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June 2010
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Archive for June, 2010:

Looking for a Vintage Keyboard?

posted June 25, 2010

Posted by Mariko Fujinaka in technology world literature

A while back I posted about vintage manual typewriters and how they have once again become desirable and popular. Well, if you are attracted to the look and feel of the old manual typewriters yet loathe to give up any modern technology, there is a solution for you—the USB Typewriter (TM).

Jack Zylkin modifies and sells vintage typewriters that can be plugged into just about any modern computer via a USB port. He sells these on his etsy site. In addition, you can purchase a D.I.Y. Kit if you already have an old typewriter you’d like to adapt, or you can send Jack your old typewriter and have him complete the conversion for you.

French Pop Song of the Week: “En tête à tête” by M

posted June 23, 2010

Posted by Thomas Riggs in music translation world literature


Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be at a French rock concert? Well, here you go: Matthieu Chedid, better known by his stage name M, singing “En tête à tête” (about five years ago in Paris). One of France’s most extravagant and innovative rock stars, M combines the driving, rhythmic motion of rock with the elegant evenness of the French language.

Below are the lyrics and a translation.

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Gone 2 Paris–for the Shakespeare and Company Literary Festival

posted June 16, 2010

Posted by Erin Brown in Bookselling events literary awards uncategorized world literature


This weekend (June 18-20) in Paris, the much-venerated Shakespeare and Company bookstore is holding its fourth literary festival. Inaugurated in 2003, the festival has since settled into a biannual schedule, running in 2006, 2008, and now 2010. Each festival has centered on a different theme, including “Lost, Beat & New: Three Generations of Writers in Paris”; “Travel in Words: Celebrating Travel Literature”; and “Real Lives: Exploring Memoir and Biography.”

This year’s theme is “Storytelling & Politics”—appropriate, given that Shakespeare and Company founder George Whitman (now in his nineties) has always seen his bookstore as a political vehicle, even describing it as “a socialist utopia masquerading as a bookstore.” Check out this video to get a sense of the unique literary atmosphere he created.

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Bookstore Readings

posted June 15, 2010

Posted by Mariko Fujinaka in Bookselling book design books marketing trends

Amy Karol book reading

Do you attend bookstore readings? I am fortunate to live in Portland, Oregon, home to many bookstores, including the venerable Powell’s Books. I could probably go to a bookstore reading on a daily basis, and I often read through the listings in the local paper with great interest. The truth, though, is that I rarely go to bookstore readings. I never gave it much thought other than to attribute it to laziness, but then I saw this article, “The Dreaded Question: What is a ‘Reading’?” in the Huffington Post. The piece is by bookstore owner Alex Green, who talks about how the label “reading” is not quite accurate. He writes that “many of us are reluctant to attend a reading because we don’t know what one is, and we become afraid that something egregiously uncomfortable, or boring, is going to happen.” Green then goes on to explain that readings, at least at his bookstore, are engaging and lively discussions.

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Cool New Poetry Book Covers

posted June 10, 2010

Posted by Anne Healey in book design poetry

What is it with poetry book covers? They’re so often boring or ugly. I think a major reason for the ugly ones is simply that small presses can’t afford to hire a proper designer. And there’s an understandable concern about overinterpreting the poetry itself. Also, there’s a general idea that the cover must be staid in order to convey the seriousness of the book’s contents. But so many poetry books seem to be saying glumly, “Oh, don’t mind me, I’m poetry. You’re probably not going to like me unless you already know me. I don’t blame you. I’m kind of boring.”

Come on, poetry books! Don’t be so modest. You’re too beautiful to sit around in that frumpy old bathrobe. Here are a few looks you could try on!

book cover for Shot by Christine Hume Book cover for The Crow's Vow by Susan Briscoe

Fancy Beasts, by Alex Lemon book cover Book cover for Wait: Poems by C.K. Williams

Book cover for The Plot Genie by Gillian Conoley Book cover for Lucifer at the Starlite: Poems by Kim Addonizio

Christine Hume, Shot; Counterpath Press, 2009

Susan Briscoe, The Crow’s Vow; Signal, 2010

Alex Lemon, Fancy Beasts; Milkweed Editions, 2010; Cover and interior design by Christian Fuenfhausen

C.K. Williams, Wait; Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2010

Gillian Conoley, The Plot Genie; Omnidawn Publishing, 2009

Kim Addonizio, Lucifer at the Starlite; W.W. Norton & Company, 2009

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