Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Supporting Radical Sistaz.

Hey Food for Thought Community,

I wanted to share this link because it's a collection of radical sistaz that are working hard to support liberation and justice through their own truth-telling work:


Also, this is a personal call to support The Expatriate Amplification Project―written and composed by Lenelle Moise―the cd will feature 12 tracks of powerful, narrative, lyrically engaging all-vocal music created with two big voices, two cool loop machines and a whole lot of heart. Lenelle sings! And so does Karla Mosley, a rising star of the stage and screen. One audience member described their sound as “post-civil rights chants/neo-Africanistic funk.” They are currently in the fundraising process to get this project off the ground. She has already raised 5,062.00 of her 5,500.00 goal. She has 12 hours left to raise the rest! So please help do your share to make this project happen and get really cool stuff while you’re at it:

Thanks, in advance for checking it out!
paz y light.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Valley Green Feast - A Workers' Collective

Please give a warm welcome and offer your support to a new workers' collective in the valley: Valley Green Feast!

Here's some info about who they are and what they do along with how they recently became a collective:
Valley Green Feast is a delivery service that brings fresh, local, organic food to your door each week beginning January 8th with two special December deliveries coming up.  Valley Green Feast fosters a more sustainable community and provides Pioneer Valley residents an affordable, convenient way to eat healthy and locally grown food.  By using this service you are supporting more than 15 local farms and businesses. We choose local, organic products, which are better for the land, and cut down drastically on emission and fuel consumption.

After two years of business Valley Green Feast founder Jessica Harwood was hired for a job she has wanted for years.  Jessica, along with Maggie Shar, Molly Merrett and Danya Teitelbaum have taken on the business and are now running Valley Green Feast as a worker owned collective.  See our website for our December delivery specials and also any help spreading the word is greatly appreciated.

Eat delicious, healthy food! Support our local economy! Support a new worker's collective in your community! And have it all come to your door!

Thanks for your support!
Maggie Shar, Jessica Harwood, Danya Teitelbaum,  and Molly Merrett

Friday, December 18, 2009

Help Save the Toronto Women's Bookstore

wow, it's just not a good year for bookstores, is it?

The Toronto Women's Bookstore is in crisis and we need your help!
Independent businesses and bookstores have been closing their doors this year, and after 36 years it is possible that we will have to do the same if we are not able to raise enough money to survive. TWB is one of the only remaining non-profit feminist bookstores in North America, but despite all of the events, courses, workshops, community resources and additional services we offer, the fact that we are a store means that we do not receive any outside funding and rely entirely on sales and the support of our customers to stay in business.... read more

- Toronto Women's Bookstore on the Brink -Torontoist
- Women's bookstore seeks cash to stay afloat -Globe & Mail

Monday, December 7, 2009

Lambda Rising Bookstores to Close

From our friends at Shelf Awareness we note this story about the closing of Lambda Rising, founded in 1974 as one of the first LBGT bookstores in the country:

Sad news: Lambda Rising, the gay and lesbian bookstore with locations in Washington, D.C., and Rehoboth Beach, Del., will shut down in early January. The stores have started holiday sales and will hold liquidation sales after Christmas.

In a long statement, Deacon Maccubbin, who owns the store with his husband, Jim Bennett, put the closing in a positive light, saying that when he founded Lambda Rising in 1974, it was virtually impossible to find gay books in general bookstores or libraries. "We thought if we could show that there was a demand for our literature, that bookstores could be profitable selling it, we could encourage the writing and publishing of glbt books, and sooner or later other bookstores would put those books on their own shelves and there would be less need for a specifically gay and lesbian bookstore. Today 35 years later, nearly every general bookstore carries glbt books, often featuring them in special sections."

He added: "But the book market has been changing dramatically, the GLBT community has been making progress by leaps and bounds, and 35 years is enough time for any person to devote to any one thing. It's just time to move on."

The first Lambda Rising stocked 250 books in a 300-sq.-ft. room in a townhouse in Washington. In the beginning, the store was harassed and Maccubbin was unable to advertise in the Washington Post or the Yellow Pages, which would not run ads that used the words "gay" or "lesbian." Lambda Rising also hosted the first five Gay Pride Days in Washington before giving it to a nonprofit foundation. The event now draws more than 200,000 people a year. Besides the Rehoboth Beach store, Lambda also opened stores in Baltimore, Md., and Norfolk, Va.; purchased (and later sold) the Oscar Wilde Bookshop in New York City; began the Lambda Book Report; and founded the Lammy Awards, which are now run by the Lambda Literary Foundation.

Jim Bennett commented: "I spent 20 years working in Lambda Rising and it was a marvelous experience. The store has touched the lives of so many people--it was never just a bookstore, but always so much more. Every day I went to work there, I knew I was doing something that made a difference.
Farewell, Lambda Rising! You will be missed.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Pioneer Valley Local First on Channel 40

Pioneer Valley Local First, of which our very own Mitch Gaslin is a part, has produced a guide of more than 220 locally-owned and independently-operated businesses, just in time for the holidays. They're free & are available here at Food For Thought Books, as well as many other local aea businesses.

It recently got a nice profile on WGGB Channel 40 recently. Check it out:

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Professor Jon Zibbell

Hey look! It's an interview with our former weekend warrior, Jonny Zibbell, who has been teaching Cultural Anthropology, Urban Anthropology and a seminar class on Marx's social theory up at Skidmore College.

Best quote:

I have a fetish for graphic novels, especially stuff published by Vertigo. I'm reading DMZ and 100 Bullets right now, both of which are fantastic. But others include Watchmen, Sin City, Scalped, & Ex Machina.

Before I say too much more about my love of comics, I think it best to end the interview here.
Stop by the store this Friday the 27th or Saturday the 28th if you feel like visiting with Jonny - he's back helping out yet again with our holiday hours, giving all the rest of us a bit of a vacation break. Thanks, Jonny!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Vigil & Community Altar for Jason Mattison and Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado

Join us this Monday November 23, 6:30-8:30pm for a vigil and community altar building in honor of two young gay men of color who were brutally murdered in the last month: Jason Mattison (15 yrs old, murdered in Baltimore, Maryland on November 10, 2009) and Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado (19 yrs. old, murdered in Puerto Rico on November 14, 2009).

In solidarity with national vigils across the country, Western MA Qpocalypse and Food for Thought Books will create a community art/testimonio sharing space where all will be welcome to mourn as a community, connect with the national campaign, share stories, and create items for a community altar that holds our mission for violence-free communities for ALL. We resist Homophobia and Transphobia!

The resulting photographic and video footage will be used in efforts for full prosecution of the Jorge Mercado case. Never in Puerto Rico's history has a crime been prosecuted with hate crimes provisions attached, despite the existence of said provisions since 2002. We want to make sure this is the first case.

For information on the National Campaign organizing for justice in this case please see their recent press release

More information about Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado: Gay Puerto Rican Teen Decapitated, Dismembered, and Burned

For more information about Jason Mattison: Many unanswered questions in killing of youth

For other information please see the Oakland "More Than A Vigil" blog

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Resources on Ray Luc Levasseur

Unfortunately (though predictably), the mainstream media was dominated by rightwing and reactionary voices during much of the coverage of Ray Luc Levasseur's scheduled appearance at a forum on social change at University of Massachusetts. In the hopes of providing some counter to this tide of misinformation & fearmongering, please check out the following links:

Kudos to the event organizers for keeping the peace & still providing the forum despite the immense opposition, the threats of violence, and the institutional resistance.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Let Ray Luc Levasseur Have His Say

Update: The event is still going on but in altered format & different location. Levasseur was denied travel permission by his parole officer and so will be unable to attend in person. There is some possibility of him giving his talk via video conferencing. The event will be at 7:15pm on November 12th - School of Management, Room #137, University of Massachusetts.

You probably have all heard by now but the folks at University of Massachusetts decided to cancel a talk by Ray Luc Levasseur of the Ohio 7 due to pressure from police organizations and right-wing talk show idiots.

Here's a message from one of the organizers:

Dear Friends and Colleagues,
Thank you to all who have emailed me in the past couple days to express your support for the lecture "Ray Luc Levasseur: Defendant in the Great Sedition Trial of Western Massachusetts Returns After 20 Years", originally scheduled for Thursday November 12, at 7pm in the UMass Campus Center. Also thank you to those who have contacted Governor Patrick, Chancellor Holub, and UMass Libraries Special Collections to voice your opposition to the event's cancellation under the pressure of police organizations and the far right. Supporters of UMass academic departments' right to hold the event have so far included leaders of the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Coalition Against Censorship, the American Association of University Professors, and world famous historian Howard Zinn.
Amber Eastman Black, a UMass alum, has set up a facebook page entitled "Let Ray Have His Say" to protest the event's cancellation. Please join if you are interested:
Also, for your information, I have attached a letter to Chancellor Holub written by one of my mentors, Prof. George Caffentzis of the University of Southern Maine.
Dan Chard

and here's the letter from Professor Caffentzis:
Dear Chancellor Robert Holub,
I am writing to protest the decision to cancel the lecture "Ray Luc Levasseur: Defendant in the Great Sedition Trial of Western Mass", scheduled for next Thursday November 12 in the UMass Campus Center. I understand that this cancellation was done under pressure of a variety of state police organizations and the incitement of right-wing talk show hosts.
The lecture was to deal with the crime of sedition, an issue that is important to all students of US history--especially in the Western Massachusetts area, the home of Shay’s Rebellion. It was to feature the presence of Ray Luc Levasseur, one of the defendants (who was found innocent) in the country’s last major sedition trial that took place in Springfield in 1989.
I have no doubt that the Levasseur’s lecture and the subsequent discussion would have been the source of knowledge about this trial and more general issues concerning the charge of sedition. We cannot deepen our knowledge of US history without opening the public space in academe to figures who were involved in that very history. Can we in academic life, then, afford to have speakers in practice vetted by state police organizations and right-wing talk show hosts?
I therefore urge you and the officials of the University of Massachusetts--Amherst to reverse the decision to cancel the lecture. Such a reversal would be a sign that the University of Massachusetts has the necessary autonomy to carry on its mission of providing the social space for the creation of knowledge.

Prof. C. G. Caffentzis
Dept. of Philosophy
University of Southern Maine
Please contact Governor Patrick, Chancellor Holub, and UMass Libraries Special Collections and voice your opposition to this silencing of free speech and open critical debate.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Rockafella Dance Workshop at Food For Thought

man, this was sooo awesome...

there's a few more short vids of this event over at our YouTube channel
(yes, we know the footage quality is lacking - anyone got a spare video camera they'd like to donate? pretty please?)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Food For Thought Books is hiring

We are currently looking to fill a position in our collective. Please see our website for more details.

Monday, October 12, 2009

"Let us in the name of the Holy Trinity go on sending all the slaves that can be sold."

some thoughts on this most heinous of holidays...

even more things to think on can be found at...
Resources for Rethinking Columbus

Friday, October 9, 2009

Exploring Queer Radicalism

This monthly study group/book club meets on the last Monday of every month and has recently made Food For Thought Books its new home! Join us this month on October 26th at 7pm for a discussion of From ACT UP to the WTO, an anthology that offers a history of ACT UP with a focus on new social movements, the use of street theater to reclaim public space, queer and sexual politics, new media/electronic civil disobedience, and race and community building.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Education for Liberation - A series of workshops

Check out our exciting new series of workshops happening here at Food For Thought every Thursday night at 5:00pm: Education for Liberation!

The E4L Series is grounded in our commitment to creating spaces for voices that are silenced or overlooked by mainstream corporate media. Including workshops, screenings, lectures and presentations with artists, educators, community organizers and every day folk who are working towards a social justice agenda centered around ending oppression and supporting liberation and self-determination.

This is an intergenerational space, supporting the voices and development of community members of all ages. This series is brought to you by support from our Lead Visionary Partner; Youth Action CoalitionVideo Vanguards & through support from our Community Collaborators including: The Western Mass. Media Consortium and The TRGGR Media Group

Click here to see the full schedule. For more info: call tk at 413-253-5432.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

For All the People

We just got in a new book here at FFT by John Curl that we're pretty excited about. It looks to tell the "hidden history of Cooperation, Cooperative Movements, and Communalism in America" -

... Seeking to reclaim a history that has remained largely ignored by most historians, this dramatic and stirring account examines each of the definitive American cooperative movements for social change—farmer, union, consumer, and communalist—that have been all but erased from collective memory. Focusing far beyond one particular era, organization, leader, or form of cooperation, For All the People documents the multigenerational struggle of the American working people for social justice. With an expansive sweep and breathtaking detail, the chronicle follows the American worker from the colonial workshop to the modern mass-assembly line, ultimately painting a vivid panorama of those who built the United States and those who will shape its future. ... read more
Actually, I should say mostly new. Somewhere in the piles of books I have at home there's a copy of the original slim pamphlet that Curl put out something like 10 years(?) ago. I remember enjoying alot then, as I had just started working in my first collective and it was good to feel a connection with history in what we were doing. I'm definitely looking forward to reading this much expanded edition.

(I do find it pretty ironic, though, that this book was published by PM Press, a press the owner founded because he didn't want to work in a collective anymore. Go figure.)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Bread & Puppet Theatre is coming to town!

Friday, September 18th at 7:00pm
Amherst Regional High School

The fabulous and amazing Bread & Puppet Theatre is coming to do a concert and fundraiser for the South Amherst Conservation Association. Those of you have seen them before know they are not to be missed - and those of you who have yet to catch one of their shows, get ready for a fantastic night of spectacle, humor, and, of course, puppets!

Tickets are available here at Food For Thought Books ($15 general public, $8 for students, seniors & low-income). You can also get tickets at Broadside Books in Northampton.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Welcome Students!

Fall semester begins this upcoming week & we'd like to welcome all the many students, new & returning. If your instructors have ordered your textbooks with us, please see our Textbook FAQ which will hopefully answer any questions you may have. If not, feel free to call (413-253-5432) or email us at info@foodforthoughtbooks.com.

Don't forget to check out our calendar of upcoming events, which will kick into gear soon, and feel free to stop by for a visit - we have verrry comfy couches :)

Have a great semester!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Legendary Feminist Bookstores Celebrate Big Anniversaries

from Bookselling This Week:

Two stalwarts of the feminist bookstore community are celebrating milestones anniversaries this fall, each with a series of in-store and off-site events, featuring locally known and nationally recognized authors. Chicago's Women & Children First is celebrating its 30th anniversary throughout September and October. And, in Atlanta, Charis Books & More will hold a weeklong party in November to mark its 35th year. read full article

Friday, August 21, 2009

Closed for Construction Work, Monday August 24th & Tuesday August 25th

We will be closed this Monday, August 24th. The DPW is going to be completing the sidewalk construction work & will be paving right in front of our door. As such, we're going to be pretty inaccessible for the day. See you again on Tuesday.

Update: looks like we're going to be closed for most of Tuesday the 25th as well. We may be open later today when the cement dries. Please call ahead before visiting: (413) 253-5432.

Monday, August 10, 2009


The Corporate Co-opt of Local by Stacy Mitchell, author of Big-Box Swindle, is an excellent article concerning the recent attempts by various corporations to appropriate the idea of "buying local".

Corporate local-washing is spreading well beyond food. Barnes & Noble, the world's top seller of books, has launched a video blog site under the banner "All bookselling is local." The site features "local book news" and recommendations from employees of stores in such evocative-sounding locales as Surprise, Ariz., and Wauwatosa, Wis. The vlog seems designed to disguise what Barnes & Noble is—a centralized corporation where decisions about what books to stock and feature are made by a handful of buyers—and to present the chain instead as a collection of independent-minded booksellers.

Across the country, scores of shopping malls, chambers of commerce and economic development agencies are also appropriating the phrase "buy local" to urge consumers to patronize nearby malls and big-box stores. In March, leaders of a campaign in Fresno, Calif., assembled in front of the Fashion Fair Mall for a kickoff press conference. Flanked by storefronts bearing brand names like Anthropologie and The Cheesecake Factory, officials from the Economic Development Corporation serving Fresno County explained that choosing to "buy local" helps the region's economy. For anyone confused by this display, the campaign and its media partners, including Comcast and the McClatchy-owned Fresno Bee, followed the press conference with more than $250,000 worth of radio, TV and print ads that spelled it out: "Just so you know, buying local means any store in your community: mom-and-pop stores, national chains, big-box stores—you name it." . . . read full article

(via metafilter)

see also: Starbucks Goes Stealth with Unbranded, "Local" Cafes

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Farewell Northland Poster Collective!

If you have been to our store you have no doubt seen the colorful posters decorating the walls above our bookshelves. The majority of these came from the vibrant Northland Poster Collective, who have been providing radical and progressive communities with amazing and powerful artworks for the past thirty years. Sadly, they are now closing up shop. While it is easy to identify the failing economy as the direct reason, they also note a larger context that should give one pause:

There's a bigger story that is worth noting that has to do with the way the cultural struggle for a better world is carried out. In short, the right wing is very aware that political power grows out of people's beliefs and hopes and dreams and they support their cultural warriors unstintingly. Our side thinks in terms of "issue campaigns" and leaves its cultural workers to work second jobs or take out mortgages to support their projects. We may wish to rethink this strategy.
There is a lot of painful truth being voiced here.

Food For Thought Books Collective would like to express our deep gratitude and solidarity with the people of Northland Poster Collective. Thank you all so much for all you've given us, for all the creativity you manifested & inspired. We wish you all the best in your future endeavors.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Green Apple Books Videos

The gents at Green Apple Books of San Francisco have been putting out a steady stream of silly yet entertaining "commercials". Check it out:

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Save New WORLD Theater!

We at Food For Thought Books Collective would like to strongly voice our support for and solidarity with New WORLD Theater.

As many of you have probably already heard, the University of Massachusetts has suspended all funding for New WORLD Theater and laid off their staff. While it is true that the economy is currently a difficult one, it is no reason to sacrifice what has been one of the most dynamic, diverse, and visionary programs of the whole Fine Arts Center at UMass. Not only that, we also stand to lose such essential youth programs as Project 2050.

How lucky have we all been to have these programs here in the Valley? Where else do we find anything like them? They are critical sites for the creation & production of new ways of knowing, of being and creating. We cannot let them disappear. For three decades they have imagined and struggled and given us all so much. Now is their time of crisis and it is time to stand with them - in gratitude, in respect, and in solidarity.

Please check out the Save New World Theater Facebook page to see how you can help and please offer them your support today.


Saturday, July 18, 2009

Think again chum!

Check out this great new video from The Regulator Bookshop.

Shopping on the web and consider yourself "green"? Think again chum! You may just be breeding an ecological disaster in your own backyard...

Friday, July 3, 2009

Closed for Inventory: July 6th & 7th

We're going to be CLOSED for inventory this upcoming Monday, July 6th and Tuesday, July 7th. We're going to be counting books and counting books and, then, we'll probably do some book counting. And then we'll count the cards, and bumperstickers, and buttons and pretty much every other little thing in the store. It's so much fun we can hardly stand it. That's why we close the store: to keep the fun to ourselves.

As such, what we won't be doing is answering the phone or opening the door. Unless you come with home-baked cookies. Then we will let you in. But only then, ok? Basic chocolate chip are fine with us but feel free to get fancier if you feel the urge. :)

See you again on Wednesday!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Arts for Social Change- A reading with Beverly Naidus

Beverly Naidus is an artist, activist, educator, and writer and has had her work exhibited internationally in venues including the Institute of Contemporary Art in London, the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York City, the Brooklyn Museum, and the Armand Hammer Museum at UCLA. She recently completed her third book, Arts for Social Change, and came to the store this past Wednesday to share her work with us.

It was an inspirational night and it was an honor to have been able to host her here at Food For Thought Books.

Welcoming Beverly was easy, after all, she was down to earth, socially-conscious, and joyfully invested in doing her share to create a more just and utopic society. She told stories from her heart that called on ancestors and history to affirm the need for art as a tool for social change and healing. Through her storytelling we saw Beverly’s commitment to art for social change as her life-long practice and the high value she places on socially conscious eco-art practices. Having struggled with environmental illnesses in her lifetime, her personal experience serves as a powerful yet vulnerable place from which to educate.

Beverly presented a power point presentation with slides from her book and discussed practices that she’s found critical to the arts for social change movement. Along with slides of her own work Beverly presented artists such as Ana Mendieta, Esther Hernandez, Common Threads Artists, Beth Ferguson, Fred Wilson and images taken from her class’ work. Beverly’s extensive knowledge was intriguing and her storytelling was easy to follow yet reflective and containing depth. The work she does as an educator is creative and joy-filled healing work, yet it challenges her students to be analytic and think critically of oppressive systems and institutions.

During her presentation Beverly cited art practices she’s encouraged her students to explore as they create their own work. One such practice “Culture Jamming”- taking images that we are familiar with in a consumer based society and re-writing or inserting a subversive alternative image- has served as a platform for response from her students to mainstream consumer messages and products. For example, her students creatively used this method to respond to issues such as body image and bottled water.

She discussed her current position at University of Washington, Tacoma, co-creating a program on Arts in Community, with a focus on arts for social change within the Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences Program. Working primarily with non-traditional students she explores the topics that are most interesting to her. Her courses include Eco-Art, Labor Globalization & Art, and Body Image & Art. As she spoke her passion, excitement and the importance of these topics shone through.

“We really need to be doing a lot of education if we want our species to survive… It’s important to look at what is bad but it is also really important for us to vision what we want this world to look like”, she stated with regards to her goal in teaching art for social change. She has found value in her teaching practice as a platform from which she can support her students as they find the stories within them and are inspired to change the world through art. It is apparent that working from a place of hopefulness and joy is critical to Naidus in all of her work and, as a result, her students seem to be thriving in their exploration of art and social justice.

In her closing she read this quote from her book:

I have had a sense of mission in writing this book, a sense that many activists own, what we are running out of time, and, in this time that we have, we have to convert hundred of thousands of other artists to this calling. This has to be a diverse movement of artists if it is going to work and it will have to be sneaky, smart and effective. Artists will have to make work that helps to make their own stories emerge. With each unfolding on a person’s story, a life becomes less alienated; a person becomes more connected to the whole. We have to be persistent and patient, open-hearted and ruthless in our risk-taking. We no longer have the luxury of waiting generations. Our window of opportunity is only open a small crack, and we need to stretch it as far open as possible. And remember that we don’t need to do this work with painful intensity that will scare aware potential joiners. We need to do it with a joyful sway of our hips, with the pleasure of knowing that we have given our all.
Even if you missed the event, I encourage you to come by the store, pick up her book and explore her life work. Check out her website: Arts for Social Change for more resources including links to some of the artists featured in the book and her course syllabus.

- - - - -

Interested in reading the book? Order it via our website!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Community Donations on Hold for the Summer

For years now, the Food For Thought Books Collective has had an expressed commitment to supporting community efforts through monetary and in-kind donations. Over the course of the past year, our donations program supported many community efforts that work to expand access to social services and promote social justice including the Youth Action Coalition, Sunderland Public Library & PTO, the Prison Birth Project, Prison Book Project, the South Amherst Conservation Association, the Justice for Jason Legal Defense Fund, and Grace House.

Our commitment to supporting social justice organizations that are making a positive impact in our community extends beyond our donations program. This past year, we began organizing events that Celebrate Resistance through music, poetry, and visual art, while raising hundreds of dollars for organizations such as Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) and the Palestine Israeli Education Project. We are also building sustainable collaborative relationships with several social justice organizations in our community such as the Prison Birth Project, Fertile Ground Schools, and the Women of Color Leadership Network—offering them space for meetings and events, and promoting their work in our window, event calendar and website.

The recent recession, however, has not left us unaffected. Like many, we are finding it necessary to tighten our belt a notch or two in the hopes of offsetting the last several months of slow and declining sales. As a result, we have decided to put a hold on all our donations until the end of August, while we assess the state of our finances, evaluate the most effective way to support our community, and begin developing a plan for sustaining Food For Thought Books well into the future.

We appreciate your patience and understanding in this situation. We are confident that we will make it through this rough patch and look forward to working with our community to building a just and sustainable economy that ensures prosperity for all.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Prison Birth Project Benefit

There will be a benefit fundraiser later this month to help support one of our favorite local groups: The Prison Birth Project. Check it out:

Secret Cafe: June 27th 2009 - 6:00pm
Come enjoy a delicious dinner prepared and served by members of The Prison Birth Project. Located in a cozy backyard with outside seating, candles, music and drinks!
Seating at 6pm and 8pm.
What better way to spend a summer night? Hope to see you there!

For tickets & more information: The Prison Birth Project - Secret Cafe

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Food For Thought Books Reunion Today

We're having a reunion today at the store of all the folks who have worked here at Food For Thought over the past 33 years. See the recent post Erika made just below for more info.

We'll be closed for regular business hours but will be open at 7:30pm tonight for a party open to all. There'll be good food, good conversation & good music. Please come! We'd love to see you there.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Summer hours at Food For Thought Books

We'll be switching to a reduced schedule for the summer (June to mid-August). Hours will be 11:00am to 6:00pm, daily.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Food for Thought Books Collective Reunion

Food for Thought Books is having a reunion on Saturday, June 6, 2009! For the first time (that we know of), the Food for Thought Books collective is hosting a gathering of past and present collective members to share stories, document our important and unique history, and look ahead to the future.

Following our day of reunion activities, with the help of the other cooperatives and collectives of the Valley Alliance of Worker Cooperatives (VAWC), we’re hosting a public reception here at the store at 7:30 PM. If you’re part of another cooperative business, you’ve been coming to Food for Thought since the early days, or if you just want to come say hello to your favorite radical book-monger from back in the day, please stop by. There will be brief presentations, light refreshments, and time to just hang out. We’d love it if you, our community of support, would help us celebrate 33 years of mutual aid, cooperation, and workplace democracy.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Eduardo Galeano's Newest Book

Here, shamelessly (and with authorization) copied from our friend's at Shelf Awareness (a great e-newsletter for people in the publishing and bookselling world) is a great piece about Galeano's new book, Mirrors: An Almost Universal History. Enjoy!

Here's the next chapter of the story that started last month during the Summit of the Americas, when Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez handed President Obama a copy of Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent--and thereby made the Eduardo Galeano book a bestseller here.

All the publicity, which was kind of a breakout for Galeano, a Uruguayan who is well known around the world but not in the U.S., has opened up new possibilities for Galeano's next book, Mirrors: Stories of Almost Everyone, translated by Mark Fried, which Nation Books, part of the Perseus Books Group, is publishing later this month.

The house has doubled its first printing to 20,000, and the pub date has been moved up to May 25. And because of the Chavez-Obama boost, Galeano's tour has changed. As John Sherer, publisher at Basic Books and Nation Books, put it, "Let's just say that it's been a little bit easier for publicity to book some of the mainstream media."

Even before President Chavez helped the sales effort, Nation Books had made Mirrors its lead book and had planned to bring Galeano to the U.S. for a tour. Sherer noted that "early reads from reps had been very strong, and the call reports from the field suggested that Mirrors might just be the book to finally make Galeano the household name he deserves to be. It was by far the book cited the most in their call reports."

Interestingly Galeano said he doesn't want to discuss Open Veins of Latin America on the tour because, among other reasons, he's "extremely proud of Mirrors and wants it to be the book American readers discover him through," Sherer added.

So far, Galeano's tour includes an appearance at BEA as well as readings at Politics and Prose in Washington, D.C., the Ethical Culture Society in New York, the Free Library in Philadelphia, Town Hall in Seattle, the Los Angeles Public Library, Berkeley's Arts and Lettters and the Lensic Performing Arts Center in Santa Fe, where he will be interviewed by Bookworm's Michael Silverblatt.

Nation Books calls Mirrors "a sometimes bawdy, sometimes irreverent, sometimes heart-breaking unofficial history of the world seen--and mirrored to us--through the eyes and voices of history's unseen, unheard, and forgotten. As Galeano asks, 'Official history has it that Vasco Núñez de Balboa was the first man to see, from a summit in Panama, the two oceans at once. Were the people who lived there blind?'

"Taking in 5,000 years of history, recalling the lives of artists and writers, gods and visionaries from the Garden of Eden to twenty-first-century New York and Mumbai, and told in hundreds of kaleidoscopic vignettes that resurrect the lives of the 'thinkers and the feelers, the curious, condemned for asking, rebels and losers and lovely lunatics who were and are the salt of the earth,' Mirrors is a magic mosaic of our humanity." (Shelf Awareness, April 18, 2009)
Interested? You can order a copy of "Mirrors" through our main website. Click here.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Erika's fond farewell…

Five years ago I became part of the unparalleled Food for Thought Books Collective right after I graduated from UMass – what an amazing opportunity! Since then I’ve had countless rich conversations with folks in the community and within my collective; I’ve had the privilege of hosting incredible authors, activists, and artists; and I’ve collaborated with many brilliant, creative comrades. I’ve had the distinct pleasure of unpacking hundreds of boxes of exciting new books, experiencing each time the power of the written word to move me to feel, to remember, and to act… and I’ve gotten to share all of this with people every day. How have I been so lucky?!

And yet…it’s come time for me to move on. Bittersweet indeed.

In the fall I’ll start the History MA program at UMass, back to my old stomping ground! I really see this move as just another step in my larger life project: to make space for silenced voices, to look to past and present examples of radical resistance for maps of the future, so that we might all experience justice, joy, and exuberant, expansive love. I’d like to try to be a truly engaged activist-scholar, inspired by the many folks I’ve met while working at Food for Thought who are doing just that. I hope you’ll all hold me to it!

Food for Thought Books is a unique and important place, I’m so grateful to all of you for keeping it alive all these years. I hope that, with some effort, it will be here decades from now, still dynamically engaged with the world.

I’d like to invite you all to stop by the store to say hello/farewell on Tuesday, May 26, my last day, from 4-5:30. We’ll have some cake and I’ll try not to cry the whole time. Hope I’ll see you there.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Sleep Dealer

This past weekend I went to go see Sleep Dealer up the street at Amherst Cinema. It is an incredible film: compelling, disturbing, passionate & visionary. I would like to encourage everyone to go see it.

Nojojo over at The Angry Black Woman says it better than I can so go check out her summary & review of the movie.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Interview with local author John Crowley

There's an interesting interview in the new issue of the Believer with local author John Crowley, one of my favorite storytellers.

How am I putting this together? Is this an actual thing I’m putting together, or am I fooling myself? Is it totally lost and am I creating a new thing out of what I found, or am I actually finding a way back to a lost world? I think that’s what we do in our daily lives, a lot of the time, even when we try to construct our own past. Many novels have been written about people who have an illusory picture, not of the distant past, but of their own past, their own lives, their own marriages, their own childhoods. It may be that to write a historical version of that story stands somewhere between the modern-novel idea of discovering or reconstructing a lost past or a lost system of values and some ancient versions of it, as in the Grail quests and Gilgamesh. It’s probably central to the nature of fiction altogether, to try to enter into lost worlds, or enter into “the lost” in some way.
read the full interview

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

Arise then...women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts!
Whether your baptism be of water or of tears!
Say firmly:
"We will not have questions answered by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage,
For caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.
We, the women of one country,
Will be too tender of those of another country
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs."

From the bosom of a devastated Earth a voice goes up with
Our own. It says: "Disarm! Disarm!
The sword of murder is not the balance of justice."
Blood does not wipe out dishonor,
Nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil
At the summons of war,
Let women now leave all that may be left of home
For a great and earnest day of counsel.
Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.
Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means
Whereby the great human family can live in peace...
Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress,
not of Caesar,
but of God -
In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask
That a general congress of women without limit of nationality,
May be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient
And the earliest period consistent with its objects,
To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
The amicable settlement of international questions,
The great and general interests of peace.

- Julia Howe, Mother's Day Proclamation, 1870

Friday, May 1, 2009

Happy May Day!

Today we will be closed at Food For Thought Books in honor of May Day.

We encourage all of you to call in sick, take the day off & enjoy a good picnic out in the new spring sun with family & friends. If you work for a living, this is your day. You deserve it!

If you're in Northampton please join us at the Rally for Immigrant Rights happening in front of the courthouse at noon. Hope to see you there.

For more information on the history & significance of May Day, check out Peter Linebaugh's great essay The Incomplete, True, Authentic and Wonderful History of May Day.

More resources & links can also be found here. Happy May Day!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Chávez creates overnight bestseller with book gift to Obama

"Our defeat was always implicit in the victory of others; our wealth has always generated our poverty by nourishing the prosperity of others."

In my political education Open Veins of Latin America by Eduardo Galeano holds a central place. I can still remember the sensation I felt when I first read it years ago: the strange & heady vertigo one feels when the world is turned upside-down. Ever since, I have tried to get everyone I know to read it.

Now, Hugo Chávez has re-introduced this essential work to the world with really nothing more than a simple gesture: giving someone a book. I can only hope that Obama will read it. But even if he doesn't, Chávez's gift has ensured that thousands more surely will. That's good enough for me.


Interested? Order this book from our store
Monthly Review Press: Open Veins of Latin America
Pre-order Galeano's new book: Mirrors, Stories of Almost Everyone

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Douglas Blackmon wins Pulitzer Prize

Congratulations to Douglas Blackmon who has won a Pulitzer for his superlative work of historical investigation Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II.

In school, many of us were taught that the Civil War ended slavery. Unfortunately, the truth of the matter is that while one form of enslavement fell with the war's end, another more insidious form rose to take its place. It was called the "convict lease system" and it exploited a loophole in the 13th amendment that allowed for slavery as punishment for a crime. African American men, recently emancipated but also jobless and without resources, were quickly rounded up and convicted on all manner of spurious and incidental charges. They were then leased to businesses and corporations who literally worked them to death building railroads, mining coal, and yes, even farming plantations once again. To call it "slavery by another name" is no exaggeration.
Armies of "free" black men labored without compensation, were repeatedly bought and sold, and were forced through beatings and physical torture to do the bidding of white masters for decades after the official abolition of American slavery.
The convict lease system has been condemned since its inception by many voices, including prominent ones like that of Frederick Douglass. But until recently, many did not know just how extensive (and how brutal) this system really was, not to mention how long such corporate exploitation of ex-slaves lasted (all the way up until WWII).

We owe this new knowledge to Blackmon's painstaking and exhaustive eight year long search through the court records of the time and his eloquent reconstruction of the stories these records revealed. His book is not an easy one to read. The truths he uncovers are dark and terrible ones about our history. But it is an important book, and a necessary one if we are ever to begin grappling with and healing the deep and open wound that we call race in this country. As Blackmon stated in a recent interview:
"What's clear is that the crimes against African American men were much greater than we have cared to acknowledge, and that you can't understand the state of race relations and the harm it has done to African Americans to this day without taking into account the harsh and terrible truth."
It is very gratifying to see such work get the honor and recognition it so rightfully deserves. Congratulations, Douglas Blackmon. You have earned it.

. . . . .

order at our store: Slavery By Another Name
be sure to see: Douglas Blackmon's website
related news: Books That Explore Race in U.S. Lead Arts Pulitzers

Friday, April 17, 2009

Food For Thought Books on the web

Along with this new blog, we have a few other online incarnations. Please check them out:

  • Food For Thought Books - Search for & order any book you like via our online shop. Explore our calendar of upcoming book readings & community events. Check to see what's selling with the independents & small presses.

  • Facebook - Be our friend! Please?? We'll love you best if you do!

  • Flickr - Photos from past events & everyday affairs. Looking back through these reminds us how lucky we are to enjoy the support of such an extraordinary and diverse community of people. Many good memories here.

  • Valley Art Share - A new networking site for the arts community in the Pioneer Valley.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


Welcome to the official blog of Food For Thought Books Collective. We're going to use this space to highlight new books, review our favorite reads, announce upcoming events, and pretty much anything else we think might be interesting.

Let us know what you would like to see here. We'd love to hear from you.

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