Thursday, April 30, 2009

Found Magazine Returns!

Make sure you don't miss Davy and Peter Rothbart of Found Magazine as they return to Richmond for a limited engagement, one show only, winner take all night at Gallery 5 this Saturday, May 2nd at 8 pm. Tickets are only $5, which is a real deal. That saves you some serious funds for purchasing Found books from Chop Suey and drinks from Gallery 5.

Friday, April 24, 2009

We Buy Books! However....

Since we're mostly a used books bookstore, we are constantly buying books from people. If you're familiar with our store, you won't have any questions about what kind of books we buy. But some people do. And we get calls about this about 5 times a day, on average. Over the past 7 years, we've honed our abilities to decide whether we want their books before we even hear what books they have. If you are going to call, try to avoid these pitfalls:

1. Do Not refer to your collection of books as a "lieberry." This is pretty good indication that the person speaking has not actually read any of the books they are selling. Or, worse, that they have. In either case, we most likely won't be interested. An easy tool to remember this rule is "Libraries contain a number of books. Lieberries grow of Fib Trees."

2. When asked to identify what kind of books you have, Do Not classify them as "reading books."

3. When we ask for a more specific description, Do Not categorize them as "Paperbacks and Hardcovers." We realize that they are most likely either when we answered the phone. As a side note, it does not help your case to act confused when we ask "Yes, but what kind of paperbacks and hardcovers?"

4. Do Not say that you have "All kinds" of books. If you do say this and don't include Patricia Cornwell, Michael Connelly, John Grisham, James Patterson, or Dean Koontz when you get more specific, we will be amazed.

5. When you list the previously mentioned authors and we tell you that we don't buy them, Do Not become confused/irate by asking "Well, what do you buy?!?" This implies to the listener that you have no comprehension that authors other than the ones you read exist. When you do ask a question like this, it is more likely that you are a "book snob" than us.

6. Do Not ask "Do you buy books?" and follow up with "How much would you give me for old National Geographics?"

7. Do Not refer to your books as "really old" if they are from the 1980s. It's just insulting.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

WonTon Has Issues!

(of magazines)

Win This Bike!!!

When we raffled off the bright green Diamondback cruiser out of our window last month, the response was so great that we decided to do it again. Also, we wanted to give all of you who had your heart set on 2 wheel travel another chance to live the dream. So now through May 6th we are selling $1 raffle tickets for an all but brand new Trek 4300 Alpha mountain bike! The frame measures at 44.5 cm, and this bike looks like it was ridden from the store to the house. Maybe. In any case, it is clean and cool and ready to hit the trails. You could pay a couple hundred for a used one, or get lucky with us and ride away for only $1. The drawing will take place at 4 pm on May 6th. Of course, all the money raised will be donated to Books On Wheels.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Funky Chickens

On Tuesday, April 21st at 5 pm, Karen Davis of United Poultry Concerns will read from and sign her newly revised book Prisoned Chickens, Poisoned Eggs. After founding the UPC in 1990, Karen has published numerous books and tracts in defense of her fowl friends. Prisoned Chickens, Poisoned Eggs continues her struggle to bring the plight of these birds to the fore-front of the animal rights agenda. Most recently, Karen was published in the New York Times (last week's letters to the editor), and was talked about by Ira Glass when he appeared on David Letterman. Check out this video to see the impact she had on him:

Friday, April 17, 2009

Tenderly or Agressively

We just got in an amazing biography of Joseph Pujol, a performer at the Moulin Rouge who, during the late 19th century, amazed and amused audiences so much that he was paid over twice what Sarah Bernhardt made. How? Well, it was a breeze. Literally. Pujol was an artist of the fart, able to summon great sounds at the drop of a hat. What a story! And inspiration! Think of where Eddie Murphy would be today had Pujol not lit up the entertainment world with his musical talent.

One of the best things about this book is how Pujol holds up a finger as he leans forward. I'm guessing he is giving the international sign for "hold that thought." Either that, or he's asking the photographer to pull his finger.

This book is a fine example of the quality reading you can find at Chop Suey. Don't blow it! Shop the Chop today!

A Barrel of Fun!

Chop Suey is now touting a bright blue rain barrel made and sold by Stu Harnsberger in our front window as part of our Spring gardening selection. There are many great reasons for using rain barrels, such as saving money on your water bill, watering your garden with non-chlorinated water, easing the strain on a weak city sewer system, and so on. There are two great reasons why you should use Stu's barrels: they are cheap, and they are blue! If you have researched rain barrels, you will know that $50 per barrel comes in at well under half price of most brands. And, if you have any problems with your barrel, you will already have a direct working relationship the local manufacturer. I personally have three of Stu's barrels hooked up to my gutter system, and after this week's rain, have 165 gallons of crisp water to distribute throughout my yard. If you have any interest in utilizing such a fantastic and simple device, I fully recommend that you contact Stu!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Davy Does It Again!

Our good friend Davy Rothbart, known internationally as the point guard for Found Magazine and a flagrant hack on the basketball court, has just edited another great collection of Found material, Requiem for a Paper Bag. Unlike Found Magazine and the 2 Found books, however, this book is an anthology in which celebrities and civilians tell stories of the best lost, tossed, and found items from around the world. Miranda July, for example, writes about finding a painting of a quail that makes it into a final scene in her film You, Me, and Everyone We Know, and of how being receptive to "found moments" has shaped her artistic vision. David Simon relates how, while working on his book Homicide, he poured through old crime files and was set on a quest to find a missing letter from Robert Zimmerman (aka Bob Dylan) that had disappeared from one such folder. And, for those of you partial to local history, Tom Robbins tells a great story of how he literally found his second wife at a downtown Richmond bar. This is such a great book, filled with short, touching stories. If you are familiar with Found Magazine, you will know how the shortest discarded note can hint at hidden and secret worlds. The difference with Requiem for a Paper Bag is that you get to read about the great imagined worlds that are inspired in others. This book will be released and on sale in early May.

Davy and Peter Rothbart will be in town on May 2nd for a limited engagement at Gallery 5. Doors will open at 7:15 and the show will start at 8. A $5 cover will guarantee you a night of Found wonder.

Playing Friends

On Friday night I was closing the store at 9 pm and was a little worried that I couldn't find our cat WonTon. I called for him, but he didn't come. With the weather kind of getting warmer, he has been staying out at night, showing up at the back door when we open in the morning. So I wasn't too worried.

When I got in the car, however, I caught a flash of black and white in the alley between Chop Suey and Bev's. It looked like WonTon had walked behind the stairwell. Then I noticed a opossum just hanging out right next to the spot I had seen WonTon. I jumped out of the car and carefully walked towards the opossum, thinking I was going to have to break up some crazy Nature Channel animal cage match. Instead, when I got back there, WonTon and the opossum were just hanging out. Not only were they not squaring off, they were palling around. I guess the opossum didn't like me, so he crawled back under the ramp to Bev's. Play date over.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Triffids Take Chop Suey!

Appearing now on the Staff Recommendations shelf at Chop Suey Books is John Wyndham's The Day of the Triffids, one of the classics of post-apocalyptic literature, now available in trade paperback as part of the Modern Library's "20th Century Rediscovered" series. This reissue is not new -- it was first released circa 2003 -- but our ability to get it at Chop Suey sure is! (Before 2003, the book was out of print; so, as our friend Joel Control points out, there's some dissonance now in seeing it as something besides a beat up pulp tome with screaming B-movie queen on the front. But oh well; it sure is a handsome paperback the Modern Library has put together!)

Here's the plot: a few years after humanity has learned to contain a new species of walking carnivorous plants (the Triffids of the title), a spectacular meteor shower causes everyone who witnesses it to go blind. In the new sightless world, the Triffids begin to take over, and the few sighted folk that are left must mobilize their fellow survivors to safety. It's an extremely astute portrait of gradual social breakdown, narrated in the dry and somewhat befuddled voice of a protagonist attempting to face the end of the world like a proper gentleman. And it's a delight to read. Come check out one of the great overlooked novels of the last century!

And, if you're interested, here's a (Wikipedia) crash course on this John Wyndham fellow.