Next Tuesday, February 26, at 10:30 a.m. in New Orleans, La., Barnes & Noble chairman Len Riggio and his family foundation will announce the creation of Project Home Again, which aims to provide "high quality single family housing for displaced residents of New Orleans' Gentilly community." The Riggios are supporting the program with a commitment of $20 million.
The program will begin by building 20 houses that will be donated to displaced homeowners, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune. In return, those homeowners will give their flooded property to the Riggio Foundation, which will build or rebuild for another resident of the area. The program should create housing for about 100 families. At the time of Hurricane Katrina, many Gentilly residents were elderly and did not have the resources to rebuild on their own.
"Black-owned bookstores vital" was the headline for a Tallahassee Democrat article showcasing Florida booksellers Dana and Sharon Dennard, owners of Amen-Ra's Bookstore, Tallahassee, and Georgia Blackmon, owner of the Gathering Awareness and Book Center, Pensacola.
The Dennards are clinical psychologists who opened Amen-Ra's in 1990
"to serve as a 'mental intervention' and community center."
"Everything we have done to date has been a mental-health
intervention," Dana Dennard said. "As a psychologist of African descent, we're committed to
the ails of our community."
Sharon Dennard added, "The bookstore's design was to help you look back in time and wonder 'Where did we come from?' Imagine knowing the truth about your history instead of your history beginning with the enslavement period."
Georgia Blackmon said that surviving today's economic challenges is a crucial task: "At this time I know that some of the bookstores are closing, but I think it's important that we stay here. When I go to Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million, I couldn't find the books I wanted to read. It's important we stay around not only for the (adults), but for the children."
We're very happy to hear from Steve Fischer that Nan Sorensen, assistant executive director of the New England Independent Booksellers Association, is recovering well from heart bypass surgery and "has her sights set on going home."
The Reader's Guide to Recycled Literature bookstore, Salem, Ore., "has grown into a sort of 'community of books' during the course of its 25-year history," the Statesman Journal reported, adding a historical note of interest: "In 1972, Powell's future owner Michael Powell purchased 'thousands' of used books for his father's new City of Books store from Reader's Guide owner Tim Hannon, who then was living in Portland teaching school and buying and selling used books as a side business."
Hannon recalled that the money from Powell's purchase "got us the down payment for our first home."
Now the shop "is a community bookstore in the sense that customers who came in as young people now come in as adults with kids of their own and bring along grandfathers and grandmothers and other family members," he said.
Cynthia Nye, owner of High Crimes Mystery Bookshop, Boulder, Colo., plans to close her bricks-and-mortar store in March and sell online, the Daily Camera reported.
"I think it's been slowly building over the last six months," Nye said of the combination of economic downturn, diminishing foot traffic and smaller sales. "You get two or three bad months and that's all you can take."
Readers are where you find them, even at the race track. According to the New York Times, "Office Depot is teaming up with Harlequin Enterprises, the romance-book publisher owned by the Torstar Corporation, for an online contest with an unusual prize. The winner will have his or her proposal--for marriage or a renewal of vows--featured on a Nascar race car, the No. 99 Ford Fusion sponsored by Office Depot and driven by Carl Edwards." Contestants can sign up on a getyourheartracing.com.
What do Pride and Prejudice, the Lord of the Rings series, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Da Vinci Code and Gone With the Wind have in common? They are the top five "best-loved books" as chosen by Australian readers in a survey conducted by the book chain Dymocks. News.com.au reported that the Dymocks Booklovers 101 list indicated that Aussie readers "prefer timelessness and romance to reality."