Saturday, May 16, 2009

Hey! We have a blog!

I should write that on my mirror, so I'm reminded every morning.  Sorry there's been such a space between posts- there have been some issues with emails reception rates at the store, we're working on getting our new website organized, and I also teach part-time and have been recognizing and addressing all the mistakes my students and myself have made over the course of the semester!  That grading game continues for another week, so this is just a quick post to suggest other fine literary-type blogs to hold your attention in the interim (and beyond)!

In no particular order-
First: Perfect Duluth Day is a great site for knowing what's happening in the Twin Ports - reflections on movies, concerts, webvideos, news articles, etc.  Eclectic with a very local spirit.

Second: Magers & Quinn down in the cities has a great blog run by my friend and fellow bookseller, David E.  Book news, links and info on their events and deals.  Great read all-around and I'd qualify it as rather vital if you're living in or headed down to the Cities.

Third: Bookavore a very cool bookseller now managing a store in Brooklyn.  Great insights, fantastic suggestions and, in the last piece, a great recipe.

Fourth: The Word Hoarder, Rich is another bookseller out east, and has great posts on the book industry from a practical, bookselling position.  Especially if you're interested in the drama surrounding the digital books.  ALSO, he has compiled a great collection of forthcoming books.  Check them out.

Fifth: Vromans a great bookstore on the other coast.  Again, a great space for insight into the state of the publishing/bookselling industry.  If you're ever in Cali, try to make a visit to their store.

And our very own friend, Author, Andrew Slade keeps us up to date on developments and news up and down the North Shore.  He and his poodle are out on the trails often and he writes to tell how they are doing.  His books are available at our store!  If you're interested in the Northland Outdoors, I highly suggest checking his blog often.

What other Northern MN/WI blogs do you read?  How do you keep the pulse of the local community?  Where do you go for book news/review/and insights?  Let us know!  

I'll be back in a week.  Hopefully some of my colleagues here at the store will chime in with a review or two.  If not, I have a lot on deck myself!

Peace Love and Books!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Not sayin'... just sayin'....

The Kindle II strikes me as the kid in class who gets all the attention- love or hate, people just can't look away. As soon as you do, Bezos starts in with the spitballs and it starts all over again. So, it pains me slightly to feed the Kindle fire (not an actual fire, although the name is evocative; I do not condone burning books or e-readers of any kind!), but there is one thread I can't resist pulling on a bit more.

It's the notion that there exists a widespread strain of book-snobbery, judging people by their covers... of the books they're reading. I was not aware of this particular epidemic, but there have been several articles on the phenomena. I personally and very interested (as a bookseller, teacher, writer & busy-body) in what people are reading, and it's hard to separate that interest from some snap assessments, but I'd never thought of it as judging. Open apology to all those who have felt judged by their book covers as I walked by and peered a little too long.

Kindle will save us from both the judging eyes and the ego-maniacal show-offs because there is no more cover to see. Pulps, bestsellers, self-help, newspapers, classics - all under that plastic/metallic sheen. The great literary equalizer... except... PEOPLE WILL SEE YOU READING ON A KINDLE!!!

Nothing against the Kindle, but let me offer up an analogy: I love bikes of all types, road, racing, mountain, retro, kids, trick... each one is very enjoyable and specifically suited to different tastes and activities, and each one carries some reputation. I may be judged as being healthy, being broke, being a pretentious eco-warrior of some sort. I may take on all the fury originally directed at bikers who were not safe or considerate on the road. So, to avoid the whole hullabaloo, I buy a nice, shiny Hummer. It's sleek and attractive and it can hold all of my bikes! I can take my bikes anywhere now! Heck, if I see a bike I like, I can have it in my Hummer in a matter of seconds (with a good lock cutter). Gone are the days of being judged and feeling awkward for being so pretentious with my bikes, now that my Hummer is with me everywhere I go!

Again, nothing against the Kindle or the Hummer... well, nothing too much against either of them... but it seems to me that as far as judging people goes, you'd be jumping out of the pan straight into the fire. E-readers (the kindle is not the only one on the market - iphone has app and the sony e-reader is cheaper and very comparable) definitely have a lot of advantages and they are a blessing to people who are by trade or nature very avid readers. But, if you want to avoid prying eyes, invest in an affordable book tote cover (quilted with good designs; handles and book mark built in). Or, hide your kindle in a bestselling hardcover.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Buy Indie Day!

There’s a ton going on this weekend - the full force of Homegrown; One Book, One Community reading at LSC 7:30 Michael Perry, Duluth Poet Laureate reading at the Green Room Saturday at 3:30pm; the final weekend of Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse. It seems then especially fitting that it’s also Buy Indie Day.

Started by the American Booksellers Association, it naturally focuses on Independent Bookstores, but embodies local spirit. Wherever you find yourselves today, think of how you’re supporting the unique community! Listen to local musicians, watch local theatre, buy from local food vendors, artists, craftsmen, and booksellers! Just stop by to let them know that you’re glad they’re here and contributing to the maintenance of Duluth’s unique character.

Happy Indie Day, Duluth!