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!

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