(Jackson Street) Books on 7th is around the corner and on the internet tubes. We strive to be your full-service new and used bookstore, emphasizing good literature, progressive politics, and, of course, books about baseball. Opened in Hoquiam October 1, 2010

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Late Night Brecht Theatre! New and Improved!

Due to popular demand, we've updated this post with new links for your enjoyment!

Cat Fight!

Lover's Tango


der Bilbao song

Surabaya Johnnie

Alabama Song

Jim Dale dares to be young!

Seeräuber Jenny

Now in Spanish!

Weill-Not Brecht:

Lost in the Stars






Mack the Knife mosh-up!

the new kid!

Get Caught Reading!

Today's New York Times has an article on summer reading and lists the reader's choices. However, from the picture on the front page, there is no mention of the book being read in Union Square Park. It's Revenge of the Shadow King, by our good friends Jon and Derek. Signed copies are available!

Friday, August 31, 2007

Books to Prisoners

On Aug 30, 2007, at 6:57 PM, Tammy Domike wrote:

When I posted the Ethicist earlier this week, I had more thoughts on the whole books to prisoners issue and I'd like to talk about those now. We've always been willing to send books to our customers' relatives serving time ands most of them go through the system fine. We have gotten many packages back from people who think that writing our return address on the package will insure delivery. We have a pile of these in the back room, if someone wants to claim them. We don't know who sent them, and no way to contact them to let them know it didn't work.

We've always cautioned people that it must be a new book, that used books are in danger of being denied, and no, we can't send your used Playboys.

As the prison system grows (and it is the biggest "growth industry" in our economy) the private sector will have even less reason to see that a prisoner gets a book delivered. It was distressing to read this article last week.

We'd like to be involved even more. If you'd like to sponsor a book to a prisoner, drop us a line. We can hook you up.

When Did Used Books Become Contraband?
Thanks to a controversial “approved vendor system,” state prisons are slowing the flow of books behind bars.
By Karla Starr
Used books like this are considered contraband by the state’s Department of Corrections.
Earlier this year, Carla McLean, a librarian and volunteer for the organization Books to Prisoners (the group's function is self-evident), struck up a correspondence with a Buddhist pen pal at the Airway Heights Corrections Center west of Spokane. He was getting books sent to him from both BTP and the Zen Mountain Monastery. Then one day, the packages stopped arriving.

"Why did he not get those books?" she wonders. "It's not because of a three-item limit."

McLean is speaking from Books to Prisoners' headquarters, which occupy a dark, 500-square-foot basement in Seattle's International District. Here, BTP fulfills more than 800 requests per month from prisoners nationwide seeking reading material. The stacks around her reveal an unsurprising truth: Most books the nonprofit receives are donations from individuals looking to empty their homes of used books, which are considered contraband by the Washington State Department of Corrections. So whatever new books BTP manages to get hold of, it sends to prisoners in Washington state prisons.

"Offenders are clever, frankly," says DOC spokesperson Mary Christiansen, explaining the rationale behind such stringent policies. "People can hide things very well, and we always have to balance an offender's ability to get legitimate things with security. The balance for us is that offenders do need to read, but we have addressed that by allowing them to buy books from legitimate vendors, versus people just sending books in to somebody."

While Books to Prisoners had been sending its requested materials to inmates at Airway Heights for years, Andy Chan, who has been volunteering with BTP for more than 10 years, says, "Recently, they just started sending them back with a note: 'Not an approved vendor.'" Similarly, according to McLean, another pen pal at Airway Heights was expecting a package that never arrived. "His grandmother tried to send him books, and they rejected it, saying they didn't come from an approved vendor."

Turns out, grandmothers cannot send books to anyone in a Washington state prison. No one can, unless they're on an "approved vendor list." As of May, Airway Heights joined a growing number of corrections centers in Washington state that only accept books sent by vendors on such lists. (Airway Heights' approved list includes Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Borders, as well as smaller outfits like Lamp Specialties.)
According to the DOC's Christiansen, "There is a line within the property policy stating that there is an approved vendor list, and it's up to each facility to establish each list of who's approved. That's based on safety and security. It kind of makes a difference based on which vendors are allowed to send things in."

"For as long as I can remember, individuals haven't been able to send in books to their loved ones—they've either had to go to a bookstore or come to us," says BTP's Chan. "And some of [the relatives of inmates] are in financial straits and not in the position to go to Barnes & Noble, buy a new book, and pay the rates that Barnes & Noble would charge for shipping. In the more narrow sense, my major concern is a certain trend of only allowing certain specific vendors to send in books to prisons. If these other organizations don't actually send books for free, then indigent prisoners are stuck."

Read the whole article please, I made many snips.

UPDATE Saturday September 1: I've removed the photo. I hope the mighty Village Voice will allow this post to stand.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Monday, August 27, 2007

Ethicist to Bookseller

I work for a large bookstore and often process mail orders from prison inmates. Most are in for assault or burglary — I sometimes research them online — and reading might in some way better them.

But I fight the feeling that sex offenders, particularly those who harm children, should rot in a cell with nothing but the walls to occupy them. May I decline to handle their orders, or must I treat all my prisoners the same? — L.T., Ohio

Your let-’em-rot theory of penology notwithstanding, these people are not your prisoners; they are your customers. And yes, you should treat all your customers the same — that is, fill their orders.

Every merchant — pharmacist, greengrocer or milliner — should do likewise, but a bookstore clerk, dealing in the exchange of ideas, has an even greater obligation. You are not a librarian, bound by a librarian’s code of ethics, but you should be guided by it. Your duty is to provide books to anyone who walks (or writes) in to the store, not to determine a person’s worthiness to read (or have a prescription filled or buy lettuce or wear a fetching hat).

What’s more, if buying a book required people to “better” themselves, hardly anybody would read anything. Were your criterion universally adopted, the real losers would be John Grisham, Stephen King, Danielle Steel — bettering to no one, beloved by millions, bewildering to me.

Your sympathy for the incarcerated does you credit, even if it is strained by those who’ve committed particularly heinous acts. There is small virtue in giving people only what they deserve. As Hamlet has it: “Use every man after his desert, and who shall scape whipping? Use them after your own honor and dignity. The less they deserve, the more merit is in your bounty.”

Send your queries to ethicist@nytimes.com or The Ethicist, The New York Times Magazine, 620 Eighth Avenue, 6th Floor, New York, NY 10018, and include a daytime phone number.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Happy Women's Equality Day!


A year of notable setbacks for women
By Ellen Goodman | August 24, 2007
THIS SUNDAY, we will gather once more to pay homage to our foremothers by celebrating the Aug. 26 anniversary of the passage of suffrage. What a year it's been since we last met. We've seen the first woman speaker of the House, the first woman president of Harvard University, and who can forget Bill Clinton, striving to become the first "first laddie"?

Nevertheless, we continue our time-honored tradition, celebrating this day by announcing the cherished Equal Rites Awards to those who have labored over the last 12 months to set back the cause of women. As always, our one-woman committee worked hard to sift through all the candidates. Thus, without further ado, the envelopes please:
We begin by looking to Japan where Shinzo Abe's government wins the Knights in (Tarnished) Armor Prize. There, the prime minister refused to apologize for the Japanese Army's use of "comfort women" as sexual slaves in World War II. That was after his health minister called women "baby-making machines." And finally, the bodyguard for his gender equality minister was arrested for molesting a college student on a train. We send the land of the rising sun a sunset clause.

What can we give the winner of this year's International Ayatollah Award? Our man is Ezzat Attiya, the creative Egyptian cleric who issued a fatwa saying that there was one way around the religious taboo against unmarried men and women working together. Women can breast-feed their male co-workers and legally become family. We would offer Attiya a special breast pump to accompany his fatwa, but we don't want him to milk the idea.

Ah, but in some pockets of the Middle East, there is progress toward gender equality. Take Iran, winner of our Dubious Equality Award. Why, just last month a man was stoned to death for adultery. We send the judges there an engraved citation for equal brutality.

Unfortunately, we must return home for the Patriarch of the Year Prize. It goes with disappointment to US Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, whose opinion restricting abortions rested on the retro notion that women needed to be protected from "regret," "grief," and "sorrow," even if it meant protecting them from their rights. We send the paternalistic justice a hook to bring him back to the 21st century.
So many judges, so few blindfolds. The Blind Justice Award is winging its way to Carson City, Nev., District Judge Bill Maddox. While sentencing a man on kiddie porn charges, he opined: "It's my understanding that most men are sexually attracted to young women. . . . I mean women from the time they're 1 all the way up until they're 100." That blindfold should be placed carefully over his mouth.

Do you miss Tammy Wynette? Well, the Stand By Your Man Prize goes (temporarily) to Wendy Vitter, wife of family-values Senator David Vitter, who admitted to a "very serious sin in my past" after the Louisiana Republican's name was found in the D.C. Madam's black book. In a 2000 interview, Ms. Vitter said, "I'm a lot more like Lorena Bobbitt than Hillary [Clinton]. If he does something like that, I'm walking away with one thing and it's not alimony, trust me." Stay tuned.

Sex, crime, and politics? Our Fashion Victimizer Award goes to The Washington Post's Robin Givhan for looking deeply into Hillary Clinton's V-neck shirt and finding cleavage -- EEEK! -- which she labeled a "teasing display" and a "provocation." For fashionbabbling without a license, we send her a chic uniform: Paris Hilton's orange jail jumpsuit.

The true fashion statement of the year may be astronaut Lisa Nowak's diapers. Nowak wins the Backwards Trailblazer Prize for that cross-country drive in pursuit of her rival. Will Nowak go down in history as astronaut or love slave? That Depends.

Now for the Desperate (To Get) Housewives Prize. This goes to the British researchers who report that housework reduces the risk of breast cancer. For urging women to scrub their way to better health, we offer them the dustbin of history.

Doctors, doctors, everywhere. Our Male-Practice Award goes to the former surgeon general, Richard Carmona, who belatedly confessed to toeing the White House line on abstinence-only education while knowing it was bunk. We give him a Post-it for his new life: Just Say No.

Let us not forget the Media Ms.-Adventure Prize. Fox television wins for "Anchorwoman," the reality show featuring a bikini model and former WWE star reporting on a Texas TV station. Remember when Dan Rather said CBS was "tarting" up the news? We send the folks at Fox a nice, homemade tart.

More media? Our Post-Feminist Prize goes to Money magazine for its financial advice on how to close the pay gap: Marry rich. Money offered an investment manual on how to be the wife -- first, second or trophy -- of a gazillionaire. They say "wear small diamond earrings." We say watch out for the prenup.

If you cannot marry money, send it up in smoke? The Marketing Ms.-Adventures goes to the ever-deserving R.J. Reynolds. This time, it is selling Camel No. 9, a cigarette with the aura of Chanel in a black package trimmed in fuchsia or teal. Our prize is an elegant coffin nail, colored pink.

Finally, we rest our hopes in the next generation. Sort of. The Our Bodies/Our Daughters Award goes to Mattel. The folks who brought you Barbie are collaborating on a new line of make-up -- for 6- to 9-year-olds. For this we award them and all their ilk a special cosmetic for the next year: egg on their face.

Ellen Goodman's e-mail address is ellengoodman@globe.com.