Happy St. Patrick's Day reading.
In Washington, D.C., Solas Nua will celebrate the sixth annual Irish Book Day by stationing "one hundred volunteers around dozens of metro stops in the city from 6 a.m. until the end of the evening commute and hand out a whopping 10,000 books for free on the streets of D.C. The books are by current Irish writers and this is our way of celebrating Ireland's national holiday." You can follow real time Twitter updates of the book action with the hashtag or @solasnuacht.
The inaugural Irish Arts Center Book Day will take place in New York City: "Keep an eye out for Book Day volunteers handing out books by Irish and Irish American authors, free, at subway stops and transportation hubs across all five boroughs, and be in the know on Book Day locations during the day by following our up-to-the-minute Twitter and Facebook updates."
AM New York recommended some great Irish reads, noting that "there are ways to mark the occasion that don't involve marching in a parade or guzzling green beer. We'd like to pay homage to some of the greatest writers of the English language--who also happen to be Irish."
"On St. Patrick's Day, discover hidden Irish literary gems" was the advice from Newschannel 5 in Nashville, Tenn., which noted that the advent of digital books means that several OP titles recommended by Irish native Richard Haslam "are available on Google Books, or can be acquired the old-fashioned way: by visiting a library."
The Huffington Post's readers chose their "favorite books by Irish authors and about all things Irish. James Joyce of course took the lead, but there were a few surprises."
Marjorie Kehe, the Christian Science Monitor's book editor, improved upon her 2010 list of the "10 best books about Ireland (which I still stand by)" with five additional titles.
For the last word, we go to the old country itself. Raidió Teilifís Éireann, Ireland's National Public Service broadcaster, featured a top 10 Irish writers list, but with this caveat: "Like all Best of... lists, this top ten invites discourse if not outright criticism. But that's why we love them. Donal O'Donoghue lays his bets and takes his chances on our greatest living writers."
Noting Barnes & Noble's 47% drop in stock price during the past three weeks to a new all-time low below $10, the Wall Street Journal's influential Heard on the Street column said that "growth investors appear to be staying away--with good reason."
paper raised the specter of bricks-and-mortar media retailers that have
filed Chapter 11--now joined by Borders Group--but noted that
"admittedly Barnes & Noble has more chance of surviving" because of
the Nook. "Even so, there are plenty of uncertainties," particularly
what happens to the company's gross margins, considering the operating
expenses of its stores. "The worry is the company will be too slow to
close outlets," the Journal commented.
B&N has taken on long-term debt "for the first time in several
years," partly to buy Barnes & Noble College from chairman Len
Riggio, for $596 million, "more than Barnes & Noble's now-shrunken
market capitalization." The Journal added that "the deal would
have looked better for Barnes & Noble shareholders if Mr. Riggio had
taken stock rather than cash."
In 2013, Sam Weller's Bookstore will open a second location, in Salt Lake City International Airport, according to Deseret News.
Weller's, which has operated in downtown Salt Lake City since 1929, is
part of a partnership led by the Paradies Shops that successfully bid on
retail and concession space that was opened up by the airport authority
for the first time in 50 years. The Paradies group includes a mix of
local and national companies.
Co-owner Tony Weller told the paper
that he hoped to bring "a little local flavor" to the airport. "When
you go to another city, the difference in stores, in vendors, in
restaurants is part of the experience. Tourists don't go to other cities
to look for Starbucks and Barnes & Noble."
The store is
still seeking new space in downtown after announcing in 2009 that it
planned eventually to move from the site where it has been located since
As part of an exclusive partnership among Barnes & Noble, Penguin and Eric Carle, the bestselling children's author/illustrator has created custom artwork featuring the Very Hungry Caterpillar that can be seen only in B&N stores and online at BN.com. In addition, customers will be getting a sneak peek at art from his new title, The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse, which Penguin will release in October.
This week, B&N will begin featuring Carle's artwork to celebrate the Very Hungry Caterpillar Day on March 20. A limited run of B&N gift cards with the new artwork will also be available in April, as well as curriculum guides distributed at BN Educator Nights. While books are the main focus, this four month-long promotion will showcase other products from the World of Eric Carle as well. B&N stores are planning a nationwide Eric Carle Storytime event for Saturday, March 19. There will also be exclusive content available at BN.com's Eric Carle page.
Seaburn Bookstore, the Queens indie that was put on the endangered list earlier this year (Shelf Awareness, January 19, 2011), is staying put. The New York Daily News reported that owner Sam Chekwas has decided not to move "to a desolate stretch of Long Island City after business picked up and his landlord agreed to lower a planned rent increase. The building's owner had a change of heart after reading about the shop's plight in the Daily News."
"The community came out in droves," he said. "It's like there was a hurricane coming and you were only allowed to have books."
Chekwas has closed Seaburn temporarily for renovations, adding an Internet café and remodeling the store's basement remodeled for events. He plans to reopen the bookstore by the end of the month.
Tweet of the day: From Michele Filgate (@readandbreathe), currently the events coordinator at RiverRun Bookstore, Portsmouth, N.H.: "* tap tap * Is this microphone on? I have some really big news. Starting April 11th I'll be the Events Coordinator @mcnallyjackson in NYC!" Congratulations, Michele.
In a curious case of mistaken city identity, the Daily Mail's recent article on Lifetime network's biopic Magic Beyond Words: The J.K. Rowling Story (Shelf Awareness, March 16, 2011) said the filming had taken place in Vancouver, B.C., but Munro’s Books in Victoria was the actual setting.
"We had an interesting time on the filming day," recalled Sarah Frye of Munro's, "and yes, the store stayed open through the whole process, although we had to move our entire remainder section off the floor to accommodate a scene of one of her first readings. That said, the crew were all terribly respectful and Poppy Montgomery was gracious and generous."
Earlier this week, a man driving a black Isuzu Trooper with 'Jesus Saves' on one side and 'confess and forgive' on the other, stole a sign--which said "Witchcraft wares and magical supplies, potion brews and unique gifts," with a pentagram on the back--from the Sacred Grove, a metaphysical bookstore and pagan community center in Santa Cruz, Calif. The Mercury News reported that Kelly Piper was apprehended after a car chase, the sign was found and returned to the shop.
"I'm sure he did this because of his views," said Sacred Groves owner Michael Correll. "The sign's a minor thing; it's a symbolic thing of us being messed with by Christians."
For the Guardian, InformationIsBeautiful.net's David McCandless crunched book numbers from 15 notable book polls, readers surveys and top 100 lists to fashion a "consensus cloud" visualization of the "books everyone must read."
"So you like to eat, and you like to read... sometimes you may like to mix the two in a place called a bookstore," the Chicago Tribune's travel section wrote in introducing its choices for "the better bookstores in the nation, now that places like Borders are down-sizing."
Touching author video of the day: Harlan Coben in Paris on Tuesday accepting the Vermeil Medal of Honor for contributions to culture and society. A film version of Coben's Tell No One, in which he made a cameo appearance, was a smash French film; his newest thriller, Live Wire, appears next Tuesday, March 22. The video has helpful subtitles for our Francophone readers!
Author James Ellroy (L.A. Confidential) received the Order of Arts and Letters; AFP reported that French Culture Minister Frederic Mitterrand called him "the master of dark dreams" and "one of the most prominent names in modern literature." Congolese author Alain Mabanckou, who teaches at UCLA, was given the French Legion of Honor. Mitterrand praised Mabanckou's "rare talent" and his "sublime ability to mix irony and poetry."
What do librarians do with all those old card catalogue cabinets? At Bloomington Junior High School's Media Center, they've been adapted for the digital age and are now being used to store the library's e-reader collection. "It turns out that the drawers were just the right size for most of the
common eReaders," eBookNewser reported. "All the case needed was a few holes drilled in the
back, and then running some power cables."
Peter Forbes, author of Dazzled and Deceived: Mimicry and Camouflage, selected his top 10 books on color for the Guardian. "Color is challenging for writers: like music it appeals directly to the senses, bypassing language," he observed. "But you can't keep words out of anything, and for some writers words come bathed in colors."
The "next chapter for bookshelves" was explored by the Minneapolis Tribune, which noted that books "have played a major role in shaping the American house. But with e-readers rapidly turning bookworms into techies, what's the future for home libraries, bookshelves and coffee-table tomes?"
"It's nice to have books around. They add so much ambience," said Jim Noble, whose 19th-century Minneapolis house features leather-bound volumes on floor-to-ceiling shelves that line an entire wall. "I hope we never live to see the day that books are eliminated from the home."
Book trailer of the day: Cahoots
by Karla Oceanak, illustrated by Kendra Spanjer (Bailiwick Press), the
third in the alphabetical Aldo Zelnick comic novel series. In the
trailer, Launie Parry, the designer for the series, shows how she
creates the books' covers. Featuring appearances by Oceanak and Spanjer.