Friday, March 27, 2009

A Musical Journey

The El Paseo Arts Foundation is sponsoring another great opportunity to attend a musical event showcasing an internationally recognized pianist and composer. At Paragraphs, we are pleased to be included in the list of vendors who have tickets available, for purchase, for this gala evening.

On April 22, 2009, at the South Padre Island Convention Center, Richard Urbis, will perform in concert -- on a magnificent concert grand piano -- treating his audience to a musical journey through time. The first half of the concert will feature familiar classical compositions by Beethoven, Mozart, Chopin, and Liszt, with Mr. Urbis providing insightful commentary about the music and the composers. After a brief intermission, he will transition to a musical history of the Americas: a little rag, some blues, jazz and swing, some wonderful Gershwin and other surprises.

Pianist-composer Richard Urbis holds degrees from the prestigious Julliard School of Music. An internationally renowned pianist, he has successfully competed and performed in numerous national and international competitions, including the Tchaikovsky Competition (Moscow), the Chopin competition (Warsaw), the Beethoven Competition (Vienna), and was a finalist in the International New York Chopin Association Competition.

As a composer, Mr. Urbis has received world premieres by many notable ensembles. The Dallas Symphony premiered his Suite for Chamber Orchestra and the Catalina Chamber Orchestra of Tucson, Arizona, premiered his symphony, St. Joan of Arc. The New York City group, Trio Sonata has performed his Two Icons over thirty times in national tour. Presently, he is working on his first opera.

Professor Urbis teaches advanced music theory, orchestration, counterpoint and analysis and applied piano at the University of Texas Brownsville/Texas Southmost College. His recently released CD entitled Music from Prague: 200 Years of Czech Piano Music is a critically acclaimed success.

A reception with complimentary hors d’oeuvres and cash bar begins the evening at 6:30 p.m. in the corridor gallery. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Theatre Room. Tickets for the event are $25 per person/ $20 for El Paseo Arts Foundation Members. Only 200 tickets are available.

For more information visit the El Paseo Arts Foundation website

Where Does The Time Go?

My sister-in-law sent this email to me and with Spring Break just coming to a close I thought I would share. Apparently, it has been around, but it may still be good for a smile.

Books and Pet Food

I am not sure most people would think that pet food and books would make the best product mix and I suppose they are probably right. But what does one do when her bookends only eat food manufactured in the US and made from food-grade products and she can't find a local source for their food?

Now, I never used to be this fussy about what my girls ate, until the pet food scare a couple of years ago. That episode resulted in an obsession with pet food labels and I soon discovered that my vet and dog breeder friends were not just trying to sell expensive, designer, dog food, but that there really is a difference.

So now I have moved to this beautiful sandbar only to find out that the nearest retailer who sells Canidae pet food products is located in Corpus Christi - not exactly next door. Since I do believe this is a good product and I need to have it shipped to me anyway, well, maybe there is an opportunity here.

Anyone interested in ordering some quality pet food? Just let me know... When I finally am able to find a spare corner I am seriously considering filling it with Canidae. Any thoughts?

Friday, March 20, 2009

Happy Birthday Hungry Caterpillar

Click here to view a video podcast, find wallpaper images, screensavers, and more.

And for more on Eric Carle and his wonderful books visit the official website.

I Love the Recognition

This morning when I was groggily checking to see if I had any tweets, I was surprised to see a message referring to a mention of Paragraphs in Shelf Awareness, a bookselling industry on-line publication.

There was also a mention of our opening in the American Bookseller's Assn. online newletter Bookselling This Week.

I love getting the recognition for Paragraphs, but also appreciate the exposure it provides our little sandbar.

Someday, if my dream comes true, I would like to see Paragraphs become a destination, a place that people who love bookstores put on their list of places they must visit. Is it possible to imagine a Book People or Tattered Cover giving our little slice of paradise a place on the literary map?

Achieving some level of national attention, no matter how small, makes that goal seem like something I may eventually be able to accomplish.

Monday, March 16, 2009

NY Times Best-Seller List

This Week
Weeks on List
1THE SHACK, by William P. Young. (Windblown Media, $14.99.) A man whose daughter was abducted is invited to an isolated shack, apparently by God. (†) First Chapter42
2THE READER, by Bernhard Schlink. (Vintage, $13.95.) A German high school student falls in love with a former Auschwitz employee.14
3FIREFLY LANE, by Kristin Hannah. (St. Martin’s Griffin, $14.95.) A friendship between two women in the Pacific Northwest endures for more than three decades as they make different choices in their lives.9
4SUNDAYS AT TIFFANY’S, by James Patterson and Gabrielle Charbonnet. (Grand Central, $13.99.) A woman finds an unexpected love.9
5AMERICAN WIFE, by Curtis Sittenfeld. (Random House, $15.) A pretty librarian marries the alcoholic scion of a wealthy political family who somehow becomes president. First Chapter4
6PEOPLE OF THE BOOK, by Geraldine Brooks. (Penguin, $15.) An expert unlocks the secrets of a rare manuscript.10
7A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS, by Khaled Hosseini. (Riverhead, $16.) A friendship between two Afghan women against the backdrop of 30 years of war.15
8THE ALCHEMIST, by Paulo Coelho. (HarperOne, $13.95.) A Spanish shepherd boy travels to Egypt in search of treasure.77
9WATER FOR ELEPHANTS, by Sara Gruen. (Algonquin, $13.95.) A young man — and an elephant — save a Depression-era circus.79
10*STILL ALICE, by Lisa Genova. (Pocket, $15.) A 50-year-old Harvard professor is diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.9
11LUSH LIFE, by Richard Price. (Picador, $15.) An aspiring writer becomes a suspect in a friend’s murder on the Lower East Side. First Chapter1
12*THE WHITE TIGER, by Aravind Adiga. (Free Press, $14.) A chauffeur in India relates the story of his transformation from manservant to entrepreneur to murderer; the winner of the 2008 Man Booker Prize.21
13THE APPEAL, by John Grisham. (Delta, $14.) Political and legal intrigue ensue when a Mississippi court rules against a company accused of dumping toxic waste. First Chapter16
14THE BRIEF WONDROUS LIFE OF OSCAR WAO, by Junot Díaz. (Riverhead, $14.) A nerdy Dominican-American struggles to escape a family curse.27
15THE ELEGANCE OF THE HEDGEHOG, by Muriel Barbery. (Europa, $15.) A young girl and a widowed concierge, both closet intellectuals, become friends.10
16*REVOLUTIONARY ROAD, by Richard Yates. (Vintage, $14.95.) Frank and April Wheeler, a beautiful young couple living in 1950s America, see their supposedly perfect life come undone.14
17SARAH’S KEY, by Tatiana de Rosnay. (St. Martin’s Griffin, $13.95.) A contemporary American journalist investigates what happened to a little girl and her family during the roundup of Jews in Paris in 1942.4
18LOVING FRANK, by Nancy Horan. (Ballantine, $14.) A story of the romance between Frank Lloyd Wright and Mamah Borthwick Cheney. First Chapter44
19SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE, by Vikas Swarup. (Scribner, $15.) A poor orphan in India is arrested and must explain himself after winning big on a TV quiz show.4
20THE KITE RUNNER, by Khaled Hosseini. (Riverhead, $15.95 and $14.) An Afghan-American returns to Kabul to learn how a childhood friend has fared.76

A Scarlet Letter - Today in History

On this day in 1850, The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne was published.

While the work was fiction, and the existence of the well-worn letter "A" found in the Salem custom-house was certainly a literary device, Hawthorne's famous story did come from the experiences of his ancestors.

From Today in Literature:
Among his seventeenth-century ancestors were two sisters who had been forced to sit in the Salem meetinghouse wearing forehead bands identifying their incestuous conduct (while their brother hid out in Maine). The Scarlet Letter also came from Hawthorne's general guilt over the Puritan enthusiasms of some of his other ancestors -- one had been a judge at the witch trials -- and his feeling that his hometown was a place of gloom and convention.
King continues
Hawthorne's attempts to escape Salem included a short stay at Brook Farm, the Transcendentalists' utopian community outside of Boston. Although at first invigorated by the new thinking and fresh air, he soon found himself permanently volunteered to the manure pile, and reappraising town-life: "a man's soul may be buried and perish under a dung-heap, or in a furrow of the field, just as well as under a pile of money."
So Hawthorne returned to Salem and his work at the customs-house while continuing to hope for the time when he would be able to make a living from his writing. Not until he was fired from his job in the summer of 1849 did he make another attempt at the tale which had been previously been know as "Endicott and the Red Cross" about "a young woman with no mean share of beauty, whose doom it was to wear the letter A on the breast of her gown."
Despite his predictions that it would "weary very many and disgust some," The Scarlet Letter was immediately popular, allowing Hawthorne to move away from Salem with this good riddance: "I detest this town so much that I hate to go into the streets or to have the people see me. Anywhere else, I shall at once be entirely another man."

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Love Your Small Bookstore Month

Hey, friends and neighbors

Will you help give Paragraphs and South Padre Island a little national exposure? I could use your help. Do you want to help get the Island known for something other than Spring Break in March? Read On..


Author Joe Hill has officially declared March Love-Your-Small-Bookstore Month.

In a couple of recent blog entries, he's talked about how important it is to shop at your local indies. The best part? All the comments from like-minded indie fans! Always great to read.

And to get even more people excited, he's throwing a contest: March-is-love-your-Indie-Bookstore-Month: The Contest.

From Joe:

How to Play: Go to a local independent bookstore. Buy something. Save the receipt. Send a photo or scan of the receipt to this address: Make sure either your e-mail or your receipt includes the name and phone number of the bookstore in question.

There is still time. And if you have already purchased something at Paragraphs this month, come in and I will be happy to print a new receipt.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Reading During Spring Break

I am not expecting crowds of spring breakers to be waiting at the doors of Paragraphs each morning next week, but on Monday the blog, The Elegant Variation had this entry:
Sisyphus chuckling: Trying to get college students to read over spring break.
The link is to an article appearing by Chris Pellegrini, arts and entertainment editor for The Stentor, titled Reading Over Spring Break is Not Blasphemy. He continues:
Spring break beckons and Foresters' thoughts turn towards debauchery. Alas, life does not have to be this way, even with official classes in recess the quest for knowledge can continue. While you sit on the beach, at the pool, or the bar longing for the days of lectures consider throwing a book into the beachbag. In this spirit, The Stentor asked members of the English department for their recommendation and a sales pitch selling their choice.
Anyone out there listening?

RIP - Horton Foote, Texas Playwright and Screenwriter

The past few months have been spent trying to get some order and routine into my new life as a bookseller in South Padre Island, TX, and as such I have not been keeping up with the world around me, so this may be old news to many of you.

From AP News:
Playwright and screenwriter Foote, who movingly portrayed the broken dreams of common people in "The Trip to Bountiful," "Tender Mercies" and his Oscar-winning screen adaptation of "To Kill a Mockingbird," died Wednesday, March 4, in Connecticut. He was 92.

Foote left the cotton fields of his native Wharton, Texas, as a teenager, dreaming of becoming an actor. But realizing his gifts as a storyteller, he embarked on a writing career that spanned more than half a century and earned him two Academy Awards ("To Kill a Mockingbird" and "Tender Mercies") and a 1995 Pulitzer Prize for "The Young Man From Atlanta

The stories and lives of the people Foote loved in Texas became the bedrock for many of his plays, with the fictional Harrison, Texas, standing in for Wharton.

Dividing his time mostly between Texas and New York, he kept the Wharton home in which he had grown up and did much of his writing there. "I picked a difficult subject, a little lost Texas town no one's heard of or cares about," Foote told The New York Times in 1995. "But I'm at the mercy of what I write. The subject matter has taken me over."Never one for urbane and trendy topics, Foote instead focused on ordinary people and how their nostalgic recollections would mislead them.
For more information on Horton Foote see my post dated February 23 or click here for a short slide show.