Category Archives: Book Column

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A Life in Books – Super Cheap

Warren Lehrer’s A Life in Books came out last year. It’s 380 illustrated pages dripping with books and books-within-books, meta-short stories and this month they dropped the price to $6.99!!! I have no idea why. It’s usually $34.99, but be sure to check this one out if you like to read about books or know someone who does.

LifeInBooks_coverIt is an illustrated novel of a fella locked up in prison recounting his time as an upcoming author. This stroll down memory lane is accompanied by covers, back cover copy, reading samples, etc. of every book this fictional author ever did. Can you get a sense of the rabbit hole that is A Life in Books? Pretty fun. Here’s an interview with Lehrer if you want to get a better idea about what the book is about and why it’s been written/built the way it is. Here is the LibraryThing page as well.

Anyway, no affiliate link. I don’t get anything out of this other than saying “Holy heck, that’s a gorgeous colorful book-about-books on sale for $6.99″. Which is a pretty fun thing to say these days.

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Moss Rock Festival

Today is the last day of the Moss Rock Festival here in Birmingham. It starts at 10 a.m. and wraps at 4 p.m. Yesterday was windy and chilly, but lots of fun. The festival has grown quite a bit in the past couple of years. I scouted it out and found a few booths with books. Check them out if you’re walking around today there are some pretty fun books to be had.

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The Hoover Library – they have a great booth with two tables set up crammed with used books. Hardbacks are going for $2 and paperbacks for $.50.

Five Star Trails: Birminghamauthor Tom Spencer will be signing at the Fresh Air Family booth (blue tent, in the kids craft section on the green) today.This hiking guide is the newest outdoor book to the Birmingham area and is published by local publisher Menasha Ridge Press (disclosure: this is one of the imprints I work for). Spencer did all of the research and writing and it is so well done. Check it out!

Birmingham Home and Garden – the magazine folks were there and they had a large beautiful almost-coffee-table-sized book on home decorating. Pretty snazzy looking.

Birmingham Magazine – if you swing by you can get a free magazine, but they also had four books on the South. Mostly Southern photo and photo-essay. I asked and they seemed to be for sale only if you get a subscription, but stop by if you’re interested and see if you get a different answer.

Let me know if I missed anything as I plan on going back to the Moss Rock Festival again today. Hope you all can make it as well. If you can survive the parking madness, it’s really worth it.

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The “Why” of a Book Choice

I agree with the saying “You are what you eat”, and I think it is even true to say “You are what you read”.  Or more accurately, “You will become what you read”.

You eat a banana – you are not going to become a banana. You read a book – it’s in your brain. The seed is there. It can grow or wither. It can consume your soul and invade your dreams. This holds true for fiction and non-fiction books. This is why I’ve always been curious as to “why” someone makes a particular book choice. Saying “I just want to escape” only goes so far. That works better for television than for books. Reading is a different beast from the creatures on television and movie screens.

bookmarks_magThis is why I let out a big ‘YES‘ when I opened my mailbox and read the new Bookmarks letter from Jon Phillips, the magazine’s Editor. Phillips wants to start a new feature in the magazine. A page full of chunks of text from readers everywhere explaining why they are reading the book they are currently reading. Phillips sees value in this even beyond sociological curiosity. He rightfully picks up on the response many of us get when ask others about books:

“I’m not reading anything right now.”

I’ve always let the conversation hop topics at that point. Phillips takes the next step (which I am going to start doing as well), which is to ask:

“Well why not? What’s in the way?”

Just imagine the insights you’ll be given into your friends’ worries or your co-workers’ stress. What a great way to pick up on where they think they are and how they think they’re doing. What a great way to learn from and (hopefully) take a first step in helping those around you.

Phillips is asking anyone who wants to share “what you’re reading now and why” to email him Jon [at] bookmarksmagazine.com. I plan on contributing, but I also plan on posing his questions to folks I bump into this week. So send in the “why” of your book choice to Jon and the Bookmarks magazine crew if you feel like it!

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Fun Stop Motion Book Video

The folks at Type books up in Ontario produced this stop motion video, called The Joy of Books almost three years ago and it’s still a good one.

What is it about sitting back and watching all the books go ’round? I also have to say that the whole “shelve your books by color” contingent is bolstered – it really works when the rainbow of book spines are moving along to the beat.

Creative people are cool. Creative book people are +1 beyond that though.