The Shelf Life


Bucking the Trend

posted on November 15, 2013 at 7:07 pm by Brad Craft


Haters gon’ hate.  I know all the purists will be disturbed to see — what shall we call this?  “cheer”? — so early in the season.  I get it.  I do.

Okay, maybe I don’t.  Maybe  I’ve worked in retail too long.  Maybe I’m a little obsessed with the Holidays.  I love Christmas, Chanukah, Solstice.  I love the food, the lights, the music, the classic stories by Dickens, Capote, et al, and yes, the schmaltz.  It’s all good — to me.

Every year, when the new ornaments first appear in the Gift Department, I get a little giddy.  I love all the pretty little birds, the glass spacemen in their delicate rocket-ships, the wooden hedgehogs, the shiny.  Love the shiny.


Every year I tell myself I will not buy more ornaments for what will be, after all, an already laden and not very big tree, and then, every year, I buy more.  (Last year I did finally retire some of my older ornaments that I liked less, particularly those in themes no longer likely to be used again.  Cows, for example.  I had a lot of cows: cows in Santa hats, cows with wreaths ’round their necks, angel cows, wise-men cows — alot o’ cows.)

I’m a sucker now for those pretty little glass birds.  Might be a whole tree soon with just those little glass birds.

And yes, I am already listening to some Holiday music.  I can hear the collective groan out there in the wide world.  I’m not talking Jungle Bells here.  A wonderful composer, Sir John Tavener, just died, at 69 — far too soon.  Last night I was listening to some of his glorious choral music, and yes, some of it was composed for the season.

And, yes again, I’m already reading Holiday stories.  Every year for some years now, I’ve read Truman Capote’s A Christmas Memory at the bookstore, come December.  I will again, Thursday, December 12th, at 7PM.  And every year, for an encore, I read another Holiday piece; a short story usually, or a poem or two, by the likes of Ogden Nash.  The Capote is a beautiful thing, an American classic, full of humor and sentiment, but also suffused with the melancholy of remembered happiness and regret.  One does not necessarily want to send the good people home on such a sad note, so I try to find something to read after, something more specifically funny, even silly, to end the evening on a lighter note.  The search, as they say, is on.

Forgive me then if I’m already in the mood.  I know it is early yet, and you may not want to hear about it.  Really though, it is part of the job.  That it happens to be my favorite part, my favorite reading, certainly, and my favorite season — well, I understand if that’s just me.

(Come on now, admit it, how can you not like all that new shiny?)

Premature Season’s Greetings!

Unforgettable Bromances

posted on October 8, 2013 at 9:10 pm by Brad Craft

Unforgettable Bromances

Here’s another rather brilliant display of seemingly unlikely… associations, from our resident book-display-diva, Seija.  She was inspired by the publication of the new Simon and Schuster book from Chris Matthews, Tip and The Gipper: When Politics Worked.  That most unlikely of working relationships set her to thinking.  The result?  A whole table’s worth of masculine collaborations, rivalries, bands, comrades and big boy closeness.

Tip and the Gipper: When politics Worked

Tip and the Gipper: When Politics Worked

As you can see, she had a lot of great new books with which to work.

Among the likelier pals, we have Fidel & Gabo: A Portrait of the Legendary Friendship Between Fidel Castro and Gabriel Garcia Marquez, by Angel Esteban & Stephanie Panichelli, from Pegasus Books.

Fidel & Gabo

Fidel & Gabo: A portrait of the Legendary Friendship Between Fidel Castro and Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Also, for the sports fans, Mickey and Willie: Mantle and Mays, the Parallel Lives of Baseball’s Golden Age, by Wall Street Journal sportswriter, Allen Barra, just out from Crown Archetype.

Mickey & Willie

Mickey & Willie


For music lovers, and Beatles boys, from Running Press, we have When They Were Boys: The True Story of the Beatles’ Rise to the Top, by Larry Kane.

When They Were Boys

When They Were Boys


And the last bromance for special mention, From Crown, and science writer, Sean B. Carroll, comes Brave Genius: A Scientist, a Philosopher, and Their Daring Adventures from the French Resistance to the Nobel Prize, the new book on the friendship of novelist, Albert Camus and scientist, Jacques Monod.

Brave Genius

Brave Genius

Barely scratched the surface, of course, of our “Yo, Bro” here.  If you want to see the rest, you’ll have to stop by the bookstore while the bromance lingers on.

Dude, seriously, check ’em out.

Still more Bromances

Still more Bromances