Friday, August 05, 2005

Friday Morning Coffee and Beignets (to cure your hangover)

Welcome, all cafe patrons. Please enjoy today's breakfast and don't worry about those Health Inspectors; they're easily bribed.

Well, if you didn't like Steve Forbes already, now you have a reason. In the Forbes list of preferred literary blogs they recommend GalleyCat, the Elegant Variation, Maud Newton . . . but not even a subtle nod to yours truly. Granted the previously mentioned are wickedly superior to my drivel, but don't I get some credit for having my head buried in the bowels of the publishing industry? Sheesh-o-rama!

Please allow me to recommend another "publishing industry" title to you: I just finished a great text by Larry Portzline titled Bookstore Tourism: The Book Addict's Guide To Planning & Promoting Bookstore Road Trips For Bibliophiles & Other Bookshop Junkies.

This is a great book for lovers of independent bookstores--like me. Don't get me wrong--I love my B&N and my Borders. But sometimes you want a place where the staff knows more about books than cappuccinos. A place where the wood creaks under your feet, where the shelf wouldn't hold all the books so they just stacked them up sideways next to it, a place where, when you say, "I am looking for a 1960 copy of such-and-such, you get a warm smile and a book in return. Have we learned nothing from Robert Gray?

When I was a little POD-dy mouth, there was a bookstore my family and I used to visit in New Jersey once a month and each of us PODlings could pick out one title to bring home. Here's the kicker: the store only sold mysteries. Can you imagine? How cool is that--AND how knowledgeable do you think that staff was regarding mysteries? The store was later ripped down (along with several others) and it became an exit ramp for I-80.

My point? Cherish these places. They are what writing and reading are all about. These places are for people who love books by people who love books. Just finish a novel that you think would become a great movie? Who cares. It was a great book. It was beautiful or stunning or disturbing in its own creation. There is the art, man--not on celluloid. And the people who run these independent bookstores dig this. I'm not saying you need to become a beatnik and write poetry. Just enjoy the culture. And buy a few books.

Most importantly, Larry's book will get you there. It is an excellent primer on the state of the bookselling industry, and gives you a great start to finding the cool stores in your area (I lucked out; I live in DC!) It's $10, which is chump change when it comes to books. I even recommended it to my neighbor (who has 1,832 DVDs and 11 books.) It'll change his life.

Remember the announcement of the Quills (the first nationally televised book awards show)? Remember how I said your POD-dy Mouth Girl would not be nominated?

Well, guess what . . . I was right!

The nominees were announced this week. Here are the (predictable) nominees for each category (click the category type on the left.) I mean, come on, Nora Roberts gets two of the five Romance nominations? Aren't there, like, 10,000 romance writers out there? Surely, one of them is up to par with Nora.

But whereas the National Book Awards were all about a bunch of authors/books no one had ever heard of, the Quills is all about recognizing the brand name: Nora Roberts, Philip Roth, Augusten Burroughs, John Twelve Hawks, Nick Hornby, Sue Monk Kidd. Geez, I mean even Rachael Ray is nominated.

This is television, after all.

Well, that's it for now. Enjoy your breakfast--and always place your trash in the proper receptacle.