Monthly Archives: August 2008

The Key Advertising Space You Haven’t Yet Claimed

Alison Morris - August 13, 2008

Our store’s restrooms (and now famous "graffiti stall") aren’t open to the public, but if they were, I know EXACTLY where I’d hang our event flyers, promo announcements, etc.

During my Smith College days, some of my housemates put together a house newsletter called "InSTALLments" that got taped (you guessed it) to the back of the stall doors in the bathroom. Talk about a captive audience — there wasn’t a woman in our house who wasn’t aware of the latest news thanks to the clever placement of those newsletters (and the catchy name that went with them).

I’m one of those people who hates how advertisements are starting to clutter up every physical space in sight, but I’ll tell you — if I was in the "cluttering" business, I’d be targeting bathroom stalls as PRIME REAL ESTATE. Publishers, booksellers: forget endcaps. Think STALL DOORS. For posters and newsletters and other such material, at any rate. NOT for the books themselves. For any of you tempted to go against this advice, I defer to an episode of Seinfeld called "The Bookstore."

Phillippe Petit on the Silver Screen

Alison Morris - August 12, 2008

Are you a fan of Mordicai Gerstein’s The Man Who Walked Between the Towers? If not, what’s your problem?? (Just kidding.) (Sort of.) If so, find a local theatre showing the new documentary Man on Wire and see it on the big screen. I promise you the dizzying photographs and footage of Phillippe Petit making his highwire walk between the World Trade Towers are well worth seeing on something larger than your own television. And this film is more than worth the cost of box office admission. Like Gerstein’s Caldecott Medal-winning book about Petit, it is an artful example of understatement. Director James Marsh doesn’t flood the script with facts or lengthy explanations or extraneous footage. He tells the audience what we need to know about the when’s, the where’s, the how’s of Petit’s grandest artistic coup and leaves us to ponder both the WHY (which is, Petit says, the thing Americans always want to know) and the WHAT — as in, what did Petit’s feat accomplish, and what did it to and/or for his relationships with those who helped him achieve his dream. The latter is the part that I can’t stop thinking about…

In all, I’d describe Man on Wire as engrossing, fascinating, thought-provoking, and beautiful. And I’m not the only one who thinks so, judging from the 100% (!!) this movie is currently being given by Rotten Tomatoes, a site that collects critical reviews from a variety of sources and averages them into a single score. (At last check, their score for Man on Wire was based on 88 reviews.) I particularly love this quote from Aaron Hills of the Village Voice: "Exhilarating… a crowd-pleaser in such witty, poetic ways that even an art-house curmudgeon couldn’t deny its tidy vigor."

You can watch the trailer for Man on Wire below.

Campaign Items for Other Candidates

Alison Morris - August 7, 2008

Yesterday my post featured an "Atticus Finch President 2008" t-shirt, which happens to be just one of the many items currently available for the presidential (or other) campaigns of authors and book characters. You could also pledge your support for, say, Mark Twain (who was dead the last time I checked) or two of his characters, Huck Funn and Tom Sawyer.

Or you could throw your support behind… Nellie Olsen?? Of the Little House on the Prairie television series?? (I love that there’s a tribute site to Alison Arngrin, who portrayed Nellie, that refers to her as a "Prairie Bitch.")

Hitchiker fans might be happy to see this button (from Media Tees on Café Press).

And Star Wars fans have an entire Zazzle shop at their disposal, featuring campaign buttons and shirts for all their favorite characters, with images like these:

You knew Harry would have to get someone‘s vote:

But are you surprised about Steinbeck?

I love the slogan for Holmes and Watson‘s campaign:

Gee, do you suppose the media can dig up any dirt on these two?

If you’re wishing Bill Clinton could return to take the reins but not sure you want to advertise, try flying under the radar with this t-shirt supporting Jack Stanton, the fictional character thought to have been based on Bill Clinton in Joe Klein’s novel Primary Colors.

And then there are these bumper stickers from SimplyBitten’s shop on Etsy. Don’t tell me if Bella wins this campaign, because I haven’t started Breaking Dawn yet. Or Eclipse, for that matter. Clearly I’ve got some catching up to do!

What Character Would You Want in the White House?

Alison Morris - August 6, 2008

Let’s escape reality for a moment, shall we, and envision a fictional future country with fictional prosperity for all, at the helm of which would be… a fictional book character. In my fictional dream that character would probably be Atticus Finch, as it would perhaps for the person who created this t-shirt at right on Café Press.

As election fervor is heating up, some stores are asking kids to cast votes in the "Send a Character to Washington" vein, among them Hicklebee’s in San Jose, Calif., whose ballot features quite an interesting mix of Character Candidates! Each of the candidates or a representative for them recently spoke at Hicklebee’s about their qualifications for the post of President and I’ve linked to their (brief) now-on-YouTube speeches here:

Miss Rumphius of Miss Rumphius
Sweetness of Saving Sweetness
Dex of Dex: The Heart of a Hero
Seth Sorenson of Fablehaven
Kate Wetherall of The Mysterious Benedict Society
Will Knight of Storm: The Infinity Code
Ella of Ella Enchanted
Violet of A Series of Unfortunate Events
Mercy Watson of Mercy Watson Goes for a Ride
Commander Toad of Commander Toad
Stanley of Flat Stanley
Clementine of Clementine
Annie of The Magic Tree House series
Liza Lou of Liza Lou and the Yeller Belly Swamp
Martha of George and Martha
Minnie of the Minnie & Moo series
The Pigeon of Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!
Chester of Chester
Horton of Horton Hears a Who

You can also watch the candidates engage in a group debate and head to Hicklebee’s on August 14th to cast your final vote.

Not close enough to San Jose to make such a trip, or not interested in these particular candidates? No matter. Make a pitch HERE for the fictional book character you’d most like to see leading our nation!

Walk Two Moons in These Twilight Moccasins

Alison Morris - August 5, 2008

Yep. The teens who traipsed through our store last Friday at midnight and in the days since may have sported a myriad of Twilight t-shirts and buttons, but I didn’t hear about even one of them sporting Twilight SHOES! They must not yet have spotted these fashionable kicks on Zazzle where you can, YES, design your own Keds, for goodness sake!

Keen to walk the streets in either of these? Each photo is linked to its Zazzle store page.

A Booklovers’ Bench in Camden, Maine

Alison Morris - August 4, 2008

Last weekend I once again had the delight of visiting Melissa Sweet’s home and studio in Rockport, Maine. This time my friend Jenn Dowell and I made the trip up on the occasion of Melissa’s wonderful (and wonderfully inexpensive – everything $100 or less!) studio sale. In addition to coming home with some lovely pieces of art for myself and others, I came home with photos of a bench that was well worth blogging about.

First, here’s a shot of the studio sale tents decked out in bright, Sweet fashion. (I took the photo below at the end of the day, when the crowd was a LOT thinner than it had been at the start!)

Next to Rockport is the town of Camden, Maine, where Jenn and I headed for some lunch then took a stroll up to the Camden Public Library. The library is perched on a corner with the town’s picturesque main drag on one side, and a harbor-facing park on the other. Behind it is the BEAUTIFUL outdoor Ampitheatre, in which (by complete, crazy coincidence!) illustrator Noah Z. Jones‘ sister was about to start her wedding when Jenn and I happened to be walking by! (We didn’t know that’s whose wedding we were seeing until we mentioned the wedding to Melissa later and she gave us the scoop. I had planned to call Noah to see if we could cross paths but now I see he wouldn’t have been free anyway!)

To the left of what you see above, between the library’s lower, side entrance and the Ampitheatre is a small, circular space filled with beautiful plantings that comprise the library’s Children’s Garden. Bordering that space is a fantastic bench with supports cut in the shape of books "whose titles represent contributions Maine authors and illustrators have made to literature."

Here’s how the garden and bench appear as you first spot them from the harbor-facing street or as you exit the library’s lower level, which is home to the majority of its collection and fun children’s space, complete with child-sized lighthouse and child-sized dinghy.

The shot below was taken looking the opposite way, while standing in the middle of the garden. See the lovely curve of that bench?

Here it wends its way beneath the library’s windows.

And here are a few of the books above which you can perch and admire the passing pedestrians, the beautiful native flowers like lupine (made famous by Miss Rumphius), and the bench itself! I’m assuming the title-less books that precede E.B. White’s tomes were left blank so that there’s room for future authors’ names to be added…?

There is one "non-book" item that also has a place in the bench’s carvings: a cat who sleeps (I hope!) atop The Cat Who Went to Heaven.

I can’t think of many more lovely sleeping spots than in this seaside library garden!