Friday, September 30, 2011

The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck

"For man, unlike any other thing organic or inorganic in the universe, grows beyond his work, walks up the stairs of his concepts, emerges ahead of his accomplishments. This you may say of man—when theories change and crash, when schools, philosophies, when narrow dark alleys of thought, national, religious, economic, grow and disintegrate, man reaches, stumbles forward, painfully, mistakenly sometimes. Having stepped forward, he may slip back, but only half a step, never the full step back. This you may say and know it and know it. This you may know when the bombs plummet out of the black planes on the market place, when prisoners are stuck like pigs, when the crushed bodies drain filthily in the dust. You may know it in this way. If the step were not being taken, if the stumbling-forward ache were not alive, the bombs would not fall, the throats would not be cut. Fear the time when the bombs stop falling while the bombers live—for every bomb is proof that the spirit has not died. And fear the time when the strikes stop while the great owners live—for every little beaten strike is proof that the step is being taken. And this you can know—fear the time when Manself will not suffer and die for a concept, for this one quality is the foundation of Manself, and this one quality is man, distinctive in the universe."

Read Like a Gilmore Girl, Part 4

On to another season! Of course this would be when the Beats come in and ruin everything. Like a giant flashing warning sign, Jess steals Rory's copy of Howl, pencils notes in the liner and hands it back like he's just executed a really neat trick on the BMX bike of courtship. You know what would have been really awesome? If he had stolen Howl and replaced it with a copy of Blake's The Marriage of Heaven and Hell. There's the guy to throw Dean over for. Maybe that's just me.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Read Like a Gilmore Girl, Part 2

The Second Sex, Simone de Beauvoir
Mistress of Mellyn, Victoria Holt
On her last day at Stars Hollow High, Rory clears out her locker and drops part of a pile of books on the floor. Most visibly, The Second Sex. However! She also packs up Mistress of Mellyn, which is hilarious. Kind of like that poster.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Digital Dead Sea Scrolls

Capture via Digital Dead Sea Scrolls
Why not take a closer look at the Dead Sea Scrolls? The Israel Museum, in partnership with Google, have digitized the manuscripts and made them available online. 

These are searchable, fast-loading, high-resolution images, accompanied by short explanatory videos and background information on the texts and their history.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Read Like a Gilmore Girl

Amy Sherman-Palladino wrote a hyper-literate show; you could easily be reading forever. Let's take it one book at a time and start here.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Kate Beaton Interview

The comic you wrote about the three Brontë sisters seems to have really struck a nerve. 
That comic got a huge response. It's in the window of a bookstore now.

Finally Anne gets a little credit for commonsense!
Anne's books are totally different from Emily's and Charlotte's. Anne's characters are horrified by what they see, while Jane Eyre is more like, "Well, I'll get used to this guy with his weird, wife-in-the-attic shenanigans. I love him!" People say that "Wuthering Heights" is a romance. It's not. It's a book about horrible people. It's more of a horror story than anything else.

Read the whole glorious thing at Salon: How to Make History, Jane Eyre and Superheroes Funny.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Edible Brooklyn: The Cookbook, Rachel Wharton

Edible Brooklyn is part guidebook, part cookbook, all beautiful book. Handsomely put together, it collects recipes from a host of Brooklyn bakers, winemakers, butchers, chefs, food writers and more. Included are techniques, tips and tricks to preparation as well as suggestions on tracking down a local source for ingredients.

And the photographs! You can press your face to the page of cast-iron chicken with bacon and sauerkraut (courtesy of The Brooklyn Kitchen) or drown your eyes in an egg cream (care of H. Fox & Co., makers of U-bet chocolate syrup). The recipes can trend toward restaurant showpiece but there's still plenty here to try for the ambitious home chef.

Edible Brooklyn will be available on October 4th, 2011.

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Jungle, Upton Sinclair

The peculiar bitterness of all this was that Jurgis saw so plainly the meaning of it. In the beginning he had been fresh and strong, and he had gotten a job the first day; but now he was second-hand, a damaged article, so to speak, and they did not want him. They had got the best of him - they had worn him out, with their speeding-up and their carelessness, and now they had thrown him away! And Jurgis would make the acquaintance of others of these unemployed men and find that they had all had the same experience. There were some, of course, who had wandered in from other places, who had been ground up in other mills; there were others who were out from their own fault - some, for instance, who had not been able to stand the awful grind without drink. The vast majority, however, were simply the worn-out parts of the great merciless packing machine; they had toiled there, and kept up with the pace, some of them for ten or twenty years, until finally the time had come when they could not keep up with it any more. Some had been frankly told that they were too old, that a sprier man was needed; others had given occasion, by some act of carelessness or incompetence; with most, however, the occasion had been the same as with Jurgis. They had been overworked and underfed so long, and finally some disease had laid them on their backs; or they had cut themselves, and had blood poisoning, or met with some other accident. When a man came back after that, he would get his place back only by the courtesy of the boss. To this there was no exception, save when the accident was one for which the firm was liable; in that case they would send a slippery lawyer to see him, first to try to get him to sign away his claims, but if he was too smart for that, to promise him that he and his should always be provided with work. This promise they would keep, strictly and to the letter - for two years. Two years was the "statute of limitations," and after that the victim could not sue.

What happened to a man after any of these things, all depended upon the circumstances. If he were of the highly skilled workers, he would probably have enough saved up to tide him over. The best paid men, the "splitters," made fifty cents an hour, which would be five or six dollars a day in the rush seasons, and one or two in the dullest. A man could live and save on that; but then there were only half a dozen splitters in each place, and one of them that Jurgis knew had a family of twenty-two children, all hoping to grow up to be splitters like their father. For an unskilled man, who made ten dollars a week in the rush seasons and five in the dull, it all depended upon his age and the number he had dependent on him. An unmarried man could save, if he did not drink, and if he was absolutely selfish - that is, if he paid no heed to the demands of his old parents, or of his little brothers and sisters, or of any other relatives he might have, as well as of the members of his union, and his chums, and the people who might be starving to death next door.

Monday, September 12, 2011

On efficiency in bookselling, in life.

"Last winter in the depths of the holiday season, I came home from work every night exhausted, nervous, overwhelmed, pulled the covers up over my head. Stayed late and let myself feel virtuous about it, instead of confronting my forgetfulness and the fact that I couldn’t get things done on time."

This. Click to read the first of five posts in Bookavore's series How I Got Organized

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Unlikely Friendships, Jennifer S. Holland


We all died a little inside when this came in. The receiving at our store is done by ghosts now.

It's a collection of stories and pictures from National Geographic magazine writer Jennifer Holland about friendships between species. And it will destroy you. Seriously, I dare you to read about the Duckling and the Kookaburra on the clock and not melt into your workstation. Or the Rottweiler and the Wolf Pup! It's the print equivalent of this video: