Yesterday was the 2nd Annual Fall Festival at Good Books in the Woods. A picture paints a thousand words, so here ye be:
#DidntMakeItToTheFestival raffles happening today (and possibly later this week) on twitter.
If you’re interested in being a vendor next year, contact Good Books in the Woods on their facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/GoodBooksintheWoods
This weekend I had three book signings in San Antonio. Each signing was at a Half Price Books location.
When I wasn’t haunting Half Price Books stores selling and signing my own books, however, I found myself being a tourist and stumbled into quiet places like Cheever Books.
So here’s the scoop on Cheever Books…
You might want to spend hours here. Don’t come for a quick peek. Things aren’t organized well, but the experience is magical. If you have the time to go on a treasure hunt you’re bound to find Gabriel Garcia Marquez in three different places within the M’s as opposed to one place in the G’s.
The poetry wall is extensive – and full of short story anthologies. There’s a lot along this wall you won’t find anywhere else though.
If I had had enough money, I would have bought this book. It isn’t common. It was in good condition. It looks exciting.
However, I settled on something more affordable.
I found these hiding underneath a stack of Horatio Hornblower books that I already own. I couldn’t get the whole set, they were roughly $10 a piece, but I did get the one on the far left and I hope to find the others again one day.
Upon any visit you are bound to find three things: a magical gem over priced, a magical gem appropriately priced, and a great book that is neither magical nor appropriately priced. Relish the ambiance and the appropriately priced gem, don’t allow your rose colored lenses to be clouded by the rest. In a book hunter’s world, it is still a marvelous visit.
There’s a review about the owner being “creepy,” but I met two out of the what I believe to be three employees for the company, and both were pleasant. I enjoyed my time in Cheever Books and would readily visit again with cash in hand to spend.
It’s not as clean and easy a shopping experience as what you will have at Good Books in the Woods (where you will find similar treasures at more affordable prices), but it is most excellent. That is not to say it’s dirty either. By “not as clean” I mean that you will find books piled in your path, much of the inventory is peppered along the floors. There are a few dust bunnies, but not nearly what you would expect among such a haphazard collection of books.
So, San Antonio residents who adore Cheever Books – when you visit Houston and you need your book fix, your store is Good Books in the Woods. Houstonians who love Good Books, when in San Antonio, the stores on Broadway are for you. (The Broadway HPB gives our Kirby location a run for its money in the awesome department.)
1. You came to Texas for the first time for an Earth Day celebration book signing tour. Let’s recap, what stores and schools did you visit?
Half Price Books in Houston at these locations:
Half Price Books in San Antonio at these locations:
Half Price Books Austin area:
Half Price Books in Dallas area:
Claughton Middle School in Houston
Austin Jewish Academy in Austin
2. Did you meet any memorable customers you’d like to send a shout out to?
Oh my gosh—so many! The young woman from Spain studying in the futures program, sorry I can’t remember the name of the program and don’t know if I got hers. What a long, great conversation. There was Rob who was interested in knowing more about publishing. Marie Senter, “Viva la Fiesta!” in San Antonio who blessed me with my own pair of cowboy boot earrings. Lots of excited and, alternately, very shy kids. I met kindred spirits in the food movement who were very encouraging about the theme of my books. Answering these questions is helping me remember all the good times. 🙂
3. Where did you visit when you weren’t at bookstores and schools?
Unfortunately, my husband and I did not get to do too much touristy stuff, but we got in a little. Of course, first, I got to meet my number one fan in Texas and her family, and visit her woods—you! We also got to visit Old Spring. In San Antonio we ran into a spring festival called Fiesta that we hadn’t a clue was happening! We also were staying in an old part of town with historic homes, many included on the “walking tour.” We met the owner of one of those homes (shout out to Victoria!), who gave us an inside tour of the home. I also got to have dinner with an old friend of mine that I hadn’t seen in 30 years! And of course we did the Riverwalk and had dinner there the first night. Unfortunately, in Austin and Dallas it was just busy, busy, busy. On the way home we got in a quick visit to Petroglyph National Monument in New Mexico and the Grand Canyon. We were sort of on a deadline to get back.
4. Do you have a favorite city or region, now that you’ve been here?
I think we both enjoyed San Antonio the most. But it might have been because we were staying at a very good location. Close to downtown and in a cool, older neighborhood.
5. Did you learn anything new on your tour?
Sure. I learned how cool Half Price Books bookstores are, for one. Besides books, records, etc., they have lots of very nice stationery products which I am a sucker for. I also learned what the sky looks like when it’s full of dust. I got to see a lot of new terrain. We drove through Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, California, and a touch of Utah. Some of those were for the first time. And the Hoover dam is huge.
6. Did you try any new foods?
No, I don’t think so. Unless you count McDonald’s Bacon Clubhouse Burger. Although there were a different kind of beans being served with the Mexican meals than we usually have here. Charro beans?
8. Your trip ran into the Easter weekend. How did celebrating Easter on the road differ than how you celebrate it at home?
Normally at home we would go to church in the morning and in the afternoon my family would get together, have a traditional meal where I would bring my homemade egg noodles, my sister-in-law would bring her fried rice, and five or six layer jello, my sister would bring her green or pink creamy salads, mom a pie or two, and whoever is hosting filling in with the rest (ham, mashed potatoes, gravy, vegetable, more pies…). Then the kids would do an Easter egg hunt until nobody wanted to hunt anymore and everyone wanted to hide the eggs. Sometimes we use plastic eggs, but I like to use the real boiled and colored ones. It would be a lot like the scene in Heirloom where it is Easter. This year we drove from Houston to San Antonio on Easter. We managed to get to a church service late and then we were offered some food that they had eaten in the morning before the service. Since we were on the road we ate some. So I had two tamales and an orange for Easter noon dinner this year. But I guess the Riverwalk dinner at night was also on Easter. It just didn’t seem like Easter, but periodically someone would wish us a happy Easter.
9. What would you tell non-Texans to expect from a visit to Texas?
10. In the third installment of the series, the story takes readers to Florida. Do you see a Florida trip in your future?
Well, I have been to Florida, just not out and about much. A reader in Florida recently invited me down, so you never know….:)
Even if you missed the tour, don’t miss out on the books:
All About Additional Literary Journal Adventures at Good Books in the Woods…
I got to peek at some incoming journals today, they were hanging out on the owner’s desk…
The American Mercury was an American magazine published from 1924 to 1981. It was founded as the brainchild of H. L. Mencken and drama critic George Jean Nathan. The magazine featured writing by some of the most important writers in the United States through the 1920s and 1930s. After a change in ownership in the 1940s, the magazine attracted conservative writers. The magazine went out of print in 1981, having spent the last 25 years of its existence in decline and controversy. – from Wikipedia
So that’s cool, but the real juice is this, here in the June 1924 edition…
For those who don’t know, “Absolution” is important to fans of The Great Gatsby. Why? Well, you see, the writing of The Great Gatsby has a rich history. It may have been published by Scribner in 1925, but Fitzgerald had several previous versions of the literary classic.
In 1923, he had written 18k words for the book that was destined to become The Great Gatsby but scrapped most of what he had written and began again. These scraps can be found peppered throughout literature under different headings and titles – titles like “Absolution.”
“I’m glad you liked Absolution. As you know it was to have been the prologue of the novel but it interfered with the neatness of the plan,” Fitzgerald wrote his editor. The novel in question was none other than The Great Gatsby.
The above letter is a page from Dear Scott/ Dear Max: The Fitzgerald – Perkins Correspondence.
So many neat things can be found inside the pages of literary journals and I’m enjoying discovering the treasures.
Somewhat unrelated, but definitely something for the Fitzgerald collector that I found while researching this post, are some wonderful embellished journals. The creators have taken the first handwritten page of The Great Gatsby and imprinted it on the cover of leatherbound journals. So beautiful: http://blog.paperblanks.com/2012/09/f-scott-fitzgerald/
It may have been a whole week since my last post, but the discovery I made today has made the whole week of dry reading worth it. In fact, what I discovered today at Good Books in the Woods made this entire series of Literary Journal Mondays worth it.
Today I found The Black Cat.
Tucked away, just two hardbound volumes (collections of the actual magazine), hidden in the Literary Journal room.
It was a beautiful, thrilling moment, opening the jacket to a random page and finding this:
“The Black Cat” is a short story by Edgar Allen Poe, originally published in The Saturday Evening Post in 1843 – it was a horror piece about a murderer similar to The Tell-Tale Heart. It’s no wonder that in 1895, a literary journal called The Black Cat was born, dedicating itself to short stories of an “unusual nature.” Of course, I don’t know for sure that the founders of The Black Cat were referencing Poe, but I can’t help but jump to that conclusion. It’s something I would do.
The original magazine covers varied from month to month, like most magazine covers do, but they all have a spunky contemporary Gothic look that I imagine was hard for people to pass up. The publication ran until 1922 and featured some surprising contributors. Rupert Hughes, Susan Glaspell, Ellis Parker Butler, Alice Hegan Rice, Holman Day, Rex Stout, O. Henry, Charles Edward Barns, and Octavus Roy Cohen all made appearances in the journal. For Jack London collectors it has become a bit of marvelous legend, as London attributed his “A Thousand Deaths” story being printed there to saving his life. They paid him when no one else would, and when he really needed the cash. London is quoted having said, “literally and literarily I was saved.”
It is so coveted by collectors that the original edition featuring London sells at auction for more than the above hardbound books go for in antiquities stores.
Were I a millionaire, I would not hesitate to buy them all up. Standing in the store today I remembered Nicholas Basbaines’ A Gentle Madness as I salivated over the two collectibles on the shelf. This is true beauty, I thought, this in my hand.
I read Jack London’s contribution, it is only a few pages, then continued to snap photos as I carefully turned the pages, my eyes thirsty for old fonts and typesetting.
Today, I picked up The Arizona Quarterly. It was Volume 37 from the Winter of 1981, Number 4. The ISBN is 004-1610. I chose this one for the first essay listed on the cover – one on Montaigne, Melville, and The Cannibals. It’s by one Gorman Beauchamp (what a name) and spells out what I now realize it is that keeps me coming back to Melville time and time again, even though I’m always slightly dissatisfied with his work.
“[…] being a work of intrinsic interest and inventiveness as fiction-autobiography-anthropology-travelogue […]”
Beauchamp identifies all my favorite subjects and genres, then attributes them to Melville. Ah, I see now.
This entire installment is dedicated to Melville – every essay. A poem by a Housman piqued my interest, briefly, but it wasn’t A.E., it was another Housman.
If I were to purchase this (roughly $5), I’d house it next to The Secret of Lost Things so the Melville cronies can bond… so it can be near something else that reminds me to tackle Melville with more zeal. After all, it is something to revisit once I have tackled Melville more thoroughly.
Until then, I’ve tucked it back on the shelf at Good Books in the Woods – with the rest of the A’s in the Literary Journal area in the back of the Gallery – to be revisited as long as it remains there while my child frolics in the rock garden out back.
Remember the zine movement? (No? Visit Snapdragon Zine Fair) Ah, the 90’s and early 2000’s. Except that’s not where it started. No, it began long ago, and still goes on, in Literary Journals.
But do you remember Granta? (or Paris Review, or Soho Square, or The Quarterly, or countless others?)
My eyes tend to rest on Granta when I’m in a bookstore. Such colorful spines… printed by Penguin.
Today, #24 Inside Intelligence pops out at me… “Her Majesty’s Government does not want you to know about the life of Anthony Cavendish,” the cover reads. There’s a huge circular stamp in the bottom right corner: BANNED IN BRITAIN. How do you pass that up?
What follows is a spirited and creative journalistic effort to share news in the form of intelligent literature. Photographs and interviews you wouldn’t get in a newspaper, writing worthy of Pulitzers (and sometimes even written by Pulitzer winners). Just in Granta #24 alone, Philip Roth, Peter Carey, Tobias Wolff, Bruce Chatwin, and E.L. Doctorow all grace us with their presence.
The world of literary journals is a fascinating and amazing one that goes back centuries.
Paul Collins wrote an essay called “121 Years of Solitude” for Bookmark Now about his own journeys through a literary journal called Notes and Queries: A Medium of Intercommunication for Literary Men – a weekly magazine from the Victorian era. Collins’ memoir-like essay of his time spent in the Portland, Oregon library is one I dive into regularly, envious of his access and ability to take time to develop a daily library routine. Bus rides downtown, coffee, grand staircases, Notes and Queries, the entire endeavor sounds heavenly to me.
I don’t have time in my life – or the ability, as a mom of a three year old – to replicate a similar endeavor right now. But, the idea of taking an extra 30 minutes to an hour each Monday to peruse a literary journal that graces the shelves of my existing Monday routine (Good Books in the Woods) sounds plausible.
So here’s to Literary Journal Mondays – may they be more consistent than my Weekly Low Down of Kids Books (which happens sporadically throughout most months instead).
Stores and coordinators take a little bit of a break from extra events around the winter solstice holidays and let the holidays be the holidays. But it’s a new year! Here’s to February 2014.