Friday, March 30, 2012

Whereas, We Agree

A Georgia State Senate resolution recognizing independent bookstores was adopted last week.  This was sponsored by, among others, our own State Senator Jason Carter.


Senate Resolution 1219


Recognizing independent bookstores and commending independent booksellers; and for other purposes.

WHEREAS, the independent bookstores of Georgia are valuable cultural resources that contribute greatly to the fabric of this state and the communities which they serve; and

WHEREAS, independent bookstores are locally owned small businesses that hire local employees, buy local supplies, bank locally, hire local attorneys, accountants, designers, artists, computer technicians, and other professionals, advertise in local media, and occupy physical retail space, thereby strengthening communities by circulating a larger share of revenues in the local economy than chain stores or online retailers; and

WHEREAS, independent bookstores support state and local governments by collecting sales taxes which pay for local schools, public safety, roads, sidewalks, and other infrastructure that contribute to a better quality of life in the community; and

WHEREAS, independent bookstores promote literacy in the community and often support local schools and libraries with reading programs, book clubs, charitable book sales, and direct contributions and donations; and

WHEREAS, studies have shown that local businesses donate to community causes at more than twice the rate of chains and 100 percent more than online retailers; and

WHEREAS, independent bookstores often serve as cultural centers which host literary and educational events, seminars, lectures, workshops, story times for children, and other events which provide value to the community; and

WHEREAS, Georgia authors often depend on independent bookstores to promote and
22 introduce their works to an audience of readers that the author may not otherwise reach, and many famous Georgia authors owe their success to independent booksellers who believed in their work and helped make them known to wider audiences, as well as regional and national publishers and editors; and

WHEREAS, independent bookstores are each unique, displaying the individual personalities of their owners and contributing to commercial diversity, making communities more interesting and attractive.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE SENATE that the members of this body commend Georgia's independent bookstores, their owners, and their staff for their invaluable contributions to this state, their creativity and resourcefulness, and the spirit of entrepreneurship they exhibit, which is the foundation of American enterprise.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Secretary of the Senate is authorized and directed to transmit an appropriate copy of this resolution to the public and the press.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Easter Egg Hunt is on a Roll

This year's Easter Egg Hunt has rolled off the square and over to "the beautiful lawn of Decatur First Baptist Church."  It will be held this Saturday, March 31st, and is sponsored by the Decatur Business Association.  According to The Decatur Minute:

The bunny will arrive around 10:30 am and the hunt will begin at 11:00am.

Plan to stay afterwards for the DFB Spring Fling with games, food, and fun for the entire family!

Also, the Decatur Fire Department will be collecting non-perishable food and household items to stock the shelves at Decatur Cooperative Ministry and DEAM- so bring a basket of food and leave with a basket of candy!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Go Local Contest (Saipan Style)

While you are PATIENTLY AWAITING the results of Decatur's Go Local slogan contest, check out one for Saipan (of the United States Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands) by a person who runs a website called "Saipan Sucks".

Among the (printable) highlights:
"Welcome to Saipan -- We Make Guam Look Real Good."
"Welcome to Saipan -- Striving for Mediocrity."
"Welcome to Saipan -- We Apologize in Advance."
"Welcome to Saipan -- We avenge WWII one Japanese tourist at a time."
"Welcome to Saipan -- If we can't refute your logic, we can always declare you Persona Non Grata!"
"Welcome to Saipan -- Where America's nightmares begin."
"Welcome to Saipan -- Been There, Wish I Hadn't Done That!"
"Welcome to Saipan -- We Accept Food Stamp"
"Welcome to Saipan -- Go Back Where You Came From"

Can Decatur even hope to top this list???

From America's standpoint, Saipan is famous for being one of Japan's last stands during WWII, resulting in the loss of nearly every single Japanese life -- military and civilian.

More recently, it has apparently become the home base of all kinds of sleazy capitalism, including abhorrent labor conditions, sex slavery, and Tom DeLay/Jack Abramoff.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

An apple a day keeps the doctor away... but not me!

For those of you who are always on the lookout for a good cookbook, I have some good news for you. I don't even love apples that much, but I love love LOVE this cookbook! Everyone else here at Little Shop does, too- Rob is in love with the grilled cheese, mustard and apple sandwich; Diane and her kids made the apple cider doughnuts; my husband and I are still drooling over the memory of the pork-and-apple pie with cheddar-sage crust.

The really cool thing about the book, aside from all the amazing recipes, is that they profile 59 varieties of apples. The pictures are absolutely beautiful, and each apple is described in terms of identification and, more importantly, culinary use. It classes them by firmness, sweetness and texture, and lets you know which kinds are best for which recipes. Even if you just use the profiles for reference so that you use the right apples in your own favorite recpes, this book would still be well worth getting.

Stop by the shop this weekend and check out this gorgeous, delicious book!

Hunger Games Quizzes

In case you missed our amazing Hunger Games party on Thursday night, here's a small sampling of the fun we had....
Hunger Games Quiz: Which Hunk Do You Hunger For?

1.       It’s the first day of summer vacation. How does your guy plan to spend the next two months?
a.      He fills his pack with gear and heads to the woods. He loves the great outdoors.
b.      He’ll be taking pottery classes and working in his garden.
c.       Having cocktails on the porch.

2.      What’s the sweetest thing a guy could do for you?
a.      Offer to cover for you when you are supposed to be babysitting.
b.      Write a poem and recite it to you in front of the whole school.
c.       Bring you a bottle of whiskey when you’ve had a bad day.

3.      It’s your first date. Your guy shows up wearing…
a.      Worn jeans, a flannel shirt, and boots.
b.      Khakis, a button-down shirt, and a tie.
c.       Sweatpants and a Pete the Cat t-shirt.

4.      Who are the most important people your ideal guy’s life?
a.      His family. He takes care of blood and puts them above anyone else. He would absolutely love for you to join that family, though!
b.      You! He has a one-track mind and you are the only thing that matters. He would take a bullet for you or suffer an eternity just to know you are safe.
c.       Himself. He thinks that he can’t count on anyone but himself.

5.      Happy birthday to you! Your guy brings you…
a.      A bouquet of wild flowers.
b.      A delicious cake.
c.       A bottle of champagne.

6.      How does your guy communicate with you?
a.      He’s the strong, silent type. He keeps his emotions to himself most of the time, so when he talks you’d better listen because he won’t say it twice.
b.      He’s an emotive conversationalist. He loves sharing his feelings with you in direct and thoughtful ways.
c.       He’s an immature time bomb. He is often brash, rude, angry, and brutally honest.

7.      It’s your guy’s birthday and you’re taking him to his favorite restaurant,
a.      Fogo de Chao. He loves exotic meat cooked over an open flame.
b.      Holman & Finch. He can’t resist some freshly baked rolls.
c.       Taco Bell. He needs it to help with his hangover.

8.      Your parents want to meet the person you’ve been spending so much time with. After they meet him, they tell you they are impressed by…
a.      His ability to provide for you.
b.      His manners and maturity.
c.       How he can help you forget all your troubles.

9.      You’re heading off to college and it’s time to pick a major. Your guy will be majoring in…
a.      Business. He’s a natural entrepreneur—self-reliant and not afraid to take risks—and he wants to make his own way in the world.
b.      Political science. He’s compassionate and a great speaker and he’s sure that he can change things for the better.
c.       Psychology. He’s interested in the hidden motives behind people’s actions.

10.   Paying for all those dates with you can get expensive! Your guy takes an after-school job to bring in some more cash, and so he can be found working hard in the afternoons at
a.      Ace Hardware on Scott Boulevard.
b.      The Bakery at Cakes and Ale.
c.       The Beer Growler in Avondale Estates.

11.    Oh, no! You just got in your first fight! Even though you love him, it still drives you crazy (and not in a good way) when…
a.      He loses his temper. When he gets worked up, he’s firey and opinionated and won’t back down in an argument.
b.      He insists on spending every second with you. You need some alone time, too.
c.       He’s rude to your friends. Would it be that hard for him to at least try to be civil around them?

12.    People often get confused and mistake your guy for a…
a.      Lumberjack.
b.      Golfer.
c.       Hobo.

13.   Your favorite thing to do with your guy is…
a.      Something competitive and fun like mountain biking, tennis, or paint balls.
b.      Visiting art museums or the botanical gardens.
c.       Hanging out in his basement, watching old movies.

Now total up how many of each letter you chose, and see who your Hunger Games Hunk is!

Mostly A’s: GAIL
You are looking for a strong, solid man who values individualism and hard work. He loves the outdoors and is fiercely loyal to those he holds dear. Other girls may need constant affirmation and praise, but you just want a partner to help you with your homework and show you some cool hiking trails. And, okay, to make out with. 

Mostly B’s: PEETA
You’ll take romance and candlelight any day, and you want a guy who really goes the extra mile to win your heart. You need a guy who is comfortable with declarations of love, public displays of affection, and leisurely picnics. You’ve read the fairy tales and are looking for a kind, loving Prince Charming to sweep you off your feet.

Mostly C’s: HAYMITCH
Who needs love and friendship? There’s enough pain and suffering in the world, and you’re looking for a guy who can help you forget your troubles. You like to lie low and chill at home and don’t want someone who constantly wants you to try new things or be social. A brooding homebody is just your style.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Wimpy Goes (Almost) Simultaneously Global!

The insanely popular Diary of A Wimpy Kid series is going almost simultaneously global this coming November.

We'll be selling the seventh book (not as yet named) on November 13th.  If you happen to be in the U.K., Australia, Greece, Japan, Korea, or Norway, you'll have to wait one additional day.

My favorite foreign language edition is in Portuguese.  I saw Diário de um Banana in Portugal some years ago.  "Banana" means the same thing in English, except in Portuguese it is also slang for "wimp."

Another pop banana
The first six books in the series have sold a total of 45,000,000 copies in 41 different countries.

The third movie, based on Dog Days, comes out on August 3rd.  We will subsequently have a thorough debate as to whether the book is better.

Photo by Al (from Decatur Metro)
Congratulations to the insanely (as those of you who came to our snowstorm last year can attest) popular Jeff Kinney, author of the series and executive producer of the movies (and who is probably insanely rich).

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Tonight's the Night!!!

Okay.  We're not the only ones who are incredibly excited.

According to E! Online, 3,500 screenings of The Hunger Games have sold out.  A full 92% of Fandango's ticket sales have been for this film.  It had already broken records for sales for all non-sequel movies.  The Tomatometer is at 90%.

Party tonight
7 pm
Little Shop of Stories

The movie comes out at midnight!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Hunger Games Party

Little Shop of Stories

invites you to attend our

 H u n g e r    G a m e s
P a r t y

Thursday, March 22nd at 7 pm


If you're anything like us (and we're betting you are,) you read The Hunger Games trilogy as fast as humanly possible when the books came out and you have been counting down the seconds until the release of the movie. Well, the waiting is almost over, and in celebration, we're going to have a party like the Capitol has never seen before! Join us for an evening you won't forget -- visit stylists to create your look for the games, paint your face in the fashions of the Capitol, work on your survival skills in the training center, try your hand at Hunger Games trivia, and (of course) practice archery. Come in costume! And may the odds be ever in your favor!

William Kamkwamba is Coming to GPC Tomorrow!

This is not a Little Shop event, but we're really excited about this and want to let everyone know it is happening. William Kamkwamba was born in on his family's farm in Dowa, Malawi in 1987. When William was 14, Malawi faced a severe famine and as a result William was unable to continue in school as his family could not pay the tuition, nor could they part with his help on their farm. William used what he learned from books he found at a local library to build his family a windmill which powered four light bulbs and two radios in their home. He also created a windmill used for irrigation to assist his village farmers. After journalists heard of William's innovative solution to the troubles of his village, he gained worldwide recognition. He is now attending Dartmouth College, and has published his story, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind. GPC Reads is hosting Kamkwamba at the Georgia Perimeter College's Clarkston Campus' Cole Auditorium on Wednesday, March 21st at 7:30 pm to talk about his book and experiences. The event is free, and is first come, first seated.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Furman Bisher (1918-2012)

Furman Bisher, loooooongtime sportswriter for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, died yesterday at the age of 93.  He retired as a full-time columnist in 2009, more or less ending a 71-year career.  (He continued to write an occasional column.)

Photo by Jason Getz, AJC

Bisher was an excellent writer and a repository of more Atlanta sports stories than any archive.  Besides the local paper, he wrote for national publications Sport Magazine and Sports Illustrated.  Furman played an important role in the move of the Milwaukee Braves to Atlanta.

While a very important link to our past has been lost, we're fortunate that so much remains in the millions of words that he wrote.

Our most heartfelt condolences go out to his family.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!
If you are Irish, Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Duit.
If you aren't Irish, don't worry.
Neither was St. Patrick. 

Friday, March 16, 2012

Excellent CL Article on Wal-Mart

Yesterday's Creative Loafing has an excellent article on the local Walmart supercenter issue.  Thomas Wheatley did a superb job on examining the retailing behemoth's efforts inside the perimeter.  You can pick up a copy everywhere around town or read it here.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Book TV

It know that it takes a certain level of nerdiness and work obsession, but I'm a big fan of Book TV.  It is broadcast all weekend long on C-Span2 (which I receive on Comcast channel 104).  You can check their schedule here.

Programming only covers (unfortunately) nonfiction books, typically in the form of an author presentation at a bookstore or at some forum.  There are occasional panels and author interviews as well.

I'll TiVo at least a couple of programs over the weekend and watch them during the week.  I'm particularly looking forward to professional musician and science writer Kitty Ferguson talking about her newest book, Stephen Hawking: An Unfettered Mind (Saturday, March 17th at 8a.m.).

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Little Shop on Decatur Metro

I'll be doing a weekly blog posting each Wednesday on Decatur Metro.  It starts today!  I'm open to suggestions.  You can send ideas to:

Even Someone on Wall Street Hates Wall Street

Greg Smith, a London-based executive director for Goldman Sachs overseeing U.S. equity derivatives business in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, has quit his job and has done so rather publicly.  His Op-Ed Contributor column appears today in the New York Times.

This is an incredibly biting commentary on that state of Goldman Sachs.

Here are some highlights:
"[T]he environment now is as toxic and destructive as I have ever seen it."
"To put the problem in the simplest terms, the interests of the client continue to be sidelined in the way the firm operates and thinks about making money."
"I truly believe that this decline in the firm’s moral fiber represents the single most serious threat to its long-run survival."
"I attend derivatives sales meetings where not one single minute is spent asking questions about how we can help clients. It’s purely about how we can make the most possible money off of them."

Decatur's Go Local Slogan Contest Ends Friday!

You have two more days to give then your best ideas.  You can go to the city's February 28th post here for the official rules.  You can go to the Decatur Metro blog here for inspiration.  Not all of these are usable, but lots are fun.

My favorites from these submissions include:
Decaturade: Drink It!
Be a Decaturvore
Keep Decatur Pretentious
Decatur: a well-rounded square
Decatur. Bring quarters!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Jonathan Franzen ... For the Birds

One of the many themes running through Jonathan's Franzen acclaimed best seller, Freedom, was birds.  More specifically, it was the affect that domesticated cats left to run free had on the local bird population.  One of Franzen's principal (principled?) characters appears to be killing prowling neighborhood cats in an effort to save birds.

This subplot is rooted in fact.  According to the American Bird Conservancy, "scientists estimate that every year in the United States alone, cats kill hundreds of millions of birds, and more than a billion small mammals, including rabbits, squirrels, and chipmunks."

Jonathan Franzen is speaking in a few weeks at a fundraiser for the Wild Bird Fund, a non-profit that hopes to open New York City's first wildlife rehab and education center.

That bird was on the cover for a reason, you know.

Monday, March 12, 2012

The Countdown Begins

The Hunger Games, the most anticipated movie in the history of Little Shop of Stories, opens in eleven days.  Or ten; it depends how you count.  The official release date is Friday, March 23rd, but as pretty much every theater (including AMC North DeKalb 16, which is closest to us) is having a midnight showing, we think of it as a Thursday night event.  So that's like in ten nights.

Every single person at Little Shop has read The Hunger Games series.  Some are re-reading the first book.  We're sooooooooooo excited!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Authors Fight Back

Best selling writer Scott Turow, a practicing attorney and president of the Authors Guild, has responded to the Justice Department's impending lawsuit against Apple and five major publishers.

Turow argues that Amazon engaged in predatory pricing when it began selling ebooks for its Kindle, experiencing an economic loss on each unit sold in an effort to keep competitors out of the market.  In order to survive, Turow states, publishers were not colluding, but merely acting rationally in joining Apple's agency model plan.

Additionally, there is a nice shout out to physical bookstores:
Our concern about bookstores isn’t rooted in sentiment: bookstores are critical to modern bookselling.  Marketing studies consistently show that readers are far more adventurous in their choice of books when in a bookstore than when shopping online.  In bookstores, readers are open to trying new genres and new authors: it’s by far the best way for new works to be discovered.  Publishing shouldn’t have to choose between bricks and clicks.  A robust book marketplace demands both bookstore showrooms to properly display new titles and online distribution for the convenience of customers.

Turow's letter can be found here.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Justice Department is Going After the Apple

Just as Apple announced their newest version of the iPad, the Feds announced that they are planning to sue Apple and five major publishers for violating anti-trust laws.

The Wall Street Journal has an excellent article today on the issue.  The Justice Department is arguing that Apple sat down with major publishers and convinced them to go to an agency model of distributing their eBooks, where the publisher would set the retail price and distributors (such as Apple, Amazon, and Little Shop of Stories) would act merely as agents of the publishers.

This allowed Apple to get into the market without having to compete with Amazon on price.  It also had the direct effect of allowing publishers to raise the price of their electronic book format.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Home Depot to Stop Selling Books

Okay, maybe you never knew that Home Depot sold books.  Nonetheless, they're going to stop in order to, according to the home improvement giant, “better optimize the space in the front end of the store.”

This doesn't seem like a big deal, but Publishers Weekly states that publishers are concerned that other big box retailers like Wal-Mart and Target may follow suit as the sale of physical books slows.  These guys may not be traditional bookstores, but they move a lot of bestsellers and novelty books.

Just one more way that an industry in flux continues to evolve.

Monday, March 5, 2012

The State of Local Independent Bookstores

Intown Atlanta did a nice piece on local independent bookstores.  Osayi Enolyn's article includes A Cappella Books, Book Nook, Bound to be Read Books, Brushstrokes, Charis Books, Eagle Eye Bookshop, Tall Tales, and Little Shop of Stories (with a photograph featured on the cover).

Even with Outwrite going out of business and the pending closure of Blue Elephant, this article does serve as a reminder of the depth and variety of bookstores in Atlanta.  Not every city is so well served.

The last quote, on the future of independents from Tall Tales' owner Marlene Zeiler, is my favorite (and full of truth): "There's always some crazy bookseller who's ready to open a bookstore."

Saturday, March 3, 2012

More Praise for The Starboard Sea

It is pretty unusual for the New York Times to publish two separate reviews of a novel, but here's the exception.  The featured book for this week's Sunday Book Review is Agnes Scott professor Amber Dermont's debut, The Starboard SeaHere it is.

The other excellent review, from last Tuesday's Times, can be found here.

My short (but awesome) review can be found here.

Signed copies of The Starboard Sea can be found here.

Congratulations to Amber on her awesome success.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Dr. Seuss is 108!!!

We had a special Seuss Storytime last night at Little Shop
in honor of Ted Geisel's birthday.

The Lorax, based on his 1971 picture book,
also hits movie theaters today.

According to the New York Times' review,
perhaps one should skip the film and
buy another copy of the book.

Ted Geisel, Judy Blume, and Maurice Sendak
American Booksellers Association convention
Atlanta, 1978

in addition ...

who is not turning 108 today

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Congratulations to Carmen Agra Deedy!

Local author / storyteller Carmen Agra Deedy's latest book has just been named a finalist for the Middle Reader E.B. White Read-Along Award!

The Cheshire Cheese Cat: A Dickens of a Tale is a great book.  Taking place in Dickensian London, it tells the story of Skilly the cat and his adventures as a mouser at Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese inn.  It's fun for kids and it is a finalist for this award, I'm certain, because it thoroughly enjoyable for adults as well -- particularly for those who are fans of Dickens as he makes appearances in this novel.

We have a few signed copies in stock!

Carmen was honored two years ago in the picture book category for her New York Times bestseller, 14 Cows for America.

A list of the finalists in the YA and childrens categories appear below:


•    Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick, by Joe Schreiber

 •    Between Shades of Gray, by Ruta Sepetys
•    Legend, by Marie Lu
•    A Monster Calls: Inspired by an Idea From Siobhan Dowd, by Patrick Ness, Jim Kay (Illus.)
•    Shine, by Lauren Myracle
•    Steampunk! An Anthology of Fantastically Rich and Strange Stories, Kelly Link and Gavin J. Grant (Eds.)


•    The Apothecary, by Maile Meloy, Ian Schoenherr (Illus.)
•    Bluefish, by Pat Schmatz (Candlewick Press)
•    The Cheshire Cheese Cat: A Dickens of a Tale, by Carmen Agra Deedy and Randall Wright, Barry Moser (Illus.)
•    The Flint Heart, by Katherine Paterson and John Paterson, John Rocco (Illus.)
•    Liesl & Po, by Lauren Oliver, Kei Acedera (Illus.)
•    Wildwood, by Colin Meloy, Carson Ellis (Illus.)


•    I Want My Hat Back, by Jon Klassen
•    King Hugo’s Huge Ego, by Chris Van Dusen
•    Press Here, by Hervé Tullet
•    Stars, by Mary Lyn Ray, Marla Frazee (Illus.)
•    Over and Under the Snow, by Kate Messner, Christopher Silas Neal (Illus.)
•    Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site, by Sherri Duskey Rinker, Tom Lichtenheld (Illus.)

Three Things You Probably Didn't Know About Davy Jones

Davy Jones, once upon a time from The Monkees, died yesterday at the age of 66.  The band's musical success -- I believe they had a #1 hit before the television show hit the airwaves -- inspired a friend and I to spawn our first band in the sixth grade.

Here's three things you probably didn't know about him:

1.  He appeared on the same stage as The Beatles for their first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show on February 9, 1964.  Not at the same moment, however.  Jones, who had originated the role of Artful Dodger in London, appeared with the Broadway cast of Oliver!  Jones was subsequently nominated for a Tony Award.

2.  Inspired by the reception that The Beatles received, David Jones soon signed a recording contract that resulted in a eponymously named solo album.  This caused a different David Jones to change his name ... to David Bowie (after the inventor of the Bowie knife).
3.  Several of the Monkees saw Jimi Hendrix perform in London and again at the Monterrey Pop Festival in 1967.  The band contacted Hendrix' agent for him to be the opening act for the Monkees that year.  This lasted a total of seven concerts, when Hendrix decided to drop out of the tour.