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shameless pleading





September 2011 Issue

Semper Ubi Sub Ubi


So True Blood has wrapped up for the season by killing off a few dozen characters. Couple of nameless vampire zombies in the Moon Goddess Emporium, Nan Flanigan (too bad), Lafayette’s boyfriend Jesus (really too bad), that werewolf guy with the bad hair (Marcus), Marnie for the second time, Debbie van Pelt (the only remotely normal person on the show, even though she was a werewolf) and then, big finish, Tara with a shotgun blast to the head. Whoa. Is Tara really dead? I bet not. You know who is dead? That guy who showed up to visit Terry. Nobody else seems to have picked up on that. But Russell Edgington, the Vampire King of Mississippi, is apparently coming back next year, so things are looking up. Russell Edgington is awesome. Incidentally, the annoying witch-groupie hippie guy gorily offed by Eric the first time they killed Marnie is now appearing in a MasterCard commercial playing a suburban dad with a kid in a shopping cart. Weird casting choice, given the popularity of True Blood.

Incidentally, speaking of commercials, our son (Michael Mercurio) appeared in a Tide Stain Stick commercial a few years ago. (He’s the soldier standing immediately stage left of the guy the drill sergeant is yelling at.) They recently started running it again, for which he gets paid again, which is cool. This commercial shows up on a lot of “my favorite commercial” lists, so they may be running it off and on for years.

Onward. So Borders Bookstores has bought the farm. It’s always sad to see bookstores close, but I was never a big fan of their aesthetic, a sort of crypto-hip we’re-not-really-a huge-corporation Whole-Foods-of-Books shtick. Not a Whole Foods fan here, by the way. It reminds me too much of food coops.

I have hated food coops since circa 1969. C’mon, I just wanna buy some bananas and go read a book, OK? I don’t want to go to a meeting, especially not with a bunch of weedy, whiny control freaks.

Elsewhere in the book biz, Barnes & Noble seems to be on the verge of being sold, or something, although most of the people interested in buying it are apparently just trying to get their grubby paws on the Nook. There have even been rumors that Apple is going to buy B&N, kill the Nook, and convert the stores into Apple Stores, or maybe Apple Book Stores. I think Apple should buy Amazon too, and shoot that godawful Kindle. Then run the B&N stores off the Amazon back-end.

When we lived on the Upper West Side, we referred sardonically to the giant B&N at 82nd Street and Broadway as “The Great Satan.” (After all, they did drive Meg Ryan’s little bookshop out of business, right? BTW, the store You’ve Got Mail used as the set for her shop actually sold, as I recall, over-priced pastries and insanely over-priced antiques.)

But in real life, Shakespeare & Company, a block south on B’way, was driven out of business by that evil B&N (although they retained branches in the Village and on the East Side, which is a funny way to be driven out of business). And Endicott Books across Columbus Avenue from us croaked when B&N moved into the neighborhood, but that’s because Endicott hired snotty idiots (favorite actual clerk quote: “Dylan Thomas biography? Have you looked in the music section?”) and shared a name with a chain of cheesy shoe stores. I liked Coliseum Books off Columbus Circle, but my absolute fave was The Strand. Nice to see they’re still around.

Still, a B&N is better than no bookstore at all, and I’d be very upset if the chain folded. The closest B&N to us is in Pickerington and pretty near worthless unless you’re jonesing for a blueberry scone. Books, not so much, since the shelves are stuffed with “inspirational” drivel, home schooling supplies, and the vomitous voluminous wit and wisdom of Glenn Beck. The staff is mostly harmless, but there a couple of remarkably nasty jerks working there. The store at Easton on the east side of Columbus is better, but that’s a 60-mile round trip, which is a long way to go for a third-rate bookstore. But again, any B&N is better than no bookstore.

Um, what else. Oh yeah, please subscribe.

3 comments to September 2011 Issue

  • Topi

    I’ve been stateside only few times, but I vividly remember my first visit to a bookshop in US in a mall near Orlando.

    I went to the children and youth section and asked about Edgar Rice Burroughs books, him being an american writer and his books were scarse in english bookshops. The young lady who served me didn’t even know whom I was talking about. Sic transit gloria mudi.

  • Danny

    I bought From Altoids to Zima from Amazon, I think. Have you ever been to Powell’s City of Books?

  • Alex

    After reading your trashing of the nook and kindle, I was fascinated to see that the ad robot has inserted adverts for… you guessed it – the nook and kindle. Oh the irony :-)

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