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#2618 - Thursday, October 19, 2006 - Editor: Jerry Katz

  i said i was gonna post another excerpt from The Metaphysical Intuition in this issue but I don't have the time to type it out today. i'll hold that off till next time. meanwhile i came across a good piece that is an ode to independent booksellers. it applies to the several independent book publishers who feed the world of nonduality with books and hopefully are feeding the shelves of many independent booksellers. yeah i know that realization and all that isn't about reading books. in fact i know it sounds really cool when some people say they don't read books "anymore". this piece does possess the spirit of living nonduality.  

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>>> "Kelly M. Coffey" <[email protected]com> 10/12/2006 1:23 PM >>>
With thanks to the written nerd
*Guest Speaker: Libba Bray: Ode to Independent Booksellers *

*On September 17, 2006, at the Breakfast of Champions at the New Atlantic
Independent Booksellers Association trade show in Valley Forge,
Pennsylvania, author Libba Bray received NAIBA's award for Best Young Adult
Book of the publishing year for her novel REBEL ANGELS. Her acceptance
speech, titled "Ode to Independent Booksellers," brought waves of applause
and dozens of requests for copies. Bray, who worked at an independent
bookstore as a teenager in Texas, has given me permission to reprint her
speech here. Please forgive me for running two guest posts in a row; I
wanted to share this wonderful speech while it is still fresh.*

*Ode to Independent Booksellers*

Independent booksellers rock.

They are a cup of black coffee, straight up no chaser, in a
half-caf-vanilla-hazelnut-with-whipped cream kind of world.

When you walk up to independent booksellers and say, with deepest apologies,
"I'm looking for this new book about the Victorian era and I can't remember
the author's name but it has Glass somewhere in the title," they do not roll
their eyes and send you to the purgatory of the information deskthat circle
of hell not described by Dante. No, they smile and say, "Why, I think you're
looking for The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters by Gordon Dahlquist."
Because they know everything.

Independents are the Iggy Pop of the book bizon the edge, a little
dangerous, cooler than you will ever think of being, and still alive despite
the odds.

Instead of the t-shirts that trumpet, "I do my own stunts," they wear the
shirts that say, "I do my own thinking." The badge that says, Hello My Name
is Book Lover. The tattoo that reads, I Sell Banned BooksAsk Me How! They
rip the gags off intellectual freedom and the silly bras off John Ashcroft's
statue of justice.

(Okay, I made that last part up, but if you can actually do that it would be
way cool.)

Independents are the personal recommendation. The word of mouth. The
informed opinion. The debate. The discourse. The dissent. The punk rockers.
The patriots. The hopeful realists and, occasionally, the pie-eyed dreamers,
because sometimes we need to be reminded of that. They are the opposite of
apathy. The ones who would raise their hands and say, "But*about those
weapons of mass destruction*"

Independent booksellers know not to put People Magazine and industrial-sized
tubs of Swedish Fish right next to the counter because that is just lighting
the crack pipe and handing it over.

They are the ones who take aside disaffected, snarky seventeen-year-old
girls from Texas, and even though that seventeen-year-old girl might be
wearing a Devo-inspired, orange jumpsuit and heavy black eyeliner that she
thinks makes her look like Chrissie Hynde but really just makes her look
like she's been on the losing end of a bar fight, they say nothing but steer
her instead toward Douglas Adams and Thomas Pynchon, Zen and the Art of
Motorcycle Maintenance and The Stranger, Woody Allen and Amiri Baraka.

They are the openers of doors. The carnival barkers to exotic, new worlds.
The Book Whisperers. They are charming dinner companions, and they always
bring good wine.

Being around independent booksellers makes you feel smarter by association.

They are the good guys. They kick it Old School. They are the truthful
friend who will say, "Honey, that book makes you look fat."

They are the front porch, the off-ramp, the scenic route, the handshake
agreement. Independents understand that books have souls. They can put their
ears to the bindings the way children put their ears to shells and hear the
beating heart inside. And they treat our books accordingly, handing them off
lovingly to others with a passionate appeal: "This one*listen*"

They do not want an author's soul to be remaindered.

It is not easy to be an independent these days. It is an age of
twenty-four-hour sound bites, of product and packaging and a
thank-you-drive-through-please marketplace, of "truthiness" and cynicism
masquerading as patriotism, of lies and betrayals that challenge the ability
to stand fast in independence.

As we sit here in Valley Forge, staring across the glittering forever
highways of America to the historic land just beyond, it is a stirring
reminder that this was a nation founded by independents. And it feels no
less a radical, necessary act to me today to be a champion of bookstores, to
champion ideas, to explore the myriad complications of the human heart, to
examine the individual not out of context but as part of the larger human
story. We have never needed the independent spirit more than we do right
now. It is necessary work, and I humbly thank you for it.

I wanted to write about the moment when your addictions no longer hide the
truth from you. When your whole life breaks down. That's the moment when you
have to somehow choose what your life is going to be about.
Chuck Palahniuk

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The following independent book publishers of diverse authors and titles are sponsors of Their books are the kinds that independent booksellers would stock. Someone in a place like San Francisco should open a little nonduality bookstore. They would sit there all day and not make any money, but maybe they could sell coffee too. The big profit's in donuts.  

Sentient Publication:

Non-duality Press:

Monkfish Publishing:

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