NY’s Strand Bookstore Owner Passes Away January 2018, Daughter Continues Legacy

For Strand Bookstore fans via the NY Times and Shelf-Awareness…  a history of a bookstore, a book lover, and, news that the legacy continues thru three generations, thank goodness.

“Longtime owner of The Strand bookstore Fred Bass, 89, died on Wednesday(January 3) at home in Manhattan of congestive heart failure. He started working at the store, founded by his father, when he was 13, and just retired last November. During that time, he oversaw the store’s significant growth from its original home on Fourth Street with 70,000 volumes to “the largest used-book store in the world” on Broadway — where he bought the store’s building for $8.2 million in 1997 — with millions of volumes and a storage warehouse in Brooklyn.

“The NYT quotes a remark Bass made to New York Magazine in 1977: “It’s a disease. I get an attack, something like a panic, of book-buying. I simply must keep fresh used books flowing over my shelves. And every day the clerks weed out the unsalable stuff from the shelves and bins and we throw it out. Tons of dead books go out nightly. And bought ’em. But I just have to make room for fresh stock to keep the shelves lively.” His daughter Nancy Bass Wyden now owns the store.

The Strand Book Store in 1938. Photo by The Strand Book Store


Book Covers – Creative Spanish-language Art Covers at Guadalajara Book Fair December 2017

Are you attracted to beautiful, eye-catching, original book covers? I know I am.

Every year at the Guadalajara Book Fair I make a point of stopping by the Libros del Zorro Rojo (Red Zorro Books) stand, a publishing house with offices in Barcelona, Buenos Aires, and Mexico City.  I invariably spend much longer than I had planned to, lured by the brilliance before me.

Here below is some eye candy witnessed at their colorful location in December 2017…


2017-2018 unique book covers from Libros del Zorro Rojo

On the right, an Italian title translated into Spanish

On the right, an Italian title translated into Spanish – terrific colors, fonts, spacing, shading, visual effect

"dark" titles with unique art work, on the left a Spanish translation from a Franz Kafka German title

“Dark” titles with compelling art work; on the left a Kafka novel translated from the German

Emily Dickinson poetry in the mddle, Lewis Carroll's Alice in the Wonderland on the right

Emily Dickinson poetry in the middle; Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland on the right

The fine artwork for the Emily Dickinson book above is by international award-winning French-Canadian illustrator Isabelle Arsenault.  See http://www.isabellearsenault.com

Simplicity of design with La Vaca Independiente's Frida Kahlo art diary

Simplicity of design with La Vaca Independiente’s Frida Kahlo art diary

La Vaca Independiente is an educational foundation in Mexico City which promotes art as education.  See http://lavaca.edu.mx/Acerca.html

Book interior, reproduction of Frida Kahlo's art diary

Book interior, reproduction of Frida Kahlo’s art diary

Grupo Planeta, with offices in Mexico City, Spain, and satellite Latin American nations, offers a list of Mexican historical titles and recent book covers at the link below…


If you are interested in Spanish language book covers (English books translated into Spanish) from the 1930’s, see http://spanishbookcovers.blogspot.com/

Guadalajara International Book Fair 2017 – Notes from Book Shepherd Wendy

Over 700 authors participated in this year’s Guadalajara International Book Fair (FIL-Feria Internacional del Libro), considered the second largest book fair in the world following the world’s oldest literary gathering, the Frankfurt Book Fair.

Honored authors were Paul Auster of the U.S. (nominated for this year’s Booker Prize), and French born social justice journalist and author Elena Poniatowska of Mexico, now 88 years old but looking 50-60 years young.

French author and filmmaker Emmanuel Carrere received this year’s Premio FIL de Literature en Lenguas Romances (Literary Prize for Romance Languages), Latin America’s most important literary prize worth $150,000 USD.

Chilean author and actress Nona Fernandez won the Premio de Literatura Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz for her novel set during the Pinochet dictatorship which, according to the jury, expressed “emotions of an entire nation with respect to a dark and shameful past.”

I attended the FIL to view non-fiction Body/Mind/Spirit and wellness books, the area I devote myself to as a book shepherd. Again this year I represented Spanish language book rights for authors and met with various publishing houses.

Here below is a quick view of some stands and titles I saw for my work…

Yoga books from Prana (Lectorum), Mexico City

Yoga books from Prana (Lectorum) Mexico City

Nirvana Libros mindfulness titles

Nirvana Libros mindfulness titles

Ediciones Urano wellness titles

Ediciones Urano wellness titles

Dr. Paul Kalanthi’s poetic and memorable When Breath Becomes Air got a bashing when its Spanish title became The Good Doctor with a cover that doesn’t seem to match its sensitive and meaningful content.  Both title and cover are examples of cultural differences showing how much I have yet to learn. ?#@!!! See the Spanish version below which was well featured during the FIL.

The Spanish version of When Breath Becomes Air

The Spanish-language version of the NY Times best seller When Breath Becomes Air

I was pleased to see Zen Hospice founder Frank Osteseski’s The Five Invitations, a healing Buddhist approach to death and dying published by Oceano.

Oceano featured Ostaseski's The Five Invitationss

Oceano featured Ostaseski’s The Five Invitations

Wendy Jane Carrel at Oceano stand meeting with Editorial Coordinator Guadalupe Ordaz

Wendy Jane Carrel at Oceano stand meeting with Editorial Coordinator Guadalupe Ordaz

The fair took place Saturday, November 25 thru December 3.  The nine days will included more than 750,000 visitors (several days are open to the public at minimal cost), 1,900 publishing houses from 41 countries, and 700+ hours of cultural programming.  This year’s honored guest was the City of Madrid with exhibits and activities sharing its art, cinema, literature, music.

See http://www.fil.com,mx  or https://www.fil.com.mx/ingles/i_info/i_info_fil.asp   The FIL is held at the Guadalajara Expo.


Amazon Opens Brick & Mortar Bookstore in Los Angeles; Bodhi Tree LA On-Line Instead

Amazon.com opened its first brick & mortar store at Century City’s Westfield Mall in Los Angeles on October 3, 2017. The over 5,000 square foot wood-floored space is at 10250 Santa Monica Blvd. Tel. (310)734-5949  Hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

I managed to visit the store October 7 to scout for psychology and social science books as comps for a book I am shepherding that will be published in late spring 2018.

Amazon bookstore Century City, Los Angeles

Amazon bookstore Century City, Los Angeles

It was quiet for a Saturday. Young guides asked if it was my first visit and then prompted me to use an Amazon.com app to identify book prices as no costs are marked.

New books were promoted  beside long-time best sellers in spaces organized by genre – fiction, psychology, etc.

Once you’ve chosen your merchandise – books, cards, coloring books, knickknacks, you proceed to the cashier.

Check-out line Amazon Books, Century City

Check-out line Amazon Books, Century City

I have only been to the Century City store once. I find I’m still ordering from Amazon on-line even if I have to pay for postage.

Note: Amazon recently hired Steve Kessel as VP in charge of all brick and mortar operations including Amazon Books, Whole Foods, etc. with the goal of re-inventing how customers shop in stores.  Let’s see how this will evolve in a space currently without much eye candy.  Or do we absolutely have to have eye candy and more choices?!!

I still miss my all-time favorite LA bookstore, the Bodhi Tree, formerly housed on Melrose Avenue. It closed five years ago.

The Bodhi Tree first opened in 1970 and quickly became a haven for spiritual seekers. Over the years it hosted well-known writers and thought leaders from the Body/Mind/Spirit world.

The new venture, incubating since the store closure, is completely on-line with new and antiquarian books.  The experience is not quite the same without incense burning and hot cinnamon tea to sip. But let’s see how this will evolve. Every new invention requires time.

The on-line store also offers sacred Buddhist and Hindu treasures for the home, wellness beauty products, and healing items. You can find the metaphysical mercantile at http://www.BodhiTree.com  or by writing  hello@bodhitree.com.


San Francisco Rare Book Dealer Talks About How He is Going Out of Business – Asian, European, and American Art Collections

Here below you will find a link to an article from the Rare Book Hub with commentary by its editor Bruce McKinney about Marc Sena Carrel, an antiquarian book dealer based in the San Francisco Bay Area who is divesting of his business – Chinese and Japanese arts and antiquities books, Asian art prints, European and American art books, and other collectibles on art, archaeology, and design.

The November 1, 2017 article includes Marc Sena Carrel’s story about how he plans to exit the bookseller business.


Artistotle Volumes I-IV

Aristotle Volumes I-IV

The carefully curated collection of scholarly books is currently on view at http://www.bookcarrel.com.


Alt-Kutscha by Albert Grunwedel, 1920


Marc Sena Carrel, rare book dealer

Marc Sena Carrel, rare book dealer

*The last name of Mr. Carrel is the same as mine. That is no mere coincidence. He is my brother and I am proud to mention his life long passion for collecting fine books and his decision to sell what he so efficiently and diligently has found for appreciative readers.



The Atlas of Beauty – New Photography Book Featuring Authentic World Beauty

Mihaela Noroc, a young Romanian photographer, traveled to 50 countries and found 500 unique women of all ages to pose as her subjects. She has compiled the photos into a book, The Atlas of Beauty.

The women are of all ages.

Mihaela shares a brief story about each one.

Engaging, dazzling photography, appealing subject matter. Remarkable faces.

Natural beauty speaks for itself and seems far more interesting than “created” glamour beauty. Well, that’s my take on it. The women also seem healthy. In the interests of all around wellness and wholesomeness, I support Mihaela’s inspirational project.

The web site for the book is http://www.theatlasofbeauty.com

Forbes magazine has published a fine piece about Mihaela’s talent with photo examples – a Syrian mother with two daughters in a refugee camp, a North Korean female museum guard, a lone woman on a train in Rajasthan, India.  https://www.forbes.com/sites/guymartin/2017/09/30/photographer-mihaela-noroc-explores-the-worlds-great-faces-in-the-atlas-of-beauty/#456eeb3d4eac

The link to the book on Amazon.com is https://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&keywords=mihaela+noroc&tag=mh0b-20&index=aps&hvadid=77790480037028&hvqmt=e&hvbmt=be&hvdev=c&ref=pd_sl_8qaahut94q_e

Here is a You Tube book trailer for you to view:

PBS Launches Great American Read in Spring 2018


Here is something I, and probably you, am looking forward to…

Found the announcement today on my http://www.ShelfAwareness.com newsletter.

The Great American Read launches in spring 2018 with a multi-platform digital and social campaign leading up to the reveal of the 100 books selected by the American public and an advisory panel of literary professionals. Beginning with a two-hour kick-off event in May, the documentary special will feature appearances by celebrities and everyday Americans passionately advocating for and explaining their personal connections to their favorite books.”

Hurrah for books and any program which may promote reading. Excellent!!


Posted by noodlesabout four years ago