90th Anniversary: A Future Vision

The History of a Family Bookstore

The culture shifts that parallel our 90-year bookselling journey are quite dramatic. Founder Gustav Weller would hardly recognize the contemporary environment of our industry. His era of bookselling occurred after the industrial/capitalist revolution permitted the growth of an educated middle class, after we discovered how to make cheaper wood-pulp paper from trees with machines and long after we automated the printing press, but before television had mesmerized and dulled our senses. Despite these luxuries, Gustav’s term was burdened by the Great Depression. Sam and Lila Weller would have different experiences.

Thirty Years at the Used Book Buying Desk

by Tony Weller

My father Sam Weller’s methods of teaching were momentary. He was a man of action and I took as much knowledge from him as he offered me. I had assisted him with house calls to buy book collections since childhood and one day in the late 1980s, without fanfare, he said, ‘I think you’re ready to make book deals without my help now.’ Wow, did persons who know so little really get to do this stuff?

Indie Bookstores Matter

by Tony Weller
Independent Bookstore Day began in 2015 to recognize the value of local, independently operated bookstores. It’s a one-day national party that takes place on the last Saturday in April, and this year will be on Saturday, April 27th. Each store's celebration and activities are different, like their booksellers and communities. 
Publishers provide exclusive books and literary items that you can only get on Independent Bookstore Day. Not before, and not online, because publishers know indie brick-and-mortar bookstores employ smart readers who discover and illuminate great books. A diverse mix of bookstores guarantees healthy bibliogenetics of culture. 

Read like a Bookseller: Eight Tips for Getting More from Reading and Books

by Tony Weller

Last month, Scott Renshaw invited me to share thoughts about New Year’s Resolutions with City Weekly readers. I’m not qualified to make resolutions for others but I can share some suggestions and thoughts about getting more from books and reading. Here are eight ways to improve one’s relationships with books.

7. Supernatural Horror in Literature

by Red Emma

When I began this series so many weeks ago, I promised to discuss whether anyone has cause to believe the Old Ones are real entities.

The Old Ones are the beings from the void, the chaos of the universe, who are malevolent only in their indifference to the fragility of life on Earth. I’ve discussed Azathoth in a previous week – Lovecraft’s incarnation of a senseless, uncaring universe, the progenitor of all life who does so without purpose or meaning. That we are a cosmic mistake or joke is the most powerful blow Lovecraft could ever have delivered to the delicate human ego, and the true horror of his stories often derives from the full frontal exposure to our own meaningless in the vastness of the cosmos. Cthulhu, his most famous creation, is an Old One, as is Nyarlathotep.

6. The Colour Out of Space

by Red Emma

This week, the penultimate post in Red Emma’s Lovecraft Halloween Blog won’t veer into gender politics or scathing indictments of eugenicist bigots, nor will it confront the ingrained attitudes of classism, but will focus on story. “The Colour Out of Space” is one of Lovecraft’s best-written tales of horror and suspense.

Even Lovecraft thought so. According to biographer S.T. Joshi, Lovecraft considered it his best work until his death in 1937.

5. At the Mountains of Madness

by Red Emma

Two ships sail from Boston Harbor on September the 2nd, 1930, one the stately Miskatonic and the other, the rugged Arkham. At the helm of each is a weathered whaling-boat captain, and distributed between the two ships are a drilling apparatus, four men of science, their assistants and skilled mechanics, and their means for surviving the frigid Antarctic. Thus begins the journey of the fateful Miskatonic Expedition.

3. The Dunwich Horror

by Red Emma

When a traveler in north central Massachusetts takes the wrong fork at the junction of Aylesbury pike just beyond Dean's Corners he comes upon a lonely and curious country.

The ground gets higher, and the brier-bordered stone walls press closer and closer against the ruts of the dusty, curving road. The trees of the frequent forest belts seem too large, and the wild weeds, brambles and grasses attain a luxuriance not often found in settled regions. At the same time the planted fields appear singularly few and barren; while the sparsely scattered houses wear a surprisingly uniform aspect of age, squalor, and dilapidation.

Without knowing why, one hesitates to ask directions from the gnarled solitary figures spied now and then on crumbling doorsteps or on the sloping, rock-strewn meadows.