Etikettarkiv: bokhandel

Kortfilm: ”Wecome to the Last Bookstore” av Chad Howitt

Den här filmen handlar om en av världens mest spektakulära bokhandlar, The Last Bookstore i Los Angeles. Josh Spencer, som grundat och driver bokhandeln, råkade ut för en trafikolycka och blev rullstolsburen. Han berättar öppenhjärtigt om sin funktionsnedsättning och om kärleken till den fysiska boken. Han gav b0khandeln det ironiska namnet The Last Bookstore, eftersom han trodde att den skulle gå omkull efter några år. Men den har snarare blomstrat, mycket tack vare att man gjort de stora lokalerna så unika och trivsamma. Spencer är emellertid inte rädd för att misslyckas:

”I’ve lost things in my life much more traumatic than a business. … If I can deal with that, I can certainly deal with a business failing,” säger han bland annat.

Ett varmt tack till filmens skapare, Chad Howitt, som låter oss visa den på BearBooks.

Ola Wihlke

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Under Film video och ljud

Berl’s in Brooklyn, passionate about chapbooks and small press poetry

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In the autumn of 2013 a new bookstore opened in New York. The name of the store is Berl’s Brooklyn Poetry Shop and it’s unique – it’s the only bookstore in New York that only sells books of poetry. And if that’s not extraordinary enough – the store focus almost entirely on chapbooks and books from micro- and small presses. Presses like Ugly Duckling, Birds, LLC and Future Tense.

Berl’s is a family business and is run by the married couple Farrah Field and Jared White. They met when they studied poetry writing at Columbia University. Both are published poets. They soon married – even the marriage was a bit literary – and 2011 they started to sell chapbooks and books of poetry from small presses at Brooklyn Flea.

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At Brooklyn Flea they learned everything about selling beautiful but somewhat obscure books to people who might not be the obvious audience for contemporary and alternative poetry. When Field and White had a baby, Rome, they put their Flea market venture on hold while tending for him.

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Field and White had always dreamed of opening a proper bookstore, a space where they could arrange events and exhibit art, but it’s not easy to find affordable and suitable spaces in New York. But by a stroke of luck they found a space in DUMBO, Brooklyn, right below Manhattan Bridge, which is brilliant. There are several publishers, other bookshops and journals in the neighborhood as well – Verso, Melville House, powerHouse Books, P.S. Bookshop, n+1 just to mention a few.

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And quite a few residents in DUMBO and the environs both write and read poetry and attend readings, and European tourists find their way to Berl’s Brooklyn Poetry Shop as well, where they can buy colorful, hand printed, rare, playful and thought provoking chapbooks and books, most of them by American poets.

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The books at Berl’s are meticulously curated and they are displayed as pieces of art, despite the fact that a chapbook might cost as little as $10. At Berl’s poetry is all and we had the opportunity to ask co-founder and owner Jared White a few questions.

You are specialized in chapbooks and books from small presses. Can you explain what makes them so appealing and desirable?

– For us, discovering the vibrant ecosystem of small/micro publishers making chapbooks and books in an independent, do-it-yourself spirit was hugely inspirational to opening the shop. Here is a huge body of really exciting poetry writing being published for the most part under the radar, too diffuse, vast and rapid-paced for most bookstores to keep up with. It seemed a field in which we could really do something valuable and different than other bookshops in bringing a lot of these publications together, making them available and giving them a significant platform (and shelf real estate in our space).

– We struggle to do justice to the enormity of what is published and of course what we have in our shop is only a slice of what is out there and it is always a huge challenge to keep our inventory updated but we do the best we can to rise to the challenge of making a home for this kind of work.

Chapbooks appeal to me because:

– they represent an attempt to create a more personal means of production and to make gatekeepers less exclusionary

– they allow poets to present work in ways that reimagine what books can be or accomplish

– they are handmade, often very beautiful art objects in and of themselves

– they are approachable in that they are often much shorter than a full book-length so they can often be read in a single sitting

– they offer younger or less institutionally supported writers a way of getting their work out there and also a way for people by inventing presses to be able to participate in a conversation about poetry and to connect with writers they admire

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When you begin to explore this part of the poetry scene, it seem rather small, but when you take a closer look, you get the impressions that it’s large and very vital. Could you please tell us a little bit about how the scene have changed and developed? Is it altogether different from the rest of the poetry scene / book market?

– It certainly feels as if there has been an explosion in terms of the number of presses making chapbooks, probably partly fueled by the growth of MFA programs graduating classes of poets every year, and partly by the internet/social media turning local conversations about poetry into national and international communities. My research remains hugely word of mouth driven since so many publications happen in small editions announced only inside networks online though I’m always trying to find new outlets to include in our shop (such as our budget and our limited bookshelf space can allow). I would not describe chapbook publishing as a scene exactly, and certainly poets have been making and distributing their work in chapbooks for ages, but more like the work of many overlapping communities.

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Is it relevant to compare this niche market with vinyl records?

– I sometimes, especially with non-poets, might mention vinyl records or EPs as a loose comparison, in terms of the idea of B-sides or work-in-progress being made available. But obviously the big differences are a) presses are much looser, more DIY operations than most indie record labels b) handmaking a chapbook is a pretty different relationship to materials than sending off a record to be pressed c) the market is so much more about fellow poets in a shared, porous economy of reading and writing than with regards to music where listeners are not so often fellow musicians. They’re both related to passion but I think maybe there’s a bit less value in poetry placed on collecting.

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You know this ecosystem exceptionally well. Could you recommend a few recent books and a few publishers to follow? Are there any current trends that are particularly interesting?

– Off the top of my head, some great US-based include doublecross, dancing girl, graying ghost, horse less, the song cave, ugly duckling presse and so many others. Not sure if I see trends so much as a constant surge of new presses, many coming from other parts of the world. Recently we bought some great new books from Metatron in Canada and Vagabond Press in Australia for instance. And my list of presses that I intend to contact is humongous – the main limitation, even more than budget, is time since we are a small operation and right now I’m working pretty much single-handedly on most of this. Way too many books coming out all the time to make any more than a totally random listing – hope the list I sent in my last email might flag some good writing that I personally enjoyed especially:

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Anne Boyer’s GARMENTS AGAINST WOMEN

Orlando White’s LETTERRS
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Jackqueline Frost’s THE ANTIDOTE
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Carrie Lorig’s THE PULP VS. THE THRONE
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Monica McClure’s TENDER DATA

Could you please tell us a little bit about what you can find and do at Berl’s except from buying chapbooks and poetry from small presses?

– At Berl’s acquiring new chapbooks is an important part of our mission but in general we also have been growing a very expansive collection of poetry from all sorts of presses, including university presses and some large publishers as well. We aim to have a curated collection of books that is diverse and full of compelling writing generally. We have been hosting a lot of events in our shop as well, mostly readings, about 2-3 a week on average, so that is a huge part of our work.

Ola Wihlke

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Under Artiklar, Intervjuer

Ny bokhandel i Istanbul med böcker på arabiska

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Efter fyra år krig har det samlats mängder med syriska flyktingar i Istanbul. Det är också många i staden som har sina rötter i exempelvis Irak och Libyen. Men det har varit nästan omöjligt att få tag i böcker på arabiska. Tills nu, när syriska och turkiska bokälskare öppnat bokhandeln Pages, som också fungerar nästan som ett kulturhus, dit naturligtvis turkar också är varmt välkomna. Tanken är rentav att det ska vara en mötesplats där människor med olika bakgrund kan mötas och umgås. Pages har böcker på andra språk också, som turkiska, engelska och franska.

En av delägarna, Samer al-Kadri, startade ett förlag i Damaskus, men flydde när situationen blev ohållbar. Han har bott i Istanbul i ett år nu, men han märkte att det fanns ett enormt behov av böcker på arabiska. När han pratar med amerikansk radio, NPR, låter det lite som om han ser det som sin plikt att göra böcker tillgängliga. Pages ligger i ett fint upprustat trähus i ett av Istanbuls arbetarkvarter och även om det kan se anspråkslöst ut utvändigt, så verkar själva bokhandeln väldigt mysig och inbjudande.

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Utbudet verkar väldigt varierat, alltifrån deckare och George Orwells 1984 till böcker om samhälle och filosofi. Bokhandeln har även barnböcker, en lekhörna och kafé. Sammanlagt har bokhandeln idag 2000 titlar. Ett längre citat ur deras verksamhetsbeskrivning, visar hur oerhört ambitiös Pages satsning är:

”In addition to being a bookstore, Pages Bookstore Café is envisioned as a home for the Syrian community in Turkey. It will showcase Syrian and Arab culture to the Turkish people and to the rest of the world. At the store people can discover books, meet and interact, find books and ideas of interest, and also get a taste of some delectable Syrian food.

A variety of activities are being planned to make this vision a reality. The venue has already begun to host writers, designers, artists and filmmakers. Cultural events, discussions, talks, readings and performances are being curated. Author signings, workshops and educational activities will also be held here on a regular basis.”

Både Kadri och hans turkiska kollega, Zeynap Sevde Paksu, poängterar att de hoppas att Pages bidrar till att turkarnas fördomar mot de syrianska flyktingarna motverkas. Enligt vissa ska det finnas ungefär två miljoner syrier i Turkiet, och många lever under riktigt tuffa villkor och vissa tvingas tigga. Precis som i Sverige retar sig folk på det och generaliserar. Både Kadri och Paksu hoppas att de ska kunna överbrygga fördomar genom att personligen möta många turkar.
”De kommer komma hit och se med egna ögon – syrier är intellektuella, de är författare, de är poeter,” sa hon i intervjun med NRP. Lite skämtsamt tillade hon att många kommer tro att alla böcker med arabisk text handlar om islam, sedan påpekar hon att Pages bland sina 2000 böcker har kärleksromaner, thrillers och deckare.

Thank you Pages! Best of luck!

Ola Wihlke

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De här böckerna köpte Obama i lördags

Via Twitter

Via Twitter

President Obama och hans döttrar firade ”Small Business Saturday” med ett besök på bokhandeln Politics & Prose i Washington, D.C., rapporterar msnbc: ”Here are the books Obama bought at Politics & Prose

Besöket på anrika Politics & Prose börjar bli något av en tradition för familjen Obama – de gjorde ett besök förra året på ”Small Business Saturday”, dagen efter Black Friday då det är tänkt att man ska gynna sina lokala affärsidkare.

Visst vill du veta vilka böcker Obama köpte? Det här är listan, enligt Vita Huset:

Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End av Atul Gawande

Junie B. Jones and a Little Monkey Business av Barbara Park

A Barnyard Collection: Click, Clack, Moo and More av Doreen Cronin

I Spy Sticker Book and Picture Riddles av Jean Marzollo

Nuts to You av Lynn Rae Perkins

Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus av Barbara Park

Brown Girl Dreaming av Jacqueline Woodson

Redwall av Brian Jacques

Mossflower av Brian Jacques

Mattimeo av Brian Jacques

Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms av Katherine Rundell

The Narrow Road to the Deep North av Richard Flanagan

The Laughing Monsters av Denis Johnson

All the Light We Cannot See av Anthony Doerr

Heart of Darkness av Joseph Conrad

Nora Webster av Colm Toibin

Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth and Faith in the New China av Evan Osnos

Den första titeln låter onekligen som något presidenten, eller hans hustru, skulle läsa. Men sedan följer en radda med barn- och ungdomsböcker, som vi gissar är julklappar. Och först sedan följer Man Booker-vinnaren 2014, av Richard Flanagan, och sedan romanen som är en av våra favoriter i år, Denis Johnsons litterära spionthriller. Den passar verkligen bra ihop med Heart of Darkness. Listan avslutas med vinnaren av årets National Book Award i fackboksklassen, Evan Osnos hyllade bok om Kina.

Ola Wihlke

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Under Recensioner

Om hur The Strand Bookstore funkar i dessa Amazon-tider

2d5a9543-1a9c-4a30-b725-31e9553789cd”Walk into the Strand Book Store, at East 12th and Broadway, and the retail experience you’ll have is unexpectedly contemporary. The walls are white, the lighting bright; crisp red signage is visible at every turn. The main floor is bustling, and the store now employs merchandising experts to refine its traffic flow and make sure that prime display space goes to stuff that’s selling. Whereas you can leave a Barnes & Noble feeling numbed, particularly if a clerk directs you to Gardening when you ask for Leaves of Grass, the Strand is simply a warmer place for readers.”

Citerat ur ”The Strands Stand: How It Keeps Going in the Age of Amazon” av Chrisopher Bonanos i Vulture, 24 november 2014. En underbar skildring av New Yorks mest älskade antikvariat/bokhandel, templet The Strand Bookstore dit många reser långväga ifrån för en tote bag att fylla med ett halvt dussin prima böcker. Artikeln handlar om den ekonomiska sidan av saken, och det är inte bara frid och fröjd: ”The ground floor of 828 Broadway is worth more as a Trader Joe’s than it is selling Tom Wolfe.”

Här kan du (bland annat) lyssna på en bra intervju med Nancy Bass Wyden: ”The Biblio File – podcast för boknördar bortom all räddning

Ola Wihlke

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En av världens mest mytomspunna bokhandlar

”Perhaps the most famous independent bookstore in the world, Shakespeare and Company can feel like something of a literary utopia, where money takes a backseat and generations of writers – Allen Ginsberg, Henry Miller, Anaïs Nin, William Styron, Martin Amis, Zadie Smith, Dave Eggers, among others – have found a Paris home. Chronicling the life of its late owner, the eccentric, irascible, and visionary George Whitman, Bruce Handy meets Shakespeare’s greatest asset in the age of Amazon: Whitman’s daughter, Sylvia.”

Citerat ur ”In a Bookstore in Paris” av Bruce Handy i Vanity Fair, november 2014. En lång vindlande berättelse om den mytomspunna bokhandeln Shakespeare and Company i Paris, en bokhandel som fortfarande drar besökare från hela världen, inte minst författare. Artikeln, som är lång och välskriven, innehåller även teckningar av interiören.

Ola Wihlke

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Strand Bookstore slog försäljningrekord under julhandeln

Precis före jul slog New Yorks megabokhandel Strand Bookstore, som stoltserar med att man har 18 miles med böcker i lager, försäljningsrekord. Aldrig tidigare under sin 86-åriga historia har man sålt så mycket böcker under en och samma dag.

Skrev bokhandeln i en tweet: ”Bookstores are not dead, Part II: Yesterday we had our best sales day in the history of 86 years at the store .So thankful for all of you.”

Och som om inte det vore nog så friade två personer till sina respektive i bokhandeln under helgen.

O.W.

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