Archive for the ‘Literary’ Category

Philly’s Quirk Books and Zombies take Internet by Storm

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

Braaaaaaains!

Are you a zombie fan? Are you a Jane Austen fan? If you can answer “yes” to either of these questions, there’s a treat in store for you! Philly publisher Quirk Books has a new take on a classic read, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Yes, you heard me correctly. Author Seth Grahame-Smith (see also Big Book of Porn, Pardon My President, and How to Survive a Horror Movie) has injected zombie mayhem into the original work, a totally legal maneuver allowed by public domain law.

Seemingly out of nowhere, a blurb hit the internet a few weeks ago, and spread like wildfire through Austen blogs and zombie blogs to places like Entertainment Weekly‘s Pop Watch and the London Sunday Times. Rumors of movie deals abound. Ah, the power of the internet. Isn’t it perfect for film?

Quirk featured the title last week at NYC’s Comic Con, besieged equally by Austen and zombie fans, and quickly ran out of promotional postcards. All this, and the book is not even available yet. The publication date of April 1 approaches, as do those brain-thirsty zombies. Some say Jane Austen would be rolling in her grave, while others say she would approve of the parody, and is just trying to get out! (Perhaps she would like to read it!)

Books Are Burning

Books and firemen haven’t shared this much of the limelight since “Fahrenheit 451“.

With Nutter’s proposed “cost cutting decisions” like closing down 11 Philly libraries and consolidating city fire departments making headlines ever since I returned to the Cradle of Liberty, I’m at least glad to hear that there’s a stay of execution on the libraries – for now.

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Book Jacket Of The Times

Larry Robin – owner, Robin’s Books and, for the last god-damned time NOTSanta Claus, kids

Robin’s Books, the last vanguard of independent bookstores, is closing its doors on January 31st, says the Philadelphia Inquirer:


The death notice appears in the front window of Robin’s Bookstore in Center City, sandwiched between Chopin – A Life and Our Dumb World.

Par for the course in the provocative world of proprietor Larry Robin.

His display philosophy has always been to mix the obscure with the best-seller, pairing “things you’re going to look at because you’re interested and things I think you should know about.”

In this case, the death notice is the thing he wants you to know about. Robin’s, started by his grandfather in 1936 and believed to be Philadelphia’s oldest independent book seller, is calling it quits at the end of January.

He can take the stomach-churning world of declining sales outpacing rising expenses, the unlevel playing field of single owner versus national chain, the predictions of further economic deterioration with no immediate end in sight no more.

Sales dipping as much as 15 percent in recent months, his salary not even $30,000, Robin said his beloved business had gone “from bad bearable to bad unbearable.”

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The Hogwarts library once lived in an awesome Mt Airy book shop

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Last Friday night, tons of kids, teens, and adults gathered around town for the release of the seventh and final Harry Potter book, Deathly Hallows. Just about every Borders and Barnes and Noble in Philadelphia had events, but my discussion group Potterdelphia decided that a smaller independent book shop would be the perfect place for our party!

And it was. It was totally awesome. The festivities at Big Blue Marble in Mt Airy began at 7pm and ran until just past midnight—of course no one wanted to hang around once books were handed out! The Marauders performed a set around 9pm, we did trivia for an hour starting at 10pm, kids and teens were running around in costume, and boxes of books taunted us at every turn.

Big Blue Marble is a wonderful book shop located near Weaver’s Way co-op in this neat little section of the city. The walk from the Carpenter R8 station takes no time at all and the store itself has three levels of awesomeness, with a cafe on the second floor and community space on the third.

Thank you thank you thank you to all the great staff members who were so amazing that night! I had more fun at this party than previous big-name-store-sponsored Harry Potter book releases, and the warm and cozy atmosphere made this truly feel like an intimate friends and family gathering and not some nameless event with people lined around the block barely looking at each other.

(Side note: I just love Mt Airy, and one of our group members, who’d just moved to Philadelphia last year, had never been in this neighborhood and had to call her friend and gush about it.)

Joseph Fox Bookshop

I have lived three blocks away from the Joseph Fox Bookshop (1724 Sansom Street) for the last five years, and until today, I had never walked up the half-flight of stairs to check them out. Located half a block away from the Rittenhouse Square Barnes and Noble, it had never occurred to me to go any further, although I’ve never been satisfied by that mass-market chain.

What took me there today was a desire to finally get my hands on a copy of the Wissahickon Trail Map that I’ve been wanting since January. The Friends of the Wissahickon website listed a variety of places around the city where their maps were available, and the Joseph Fox was the closest to me. Walking in, I immediately experienced sensory overload, in a way I love. Every inch of space is covered with books, and I couldn’t proceed more than a couple of feet beyond the door, because I wanted to take it all in. They have so many amazing books, stocking only single editions of most things, so that they can maximize the variety of options available to shoppers.

I easily found my trail map, and also ended up picking up a copy of Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. I’ve been wanting the book since it came out, and they happened to have several autographed copies left over from the store’s signing that the author gave recently.

These days buying your food locally is all the rage. I recommend you try to buy your books locally and independently as well.

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