Thursday, April 25, 2013

Ye Olde Partners Page

*A Collection of Antiquarian Curios & Relics*
"If I wanted to, could I depend on you, my friend
So if we dream again, then maybe . . ."
--October 26, The Pretty Things

B. Traven Jr. stands on the exterior steps of the Abe Vigoda Memorial Theater in New York City. It is night, but between the two searchlights near the street and the light spilling forth from the glass doors in front of the theatre, it is well lit. He is speaking into a recorder, "A reliable source has told me to wait outside here. He claims that the literary event . . . Wait! I'm hearing a loud thrumming noise. It sounds like the boiler room in an early 20th century ocean liner. Holy mackerel! A British police box has just materialized before my very eyes. Could it be?"

He rummages around in his knapsack, pulls out a copy of the Doctor Who Character Encyclopedia (9781465402677)16.99, and says, "I knew this would come in handy. Ha, ha!"

The door of the Tardis cracks open and The Doctor sticks his head out. He looks perplexed, "Do I know you?"

"B. Traven Jr. here. And yes and no. You will know me in your next incarnation, and we will meet in the future, but not as of yet."

The Doctor steps out of the Tardis with his red-headed companion in tow, "Right! This is Donna Noble. There must be a reason I'm here. Hmmm, Abe Vigoda is still alive in my timeline. Something doesn't smell right. We better go inside."

They push through the glass doors, brush past the ushers, and then stand in the doorway into the amphitheatre. The hall is packed with an audience in black tie and formal wear. B. Traven Jr's eyes focus on the speaker at center stage and his blood runs cold.

Behind a lectern, Rupert Murdoch is on a dais speaking into a microphone, " . . . As the sponsor of this year's Gatsby Awards, I am proud to present these winning titles that exemplify both the talent and style of F. Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda Fitzgerald. This year's winner in fiction goes to Therese Fowler for Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald (9781250028655) 25.99. And here to accept her award is Meg Wolitzer, author of The Interestings (9781594488399) 27.99."

Meg pecks Rupert on the cheek and says, "On behalf of Therese, I would like to thank you all for this wonderful award. She really wanted to be here, but Therese is in Mozambique researching her next novel. She said . . ."

The music from the orchestra pit rises towards a crescendo until Meg leaves the stage. The music stops.

Rupert smiles, "Sorry Meg. Time's up. I would also like to present the winner of the Gatsby Award in non-fiction to Clifton Spargo's Beautiful Fools: The Last Affair of Zelda & Scott Fitzgerald (9781468304923) 26.95. Come on up . . ."

The Doctor's jaw drops, "Oh no, it is him! Rupert Murdoch is The Master!"

Odds & Sods

In the state of Michigan, there has been a huge void in the bookselling business. No, I am not talking about Borders. I'm not talking about Shaman Drum. I am talking about a reasonably priced Michigan photo book to have as a keepsake for vistiors or to give as a gift. I will fret no longer. Thunder Bay Press has released their latest title, Views of Michigan (9781933272351) 19.95. The void has been filled!

Pabst Blue Ribbon is hot with the hipsters. Paul Bialas is back with a new edition of Pabst: An Excavation of Art (9780985672522) 60.00, which now includes a DVD. Thumbing through these photos, one can almost see the ghosts of beers past . . .

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Ye Olde Partners Page

*A Collection of Antiquarian Curios & Relics*
"[Vietnam] only made billionaires out of millionaires. [Iraq] is making trillionaires out of billionaires. Now I call that progress . . ."
--Kurt Vonnegut
(Camera pans Double D's studio library and settles on Stoner Bill and Double D leaning on opposite sides of a table.)

Stoner Bill: (Under his breath) Dude, how long are we locked into this contract? All the money in the world isn't worth this corporate crap. I hate this show . . .

(Knocking on a door offstage)

Double D: Shush! Oh hey, Bill, who could that be at the door? Oh look, it's B. Traven Jr., the second most interesting man in the world. Oh, and he has brought a six pack of Colt .45. I bet it is smooooooooothalicious!

B. Traven Jr: Hi, Bill and Dolby Dee. It is so great to be back in the states. I've returned from exploring Swamplandia! (9780307276681) 14.95 in search of The Pale King (9780316074223) 16.99 on Train Dreams (9781250007650) 12.00. Ha, ha! See what I did there? It was like a literary Mad Lib of rejected Pulitzer Prize in Fiction nominees from last year. Ha, ha!

Double D: You are quite the card B.T. That reminds me, this year's winners for the Pulitizer Prizes sponsored by Progressive Auto Insurance were announced on Monday. Adam "You doesn't have to call me" Johnson won for his fiction title, The Orphan Master's Son (9780812982626) 15.00. Gilbert "Don't call me Stephen" King was awarded the non-fiction prize for Devil in the Grove (9780061792267) 15.99. Fredrik "of Hollywoods" Longevall was honored in the History category for Embers of War (9780375504426) 40.00. In biography, Tom Reiss "Pieces" garnered the award for The Black Count (9780307382467) 27.00. And finally, Sharon "This is not your father's" Olds took home the coveted trophy in the poetry category for Stag's Leap (9780375712258) 16.95. Now, that's Progressive!

Stoner Bill: So what brings you to our neck of the woods B.T.?

B. Traven Jr: Ha, ha! I'm so glad you asked. I was inspired by Moses Gates' new book Hidden Cities: A Memoir of Urban Exploration (9781585429349) 16.95 to visit Detroit and do a little urban exploration of my own. I've found that the Linn's Belle Isle to 8 Mile (9781467557528) 22.00, which gives a great overview of the Detroit area, to be an excellent guidebook.

Double D: Say yes to Michigan! We'll be right back after these messages.

Odds & Sods

Later in today's episode of The Real Booksellers, B. Traven mentions his favourite book of the year, Mark Mazzetti's The Way of the Knife: The CIA, a Secret Army, and a War at the Ends of the Earth (9781594204807) 29.95. And from the Partners' Weather Centre, I have noticed a recent uptick in sales over the past few days . . .

In what I assume is a logical progression, we have moved from The FastDiet (9781476734941) 24.00 by Michael Mosley to Haylie Pomroy's The Fast Metabolism Diet (9780307986276) 26.00, which should be back in stock next week . . .

Have a Happy Earth Day!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Ye Olde Partners Page

*A Collection of Antiquarian Curios & Relics*

"What have we done, Maggie what have we done?
What have we done to England?
Should we shout, should we scream
'What happened to the postwar dream?'
Oh Maggie, Maggie what have we done?"
--Roger Waters, The Postwar Dream
1) PARANOID EYES . . . Joseph King, er, Joe Hill's new one NOS4A2 (9780062200570) 26.99 (Nosferatu), which has a laydown date of April 30, has already been getting starred reviews in various publications. Not to go all English Lit on you, but I was intrigued by a review that said, "[He has] well defined characters." And maybe it's my penchant for post-modernism literature, but I thought to myself, 'Is this good? Do I know people in the real world who are well defined characters? Aren't we all a bit amophorous?' Whatever. In further King clan news, not only do we have Papa King's Under The Dome (9781439149034) 19.99, which releases as a CBS 13-part (!) mini-series on June 24, but his first book Carrie (9780307743664) 7.99 will also debut as a new movie on October 18. As Mel Brooks once said, "It's good to be the King!"

2) ONE OF THE FEW . . . When I think back to Elizabeth Strout's Olive Kittredge (9780812971835) 15.00 as a paperback, I believe I could have retired if I had received a dollar for every copy we sold. So imagine my surprise a couple of weeks ago when I realized, 'Hey, nobody put in big initial buys for The Burgess Boys (9781400067688) 26.00.' Granted, the hardcover of Olive Kittredge didn't burn up the charts, but she did win The Pulitzer Prize for that title, so you would suspect her next title to do well. Just sayin'. Also, along the same lines, Kate Atkinson's Life After Life (9780316176484) 27.99 could be this year's Olive Kittredge. The word on the street is that the other wholeasalers are out of stock on this one. Now we need to find this year's Fifty Shades Of Gray . . .

3) THE HERO'S RETURN . . . For some reason I keep picturing Tom Cruise driving a race car when I see this title, but The Detroit Free Press' Days Of Roar (9781600788994) 14.95 has everything to do with the Detroit Tigers' incredible playoff run last year, and nothing at all to do with NASCAR. This is your opportunity to join in the Tigers' hunt for the World Series and relive the intoxicating excitement of Miguel Cabrera's quest for the Triple Crown. Sure they didn't win it all, but the ride was fun, and they certainly exceeded any of my expectations . . .

4) YOUR POSSIBLE PASTS . . . There are so many Sylvia Plath biographies out there that I could tell you, if I did the research, what she was doing every day of her life at, say, 9:45 AM. It may be overkill, but what this tells me is that there is a market for Plath books, and American Isis (9780312640248) 29.99 by Carl Rollyson is the latest entrant. This one should be cooking . . .

Odds & Sods

After a long bout with cancer, Roger Ebert, everyone's favourite cantankerous movie reviewer passed away last week. His memoir Life Itself (9780446584968) 15.99 sold out upon news of his death, but we should have more stock next week. He is still my most beloved Bloodhoung Gang reference . . .

And finally, the commercials for Leonardo DiCrapio's The Great Gatsby (9780743273565) 15.00 are starting to run at a feverish pace. I'm sorry, but this movie will be big blockbuster whether we like it or not. The movie cover is (9781451689433) 15.00 and will release on April 23 . . .

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Ye Olde Partners Page

*A Collection of Antiquarian Curios & Relics*

"What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans, and the homeless, hether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty or democracy?"
--Gandhi, Non-Violence in Peace and War
Dearest Mick--

Chip, my manservant, was just wheeling me out the door to catch Richard Branson's personal spaceship when your package arrived via the parcel post. Chip was planning on piloting my helicopter to Roma since the runways in Napoli are much too short to accommondate SpaceShipTwo. Its arrival was actually very timely. I find Richard's bombastic narcissism to be tedious at best. I know some affluent friends find hunting homeless people on a deserted sub-tropical island extremely exhilarating, but with my limited mobility-- it has become quite a chore.

So instead, I had Chip crack open a bottle of 1792 Madeira and we sat down to explore your latest care package. I see my good friend Caroline Kennedy has constructed a new collection of poems called Poems to Learn by Heart (9781423108054) 19.99. I commented to Chip, "Hasn't she already done this book a couple of times already?" Chip nodded, but he noted that April is National Poetry MonthTM. I may not have mentioned to you that I was a frequent visitor to both the White House and Hyannisport when her father was President. Now those were some rollicking parties! You have not lived until you have seen a very intoxicated Robert McNamara stumbling around with a 'Kick Me' sign on his back and a lampshade on his head.

I was pleased to see the new reprint of Gloria Whelan's Farewell to the Island (9781882376926) 8.95, which features a new cover, in Chip's hands. This title is the second in the series, which began with Once on This Island (9780064406192) 6.99, and unfortunately, the concluding volume in the trilogy, Return to the Island (9780064407618) 6.99 is now out of print. Not only did I teach Gloria in one of my classes at the University of Michigan, but in the time period of these books, my paternal grandfather was a fur trapper in northern Michigan. In those days he was known as Wolverine Wilson, and he was so successful that he became the original owner of the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island.

I was also pleased as punch to see that another of my students, Joyce Carol Oates, who would later teach at the University of Detroit with me, has just released her gothic masterwork The Accursed (9780062231703) 27.99. In fact, during the ongoing spat between Upton Sinclair and Jack London featured in the book, I make a cameo appearance. Stephen King has just given it a smashing review in a recent New York Times Book Review. I am so glad that you sent this one; Chip will be reading it to me tonight.

Warmest Regards,
Charles Edmund Wilson III

Odds & Sods

Jonathan Rand may be laid up, but this has given him an opportunity to write. We have received American Chiller #37: The Underground Undead of Utah (9781893699557) 5.99. You better order your copies before they all get eaten . . .

It's only April and I think I've already found my favourite book title of the year. How can you resist Amy Stewart's The Drunken Botanist (9781616200466) 19.95? And I will leave it at that . . .

We've been having a run of Michael Moss' Salt Sugar Fat (9781400069804) 28.00. I would recommend that you keep an eye on this one . . .