Here is a small space to discuss independent bookstores, Indie Next List selections, Indie bestsellers . . . and, most essentially, the stories that permeate our literary lives.

As (1) an employee of an independent bookstore,--namely Beehive Books; check out our blog here--(2) a self-proclaimed localvore, and (3) a lifelong reader, I believe that independents are vitally important to their surroundings, that their significance extends far beyond the volumes they vend.

Bookstores--especially the funky, idiosyncratic, locally supportive (indie)pendent ones--are community catalysts.

They are messy, organic, lovely homes for books, yes. But they also house, and inspire, the words we speak to one another about such books; they so naturally invite conversation, interaction, dialogue, relationship. The trenchant Elaine Showalter says that "What keeps literature alive, meaningful to read, and exciting to teach isn't unstinting approval or unanimous admiration, but rousing argument and robust dispute." Written words are beautified by the spoken words that surround them. The most beautiful library, or collection, is one that pulses with the dialogue of its readers--and independent bookstores are one of the purest examples of this truth.

And here is where I'd extoll the virtues of the independent book business itself. But as I am only a humble but fierce admirer/apprentice (and a dangerously longwinded one, at that), I'll now refer you instead to IndieBound--your online connection to independents everywhere. Read their concise answer to the question "Why Shop Indie?" and join their community, if you wish.

In my small nook of the indie world, I offer reviews of notable books in the independent community. I focus on current Next List selections and indie bestsellers, but I'm always open to books that find me in my literary life--whether a customer at Beehive recommends an obscure title; a co-worker passes me a childhood favorite, or a small press sends us a fresh gem. I'm always on the lookout for ARCs (Advanced Reader Copies), and I have a penchant for children's literature, especially middle readers, so you'll see some of those here, too. That said, my readership will only grow richer through yours--all comments, debates, and reading suggestions are more than welcome. Let's create our own unique nook in the indie book community!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Brother Sun, Sister Moon

Katherine Paterson is simply wondrous. Since I first perused Bridge to Terabithia, I have been awed by her work; her brilliance; her compassion, and the scope of her humanity and humility. If you are interested in studying children’s literature, her body of work is a great starting point—check out her library here.
This gem, Brother Sun, Sister Moon, is a glorious retelling of Saint Francis of Assisi’s “Canticle of the Creatures.” Rarely does a picture book meld word and illustration so seamlessly; the traditional, simple language of Katherine Paterson’s “reimagining” of the prayer is translated into image through Pamela Dalton’s quiet, detailed cut-paper spreads. Paterson and Dalton’s collaboration is a wonderful testament to God’s presence in nature, and it also provides a lovely, clear example of personification for children. A humbly wonderful achievement.

No comments:

Post a Comment