Friday, November 30, 2012
Saturday, November 24, 2012
--The Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk, in an interview in the New York Times Book Review, Nov. 11, 2012.
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Friday, November 16, 2012
I was somewhere in Seattle last month when I came across these locally made (for Seattle, that is), incredibly good chocolate covered cherries. The Pinot Noir and the Cabernet are my favorites, but there are more to choose from.
So now you can get your books and your chocolate at The Regulator. And while they last, we have some samples you can try--if I can keep our staff from eating them all.
And speaking of samples, if you know of other excellent, independently made chocolates from other parts of the U.S., we'd be glad to hear about them--and try them! This could be the start of something...
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
with all due respect to Jane Austen, and to Mr B's Emporium of Reading Delights in Bath, England, from who we stole this quote: http://www.mrbsemporium.com/
Only two hours until Katy Munger leads our Blast From the Past Reading series, discussing Pride and Prejudice!
Thursday, November 8, 2012
"(The author) wallows in his own laughter and finally drowns in it..."
The review from the Atlantic Monthly:
"There is a difference, after all, between milking a joke (the great gift of the old comedians) and stretching it out till you kill it..."
The review from the New York Times:
"...it gasps for want of craft and sensibility...The book is an emotional hodgepodge, no mood is sustained long enough to register for more than a chapter..."
The book in question, arriving to these terrible reviews, was published back in 1961.
A book that was this bad, published more than 50 years ago--it would figure that it soon sank from view. Who would know about it today? Well, you might be surprised. The book was Joseph Heller's Catch 22.
(Review quotes from Rotten Reviews Redux: A Literary Companion, edited by Bill Henderson. Pushcart Press, hardback, $18.95)
Friday, October 26, 2012
Katy is issuing a special invitation to the men of Durham: she asks you to swallow your pride and set aside your prejudice about Austen. It is time for you to join the women of Durham in celebrating Austen's remarkable ability to capture the essence of unforgettable secondary characters with a single phrase or mannerism. Forget Lizzie. Ignore Mr. Darcy. November 14th will be a time to examine how Austen has managed to paint a devastating portrait of virtually every male archetype in a single volume. And the women? Let's talk about those sisters, all of them... and that mother... and let us not forget Lady Catherine de Bourgh or Miss Bingley. We've all known the modern version of them!
(Please note that the special invitation to men does not extend to zombies...).
As part of the evening, you are asked to come prepared to admit to feeling a certain kinship with one of the book's characters. You are also welcome to come prepared to read the paragraph that made you feel that way, though nothing is required. It will be an unconventional and entertaining discussion of Pride and Prejudice sure to be enjoyed whether you are a hardcore Austen fan or have always wondered what the fuss was about. Don't miss it!
Durham resident Katy Munger is the author of seven fabulous mystery novels--which certainly more than qualifies her as an "accomplished woman" in the view of Jane Austen.
Our Blast From the Past Reading Series meets at the bookshop every other month. For each meeting, a local literary luminary picks a favorite book published in the 20th century or before. The only further qualification is that the book be one that a reasonably well read person will have heard of, and perhaps read.
Monday, September 17, 2012
Thursday, September 13, 2012
See the Times article here: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/10/really-using-a-computer-before-bed-can-disrupt-sleep/?pagewanted=print
Of course reading about this might keep you awake--you are currently reading on one of those sleep-killing screens! And I wrote this on one. And the Times article was not printed in the paper version of the newspaper, only in the on-line version....
For more, see:
Monday, September 3, 2012
Durham will be the center of Junot Diaz's world on Thursday, September 20th, when he reads from his new book, This is How You Lose Her, at Motorco Music Hall, 723 Rigsbee Avenue, starting at 7:30. Tickets are $5.00, available now at The Regulator, or at the door until we fill the place. The tickets may be used as a $5.00 credit for any Junot Diaz book, or as a store credit.
Don't pass up this opportunity to hear one of the best and most engaging writers of our time!
A few things from the Times article that especially caught my eye:
Thursday, August 9, 2012
Over the years I've heard many authors say heartfelt words of thanks and appreciation for independent bookstores. These tributes are always good to hear, but the fact remains that independent bookstores face long odds in the battles being played out in today's bookselling world. Less than 10% of the books sold in this country are sold through independent bookstores, and that percentage has certainly not been expanding.
One author who can especially relate to the underdog status of independent booksellers is the novelist Ann Patchett, who opened a bookstore of her own in Nashville, TN last November. So I was especially looking forward to hearing what Ann had to say when she stepped up to the microphone before about 500 independent booksellers to accept an award as "Most Engaging Author" at a Celebration of Bookselling luncheon in New York in early June.
And what Ann Patchett had to say was...well, you really need to hear it yourself, which you can do by clicking on the link below. Suffice it to say that it was incredibly inspiring-even to a cynic like me-and I was pretty much blown away. I told her this afterwards, for which I received a wonderful hug.
So here's Ann Patchett, writer and Shakespearean actress, on "We Band of Bookselling Brothers":
Friday, August 3, 2012
Monday, July 23, 2012
The Indy (a.k.a. The Independent Weekly) celebrates Indies (a.k.a. Independent Bookstores) in the Triangle
As for D. L. Anderson's "Action Figure" photo of John and me that accompanies the article, a publishing friend emailed me this :
"Love that photo of you and John out in front of your store. it reminds me that all of us who love this business are slightly….demented. Or at least we look it."
To which I replied:
Hey, thanks. This has got to be the best back-handed compliment I've had in years. And it explains so much about why we book people really dig hanging out together..
What can I say? It's a great business (to use that term loosely) to work in. We get to spend much of our day with books and with people that read and write them.
Thursday, May 24, 2012
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
The New York Journal of Books called Green Gospel, “…powerful writing…[Fiore is] as skillful as they come at putting a reader in a place and time.” ForeWord Book Reviews said, “From cover to cover, there is not a dull moment in Green Gospel...an accomplished writer has arrived on the scene with a fireball of a novel.” And the Southern Literary Review said, “The novel contains hauntingly beautiful passages that read like poetry, and the characters are nuanced and achingly real.”
The Regulator was pleased to host the book launch event for Green Gospel last summer. Our congratulations to Charles (a.k.a. LC) Fiore!
Sunday, May 13, 2012
The first three paragraphs:
"FRANZ KAFKA wrote that 'a book must be the ax for the frozen sea inside us.' I once shared this quotation with a class of seventh graders, and it didn’t seem to require any explanation.
Thursday, May 3, 2012
Sunday, April 15, 2012
"If you were to pop by Anne Tyler's house in leafy Roland Park, Baltimore, on a Tuesday afternoon, you might interrupt her and five women friends deep into an episode of The Wire. They have seen all five seasons three times, and are discussing how soon they can begin a fourth viewing....
Today, Tyler is in London. In the literary world this is news. Before the publication of her latest novel, The Beginner's Goodbye, she hadn't given a face-to-face interview for almost 40 years – and before that she gave only two. Her reluctance to submit to the demands of today's publicity machine means that any newspaper feature (there are remarkably few) inevitably compares her to the reclusive Salinger.
But when we meet, on a sunny spring morning in Kensington, it's hard to imagine anyone less like the irascible Salinger; with her silver fringe, upright posture and smiling eyes, she radiates equanimity, friendliness and goodness, if that doesn't sound too Tylerish. Literary editors and journalists had given up even inquiring if she might grant an interview – why has she agreed now?
'It's sort of whimsical. I'm 70. And I thought, why not?' The same answer she gave to her husband when he asked her to marry him."
Wednesday, April 4, 2012
Rereading Books Good for Mental HealthReading a book more than once can offer mental health benefits, according to a study published in the Journal of Consumer Research.
The Daily Mail reported that the study, based upon interviews with readers in the U.S. and New Zealand, found that the "first time people read--or watch--through, they are focused on events and stories. The second time through, the repeated experience reignites the emotions caused by the book or film, and allows people to savor those emotions at leisure. The 'second run' can offer profound emotional benefits."
"By doing it again, people get more out of it," said Cristel Antonia Russell of American University. "Even though people are already familiar with the stories or the places, re-consuming brings new or renewed appreciation of both the object of consumption and their self."
Read the Daily Mail article here: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2101516/Reading-book-really-better-second-time-round--reading-offer-mental-health-benefits.html
And if you want to experience this effect for yourself, you could do worse than rereading The Great Gatsby and then coming to our Blast From the Past Reading Series on April 18th, when Allan Gurganus will lead a "Great" discussion of Jay Gatsby, Daisy Buchanan, and Nick Carraway.
Monday, April 2, 2012
See the Berkshire Hathaway Business Wire article about this study at: http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20111018006948/en/Study-Shows-Thriving-Small-Businesses-Lift-Real
Thursday, March 29, 2012
He praises the superiority of physical books over digital ones, and mentions a certain Durham bookstore that is close to my heart. Here are some lengthy excerpts from the column. You can read the whole thing at http://www.thedurhamnews.com/2012/03/28/211720/in-praise-of-books.html
From "In Praise of Books in Print by Robert Wallace:
"On a cool, rainy day in Cleveland I enter Mac's Backs and take in the smell of used books. Instantly I feel at home. Mac's is my home-away-from-home bookstore.
It is the bookstore my daughter and I visit together when I come to visit. Only a couple of blocks from her apartment, Mac's is part of a string of unique, eclectic stores on Coventry Street, much like Ninth Street in Durham.
On this day in March, my daughter and I enter Mac's, the rain blowing in behind us.
'Get what you want,' I say to my daughter.
We spread out; my daughter to the classics, while I explore the all-fiction section.
We settle in.
I pick up several books, read the front covers, and put them back. Then I pick up a book by Gabrielle Roy: “The Tin Flute.” I remove my eyeglasses from the breast pocket of my jacket, put them on, and read that this was Roy's first novel, written just after WWII. Roy is French Canadian, and the novel is set in Montreal, in the ’30s, and is supposed to be a classic story of realism of working-class families. John Steinbeck is my favorite author, and, I suspect, Roy's volume to be similar to his California novels.
Find number one.
Just then, Anna, my daughter, shows me a slim Penguin pocketbook volume of Aesop's Fables. Later she finds “Antic Hay” by Aldous Huxley. She reads, out loud, from the back cover, the novel's brief description.
'This sounds amazing,' she says.
Already she has two finds.....Over the years I have spent many an hour in bookstores, not one of them wasted.
I have, perhaps, two thousand books. Not many, really –I know people who have five times as much. Some are predicting the end of the book, the end of publishing as we know it. I hope that is not the case.
Books, by their very nature, possess something that a tablet can never do: physicality. They inhabit the world.
By way of example, Anna rushes over and shows me two books. One is a book by Bronte with beautiful, original lithographs. The other is a book with pages made of fabric. Anna rubs her hand across a page, and feels its texture and heft. You can't do that with an electronic tablet.
I understand the appeal: the electronic tablet's ease; its ability to download thousands of books, and therefore save space. But it is this ability to occupy space, to take up room, to exist, which appeals to me. Even when I’m not reading my books, I like having them around, I like seeing them. When I see an iPad, I don't see a book, and, consequently, I don't see an author. When I pick up a book, the author, and his or her words, becomes real to me, as if the words were written for me alone.
Later, when I return to Durham, I go to The Regulator Bookshop, to browse. I love The Regulator. I can’t imagine Durham without it.
'Life is a succession of habits, since the individual is a succession of individuals,' Samuel Beckett said. With each time I enter The Regulator Bookshop, or, for that matter, any bookstore, I count my life all the richer."
Thursday, March 22, 2012
Just in!--one of my favorite books of the year. The book is The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human by Jonathan Gottschall. The premise of this remarkable book is that stories are an essential element of human life. A part of our existence that is on some ways so obvious—hidden in plain sight, if you will—that it has been completely overlooked by science and psychology.
Think about it for a minute. We spend our lives immersed in stories. They are read to us and we act them out when we are young, and we read them, listen to them (song lyrics, anyone?), watch them, and tell them constantly. Why do we do this? What does this do to us and for us?
There’s a trove of fascinating stuff in this book--like studies that show that people who read more fiction are more empathetic; that children the world over act out the same kinds of stories, but boys’ stories and girls’ stories are almost always different. The good news is that Jonathan Gottschall (a young scholar from Washington and Jefferson College) is a great storyteller himself. Grab a copy of The Storytelling Animal and get ready to be enlightened, entertained, and amazed. --Tom Campbell
“Man—let me offer you a definition—is the storytelling animal. Wherever he goes he wants to leave behind not a chaotic wake, not an empty space, but the comforting marker buoys and trail signs of stories. He has to keep on making them up. As long as there’s a story, it’s all right. Even in his last moments, it’s said, in the split second of a fatal fall—or when he’s about to drown—he sees, passing rapidly before him, the story of his whole life.”
--Graham Swift, Waterland
Friday, March 16, 2012
Scott Turow: Justice Department suit against publishers would be "tragic." (Amazon is the real threat to our literary culture).
Here, in full, is author Scott Turow's letter to the members of the Author's Guild. Turow (a lawyer and a former federal prosecutor) is the current Author's Guild president:
Yesterday's reports that the Justice Department may be near filing an antitrust lawsuit against five large trade book publishers and Apple is grim news for everyone who cherishes a rich literary culture.
The Justice Department has been investigating whether those publishers colluded in adopting a new model, pioneered by Apple for its sale of iTunes and apps, for selling e-books. Under that model, Apple simply acts as the publisher's sales agent, with no authority to discount prices.
We have no way of knowing whether publishers colluded in adopting the agency model for e-book pricing. We do know that collusion wasn't necessary: given the chance, any rational publisher would have leapt at Apple's offer and clung to it like a life raft. Amazon was using e-book discounting to destroy bookselling, making it uneconomic for physical bookstores to keep their doors open.
Just before Amazon introduced the Kindle, it convinced major publishers to break old practices and release books in digital form at the same time they released them as hardcovers. Then Amazon dropped its bombshell: as it announced the launch of the Kindle, publishers learned that Amazon would be selling countless frontlist e-books at a loss. This was a game-changer, and not in a good way. Amazon's predatory pricing would shield it from e-book competitors that lacked Amazon's deep pockets.
Critically, it also undermined the hardcover market that brick-and-mortar stores depend on. It was as if Netflix announced that it would stream new movies the same weekend they opened in theaters. Publishers, though reportedly furious, largely acquiesced. Amazon, after all, already controlled some 75% of the online physical book market.
Amazon quickly captured the e-book market as well, bringing customers into its proprietary device-and-format walled garden (Sony, the prior e-book device leader, uses the open ePub format). Two years after it introduced the Kindle, Amazon continued to take losses on a deep list of e-book titles, undercutting hardcover sales of the most popular frontlist titles at its brick and mortar competitors. Those losses paid huge dividends. By the end of 2009, Amazon held an estimated 90% of the rapidly growing e-book market. Traditional bookstores were shutting down or scaling back. Borders was on its knees. Barnes & Noble had gamely just begun selling its Nook, but it lacked the capital to absorb e-book losses for long.
Enter Steve Jobs. Two years ago January, one month after B&N shipped its first Nook, Jobs introduced Apple's iPad, with its proven iTunes-and-apps agency model for digital content. Five of the largest publishers jumped on with Apple’s model, even though it meant those publishers would make less money on every e-book they sold.
Publishers had no real choice (except the largest, Random House, which could bide its time – it took the leap with the launch of the iPad 2): it was seize the agency model or watch Amazon's discounting destroy their physical distribution chain. Bookstores were well along the path to becoming as rare as record stores. That’s why we publicly backed Macmillan when Amazon tried to use its online print book dominance to enforce its preferred e-book sales terms, even though Apple’s agency model also meant lower royalties for authors.
Our concern about bookstores isn't rooted in sentiment: bookstores are critical to modern bookselling. Marketing studies consistently show that readers are far more adventurous in their choice of books when in a bookstore than when shopping online. In bookstores, readers are open to trying new genres and new authors: it’s by far the best way for new works to be discovered. Publishing shouldn’t have to choose between bricks and clicks. A robust book marketplace demands both bookstore showrooms to properly display new titles and online distribution for the convenience of customers. Apple thrives on this very model: a strong retail presence to display its high-touch products coupled with vigorous online distribution. While bookstores close, Apple has been busy opening more than 300 stores.
For those of us who have been fortunate enough to become familiar to large numbers of readers, the disappearance of bookstores is deeply troubling, but it will have little effect on our sales or incomes. Like rock bands from the pre-Napster era, established authors can still draw a crowd, if not to a stadium, at least to a virtual shopping cart. For new authors, however, a difficult profession is poised to become much more difficult. The high royalties of direct publishing, for most, are more than offset by drastically smaller markets. And publishers won't risk capital where there's no reasonable prospect for reward. They will necessarily focus their capital on what works in an online environment: familiar works by familiar authors.
Two years after the agency model came to bookselling, Amazon is losing its chokehold on the e-book market: its share has fallen from about 90% to roughly 60%. Customers are benefiting from the surprisingly innovative e-readers Barnes & Noble's investments have delivered, including a tablet device that beat Amazon to the market by fully twelve months. Brick-and-mortar bookstores are starting to compete through their partnership with Google, so loyal customers can buy e-books from them at the same price as they would from Amazon. Direct-selling authors have also benefited, as Amazon more than doubled its royalty rates in the face of competition.
Let's hope the reports are wrong, or that the Justice Department reconsiders. The irony bites hard: our government may be on the verge of killing real competition in order to save the appearance of competition.
This would be tragic for all of us who value books, and the culture they support.
Scott Turow, President
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
--Whatever It Is, I Don't Like It by Howard Jacobson. From the author of the Man Booker Prize winner The Finkler Question, a collection of columns he has written for England's Independent newspaper. A curmudgeon with a sense of humor and a way with words. One three and a half page gem after another. What's not to like? Paperback, $18.00.
--Starting from Happy by Patricia Marx. A funny boy-meets girl (and their life together) novel, told in short vignettes.
Thursday, January 26, 2012
World Book Night is a campaign to find light or non-readers in the community and hand them each a book. Person-to-person. To get more people reading.
World Book Night is a celebration of reading and books which sees tens of thousands of passionate volunteers give away books in their communities to share their love of reading. Successfully launched in the U.K. in 2011, World Book Night will also be celebrated in the U.S. and Germany in 2012, with more countries to come in future years.
The deadline to sign up is February 6th! And yes, you can give your books away during the day of April 23rd as well as in the evening.
Sunday, January 8, 2012
In December, The American Bookseller's Association debuted the IndieBound Reader, which works seamlessly with all Android (and now with all IOS--Apple--devices). All you have to do is download the Reader, which you can do here and then buy your ebooks through the Regulator's web site.
With the IndieBound Reader, you get:
* Adjustable font, font size, line spacing, margins, and more to customize your reading experience
* Note-taking and bookmarking functions
* Brightness controls and "Night Mode"
* Support for eBook standards, such as Adobe Digital Editions, ePub, and PDF
* Google account integration and easy, behind-the-scenes activation
* Integration with the Regulator's IndieCommerce website for eBook browsing & buying (this is not available for IOS)
What more could you want? Competitive pricing? Yes, we have that too.
Surely you've seen the headlines announcing "Amazon loses price advantage on digital books?"
Yeah, well me missed them too. This has to be one of the best-kept digital secrets ever. The fact is that the six biggest U.S. publishers have adopted the "Agency Model" for their eBook pricing. Which means that no matter where you buy their eBooks, the price is the same. And these six publishers account for 75 to 80% of all the books we sell at The Regulator. What all of this means is that it is high time to
Retire Your Kindle!
The kindle is designed to make you order eBooks from Amazon. And let's face it. Amazon is Non-Local Number One. None of the money you spend at Amazon stays in our local community. And not only is Amazon non-local, for the past few years they have been vigorously anti-local as well, fighting tooth and nail to remain exempt from collecting sales tax, even in states where the have warehouses or other facilities. Their philosophy has been clear. Let other suckers pay the taxes that keep the roads maintained for the trucks that deliver Amazon's packages. Amazon has been insisting on literally getting a free ride, and by and large they have succeeded.
For those of you out there who are supporters of things like the local food movement--if you are doing your reading on a Kindle, perhaps you need to think again. Because now you can read digitally and shop locally! We thank you.
Monday, January 2, 2012
Laurent, who was spotted leaving a local restaurant New Years Eve wearing a sticker that said "Local Author," will discuss his new book Thursday evening, January 12th, 7:00 at The Regulator. It's hard for me to imagine a more engaging author.