Thanks to Instagram, poetry has been given a new lease of life, with the beauty of poetry suddenly discoverable to millions of people who have probably never set foot inside a bookstore even for a regular prose novel, let alone a book of poems.
In turn savvy publishers have picked up the so-called Instagram Poets and given them additional reach in print for the millions of poetry lovers who aren’t yet comfortable with digital reading, or who value the tactile pleasure or giftability of a paper and ink book.
Impossible to say if Canada’s only poetry-only bookstore would have been viable without the renewed interest in poetry that Intagram and other social media has brought about, but safe to say it helps.
Jeff Kirby’s Knife Fork Book store, which has just moved to bigger premises,
hosts three or four events a week, which in turn drives sales. “What really moves books is readings,” Kirby says.
The grand opening and third-anniversary party on Oct. 19 was the store’s biggest night and day ever. The shop’s 60 Poets in 60 Days series, which extends through Dec. 10, is giving Toronto’s poetry community plenty of opportunities to check out the new space.
Read more over at Quill and Quire.
From Canada to China, where Denmark’s publishing trade journal Bogmarkedet has visited what may well be the largest bookstore in the world
The city of Shenzhen in southwestern China borders Hong Kong to the south, and Hong Kong is the big competitor. Or was, today, Shenzhen’s economy has long since become the largest.
Today, the giant city is a technological hot-spot , China’s version of Silicon Valley. Just much, much bigger. Technological leaps in the finest way coexist with an older media, which in the West is believed to be outdated.
Book malls are found in all major Chinese cities. Families often spend an entire weekend here, and teens like to go to the city’s book mall with friends after school.
Read more over at Bogmarkedet, where those who flunked Danish at school may need some help from Google Translate, but the images are great in any language.
The final two items for today’s Start the Day Global are from the USA.
Over at Crime Reads there’s always much more than just crime novels being discussed, which makes it endlessly fascinating.
Recently EC Comics have been in the spotlight, which certainly resonated with me, as despite being in the UK as a kid I was a huge fan of American comics, and especially the EC horror comics.
I should add that EC originated in the 1950s, so I missed the fuss about them first time around, and my experience was through reprints or second-hand copies.
However, I’ll let Daniel Kraus take up the story:
This year marks the sixty-fifth anniversary of psychiatrist Frederic Wertham’s book Seduction of the Innocent, an exasperatingly best-selling screed against comic books he blamed for juvenile delinquency. His conclusions were alarmist, idiotic, and frequently hilarious. Wonder Woman was a lesbian. Batman and Robin were gay. Superman was a fascist. Obviously.
Wertham’s wide-eyed, lip-trembling book is mostly remembered for spewing righteous kerosene on the fiery Senate Subcommittee of Juvenile Delinquency. The resulting theatrics, ogled by Americans on TV, shuttered the doors of multiple comics outfits, including the best of them all (or worst, if you were a Wertham flunky): William Gaines’s EC Comics.
Though Mad would become Gaines’s 67-year success story (until this year’s closing of the magazine), it’s arguable that his 1950-1955 trio of horror comics—Tales from the Crypt, The Vault of Horror, and The Haunt of Fear—was more foundational, inspiring the careers of everyone from Stephen Spielberg to Stephen King. (HBO’s 1989-1996 series adaptation served a similar purpose for my generation; the first fan letter I ever wrote was to HBO, pleading for a second season.)
The influence continues today. Shudder’s new Creepshow series, which premiered September 26th, is directly inspired by the EC titles.
Read more over at Crime Reads.
Finally, a Michigan mother of five is facing three months in jail for failing to return to library books.
A warrant was issued for the arrest of Mindy Jones after she failed to bring two books back to the Charlotte Community Library. They were checked out in 2017.
She returned the books six months ago after being told she could not use the library printer because of the overdue items, which she said she was not aware of. Jones did not find out about the warrant until last week when her boss did a background check for a potential promotion.
“The fact that a prosecuting attorney had this on his desk and decided that me having two library books out was enough to issue a warrant for my arrest, that’s what concerns me,” Jones told the Lansing State Journal. “If I deserve to go to jail for two library books, that’s absurd.”
Libraries do of course have to enforce rules on return of loaned books, else they would have no books left, but the threat of three months in jail for what appears to be a genuine oversight is likely to deter users from visiting the library in the first place.
One might add here that digital provides a simple and elegant solution to the problem of retrieving borrowed library books. At the end of the set date the books simply vanish from the device. No books lost. No fines imposed. No admin chasing unpaid fines. And no threat of jail for wayward mothers.
Read the full story over at MyDailyNews.