buy this book

December 31st, 2011 | Uncategorized


I just heard Ellis Avery on NPR talking about her new book The Last Nude. It’s based on the Art Deco painter Tamara de Lempicka, and the relationship she had with one of her models. I majored in art history and never heard of this woman for godsakes. But the novel sounds great—set in 1927 Paris, all very steamy and literary.

The book comes out next Thursday, January 5. Ellis is going on a tour—go hear her if she comes to your town! Also, buy or pre-order the book! The way books make the best-seller lists is if a lot of people buy them right when they come out. And then if they make the best-seller lists, even more people will buy them. There’s something slightly circular about that logic, but it seems to be the way things work.

92 Responses to “buy this book”

  1. hairball_of_hope says:

    That sounds intriguing, a good suggestion for spending the holiday cash that’s sitting here.

    Although the 1/5/12 reading is at Bunns & Noodle in Tribeca (Warren & Greenwich St), Ellis also plugged a great independent bookstore in her blog post, Three Lives (corner of W.10 St and Waverly Place). Good for her. I try to patronize them as often as I can, they’ve been around for about 30 years, and they are still alive and kicking. They’ll get my book order.

    Musical/literary note… the post-publication party is at North Square restaurant, which is downstairs from the Washington Square Hotel. Joan Baez fans (ksbel6, where are you?) will note that this is the hotel referenced in Diamonds and Rust as “… that crummy hotel over Washington Square.”

    Back in the day, it was a fleabag SRO hotel. These days it’s much more upscale, kind of a trendy boutique place where average folks can park their heads without stepping over zoned-out druggies in the hallways. No doubt the restaurant downstairs is similarly trendy.

    (… goes back to a beautiful bright day in the big city, where hope springs eternal for a good new year …)

  2. Diana says:

    Really? You never heard of her? Well, I’m glad you discovered her. Her own work is noteworthy, but there was a spate of imitators churning out rather unpleasant mimicry of her work in the 90s.
    You might also want to check out Charlotte Salomon. She was doing comic narratives in a concentration camp during WWII. Not as exotic a narrative, but just as important.
    May the new year be kind to you, and I eagerly await your new book!

  3. Bryce Morris says:

    Hey Alison, readers can hear Ellis read from The Last Nude next Thursday, January 5 in NYC at the Tribeca Barnes & Noble at 6 PM.

  4. Kate L says:

    My father trained as a commercial artist in the 1930’s, but when I once asked him to explain Art Deco to me, he refused! And, while a high school student, I took a college class in drawing at Moo U. We drew nudes. University officials tried to talk my parents out of letting me enroll!

  5. Alex K says:

    OT, but — AB, did I miss your response to Spielberg’s TINTIN?

  6. Alex K says:

    OT, but — AB, did I miss your response to Spielberg’s TINTIN? Cf. p 65, this week’s NEW YORKER.

  7. Therry and St. Jerome says:

    I hate to be a nag about this, but please try to stay away from Amazon for books. There’s the usual preference for reading local, but they’ve done two things that really put them beyond the pale. First, if you have a Kindle, you can only buy e-books from Amazon, whereas with other e-readers you can buy e-books from actual bookstores. Second, there is an Amazon app that is preloaded on E-phones that lets you point it at a book in a bookstore and tells you how much cheaper you can get it from Amazon. I am not making this up. I have cancelled my pre-order of Are You MY Mother from Amazon and re-pre-ordered it from my local independent bookstore.

    AB, this means you, too. When you click on the book above, it routes you to Amazon. Mentor, could you reroute it to instead? Thanks.

    [Perhaps AB has already changed this, but the link in AB’s posting above (i.e. this link: buy or pre-order“) points to Powell’s Books when I click on it. –Mentor]

  8. Diana says:

    Thanks for the timely reminder on Amazon. Nothing nagging about it, it’s just good advice!

  9. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Therry (#7)

    I’ve been asked numerous time by friends if I wanted a Kindle, and I’ve explained to each of them my opposition to DRM-restricted e-books, proprietary formats, and of the creeping influence of Amazon.

    I’ve told them all that while the idea of an e-reader might work for me (I could carry lots of work documents, public domain e-books, .PDF files, etc. on an e-reader), I’d be more inclined to hack a generic cheap e-reader to run Linux or root an Android reader (assuming that I actually had some spare time to play with hacking a device).

    Despite that, today I found myself the recipient of a Kindle 3, given to me by some well-meaning friends who figured out how I can use the Kindle without supporting Amazon directly. The New York Public Library has all sorts of e-books available for free download, over 23,000 as of today.

    The titles that are not in the public domain have a default lending period of 14 days, they expire from one’s e-reader when the e-book “is due.” No library late fees!

    Alas, it looks like I’ll have to create an Amazon account and register the Kindle to download library books. I am the only techie person I know who has never purchased anything on Amazon. I don’t plan on buying anything from them, but I haven’t found a way to circumvent the registration to get the library books.

    Yeah, I know this probably supports Amazon indirectly, libraries have to pay for the files (and probably per-patron usage fees). It does feel a bit hypocritical.

    The Kindle 3 itself is actually pretty nice, it has Wifi and 3G, and the .PDFs I loaded on it formatted well on the screen.

    As my friends said as I protested that I prefer the feel and smell of real books, “You’ll learn to love the smell of a Kindle.”

    (… goes back to sliding down that slippery slope of mass consumerism …)

  10. Mentor says:

    [This seemed like a noteworthy way of starting off the New Year.

    From The Telegraph:
    But 2012’s two most important books by and about women are Are You My Mother? by Alison Bechdel (Jonathan Cape), the genius American artist and writer’s follow-up to her award-winning memoir Fun Home, this time concentrating on the women she has loved; […]

    (More [HERE])

    (P.S. For the benefit of we/us/they/them Americans, “Jonathan Cape” is the British publisher of AYMM.) –Mentor]

  11. Cathy says:

    Wow, Alison, thanks so much for this info–I also had never heard of this fascinating painter (despite my own time as an art history student and an arts critic and editor). Thanks to your helpful tour info, I am eager to go to the great D.C. bookstore Politics and Prose to pre-order my copy of Avery’s novel and maybe to attend the author’s reading.

    And you’re not alone, HoH–I got a Kindle Fire as a surprise gift from my husband, who will have major hurt feelings if I return it or ignore it.

  12. Laurie says:

    That looks like an awesome book, AB! Thanks SO much for the referral! Sounds like a really interesting companion book to The Paris Wife, too!

    Per Kindles, I understand the concerns some have about Amazon and proprietary books. But that doesn’t seem to be a reason to avoid owning a Kindle. You can read thousands of books without ever accessing Amazon. For instance, try the Gutenburg Project, where you can read over 36,000 books. They also offer a link to over 100,000 other free e-books. Try your library: mine allows you to “borrow” tons of e-books that will work on a Kindle (plus, supporting your local library is always a good thing!). Get creative.

    Besides, I don’t think that having an app that allows you to see when you can get something cheaper on Amazon is a reason to damn the site. They’re here to make money. If you care more about saving money than, say, supporting local businesses, that’s something you might want. People who feel that way aren’t going to go out of their way to support local stores in the first place. But if they have to scan a book to find out if it’s cheaper, they have to be in the store. And perhaps, a bibliophiles like us do, they’ll find something they just can’t wait for and purchase it…or love the atmosphere in their local store enough to spend more time there. Let’s think positive, people! πŸ™‚

  13. Kristin says:

    Hey, I found you via Delenn of Slaying, Blogging, Whatever.

    That book sounds intriguing. I am going to have to check it out.

    @hairball_of_hope (#1 & 9) Regarding DRM protected books, have you heard of Calibre? It is a fabulous little program that allows YOU to control your digital books. Importing your ebooks into Calibre strips the DRM from the ebooks and allows you to convert them to whatever format works for you. You can find clear instructions for using this on Apprentice Alf’s Blog. This was a life saver for me as I received a Nook for Christmas and had a ton of books in Kindle format on my laptop.

    *Please note that I in no way support pirating books. I just LOVE that Calibre returns control of your books to you

  14. Kate L says:

    Happy New Year, all, including all DTWOF bloggers, Mentor and our resident genius American artist! πŸ™‚ Behold, the year 2012! Where everyone has a personal communicator device just like they had in the old Star Trek televison show, each one with literally more computing power than the Apollo 11 mission. But where are the flying cars? As the actor Avery Brooks once said in a year 2000 IBM commercial, I was promised flying cars!

  15. Done! Thanks for letting us know about such an intriguing new novel.

  16. shadocat says:

    Happy New Year to you, Ms. Kate, and all others out here on this blog. And yes, we WERE promised those flying cars! Can’t we at least have them by the time the world ends on Dec.21st?

  17. Anonymous says:

    Your flying car can be preordered here: Don’t want one myself–for me, the other drivers are scary enough on the ground.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Oh, and you don’t need a Kindle to read Amazon books, nor do all Amazon e-books cost money. The reader is free for your PC, and over 10,000 books are completely free. Amazon might “kill” bookstores where you live, but where I live, Amazon is the only way to get Bechdel books as they simply are not carried in the local mom & pop Christian bookstore. If there were no Amazon, I’d have a very difficult life indeed, so I cannot share your loathing of the resource.

  19. Hey! Thanks for all this lively discourse!
    I’m really crazed, down to wire on deadline for book, up late working. But wanted to mention that Susan Stinson who posted just above has a great excerpt from her novel SPIDER IN A TREE, about the preacher Jonathan Edwards, up on this excellent spirituality site. A taste of honey, rationality, god, what more could you ask for?

  20. Alison, that is over-the-top nice of you, to link to my piece before 5 am when you are up against such an intense deadline. All I can say to that is thank you.

    And, go! Deadlines reshape themselves into mysterious, explicit, sinuous lines under ink.

  21. Mentor says:

    [Hoping you’ll all forgive a brief blog-hijack, but…

    I’ll take this opportunity to post this comment which according to the WordPress internal records will be Comment Number 40,000 posted to this blog.

    (Thought you all might like to know.) –Mentor]

  22. Cathy says:

    This is an interesting piece on e-readers vs. books:

    I love the Maurice Sendak quotation, which is on one of my coffee mugs. I do value the benefits of e-readers and of reading stuff on line, but printed material on paper can be beautiful.

  23. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Mentor (#21)

    While it might be WordPress’s internal record #40,000, the actual link says it’s comment #315227. How do these numbers correlate?

    (… goes back to enjoying a quiet day in the new year …)

  24. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Cathy (#22)

    I remember reading the quote from JFK Jr. at the time of Jackie’s passing (“My mother died surrounded by her friends and her family and her books.”), and thinking “Books *are* friends and family.”

    I’m of such mixed feelings about this Kindle. It’s nice for reading disposable media (the periodicals that end up in the recycling pile), the stuff I read online anyway (this Kindle has Wifi and 3G), and for stuffing in my bag for those times I normally wouldn’t be schlepping a laptop or netbook (as when I’m wandering around town, shopping, or sitting in a park).

    But buying books that only exist as bits and bytes in lieu of hardcopy? I can’t get my head around that.

    Speaking of book smells, I still miss the library card catalog, both for the aroma and for the serendipitous bookfinds that I stumbled upon en route to my desired books. The computerized search engine in the library doesn’t have the autocomplete function that the computerized dictionary does.

    BTW, the Kindle 3 comes with two dictionaries, the New Oxford American Dictionary 2ed. and the Oxford Dictionary of English 2ed. revised. Both sport the autocomplete feature. Neither has pronounciation or text-to-speech enabled. Foo.

    (… goes back to wondering what party guests of the future will stare at if there are no bookshelves, surely the spice racks aren’t nearly as interesting to look at …)

  25. Cathy says:

    Agree, HoH. Nicer to take a Kindle on vacation rather than schlep a heavy load of books and to have alternatives readily available when something I’ve started to read just doesn’t thrill me. And my husband’s having a Kindle means I have stopped tripping over piles of journals that weren’t getting recycled because “some day” he intended to read something in each one.

    I, too, miss card catalogues (I had after-school jobs in libraries). The handwritten notes by librarians were wonderful, and skimming card catalogues for initial subject matter searches was much more satisfying than typing in a word or phrase, then seeing “Your query has yielded 12,540 results; narrow?”

    LOL at the image of party guests checking out spice racks when they cannot easily scan a host’s collections of books or music. Here’s hoping we don’t end up limiting our artwork to electronic formats.

  26. NLC says:

    We’ve gone through this discussion before (and I’m sure we’ll go through it again) but it always seems to me that we end up talking about different things.

    I bow to no one in my devotion to, and love of, “real” books. But that said, the true joy I feel when I spend an evening reading, surrounded by piles of books, doesn’t lessen the equally strong sense of relief I feel when I pull my Kindle –and the access to the couple hundred books that it provides– out of the side-pocket of my backpack when I find myself stuck in a motel room somewhere.

    Likewise, many folks point out that e-readers don’t feel/smell/handle/etc like a book. This is certainly true. And these are surely among the (many) joys of reading an actual book. But I’m afraid I don’t follow the implication that this somehow demonstrates that a problem with e-readers.

    To ask this another way: Why is this different from suggesting that CDs or mp3 files are useless because they can produce neither the experience nor the pleasure of a live concert? (All of which is equally true.)

    Discussing this topic, as I have, with folks on both sides of the issue it always seems to the question: Do e-readers “replace” books? No, of course not. They are different critters, each with their own strengths and each fulfilling different purposes and needs.

  27. Kate L says:

    Thanks, shadocat! πŸ™‚ Hey, Anonymous (#17), I have independent confirmation of your news of an actual flying car!!!

  28. Brazenfemme says:

    Cathy, your spice rack comment made me laugh. All of my housemate and dating decisions started with my casually checking out the bookshelf – or in the case of my current happy relationship – PILES of books! I rebuilt my house last year and all my books are still packed away (except for the boring textbooks that I teach out of). It will be a happy day when my “friends” are freed from their cardboard confines!

  29. Andrew B says:

    Surprisingly, I had heard of Tamara de Lempicka — surprising since my knowledge of art history is generally embarrassing. I don’t think she’s very good, but I wonder if basing a novel on a second-rate artist might help produce a first-rate novel.

    19 and 20, I don’t know, deadlines have never turned sinuous on me. They tend more to congeal into sledgehammers, blunt heavy and solid, and hit me in the gut. Alison, I hope yours is like the ones Susan described.

    Hoh, 23, just to prove I have almost no life, I went back over a few arbitrarily selected comments to try to reverse engineer the numbering system. It breaks down into a three-digit prefix and a three-digit number. The prefix has changed over the years, but it doesn’t simply express the year: comments in the last post (Return to the Light), from the end of last year, were already using 315. For a given prefix, numbers appear to be assigned in the order in which comments were posted. Ellis Avery added a late comment to the last post, and it was numbered in sequence with comments on this post. The interesting part appears to be the prefix. It’s not obvious. Anyhow, Mentor’s post was not number 315227. It was number 227 in the 315 series.

    Don’t know if I’ll try to return to this. I do have a little shred of a life.

    Also Diana, 8, there is a typo in the link to your blog (blogPSot for blogSPot). Not only that, but some nutty Christian website is typo squatting on your URL! When I tried clicking on it, I found myself thinking that this was a surprising organization to be commenting on dtwof. The fact that they can afford to do that with your blog (and presumably many others) suggests the price of registering a domain should be higher.

    [Andrew: Good catch (I was wondering about that myself –I try to keep an eye out for “unexpected” links as they can be (and often are) sources of non-obvious spam).

    (BTW, after a quick experiment, I notice that if you try other similar “typos” for “blogspot” –i.e. exchanging two adjacent letters– a surprising number take you to other websites.
    HOWEVER, BE WARNED it looked like some of these may not have been “safe” to visit.)

    Diana: If you like, I can perform the behind-the-scenes rewiring to fix the link
    (As Andrew points out this seems to be a pretty straightforward typo, but, in the absence of an overwhelming reason for doing so, I’m reluctant to alter a posting without the original poster’s request.)
    Let me know. –Mentor]

  30. Jain says:

    I wonder if I put it on hold at the library, and they tell me (electronically) that it’s on order and there are already 5 holds, if I’m (electronically) increasing the chances that more copies will be ordered, thus making best sellerdom more likely.

  31. judybusy says:

    My wife gave me a Kindle a couple weeks ago, just because. I said, “You know I’m never gonna f***ing use this, don’t you? You know I’m gonna f***ing love this, don’t you?” So far, I really do like it. It’s light, it just sits on my lap for easy reading, allowing me to pet an intrusive cat WITH BOTH HANDS–oh the joy. I also really appreciate the dictionary function; I’m reading about Mary, Queen of Scots and it’s been useful looking up some archaic terms.

    It’s very easy to download books from the library, too. Amazon also has many books that are now in the public domain; I downloaded tons of Jane Austin, and now have Jane Eyre any time I want.

    I don’t like buying books–small house–so an e-reader will be great for me.

    Ironically, I just got four actual books from the library, too. I’ll still probably bring one on an upcoming vacation in addition to the Kindle.

  32. Penny says:

    An fyi: Madonna has a large collection of de Lempicka’s work. I seem to remember reading that Kahlo and de Lempicka were the first two artists she spent serious money on. She’s featured Lempicka’s work in multiple videos and on her tour sets.

    For some serious lesbianic iconography, check out Lempicka’s “Perspective” and “Women Bathing.” Or just use Google Images with her name. Wowzaa!

  33. Kate L says:

    Did anybody else hear about that University of Iowa professor who had to go into hiding in New York City after saying, among other things, that Iowans are mainly old folk, waiting to die? Ha! A lot he knows about life in the Midwest! I’m only 57 years old, and I have years, yet, before I get to die here in Smallville…

  34. Andrew B says:

    Hey, here’s another list of most anticipated books (according to someone) for 2012. It includes The Last Nude, but there’s an inexplicable absence from the list of May releases.

    Is publishing lists of most anticipated books a new fad? It’s new to me. I don’t like it (although of course congrats to Alison and Avery on making their respective lists). Talk about advance hype…

  35. Anna in Albuquerque says:

    I was reading my Kindle in bed, dozed off and it fell out of my hand. It didn’t lose my place as a book would.

    I knew I was acclimated when I reached up to the right hand corner to turn the page. I’d forgotten it wasn’t a book.

    My library has lots of Kindle books to lend. They also give drop-in classes on how to get the most out of your e-reader.

    I bought an acrylic plate stand and now my Kindle sits upright so I can read as I dine.

    Packing my “books” will be so easy the next time I move.

  36. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Judybusy (#31)

    Send that cat to remedial felineology school! Cats are supposed to knock reading material out of your hands, put themselves between your eyeballs and the page, and then sit on the aforementioned reading matter, all while looking nonchalant. It’s in the cat bible. They all know this.

    Cats are very smart creatures. It’s only a matter of time before s/he recognizes the Kindle for what it is, a humanoid diversion from the important business of tending to the feline’s needs. There will soon be a great clattering of plastic and glass as the Kindle hits the floor, courtesy of the cat’s sweeping paw, followed by the human yelling at the cat.

    (… goes back to watching the temperature plummet, all while tucked in snugly indoors …)

  37. Minnie says:

    A wee change of subject –

    Exasperated comics reader in today’s “Comics Curmudgeon”, comment 32:

    “Oh for the love of Alison Bechdel – Luann, just COME OUT…”

  38. Minnie says:

    (Oops – missed the comma after the “Oh”.)

  39. DeLand DeLakes says:

    Hey y’all. Sorry to pop in after a long absence with bad news, but, speaking of books…

    True Colors Bookstore, formerly Amazon Bookstore, the oldest feminist bookstore in the country (and the inspiration for Madwimmin Books), will be shuttered in February:

    That is, unless they can pull off a miracle (which is exactly what happened when the current owner swooped in to buy Amazon Bookstore right before it was slated to close, but now she’s in trouble, too.) So, if you live in the Twin Cities, stop in and buy something–anything will help the current owner out of her financial hole. As for everyone else…begin commiserating about the death of radical literary communities, I guess.

  40. hairball_of_hope says:

    @DelaDela (#39)

    What a bummer. I hope True Colors lives on, but history does not seem to be on their side. One of the odd side effects of minority/ethnic/niche acceptance into mainstream culture is the disappearance of minority/ethnic/niche-specific institutions, such as bookstores.

    An independent bookstore already has a tough fight for survival, first against big box retailers such as Bunns and Noodle who will have a section with most of the same titles, and now in the era of scanning barcodes in-store to find a lower price.

    What’s lost, of course, besides the knowledgeable staff who select and recommend the inventory, is the community (and sense of community) that the store fosters. All the LGBT and women’s bookstores of my formative years are long-gone (e.g. Djuna Books, Oscar Wilde Bookshop, etc.).

    I don’t think doing a Google search and ordering online could possibly have the same life-affirming effect that setting foot into those shops had on me; with their rows of books, and staff and customers who made me feel welcome, I had a sense of “This is where I belong”. Powerful and heady stuff for a teenager, experiencing acceptance and a caring community, as contrasted to a harsh, hypocritical (and hypercritical) daily existence of “who I am.”

    It’s not just niche bookstores and minority communities that are endangered. Two of my favorite outdoor stores, Tents and Trails in downtown Manhattan, and Campmor in Paramus, New Jersey, have been fighting the big box retailers for years. Both stores have staff that are committed serious outdoor folks and who can intelligently recommend equipment and activities.

    T&T is a tiny overstuffed shop, and family-owned (actually WOMAN-owned); the third generation (pre-teen daughter of the current owner) helped me with a purchase this summer. I recently made the schlep out to Campmor and found that an Eastern Mountain Sports opened RIGHT NEXT DOOR, hoping to poach on Campmor’s clientele. There’s a ton of available retail space on Rt.17, but that’s where they chose to open. I’m not sure if tacky or chutzpah adequately describe it. I did hike over the parking lot to see who/what was in EMS, there was only one customer. Hurray for Campmor.

    BTW, how’s your leg, and did the PD ever investigate the group that attacked you and your friends?

    (… goes back to a New York day with Minnesota-like temps, 13 deg F [-11 deg C] …)

  41. Anna in Albuquerque says:

    I still miss Full Circle Books and it’s been gone for years.

  42. DeLand DeLakes says:

    Hey Hairball,

    Yeah, I agree with you on the paradoxical effects of mainstreaming minority culture, but as you also noted, it sure does leave a hole. I have very fond memories of little seventeen-year-old me at Amazon in their Loring Park days, snuggled against a bookshelf with a copy of the SCUM Manifesto. (No joke!)
    You’re really sweet for remembering my leg! The PD never really did do shit, but on the bright side, I have a very good lawyer and we are slowly but surely making headway. The leg bothers me sometimes, like after dancing or wearing heels or just a long day of walking. A knee replacement may be on the horizon. I’m hoping that by the time I need one, they will have become such common consumer items that they will cost $20, like DVD players.

  43. Ginjoint says:

    DeLand! Great to see you again! I too was wondering about your leg, and I’m glad to hear that there may be at least some financial compensation on the horizon.

  44. Mentor says:

    [As an aside, I happened to notice the “sales listings” on Amazon for the paperback edition of “Fun Home”:
    – #295 in Books
    – #4 in Books > Comics & Graphic Novels > Graphic Novels
    – #13 in Books > Biographies & Memoirs > Specific Groups > Women
    – #16 in Books > Arts & Photography

    All told, not a bad set of figures for a book coming up on its fifth anniversary. –Mentor]

  45. Kate L says:

    Deland.. sorry to hear about your leg. πŸ™ Are you sure that wearing heels are a good idea for anyone, though? Give me a good pair of Doc Martens! Btw… Will Ferris posted on The Rachel Maddow Show blog that he was impressed by the fact that Captain James Kirk’s (future) hometown in Iowa has a monument to that effect on the edge of town. I must admit, though, that I don’t think Captain Kathryn Janeway’s future hometown of Bloomington, Indiana, has anything to match that. Captain Janeway and I both went (will go? what’s the future achronistic case, anyway?) to Indiana University in Bloomington. I am reminded of all this because I was just searching for an image of the Milky Way for class this Spring, when I came across this Federation-centric view of our galaxy.

  46. judybusy says:

    Deland, good to see you back! I hope your leg continues to improve and the legal issues come to a good end. As for heels, well nothing wrong with playing dress-up every once in a while….

  47. DeLand DeLakes says:

    Cheers Gin & Judy, nice to talk to you all, too!
    @ Kate L: GIVE ME FEMMERY OR GIVE ME DEATH!!! πŸ™‚ Doc Martens remind me too much of being 15. I traded them in for Fryes, or as my friend Andrew refers to them, my lesbian shit-kickers.
    OT: I went to Bloomington on a research trip, and I’ll tell you what they have to match that: the Kinsey Institute. That place is the shizit; I would have slept there if they’d let me. I also spent five out of six nights that I was there at Uncle Elizabeth’s, Bloomington’s last surviving gay bar, because I am a degenerate.

  48. Kate L says:


    Ok, Ok, I admit, I’d love to see you in heels! πŸ™‚

    Yeah, about Indiana University Bloomington… when I started my master’s work there (in the geology dept, not at the Kinsey Institute, although both are great), I thought that I.U. was pretentious. By the time I finished my master’s, I had to admit that they have a lot to be proud of. It wasn’t all Bobby Knight (the basketball coach at the time) or Lee Corso (yes, ESPN’s Lee Corso, who was the men’s football coach at the time).

  49. Kate L says:

    University research on the High Plains is making its claim to fame, as this press release from Kansas State University shows. The Plum Island, Long Island, biowarfare lab is being relocated to my alma matter, Kansas State University, and according to Google Maps it is being built 1.3 miles from the home I grew up in.

  50. Mentor says:

    [Mark your calendar:

    From Publisher’s weekly:
    — "Houghton To Release 100K First Printing of Alison Bechdel Memoir"

    And of special interest to this crowd:
    — "Glazer said the book will be released in May (along with an e-book edition) and will include a national book tour by Bechdel that will include New York, Washington D.C., Vermont, Miami, San Francisco, Seattle and Portland." –Mentor]

  51. hairball_of_hope says:

    Yay! That’s a very large first printing. And not much time for AB to finish up all that inking, digital ink wash, “second color spot art,” and submit to the editing ordeal. Pre-order from your local independent bookshops, folks!

    (… goes back to wondering how an e-book edition can be autographed …)

  52. Renee S. says:

    Charles Adams is given kudos on Google today.
    @Anna in Albuquerque : lived in ABQ in early 90’s. Loved Full Circle! First Women’s Bookstore I had ever visited. There was a free newspaper out then that syndicated DTWOF. It was during the episodes where Toni was about to give birth, that the newspaper dropped DTWOF. When I called the paper to ask why they dropped it, they indicated that some of their advertisers found it “undesirable.” I marched over to each and every advertiser to encourage them to pull their ads from the paper. Full Circle Books, who bought a weekly half page ad, removed theirs immediately. The next week, DTWOF reappeared. A shame Full Circle is gone.

  53. Anna in Albuquerque says:

    @ Renee S. – When Full Circle closed, I wrote to AB and asked her to memorialize it in the strip, which she kindly did. I can’t locate the episode quickly but there was a newspaper on a rack in Madwimmin Books with the headline,”Full Circle Books Closes”. That helped with the feeling that the rug had been pulled out from under me.

    One of the best things for me about Full Circle (besides talking to Annie about what to read) was standing in line with dozens of women to purchase tickets for Wimminfest the morning they first went on sale. What a fiesta!

    I bought all of my copies of the DTWOF books there. We’ve all moved on but I still miss my women’s bookstore. Sigh.

  54. Anna in Albuquerque says:

    I couldn’t stand it – Full Circle’s obituary is in strip #311, “The Sensuous Bookshop”. Mo’s holding up a newspaper – “Latest Casualties: Full Circle Books Albuquerque; Red & Black Books, Seattle”. Fittingly, the strip’s about the rise of and its effect on real bookstores.

    [Freed from spam-filter Limbo –Mentor]

  55. Therry and St. Jerome says:

    Hey Deland! So good to see your name in the hallowed halls of this blog. How are you doing? St. Jerome says hi and goes back to avoiding his antibiotics.

  56. shadocat says:

    Mentor; Any hope that AB will ever come out here to “fly over” county to sign her book? (She types with fingers crossed…)

  57. Anna in Albuquerque says:

    Thank you, Mentor.

  58. hairball_of_hope says:


    Oh my… did the fictional medusa website URL in #54 trigger the spam filter?

    re: Women’s bookstores… All our memorializing makes me ask the question, “Are there any still left out there?” True Colors/Amazon was the inspiration for Madwimmin, but I suspect the name was inspired by the now-closed bookstore in Cincinnati, Crazy Ladies.

    Now that Bounders has bitten the dust, and Bunns and Noodle is in financial hot water, there’s a chance that the only places left to buy physical books in person in most parts of the country will be Mall-Wart and Costco. Yeeech.

    Costco is already the largest seller of wine in the country. No wonder we’re awash in cheap wine with critters on the labels.

    N.B. Dottie Gaiter and John Brecher, the former wine columnists for the Wall Street Journal, used to write about avoiding “critter wines,” i.e. wines with animal pictures on the labels. They were nearly always bad, as in the rotgut Australian Shiraz produced by the tanker load.

    (… goes back to her hot chocolate laced with Grand Marnier …)

    [As to why the earlier message was trapped, I don’t know. Let’s just say the spam-filter’s rules are not always obvious… Anyway, messages marked as spam go into their own little bucket, and I regularly check them for messages that have been incorrectly marked. (In spite of more visible cases like this one, the spam-filters do a very good job. The overwhelming majority of messages that are trapped clearly deserve to be. –Mentor]

  59. Ginjoint says:

    Kristy McNichol came out. I’m shocked, I tell you, simply shocked.

  60. Kate L says:

    shadocat (#56), everytime an airliner flies over Smallville as it travels to New York or L.A., I wave!

  61. Andrew B says:

    Hoh, 58, Women and Children First. They do mail order (although I haven’t tried it) and interestingly you can order Google e-books through them. And when I looked just now, their front page had a review of The L Life, with a picture of some cartoonist in the lower right corner. (Google it if you need to; I want to use my one URL later.)

    “Critter Wines” reminds me of my rule never to read a book with the author’s picture on the front cover unless it’s a memoir or autobiography.

    On the general topic of bricks and mortar retailers versus the Internet, there’s an interesting chart in this blog post. The post is primarily a criticism of reaction to the recent jobs report, but look at the top chart and read the paragraph just before it. It gives a measure of the growing importance of Internet retail just over the last couple of years. It also is suggestive of one reason for the Post Office’s problems, since the PO probably can’t hire and fire temps as freely as UPS and FedEx.

  62. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Andrew B (#61)

    Peter Norton’s photo (the Norton Utilities guy) used to grace the covers of dozens of computer titles. The photos were almost always of him standing, unsmiling, with his arms folded, sometimes with a keyboard under his arms (now who does that?). He did put his gazillion dollars to good use after selling the company to Symantec, he is a major benefactor of Symphony Space (with the naming rights) on Amsterdam and W.95th St on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. If you listen to NPR’s Selected Shorts, it’s taped at SS.

    Interesting data in that blogpost, and even more interesting how BLS’s seasonal adjustments don’t adequately compensate for the structural shifts in the economy.

    I suspect the PO’s financial problems have more to do with politics than the hiring/firing of temp workers. They can’t close post offices without Congress’s approval, and every tiny place in the US that has its own zipcode has at least one post office. No Congressperson is going to let them close down the local post offices in her/his district. If you travel to small towns, you may find post offices the size of garden sheds. If they’ve got a zipcode, they’ve got a post office, and people to staff it, with relatively good wages and benefits for rural towns.

    The PO doesn’t receive tax revenue and is supposed to operate like a business and break even over time, but what business could stay afloat if it can’t adjust the number of stores or employees to market and economic conditions? The structural shifts in commerce (e-everything and paperless-everything) have decimated the cash cow of first class mail which subsidized all the money-losing little post offices, so now the PO is crying the bailout blues.

    Of course, unless we’re talking about downloading electronic media, all that e-commerce merchandise has to be delivered somehow, and FedEx and UPS split the lion’s share of that business. If the PO were smart, they’d figure out how to get more of that business for themselves.

    I recently shipped some gifts for the holidays, and priced all three shippers. The PO was the best deal, a medium flat rate box was $15, which was half of what UPS and FedEx charged. I stuffed the boxes to the max, no weight restriction on the flat rate boxes. I worried that the gifts wouldn’t arrive on time (they were supposed to take three days), but I was pleasantly surprised to find one of them arrived a day earlier than scheduled. So maybe there is some hope for the PO.

    (… goes back to looking at the seasonal adjustments to H.6 Federal Reserve M1/M2 money supply data and wondering how screwed up the data really are …)

  63. DeLand DeLakes says:

    Hello, Therry and St. Jerome! And Ginjoint–I’ve never heard of Kristy McNichol before today, but I followed your link, and based on that hair…yeeeahhhhhhhh, I can see how you saw that one coming.

  64. Kate L says:

    I just can’t get enough video clips of people launching cameras up to the edge of space with weather ballons. HERE is footage from space . com of someone who launched his iPad… it was still functional after landing back on terra firma.

  65. Ginjoint says:

    Never…heard of…Kristy McNichol….

    Dammit! Now I know how my mother felt when I didn’t recognize her 1950’s pop culture references.


  66. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Cathy (#11)

    Check out Garry Trudeau’s mention of your favorite independent DC bookstore in yesterday’s Doonesbury:

    (… goes back to her memories of chowing down at Afterwords at Kramerbooks …)

  67. Pam I says:

    Blog hijack – New Hampshire news – libertarians moving to NH to take over state – chilling. Needs exposure.

  68. Kate L says:

    Pam I… Hey, some of the best folk I know are liberal! πŸ™‚ And, you’ve got to admit, there is something stirring about those flinty New Englanders in New Hampshire braving the traditional 7 feet of snow to trudge to the polls in the first-in-the-nation (TM) presidential primary today. Sound the Horn of Urgency for Huntsman! πŸ™‚ New Englanders in the past have not been adverse to moving en masse to another part of the country to influence national events. Just before the Civil War in the United States, settlers from Massachusetts moved in large numbers to Kansas territory to make sure that Kansas would be a free state, not another slave state. They won out, despite the fact that for a few years there were competing free state and pro-slavery territorial capitals in the state. The city of Manhattan, Kansas, was founded by a party of these New England settlers, who originally named the place New Boston. They changed the name when they decided that New Boston was too pretentious a name for a little village on the High Prairie.

  69. Cathy says:

    Re #67, thanks HoH! I didn’t get a chance to see that strip yesterday.

    Speaking of Kramerbooks, you may be interested in this item I saw on Google News today, which features a photo of a Kramerbooks employee:

  70. Kate L says:

    Wait a minute. Pam I (#68) said libertarian, not liberal. Well, then, that’s completely different…

  71. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Kate L (#69)

    “They changed the name when they decided that New Boston was too pretentious a name for a little village on the High Prairie.”

    And Manhattan is somehow less pretentious for a little village on the High Prairie?

    The other Manhattan, the one I’m in at the moment, was originally named New Amsterdam. When the Brits kicked out the Dutch, it was renamed after the placename used by the Lenape (local Native American tribe).

    (… goes back to her padded cell in the cube farm …)

  72. Cathy says:

    While we’re talking of books and bookstores, this seems appropriate:

  73. Kate L says:

    HoH (#72) Ayah. When Robert F. Kennedy spoke at Moo U in March of 1968 shortly after declaring that he was a candidate for president, he started his speech by saying, “I’m here today because someone gave me a book on this area, and I read that it started out as Boston, then changed to Manhattan. I knew that I’d be right at home!”.

  74. Andrew B says:

    Pam I, 68, I’ve lived in NH for several years recently, and several more back in the 80s. I’d like to provide a little context for the Free Staters.

    First, note the numbers in the article. Even in our small state of ~1.3 million, 1000 people are a drop in the bucket. Second, we have had lousy politics for decades, which actually got somewhat better in the 90s and early 2000s. We have extremely regressive taxation, severe income inequality, and poor state services, e.g. for the handicapped and mentally ill. The tax system has attracted some very wealthy people and a lot of retirees, who tend to be right-wing but who have absolutely no interest in libertarian opposition to police power, much less secession. These voters, and others with similar views but not so old or so wealthy, are why Romney won the primary.

    Since 2010, we have had a state legislature dominated by Republican loons, but that was part of the nationwide turn to the right that year. We haven’t been in as bad shape as Wisconsin, for example, because our centrist Democratic governor, who was reelected in 2010, has vetoed the most destructive laws passed by the legislature.

    Finally, the USA is one nation and we have free population movement within it. Our neighbor, Vermont, had a large influx of liberals and leftists from out of state, mostly in the 70s. (I might mention a certain well-known lesbian cartoonist, although she arrived later.) So far as I know, nobody ever tried to organize that, but it certainly changed Vermont’s politics. We’re talking about Calvin Coolidge’s home state, now represented by Bernie Sanders. Plenty of “native” Vermonters were unhappy about the change — that was the origin of the “Take Back Vermont” movement that became prominent after Civil Unions passed.

    There is a lot more that could be said. Personally I don’t like secessionists (including left-wing Vermont secessionists) and it’s a little scary how fired up the Free Staters are about guns. But fond as they are of guns, they haven’t engaged in any significant political violence (none at all that I’m aware of). Leftists can also sympathize with them on some issues, such as police abuses, and they have had left/liberal counterparts elsewhere. So far, their (real, non-symbolic) influence on NH politics has been trivial to non-existent.

  75. Feminista says:

    @73 Cathy: Thanks for the books coming alive video,reminiscent of the toys awakening in The Nutcracker ballet.

    Portland still has a feminist bookstore,In Other Words (satirized in the indy TV program Portlandia as Women and Women First),in addition to the wonderful Powell’s. The closest branch is a five minute walk from my house.

  76. NLC says:

    A brief footnote on Andrew B#75:

    As Andrew points out this idea of lots of folks moving to a small state with the goal of influencing it politically has a long and storied history.

    However, speaking from over here “across the river”: As far an “organized” effort to effect such changes a notable example was the “counterculturist manifesto” “Taking Over Vermont” (published in, of all places, Playboy, April 1972 –a copy of which can be found HERE), the title of this article being the ultimate origin of the “Take Back Vermont” signs of more recent years.

  77. Therry and St. Jerome says:

    Andrew B, the present assembly of loons is currently talking about deploying an independent state militia, eliminating the state department of education, eliminating the supreme court and leaving the legislature to decide matters of constitutionality, and abolishing kindergarten. I tremble for my state. Ron Paul, who succeeded here because his promise to end the United States’ engagement with other nations (including war with many of them) resonated with young people.

  78. Pam I says:

    @Therry, that sounds like the full libertarian package to me – even if the organised lot don’t hold political power. It’s hard for us in the UK to understand it as we do generally support a social contract that includes things like taxation.

  79. Kate L says:

    I was hoping that what I had just been hearing on the national news political primary coverage was true, about how different New Hampshire was from what it had been. I remember back in the 20th century, when a New Hampshire governor wanted the New Hamshire National Guard to have tactical nuclear weapons. In case those people in Maine got out of hand, I guess.

  80. Kate L says:

    Of course, who am I as a Kansan to talk about New Hamsphire, when our own secretary of state is unhappy that the new Kansas requirement for newly-registering voters to show proof of citizenship does not go into effect soon enough?? That man, Kris Kobach, wants the proof-of-citizenship requirement the state legislature just enacted pushed up in time for the 2012 August primary and November general election. He says he wants to do this to prevent “the spike in registration”. Yeah, got to keep the vote out of the hands of the people. No telling what they might do. Another thing that Kobach did not get in the present voter ID law was the ability to arrest and prosecute voters himself. Even our conservative state legislature thought that was a bit much.

  81. Andrew B says:

    NLC, thanks for that. I thought something like the Playboy article existed, but I didn’t know the specifics.

    Therry, no question, the legislature is depressing as hell. At best they’re going to waste two important years passing laws that will all be vetoed or overturned. Probably many of their vicious fantasies will stick. I still say we’re not as badly off as we would be without Governor Lynch, and there’s no reason to think the Free Staters had any significant influence on the election.

    I should have said in my 75, when the Free Staters first became prominent in the summer of ’09, I thought they were worse than “chilling”. I didn’t mean to dismiss concerns about them. But it has been over two years, they have not been violent, and their influence on the electoral outcomes, if any, has been indiscernible.

  82. DeLand DeLakes says:

    Well, the Tea Party-controlled state legislature in New Hampshire just passed legislation ending mandatory education–in other words, giving parents the go-ahead to never send their children to school, ever, with no obligation to provide an alternate education plan–so I’d say the eradication of kindergarten is kind of a moot point by now.

  83. NLC says:


    Another notable action of the NH legislature was its passing of NH’s rather “open” concealed carry law. For example, the only areas specifically excluded by the law are courtrooms or area used by a court.

    As a personal note, I recently had occasion to undergo treatment at the Cheshire Medical Center “across the river” in Keene (this is a large regional hospital, effectively a branch of the Dartmouth/Hitchcock complex).

    I wish I could recall the exact wording but, in any case, the main door to the clinic where I went had a large-ish sign on the door explicitly announcing that the hospital was a gun-free zone.

  84. Acilius says:

    I think Ron Paul has 3 or 4 good ideas, and 300 or 400 bad ideas. Even his best ideas tend to be compromised by an admixture of looniness, while many of his bad ideas are stupendously, jaw-droppingly bad. Even so, I believe that only a fusion of antiwar, pro-civil liberties forces from the right and the left can save the USA from a future in which it is responsible for even more wars of aggression like those in Iraq and Libya and in which its citizens are even more exposed to surveillance, detention, and assassination at the whim of the national-security state than they have come to be in the Bush-Obama years. I don’t plan to vote for Ron Paul myself, since I think that the left-leaning Rocky Anderson embodies a better way forward, but I welcome the Ron Paul movement as a possible first step towards this fusion.

    Be that as it may, I have to disagree with Thierry’s (#78) statement that “Ron Paul, who succeeded [in New Hampshire] because his promise to end the United States’ engagement with other nations (including war with many of them) resonated with young people.” Ron Paul did not succeed in New Hampshire. He came a distant second, with 22.9% of the vote to Mitt Romney’s 39.3%, in one of the states where he had his very best chance of pulling out a win. After all, Pat Buchanan made the same appeal from the antiwar right in New Hampshire in 1992 and 1996, and took 37% of the vote the first time and actually won the primary the second time, albeit with only 27% in a divided field. If Paul couldn’t beat Romney in the New Hampshire primary, he can’t beat him in any primary.

  85. Kate L says:

    Last night, I attended the monthly Board meeting of the local LGBT rights organization that I serve as secretary. We had some new members in attendance, including an employee of the Dept. of Agriculture who recently moved to Smallville to work at the replacement for the Plum Island biowarfare laboratory. He was telling us that he is busy working on a poster about the fight for LGBT rights in America that will be part of the Gay Pride Day celebration at the lab next June. I wonder if the local conservative politicans who were so proud that President Bush decided to locate the lab here in Smallville will be attendance. πŸ™‚ Also, last night the Board of the LGBT rights organization decided that next June we will hold a dramatic re-enactment of the Stonewall uprising in the student bar district adjacent to the stately Moo U campus. This re-enactment may coincide with the annual country music jamboree. I sure hope the country music fans appreciate our re-enactment! Finally, just last night the Smallville Daily Bugle Dispatch printed a pro-LGBT rights letter that I sent them. I’m hoping my house doesn’t get burned down in retaliation by one of my fellow Smallvillians.

  86. DeLand DeLakes says:

    Canada…what the fuck. Just. What. The. Fuck.

  87. Kate L says:

    Never give up, never give up, never give up! πŸ™‚ I’m old enough to remember when racial integration encountered just as much opposition as LGBT rights does now, right here in River City… uh, I mean Smallville. River City is an hour’s drive from here, right next to my favorite-named Kansas town, White Woman Creek. Say… would anyone like to participate in our StoneWall uprising re-enactment next June?

  88. DeLand DeLakes says:

    Whoa, Kate, that sounds like hella fun. You should read _Performing Remains: Art and War in the Time of Theatrical Reenactment_ by Rebecca Schneider–it’s brainy and relevant to your plans and a really fun read, to boot!

  89. Kate L says:

    Thanks, Deland, I will! πŸ™‚

  90. Alex the Bold says:

    Random Alison spotting! I saw this ( at the new Romenesko site.

    It surely looks like Alison Bechdel’s style.

    Also, quick question for AB: Do you save all those photos you take of yourself? I think it would be really interesting to run a side-by-side feature showing each photo and then each finished panel that came from that photo.

  91. Andrew B says:

    A the B, nice catch. The original is here. Would be nice of Romenesko to give credit. Google reverse image search shows several other uses of the image by other sites. Romenesko may well sincerely believe the image is in the public domain. I’m thinking about sending Romenesko a polite note pointing out that it’s not. Obviously it’s up to Alison, not any of us, how aggressive she wants to be about defending her copyrights.

    [And in its original habitat, [HERE]. –Mentor]