something that doesn't happen often) is now being made into a movie!

Geoffrey Rush and Emily Watson will star in Fox 2000's movie adaptation
of Markus Zusak's bestselling novel The Book Thief
according to the Hollywood Reporter. The World War II drama will be
directed by Brian Percival (Downton Abbey).

 I agree with Ms Petri that it is time we put Barnes and Noble on alert that we are not going to take more bookstore closings! Seriously, I LOVE the Barnes and Noble in Issaquah. This is not to say that I don't adore Independent bookstores, because I do, and I spend as much money with Island Books and Finally Found Books as I can. But when it comes to getting books cheap, I often have to go to Barnes and to find the specific tome I am looking for, and have them ship it to me for free (I am a B&N Member, so I get free shipping).

"I think it is time we staged an intervention," Washington Post blogger
Alexandra Petri
wrote in an open letter to Barnes & Noble, which indicated in an
interview earlier this week that it will close more than 200 stores
next decade.

"I am saying this on behalf of all your friends: the Publishing
Industry, Book-Lovers Everywhere and--well, pretty much everyone but," Petri observed. "We gathered this weekend and decided it
was time we spoke up. We lost Borders. We cannot bear to lose you
too.... We say this with love. We want nothing more than for you to
succeed. And you are not doing so right now.... That is why we are
staging this intervention."

Petri had a question for B&N executives: "Why would you assume that if
there are fewer Barnes & Nobles, there will suddenly be more people
dashing to"

Her interventionist reply: "Physical bookstores still serve a vital role
as showcases for books. These are places where people encounter many
titles for the first time, titles we may decide to buy later, or may
just take with us to the restroom and linger over in blatant defiance of
the posted signs. We certainly would not know that Teen Paranormal
Romance was such a unified genre if you did not display it so
beautifully. Their ability to bring us into contact with hundreds of
things we did not know we wanted is not to be underestimated. And they
help even the online trade. Twenty-four percent of people who bought
books from online retailers did so after seeing them in real live
bookstores first, according to a 2011 survey. Yes, this is irksome if
you are the book retailer, but it's critical publicity for the book.
Lose the showrooms, and the Book suffers."

Hurrah for Book Cafe's in South Korea! I would love to open one here in Maple Valley, but that is a dream that will have to wait until I win the Lottery!

In Seoul, South Korea, book-themed cafes
into multi-purpose culture spots, replacing the fast-disappearing
bookstores and even attracting library-goers," the Korea Herald

"Before opening the cafe, we had to throw most of these books out," said
Jang Eu-ddeum, who runs Cafe Comma and used to work as a marketer for
Munhakdongne Publishing Group. "It cost too much to hire someone to take
care of them. It really was heartbreaking to see them taken away to be
destroyed.... When you work at a publishing company, you hardly get to
see the readers who actually enjoy the projects you created. But in this
cafe, the readers are physically here. It really is an enormous joy to
see your books being read by real people."

Changbi Publishers opened its own cafe in Seoul last year. "We really
strive to be something more than a cafe, or a bookstore, or a library,"
said Jeong Ji-yeon, the café's manager. "Many editors of Changbi
also work in the cafe, holding their editorial meetings here. We receive
visits from both our readers and writers. We think it's important to
have a physical place to display the books and interact with the people,
in spite of the increasing number of online bookstores. While e-books
are all about the content, books as hard copies have something more to

Here's a nifty video of the latest Steampunk book from Gail Carriger--I have already ordered it from the Science Fiction Book Club.

Gail Carriger (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers), the first in the
Finishing School YA series from the author of the Parasol Protectorate

 Though I am not a fan of her books, I agree with Ann Patchett on her quote about bookstores being more than a place to buy books, they really are community centers where people can get together and be social, talk about books, politics or anything else that needs discussing.
A little Super Bowl counter-programming on
Oprah Winfrey's OWN network show Super Soul Sunday
with special guest Ayana Mathis, whose novel The Twelve Tribes of Hattie
is the latest Oprah's Book Club 2.0 pick. a pair of video excerpts, author Ann Patchett praises
fellow University of Iowa Writers' Workshop alum Mathis and, as co-owner
of Parnassus Books, Nashville, Tenn.,explains why the rumored death of neighborhood bookstores is greatly

"A lot of people think that bricks and mortar bookstores are dead, that
books are dead, but Oprah and I and all of you know that that's fiction
because here we are, doing great
Patchett said, adding: "When there isn't a bookstore in your city,
there's an incredible void because what you realize is that the
bookstore isn't just the place you come to buy books. It's a community
center... I can't imagine a world without reading, without books, and I
can't imagine a world without bookstores."

 "Reality TV" For Bibliophiles!
There is, however, a network where books do not go to die. Every
weekend, C-SPAN 2's Book TV dedicates 48 hours of programming to author interviews, panel discussions, book fairs, book
signings, author readings and bookstore tours around the U.S. It may be
as close as the book world can, or would want to, get to reality TV.

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