Friday, January 18, 2008

Weekend Links
(updated at random until Sunday at midnight)

The Perfume Shrine interviews NYTimes perfume critic/The Emperor of Scent and The Perfect Scent author Chandler Burr. I'll admit, I don't know doo-doo about perfumes (the closest I come to wearing one is the 'Mountain Rush' scent of my anti-perspirant), but I've gotta tell you, this is one interesting and informative back and forth. It made me start to look at the creation of perfume as an artform equal to writing, painting or film. (It also made me switch deodorants.) Part 1, Part 2

Jim Murdoch has a good piece up on his blog about 'close reading.' It's brief, but it mines a lot of territory. It starts with Oprah, moves on to Nabokov, touches down upon Finnegans Wake, name drops, ending at last with a poem about reading and self-examination. At the very least, it's worth a quick skim.

Sunday comics! Sunday comics!
Well, comics-related links, anyhow.
Over at, there's a mini-memoir penned by one of the film's street scene extras. He's effusive to the point of being unreliable, but at least he doesn't refer to himself as a "background player."

Qubecor, Canada's premier printer of American made comics, is having some serious financial problems. Will they file for bankruptcy, close up shop, or receive a large cash loan from a mysterious Gotham benefactor? French-speaking fans of costumed crusaders want to know.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

How Does A Bookstore Blog Bounce Back After Posting A Picture-less Period Piece With Extremely Limited Appeal?

With a post about porn, naturally.
Via "Even in the porn industry, Black folks get the short end of the stick. Okay, that was corny. But author and journalist Lawrence Ross decided to explore the reality of black folks working in the adult entertainment world in his new book Money Shot: Wild Days And Lonely Nights Inside The Black Porn Industry.
Ross, who is also the author of The Divine Nine: The History Of African-American Fraternities And Sororities, follows a year in the life of porn star Lexington Steele to provide a narrative framework for the book. Now I haven't seen Mr. Steele in action, but apparently, his eleven-inch penis has earned him the right to request $75,000 per movie.
Talk about using what you got.
Ross also conducted hundreds of interviews with college professors, industry insiders, and other porn stars to provide a first-hand look at a world that many of us don't know much about. Money Shot uncovers sexual and racial politics--including racism, and the hypersexual portrayal of Black women, discusses how AIDS plays a role, and looks at the close ties between the porn industry and the corporate hip-hop world."
(For the full article, click here.)

Spotlight On: Legendary Booksellers

James Lackington
Via blog.seattlepi: "James Lackington was the most successful bookseller of the 18th century.
His legendary shop at Finsbury Square in London was named 'The Temple of the Muses' and when the flag was raised on the huge dome outside it meant Lackington was inside and ready to do business. Lackington revolutionized the book trade by becoming the first bookseller to refuse to sell books on credit. His cash only approach allowed him to offer books less expensively. Lackington also refused to destroy or discard remaindered books and instead sold them at bargain prices for Lackington firmly believed 'that books were the key to knowledge, reason and happiness and that everyone, no matter their economic background, social class or gender, had the right to access books at cheap prices.'"
(For the full article, click here.)

Lawrence Ferlinghetti
Via: "Born in New York, Lawrence Ferlinghetti earned a doctoral degree in poetry at the Sorbonne in Paris with a dissertation entitled 'The City as Symbol in Modern Poetry: In Search of a Metropolitan Tradition'. In fact he was about to become part of a metropolitan tradition himself, because after leaving Paris he moved to San Francisco, which was about to discover the Beat Generation. Ferlinghetti and Peter Martin started a magazine there called 'City Lights,' named after the Charlie Chaplin movie. He and Martin established their offices on the second floor of a building on Broadway and Columbus in North Beach. They decided to open a bookstore on the floor below as a side venture, naming it after the magazine. The City Lights Bookstore became one of the most famous bookstores in the world, and still stands proudly in its original location. Doing double-time as a businessman and a poet, he began publishing original books by himself and others under the City Lights name, most notably the 'Pocket Poets Series.' The idea of Pocket Poets was to make poetry books easily affordable, and the small attractive paperback volumes are still a common sight today. Ferlinghetti published Allen Ginsberg's 'Howl' as Pocket Poets Number Four, and was tried on obscenity charges for this. He was declared innocent, a landmark victory for free speech."
(For the full article, click here.)

Born sometime in the last century, you grew up loving books and naively thought that working as a bookseller wouldn't really be like working at all. After all, you'd be surrounded by that which you love most and interacting with folks with a similar passion -- getting paid would just be the icing on the cake! Silly you. This is the same mistake that nymphomaniacs make when they get jobs in the glory hole business. How long did it take you to realize that most of your customers would not be deeply devoted lovers of literature, but best seller/new release whores and self-published writers asking you to buy their books? Still, you pressed on. You dreamed of the day when you would open your own bookstore, pushing aside common sense and an economy that whispered warnings to the contrary. When the local indie you worked at went bankrupt, you didn't despair. You simply crossed the street and filled out an application at the Borders/Barnes & Noble that put them out of business. You weren't being a traitor. Not exactly. You always wanted to work in a bookstore and this was the only option available. So you suffered through annoying add-on sales, unreasonable seasonal sales goals, and illogical corporate mandates, all the while trying to convince yourself that a 10% discount made it all worthwhile. Now you've got frown lines, grey hairs (in your eyebrows!), and your friends and family are afraid to ask you how your day went, lest they be treated to the same Madlibs-variety tirade* that they've heard from you a hundred times before. But hey -- you're bookselling! In a bookstore! Just like you'd always dreamed!

*"I had this (curse word ending in 'ing') customer today who called me an (curse word, singular) when I told them that (obscure book from a college press) has been out of print for (number over ten) years. Then , when I told them I could try and order them a used copy, they told me they'd get it on (online bookselling bohemoth)."

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Coming Soon: The Boston Book Party

It would seem that we have more than just a common language separating us from the Brits. We also have a staggeringly different view of what constitutes an interesting read. Seriously, would any US publisher have paid a million dollars for a Roger Moore bio? And then there's today's headlines about George Michael being signed to what HarperCollins UK refers to as "one of the biggest book deals ever." Wtf? Don't be surprised to find the first stateside shipments of these books bobbing about in Boston Harbor like so much English Breakfast tea.

Book-To-Film News, In Brief

Via the GuardianUK: "The Afghan-set drama The Kite Runner has been banned in its homeland after government officials claimed it could incite violence." In related news, the state of Vermont has also banned the film, citing that they already have enough sap.

Also via the GuardianUK : "Charlize Theron will co-star alongside ViggoMortensen in The Road, an adaptation of the apocalyptic 2006 novel by Cormac McCarthy. (The film will be) directed by Australian film-maker John Hillcoat (The Proposition)." wisecracks to be made here. McCarthy's book was solid, The Proposition was great, and I'm a big fan of Theron's work in the film version of The Cider House Rules.

Wow, something that's not via the GuardianUK: A new ad for P.T. Anderson's There Will Be Blood, loosely based on Upton Sinclair's Oil!
(Note: The joke only works after you've seen the film.)

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Recommended Viewing:
Christopher Hitchens on Bill Maher

Book News, In Brief

This past December, poet Peppino Marotto was shot and killed near his home in Sardinia. Then, on Jan. 4th, the two men suspected of the murder were killed...vendetta-style. Finally, a fan gives back. (Initial heads up: GuardianUK.)

For those of you who can't stomach reading Andrew Morton's Tom Cruise: An Unauthorized Biography in its entirety,'s Juliet Lapidos lists all of the good parts -- chapter by chapter, controversy by controversy.

A sneak peek at Tom Robbins' upcoming kids' book, B is for Beer can be found here. Apparently, the book was an inspired by a cartoon in The New Yorker with the caption, "I doubt that a children's book about beer would sell." Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollins, will publish the new novel this fall.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Brief Glimpse:
Julie Doucet's 365 Days

After years of sketching scathing screeds detailing her life with layabout lotharios and messy menstruations, Julie Doucet has released an even more personal product: 365 Days, a daily journal-cum-collection of quickie art. Strewn below are two examples. Click here for more.

Book News, In Brief

According to The Prince George Citizen, the process of adapting a book to film is "a kind of demolition job." Click their link (above) to hear the demolition crews behind the recent adaptations of The Kite Runner, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly and Atonement discuss their destructive craft.

Via The Canadian government is cracking down on the hateful diatribes of right wing extremists. Sounds good, right? Wrong! The real issue here isn't your liberal guilt and NPR-ispired ideals. It's free-motherf**king-speech. "For those unable to think past the (well-deserved) animosity one has for the specific targets in question here, all one needs to do instead is imagine these proceedings directed at opinions and groups that one likes."

This weekend's papers were brimming with articles encouraging self-publishing. Read them here, be inspired, but please -- PUH-LEEZE -- do not then bring a box of your print-on-demand tomes round to our store, trying to unload them en masse. Truth be told, it's the rare self-published work that actually sells.
(Editor's note to you, our faithful reader/writer: This post was in no way referring to your book. We were -- of course -- talking about everyone else's. Your book is going to be great. A real success. Poorly edited, but totally profound. We promise.)