Friday, October 26, 2012

Some Books I've Been Reading Lately

Today marks my last day with Shakespeare & Co. Thank you to everyone who made working here a pleasure! Here is one last list before I go.

2012 belonged to Philip K. Dick and Patricia Highsmith, specifically Ubik and The Price of Salt. I was deeply infatuated with both books. An honorable mention to "The Moon Moth" which was a sterling recommendation and has made me want to read all Jack Vance ever. The anthology I read the story in is out of print but look around, it's surely out there.

Happy reading, folks!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Nesting Books

The entirety of Hamlet, on a bookmark. That your bookmark may actually be a smaller book.

Source: Wired via

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Room 101

Photo Source: Room 101 Immortalised in Plaster
Truly, I appreciate that Room 101 has its own Wikipedia entry. Today's lesson!

Room 101 is a place introduced in the novel Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell. It is a torture chamber in the Ministry of Love in which the Party attempts to subject a prisoner to his or her own worst nightmare, fear or phobia.
You asked me once, what was in Room 101. I told you that you knew the answer already. Everyone knows it. The thing that is in Room 101 is the worst thing in the world.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Julie Otsuka & Anselm Berrigan: Signing & Discussion

Wednesday, October 17th
Barker Room, 2315 Boylan
Brooklyn College
6pm - 7:30pm

Julie Otsuka won the American Library Association's Alex Award in 2003 for When the Emperor was Divine, and the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction in 2011 for The Buddha in the Attic which was not only a New York Times and San Francisco Chronicle bestseller but also placed as a National Book Award and Los Angeles Times Book Prize finalist. Otsuka has also received many notable awards such as the Guggenheim Fellowship and an Arts and Letters Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Her fiction has been published in Granta and Harper’s and read aloud on PRI’s “Selected Shorts” and BBC Radio 4’s “Book at Bedtime.”
Anselm Berrigan earned a BA from SUNY Buffalo and an MFA from Brooklyn College. His collections of poetry include Integrity & Dramatic Life (1999), Zero Star Hotel (2002), Some Notes on My Programming (2006), and Free Cell (2009). He co-edited The Collected Poems of Ted Berrigan (2005) with Alice Notley and Edmund Berrigan and was the recipient of a 2007 poetry fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts. He directed the Poetry Project at St. Mark’s Church from 2003 to 2007 and is co-chair of the graduate writing program at Bard College. 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

A Conversation on the State of the Economy with Joseph Stiglitz & Paul Krugman

Join us for the second annual Fashion and Finance Forum featuring Nobel Prize-winning economists Joseph Stiglitz and Paul Krugman. They will discuss the consequences of increasing accumulated wealth at the very top of society, and the role and size of government spending in a depressed economic climate.

October 23, 2012, 7 PM
Morris W. and Fannie B. Haft Auditorium
Fashion Institute of Technology
Seventh Avenue at 27th Street, New York City
RSVP: Online registration opens October 4, 2012

Tickets are $50 ($15 for FIT alumni) and include hardcover copies of the books The Price of Inequality by Joseph Stiglitz and End This Depression Now by Paul Krugman. Moderated by Robert Johnson , executive director of the Institute for New Economic Thinking
Joseph Stiglitz is a professor of economics at Columbia University. Stiglitz is the former senior vice president and chief economist of the World Bank. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences in 2001.
Paul Krugman is a professor of economics at Princeton University and an op-ed columnist for The New York Times. Krugman has written over 20 books and more than 750 columns on economic and political issues for the Times. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences in 2008.

The program is presented in partnership with the Institute for New Economic Thinking.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Presented without comment.

Do you think books by men and women on similar topics are received differently?
Well, over there [Eugenides points to his publisher's book shelf] I see “NW” by Zadie Smith, and I think that Zadie Smith is treated exactly like one of the literary male authors that had been brought into this category. It seems to me that there’s a difference between the kinds of books that Jonathan Franzen writes and Jodi Picoult writes — so it’s not surprising to me that they’re treated differently in terms of review coverage or literary coverage. I don’t think that’s based on gender.
I think right now probably the writer that every writer loves the most is Alice Munro. I teach with Joyce Carol Oates; I don’t think she suffers from this. To me, it’s a question of actual category writing. It was kind of a genre novel bumping up against a literary novel. I think those are actually different things. I don’t think it had to do with male or female.
Would “The Marriage Plot” have had a different cover if it was written by a woman? Something pink or frilly or less serious?
As a male you can never know and you’re not supposed to talk about it. But I have lots of female literary novelists who I don’t think would agree. I’m friendly with Meg Wolitzer and she was a big fan of “The Marriage Plot,” and she wrote something about this, and especially about the treatments of the covers. I wondered about that, if that might be true, if women get treated differently in the way that their covers are marketed. You know, it’s possible.
To me, it was a little bit … I didn’t really know why Jodi Picoult is complaining. She’s a huge best-seller and everyone reads her books, and she doesn’t seem starved for attention, in my mind — so I was surprised that she would be the one belly-aching. There’s plenty of extremely worthy novelists who are getting very little attention. I think they have more right to complain. And it usually has nothing to do with their gender, but just the marketplace.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Zadie Smith Guide to NW

This is amazing. Penguin features an interactive tour through the real-world locations of NW, narrated by Zadie Smith. Go forth and explore!

Source: Ryan Chapman

Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Castle of Otranto

Generally regarded as the first Gothic novel, The Castle of Otranto is also completely absurd. Basically? It's the book equivalent of a hysterical stranger in a velvet suit hurriedly whispering to you from behind a curtain before pushing you down an unending set of stone stairs. Moving portraits! Giant helmets! Eternal melancholy! Let's marry each other's daughters! 

Thoroughly bizarre and recommended. It's also exceedingly worth reading about. Horace Walpole initially claimed credit as translator instead of author, claiming the story had been translated "from the Original Italian of Onuphirio Muralto."


Friday, September 7, 2012

After Dark, Haruki Murakami

Purchase online here.
"In this world, there are things you can only do alone, and things you can only do with somebody else. It’s important to combine the two in just the right amount."

From an interview with Murakami at Random House:

All of your characters, both in this book and in previous novels, display a really interesting appreciation for jazz, classical, and rock music. What musical pieces would you include on a Murakami playlist of sorts that would represent the range of music in your books?
Music is an indispensable part of my life. Whenever I write a novel, music just sort of naturally slips in (much like cats do, I suppose.) When I was writing my newest novel, After Dark, the melody of Curtis Fuller's "Five Spot After Dark" kept running through my head. Music always stimulates my imagination. When I'm writing I usually have some Baroque music on low in the background chamber music by Bach, Telemann, and the like.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Supergods, Grant Morrison

Part memoir, part history of comics, Supergods is my book of the year. Technically, it's the book of last year though I'll give it this year as well because it's that good. And even with a solid four months left on the calendar, I am calling it. There's a palpable energy here, a thoroughly present and informed enthusiasm that builds to a kind of spiritual expansion by book's end. Morrison starts at the beginning, the dawn of comics. The Golden Age, the Silver Age, through fandom and career, he explains everything along the way and this is important. As inside(r) as it gets, reader, you are never at a loss or confused. This is about inclusion, drawing you in, telling you what you need to know and making you see the magic picture. Morrison puts the arm of his brain around you!

Beyond philosophy, mythology and the more abstracted realm of discussion, there is lots of enjoyment to be had in the very correct descriptions:

There is a wonderful parallel to be had in graphing your personal history alongside the history of comics. The evolution of self, the march of progress. It bears mention that the full title is Supergods: What Masked Vigilantes, Miraculous Mutants, and a Sun God from Smallville Can Teach Us About Being Human.

The New York Times review warns that, "Morrison can be a spirited writer, but he is also prone to overstatement and hyperbole," which is a hilarious complaint to lodge. Hyperbole is what you sign up for when you read Morrison! The review goes on to frame the book as a "missed opportunity" and take it to task for not being enough of a thoughtful examination, particularly on the state of the comics industry today. Truly, I don't understand it. Supergods is deeply multidisciplinary and exists as a storyteller's story about storytelling. It is literally magical. And at its end, kindly reminds us how we are surrounded by the wondrous and calls on us to decide where to go with our world-building.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Nice work, everyone.

Source: Forgotten Bookmarks
Every bookstore that services a college needs affirmation this time of year. Here it is.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Back to School

jewel tone noun

Definition of JEWEL TONE
: any of various colors (as amethyst, emerald, and ruby) that resemble those of gemstones

Our glorious notebook shipment has arrived!

It's the very best time of year. Come in and shop a variety of color and subject options. Imagine all manner of notes you two will take together as you progress through the ranks of higher education.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Only the best picture ever.

Source: Paris/Berlin
From left to right: James Joyce, Ezra Pound, John Quinn and Ford Madox Ford in Paris, 1923.

Friday, August 3, 2012

716 Broadway

Shakespeare & Co. Poster Shakespeare & Co stickers 
Shakespeare & Co. CD
all photos via lauradasaro
Our Downtown store has a fine collection of local papers, stickers, and postcards to look over right as you enter. Looking for things to do? Wander the bookstore, then explore our great city.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Supergods: What Masked Vigilantes, Miraculous Mutants, and a Sun God from Smallville Can Teach Us About Being Human

"There were real superheroes, of course. They did exist. They lived in paper universes, suspended in a pulp continuum where they never aged or died unless it was to be reborn, better than ever, with a new costume. Real superheroes lived on the surface of the second dimension. The real lives of real superheroes could be contained in two hands. They were so real they had lives that were longer than any human life. They were more real than I was. They say most human names and biographies are forgotten after four generations, but even the most obscure Golden Age superhero is likely to have a life and a renown that will last as long as trademarks are revived."

Friday, July 20, 2012

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion, Elizabeth L. Cline

Purchase online here.
There is so much to unpack here.

My first exposure to Cline came via Etsy (here and here). Her book, Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion, explores the global impact of fast fashion. She details America's drastic increase in inexpensive clothing imports and does excellent work diagramming the lifespan of a garment and charting its historical changes. She lays out an argument for the inherent costs in the bargain basement prices we've become accustomed to paying. And she addresses the charged issue that while production dies in one place, it soon flourishes in another, even if it may not pay a living wage.

It's a lot. From fabric quality to garment construction, the life and death of the department store to the changing calendar of seasons, Cline negotiates a vast terrain. Taking us from what remains of the Garment District in New York City to the factories of China and Bangladesh, she explains how industry trends have literally impacted the way we dress. It's engineered obsolescence for clothes: garments that are hyper on-trend, not meant to last and hardly made well enough to justify the cost of mending or alteration. In sum: things really aren't made they way they used to be and while we pay less for our them, we buy them all the time and more than ever (see: haulers). We've lost the relationship we used to have with our clothes (in the form of tailoring or mending) because they no longer make sense with the disposable garments we bring home.

This is an important discussion and I like this book very much. However, I wanted a more involved discussion of the class issues involved in telling people not to shop at Old Navy, Target or Forever 21. Cline does highlight a couple of independent designers and talk about her own struggles to pay more for one good jacket instead of ten bad ones but class issues feel like they should be more of the education as they make up so much of the resistance. There's a balance to be struck in talking about sustainability and responsible shopping while still tackling issues of entitlement and income. (Don't even talk to me about how Walmart's slogan is: Save money. Live better.) These are big issues, bigger than any book can handle at once. Still, reaching those people is part of the work: everybody lives worse and wants to pay less for everything they feel they deserve. Time for the navigation of shared psychological inroads, planet!

Follow Cline here: The Good Closet

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Vintage Photos: Kids Reading

Reading lesson in Washington, D.C., 1942. Photo Credit: Marjory Collins & Library of Congress, via.
There's so many comics and newspapers!
Source: Adorable Vintage Photos of Kids Reading (Flavorwire)

Friday, June 29, 2012

Typhoon, Joseph Conrad

"Having just enough imagination to carry him through each successive day, and no more, he was tranquilly sure of himself; and from the very same cause he was not in the least conceited. It is your imaginative superior who is touchy, overbearing, and difficult to please; but every ship Captain MacWhirr commanded was the floating abode of harmony and peace. It was, in truth, as impossible for him to take a flight of fancy as it would be for a watchmaker to put together a chronometer with nothing except a two-pound hammer and a whip-saw in the way of tools. Yet the uninteresting lives of men so entirely given to the actuality of the bare existence have their mysterious side. It was impossible in Captain MacWhirr's case, for instance, to understand what under heaven could have induced that perfectly satisfactory son of a petty grocer in Belfast to run away to sea. And yet he had done that very thing at the age of fifteen. It was enough, when you thought it over, to give you the idea of an immense, potent, and invisible hand thrust into the ant-heap of the earth, laying hold of shoulders, knocking heads together, and setting the unconscious faces of the multitude towards inconceivable goals and in undreamt-of directions."

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Price of Salt, Patricia Highsmith


It was all things. And it was one thing, like a solid door. Its cold sealed the city in a gray capsule. January was moments, and January was a year. January rained the moments down, and froze them in her memory; the woman she saw peering anxiously by the light of a match at the names in a dark doorway, the man who scribbled a message and handed it to his friend before they parted on a sidewalk, the man who ran a block for a bus and caught it. Every human action seemed to yield a magic. January  was a two-faced month, jangling like jester's bells, crackling like snow crust, pure as any beginning, grim as an old man, mysteriously familiar yet unknown, like a word one can almost but not quite define.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Store Cat GIF

via @ForgottenBkmrks
 Here at Brooklyn, we are without cat. As they are an essential component of any perfect bookstore, we have a paper cat taped to the wall behind our counter. A sad but necessary salve. However! Today, I realized we can also have a Store Cat GIF and that has made everything all better. This one comes courtesy of Forgotten Bookmarks.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Underground New York Public Library

Song of Solomon, Toni Morrison
The Underground New York Public Library is a visual library featuring reading riders of the NYC subways. Ourit Ben-Haim talks here about what inspired her to start this amazing project.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Things You Find, When You Look

716 Broadway - Source: Miss G's B's
More pictures of the stores like this, please. All of them. I am serious.

We just talked about dolls for ten minutes in here. Do you know about The Stettheimer Dollhouse? It's amazing.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Store of the Worlds: The Stories of Robert Sheckley

Purchase online here.
Sheckley was an ideas man. His stories are solid concept, expertly plotted. And even when the core of a story is exceptionally dark and filled with terrifying moral lessons, it is still somehow written with humor. Last week, I linked to a fantastic review on Strange Horizons that states, "The heart of a Sheckley story is how it ends." And it's true. There's a whole lot of comeuppance in store for the human race in his future vision, a race to our very own end. The best that the best of us can hope for is to be able to get away from everybody else. That conclusion is what helps the stories feel timeless and what causes them to stay with you.

It is utterly unsurprising to discover that Sheckley would later write television screenplays. The pacing of his stories make it so that the best ones just cry out to be adapted. Among my favorites in the collection:

The Monsters
Paradise II
Pilgrimage to Earth
The Seventh Victim
Double Indemnity

Read those six then read them all. Highly recommended. Also? Read the introduction.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Literary Humor & Games

It's completely okay to share this now because a) he was safe all along b) this happened forever ago and c) jokes! Let's just take a moment to remember Google Reader, as it once was.

There. Have a perfect weekend, everybody.

Friday, May 18, 2012

"Funeral Parade"

"One of the reasons inequality gets so deep in this country is that everyone wants to be rich. That's the American ideal. Poor people don't like talking about poverty because even though they might live in the projects surrounded by other poor people and have, like, ten dollars in the bank, they don't like to think of themselves as poor. It's embarrassing. When you're a kid, even in the projects, one kid will mercilessly snap on another kid over minor material differences, even though by the American standard, they're both broke as shit.

The burden of poverty isn't just that you don't always have the things you need, it's the feeling of being embarrassed every day of your life, and you'd do anything to lift that burden."

Decoded, Jay-Z 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Eat the City, Robin Shulman

Where there's people, there's food production.
Unsolicited galleys are my favorite. I am really going to miss them in the future when we'll have to jack into the net to hack a spreadsheet asking if - wait, never mind! This just plain showed up one day and I decided to take it for the train ride home.

Basically a food history of the city, each chapter addresses a particular edible (honey, vegetables, meat, wine) and the stories of those profiled become interwoven with New York City's food traditions and accompanying industry. The alcohol chapters cover Prohibition, while the vegetables chapter discusses gentrification and fish takes on our historical obsession with polluting water sources. Plus, there's lots of process dropped so you gather facts on say, the chemical reactions controlled for in wine-making or what time of day is best to plant and it all comes together to make you want to start a garden on your fire escape.

Of course, the food history of a city is a lens through which to view its sociopolitical history as well. After all, the full title of the book is Eat the City: A Tale of the Fishers, Foragers, Butchers, Farmers, Poultry Minders, Sugar Refiners, Cane Cutters, Beekeepers, Winemakers, and Brewers Who Built New York. And it's true! Shulman interviews new and old alike to demonstrate how the current locavore movement is as old as the city itself. Her writing casts a bit of spell over you, in that it suddenly feels like you are surrounded by food, wherever you are. In every home, a winery in the basement and an apiary on the roof. Highly recommended.

Eat the City is on sale July 10, 2012.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Thank you, MetaFilter. I love a good oral history project and this is a great one: the personal stories of women entering the workforce during World War II.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

On the perks of shelving

They consist mostly of keeping yourself company by list-making. But six carts in, this was a big deal. I totally remember this edition from the shelves of my local library. And that's it really.

Still, it makes me happy that they are back to this cover. Sorry, plant! Sorry, yellow sneakers!

Harriet the Spy, Louise Fitzhugh

Monday, May 7, 2012

May The Force Be With You

Do you use planners? Because this really, really makes me wish I did.

May the Force be with you 365 days a year. These and other Moleskine beauties are now in stock at Shakespeare & Co.
  • Pages: 144 pages (72 leaves)
  • Size: 3.5 x 5.5 inches (9 x 14 cm)
  • Cover Style: Hard Cover
  • Paper Color: Off White

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Christ in Concrete, Pietro di Donato

Saturday morning.
He could not possibly pause long enough to breathe normally. Job that day would never be forgotten: the day when Job would first give its holy communion of freedom. One-on-two-one-on-two-bend-scoop-swing-spread-tap-clip—and bend on for one-on-two—and now Job was no longer a bewildering corridor which one visited by chance and did not realize. Job was establishing itself in gray of stony joint and red of clayey brick, in smell of men's gray bones and wet red flesh.
Job was becoming a familiar being through aches and hours, plumb and level. Job was a new sense which brought excitement of men and steel and stone. Job was a game, a race, a play in which all were muscular actors serious from whistle to whistle, and he was one of them. It was pay-day, and in a few hours pay-check would sign short-short armistice. It was war for living, and Paul was a soldier. It was not as in marbles where he played for fun, it was men's siege against a hunger that traveled swiftly, against an enemy inherited.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Dinner Party Dictum

John Dos Passos
"When I arrived Ernest was already there, and Martha Gellhorn, looking handsome in her well-tailored pants and good boots. I took along two cans of sardines and two cans of pâté, and Ernest said he was glad I had brought in canned goods from Paris because John Dos Passos hadn't brought in any food but had eaten everybody else's, and he and Dos Passos had had an ugly fight about that."

Monday, April 16, 2012

All The Lovely Bookshops

Thank you to Tattered Cover for linking to All The Lovely Bookshops, a board on Pinterest that is exactly what it sounds like. Pictures of lovely local bookstores!

Explore the set: add to it, help grow it! I was happy to discover Shakespeare & Co. Booksellers already there. Lots of our neighbors are represented as well (WORD, Greenlight, BookCourt, Three Lives) so it really will help out with the map I know you're all making.