Tuesday, November 30, 2010

comfy couches at food for thought

Did you know we have verrry comfy couches at Food For Thought Books? You don't have to be buying a book to hang out here. Feel free to drop by & use our free wifi, look at some awesome art books, talk with your friends, do some studying, or just take a quick snooze.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Suppressed Speech of Wamsutta James

It is with mixed emotion that I stand here to share my thoughts. This is a time of celebration for you - celebrating an anniversary of a beginning for the white man in America. A time of looking back, of reflection. It is with a heavy heart that I look back upon what happened to my People.

from United American Indians of New England

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Food For Thought Books in the news

Article from the Springfield Republican, featuring our very own Javiera Benavente:

Internet textbook sales slam Pioneer Valley independent bookstores' bottom lines
Monday, November 22, 2010, 5:37 AM

Photo by Jerrey RobertsAMHERST - Since successfully weathering the incursion of big-box booksellers more than a decade ago, independent bookstores have been contending for some time with another threat: the Internet.

Internet textbook sales this fall likely diverted as much as 30 to 40 percent of the business for Food for Thought Books, said Javiera Benavente, one of five worker-owners of the nonprofit progressive bookstore in downtown Amherst. Seventy percent of the store’s business depends on textbook sales to students at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst College and Hampshire College.

Ironically, a new federal guidance in effect since July 1 - designed to achieve transparency by requiring colleges and universities to post textbook sales information and pricing - may have had an unintended effect: sending students to the Internet to order their textbooks. The new guidance is part of the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008....

John H. Bracey Jr., a UMass Amherst professor of Afro-American studies, has been a supporter since Food for Thought started in 1976.

“This is a college town. We have to have art galleries, theaters and bookstores,” he said. “I go just to browse titles, to see what the latest stuff is. Every time I go in there, I buy something. I was brought up thinking books were the most important things you can have. The idea of shutting down Food for Thought and putting in another coffee place, what would that add to the quality of life in the town? We need these kinds of anchors in the community just to keep the thought level up.”

People still need to “read widely and think broadly,” he said. “Food for Thought has been a center for that kind of activity, whether it’s Ecuadorian poetry or sustainable energy.”

... read more

Monday, November 22, 2010

Food For Thought Books in the news

A nice letter to the Amherst Bulletin from our longtime friend Gerry Weiss:

To the Bulletin: A valuable community resource is in financial trouble. Food for Thought Books is in danger of closing unless they and we find a way to keep them going.

It has been hit by the same factors contributing to the nationwide decline of independent bookstores: big box stores, Amazon, e-books, the economy and a severe drop in textbook sales. For over 30 years, Food for Thought Books has been the only not-for-profit, worker-owned collective bookstore in Western Mass. But it is also a community gathering place where people come together with artists and activists to share ideas.

This gathering and sharing can't be done on Amazon or BarneslandNoble.com. Yes, you can buy books more cheaply on Amazon, but you can't talk to friendly and knowledgeable sales staff, browse the store, sit and read a book to your child and meet local writers. And if the store closes, we have another empty store front and a loss of foot traffic downtown. Every store that closes means a loss to the town; a loss of a business that that gives back to the town. The money you spend in locally owned businesses stays in Amherst. The money you spend at Amazon or B & N stays there.

So the next time you are on one of the big sites to buy a book, switch over to FoodforThoughtBooks.com, and order your book there, or call or stop in. And you can also see what else you can do to help on the website or at the store.

Gerry Weiss
Thanks, Gerry!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Thank You, Sonia Sanchez!

Food For Thought Books Collective would like to express our profound gratitude to Sonia Sanchez for an amazing fundraiser last night.

Thanks also to the lovely folks at Afro-American Studies Department at UMass for making it all happen, not to mention all the wonderful people who showed up to make it such a special evening.

Please know your support in these difficult times is deeply appreciated. We are truly blessed to have such a powerful, creative, and compassionate community to see us through.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Patti Smith wins National Book Award

Hell yes: Patti Smith wins the National Book Award for her recent memoir Just Kids.

In Just Kids, Patti Smith’s first book of prose, the legendary American artist offers a never-before-seen glimpse of her remarkable relationship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe in the epochal days of New York City and the Chelsea Hotel in the late sixties and seventies. An honest and moving story of youth and friendship, Smith brings the same unique, lyrical quality to Just Kids as she has to the rest of her formidable body of work—from her influential 1975 album Horses to her visual art and poetry.
Congratulations Patti!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Winter Hours

Please take note of our new winter hours!

Monday, Wednesday, & Friday: 10:00am to 6:00pm
Tuesday & Thursday: 1:00pm to 6:00pm
Saturday & Sunday: 11:30am to 6:00pm

Remember: you can always shop for books online at any hour, comfy, at home & in yr jammies, at our fantabulous website: www.foodforthoughtbooks.com

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Zadie Smith reviews Jaron Lanier

Zadie Smith pens a thought provoking review of Jaron Lanier's recent You Are Not a Gadget (wrapped in a review of The Social Network, the recent movie about Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, whom she went to Harvard with...)

You want to be optimistic about your own generation. You want to keep pace with them and not to fear what you don’t understand. To put it another way, if you feel discomfort at the world they’re making, you want to have a good reason for it. Master programmer and virtual reality pioneer Jaron Lanier (b. 1960) is not of my generation, but he knows and understands us well, and has written a short and frightening book, You Are Not a Gadget, which chimes with my own discomfort, while coming from a position of real knowledge and insight, both practical and philosophical. Lanier is interested in the ways in which people “reduce themselves” in order to make a computer’s description of them appear more accurate. “Information systems,” he writes, “need to have information in order to run, but information underrepresents reality” (my italics). In Lanier’s view, there is no perfect computer analogue for what we call a “person.” In life, we all profess to know this, but when we get online it becomes easy to forget. In Facebook, as it is with other online social networks, life is turned into a database, and this is a degradation, Lanier argues, which is
based on [a] philosophical mistake…the belief that computers can presently represent human thought or human relationships. These are things computers cannot currently do.

We know the consequences of this instinctively; we feel them. We know that having two thousand Facebook friends is not what it looks like. We know that we are using the software to behave in a certain, superficial way toward others. We know what we are doing “in” the software. But do we know, are we alert to, what the software is doing to us? Is it possible that what is communicated between people online “eventually becomes their truth”? What Lanier, a software expert, reveals to me, a software idiot, is what must be obvious (to software experts): software is not neutral. Different software embeds different philosophies, and these philosophies, as they become ubiquitous, become invisible. ...read more

Friday, November 5, 2010

Calendars & Planners for 2011

We've got a ton of new calendars & planners for 2011 in stock. One of our personal favorites is Nikki McClure's wonderful calendar, featuring her extraordinary papercut images combined with singular potent verbs that inspire both reflection & action. Only $16.00!

Also awesome & in stock: Slingshot organizers! A bestseller for us for the past decade or more, the Slingshot organizer is packed full of radical dates for every day of the year, space to write your phone numbers, a contact list of radical groups around the globe, menstrual calendar, info on police repression, extra note pages, plus much more.

The classic pocket version is still only $6.00 and the larger spiralbound version is still only $12.00.

Come by & check them out today - the new year is coming soon!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Art in the Window - Zamont Hassan

As part of our ongoing project of Artists in the Window we're currently featuring the extraordinary multilayered work of Zamont Frenkel Hassan. Be sure to stop by & check it out!

Artists in the Window is an ongoing series of displays by local artists in our right-side front window. We provide this service to give our local artists a free venue to share their work with the community.

Are you an artist interested in displaying your work in our window? Click here for more information.

Monday, November 1, 2010

¡ Felíz Día de los Muertos !

Happy Day of the Dead everyone!


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