Saturday, March 20, 2010

We're not dead yet.

Like any good lit geek, I'm kind of a fan of Mr. Shakespeare.

I also get unreasonably frustrated by people who ask students to read Shakespeare because, really, there's not better way to ensure that someone truly hates Shakespeare than to ask them to read Shakespeare because, when all is said and done, Shakespeare wasn't meant to be read.

It's meant to be heard. Seen.

It's why I love my graphic novel edition of King Lear. Why I adore Baz Luhrman's Romeo+Juliet. Why I jump at the chance to attend performances at the Folger Shakespeare Theatre where I've seen Shakespeare's plays set in Verona and Washington, D.C. Played straight as an arrow and curved enough to set an old school English teacher on her ear.

And now, it seems, someone's come up with a new spin.

Or, an old spin as the case might be.

According to an article in the U.K.'s Guardian newspaper, a new version of Romeo and Juliet imagines the star-crossed lovers as octogenarians. "Juliet now lives in the private ward of a care home; her daughter is struggling to pay the bills, so decides to marry her off to a wealthy bachelor, called Paris. Romeo, in the NHS ward of the same care home, has a crush on his nurse, Rosaline - until he spots Juliet at a tea dance."

But soft, what hip through yonder window breaks?

Monday, March 15, 2010

You'll pry these banned books out of our cold, dead hands!

Some 400 people packed in to a lecture hall at the Boston Public Library's building in Copley Square fighting mad about the city's plan to close what the Boston Globe referred to as a "constellation of libraries around the city."

One woman at the meeting suggested selling the library's Gutenberg Bible to raise the $3.6 million budget shortfall.

Another man said that he had spent time in prison for bank robbery - a crime that paled in comparison to taking these libraries away.

I know that it was only 400 people in a city of some 600,000, but how cool is that. They yelled, the hooted and demanded the right to have a library in their neighborhood.

How can you not love that city?

Sunday, March 14, 2010


So, I totally missed this but, apparently, the folks over at Amazombie had another one of their "glitches" (1).

Graphic novels distributed by the group Diamond were accidentally placed on sale for $14.95 or less. This included books that hadn't been released yet.

In an interesting bit of irony, the same technologies that made Amazombie a global bookstore bully allowed comic geeks (2) far and wide to quickly mobilize and drop hundreds of dollars buying up as much graphic novel goodness as their moms' credit cards allowed.

As it's done in the past, Amazombie reacted quickly (sort of) and with all the grace of The Incredible Hulk. They stopped selling all titles distributed by Diamond by removing the "buy" buttons from those items. These include titles by Marvel, Image and Umbrella Academy publishers Dark Horse.

No big deal. What comic book reader would be buying comics from Marvel (3)?

But the point of this post isn't (only) to roll my e-eyes at another fall in the house of Amazon, but to call attention to a really cool idea the "glitch" inspired.

Some local comic book shop owners got a 'notaglitch hashtag going to promote sales going on in their own stores. Stores that, presumably, are selling little known brands like Marvel and Dark Horse.

The folks at Bleeding Cool took the idea another step and started up a local comic shop forum. (You can check it out here.)

Oh, and as you'll see in the Bleeding Cool post if you click over there, the "glitch" apparently leaked over to Barnes and Noble's Web site as well.

Is it just me or is anyone else picturing a kid sitting in his bedroom wearing a cape and a Thor helmet hacking into bookstore sites while shouting, "I'll show them! I'LL SHOW ALL OF THEM!!"

1. Full disclosure here: I ended up going back to Amazombie for some purchases recently in order to save money. Not for myself, but for an institution. I'm still not making personal purchases from them.
2. Should go without saying, but this phrase is used with great affection.
3. Yes. Sarcasm.