Tag: books

Antisocial Media – How Facebook Disconnects Us and Undermines Democracy. A Review.

Without denying the social media site Facebook has some value, Siva Vaidhyanathan makes a strong case for Facebook’s overall destructive nature in his latest book, Antisocial Media How Facebook Disconnects Us and Undermines Democracy. (Oxford University Press, 2018.) Influenced by Neil Postman, the educator and critic whose best known book, Amusing Ourselves to Death (1985), made a similar case against television, Vaidhyanathan’s book describes and decries the addictive quality of Facebook as well as its shallowness. Continue reading “Antisocial Media – How Facebook Disconnects Us and Undermines Democracy. A Review.”

When Saying “They All Look Alike” is not Racism. The Five Chinese Brothers & the Dionne Quintuplets.

There are few children’s books more charming and fun to read than Claire Huchet Bishop’s The Five Chinese Brothers, illustrated by Kurt Wiese and published in 1938. Like so many ethnic stories, critics have accused the book of ethnic and racial stereotyping. While most critics of the book have focused on Kurt Wiese’s illustrations, a few have criticized the text itself.

5 Chinese BrothersAmy Bronwen Zemser, who describes herself as “writer, squirrel hunter, breastfeeder, homosexual,” and has had some children’s books published, says of The Five Chinese Brothers which was the subject of her September 13, 2013 blog post, “The first sentence alone is problematic.” The first sentence of the book reads, “Once upon a time there were Five Chinese Brothers and they all looked exactly alike.” Zemser’s implication is that the book implies that all Chinese look alike. Continue reading “When Saying “They All Look Alike” is not Racism. The Five Chinese Brothers & the Dionne Quintuplets.”

Laura Ingalls Wilder & Upstate New York

The decision by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, to change the name of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award to the Children’s Literature Legacy Award has stirred up a lot of controversy. On the positive side, it has brought attention again to the works of Laura Ingalls Wilder. Continue reading “Laura Ingalls Wilder & Upstate New York”

The Slow Painful Death of Book Stores

She was a young and thin, a wraith, and she handed me the book she wanted to buy and said, “ I have to buy this because I sat down to read it and was sobbing within three minutes.” And she opened the book and showed me the tears that had fallen on one of Keats’ poems. How sweet that was. Another young woman, her belly and breasts straining at the leash of her blouse comes in with a young man. They browse awhile and she hands me a small early 19th century Bible and asks, “How much is it?”

I know she hasn’t been in a used and antiquarian book shop before because if she had she would have known that the price is always marked inside the cover in pencil. Continue reading “The Slow Painful Death of Book Stores”

How to buy books on the internet

If you only look at a book’s price and a bookseller’s rating when you purchase a book from the internet, you might be unpleasantly surprised. Let’s examine how booksellers are rated. Most sites rate dealers based solely on their fulfillment rating. In general to be a five star dealer, you simply have to fill 95% of the orders you receive. There are many worthwhile dealers who don’t have five stars. Continue reading “How to buy books on the internet”

First library, first love or why I became a bookseller

Two gas pumps in upstate New York inhabit my memory the way two large stone lions do the residents of Manhattan. The gas pumps stood for years at the crossroads of Depot Street and Main Street in Sidney Center in Delaware County, New York, across from the Walsh Hotel and the Cheer Up Department Store. With their globular tops, and their long hoses on their sides, the pumps were like those John Updike must have been thinking of when he wrote the poem “Ex-Basketball Player” because they did look like people, like the men I often see hanging around the fronts of convenient markets sucking on coffee and cigarettes and waiting for the day to begin. Continue reading “First library, first love or why I became a bookseller”