Confidence Men, Feb. Jumel Terrace Books, 2005

Jackson.Benjamin

I’ve always wanted to write a Confidence Man story for thugs and the women who love them.  A Mookie Jackson story. As I once wrote in a piece on the Ghetto Harlequin phenomenon, regards founding father Daniel Defoe, “One of street literature’s great subjects has always been the highlife player, the big-dicked, bejeweled raconteur/entrepreneur, no [...]

Occupy Strand

If you have ever sold a book for or to the Strand you know there is nothing new in being taken advantage of by the Bass’s.  When we parted company in 1975, over the then deplorable working conditions, poverty wages, the abusive attitude of management to staff and the unionization of the shop, it was [...]

The Book Problem

Reader

Were the problem book people like us, it would soon go away.  It is not our weaknesses, or our sentimentality, or our nostalgia.  It’s As If’ we’ve become obsolete and we haven’t.  By ‘we,’ I mean We the People of the book: Jews, Christians, Islamic people and a lot of people who believe what they [...]

from my forthcoming, Principles of Retail

Private Library 1990

Users shouldn’t deal and dealers shouldn’t use  Somebody other than me must have said Reading is a finer world within the world.  Presumably an unpunished vice, my relationship to literature has at times smacked of self abuse. So much so I’ve been called promiscuously well read.  It is a solitary past time, during which time you aren’t [...]

Maxims

Premise:  Books Are Weapons recognizes the revolutionary effect literacy can have on reclaiming our independence from the confines of mediocrity. Literacy enables the self-determination necessary to enjoying the basic human rights. Literacy, bring a tool for coming to terms with one’s otherness, effects a change of consciousness more significantly than any other stimulant to the mind. [...]

Paul Robeson’s thoughts on the Morris Jumel Mansion.

JumelTerrace.1901

“I am an American. From my window I gaze out upon a scene that reminds me how deep-going are the roots of my people in this land. Across the street, carefully preserved as an historic site, is a colonial mansion that served as a headquarters for General George Washington in 1776, during desperate and losing [...]

“I Am Mad About Nigerian Literature …”

“I am mad about Nigerian literature”…says Kurt Thometz, American who sells Nigerian books in New York. By HENRY AKUBUIRO (ifeanyi_mcdaniels@yahoo.com) Lagos Sun, Sunday, February 19, 2006 The world is indebted to Harlem in New York, USA, for its contribution to world literature and art. The Harlem Renaissance in the 1920s was an epoch in American history [...]

On Collecting

KT.Mrs.Astor

Style reveals the man. The building of a library is an act of style, an expression of what we are and a good measure of who we are. Collecting is an act of self-realization. One collects books and builds a library to create an intensified environment. It is a philosophical statement as this room is [...]

On Bibliophiles

Bibliophile_th_Marilyn Reading

Reading, the unpunished vice, promises, as most vices do, a finer world within the world. Beyond the narrow realm of our senses is the greater reality retained in and contained by that cumbersome and collectable commodity, the book. While all book collectors consider themselves bibliophiles, most bibliophiles perceive collecting as the precious sport of a [...]

Chet Baker

ChetBaker_th

Deep in a Dream   By James Gavin As Though I Had Wings   By Chet Baker   At 3 a.m. on May 13, 1988, Chet Baker nodded out, threw himself out, or was thrown out of, a hotel room window in Amsterdam, quite as if he had wings. Long ago and far away, I dreamed a [...]