Please join us every Monday, Thursday and Friday at 11:00 a.m. as Catherine Montesi engages parents and children alike with song and story. Come prepared for good times, hand-clapping, and story-related activities. It’s free, and who knows? You just might find a pirate or two among the shelves!
The winners of the 2012 Edgar Awards were announced last night. They are:
Best Novel- Gone by Mo Hayder
Best First Novel- Bent Road by Lori Roy
Best Paperback Original- Company Man by Robert Jackson Bennett
Best Short Story- The Man Who Took His Hat Off To The Driver Of The Train by Peter Turnbull (as appeared in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine)
Best True Crime- Destiny Of The Republic by Candice Millard
Best Critical/Biographical Work- On Conan Doyle: Or, The Whole Art of Storytelling by Michael Dirda
Best Young Adult Mystery-The Silence Of Murder by Dandi Daley Mackey
Best Juvenile Mystery-Icefall by Matthew J. Kirby
This year’s Grand Master was Martha Grimes
There’s a lot to discuss this week, so without further ado…
The Booksellers At Laurelwood and Bookseller Bistro will be holding a Fundraiser April 20th through April 22nd. The proceeds will aid Project Green Fork, a group of Memphis restauranteurs who work to achieve an environmentally sustainable business model. Many of my favorite eateries- Sekisui, Huey’s, Central BBQ and Lady Bugg Bakery- are PGF restaurants. The 43 local restaurants who meet membership requirements in PGF have thus far recycled 920,000 gallons of plastic, glass and aluminum and over 100,000 gallons of food waste.
It won’t cost you anything extra to support this effort. Just come into Booksellers on April 20th, 21st or 22nd and tell us you want to support Project Green Fork. Booksellers At Laurelwood will provide you with a voucher which will allow 20% of your purchase to go towards Project Green Fork. If you dine in the Bistro, just present your voucher to your server, and 10% of your check will benefit PGF. Debbie and her exceptional staff are working to make Bookseller Bistro part of Project Green Fork. Help PGF, and you help yourself.
Now. As most of you know, today’s Pulitzer Prize for fiction went to…NO ONE!!! The three finalists were Train Dreams, a novella by Denis Johnson, Swamplandia! by Karen Russell and Pale King by the late, great David Foster Wallace. Opinions are flying fast and furious as to why no one was nominated, what this means to literature and how one should respond to this massive example of indecision, so naturally, I could not wait to weigh in on the matter.
- If I were Johnson or Russell, I’d be cussing at small animals. It’s not too difficult to imagine Foster-Wallace laughing hysterically from some strange corner of eternity. Can you imagine thinking,” I almost won the Pulitzer Prize!”? However…
- Lack of a decision leads to a simple answer: read all 3!!! Make your own choice. I haven’t read Swamplandia or Pale King. I will make a point of moving these to books up on my must-read list. Since the Pulitzer committee couldn’t make a decision, I’ll trust my own judgement as to which I like the best.
- Everybody’s talking about books right now. It doesn’t get any better than that.
Just a few words and images of unusual and unique book ephemera. First off, the new Katniss Barbie Doll for those of you who simply can’t get enough of Hunger Games. Please note that this Jennifer Lawrence spitting image is tricked out with all the necessary accessories…
Then there’s this: A special edition edible cookbook from German design firm Korefe and Gerstenberg Publishing. The recipes are printed on fresh pasta pages that can be baked into a delicious lasagna. You can view this and more at Flavorwire.
This is one of my favorites; the Plural Bookshop in Bratislava, Slovakia.
Until next time…
I awoke with Alan Ginsberg as my companion today; the hard rapture of the shaman rising up though my sleep: “…incomparable blind streets of shuddering cloud and lightning in the mind leaping towards poles of Canada & Patterson, illuminating all the motionless world of time between..” These lines followed me like a heartbeat; echoed again in the bullets of hail preceding a nasty little thunderstorm in the later hours of the morning, and are with me still. They inform the direction I want to give you. It points toward the raucous, rapturous and untamed lives of the Beats.
Everybody knows Kerouac’s On The Road, and as important as this work is to my youth, I consider Dharma Bums to be his best. Some say it’s an Americanization of the principles of Buddhism. Some call it patronizing self-indulgence. I call it a no-holds-barred attempt at self-understanding. Does Kerouac make it to self-realization? No. Is it monolithic literature? No. It’s a fine weaving of syntax, and a way to understand someone willing to stand revealed in their existential confusion.
William Burroughs broke every boundary he could reach with his mind and body, including the cut-up narrative style of fiction as represented in The Nova Trilogy( The Nova Express,The Soft Machine, and The Ticket That Exploded),but his best work is The Wild Boys: Book of the Dead. It’s graphic, frightening and, to my mind, a refined use of Burrough’s cut-up technique as an aid to the scope and power of the work. Burroughs was, above all, a satirist, and this book satirizes everything. Burroughs could shock, repel and ,above all, rebel.
There were so many names to the Beats; so many who threw everything to abandon in the pursuit of understanding. Maybe, on another day, I will wake with the lines of Ginsberg, or Corso, or Ferlinghetti pounding their way up from sleep and the past, and talk about some of the words that shaped my youth. For today,I leave you with this quote from Footnote to Howl:
“Holy the supernatural extra brilliant intelligent kindness of the soul!”
-Alan Ginsberg, Berkely,1955