From baseball tragedy to book shop treasure, we’re taking a look at the journey of Casey at the Bat. The poem, first printed in the San Francisco Examiner in 1888, was popularized in vaudeville, and, in 1901, published in the very valuable first edition here in the studio with us today. It has since been reprinted hundreds of times, and remains enduringly popular with collectors of both literature and baseball memorabilia. Ken talks about this and a variety of other home-run hits of baseball literature.
The past is a nightmare, we can’t erase it. It’s important to preserve historical documents, to make them available, and to let them teach us the terrible lessons of history. But, as a bookseller, what do you do when the contents of these documents are truly vile? Is it ethical to make a profit by selling a photograph of the victims of Nazi concentration camps? Or to keep a book on bomb making in circulation? And should you eschew the controversial novels of today when they tend to become the classics of tomorrow? Join us for an exploration of these thorny issues on this week’s #brattlecast.
On this week's Brattlecast we're talking photoplays: souvenir books that were created to promote classic films during the golden age of Hollywood. They made them for King Kong, The Sheik, and even Moby Dick. So, which is better, the book or the movie? Ken weighs in on a particularly contentious case.
Ken receives a popular new novel as a birthday gift. Much to his dismay he finds an evil twin lurking in its pages. The book contains a character who is nearly identical to him, but with some sinister variations. Ken is an honest, well respected bookseller and his shop is thriving; his fictional doppelgänger is the criminally unethical proprietor of a failing book shop on the very same Boston street. An edge-of-your-seat legal thriller ensues as Ken tries to solve the mystery of why best-selling author John Grisham, a total stranger, would want to hurt his feelings like this.
What does the future hold for brick and mortar book shops? Things are looking bright! As the internet has decimated big box book retailers, small independent book shops have reemerged as vital community spaces. These shops offer the author readings and events, fortuitous browsing discoveries, and simple human interactions that you just can't find online. So what's the greatest threat to modern booksellers? It isn't the Kindle: it's the rising rents.