Monday, July 07, 2008

Link-Mad Monday: Catchup!

After a deliciously long Fourth of July weekend (barbecue with friends, watching fireworks from a rooftop, spending a long Sunday shopping, browsing and drinking in Brooklyn), it's back to the working week. I'm way behind on link posting, so here's a sampling of the best I've come across from the last month or so -- pretty unrelated.

- Thanks to the ALP for pointing out the Salon article on the books that have influenced Barack Obama, from fiction to philosophy to politics. Fascinating stuff. Key quotes:
"If Obama is elected, he'll be one of the most literary presidents in recent memory."
"All presidential candidates would like to be seen as resembling Lincoln -- even those who aren't gangly master orators from Illinois."
"Obama the reader and writer has already shown an affinity for pragmatism, whether it's the Cabinet-level maneuverings of Lincoln or the "Let's make a deal" activism of Alinsky or the "a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do" geopolitical realism of Niebuhr."
- Here's something to add to my collection of bookish T-shirts.

- Comics in the Classroom is a great resource for teachers AND the rest of us comics geeks.

- Tech-minded book buddy Steve Colca pointed me to PersonaNonData, another great blog on tech and publishing.

- And PersonaNonData led me to Zoomlii, a site that lets one "browse" "bookshelves" online, then buy interesting-looking titles from Amazon.com. Put this into the don't-know-how-I-feel-about-this category -- browsing has always been one of the things (among many) we tout as the advantage of real-live, brick-and-mortar stores, yet Zoomlii is doing a pretty fair job of simulating that experience virtually. It's pretty fun to use, but on one level it makes me feel a bit sick -- just one more thing we don't have to leave the house for, and one more advantage to buying from Amazon. But you still can't recreate those booksellers hanging out, making recommendations, or helping you find "that one about the monster in Italy..." What would be REALLY cool would be if indie bookstores themselves could use this technology to let customers browse their hand-picked, highly curated bookshelves in virtual format -- and have the sales go to indies rather than corporations.

- Steve's all into taking advantage of tech from the indie perspective. He's putting out news on new titles, events, news, and giveaways from W. W. Norton through Twitter. Despite my misgivings, one doesn't have to be a Twitter subscriber or read tweets on cell phones to see it -- you just subscribe to the RSS like a regular blog, and get 140 characters of distilled info for your trouble. Good deal.

- And finally, here's a bookstore I'd love to visit... mmm, yummy. A husband-and-wife team (one a former Brooklynite) are the proprietors of Rabelais, a bookstore in Portland, Maine dedicated to books on food, wine, farming, etc. As you might guess, they frequently have delicious foodie book events, like Mark Kurlansky signing The Last Fish Tale, all manner of wine tastings, a cookie swap, and more. A great ideal for a store incorporating some of the things that make life worthwhile.

That's all for today. Have a great week, and happy reading!