Friday, December 30, 2011

Jude the Obscure, Thomas Hardy

"Jude went out, and, feeling more than ever his existence to be an undemanded one, he lay down upon his back on a heap of litter near the pig-sty. The fog had by this time become more translucent, and the position of the sun could be seen through it. He pulled his straw hat over his face, and peered through the interstices of the plaiting at the white brightness, vaguely reflecting. Growing up brought responsibilities, he found. Events did not rhyme quite as he had thought. Nature's logic was too horrid for him to care for. That mercy towards one set of creatures was cruelty towards another sickened his sense of harmony. As you got older, and felt yourself to be at the centre of your time, and not at a point in its circumference, as you had felt when you were little, you were seized with a sort of shuddering, he perceived. All around you there seemed to be something glaring, garish, rattling, and the noises and glares hit upon the little cell called your life, and shook it, and warped it."

Monday, December 19, 2011

Books I Read That I Love (2011)



All comics reading was omitted. Because otherwise this post would be a block of The Invisibles, The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec and The Unwritten. 2011 was a banner year! It's not even worth talking about the one book I hated but saw grimly to its end. I'll never tell.

What did you read?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories, Volume I

Okay, I was very, very excited for this. hitRECord is a collaborative production company fronted by Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Picture a community of artists submitting pictures or words or anything and then adding to each others' contributions, remixing and building up, up, up toward the sky. Conceptually, it is basically unbridled enthusiasm married to a serious work ethic.

First, I really love that there is a supportive, inclusive community of people working together to make art. Open-source art, yes. Second, I love that everybody gets paid. Profits are split 50-50 between contributors and hitRECord. Third, the role of curator-director that is filled by Gordon-Levitt is a huge part of what I think makes it successful. The encouragement! He's extremely, "Go team!" I like to think of it as a collective of talented snails that have been coaxed out of their hiding shells to comic jam. There's just a generosity of spirit here that is important. And contagious.

It's a beautiful, hand-sized treasure. Because that is what collaboration looks like! My favorites in this collection are flickering stars in old pickling jars (pictured below), the winter owls keeping trees warm and the very last one, which is especially tiny and tender. The smallest story! It makes an excellent present and an even better call to arms. Join the club! After all, it's part of a three-book series, so there are at least two more volumes to work on/look forward to. Let's get to it.

Monday, December 12, 2011

A controversy of commentary.

DIESEL via Shelf Awareness
What's the unit of measure for internet commentary again? A controversy?

There's been one over Amazon and its Price Check program. The outrage sustained itself through all of last week. Online, that's basically a year. Every publisher and bookstore spoke out against it,  in support of small business: ABA CEO Oren Teicher's open letter is a concise example. While books were excluded from the promotion, the conceit of the app (to encourage the use of physical stores as showrooms) hit a raw nerve for those in the book business. Amazon's mere existence has already created a growing population of customer who feel no compunction over using stores and staff for recommendations and research only to leave and buy online. Amazon's Price Check is an attempt to further normalize that bad behavior. What do you think?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Holiday Recommendations

First of the season! 

A customer wanted starter O'Hara, to which I said "This!" Then, they asked if it would make an excellent gift. I vehemently said, "Yes!" and likely scared them. (Natalie, if you're reading this: I didn't mean to box your hat off in excitement.) Still! If somebody got this book for me, I would be most pleased with our acquaintance.

Do you need recommendations? There's also free giftwrap! We're helpful year-round but try to come even more in handy this month.  Come in!