Thursday, October 17, 2013

Read the Book, See the Movie, in that order please

Hello my Firehouse friends! I've missed you! A lot has been going on the last few weeks, both at the store and in my own life. But things are at last starting to calm down know, until the Christmas season comes into full swing and we all lose our marbles. 

If you missed it, Kelsey posted a wonderful blog addressing the controversy surrounding the newly release Book of Matt by Stephen Jimenez. I recommend you give it a read.

Since I am still easing my way back into a fully function brain space, I'm going to keep this blog short and easy while keeping you up to date with bookish things.

Hollywood has been all about book-to-movie adaptations lately. Which is sometimes great and other times not so great. Kelsey and I both agree it would be nice to see some movies coming out that were fresh and original instead of adaptations and sequels. However, there are still some titles many of us here at the bookstore are excited for.

In order by release date, here are five book-to-move adaptations you can expect to see in theaters before the end of 2013.

Carrie by Stephen King, October 18

Carrie White may have been unfashionable and unpopular, but she had a gift. Carrie could make things move by concentrating on them. A candle would fall. A door would lock. This was her power and her sin. Then, an act of kindness, as spontaneous as the vicious taunts of her classmates, offered Carrie a chance to be a normal and go to her senior prom. But another act--of ferocious cruelty--turned her gift into a weapon of horror and destruction that her classmates would never forget.

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card, November 1

In order to develop a secure defense against a hostile alien race's next attack, government agencies breed child geniuses and train them as soldiers. A brilliant young boy, Andrew "Ender" Wiggin lives with his kind but distant parents, his sadistic brother Peter, and the person he loves more than anyone else, his sister Valentine. Peter and Valentine were candidates for the soldier-training program but didn't make the cut—young Ender is the Wiggin drafted to the orbiting Battle School for rigorous military training.

Ender's skills make him a leader in school and respected in the Battle Room, where children play at mock battles in zero gravity. Yet growing up in an artificial community of young soldiers Ender suffers greatly from isolation, rivalry from his peers, pressure from the adult teachers, and an unsettling fear of the alien invaders. His psychological battles include loneliness, fear that he is becoming like the cruel brother he remembers, and fanning the flames of devotion to his beloved sister.

Is Ender the general Earth needs? But Ender is not the only result of the genetic experiments. The war with the Buggers has been raging for a hundred years, and the quest for the perfect general has been underway for almost as long. Ender's two older siblings are every bit as unusual as he is, but in very different ways. Between the three of them lie the abilities to remake a world. If, that is, the world survives.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, November 8

It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still.

Liesel Meminger is a foster girl living outside of Munich, who scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins, November 22

Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has won the Hunger Games with fellow district tribute Peeta Mellark. They should be happy. But it was a victory won by defiance of the Capitol and their harsh rules. Now rumors of rebellion are spreading, and the Capitol wants revenge.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug by J.R.R Tolkien, December 13

Bilbo Baggins is a hobbit who enjoys a comfortable, unambitious life, rarely traveling any farther than his pantry or cellar. But his contentment is disturbed when the wizard Gandalf and a company of dwarves arrive on his doorstep one day to whisk him away on an adventure. They have launched a plot to raid the treasure hoard guarded by Smaug the Magnificent, a large and very dangerous dragon. Bilbo reluctantly joins their quest, unaware that on his journey to the Lonely Mountain he will encounter both a magic ring and a frightening creature known as Gollum.

As you probably gathered from the title of this blog, I usually stand by reading the book before seeing the know, unless you accidentally see the movie because you didn't know it was a book first...

All of these books (except Carrie) are on our shelves right now. If you click on the title, it will take you to our website where you can order the book right from your home! And since I've told you all of these movies were adapted from books, you have no excuse not to read them before you watch them.

I have plans to see three of these five movies (and yes, I've read all the books). What about you? Are you excited for any of these movies or do you prefer to stick with the book?

Until next week my fellow book/movie lovers.

Happy reading!


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Why We Will Still Host Stephen Jimenez

As you may or may not know, Old Firehouse Books has recently come under fire for our decision to host an event for Stephen Jimenez, author of The Book of Matt: Hidden Truths Behind the Murder of Matthew Shepard. Jimenez's book claims to have uncovered new data about this horrendous crime that the media had previously ignored; these claims often contradict most of the widely held beliefs on the murder. The initial controversy was sparked by a blog from Media Matters that claims to debunk the book entirely. The controversy has increased as a result of a petition posted on by the activist Jamie McGonnigal asking bookstores across America to cancel their events with Jimenez.

As the event coordinator for Old Firehouse Books, I would like to briefly express my personal sentiments on this issue. Freedom of speech is a complex right; one easy to defend when the speech is palatable and familiar. Freedom of speech is most important when it is most difficult for us to uphold. How can we ever expect to strengthen our idelogies unless we ocassionally allow them to be challenged? Stephen Jimenez deserves the chance to his explain his position, and our community deserves the chance to question him. I could go on, but Christopher Finnan, president of the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, has explained the situation much more eloquently than I could hope to recreate. I've shared his open letter to McGonnigal below.

If you would be interested in attending the event, whether or not you agree with Jimenez's assertions, we will be hosting him at the Council Tree Library on November 5th at 7pm. Jimenez will be speaking and reading from The Book of Matt, followed by a question and answer period.

-Kelsey Myers, Old Firehouse Books Event Coordinator

                                                                                                                                         October 9, 2013
Jamie McGonnigal

Dear Mr. McGonnigal,
I am writing on behalf of the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE). It has been brought to our attention that you have started a petition on urging bookstore owners to cancel appearances by author Stephen Jimenez for his book, The Book of Matt: Hidden Truths About the Murder of Matthew Shepard. ABFFE believes that your petition demonstrates a poor understanding of bookselling and has the potential to stifle discussion of a significant historical event.
Bookstores that provide a public forum for controversial authors often become the target of protests. While most critics would not go so far as to advocate banning the offending works, some draw the line at allowing the authors to read from their books and answer questions. Like them, you allege in your petition that booksellers who host these events "are in it only for the book sales.”
But bookstores are not like other stores. Because books contain ideas, bookstores play an integral part in the process by which ideas are disseminated and debated. Debate is essential in a free society, and we take seriously our responsibility to offer access to ideas, including those that we might personally oppose. We do this in a variety of ways–by suggesting titles to customers who are looking for books about particular subjects, recommending books to reading groups and announcing new releases in our newsletters. Hosting authors for readings and autographing is an important part of the process. It gives customers a chance to ask questions and even to disagree. We are not primarily doing a favor for the author, who may, after all, fall flat on his face. We are providing our customers with an opportunity to make up their own minds.
The most mistaken notion about author appearances is that providing a forum for controversial authors always "sells books.” Controversial ideas inevitably alienate some people, and when those people include some of our customers, we can lose business. While we do not wish to offend anyone, we cannot allow a minority to censor either the books we sell or the authors we host.
We believe that you have a right to your opinion. But the appropriate response to Mr. Jimenez’s book is to refute his argument, not to deny him the opportunity to speak in bookstores.

                                                                                                                      Sincerely yours,
                                                                                                                      Christopher Finan
                                                                                                                      ABFFE President