Morning Thanks

Garrison Keillor once said we'd all be better off if we all started the day by giving thanks for just one thing. I'll try.

Thursday, April 07, 2016

Brand new! A book you can hold in your hands!

I'm the proud owner of multiple Kindles actually. I got a pioneer way back when, and I use it when I travel because it's far more efficient then lugging books around when on a plane and in an airport. Left humanly unsatisfied by the original Kindle, I opted to buy a Kindle Fire when they came out--after all, I'm quite unable to avoid a healthy rush for new techie stuff. 

I use the Fire daily, but it's unmercifully slow and often, like a lot of conservatives, gets flummoxed by the New York Times. Still, the Kindle has become my newspaper, for better or for worse. But even though it holds a huge shelf of books, like a lot of conservatives who think God made hands for books, I prefer something with real pages. I'd rather hold a book than a Kindle.

For a decade or more, e-book sales were challenging bookstores. Some folded altogether. There's convenience, after all, and there's unlimited physical space on the cloud. Behind me is a library that wouldn't be there at all if its holdings were digitized. The whole mess, hundreds of them, would fit in a Kindle, even that ancient colorless pioneer.

But Barnes and Noble announced recently that it will close only eight of its stores this year, instead of the 13 originally slated to shut their doors--and they would add four new ones. Why? You guessed it--uptick in the sales of print books. 

Some old fogies will simply assume such news is ample proof that there is a God. But before they get all holy-roller on us, they need to know that the upsurge in hard copy print book sales has been led by the truly thunderous receipts created by adult coloring books. You read that right. Print book sales are up on the shoulders of adult coloring books. Seriously, you were thinking maybe T. S. Eliot?

You can buy Nooks really cheap right now because they're departing. E-book sales are down. That's right. Right now--I admit it, this is greatly encouraging--American readers seem to be (drum roll, please) returning to books. Digital technology looked invincible and the battle may not be over; but for right now, adult coloring books notwithstanding, print books are not only holding their own, they're kicking butt. (Hyperbole, but in a good cause.)

So, anyway, I'm happy too announce that Up the Hill: Folk Tales from the Grave, which was published as an e-book by New Rivers Press last year, is now out in hard copy. That's right, it's actually become a book you can hold in your hand. Same book, new hard (well, soft) cover. 

Available where, you're asking? You should know better. Available on line. Go ahead, try Amazon. And for those conservatives hopelessly lost in the past, the e-book is still available. 

The tales in Up the Hill are unusual for this old-fashioned writer, an old-time realist not given to flights of superheroes, warlocks, or hobbits. Let's just put it this way: real live human beings play only minor roles because the dead are very much alive in the graveyard "up the hill." 

“James Calvin Schaap has done the impossible. In Up the Hill, he has beautifully crafted a collection of stories written from the grave, and these voices are both humorous, powerfully moving, and scary. They capture the very ‘bones’ of what it means to be human—to face one's own transience. With irony and grace, this magical collection captures our attempts for both reconciliation and transcendence.” - Mary Swander, Poet Laureate of Iowa.

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