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Thursday, July 26, 2007

The bookseller is out...of her mind

Well I finished reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, enjoyed it so much that I decided I would re-read Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

After a few days in immersed in Rowling's fantasy world I was not ready to give up fantasy for reality yet so I decided to read Patricia Brigg's Raven Shadow and Raven Strike (which I enjoyed) and then re-read her Dragon Bones and Dragon Blood, (which are still two of my favorite of her books. I'm hoping someday the author will write a third in this series but she is currently writing a series of modern werewolf books.) Then I finished off my 5 day book binge with a re-read of Bujold's Curse of Chalion and Paladin of Souls.

I tend to do this type of binge reading any time I'm stressed; I guess it is healthier than over-eating or drinking but boy do I have a lot of work to catch up on. I wonder if there is a 12 step program for fantasy addiction....

Sunday, July 22, 2007

condition report

Weather Conditions: 82 degrees and breezy
Bookseller Condition: Happy, happy, happy

...the bookseller has snuck away and is reading (Harry Potter of course!)

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Geek Out

Don't get me wrong, I love being a bookseller specializing in modern children's books and have spent the last 14 years or so learning all I can about this field (that and reading my inventory). But every now and the then my inner techno geek emerges and demands science.

When that happens I find myself browsing nanotechnology websites, reading articles about the latest in hydrogen fuel cells and solar panels with the same sense of wonder I remember from when I was a kid reading Asimov's Lucky Star and the Rings of Saturn or Heinlein's Have Space Suit Will Travel.

The common thread between the science fiction of my childhood and my fascination with modern tech is the feeling that even though we may be a victim of space pirates, time, or just our own shortsightedness we also have the capability and the responsibility to discover, create or just plain fix something that is broken.

Science Fiction/Science Fact


The process of coming together or the state of having come together toward a common point.
An example where Science Fiction may become Science Fact....

From Wikipedia
The Fountains of Paradise is a 1979 novel by Arthur C. Clarke. Set in the 22nd century, it describes the construction of a space elevator. This orbital "beanstalk" is a giant structure rising from the ground and linking with a satellite in geostationary at the height of approximately 36,000 kilometers (approx. 22,300 miles). Such a structure would be used to raise payloads to orbit without having to use rockets, making it much more cost-effective.

and from NASA:

Sept. 7, 2000 -- "Yes, ladies and gentlemen, welcome aboard NASA's Millennium-Two Space Elevator. Your first stop will be the Lunar-level platform before we continue on to the New Frontier Space Colony development. The entire ride will take about 5 hours, so sit back and enjoy the trip. As we rise, be sure to watch outside the window as the curvature of the Earth becomes visible and the sky changes from deep blue to black, truly one of the most breathtaking views you will ever see!"

Does this sound like the Sci-Fi Channel or a chapter out of Arthur C. Clarke's, Fountains of Paradise? Well, it's not. It is a real possibility -- a "space elevator" -- that researchers are considering today as a far-out space transportation system for the next century.

David Smitherman of NASA/Marshall's Advanced Projects Office has compiled plans for such an elevator that could turn science fiction into reality. His publication, Space Elevators: An Advanced Earth-Space Infrastructure for the New Millennium, is based on findings from a space infrastructure conference held at the Marshall Space Flight Center last year. The workshop included scientists and engineers from government and industry representing various fields such as structures, space tethers, materials, and Earth/space environments.

"This is no longer science fiction," said Smitherman. "We came out of the workshop saying, 'We may very well be able to do this.'"

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Curious George Auction Price Realized

If you ever doubt the importance of a dust jacket to the value of children's books:

On July 12, 2007 PBA Galleries of San Francisco auctioned this first edition with dust jacket of H. A. Rey's Curious George for an astonishing (to me anyway!) $21,850.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

even as x-libris

Another title I'm always searching for:

Madeliene L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time. Farrar, Straus and Cudahy, 1962. (This is the 1963 Newbery Award book and notoriously hard to find in the first state dust jacket, library discard or not.)

Other than Harry Potter

Like many, many people I'm anxiously waiting for the July 21st and the publication of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. But either pre or post Harry these fantasy authors also deserve to be read:

Diana Wynne Jones (my favorites; Howl's Moving Castle and it's sequel Castle in the Air, there are rumors of a third book but I've not seen anything definite).

Megan Whalen Turner (I loved all three books The Thief, Queen of Attolia and King of Attolia and I will be crushed if there is not another book telling Sophos's story).

David Almond (My favorite is Kit's Wilderness, definitely a young adult title, dark, layered and complex).

Markus Zusak (I'm more partial to The Messenger, than The Book Thief, both young adult titles and both well worth reading.)

What Makes a Bookseller?

One of the things I like the most about being a bookseller is the wide spectrum of people who can claim the title (proudly or otherwise) of Bookseller. I know Booksellers who have advanced degrees in literary fields and Booksellers who came into the business through the increasingly rare, rare or used book trade. There are booksellers who "migrated" in from other collectibles markets, (though these days the migrations seems to be running the other way), and those that started as collectors of a particular genre or subject, who started selling books to pay for their collecting. All the different backgrounds and life experiences results in a somewhat motley and definitely eclectic group of people called Booksellers.

Since I have my weekend glass of wine and am in the resulting pontificating mode I've decided that the one single determinative feature that distinguishes a Bookseller from a person with a stack of books and and internet connection is not background, training or knowledge, but the strong belief that reading, like breathing, is a fundamental requirement of life. Without the passion for reading and books you would be better off selling tires....

Friday, July 13, 2007

Images of Childhood-1950's

Story Parade Magazine. January 1954. "The Race" by Feodor Rojankovsky.

Jack and Jill Magazine. March 1958 Cover by Janet Smalley.

Jack and Jill Magazine. March 1954 Cover by Jeanne Bendick.

Jack and Jill Magazine. February 1956. Cover by Ann Eshner.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Harry Potter Mania

From the publication of the first Harry Potter I have continuously underestimated the market for all things Harry. The hype surrounding the publication of the last book in the series Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows only seems to be gaining momentum, and as a result I'm selling a surprising number of the earlier books. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire in particular. (I thought that every one who wanted a first edition would have purchased them long before now).

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Our World 1940's African American Magazine

I was sorting through a box of mixed ephemera and came across these rather fragile, but very interesting, magazines from the 1940's. The only information about them that I found with a quick on-line search is this short paragraph on Wikipedia:
John Preston Davis was founding publisher of Our World Magazine, a full-size, nationally-distributed magazine edited for African American readers. Its first issue, with singer-actress Lena Horne on the cover, arrived on the nation’s newsstands in April 1946. Our World was a premier publication for African American men and women covering contemporary topics from black history to sports & entertainment with regular articles on health, fashion, politics & social awareness, was headquartered out of New York City.

Our World portrayed black America as no other national publication had ever done. Its covers featured entertainers’ Lena Horne, Marian Anderson, Harry Belafonte, Eartha Kitt, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington and Nat King Cole.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows

I have to confess that, along with what seems to be the rest of the known world, I'm counting the days until the final Harry Potter is published. I've already ordered my copies but here's a link for those who have not:

I Give Up...I Am Superstitious

And as soon as I acknowledged that I was I found all 4 missing books and sent them on their way. Too spooky...

Monday, July 2, 2007

I'm not superstitious...I think

But why, why why is it that I can go months pulling books for processing and shipping without any problems, but as soon as there is one title that is mis-shelved and can't be found I will immediately have trouble with other orders as well.

I've always heard it said that trouble comes in threes but it's late, I'm even grumpier than usual, and there are 4 titles that are not where they should be.

Phooey, I'm calling it a night.