Monday, December 29, 2008

Great Article from NYT on the current world of bookselling

Through my participation in the ArtsJournal newsletter I found this article from the New York Times about the person to person nature of book selling. It's very telling in a way, that those who most continue to buy books, are those who are slowly re-inventing the commerce in books.

The article is here.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Indiana State Library

The Indiana State Library, The Center for the Book, has two efforts underway for school age children to participate in. River of Words and Letter about Literature. Both have been underway for some time and are nearing the end of the entry period.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Frances Mayes, Author of Under the Tuscan Sun at IUPUI in October

Frances Mayes, best-selling author of Under the Tuscan Sun and A Year in the World, will deliver the inaugural Efroymson Lecture on International Art, Culture and Heritage at IUPUI on October 8, 2008. The speech is free and open to the public.
Mayes, whose remarks are titled, “Writing in Place: Travels with My Notebook,: will talk about traveling and living abroad during her lecture, which begins at 7 p.m. in the Multipurpose Room on the fourth floor of the IUPUI Campus Center, 420 University Boulevard, Indianapolis.
After the lecture, Mayes will participate in a book signing at the Barnes & Noble Bookstore in the Campus Center at 8:15 p.m.

From the Bio included in the press release from IUPUI:

Frances Mayes has always adored houses, and when she saw Bramasole, a neglected, 200-year old Tuscan farmhouse nestled in five overgrown acres, it was love at first sight. Out of that instant infatuation has come four marvelous, and hugely popular, books: the bestsellers Under the Tuscan Sun and Bella Tuscany; In Tuscany, a collaborative photo-textbook with her husband, the poet Edward Mayes and photographer Bob Krist; and Bringing Tuscany Home: Sensuous Style from the Heart of Italy, another collaborative book with Edward Mayes and photographer Steven Rothfeld. All four highly personal books are about taking chances, living in Italy, loving and renovating an old Italian villa, the pleasures of food, wine, gardens, and the “voluptuousness of Italian life.”

Her first novel, Swan, a family saga and mystery, returns Mayes to her childhood home of Georgia and was published in 2002. A film version of Under the Tuscan Sun, starring Diane Lane, was released in fall of 2003. Frances Mayes was the editor for the 2002 Best American Travel Writing. She is also the author of the travel memoir entitled A Year in the World: Journeys of A Passionate Traveller, which immediately debuted as a New York Times bestseller in 2006. Working again with Steven Rothfeld, she published SHRINES: Images of Italian Worship, also in 2006.

A widely published poet and essayist, Frances Mayes has written numerous books of poetry, including Sunday in Another Country, After Such Pleasures, The Arts of Fire, Hours, The Book of Summer, and Ex Voto. Her work The Discovery of Poetry: A Field Guide to Reading and Writing Poems is widely used in college poetry classes.

Formerly a professor of creative writing at San Francisco State University, where she directed The Poetry Center and chaired the Department of Creative Writing, Mayes now devotes herself full time to writing and to her “At Home in Tuscany” furniture and accessory lines. She and her husband divide their time between North Carolina and Cortona, Italy.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Maurice Sendak Birthday Event Monday

Maurice Sendak's 80th birthday, already past but being celebrated with a fete this coming Monday. I've always loved his work, I travelled through snow to see a show in Indy several years ago, but my favorite is the Nutcracker by Hoffman illustrated with Sendak's set designs and drawings for the opera production.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Rudyard Kipling and skiing in Vermont

According to a story, about the WPA Vermont state guide in the New York Times today, evidently Mr. Kipling is credited with introducing skiing to Vermont, through the agency of skis originating with Arthur Conan Doyle. One of those literary bits of trivia that are rather unexpected.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Orwell Diaries to be posted

Orwell diaries are going to be posted, day by day, 70 years after the entries were penned. The Orwell Prize, in association with the Orwell Trust, Political Quarterly and the Media Standards Trust, will be publishing on the blog at

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Now, The Mark Twain House at Risk

Hard on the heels of the financial difficulties of the Edith Wharton Foundation, comes news that the Mark Twain house in Connecticut is about to drown in debt. Considering the fortunes of Mr. Clemens himself, who was forced to economize by living in Europe for years, it might be poetic justice.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Wharton's Mount Saved, This Week anyway

In the ongoing saga of the attempt to keep Edith Wharton's The Mount intact and open to the public... From Bloomburg, dateline April 24:

"The 97-year-old estate where the Pulitzer Prize-winning author penned ``House of Mirth'' and found inspiration for ``Ethan Frome'' has temporarily avoided foreclosure after raising $800,000 by today's deadline, Susan Wissler, the executive who runs the property, said in an interview. "

50 Top Cult Books Telegraph UK

The Telegraph has published a list of the Top 50 Cult Books, which they tried to define but neded up with..."What is a cult book? We tried and failed to arrive at a definition..." But probably everyone one has read at least one book on this list. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance was one of my favorites, Number One Son is a fan of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and Hunter S Thompson, and I think I probably still own my paperback copy of The Master and Margarita. Words & images always has a least one copy of Gibran's The Prophet on hand. But I can't see anything on this list that the LanternGuy probably read. Hmmmm

Monday, April 14, 2008

Edith Wharton's Home, Again

An associate professor at University of Cincinnati (right up the road, so to speak) weighs in on the issue of "The Mount" and the financial difficulties that the foundation supporting it faces.

Monday, April 07, 2008

The Book Store is The Big Box Store

A story in Washington Post on Saturday discusses the latest shift in the book selling world--to the Big Box discounters. The history of the move from independent stores to the 'category killer" to the neighborhood Wal-Mart or Costco is detailed. In some eyes the recent news that B&N may be looking at buying Borders smacks of deja vu all over again at the next level up.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Edith Wharton Home faces foreclosure

The New York Times reports that "The Mount" is struggling with operational support.

Although not her residence for the greater part of her career, it was where she authored House of Mirth

Friday, January 04, 2008

Barsetshire in the New York Times

Verlyn Klinkenborg has a nice little commentary about the Barsetshire novels of Angela Thirkell. He mentions that they share the geography of Trollope, if I remember correctly Thirkell is actually a cousin or some such relation to Trollope. I've always enjoyed the books, and have several in inventory.