A bookstore by any other name? The Chronicle-Telegram reported that when Deborah Born was considering a name for her new bookstore in Amherst, Ohio, she wanted something that would attract attention.
"Debbie's Bookstore wasn't going to make it," she said.
The solution--Roxy's Reads & Remnants--came from an unusual source. Her husband, an Army Reserve veteran, had to create a cover story for security reasons while serving in Iraq.
"We came from Reno and his wife is an ex-Vegas showgirl named Roxy," said Born. "I knew that was the name for the shop."
SoBo Book & Bean, South Berwick, Maine, will re-open under new ownership during the first week of June. Marie MacDonald has taken over the business from Amy Miller.
"I've been a book person from childhood," said MacDonald, "but I think one of the things that sets apart an independent bookstore is its role in the community; a large chain may be able to provide a glossier setting, less threadbare easy chairs, and big-budget authors, but at the end of the day, it's still run by a corporation based somewhere else. That corporation is always going to be more concerned about big-budget thresholds, and not so much about whether dollars are put back into the local economy or whether your child really loved the book we recommended. This isn't just selling books or coffee--it's really community-building, and I'm proud to be part of that."
SoBo Book & Bean is located at 241 Main Street, South Berwick, Me. 03908; 207-384-8300; firstname.lastname@example.org; sobobooks.com.
A special 10th anniversary edition of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone will be published by Scholastic Sept. 23. The Pioneer Press noted that the $30 book "will feature exclusive bonus material from J.K. Rowling as well as new cover and inside art by Mary GrandPre, the former Minnesotan who is the illustrator for the U.S. editions of the Potter books."
GrandPre told the Pioneer Press that she was pleased to have a chance to redo the cover, which now will depict "11-year-old Harry looking into the Mirror of Erised, which he comes across in his first year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry--the mirror shows you what you most desire."
GrandPre added, "It's a real treat for me to get another chance to visually bring Harry back to his fans in not only a new scene, but in a new light. . . . Going back to draw the first cover for the anniversary edition was an opportunity for me to show another side of Harry . . . a vulnerable side. Having come to know and love Harry the way we all have, after experiencing the whole series, I think we can appreciate him even more on an emotional level."
Commencement addresses may seem like limitless variations on a theme of "As you go forth into the world today . . . ," but the New Yorker magazine's Book Bench blog found something newsworthy in the tradition. Considering how challenging a great commencement address must be to write, only a handful of professional writers were included among the 541 names on a list of 2008 graduation speakers compiled by the Chronicle of Higher Education.
As something of a consolation, however, the piece noted that, "if true success is measured in how much tickets for these events go for on the black market, we have faith that the writers will emerge victorious, thanks, in large part, to J. K. Rowling, who is slated to speak at Harvard's ceremony. So far, the highest price being offered on Craigslist is a hundred dollars, but there are still two weeks to go."
Other authors with commencement gigs include Charles Simic (Bucknell), Tony Kushner (SUNY-Purchase), Mary Gordon (SUNY-Albany) and Anna Quindlen (Kenyon College).
The Book Bench also linked to an article posted at KOAA-TV, Colorado Springs, Colo., which reported on the commencement address given earlier this week at Colorado College by former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins.
"The commencement address is also an open invitation to pretend to know more than you do, specifically, how in the world you got to the point in life where you are seriously considered as a commencement speaker," Collins said, then quoted Salvador Dali as he advised the graduates to live for the moment.
"Dali once said, 'every morning I awake to a supreme pleasure, that of being Salvador Dali.' I want to wish each of you graduates hoping that you will awake every morning to the supreme pleasure of being yourself."
Unable to resist running the headline "Surrealist Manifesto sold for real money," the Guardian reported that "a selection of [André Breton's] personal effects have been sold at auction in Paris for a total of €3.6m (US$5.7m)."
A "literary cultural exchange" between the U.S. and Egypt has been announced by the National Endowment for the Arts, in association with the U.S. State Department.
According to the Guardian, "the Big Read Egypt/U.S. will involve reciprocal promotions of three celebrated American writers in Egypt, and just the one Egyptian writer in the States. Naguib Mahfouz's The Thief and the Dogs will be America's reading book, while Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird and John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath will be the focus of reading groups and other events in Cairo and Alexandria. In America, parallel events will take place in New York, Miami, Huntsville, Alabama and Brookings, South Dakota. The events will take place in both countries between this September and June 2009."
This may be a world in which interest in reading and books is declining, but don't tell that to William Gilmore, who was honored by San Diego State University recently. The Union-Tribune reported that Gilmore, who celebrated his 100th birthday recently with classmates at the college, "drives from his La Mesa condominium to attend classes at SDSU's Extended Studies Center, where he has taken more than 30 courses."