Saturday, June 27, 2009

ABFFE joins 2020 Vision at Paragraphs

I am continuously surprised when I read that some well-meaning parent group or school board is challenging the presence of certain books or materials in school or public libraries. Of course, this is nothing new, censorship in many forms has been around forever and we will probably never see the day when it becomes unnecessary to guard against any attempt to limit the free expression of ideas. While I recognize that there are some things that don't deserve ever to be printed, much less read, the right to do so must remain unfettered by any governmental authority. This is the fundamental basis of our democracy.

This is another reason I am proud to be a member of the American Bookseller's Assn. As an organization, they are committed to fighting against censorship.
Founded by the American Booksellers Association in 1990, ABFFE’s mission is to promote and protect the free exchange of ideas, particularly those contained in books, by opposing restrictions on the freedom of speech; issuing statements on significant free expression controversies; participating in legal cases involving First Amendment rights; collaborating with other groups with an interest in free s peech; and providing education about the importance of free expression to booksellers, other members of the book industry, politicians, the press and the public.
To further support the work of the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, 2020 Vision USA, a Sarasota, Florida, direct importer of reading glasses and sunglasses, has agreed to contribute $1 to ABFFE for every pair of glasses it sells to independent bookstores.
"We are very excited to have the support of 2020 Vision USA," ABFFE President Chris Finan said. "We hope that contributions from 2020 Vision and other sideline vendors will provide an important new source of the money we need to protect the First Amendment rights of booksellers and their customers."

And now, I am proud to say, Paragraphs has joined in the effort and will be carrying a wide selection of reading glasses and later this summer, sun readers from 2020 Vision. A family business founded in 1996, 2020 Vision offers a huge inventory of high fashion Italian designs.

Buying from 2020Vision allows us not only to support the cause of free expression but is also a way to recognize our commitment to independent businesses. 2020 Vision sells to bookstores across the country, including Books & Books in Miami, so I think we are in good company and can be assured of having the newest and most fashionable styles, something I would never be able to provide on my own.

So if you need a new pair of reading glasses, come in and look for something that has a little pizzazz. I think you will be pleased with the selection and the price -- and you will be helping support a good cause at the same time.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Today at Paragraphs

With my increasing involvement in all the different avenues for conversation I have a problem remembering where I have posted certain things and I tend to opt for the quick message on Twitter and forget to take the time to update the blog. Ah, the many trials and tribulations of social media. It makes it easier to keep up to date with friends but it has its own difficulties.

I am hoping that when I finally get a web site up and running many of these loose ends will be tied together in a one stop place for information about Paragraphs. But that is in the future and so I will work at being better at writing (which those of you who know me well, realize is a constant challenge).

But I digress, the reason for writing this morning is to tell anyone who missed my Twitter, Facebook, or SPI forum posts, about the CD release party we are having this afternoon from 2-4.

One day last week I received a call from Robin Martz asking if we would be willing to provide a venue for Lisa Marshall, a R&B singer looking to establish a presence in the Texas music world. I found it a little strange that she would call me but learned that the link was my affiliation with the Indie movement. Whether it is a publisher, indie bookstore, or music label or artist, there is a wealth of talent and interesting material out there that gets passed up by the mainstream distribution channels.

So anyway, Lisa Marshall, who appeared last night at the Isla Grand, will be at Paragraphs this afternoon from 2-4 to perform some of her music and launch her new CD "Simple". I know it is late notice, but if you have had enough of the sand, sun and heat and would like to catch a little live music, while browsing our shelves, or just taking some time out to say hello, we would love to have you stop by.

For more information on Lisa, or here.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Villainy in the Valley Auditions

One of my goals when opening Paragraphs was to become a part of the community. I have been pretty busy just getting the store open and trying to increase and improve our inventory so a lot of the community activities have passed me by. But I am excited about our involvement with the El Paseo Arts Foundation. They do such a great job of bringing live performances to the Island and Port Isabel.

So I am pleased to host the auditions for the summer melodrama. From the Island Breeze:

El Paseo Arts Foundation is ready to kick off the summer with auditions for the annual melodrama. This summer’s melodrama is “Villainy in the Valley,” a play set in the Rio Grande Valley. Subtitled “Lucious’ Juices” or “The Deadly Disappointment,” the play has a cast of villains such as the dastardly Lucious Laeseter and his cronies, Floyd and Floozy Coozy. The bad guys set out to scam the local judge and juice magnate, Angus McTate and his beautiful niece Tess Truehart McTate. Tess’ sweetheart Bart Bo tries to protect her, as do other local characters - the cantina owner, the town sheriff, the local busybody and the town drunk.

Lucious plots a series of sinister deeds,but in the end good triumphs over evil and the crooks get a dunking.

As with any good melodrama, there will be lots of audience participation and plenty of opportunities to boo the villain and cheer the heroes.
Auditions for the cast of five men and five
women, the emcee and the cue card ladies will be held Monday, June 22 at 7 p.m. at Paragraphs Book Store on South Padre Island. The show is scheduled for production on Aug. 24 and 25 at the South Padre Island Convention Centre.

Anyone who has an interest in getting involved in local theater is welcome to audition - no previous theater experience is required. For additional information contact JoAnn Evans at 772-9097.
So come and join us for a good time.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane: On sale today!

I have been waiting to put this book on the shelves - it is one I really enjoyed. What makes it an even better read is knowing that Katherine Howe is actually a descendant of Elizabeth Howe, one of the Salem residents accused of witchcraft in the 1600's.

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane is the number one IndieNext pick for June.
“Connie Goodwin should be writing her Ph.D. dissertation. Instead, her mother has asked her to handle the sale of Connie's grandmother's abandoned home near Salem, Massachusetts. While cleaning up the years of dust and cobwebs, Connie makes discoveries that lead her back to the world of the Salem witch trials. Howe does a superb job at combining modern day language with the 17th century voices, pulling you even deeper into a story of mystery and witches. Marvelous and terrifying at the same time. I loved it!”
—Annie Philbrick, Bank Square Books, Mystic, CT

We all know a lot about the revolutionary era in American history but I for one tend to ignore everything that came before or at least fail to think of the early and pre-colonial period as a separate time.

For anyone who has ever had an interest in the Salem witchcraft trials this book is for you. Anyone who likes historical fiction will find this a hard book to put down. Mystery lovers, this book will also satisfy your need for a crime-solving plot line.

The author takes an original look at the witch trials, and in the day of vampire and zombies, her approach is not as far-fetched as what it would have been several years ago.

What if there actually are witches? Is anyone with psychic powers a witch? This novel will have you asking new questions about our whole notion of witchcraft.

But most of all it is just a great story.

Shop Indie Bookstores

Monday, June 8, 2009

More Summer Read Picks

Summer is a great time for reading and there are any number of places to go for good book recommendations. I will try to link to some of the more interesting lists as the summer progresses. Thanks to Shelf Awareness for this link:

NPR's On Point with Tom Ashbrook featured "Summer reads '09," with recommendations from Liesl Schillinger of the New York Times Book Review, Laurie Hertzel of the Minneapolis Star Tribune and Jamil Zaidi, manager at the Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle, Wash.

Jamil's picks:

  • The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet by Reif Larson
  • The Way Through Doors by Jesse Ball
  • Beat the Reaper by Josh Bazell
  • The Dark Side of Love by Rafik Schami
  • The Given Day by Dennis Lehane
  • Wonderful World by Javier Calvo
  • The Housekeeper & The Professor by Yoko Ogawa
  • The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
  • Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith
  • The Secret Speech by Tom Rob Smith
  • The Dark Volume by Gordon Dahlquist
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
  • Drood by Dan Simmons
  • Wanting by Richard Flanagan
  • The Last Dickens by Matthew Pearl
I am going to put a couple of these on my To Be Read list for the summer and I concur with his recommendation for several others -- Beat the Reaper, The Angel's Game, and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo for starters.

Local Bestsellers

As a member of the American Bookseller's Association and affiliated with I send a weekly report that lists my bestselling titles for the previous week. It is a little intimidating to think that my small number of sales end up being reported along with all the "big guys" like BookPeople in Austin or The Tattered Cover in Denver.

But for those of you who are interested in knowing what is selling on our little sandbar - here is the list for the week ending June 8.

2 - Forgotten Man by Amity Shlaes
2 - The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
2 - New Moon by Stephanie Meyer
2 - The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer
2 - Corduroy Goes to the Beach
2 - A Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
2 - Good Friends Are Hard to Find
2 - Buddha and the Terrorist by Safish Kumar
2 - A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrich

Bestselling books for the month of May:

11 - Beach Wisdom
7 - Sandcastles Made Simple by Lucinda Wierenga
5 - Sweetness At the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley
5 - Divine Matrix by Gregg Braden
5 - Good Friends are Hard to Find
5 - Mexican Enough by Stephanie Griest

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Playreaders Anonymous Meets Again

If you enjoy theatre and have ever thought about impersonating someone else for a little while the Playreaders Anonymous group is the place for you.

Monday evening, Joann Evans will again lead a group of interested people into the exciting world of transformation which takes place when an actor or actress portrays characters developed by the finest playwrights.

She says in an email:
The Playreaders Anonymous group meets next Monday night, June 8th, 7:00 p.m. at Paragraphs Book Store. We'll finish Blithe Spirit and spend some time rereading sections for a little more "characterization". I'll also sign out some advance reading copies of the summer melodrama and the next playreaders selection.
The group has only met once before and anyone is welcome. There is no prerequisite or ongoing commitment so just come and join us for an entertaining evening. We will look forward to seeing you.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Forget the Tie - Buy a Book

  • It can change someone's life

  • It can make someone laugh

  • It's a thoughtful gift

  • A personal gift

  • It's a gift of escape, fun, romance, adventure

  • It's easy to find

  • It's easy to wrap

  • And you can never have too many

  • One-stop shopping — your bookstore has the right gift for everyone on your list