The Rare Bookseller
Have you ever made a literary pilgrimage?
A fun question Powell’s asked author Gail Carriger. Have you? The first one that comes to mind for me is when I went up to New York to see St. John the Divine. I’m a massive Madeline L’Engle fan, and many of her books are set on the close.
Here is a revolver.
It has an amazing language all its own.
It delivers unmistakable ultimatums.
It is the last word.
A simple, little human forefinger can tell a terrible story with it.
Hunger, fear, revenge, robbery hide behind it.
It is the claw of the jungle made quick and powerful.
It is the club of the savage turned to magnificent precision.
It is more rapid than any judge or court of law.
It is less subtle and treacherous than any one lawyer or ten.
When it has spoken, the case can not be appealed to the supreme court, nor any mandamus nor any injunction nor any stay of execution in and interfere with the original purpose.
And nothing in human philosophy persists more strangely than the old belief that God is always on the side of those who have the most revolvers.
Today, in book teasers.
Yesterday Lev Grossman sent out an email updating everyone on the possibility of a Magicians television show (he’s still working on it), what he’s done in the last 9 months that haven’t involved writing fiction (he became a dad again, worked at his day job, and met John Green, among others), and the status of Magician’s Land. According to him the contract for the book is in the works and a decent chunk is already written. He closed with the following:
p.s. Just because I can, here are the first few paragraphs of Chapter 4, which is from Eliot’s point of view, and which features a character who is in all but name, Strong Belwas from A Song of Ice and Fire:
The Lorian champion was a squat fellow, practically as wide as he was tall, and apparently of some slightly different ethnic background than most of his compatriots. The Lorians were Vikings, basically, Thor types: tall, long blond hair, big chins, big chests, big beards. But this character came in at about 5 foot 6, Eliot would have said, with a shaved head and a fat Buddha face and a significant admixture of some Asiatic DNA. He was stripped to the waist even though it was about 45 degrees out, and his latte-colored skin was oiled all over. Or maybe he was just really sweaty.
He had a gut hanging over his waistband, but he was still a pretty scary-looking mofo. He had a huge saddle of muscle across his upper back, and his biceps were like thighs, practically, and there must have been some muscle in there, just by volume, even if they did look kind of chubby. It wasn’t a flabby gut, either; even his fat looked hard. And his weapon was weird-looking enough — it was a pole with a big curvy cross of sharp metal on the end—that you just knew he could do something really outlandishly dangerous with it.
The Lorian army went nuts for him when he stepped forward. They bashed their swords into their shields and looked at each other as if to say: yes, he may look a little funny, but our fellow is definitely going to kill the other fellows’ fellow, so three cheers for him, by Crom or whoever it is we worship. It almost made you like them.
Almost. But there was no chance that he was actually going to kill the Fillorian champion, Eliot’s champion. Because Eliot’s champion was Eliot.
O is for OYSTERS
Anton Chekhov was a fan of oysters. Coincidentally, when Chekov died, his coffin was transported in a freight car with ‘OYSTERS’ in large letters on its side. Walt Whitman, also an oyster lover, often ate them for breakfast. When friend John Burroughs told the poet he ate “too much blood and fat,” he went on to recommend that oysters be dropped from Whitman’s morning menu.
Alternately, Isak Dinesen lost weight with the following diet: oysters and grapes, washed down with champagne.
Jane Hu, Writer Food From A To Z | The Awl
Fun fact: My entire extended family goes to St. Augustine for a week every summer, and a few years back we rented the house that Majorie Kinnan Rawlings bought with her Pulitzer Prize money.
It’s a gorgeous funky old beach house with all of the Cross Creek pots and pans on the walls and a wonderful book collection. Outside of the house, on the North end especially, is an absurd amount of oyster shells. Apparently she liked to have friends over to eat oysters and drink, and they would throw the shells and empty liquor bottles over the edge of the porch.
We did it, you guys! ‘Burg Books is officially a recipient of the first Awesome St. Pete grant! We’ll be teaming up with Community Writing Spaces to bring you more awesome than you’ll know how to handle.
Holy shit tonight was amazing. Thanks again to everyone, especially the trustees of Awesome St. Pete. I cannot wait to get this project off the ground.
I sent this paper to JK Rowling explaining how the wizarding gene could be singular, autosomal, and dominant despite the protests of a bunch of fans who stopped learning genetics after Punnett squares in 4th grade. Warning: contains science and is not approved for Creationists.
Nerdery at it’s finest. This is wonderful.
Oh man. We had pallets upon pallets of these boxes. We signed agreements to not open boxes before 12:01 under any circumstances, we counted and counted and counted, making sure we had enough copies, and I spent hours setting up a system for pre-order pickups. And when the book came out? I was in Paris. Alone.
I couldn’t handle missing out on the biggest bookselling night imaginable, so I went to the nearest store and volunteered my services as an English-speaking bookseller. Best decision ever. I got to run the costume contest, help almost everyone who came into the store, and award prizes for all of the games.
More than anything, though, it was great to see how universal bookselling is. I slipped into this store’s routines so easily - it was like knowing where the beats are in my favorite standup routines.
They gave me a copy of the book for free and I stayed to help them clean up. When I left around 2am, I started walking home, and I noticed that everywhere - on every bench, in every open cafe, at every taxi stand - were people sitting and reading the book. The metro was closed, we all had to either walk or wait for a cab, and so everyone had just found a spot and started reading. It was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen.
Any of you kids doing Infinite Summer this year?
I’ve still never managed to get all the way through, but I’ve only tried twice, both times on my own. I really wanted to do this last summer, but my schedule was madness. What I’m saying is, I think 2012 is my time. Anyone coming with me?
With malice toward all. Maurice Sendak’s feelings on:
Ebooks: “I hate them. It’s like making believe there’s another kind of sex. There isn’t another kind of sex. There isn’t another kind of book! A book is a book is a book.”
New York: “You get pushed and harassed and people grope you. It’s too tumultuous, it’s too crazy!”
The American right: “These Republican schnooks would be comical if they weren’t not funny.”
Rupert Murdoch: “His name should be what everything is called now.” But he publishes you! “Yes! Harpers. He owns Harpers and I guess the rest of the world, too. He represents how bad things have become. But I don’t know a better house. They’re all in trouble. They’re all terrible.”
Salman Rushdie, who once gave him a terrible review in the New York Times: “That flaccid fuckhead. He was detestable. I called up the Ayatollah, nobody knows that.”
Roald Dahl: “The cruelty in his books is off-putting. Scary guy. I know he’s very popular but what’s nice about this guy? He’s dead, that’s what’s nice about him.”
Stephen King: “Bullshit.”
Gwyneth Paltrow: “I can’t stand her.”