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The Strand and the Plight of Used Bookshops

93 years old and still one of the best indie bookstores in NYC. I’ve gone on holiday to the city and spent days lost in the stacks. I loved how they would mail the books home so I wouldn’t have to carry them. Three floors, packed floor to ceiling, sales tables lining the block on which it stands. An amazing place with one of the hardest interview processes for employees. This is the place I dream my store would become. It has been a few years since I have walked the stacks, but when I am looking for a rare item for my clients, I check there first. Today on my twitter field I saw a message:

“Strand Book Store @strandbookstore

We need your help. This is the post we hoped to never write, but today marks a huge turning point in The Strand’s history. Our revenue has dropped nearly 70% compared to last year, and the loans and cash reserves that have kept us afloat these past months are depleted…. ”

In the last few months people have been pushing for Indie bookshops to survive and the public has listened. But people keep thinking that Indie means NEW bookstore, when instead the term means not connected to a chain or publisher and makes no distinction between new and used. Used bookstores are important. Most people do not understand this.

Used books keep people reading. If your budget only allows you a certain amount for books, would you chose one new hardcover or a stack of used paperbacks? Teachers need 40 copies of a book for a classroom? Used bookstores will have a good selection at reasonable prices.

If you end up having to move and need to unload some books, used bookstores are great for that. And when many people do this, you have the chance to find some interesting reads. For example in a used bookshop I once found a paperback version of The Song of Roland which was printed in France in three languages: Old French, Medieval English and Modern English.

Do you have a favorite author that has been writing for decades? Do you know that most publishers will not put any title that author wrote that was published by another publisher on the Other Works page? And when that first publisher is now out of business or merged with another one, how will you find the book? Now the titles are listed online, but only used bookstores carry them.

What about when the author mentions their favorite childhood author and you want to read what they loved? Best place to find them is in a used bookstore.

Want something new to read that is similar to what you like to read? New bookshops tend to have the classics and whatever is “in or popular” at the moment. So finding something that is different can be a challenge. And yet at used bookshops you can see shelves of things that are similar or completely different than what you even though of reading. Catchy titles or just weird covers in styles of bygone years can start a journey into a new reading experience.

Used bookstores are a view into the social past. What to understand why your grandparents, or great grand parents thought and acted the way they did? Check out what they read and you can see how society was being shaped.

Amazon is making it easier to find and buy books on it’s site, but independent bookstores that sell through them barely make a profit off of the sales. (Check out their terms on the seller page, then compare it to the seller pages on biblio.com and others). Online sales are the future and used bookshops are heading that way in droves. But people tend to discard the old. A shiny new book is a great present, but a worn book is considered a bad one. Unless it is rare and antiquarian and that is a whole other topic.

The modernized world is beginning to recognize that the “single use” mentality is a bad idea, and used bookstores are the key to this. Badly worn reader copy books can be used for art projects and home décor. And while they are paper, the processing sometimes makes it difficult to decompose easily- especially the covers/boards. I have seen people who have used them as planters and as small animal beds.

But keeping used books in circulation will help the environment and the economy by letting people spend in small amounts and also prevent over publication of new books. This is a win win situation.

But people need to support used bookshops. I implore you to check out places like Alibris.com, Biblio.com, thrift books.com, hpb.com and strandbooks.com to start and to search for used bookstores near you to find local ones.

The only way for the industry to survive is with the help of society and it is important to society that the industry does survive.

#savethestrand #smallbusiness #usedbookshops

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September First Chapter, First Paragraph “Review”: Milo and the Magical Stones

Welcome back to our September First Chapter, First Paragraph Reviews.

September is Children’s Books month so today we will be showcasing an older book for younger kids.

Milo and the Magical Stones

Marcus Pfister

North-South Books   1997

 

“In the middle of the sea there was an island, and on this island lived Milo and the other cliff mice. They loved their island. It provided them with food and shelter and protection from the rough storms that pounded waves against the cliffs. ”

With art work resembling watercolors, this tall book tells the tale of a cliff mouse who finds a glowing stone, one that all the mice want for their own.  This thought provoking story has two endings, making the reader become involved in the decision making process and showing them that there are consequences inherent in all decisions.  Translated from Swiss German, it retains a simple other worldliness to the prose.

Unlike a lot of children’s picture books, Milo and The Magical Stones has videos and lesson plans for teachers online.  What makes this story different and yet also beloved for over 20 years?  What about it resonate so well with parents and children alike?

Would you be willing to read this book? Why or why not?  Drop us a line and let us know.

Happy Reading .

 

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September First Chapter, First Paragraph :Lola The Buhund and the Empty Sky

Once again we are back  for our weekly “reviews”.  In this series we will offer the first paragraph of the first chapter of a book, some new, some old and out of print and a synopsis of the plot to see if this will be of interest.  In honor of the start of the school year, September will be children’s books month. We will “review” books for younger readers from Kindergarten to Jr. Highschool, offer the Lexile  level (if available)and note if it something in our inventory or not.  The intent behind this simple.  Children tend to stick with what they like to read, and the books used for most language classes tend to be not typically something to catch a child’s attention.  By offering a selection of lesser know, out of print or small press titles this gives the child a chance to read something different, develop a wider world view and, hopefully, create a love of reading.

The other aspect of this series is that most people tend to decide what they want to read by the cover art, or by the blurb on the back.  We all know not to judge a book by the cover because sometimes the artist has no idea what the book is really about. By offering a preview of the opening paragraph  it will give the reader a chance to see the language, flow and possibly the hook of the story.  This is not a traditional review, as we will not discuss the plot of the book at all.  For a more traditional review, please go to our goodreads page. https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/120840365-elizabeth-campbell  where we will start posting this week.

It is our hope that you join us for this month of books and that you comment on what your opinion of the books selected are.  First up is:

 

 

Lola the Buhund and the Empty Sky

Elbot Carman

Valkut Press-2017

No lexlie reading level.

First Paragraph:

The night was damp, yet there was no rain. For almost thirteen years, there had been no light in the sky. Likewise, there had been no clouds, no rain, and no snow—the sky was completely bare. The disappearance of the sun, the moon, and the stars had left the country of Prithvi in a state of limbo. Long ago the tide had stopped and the wind had ceased to blow; the ground grew cold and the forests withered and died.”

Synopsis:

Born into  a world of darkness, Lola has never seen the sun, but a chance encounter with some strangers sets her off on a quest to discover the fate of her world and what really happened to the light.

Does this sound like a book you’d like to read? Why or why not?

 

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First Chapter, First Paragraph Tuesdays Book Review: The Folk Keeper

Once again it is time for our First Chapter, First Paragraph book review  as designed by socratesbookreviews blogspot.com  with our own twist, of course, being used books only.

In honor of school starting this month I will be reviewing children’s and young adult titles. Today we have the following:

The Folk Keeper

Franny Billingsley

Aladdin Fantasy, 1999

 

“February 2- Candlemas.

It is a day of yellow fog, and the Folk are hungry. They ate the lamb I brought them, picking the bones clean and leaving them outside the Folk Door. The lamb was meant for Matron’s Sunday supper. She’ll know I took it, but she will not dare say anything. She can keep her tapestries and silks and Sunday dinners. Here in the Cellar, I control the Folk. Here, I am queen of the world.”

Corinna is a Folk Keeper, tasked to keep the mysterious Folk who live underground at bay. But when a wealthy family takes her from the orphanage, Corinna must discover the secret of her talents and plan on what she will become.

 

The winner of the Boston Globe/Horn Book award for fiction in 1999, this book is an unusual combination of fantasy, coming of age and horror, written for readers over the age of 9.  Great for readers who enjoy a bit of gothic, ancient lore and strong self-reliant heroine.

 

What do you think? Would you want to read this?

Let me know.

Happy Reading!

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First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesdays: Book Review Cry Wolf

And here we are again time for another First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday.  Thank you to socratesbookreviews.blogspot.com for starting this. 

 

For today we have the following :

Cry Wolf

Patricia Briggs

Ace Books, 2013

 

“The wind was chill and the cold froze the ends of her toes. One of these days she was going to break down and buy boots-if only she didn’t need to eat.”

Anna is a waitress, living on a shoestring, and estranged from her family for their own protection. Attacked on a date, she is now the lowest, and most abused, member of the larger of the two Chicago wolf packs.  But seeing the news report of the death of a young teen, whom she last saw drugged in a silver cage, Anna dares to break rank & call the Marrok, the Alpha of all the Alphas to bring justice to the dead.  Thus taking the first step into becoming what her dual nature demands her to be.

This is book one of the “Alpha and Omega” series, which exists in the same world as Patricia Briggs “Mercedes Thompson” series.  A world almost just like ours, but where things that go bump in the night really exist.

Based on the above, would you want to read this? Why or why not? Drop me a line and let me know.

Happy Reading folks.

 

 

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Book Review: Turnabout


A surprise posting today for all of you. Another “tuesday” book review. 

This week we have another young adult book. Turnabout

Margaret Peterson Haddix

Simon & Schuster, 2000

 

“April 21, 2085

My sixteenth birthday. Sad, sad day. What I mind most-what I’ve dreaded most-is losing my license. I could still pass for being older for at least another year or two, but the agency won’t let me.  Against the rules , they say. We know best, they say. How can they be so sure  when this is all new territory?”

What if you were given the chance to be younger and live another life? What if you didn’t remember agreeing to do this? What happens when you keep getting younger?

In this novel we get to experience the hidden issues in de-aging and how things constantly change.  Haddix has created a world where two friends will be friends until the end, which may be another beginning to them and the strange way they exist in the world.

 

Would you want to read this?  Let me know.

Happy Reading.

 

 

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First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesdays: Dragon’s Bait

Once again it is time for First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros hosted by Yvonne @ Socrates Book Reviews  As per the instructions , the following is my entry for a good “new” read. 

Dragon’s Bait

Vivian Vande Velde

Magic Carpet Books, 1992

“The day Alys was accused of being a witch started out like any other. She woke to the gray light of dawn and to the sound of her father coughing. Did he sound any better than he had the morning before? Yes, she told herself–just a little bit, but definitely better. And though she thought that every morning since late winter when he’d been so sick she’d been afraid he’d die, and though here it was with the wheat already harvested and the leaves beginning to turn, and he still too frail to run the tin shop by himself- that did nothing to lessen her conviction, He definitely sounded better. “

This young adult books is a nice spin on the whole “witch fed to a dragon” motif.  Our hero is not perfect by any means. She is angry at how the village turned on her, and even those who passive-aggressively tried to help her (by not tightening the ropes too much) did not stand up for her, so when given the chance to cower & die, or run & die, she taunts the dragon instead.

This is an amazing story that is both simply entertaining and well written, along with being thought provoking and complicated.

Would you read it? Tell me why or why not!

Happy Reading.

 

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First Chapter Tuesdays: “Don’t Bet on the Prince”

It’s Tuesday! It’s time to share your excerpts and teasers from books we are currently reading, have read or are planning to read. So, feel free to join us by sharing the first paragraph or (a few) of a book you are reading or thinking about reading soon.

 

Don’t Bet on the Prince

Contemporary Feminist Fairy Tales in North America and England

 Jack Zipes

Routledge, NY  1987

 

“A long time ago in a kingdom by the sea there lived a Princess tall and bright as a sunflower. Whatever the royal tutors taught her, she mastered with ease. She could tally the royal treasure on her gold and silver abacus, and charm even the Wizard with her enchantments. In short, she had every gift but love, for in all the kingdom there was no suitable match for her. So she played the zither and designed great tapestries and trained her finches to eat from her hand, for she had a way with animals.”

” I really didn’t notice that he had a funny nose.

And he certainly looked better all dressed up in fancy clothes.

He’s not nearly as attractive as he seemed the other night.

So I think I’ll just pretend tat this glass slipper feels too tight.”

“For centuries now theologians, educators, literary critics, psychologist, and librarians have debated the pros and cons of reading fairy tales to children.” But why?  Why shouldn’t children see the violence, cruelty and superstition of made up worlds? Why shield the children from morality tales, that entertain while you think? Why should a child not understand that Cinderella might get a happy ending, but also that the stepmother gets her punishment?  This is the point of fairy tales: to see the world and it’s actions in a way that makes one think.  In this book Jack Zipes brings together 16 fairy tales rewritten by modern authors, like Tanith Lee, Jane Yolen, Angela Carter and Margaret Atwood, to fit the true heroine story.  A restructuring of the traditional framework of the subordination of women into a voice for silent oppressed groups. Here we see the princess who is just too tall and outspoken falling for a prince with issues,who discovers the real meaning of love after sacrificing everything she has. Or how the story of Snow White was really about feeling contentment and friendship.

This is an amazing read full of enjoyable stories, perfect for those who feel like they have outgrown the fairy tales they loved as a child.

You can find a copy of this book on our biblio store page https://www.biblio.com/bookstore/e-campbell-tallahassee

Happy Reading.

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Book Review: The Yellow Wallpaper

 

Hello and welcome to another book review. Today’s pick is The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman.

 

The Yellow Wall-Paper — Feminist Press

 

Charlotte Perkins Gilman, also known as Charlotte Perkins Stetson, her first married name, was a prominent American humanist, novelist, writer of short stories, poetry and nonfiction, and a lecturer for social reform. First published in 1892, The Yellow Wallpaper  is a written secret journal of a new mother who was failing to relish the joys of domestic life, and was sent to a secluded country home to cure her “nervous condition,” or Postpartum depression. Isolated from people, & forbidden to read or write due to how it “aggravates her”  her doctor & husband insist on complete passivity. Locked in her bedroom she creates a reality of a hidden figure moving underneath the yellow wall paper and goes about freeing her.

Rediscovered in the 1960s, this book became a rallying cry for the importance of self empowerment  and legal freedom for women.

This book is a psychological & dramatic read and is great for anyone wanting to understand how women can be treated physically well, but also be mentally & emotionally neglected.

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Book Review: The Great Good Thing.

Hardcover The Great Good Thing Book

A few years back I came across this book.  As a lover of fairy tales and folk lore I found the cover art to be intriguing, but I wondered if the interior would match up. It did.  This is the story about a story book princess, who knows she is in a story, because all of the characters are acting everything out. The Princess is bored with repeating the story and wishes for more. But years without a reader is causing issues.  One day the characters make a mistake in the plot and the Princess’ dream of having a real unscripted adventure begins.

That alone would have kept my interest. Self aware characters breaking the mold to grow.  But there is more to this book.  In reality this book is about the working of memory, the history of storytelling and the adaptable and collective nature of imagination.

Intended for readers ages 8 to 10, this is a well written book for all ages.