Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Lil' Rev appearance Thursday, December 17, 7 postponed indefinitely, plus a few bookstore bits.

Please note: we must postpone indefinitely our event with Lil Rev on Thursday, December 17. We'll let you know when it it rescheduled.

Of course we have Lil' Rev's books and CDs for sale, including his newest, Essential Strums and Strokes for Ukulele: A Treasury of Strum-Hand Techniques. 

If you don't know what all the fuss is about, here's an excerpt from a profile of Rev in the Shepherd Express from 2008 by David Luhrssen: "Rev has always traveled the unpaved roads of American music, exploring the traditions underlying the music that became country and blues and shaped the direction of rock 'n' roll. Among many other things, he produced a traveling show on the unheralded influence of Jews on popular music. Around 15 years ago he made a discovery while playing at Nash's Irish Castle, when a man in the audience handed him a shopworn ukulele...I taught myself how to play it.

"The instruction manuals he turned to were tattered and unearthed at flea markets and the scratchy recordings he relied on revolved at the speed of 78. Most of the material dated from the 1920s and '30s, when ukulele found its way into country music and touring Hawaiian dance orchestras introduced the exotic instrument across the country.

"Rev was in the advance guard of a revival in the long-overlooked instrument. Since the '90s he has traveled the United States, playing before an increasingly intricate network of ukulele clubs and festivals. 'A lot of people learning to play have never been successful on any other instrument,' Rev says. 'Anyone can pick it up. It's very punk in nature.'" Read the rest of the article. And we hope to reschedule this event and let you know about it. In the meantime, our thoughts are with Rev and his family.


Since there is only one event this week, I thought I'd include a few links.

Kirk suggested that I link to this piece in The New York Times about Saeed Book Bank in Islamabad. I think it is a fascinating story, and not just because the store sells over a thousand copies of The God Delusion, by Richard Dawkins, every year.

Speaking of bookstores, Friends of Boswell Valerie and Dan came back from Portugal with photos of Lello, which is said to be the most beautiful bookstore in the world. It also charges for admission. Our travelers said it was worth every penny, plus the admission fee becomes a credit if you buy something. Here's an article about the store on BookRiot from several years ago.

Another friend of Boswell, Zoe, came back from St. Louis, suggesting that all Boswell was missing was a cat. She got the idea of course from Left Bank Books whose cat was named one of the ten best bookstore cats by Mental Floss magazine. Here's a report about Spike on the local Fox affiliate in Mound City.

And finally, I should mention the James Patterson literacy grants for 2015. Mr. Patterson gave $1.75 million to school libraries. I'd love to see an article completely devoted to those programs, by the way. In addition, he gave out $250,000 in bookseller bonuses this year. Really. Booksellers were nominated and Patterson, with the help of the ABA, gave 85 grants to 87 booksellers (including two couples). I'm assuming they were couples as there were a few stores where two different booksellers were listed separately. But I digress.

I am honored to be one of the 87. It really feels pretty great. As Stefanie Kiper Schmidt of Water Street Bookstore of Exeter, New Hampshire said in Shelf Awareness, "What a mensch he is!" But I should admit that I contacted the ABA to make sure it wasn't a mistake. Once confirmed that the error was not going to be corrected, I decided what to do with it and I can't think of a better way to spend it.

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