Back in action

Good morning bookies! Stand by for news.

First, on a personal level, I’m sorry that I haven’t been on top of this blog for the last week or so. My last uncle died Thursday and we have been saying goodbye. He was of that generation that won World War II and served his country for 34 years, was a gourmet cook, grew his own vegetables, fished…well, the Greatest Generation. We’re going to miss men such as he.

*** And now, on to book news! If you own a Brick & Mortar bookstore, beware. Who knew it was such a dangerous occupation? I mean, come on. The British are supposed to be known for their polite reserve, somebody needs to tell this clod.


*** ABEbooks is once again having issues with some of its features that are used by sellers. In particular, sellers are unable to print shipping manifests, making it impossible at the moment to ship their orders. This has happened many times in the past and never lasts long, but is another indication for customers that sometimes a bookseller is dealing with things behind the scenes that cause their orders to ship late.

*** With our never-ending fascination with all things Nazi, in an effort to understand how such a regime could come to power, we have examinations of just about everything that happened before, during and after the Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. But new topics are still coming to light and intrepid authors are digging up forgotten but important subjects.

In 1931 Hans Litten prosecuted four Brown Shirts (SA men) for assault and attempted murder. The Weimar Republic may have been a weak democracy but it did have the gears and machinery in place to protect all of its citizens, and there were brave men who stood against the rising tide of violence and tried to impose law and order. Few survived the coming years. This book seems to overplay the actual threat that Hans Litten posed to Hitler and the Nazis, a forgiveable stance that many non-fiction authors take.


And, since we’re talking Nazis again, surely fans of films such as Raiders of the Lost Ark (Nazis in 1935 chasing about jungles and looking for artifacts) and The Boys From Brazil (Nazis building an empire in South America) will read this story and understand where the concepts for those movies (and the book of The Boys From Brazil) came from. There really were Nazis mucking about the Amazon basin and promoting its use as a place for expansion.


*** Another bookstore is passing into history, this time in Amherst. Your friendly neighborhood BBG never had the pleasure of visiting the store, but he would have if he could have.


*** Obituaries: Last Thursday, photo-journalist Alex Rivera, famous for his work covering the Civil Rights Movement, died at age 95 in Durham, N.C. Hal Roth, author of 12 books and an avid sailor who circumnavigated the world three times, died in Easton, MD., after a 2 1/2 year battle with lung cancer. He was 81.

*** I find it very encouraging that in this age of aesthetically bereft non-art such as ebooks, there are still people who go about lovingly making books the way that books have been made for centuries, as crafted objects that are not only beautiful but will stand the test of time. That’s just one small part of the 3rd annual New York Art Book Fair, held last weekend, but to me it’s quite an important part. Humans in general are losing our ability to make things, to actually construct something the way it has always been done, something with endurance. I find this whole Art Fair most satisfactory.


*** Remember Joe Eszterhas, screenplay writer for ‘Basic Instinct’, ‘Showgirls’ and many other movies? In 2001 he was diagnosed with throat cancer and has been battling the disease ever since. But not alone. His new book, Crossbearer: A Memoir of Faith, tells of his re-connection with his Catholic faith and subsequent survival. Living now in Ohio, if you see him watching his kids play Little League, don’t be surprised.

*** Yes, like billions of others, I’m a James Bond fan. Not in every shape and form, mind you, Sean Connery has no equal (not even a pretender to the throne) until now, but while I didn’t particularly love Roger Moore or the other Bonds, I didn’t hate them, either. So if I had the time I think I probably would read Sir Roger’s new Bond biography My Word is My Bond. Stuff like this might be thought of as trashy, but then, who cares?


*** And who knew that the next big thing would be business books? Not me, but such appears to be the case in the wake of the credit crisis/Congressional mis-management of their duties/Bailout/recession. Personally, I like it. Somebody makes money no matter what the economy does, might as well be authors.


*** This just in: archaeologists have found the oldest Hebrew text ever unearthed on a pottery shard near the valley where David slew Goliath. preliminary dating puts the age at 3,000 years old and, while it has yet to be fully translated, a few words can be made out.


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