Good day, bookies! Stand by for news.
*** Ebay has not done anything robustly stupid for the last 24 hours, so let’s report on this latest bit of nonsense from that dying company. I have 25 saved searches with them. That is, when someone posts something that qualifies I get an email. Great system, I have bought a lot of stuff that way over the years. Only now the dunces killing the company have eliminated prices from saved searches. You have to click on the item to see the price. And since all that’s left there are the same items over and over again, there’s nothing fun left to discover and a lot more trouble to discover it. So I canceled all 25 searches. Does anyone really wonder why Ebay is dying?
*** Borders financial woes continue. And while I’m no fan of chain bookstores, I have to admit that Borders is the best of the lot. Not only do they have an interesting selection, they are very pro-active in offering stuff for you to entice you into their stores. The Borders Rewards program is free and offers much more than the lousy Barnes & Noble plan does, and B&N charge you $25 for the privilege of buying from them. So I’m sad at having to post this link, and hope that Borders will find a way forward. If we have to have chain bookstores, Borders is the least objectionable of the lot.
*** Beaufort Books, the US publisher of The Jewel Of Medina, has moved the books’ publication date up from October 15 to next Monday, the 6th. Nothing like a firebombing to get a book some attention. And in London, three men were arrested for said arson attack.
*** Wanna guess the 10 highest paid authors of the year? I post this link to the list without comment as to the worthiness of those involved…wait! This is a blog. I’m supposed to comment as to the worthiness of such people. Cool.
Okay, James Patterson. You must be kidding me. I know he’s immensely popular, I know that a lot of my friends read every one of his books, but I have a real problem with authors who their publishers describe as a ‘brand.’ Stuart Woods has achieved this same status. Gack. JK Rowling, fine, no problem there. Dean Koontz? Okay by me. And Danielle Steel…look, I grew up reading comic books, you wanna read her, it’s fine by me. And the best news? At least Patricia cCornwell isn’t on the list.
*** Dorothy Kilgallen was always on TV when I was growing up, usually as a panelist on some game show that I can’t remember. And I always wondered who she was and why she was famous. A new book proposal promises to tell us why. Did you know that she landed the only interview with Jack Ruby? I didn’t. And that her death might be linked to her investigations of JFK’s assassination? I didn’t know that, either.
Yesterday, Thursday, I was doing that job most booksellers dread: I was writing book descriptions for new inventory being loaded into my database. It’s tedious, not really much chance to be creative, but just as soon as you don’t pay attention you will miss a glaring defect that you will only notice the day you are preparing to mail that book to a customer. Anyway, I was logging in a pretty nice copy of Robert Gordon’s seminal Memphis music book, It Came From Memphis, when I did something else I often do: I read the first paragraph.
Weirdness enveloped me like fog in a Stephen King novel. The author begins the book talking about the blazing hot 4th of July, 1975, when the Rolling Stones played the Liberty Bowl, fronted by J. Geils Band and that quintessential American bluesman, Furry Lewis. That day is emblazoned in my mind like the symbol of a ranch on a horses’ hock. The whole paragraph could have been written by me, including seeing Lewis play under much more favorable conditions. (Namely, in a smoky bar late at night)
I don’t really remember whether the Stones were any good that day or not. By the time they finally took the stage I was in the middle stages of heat stroke and dehydration and might not even have been conscious. But I remember quite vividly when Furry Lewis came out, sat on his stool and showed everybody what authentic Delta Blues sounded like. If you love Memphis music and you haven’t read It Came From Memphis, you really should track down a copy.
This is your friendly neighborhood bookseller signing off.