Sunday, January 04, 2009

Link-Mad Monday: Back to the Future!

Happy 2009! The time for year-end lists, including mine, is past -- time to look at some interesting new stuff again. Behold, the linkage!

- New York Comic Con is a-comin' (February 6-8), and Lance Fensterman's blog is once again featuring genius lo-tech superhero promo videos.

- Coming up even faster: Winter Institute IV! (January 29 - February 1) I am so jealous of everyone who is going -- there is some good stuff going on, and I hope to participate vicariously through whatever virtual means possible...

- The Leonard Lopate Show had a call-in segment devoted to changing reading habits on New Year's Eve that's worth listening to. For a piece about the "new" world of books, there's a fair amount of the same old doom-and-gloom. But IBNYC member Bonnie Slotnik has a great remark at the bottom of the comments that reminds folks that even in changing times "bookstores are here to stay."

- I saw the film The Curious Case of Benjamin Button with a good friend over the holidays. It was not especially good, in our opinion, and had essentially nothing to do with the F. Scott Fitzgerald source novella. You could buy one of the two graphic novel versions we're stocking at McNally Jackson, or even download a free e-book version to check it out for yourself (it's in the public domain, after all). Personally, I could not agree more with Sara Nelson that the movie's basic plot owes far more to Andrew Sean Greer's The Confessions of Max Tivoli than to Fitzgerald. But Greer's has much, much better dialogue and more interesting surprises, and won't make you feel like you've wasted three hours of your life. I highly recommend throwing your entertainment buck to Andrew rather than Brad & Co. this time.

- Max at The Millions has an awesome post about IndieBound and concurrent initiatives by indies to improve their web presence by building on their strengths. One I'm totally gaga over: the Seminary Co-Op bookstore in Chicago (that's Obama's bookstore, y'all) reproduces its entire front table on its blog every week, by displaying cover images with links to buy of all the featured table books. So! Cool! Doing what we indies do best (curating the best books for our customers) with the tools of the internet? Priceless.

- After long hearing rumors that it was closed or going to close, I've finally read that the Librairie Française on Rockefeller Center is slated to close this fall. (No, the reason is not "e-books" or "the internet" or "no one reads..." -- the reason is their rent is going from $360K to 1 million, which is unsustainable no matter what business you're in.) This will be a real loss: as of now, the store is only reliable place to find books in French, Italian, and other European languages in NYC, and we send customers there often. I hope that as happened after the closure of several Spanish language bookshops, the general bookstores will take up the slack for our polyglot city of readers.

- Okay, maybe we still need a little retrospection. Brockman at the PowellsBooks.Blog recaps the Year in Book News, Part 1 and Part 2. (Brockman is one of the few book world snarks whose wit and general humanism redeems him in my book; another is our own bookstore blogger Dustin.) And GalleyCat ambitiously recaps the Year in Publishing News month by month, starting with romance novel plagiarism in January and winding up with Black Wednesday in December. But they've got stiff upper lips over there: my favorite post title linked is "We Want No Part of Your Death Culture." That's totally going to be the name of my band's first album.

- On the Bookstore in Brooklyn blog today, there's an announcement about our bookstore plans -- to wit, we're putting things on hold temporarily because of the economy. Obviously, I'm feeling somewhat sad about this. But I do think it's the right decision, and until we're able to move forward, my goal is to re-commit myself to the great bookstore job I have now, and the other book world projects that have been on back burners. Your thoughts and comments appreciated.

- I had some good fun with GoodReads during the last days of the holidays. I uploaded all the books I read in 2008 to my bookshelf (I'm working on adding reviews) and added a widget to this lil' blog so you can see what they are. And I started the Never-Ending Book Quiz. CAUTION: Extremely addicting. Book Nerds and booksellers especially at risk.

So there: you've got your upcomings, you've got your recaps, you've got your totally irresistible time-waster. Full stocked for the first Monday of '09! Welcome to the year, book friends -- as Dustin writes, let us enjoy the richness of books without ever taking it for granted.