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Welcome to you, March!

Welcome to month 3 of 2014. Wow.

  • We found these photos of our cats on various social networks. Thank you for the love, social media! #dollysbookstore #bookstorecats  
  • Making more time for books in your life is a vital practice:

    http://www.elephantjournal.com/2011/12/26-great-books-youve-been-too-busy-to-read/

  • Which classic author is YOUR soulmate?

    http://www.buzzfeed.com/dianabruk/which-classic-author-is-your-soulmate

  • How to grow up via your favorite books:

    http://www.buzzfeed.com/ariannarebolini/books-to-read-based-on-your-childhood-favorites

  • 5 Literary Scenes you do not want to miss, made out of Lego:

    http://www.buzzfeed.com/ailbhemalone/5-marvelous-literary-scenes-made-out-of-lego

  • Our favorite Main Street places to eat:

    http://ski.curbed.com/archives/2014/02/the-18-essential-ski-town-spots-in-park-city-february-14.php

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Why World Book Night Matters to Everybody.

 

 

LogoDolly’s is participating in World Book Night again this year. And we could not be more thrilled about it. Read this blog piece by our friends at Village Books to find out why:

World Book Night is a funny thing. It’s sort of paradoxical, if you think about it. For one thing, it doesn’t actually take place at night. For another, it’s all about handing things out for free and there actually isn’t any catch. It is a growing celebration of both the elegantly written word and the bound and printed page in an era of increasing pixelation and isolation. As an event, it’s unconventional and surprising, rare and awe-inspiring.

And I’m a book guy, and I like to talk about books, so for me the fact that World Book Night is exciting and great is a little bit of a no-brainer. After all, it’s an entire day devoted to putting books into the hands of people who wouldn’t ordinarily read them. It not only encourages but requires givers to talk about their favorite books, something most of us, myself included, will happily do for hours with no provocation at all.

And then there’s the list of books. What a list it is.

This year’s list of World Book Night titles is easily the best ever. Catch-22 and Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential share the bill with Tales of the City, The Botany of Desire, and Cheryl Strayed’s Wild. There’s more short fiction (Rebecca Lee’s deservedly acclaimed Bobcat tops the list) and some graphic novels, too. There are books with large print, and books in Spanish. There is something here for every reader, and it’s visceral, it’s alive, it’s out on the streets. This is passion for literature at its very finest.

But that’s not what’s really remarkable about an event like World Book Night.

We like to say, these days, that we’re wired, that we’re always on. Our phones talk to our computers, our computers talk to our cars, and everything in our lives seems to keep tabs on us. We are hooked up and dialed in and synchronized in every imaginable way.

In a world where our possessions do the talking for us, there’s very little room to talk to each other. And as a result, we don’t do it so much anymore.

I know you’ve probably heard this argument before, but I’d like to ask you to take a moment and really think about it now. In a single day, how many people do you interact with, face to face? Think. Of these, how many are immediate family members, or people you live with? How many are co-workers, or friends you’ve known for years?

How many are total strangers? Any?

We used to talk to people – to bus drivers, to cabbies, to grocery clerks, to the folks we were sharing the elevator with. We used to exchange pleasantries, make eye contact, laugh about the weather or a seasonally appropriate sports team. And sometimes, just once in awhile, we’d have conversations as unexpected as they were fulfilling, as brief as they were meaningful.

I’m sure this still happens. Of course it does. But in a world where our constant quest for connection, for connectivity, has bred mass disconnection, it’s even rarer than it used to be.

I’m not what you’d call an extrovert. I’m not a guy who seeks out social situations, or puts himself at the center of the crowd. But I, for one, wish that we would connect a little more.

And herein, I’d like to suggest, lies the true value of World Book Night.

Anybody who’s familiar with the ever-popular genre of time-travel science fiction has probably heard of something called the Butterfly Effect. It goes like this: somewhere in China, a butterfly flaps its wings, and this very slight disturbance of the air sets in motion a chain of events resulting, perhaps centuries later, in a hurricane off the eastern seaboard of the United States. A cooking fire in ancient Turkey spawns a drought in modern Texas. A squashed flower in a long-ago South America leads to the extinction of a species of bird one thousand years down the line. There are infinite variations on the theme, but the central element remains the same – a minute, inconsequential, seemingly random action can have monumental effects in another time and place.

But let’s forget, for a moment, about the insects and the storm systems. Let’s talk now about people and books, and about very short conversations and everyday connections and how an action you barely think twice about might change someone’s life.

Say a guy is walking through an unfamiliar city and is about to make a left turn. He looks lost, and a city resident suggests he make a right turn instead and check out a fantastic cafe. Maybe that guy takes the right and ends up meeting his future wife. Maybe he avoids the runaway garbage truck which, seconds later, comes barreling down the street from the left-hand side.  Maybe he just gets a really good cup of coffee. Maybe.

Or maybe a woman sees a man in a lobby or a waiting room or on a bus and thinks he seems down, and shows him an already-wrinkled snapshot of her newborn granddaughter. Maybe it’s just a picture she’s showing to everybody. But maybe this man has been considering taking his own life today. Maybe this is just what he needs to keep living, to keep moving forward. Maybe not. But maybe.

Maybe a girl who only reads when she has to passes by someone in a park with a box of books. And maybe she picks out Code Name Verity, or Miss Perengrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. Or maybe it’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower or This Boy’s Life.

And maybe she doesn’t like it, but passes it on to a friend. Or maybe she reads it and loves it and keeps it, and starts looking for other books just like it. Maybe she realizes that the book she really wants to read is one that hasn’t been written yet. Maybe she sets out to write that book.

Maybe, years from now, that girl wins the Pulitzer Prize for fiction.

Maybe.

World Book Night is a day for books. But it’s about more than books, too.

It’s about talking to strangers and sharing something you love. It’s about connection instead of connectivity.

So, we’re doing World Book Night again. It’s a little crazy, to be sure, and maybe it seems like our world is now too wired in and disconnected for a bunch of people wandering around handing out free books to make any difference, but if you think about it, it doesn’t take much. It’s only a couple of seconds, an abbreviated motion of the wrist and hand, a couple of shared words. Each book given on World Book Night, and each book received, is an instance of simple, profound connection in a world where it’s all too rare.

And if you ask me, that’s something.

On April 23rd, if somebody comes at you, offering a free book, don’t ignore them. Don’t act like you haven’t seen them, or pretend to check your phone. Don’t wave them away with a curt “maybe next time” (next time, after all, is next year). Instead, take a minute and talk.

Maybe you’ll realize you have a lot in common. Maybe you’ll hear a joke that will keep you laughing all day. Maybe you’ll get an anecdote or a restaurant recommendation or a piece of advice that will change your life someday.

Maybe you’ll just end up with a great book.

And that’s not so bad, is it?

-Sam

books

 

Note: This post is a reblog from Village Books, see: http://villagebooksblogs.typepad.com/village_books_blog/2014/02/why-world-book-night-matters-to-everybody.html

 

 

Cats + Children’s Books

If you know anything about Dolly’s Bookstore it is that we:

a. have 3 resident bookstore cats

b. love our cats

c. have a cat named Mr. Dolly, of Dolly’s Bookstore

 

George dol and pip

You can probably then venture to guess as to why we loved this piece in the Guardian this week–featuring the most beloved cats in children’s literature:

Judith Kerr’s Mog, whose demise was treated with the utmost gentleness and sensitivity by Kerr, is one of the most loved cats in children’s books

“Felines are just so beguiling aren’t they? Most cat owners would probably admit their pet is a walking paradox. Affectionate one minute, aloof the next. Stealthy and secretive, yet mischievous and playful. They’re certainly fickle: when I was growing up, two of our cats just sauntered off down the road to live with someone else. Rude.

Perhaps what makes cats so fascinating is their obvious belief that they’re just better than we are. Ah, we might call them our pets, but they’re beholden to no-one. A recent Japanese study proved it. The research confirmed that cats absolutely can differentiate between their owner’s voice and a stranger’s – but they’ll still only come when called by their owner if they darn well feel like it. Bothered? Meh.

As a species, the domestic cat provides endless material for writers – they’re wonderful creatures to anthropomorphise – and, as such, children’s literature is awash with feline villains, heroes and dappy, comical figures. Here are my 10 favourites.”

Pip Jones is the author of Squishy McFluff: The Invisible Cat! When Ava discovers an imaginary cat in the cabbage patch, she knows she’s found a new best friend. Together, Ava and Squishy McFluff get up to all kinds of mischief.

1. Gobbolino The Witch’s Cat by Ursula Moray Williams

This book is a true classic, which will entrance young children now as much as it did back in the 1940s when it was first published. Gobbolino is born different. He’s not black all over, as a witch’s cat should be. One white paw and the tabby sheen to his fur are indicative of his desire to be a cosy kitchen cat, loved by humans. But the kitten has to endure a long and winding journey on the way to finding his destiny.

2. Atticus Claw by Jennifer Gray

To name him in full, the crazily charismatic Atticus Grammaticus Cattypuss Claw begins his adventures as the world’s greatest cat burglar, a thief who can’t resist a challenge (or the potential rewards). Yet, through the series, Atticus’s life will take a different steer and children aged 7+ will lap up his transformation from a thief to the world’s greatest police cat.

3. Tabby McTat by Julia Donaldson

Tabby McTat is a busker’s cat – or at least he was, until he got separated from his owner. Fans of the wonderful Julia Donaldson will love the rhyme (as perfect and punchy as it ever is) and the tale of a streetwise tabby who accidentally discovers the finer things in life, but just can’t stop thinking about his long lost friend.

mog

4. Mog by Judith Kerr

The Mog books have been enjoyed by countless children since the 1970s but, just over a decade ago, Judith Kerr did something rather brave with her adored feline – she sent Mog to heaven. Mog helps a new kitten settle in to the family home before ascending completely, and it’s hard to imagine anyone else tackling the sensitive subject of loss quite so straightforwardly and yet quite so gently.

5. The Cat in The Hat by Dr Seuss

Theodor Seuss Geisel’s zany creation was intended as more than just a mischievous odd-ball who would rock up and wreck the house of Sally and her unnamed brother (much to the disgruntlement of a very sensible goldfish). The Cat in the Hat was specifically designed to spark the imaginations of early readers, who appeared to be finding the traditional 1950s Dick and Jane books as dull as dishwater. That Dr Seuss succeeded is inarguable. His crazy cat will most likely be in print forever.

6. The Cheshire Cat by Lewis Caroll

I still always feel a bit spooked when I think of Caroll’s otherworldly Cheshire Cat, who flits between offering Alice largely sensible advice, and then just amusing himself by deliberately irritating her. And as for disappearing to leave only his distinctive grin behind, well, talk about playing with your mind. He’s insanely brilliant.

7. Mrs Norris by JK Rowling

That it was the “dearest ambition of many to give Mrs Norris a good kick” perfectly surmises why she makes such a superb character in the Harry Potter books. The feline sidekick of Argus Filch is a highly intelligent, particularly nasty snitch, who stalks Hogwarts’ grounds and reports back any evidence of students misbehaving. Wonderful.

8. Six Dinner Sid by Inga Moore

When cats go out, their owners like to imagine them off having adventures, skulking around, climbing trees, being wild and all that. But it’s probably more likely they’re next to someone else’s fire three doors up, having finished their third (why hunt?) meal of the day. Six Dinner Sid is one such character. It’s a sweet story of a cat who really thinks he’s got it sussed, with all six owners believing Sid belongs to them… until they all find out. Busted!

9. Slinky Malinki by Lynley Dodd

“Slinky Malinki was blacker than black, a stalking and lurking adventurous cat.” Lynley Dodd’s imaginative rhyme is utterly addictive and Slinky Malinki himself is the embodiment of feline mischievousness. By day, he’s cheeky and friendly but, when night falls, the rapscallion cat can’t help but prowl the neighbourhood, thieving whatever takes his fancy.

10. Macavity by TS Eliot

While many villainous cats prowl the bookshelves, I think TS Eliot’s Macavity takes top prize. Why? Because he’ll never be turned, and he’ll never be caught! Soon to be re-released in picture book form, a whole new generation will be wowed by the illusive Macavity (said to be Eliot’s feline version of Sherlock Holmes’ nemesis Moriarty) and enjoy the spinetingling rhyme: “He’s the bafflement of Scotland Yard, the Flying Squad’s despair, For when they reach the scene of crime – Macavity’s not there!”

macavity

 

Courtesy of Pip Jones at The Guardian: http://www.theguardian.com/childrens-books-site/2014/jan/30/pip-jones-top-10-cats-fiction

Post-Sundance Balance

pippi & dollyAs the Sundance Film Festival winds down today, everyone begins to breathe a little deeper, sleep a little sounder, and begin the recuperation process — as perfectly demonstrated by our resident cats, Pippi & Dolly spooning above.

To further your rejuvenation process, here are some of our favorite bookish links as of late:

  • Literate cats are our favorite type of cats… 20 Cats Who Are Readers:

    http://www.buzzfeed.com/samimain/cats-who-are-secretly-excellent-readers

  • Dystopian fans?

    http://flavorwire.com/425625/15-works-of-dystopian-fiction-everyone-should-read/

  • Sherlock Holmes Informania! http://www.theguardian.com/culture/picture/2014/jan/04/infomania-sherlock-holmes
  • Defining literature of the past 5 years:

    http://flavorwire.com/425953/50-books-that-define-the-past-five-years-in-literature/3/

  • Children’s Books and What They Mean About You: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/17/childrens-book-series_n_4432884.html?utm_hp_ref=books
  • 19 Quirky Conundrums Only Book Lovers will Understand: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/10/book-lover_n_4562002.html
  • Books We Literally Cannot Wait for in 2014: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/wendy-webb/books-i-cant-wait-to-read_b_4564467.html
  • Children’s Bookstores for the win: http://dailycandy.com/everywhere/flipbook/164111/The-Best-Kids-Bookstores#slide=5
  • Baby Shower Literature Themes: http://www.buzzfeed.com/tabirakhter/8-adorable-baby-shower-themes-inspired-by-childrens-books-1
  • Book Accessories:

    http://www.buzzfeed.com/juliapugachevsky/book-inspired-accesories-youll-want-immediately

  • True Crimes:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/25/true-crime-books-_n_4316768.html?utm_hp_ref=books

  • 360 dye cuts that will make your curiosity bloom: http://www.thisiscolossal.com/2014/01/visual-narratives-cut-into-360-paper-books-by-yusuke-oono/

 

 

Author Events During Sundance 2014

  Dolly’s is always pleased to welcome authors and their books during this artful, zany, and exciting festival!

Here is a look at a few of our author events during Sundance 2014:

Polish interviewer, Agieszka Niezgoda and photographer Jacek Laskus, ASC signing their book, Hollywood PL Beyond the Dream: Personal Roads to the Silver Screen here at Dolly’s on Saturday, January 18th.

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Squire
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Jack Truman signing his book, NO BUDGET FILMMAKING or How to be a Well-Known Filmmaker & Be Broke at the Same Time, here at Dolly’s on Sunday, January 19.

Agent, stylist, and author William Squire with his book, The Model’s Workbook: A Hollywood Agents Step Guide to Launching Your Career!

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Albany

Author A.J. Albany with her book, Low Down, which was featured as a film at this year’s festival!

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Goodman

One of our annual favorites, Amy Goodman, graced us and her adoring fans with her presence on the last Friday of the festival. We love Amy and her work with Democracy Now!

Festivus for the Restofus

Christmas CatsWith Christmas literally 5 days away, we understand just how [in]sane you might be feeling, or the sheer chaos you might be immersed in, currently.

We urge you to take a moment and procrastinate/breathe [however you want to term it] with our latest blog finds, thoughts and musings:

  • Did you read any of these titles? Because they were deemed most unfortunately overlooked in 2013:

    http://nhpr.org/post/best-overlooked-books-2013

  • These are the 10 best holiday books that you never knew existed. Now is the time to experience the magic:

    http://flavorwire.com/429998/10-of-the-best-holiday-books-you-probably-havent-read/

    holiday potato

  • And just when you thought you had heard it all, holiday-wise–heard these?:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/r-clifton-spargo/the-12-weirdest-stories-o_b_4466300.html?utm_hp_ref=books

  • Other books given in books, aren’t these wonderful cross-references:

    http://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/dec/04/top-10-books-given-in-books

  • And just when your family is driving you crazy, this blessed, merry, and bright season–take the time to reflect on these twisted families in literature: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/marlen-suyapa-bodden/most-twisted-families-in-_b_3982521.html?utm_hp_ref=books

Here at Dolly’s we recognize that, unfortunately, not everyone is a reader. We have some excellent gifts in stock that don’t have the pages or binding. Pictured below are some gift ideas [available here at Dolly's] for the not-so-big-readers on your last-minute list:

 

 

Dolly’s Gift Guide

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“When you give a book, you’re offering a portal into another world and you’re asking someone else to step though,” Chronicle wrote. “Accepting a book recommendation can be a leap of faith, so it’s often best left to the experts. This is what makes local bookstores such a wonderful resource in the community. There’s always someone there willing to help you find the perfect gift.”

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  • The Globe announced their top 100.
  • As did the New York Times–are you surprised? What is your reaction?

As always, we here at Dolly’s would love to help you with all of your book-gifting needs. Contact us for suggestions, visit our staff picks in-store or online, or come wander the shelves for yourself!

 

 

Holidaze

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  • Children’s Book Reviews for Holiday Reads. These are so worth it and we have many here at Dolly’s.
  • And while we celebrate children’s books–how about these classics that began as mere bedtime stories.
  • We get it. Teens and adults rarely get along. But what if, in reading one another’s literature genres–we might be able to bridge that gap. What if–just what if we tried this list on for size.
  • You think you’ve read them all? How about these 10 books that contemporary culture has allegedly forgotten?
  • Speaking of contemporary culture–what if Harry Potter had an Instagram as a dad?
  • Our man Harry Potter is also featured on this priceless list of the literary characters you just want to slap.

rejected titles

  • Running out of room for your books? Try these innovative nooks and crannies for storage spaces.  I never thought I would use the words “innovate” and “cranny” in the same sentence.
  • Was the sequel better? Was it really? Was it written by an entirely different mind? Look at this list of surprising sequels and their authors.
  • We LOVE these perfect gifts for the book worm on your list.
    enlightened
  • And last, but definitely NOT least–this spoken word artist paid homage to our beloved “girls who read”. This is a piece of bookish culture you definitely want to consume.

Book Store Cat Applicant

And Now, A Few Words From a Cat About Literature

by 

cat applicant
To Whom It May Concern:

I am Dr. Lazarus Pinkbottoms, and I’ve been a shop cat for about 10 years. I’m writing today to inquire about working as your bookstore cat. I pass by your store on my nightly hunt for any scraps of pizza left behind by packs of Bar Cento bros on West 25th Street, and I’ve noticed you don’t have a sleeping cat in your window, nor any cats lazing on bookshelves for that matter. I hope this is an oversight or you’re just waiting for the right cat. I believe I am that cat.

Before my current employer took me in, I managed the bookstore at 1921 West 25th Street. You may remember the store was owned by a bearded man who rarely looked up from whatever he was reading, but I assure you, the nitty gritty business of running the store was left up to me, so he could stare at anything but your face and everything would still run A-okay.

You have a nouveau chic bookstore look and while that’s great for some hip youngsters that might come by late in the evenings before drinking craft beer all night, that look is likely scaring away people who can actually read.

I can, if you’ll allow me to be so forward, give you tips on how to make your store better.

First, I’ve noticed your store is cleaner than the previous owner’s shop and I’d gladly take the reigns as cat dander and dirt provider. A good indie bookstore should be covered in a light film of dust and the pages of books should be riddled with (my) black cat hairs. I think, with a concerted effort, my hair could cover the top of every book within my first month managing your store. This will add to customer’s sense of unearthing a hidden gem, like an archaeological dig for something that looks like something a smart person would have sitting on their coffeetable.

Second, the lighting: it’s too bright. Sure, people want to read, but most people, whether allergic to cats or not, will be sneezing and coughing the moment they walk in. All the more reason for them to find the book they’re looking for, buy it, and get out quickly without bright lights tempting them to read books inside the store. The lightbulbs now make people ask, “Why don’t I just stay here and read?” while people in the previous store asked, “Am I in a BDSM chamber?” We don’t want people sticking around too long. People suck.

Third, the books are ordered too rationally. This isn’t a library! We’re not giving these books out for free, are we? We’re not a public service letting a bunch of hooligans look at internet porn all day next to some well-sorted books! Get it together!

The books should be scattered everywhere and in no particular order. There should also be a few extremely specific sections where popular books can reside (in big chain stores these books would end up front and center on a table, the hacks!). The specific sections should have names like “21st Century Insufferable Travel Narratives” and “Things That Made The Managers Sad This Year.” Now instead of just walking in, seeing a book that everyone’s talking about and leaving with it immediately, your customers will engage in the joy of the hunt! A bookstore should look more like a maze than a Costco. People want a good challenge when they decide to shop locally. If it’s too convenient, it won’t feel like work!

I am ready to transform your store into veritable chaos.

My only concern is my starting salary (half can of tuna twice a day plus any small creatures I find on my own) and that you currently have no errant stacks of books on the floor for me to sleep on. I’m not calling you unprofessional. Don’t misunderstand me, please! I’m just concerned that your store is not following the regular indie bookshop protocol. You need at least three stacks of unsorted books blocking aisles at all times. That includes impeding access to fiction, nonfiction, and reference sections. Poetry and religion can be left unblocked since no one will enter these sections.

Also, I’ll need a few stacks of cardboard boxes blocking the bathroom and one person on staff whose only job is to pet me and ignore customers.

I’ve spent years of my life at the previous owner’s bookstore, doing my damndest to make book lovers from all walks of life feel unwelcome.

My responsibilities at the previous bookshop included:

-Prohibited children (or anyone else) from touching adult fiction books (laid across books, have had paws-on experience, swatted at customers I personally deemed unruly)

-Optimized pee-per-page book ratios

-Pest Removal or Pest Killing-And-Leaving-It-Right-On-The-Register

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

Dr. Lazarus T. Pinkbottoms

 

We found this via Cleve Scene — find it here.

We love it. For book store cats everywhere.

Mid-November Festivus!

Snow one day.

Sun the next.

Holidays fast approaching.

Ski season looming.

As Dolly’s continues to prepare for the festivities and fun that come with this major season transition–we have some entertainment for you in the mean time:

  • Our hearts, our minds, our books, and our sincerest condolences go out to this woman of words who passed just today at age 94. Thank you, Doris Lessing, for all of your remarkable works.
    dor
  • Are you intrigued by international literature? Have you ever considered taking yourself on a literary world tour? This one reader is attempting to–197 books later.
  • If you are a bookish human, tried and true, there is a statistically significant chance you may be an introvert. Here are 7 books that may speak to that inner and true you.
  • Where are our Sci-Fi readers at? These are arguably the top 25 of all time [so says the internet].
  • Ever read a passage that is simply good enough to eat? We love these ever so clever renditions of meals in literature.
    As seen below, the infamous meal described in Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar.

BellJar1_2714196k

  • We all know there are benefits to reading, but here it is in writing, should you require.
  • We all know the holidays can be chaotic, miserable, and stressful as hell–so, here are a few fantastical literary travel temptations.
  • Are these book sculptures something else or what?
    book sculptures
  • Lastly, you call yourself a book fan? Are you this committed to your favorite written words?

 

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