Good morning bookies! Stand by for news and comment.

Storms are expected later today here in West Tennessee. Your friendly neighborhood bookseller dislikes storms intensely, much preferring calm, sunny weather with a gently rolling surf lapping at his ankles, a cool drink sweating in the sand by his side and a fascinating book begging to be read. Sigh…

…okay, back to reality.

*** An Estonian firm has published a calendar featuring re-touched reproductions of Waffen-SS recruiting posters from World War II. Naturally, this has sparked controversy.

The Russians don’t like this at all. They are offended. Of course, Russia tried to wipe out Estonia in the first place, so they are offended by its very existence. In 1940 Stalin overran the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and eliminated them without provocation. He did this for two reasons: first, because he could and second, he did it while the rest of the world was distracted with Hitler beating up on the French, Dutch and Norwegians. When the Germans overran The Baltic States themselves in 1941, they gave them back at least nominal independence. They then proved to be fertile recruiting grounds for the Waffen-SS as men joined to defend their homeland against the Red Army.

The calendar is history, even if the infamous Waffen-SS lightning bolts are air-brushed out and replaced with a sword. No doubt many are upset at seeing the images of German soldiers, but at least as many must surely be upset by images glorifying Russia. You can’t please everybody, and when did it become necessary to try?

Estonian calendar causes uproar

*** There’s yet more on the whole issue of whether a ‘holocaust memoir’ is made up, partly true or wholly true. That horse has been dead for weeks but the New Republic keeps trying to beat it back to life. Here’s the link to their latest ‘journalism’, with as much objectivity as they usually show in their work. Heck, the article is listed in their politics section. I thought it concerned a new book, but apparently to them this is a political matter. Quite telling, if you ask me.

The New Republic continues beating up a couple of old people

See, here’s the deal: who cares if it’s true or not? If it’s a good story, it’s a good story. The man has said this is how he remembers it, so if it’s apocryphal, so what? But apparently the snots at the New Republic are offended that this old man has made a lot of money without their blessing. It’s not like they haven’t peddled fiction and called it true.

*** Next weekend Memphis will see the one and only book fair that is held in this entire state. It’s put on by another bookseller here in West Tennessee. BBG won’t be there as a seller, life keeps intruding and making such things difficult, but he will be there as a friend-of-the-court. I’ll try to take some photos of the exciting goings-on. Here’s the details.

What: Overton Park Antiquarian Book Fair
Place: Parkview Retirement Community, the Ballroom
1914 Poplar Avenue, at Overton Park, Memphis
Dates: Saturday and Sunday, January 3 and 4, 2009
Times: 10-5 Saturday, 11-4 Sunday
Admission: Free.
Parking: Free street parking