Monday, December 29, 2008

Thanks, NYT

Man, this is depressing.

Didn't see this one coming?

Once again the literary world and readers are aghast, aghast!, at misrepresentations in a memoir. Herman Rosenblat is the latest tall-tale teller to be brought down by flat out lies. Seriously people, Rosenblat's tale was way too good to believe and by "good", I mean the sugary, folksy, feel-good-about-yourself malarkey that seems to go down so easy. What is especially offensive about this particular fish-tale is the Holocaust angle. Rosenblat claims his deceit was his desire " . . to bring happiness to people." And what literary agent/movie studio/talk show extraordinaire/screenwriter wouldn't be happy to get ahold of the feel-good Holocaust Book/Movie Of The Year? Can't you just smell the Oscar? Rosenblat greatest sin isn't to the literary public, which frankly, seems lately to encourage this kind of fable. Rosenblat's disservice is to his own remarkable life of a loving, 50 year-strong marriage and survival under the worst of circumstances.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Benjamin Button

For what it is worth, I'm a little sorry I didn't take a moment to read F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Curious Case of Benjamin Button because I was totally blow away by the movie. From what I understand, the book is actually set in Baltimore, but after seeing the movie, I couldn't conceive of Benjamin flourishing anywhere but in New Orleans. Not only the quirky characters but the acceptance of the little man/boy seem a genuine New Orleans trait. Movie filming wise, I loved playing spot-the-location. And as grand as it was to see my own little Oak/ Carrollton corner featured, the continuity didn't make much sense as Benjamin lived in the Garden District and was trying to find his way home by streetcar from the Quarter. Also, I was more upset by the Katrina references than I'd expected. Bookending the story with Katrina took much of the magic away from the beauty and unexpectedness of Benjamin's life.

Well, if anyone was thinking of trading in their copy, it will land on my personal stack of must-reads.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Abeona House Reading Time

Thanks to Abeona House for stopping in for some reading time. It was fun to see all their little faces (especially my two own). Ms. K did an awesome reading of The Little Engine That Could. The little ones were especially happy with their surprise of a book for their Holiday gift from Abeona House and BCB. Hope to see them all again soon!

Holiday Hours

Headed back to the 'ole hometown so Blue Cypress Books will be closed this week on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and returning on Saturday, December 27, 2008 . Happy Holidays to all!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Here, here

Best quote? "Books don't actually compete with the Internet or movies, and never did."

My only disagreement is on the "crap." Not that The Da Vinci Code wasn't crap, it was, and don't even try to argue otherwise. But I don't think one or even a few crap book leave a literary life in ruins. Now, a whole diet of the stuff, like fast food, will make you fat and stupid.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Holiday on Oak Street

Join Blue Cypress Books on Saturday, December 6th for Oak Street's Holiday Open House. A variety of artists will be on hand not only selling their wares but some will also be demonstrating how they make their art. Fun for the whole family!

New Hours!

Because 6 days wasn't enough, BCB is now open 7 days a week!

Monday - Saturday 10-5:30
Sunday 11-4

Same days as before for buying books: Buying only on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday & Saturday.

Thanks and see you on Monday!!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Today is the Day

Today is the day! Oak Street Festival begins at 12 and going on to 6. Gotta bless New Orleans for having a festival dedicated to a sandwich. Blue Cypress Books will definitely be open for business starting at 11 and will be busy selling high quality secondhand books in addition to cleaning up shreaded lettuce.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Stay Local ya'll

From the Stay Local website:

Join Stay Local! on Saturday, November 22 and help inject $1.8 million* into New Orleans through shopping & dining only locally-owned! Thousands of other conscientious shoppers across the country will be unchaining themselves right along with you.

Your choice of where to spend your money has an impact on New Orleans' public services, its schools, its character, and its eco-friendliness.

Studies demonstrate that dollars spent at locally-owned independent businesses generate three times more economic activity in our community than dollars spent at chains. Gambit Weekly has jumped on the Local First train and is urging readers to stay local with their holiday spending, too, with a special promotion for those who pledge to shop local.

BUSINESS OWNERS: Use November 22 to show how local businesses give back to their community in diverse, creative ways. Donate a percentage of the day's sales to your favorite charity, or give a discount to shoppers as a way to thank them for staying local this holiday season. Check out the exciting community events La Divina Gelateria and Mat & Naddie's have already planned for November 22.

N.O. Surf Shop is taking it one step further: between now and the end of the year, mention the "Stay Local! discount" before you make your purchase and get 5% off all regularly priced items.Let us know what you plan to do on November 22, and we'll spread the word. Email Katie Jacobowski at or call 504-232-7821.

Blue Cypress Books is thinking it through and will post tomorrow on our special!

*Conservative estimate based on November 2007 sales tax figures for Orleans Parish.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Upcoming Book Event

Shreveport author Michael Aro will read from his satirical novel "The Rapture" at Blue Cypress Books, 8126 Oak Street in New Orleans, on Sunday, November 16, at 4:00 p.m. This event is free and open to the public, and the author will be available to sign books and answer questions. For more information, contact 352-0096 or

Check the Calender of Events for more upcoming author signings/readings.

First Monthly Gift Certificate Drawing

This month's first Blue Cypress Books gift certificate drawing winner is *drumroll*

Laurie M*

Come on down and get it!

Also, the first monthly email list is going out today. If you don't want to be on this very awesome email, don't hesitate to contact BCB and let me know!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Goodbye Mr. Terkel

My favorite Studs Terkel quote:

"I want, of course, peace, grace, and beauty. How do you do that? You work for it."

May his memory be for a blessing.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Crew of Abeona rolled down Oak Street

A little shoutout to the little ones at Oak Street in all their Halloween cuteness.

Changing it up

Switching the hours around a bit. Used to be Tues-Sat. 9 - 5:30.

Now business hours are Tues. - Sat. 10 - 5:30 and Sunday 11-4.

Though somehow I wound up here working by 9 again this morning. Ahh, a booksellers work is never done.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Trouble in Fiction

Book organization and categories go with the bookselling territory. I decided long ago that when it came to fiction, I would place all fiction in one section, alphabetical order by author, and leave it at that.

Well, the Mister, who really really likes Sci Fi/Fantasy/Speculative Fiction was aghast. So, there goes a different section for Sci Fi, et al.

Now, not a day goes by without a lovely customer asking for my "mystery section." When I explain my, may I say, well-conceived system, I watch his/her face fall in disappointment and then I feel bad.

The thing is, I don't really need the added trouble. Fiction was supposed to be the easiest shelving system. Don't even get me started on the Religion/Spirituality/Self-Help/Motivational/Occult/Atheism, ugg. But I am supposed to do what the customer wants, right?

So, starting next week, I'll start a "Mystery" section. But do I include Crime/Thrillers? What about True Crime? Crud.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Shelves of Ignorance

First, congratulations Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clezio.

That said, anyone have any of his work? I had to stumble to the computer at the crack of dawn to get on online and order Clezio's work. And I have a whole shelf of French language literature, for crying out loud. Every year the same thing, another winner I don't have. But it wasn't like I didn't see this coming:

Permanent secretary Horace Engdahl said it's no coincidence that most winners are European.
"Of course there is powerful literature in all big cultures, but you can't get away from the fact that Europe still is the center of the literary world ... not the United States," he told The Associated Press in an exclusive interview Tuesday. Speaking generally about American literature, however, he said U.S. writers are "too sensitive to trends in their own mass culture," dragging down the quality of their work. "The U.S. is too isolated, too insular. They don't translate enough and don't really participate in the big dialogue of literature," Engdahl said. "That ignorance is restraining."

Okay, well then, thanks again Nobel for highlighting an author whose works I don't have.

Open Letter

Dear Tom,

Thanks for stopping in on Wednesday. It is always awesome to see you.

Sorry I went all fangirl on you but thanks for signing all the books. I'm glad you thought I was kidding about the picture. Next time, for sure.



Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Celebrating Banned Books in NOLA

Please join us at we celebrate BANNED BOOKS WEEK 2008!

When: Tuesday, September 30th, 7:00 to 10:00 p.m.
Where: House of Blues, 225 Decatur Street - Voodoo Garden
Why: To celebrate the FREEDOM TO READ!

Featured speakers include author Ethan Clarke (Leaning With Intent to Fall), Ted OʼBrien (New Orleans Noir), and Stephen Rae (Spring 2009 release of Finn McCoolʼs Football Club), Winter Randall, Executive Director of the New Orleans Gulf South Booksellerʼs Association, and Marjorie Esman, Executive Director of the ACLU of Louisiana.

Members of the community are invited to participate. There will be a sign-up sheet for audience members to sign up and read from their favorite Banned Book. We ask that you read for no more than five minutes, and please remember to speak about why this book is important to you. (Of course, please bring the book you want to read from!!!!) We think this will be a great component to the event, and allow for much more community participation. So come and be prepared to read.

Personally, my favorite "Banned Book" is Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. The irony is almost too much.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

One Book One New Orleans

Blue Cypress Books is very excited to be working with One Book One New Orleans.

One Book, One New Orleans is a community wide reading program of the Young Leadership Council and the Literacy Alliance of Greater New Orleans. One Book has a two part mission: we are a campaign for literacy and community. During a reading period every year, One Book encourages residents of the Greater New Orleans Area aged 16 years and older to engage in the common endeavor of reading the same book at the same time. Our aim is that through this shared experience, residents from the different communities of Greater New Orleans come together and embrace their similarities by reading, discussing, and attending events relating to the same book. This year's book is Tom Piazza's "City of Refuge."

Our event will be inspired by the book's characters: "Annie's Home," which takes its name from a young girl's love for the city. This event is a children's art project in which children will create houses and neighborhoods from pint-sized milk cartons. The event is Oct. 18 at Blue Cypress Books at 2 p.m. See you there~

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Back to Basics

Well, this weekend was a huge step forward what with carpet, significant movement of books, and the entire dismantling of the shelving in the former store and moving it to the new store. Mr. James, my shelf maker, has completed his own repairs and said he'll report for duty to install the shelves tomorrow.

Yesterday, as I didn't have a store to open, I set up tables outside and of course, the response was great. My regulars showed up and I spent most of the time with the standard hurricane questions - "Where did you go?" and "When did you get power?" and "How asinine is our Mayor?"

Will continue all the hard work and two weeks from now . . . fingers crossed . . . will open the doors to the new and improved Blue Cypress Books.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Power on Oak Street.

Came back to a safe & sound business on Wednesday morning and a busy Oak Street. Rue and Zots are both serving coffee and pastries to those of us who can't live happily without the caffeine buzz. Gelato Pazzo is also open as is the new Indian place, Curry Corner. I also heard Castillo's is open as well as a few others.

I myself would also be open if I had books. Unfortunately, I was in the process of moving in to the new store when 'ol Gustav struck and I'm still without carpet & shelving as my contractor is somewhere in Texas!

Still, it wouldn't be any fun if I couldn't sell some books, so tomorrow, I'm throwing up a few tables to provide to those who still have nothing much to do in the evenings but sit around candles and read a good book. See you tomorrow!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Still open for business.

Well, BCB is open for business until they make me leave. Especially since what people need when evacuating is something to read while they ride out the rain in a hotel. CNN/MSNBC repeat marathons will wear one out eventually.
Also, a meeting of the New Orleans Gulf South Booksellers Association had to be postponed. Sorry we couldn't make that one as I was looking forward to meeting with my fellow booklovers.
However, Gustav did postpone plans for the new carpet and bookcase installation. But it also gives me an excuse not to work at the store on Labor Day weekend and spend more time with the family. Yeah!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Get out your credit cards!

BCB is moving up into the 20th Century with the acceptance of credit/debit cards. Yeah, I know . . . a cash society is old-fashioned but it was working for awhile. But after the 50th "Do you take credit cards?" and watching people people often sadly put a book down, I realized I needed to move into the industrial age.

So, after a lot of surcharges v. monthly fees v. electrical contraptions v. phone lines, I've made the decision to take credit cards via Paypal. No need for a machine and I've been happily accepting credit cards payments from them for over 4 years of eBay selling.

So come on down and spend away!

Whew! Any day now . . .

So much work is going in to making the new Blue Cypress Books happen.

I'm completely tired of painting (why did I want to do this myself?!). But tonight will be the finishing touches and then moving on to some carpet. Carpet of course will lead to bookshelves. Bookshelves will lead to new lighting fixtures. New lighting fixtures will lead to books on the shelves. And books on the shelves will lead to open doors.

All is set for an early September opening. For my local friends, come on by for some serious deals as the books I don't have to move next door will look great on your shelves!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Not so much moving up, as moving down and over!

It's official! Blue Cypress Books will be relocating to a new location at 8126 Oak Street (former Lil' Dave's Alterations for you locals).

Blue Cypress Books will continue business at 8128 Oak Street until the doors close around mid-September and re-open just next door. Look for local art, local and regional music, and gifts to be added to an expanded selection of high quality used books.

Thanks to those who have supported Blue Cypress Books so far!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Do you have any Bukowski?

As usual, I'm all out of the Bukowski's work but one thing led to another led to this article in McSweeney's . . .

If Charles Bukowski Had Written Children's Books

The Whore Who Snored

Why Is Grandpa Heaving?

The Years Will Fly Like Hummingbirds and One Gray Day You’ll Die

Love Turns to Crap Like a Sandwich

The Alley Cat and the Wounded Dog Share Scraps of Bird and Dung

Uncle Hank’s Sack of Empties

Wishbones Come from Chicken, Harlots Come from Hell

The Park Bench Where You Eat Your Lunch Will Be Your Bed Someday

Give Up Now

Thursday, July 24, 2008

On the move . . . maybe

Blue Cypress Books loves its' space in The Mockingbird, but maybe it is time to move on up (or actually down and across). Locals may be familiar with 'Lil Dave's Alterations, an institution here on Oak Street. Well, 'Lil Dave's has moved across the street into the former Eclectic Design, which in turn moved down further on Oak Street into the former Jefferson Feed & Seed. Whew! It's like a game of checkers 'round here. So to continue the incestuous pattern, Blue Cypress Books will be reviewing a lease for the space right next door where 'Lil Dave's survived and thrived for 15 years.

Keeping good thoughts while slogging through legal terminology.

Wish me good luck (and signed First Editions!).

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Long breaks in posting

The irony of loving books (and reading) is how reading, and all things literary, cut into my blogging time. This week's long break was due to my monthly dose of The Believer. Have I ever mentioned how much I love this magazine (and all things McSweeney's)? Well, let me again profess my love. I love the book reviews of books I've never heard of, and more likely than not will never make it into my store. Sedaratives never fail to amuse and I couldn't put down the Zadie Smith article. Thanks McSweeney's for once again giving me an excuse to stay away from the computer.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

International Book Club - Star of the Sea

Tomorrow's meeting of the New Orleans International Book Club, finds me actually having had completed this month's selection. Hurrah! My brief thoughts on "Star of the Sea":
There are few events in history more compelling than the Irish Potato Famine, or The Great Hunger, or The Starvation, depending on where your politics fall. The author makes it clear with his persuasive language, that his heart and sympathies lay with the starving Irish. That said, the story itself is choppy with significant changes in the narration. The ending was unsatisfying, but may have been purposefully left so as real life rarely wraps up neatly. This book was clearly well researched and it is a truly moving story. Historical fiction at its best.

Good travels my friends.

Yesterday, some very dear friends departed New Orleans, headed for new adventures in Portland, Oregon. They will be terribly missed.

However, when I go to visit, don't doubt that I'll stop by this quaint bookstore.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Censorship or parental guidance?

The Golden Compass author Philip Pullman is leading a campaign to block publishers' plans to introduce age guidance limits on books - insisting the proposals would be "damaging" to young readers. Pullman is at the forefront of a group of authors and illustrators who are all unhappy about the plans. The new guidelines would see children's books stamped with age limits, in a similar way to the guidance ratings given to movies. Pullman has started an online petition to try and stop the new rules being introduced by publishers, insisting the proposals are "ill-conceived and damaging to the interests of young readers".

I've had one customer take issue with Pullman's books for religious reasons and for "protecting the children." Please. The classics are full of frightful child endangerment, dead or absentee parents (oh, the authors loved a dead mother and an absent or clueless father). If you don't agree with a book, don't buy it. Leave the rest of us alone.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Can't . . . Fight . . . Oprah . . .

So after four inquiries this week regarding whether or not I carried a particular "Oprah's Book Club Book", I am forced to give the Overlord her due.

I searched Ms. Winfrey's website twice seeking immediate customer information a but snuck back later on my own. I'm not agreeing completely with some who contend Oprah's choices are too mainstream (i.e. made for the shopping ladies) but where is the rhyme or reason to her book choices? I looked over the last few months and saw diet books, sleep books, sex books (in a nice heterosexual marriage kinda way), memoirs from journalists to sports stars to Mormon's trapped in arranged marriages, some fiction, and ironically from a Empire that publishes a monthly magazine on stuff to buy, a book about the dangers of consumerism.

A quick glance of Blue Cypress Books startled me in that I had many "Oprah" books on the shelves and several of them were quite good. Does Oprah need her own shelf in my little store? Must . . . resist . . .

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Oak Street BBQ Festival

Busy day on Oak Street. BBQ Festival brought highest concentration of people yet to Blue Cypress Books.

Check out the other upcoming events at

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Literary Births & Deaths

Today's literary births and deaths of note -

Anthony Trollope was born in 1815 in London.
Robert Penn Warren was born in 1905 in Guthrie, Kentucky.
Willa Cather died in 1947 in New York City.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Happy Earth Day!

Happy Earth Day!

Environmentalism is a key factor at Blue Cypress Books. The whole store was painted using low VOC paint. Also all of our light bulbs are compact florescent lights. Clean up is done with earth-friendly products such as Method.

And finally, what could be more environmentally friendly than gently reused books?

Friday, April 18, 2008

What's New & Interesting This Week

This week of April 14 through April 19 brought some really great things into Blue Cypress Books.

"The Brief Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao", by Junot Diaz arrived this week, just after its Pulitizer Prize win in Fiction. An outside shelf has been organized with all my in-stock Pulitizer Prize winning fiction and non-fiction.

On a local New Orleans note, "Voices from the Storm, The People of New Orleans on Hurricane Katrina and its Aftermath" arrived new from McSweeney's. This series is the 2nd book in the Voice of Witness Series, which collected oral histories on the human-rights crisis in the United States and around the world.

Also, especially relevant, is the arrival of "The Incomplete, Year-By-Year, Selectively Quirky, Prime Facts Edition of the History of The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival." Jazz Fest is just around the corner. Confession: I will be cutting work and closing down on the first Friday, April 25th to enjoy a full Fest day!

Going great with the above, was the arrival of 4 brand new "Rand McNally - New Orleans Street Guide." This is completely updated post-K.

Blue Cypress Books - Up & Running!

Blue Cypress Books is finally opened at 8128 Oak Street, first block off Carrollton, before Dublin. I'm sharing space with The Mockingbird, this great cafe, coffeeshop, bakery, lunch space.

Always stocking high quality used books:
Contemporary Fiction * Classic Literature * History
Science Fiction & Fantasy
Religion & Spirituality * Health & Wellness * Occult
Parenting * Cookbooks * Foreign Language
Rare & Unusual * Signed 1st Editions
Regional & Local Interest
Gift Certificates & Special Orders
Blue Cypress Books
8128 Oak Street, New Orleans, Louisiana
(504) 352-0096
Hours: Tuesday, Thursday, Friday & Saturday 10-5