October 30, 2017

Bookstore Doubles as Vacation Home

Thinking of opening a bookstore? Want to take a couple weeks vacation in Scotland? Hey, you could combine the two!

In this Scotsman article, an American has created a two week AirB&B rental where guests live above the shop and run it for two weeks at a time. 

The Open Book, Friends. Check it out.

October 29, 2017

To Kill a Mockingbird...

...is read by Amherst's middle schoolers. But if you're in 8th grade in Buloxi, Mississippi, you're out of luck. In this article, explaining why Harper Lee's Pulitzer prize-winning classic was taken off the school reading list, the vice president of the school board said, "There is some language in the book that makes people uncomfortable, and we can teach the same lesson with other books."

The book is on the Common Core curriculum as a text for 8th grade English Language Arts. It is also 21st on the American Library Association's list of most banned or challenged books in the last decade.

October 28, 2017

October 26, 2017

Step Inside to Discover the Home That Inspired Jay Gatsby’s World

For a mere $16.8 million, this Long Island home can be yours.

The Friends suspect the views from this room may show a green light on the dock across the water...

October 25, 2017

Why is the world so cruel?

Did you know there are butterbeer donuts in the world? 
Of course you did, you're a savvy bunch. 

The Friends are bereft to discover 
they're only available at Sugar Shacks though. 
Closest Sugar Shack? 390 miles south in our nation's capital.

Perhaps Glazed Doughnuts will hear our plea...

October 23, 2017

Not just actors...

... but authors as well. Here are six books by people 
you may only have known from the silver screen. 

And only one of these books isn't in the library system.

October 22, 2017

Play your uke!

Easy songs, laid back instruction, and a lot of fun.
What more could you want?

Well, of course other than this...

Conscience of a Conservative

Check out this excerpt of a recently published book 
by Arizona Republican Jeff Flake

By the way, Conscience of a Conservative is in our library system, 
if this excerpt sparked further interest...

October 21, 2017

Sylvia Plath’s Collected Letters, published last month

The cover of the US version:

The cover of the UK version:

In a Guardian article, one Plath scholar decries the cover of the second version.

"These are the images that publishers think best represent Plath, an internationally recognized poet and novelist, an icon, an alleged victim of domestic abuse, a single mother, a person with mental illness and a person who killed herself. Why is her work, so heavy with symbolism and myth, which documents the frustrating consequences of transgressive womanhood, marketed with so little thought and respect?

"Presenting female writers as sexualized and frivolous diminishes their intellectual credentials, tarnishes their work as slight, not to be taken seriously."

Read more here.

October 20, 2017

Interactive workshop for Baby Boomers

Books, Blacks, and Bigots

A recent blog entry by American sociologist James Loewen, entitled Books, Blacks, and Bigots, looks at who attends book signings, who goes to book stores, and generalizing along racial and sexual lines.

"If Puerto Rico Means Anything To You, You Have To Step Up."

“Break a vase, 
and the love that reassembles the fragments 
is stronger than that love 
which took its symmetry for granted 
when it was whole.”

Ever since he came to Amherst as part of our On The Same Page program in 2013, the Friends have had a soft spot in our hearts for Junot Diaz. Last month he spoke up about a part of our country that desperately needs our help right now.

October 19, 2017

October 18, 2017


Pablo Neruda poetry discussion.


Kazuo Ishiguro wins Nobel Prize in Literature

It ain't him babe, no no no, it ain't him they were lookin' for. 

Last October, "The Nobel Committee outraged much of the literary world by announcing Bob Dylan -- singer, songwriter, and (we suppose) poet -- as that year's winner of the prize in Literature...The Nobel Committee could hardly have selected a better winner to wash away the embarrassing awkwardness of last year's prize."

The Remains of the Day and Never Let Me Go author Kazuo Ishiguro won this year's biggest literary award. And thus, "Today belongs to Ishiguro, a profoundly thoughtful storyteller and exquisite writer -- and, for the Nobel, a perfect reset."

October 17, 2017

October 9, 2017

The 2nd annual International Beer and Pizza Day

In honor of this momentous day, International Beer and Pizza Day, the Friends highly recommend you check out B is for Beer and Pete's a Pizza. Enjoy your books with a cold brew and a hot slice.

Isn't this a glorious country?

October 6, 2017

Well, this is obviously a brilliant book

"I'm just no good at rhyming.
It makes me feel so bad.
I'm just no good at rhyming,
And that's why I am blue..."

I'm Just No Good at Rhyming is a new book of poetry that's completely unconcerned with "the rules." Author Chris Harris hopes to inspire kids with all you can do with words. "I remember reading and seeing some of the most formative books and TV shows and movies when I was growing up -- things like The Phantom Tollbooth and even Monty Python -- and thinking, oh, my gosh, I never knew I could do that. I never knew that someone could do that. I wonder what else I can do? And I would love it X number of kids read this and also said, wow, I didn't know you could do that. I wonder what else I can do?"

October 4, 2017

“Hey, those are exactly my sentimonies.”

They're so bad they're actually brilliant.

Or should that be, there brilliant?
Their brilliant?

October 3, 2017

Game of Thrones video

This five-minute animated GOT clip (from the extras you get on the upcoming Season 7 DVD) contains NO SPOILERS and is fun to watch.

October 2, 2017

Three authors, one night.

Eric Morser, Mark Robert Schneider, and Jason Sokol will be speaking on a panel facilitated by Erin O'Brien, a UMass-Boston political science professor whose work focuses on the politics of poverty and social welfare policy, voting access in the United States, and gender in politics.

(Click on image to enlarge.)

Three authors, one night.
And? Snacks.

October 1, 2017

Ladies and Gentlemen, she's here.

The Jane Austen £10 note and £2 coin have arrived. And on the note is written "I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading!" Yet another reason the Friends adore Jane.

Because it is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of ... a Jane Austen £2 coin is a lucky man indeed. And a woman in possession of the £10 note is even luckier.