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Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘popular literature

[BLOG] Some Monday links

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  • At Antipope, Charlie Stross imagines what might become possible with cheap heavy spacelift.
  • blogTO notes the vandalization of the iconic Toronto sign during Nuit Blanche.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper considering the detectability of interstellar comets.
  • Language Log looks at Chinese language transcriptions for Obama, Hillary, and Trump.
  • Marginal Revolution looks at impending hard Brexit and notes how the economy of Thailand is dominated by Bangkok.
  • The NYRB Daily writes at length about its apparent discovery of the identity of Elena Ferrante.
  • Savage Minds shares a Bolivian perspective on Donald Trump.
  • Strange Maps shares a list of ten potential Jewish homelands outside of Palestine.
  • Window on Eurasia looks at quiet Chechen dissidence and warns about the consequences of Putin’s repressions.
  • Yorkshire Ranter Alex Harrowell worries about the people soon to be in charge of the United Kingdom’s Brexit negotiations.

[BLOG] Some Monday links

  • blogTO notes Mississauga’s new waterfront park.
  • Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly talks about the glamour and otherwise of the writer’s life.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze reports on a study of Epsilon Eridani.
  • Language Hat describes a fascinating-sounding book untranslated into English, “Oğuz Atay’s experimental, linguistically complex novel of ideas Tutunamayanlar (The Disconnected)”.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money describes the sheer numbers of books banned by Texan prisons.
  • Marginal Revolution describes the question of whether the United Kingdom will have a hard Brexit.
  • James Nicoll links to his review of the classic book of space colonization, Heppenheimer’s 1977 Colonies in Space.
  • At the NYR Daily, Garry Wills reviews a recent performance in Chicago of Henry VI, Part Two.
  • Window on Eurasia looks at the polarization of media in the different parts of Donbas and notes worrying precedents for Putin’s rationalization of Russia’s government.

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

  • Anthropology.net deals with the use of technology to save endangered languages.
  • At the Broadside Blog, Caitlin Kelly starts off a discussion of high school by starting with The Breakfast Club.
  • Dangerous Minds shares video of a very early performance by the Police.
  • The Frailest Thing engages with the idea and importance of memory.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes Rod Dreher’s anti-refugee stance.
  • The Map Room Blog looks at the new Atlas Obscura book.
  • The Planetary Society Weblog takes a rocket roadtrip.
  • Savage Minds considers the importance of decolonization.
  • Torontoist notes a Toronto Sun editorial in favour of Rail Deck Park.
  • Understanding Society considers the international measurement of happiness.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy argues that Gary Johnson is good for Hillary.

[BLOG] Some Monday links

  • blogTO notes that a half-million dollars does not buy one much of a house in Toronto.
  • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly celebrates the fifth anniversary of her marriage on the Toronto Islands.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze considers exoplanet fatigue in the news, suggesting Proxima b is about as excited as the media will get.
  • Far Outliers looks at the foreign safety zone set up in Nanjing in 1937 as the Japanese approached.
  • Language Hat considers the globalization of Latin American writers.
  • Language Log examines the linguistics behind “hikikomori”.
  • The LRB Blog looks at the British political spectrum.
  • The Map Room Blog reports on some beautiful letterpress maps.
  • Marginal Revolution notes that in Africa, urbanization is not accompanied by economic growth.
  • The NYRB Daily shares vintage photographs of Syria’s Palmyra.
  • Spacing looks at the examples of the Netherlands.
  • Window on Eurasia looks at a call to create a unified Russian diaspora lobby in the United States and examines ethnic Russian migration from Tuva.

[URBAN NOTE] “Flying Books, Toronto’s smallest and most portable bookseller, nesting soon near you”

I will have to keep out an eye for Flying Books. The National Post‘s Michael Melgaard writes about this project.

“We’re not actually in Flying Books,” Martha Sharpe explains from behind the counter of the Weekend Variety, a general store/gift shop/artsy curiosity emporium on Toronto’s Queen West. “We’re not there until we’re standing in front of the shelf.”

The shelf that constitutes Sharpe’s Flying Books is topped with the company logo (Amelia Earhart, as drawn by author and illustrator Leanne Shapton), below which are a half-dozen titles, all face out, with small, handwritten notes detailing their merits. The one accompanying Max Porter’s Grief Is the Thing with Feathers lets curious shoppers know that the book won the 2016 Dylan Thomas Prize for young writers, briefly outlines what readers can expect from it, and closes with, “Sad, but very worth it.”

[. . .]

The challenge facing any bookseller is that books are sold on tight margins, and while the cost of books has stayed relatively level over the past decade, the cost of renting retail space has gone up significantly. Staying open has proven too costly for many, and likewise, starting fresh with a large outlay of money was off the table for Sharpe. “I didn’t have a huge wad of cash to throw down for a commercial lease,” she explains.

So Sharpe decided that a small, “choosily chosen” selection of a half-dozen or so books tucked inside another retail space was a safer – and inventive – way to start. She pitched the idea to Queen West gallerist Katharine Mulherin, who gave Sharpe some space inside her Weekend Variety store.

Inspired by Amelia Earhart (who fell in love with aviation in Toronto while working as a nurse’s aid), the venture was named Flying Books, which coincidently fit into calling her selections “flights” – a term for a sampling of wines. On August 22, 2015, Sharpe “threw on her flying goggles and flew in,” uncertain if the project would work. “But the books sold quickly and people keep coming back,” she says, enough so that by February 2016, she had snuck shelves into three more locations: Northwood General Store on Bloor, The Gladstone Hotel, and Ezra’s Pound, a coffee shop on Dupont.

Written by Randy McDonald

September 13, 2016 at 5:30 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “How two queer Ottawa businesses are crowdfunding to stay alive”

Daily Xtra‘s Jeremy Willard describes how two queer Ottawa businesses are resorting to crowdfunding to stay alive.

For the owners of After Stonewall and Wilde’s, it has never been just about the money. It’s about helping sustain queer culture in Ottawa — and now they’re asking for help to keep their businesses alive.

“This hasn’t been a great year, business-wise, along Bank Street. It’s not just us,” says Trevor Prevost, owner of Wilde’s. “You sort of have to look ahead six months in retail and say, ‘okay, can I continue this way or not?’ And right now we can’t.”

As with many queer businesses before them (most of which were small businesses), the bills have become more than they can handle. So they’re running an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign to merge the two stores, which will reduce overhead costs and provide more opportunity for collaboration and growth.

Prevost bought Wilde’s late in 2015, and Michael Deyell bought After Stonewall in 2012. They each had plans for their respective new businesses, but it was never just about making money.

It’s also about preserving two of Ottawa’s oldest surviving queer businesses — After Stonewall opened in 1990, and Wilde’s in 1993 — and about supporting local queer culture in other ways.

“When I took over the store, we really wanted to promote the area — we wanted to promote the Village,” Prevost says. ”Because people keep talking about places where the villages have gotten sketchy, and rough as well.”

“Being a business owner in the community we sort of have a louder voice and can do things.”

After Stonewall sells queer books and Canadian art, and Wilde’s is a sex shop. The two stores also sell tickets for local events, and After Stonewall hosts book launches and art exhibits, and throws occasional fundraisers.

Written by Randy McDonald

September 13, 2016 at 5:00 pm

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

  • Centauri Dreams considers Juno’s photos of Jupiter’s poles.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze notes the discovery of another star that behaves much like mysterious Tabby’s Star.
  • Far Outliers reports on the good reputation of the Chinese forces at Shanghai in 1937.
  • Joe. My. God. notes a Christian site that claims gay sex is not sex.
  • Language Hat reports on the problems of translating Elena Ferrante.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money and Noel Maurer are unimpressed by Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson.
  • The New APPS Blog writes against faculty lock-outs.
  • Personal Reflections’ Jim Belshaw describes the Parers, a Catalan-Australian family.
  • Window on Eurasia notes Ukraine’s recognition of the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, reports on how Russians resent Ukrainian refugees, and suggests the Russian economic crisis is finally hitting Moscow and St. Petersburg.