Friday News: Used bookstores, Hollywood censorship, “book healing,” and Dobbsland
New York’s Used Book Stores Are Having a Moment – Used bookstores in New York City are having a lot of success right now, surprising even those who own them. The costs to establish a store can be relatively low (especially if owners offer store credit rather than outright buying books with cash), although the actual work of selling used books is often harder, especially when patrons want to bargain already low prices down further. Still, it’s a hopeful trend, and one I hope isn’t exclusive to NYC.
There are, by my count, more than 30 such shops in the city; more than 50 if you count the rare book dealers.
They feed on the city’s discards. In New York, even the fiercest bibliophiles have limited shelf space. If you don’t weed your library on occasion, you’ll be buried alive. And given the current craze for material minimalism, book dealers say, folks are pruning their shelves more aggressively than ever.
As a result, it doesn’t cost much to stock a secondhand book store in New York. Shop owners say they will typically spend $1 to $3 to acquire a used book they can resell for $10, compared with $6 for a new book with a $10 list price. – Wall Street Journal
Frankly, My Dear, I Don’t Give a Damn: How American Censorship Impacted This Famous Line and More Iconic Hollywood Moments – One of the most interesting things about this article is the confirmation that censorship tends to only be employed for sex and “profane” language, not for violence (e.g. the NC-17 rating is always for sexual content). I also did not know that the infamous line in Gone With the Wind was made possible through an amendment to the Motion Picture Association’s Production Code (both “damn” and “hell” were forbidden).
2. The Classics Are Twisted by the Rules: While that same initial production code was only in effect from 1934 to 1968, it was a stringent policer of some of Hollywood’s most classic films, including Casablanca, and required all films to be submitted for approval before they could be released. It is reported that the iconic ending with Rick urging Ilsa to get on the plane with her husband is largely due to the code, which was strict about protecting the institution of marriage.
However, other film directors were strategic about how they maneuvered around the code. Alfred Hitchcock allegedly had his actors in Notorious engage in three second spurts of kissing for over two minutes, thereby adhering to the three second kissing rule. – E! Online
What writers of color say we all should read now – A large and diverse list of books recommended to build understanding in the wake of US systemic violence, especially toward young black men. There are some fabulous books on this list, and each contributor explains their recommendation, making it even easier to choose a book (or ten):
In the wake of the recent shooting death in Falcon Heights of Philando Castile, Twin Cities writers, artists and teachers of color have suggestions for books that might help bridge that gap.
“What helps me process the events of the last couple of weeks is connecting this struggle to the larger history in the United States. My students and I find solace in James Baldwin’s ‘The Fire Next Time.’ His work provides the background necessary to contextualize these events to show that these are part of a historical pattern. It helps my students see that this isn’t a series of random events and if we look back far enough and recognize this history, then we can change it.” – — Valerie Déus, Minneapolis Star Tribune
A Retired Engineer Built a Backyard Disneyland for His Grandkids – What does a retired aeronautical engineer do when his grandkids get bored in the backyard? He builds a theme park, of course, complete with a roller coaster and train ride. Be sure to watch the video and marvel.
Using old Madame Alexander dolls his wife was planning to throw away, Dobbs turned the track into a replica of “It’s a Small World.” He added lights, music, and even recreated the ride’s iconic clocktower using a pizza tin.
Since building that first ride in his backyard, Dobbs has added a Finding Nemo (2003) submarine made from trash bins and PVC pipe, a castle with motorized Frozen (2013) dolls, and a Winnie the Pooh ride built inside a playhouse. Dobbsland also features a 100-foot-longversion of Disneyland’s Matterhorn coaster that was built by students at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona as part of their senior research project. – Mental Floss