Noëlle Santos just opened the only independent bookstore in the Bronx, called The Lit. Bar, and it's already making waves.
A white nationalist group called American Identity Movement chose a Washington bookstore, Politics and Prose, as the site for its latest “peaceful disruption.” This continues a current trend of bookstores as the latest destinations for such nationalist demonstrations.
The group’s demonstration was apparently in response to Politics and Prose hosting author Jonathan M. Metzl, who was discussing his book, Dying of Whiteness: How the Politics of Racial Resentment Is Killing America’s Heartland. According to the summary provided by Amazon, his book aims to address the idea that,
“Many lower- and middle-class white Americans are drawn to politicians who pledge to make their lives great again. But as Dying of Whiteness shows, the policies that result actually place white Americans at ever-greater risk of sickness and death…White Americans, Metzl argues, must reject the racial hierarchies that promise to aid them but in fact lead our nation to demise”
AIM founder and president, Patrick Casey, disagrees with the message of the book, which he says “fails to discuss the real reasons why leftism has been killing America’s heartland… America’s road to restoration is nationalism, identitarianism, non-interventionism, protectionism, and populism.”
IMAGE VIA UNICORN RIOT
He and other members of his organization arrived en masse at the bookstore and interrupted the author event, holding megaphones and chanting, “This land is our land,” as shown in the footage tweeted by Catherine Wigginton:
— Catherine Wigginton (@cewigginton) April 27, 2019
AIM has been linked to another white national organization, Identity Evropa, which was involved in planning the infamous and tragic Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville, VA. This is due to the fact that AIM’s president previously served as Executive Director for Identity Evropa.
Casey denies that AIM is a rebranding of IE—the organization’s site insists that “these former actions… do not reflect upon Mr. Casey or the membership he had developed under his tenure as leader of Identity Evropa.” Nevertheless, the two organizations share similar goals and values, and AIM is made up of many members who transferred over from IE.
Before the demonstration at Politics and Prose, AIM interrupted a “story hour” for kids led by drag queens in New Orleans, where they “disrupted the event before being asked to leave.”
This is not the first time books and libraries have become targets for white nationalists in recent times. Berkleyside reports that a “far-left bookstore” called Revolution Books has “found itself under attack from far-right activists” as many as “ten times in six months” according to an article written on March 4th, 2018. The protestors wore MAGA hats and were not seemingly affiliated with AIM.
FEATURED IMAGE VIA AMERICAN IDENTITY MOVEMENT
Best known for co-hosting MTV’s Catfish along with Nev Schulman, Max Joseph is also an acclaimed film director and avid book lover. Over the past year, Max embarked on a journey not only to find the world’s most beautiful bookstore, but also to figure our how to read the most books possible in the time that he has.
We were lucky enough to catch up with Max ahead of the release of his documentary short BOOKSTORES: How to Read More Books in the Golden Age of Content on this, World Book Day 2019.
You’re best known for your role co-hosting MTV’s Catfish with Nev Schulman, but last year you left Catfish and turned your attention to books! Your Book Stores project launches this month on World Book Day. Can you talk a little about it and what led you to embark on such a quest?
There was really no causal relationship between leaving Catfish and starting the Bookstore project, I had pretty much shot it all and edited it all before I left, truth be told. There were like one or two more places I wanted to go, and then I wanted to wait till world book day to release it. I had always loved bookstores and I know I’m not the only one. You know the way a new book feels and smells and the fresh cover art and the colors, coupled with wanting to read so much and knowing I wont be able to get through enough books before I die and the added obstacles of the golden age of content we’re living in where there are a million distractions from getting through a book. So I kind of wanted to unpack that anxiety and see what it was all about and try to get to a place of peace and I think I kinda did.
In terms of the origins of the piece, I was actually commissioned to make this. I brought up the idea to my friends at VERO, which is a social media platform, based out of London. And they’re just kind of like the quirky culture nerdy guys who immediately identified with this anxiety, and who wanted to see this made and so they gave me support to go out and do it.
Well it’s great to hear there’s hope for us. You’ve said that ‘bookstores are basically like art galleries, with stories attached.’ Were there any bookstores in particular that inspired this quest, that made you think “I want to see more of this”?
Not really, there wasn’t one in particular. It’s just really any bookstore I duck into there’s always a feeling of euphoria coupled with extreme existential anxiety. I worked in a bookstore for a summer and that was an amazing experience, I bought so many books with the staff discount that I still haven’t gotten through, they’re still on my shelf, and that was part of the experience too, that led me to making this project.
Part of this quest was to consult experts in an effort to learn to read more quickly and absorb more information in the time you have. What’s a tip you can give readers who might want to read more quickly?
A core hack to reading more quickly is to really immerse yourself in what you’re reading, so really try to go into a deep meditative trance and see the images of what you’re reading. Anyone who gets really immersed in a book says it’s like watching a movie, but it never occurred to me to consciously try to do that the second I sit down to read. And so that helped. Also the Total War approach to reading a book, which is buying the hard copy, getting the e-copy on Kindle or iBook and then getting the book on tape and while that’s kind of expensive, the price of it makes you really invested in that book and you’re less likely to stop reading and pick up something else if you’ve spent a bunch of money on it. And then you really have no excuse to not get through the book as fast as you can ‘cause if you’re in your car or commuting on the subway on you’re on a plane and there’s not enough room to bring the big book that you’re reading, even reading off your phone instead of checking instagram and twitter, those are all great tips and tricks. And my friend Tim who’s featured in the peace, brought up the great hack of listening to books on tape at two times the speed, speeding up the pace at which the reader is reading.
Were there any books you came across as a result of this project, or that you tried these techniques on, that have stood out to you?
I made a list of books that I read over the course of it… I really did up my numbers significantly. I read a lot of non-fiction books so making a visual movie of a non-fiction book doesn’t work as well. But I recently read The Scapegoat by Daphne Daphne du Maurier, which was a great movie, to read. It was really cool and very engrossing, she’s so amazing and eloquent with her language so you get kind of hypnotized. Then I read Sapiens and Homo Deus and Lethal White by JK Rowling under her pen name Robert Galbraith too.
That sounds like a super satisfying upping of numbers! Speaking of books as movies, you wrote and directed We Are Your Friends, which starred Zac Efron and Emily Ratajkowski, along with Meaghan Oppenheimer, and it was adapted from a story by producer Richard Silverman. Could you talk a little bit about that adaptation process and if there were any books you’ve come across either in this project or throughout your life that you’d like to see adapted.
Well, that process was kind of more of a straight-forward development process, part of the Hollywood development process in which there was a seed of a story from a writer, and Richard’s many things on top of being a writer, and there was a seed that Working Title was very attracted to and I spoke to them about it and imagined other things around it and developed it with Meghan into what it became so that’s not quite like finding a book, falling in love with it and wanting to adapt it to the screen.
A lot of the books I love would be almost impossible to adapt into movies. I really love The Largess of the Sea Maiden that Denis Johnson wrote, it was published posthumously, and it’s really breathtaking. It would be an interesting movie to make. I mean, they did adapt Jesus’s Son into a great movie, I really enjoyed it and a lot of other people did too, so maybe it’s possible.
So the project is released on World Book Day. Do you have any special plans yourself for World Book Day?
That’s a great question. I’m going to go to the Last Bookstore in Downtown L.A. and browse. I feature it in the document. It’s the one that has the circle made out of books that you can put your arm through, and then there’s also a tidal wave of books in there. It’s a great store, I think it’s in an old bank. There’s an amazing room of books in the vault. It’s a great independent bookstore, and a gem bookstore of L.A.
Check out the premiere of BOOKSTORES: How to Read More Books in the Golden Age of Content below!
If there’s one thing I love more than books it’s bookstores. And, if there’s one thing I love more than bookstores, it’s independent bookstores. Independent bookstores act as a sort of home. They’re the places you go when you want to get out of the house, but you also still want to sort of be alone.
And this is why it’s so very vital that we stand by, support, and shop at our independent bookstores. Our independent bookstores are small business that are constantly being threatened by the bigger, fortune 500 corporations; it’s up to us to keep ensuring that the corporations don’t win and that the independent stores are able to stay in business.
So, pop into your local indie bookshop this week and pick up that novel you’ve been dying to read!
And, check out these seven super-rad independent bookstores from all across the globe; who knows, maybe you’ll see your local shop on the list?
Housing Works – NYC
Image Via Boo York City
Housing Works is a beautiful place because, on top of offering every book under the sun within their shop, they are also an organization that helps provide housing, healthcare, and treatment to those affected with HIV/AIDS. (You can also rent out the bookstore for your wedding!)
Daunt Books – London
Image Via Voyage Collective
This breathtaking shop opened in 1990 with one objective in mind; organize books by country rather than genre, so the reader can walk through the shop all the while traveling the world.
Women & Children First – Chicago
Image Via Afar
This friendly feminist bookshop opened in 1979 and specializes in books by female-identifying and LGBTQ+ authors in all forms. They are one of the largest feminist bookstores in the world, containing more than 30,000 books!
The Book Lounge – Cape Town, South Africa
Image Via Your Local Book Shelf
This incredible little shop opened in 2007 and contains the most unique, eclectic selection of books. They also host story time every Saturday morning!
Leaping Windows – Mumbai, India
Image Via Homegrown
Leaping Windows was born of the idea to connect comic book lovers with all the books their hearts could possibly desire. They believe in the connection books cause between fellow readers, the power of imagination, and the ability to create a space for all to feel welcome.
Type Books – Toronto, Ontario
Image Via Type Books
This adorable little shop believes in the written word, hosts events for authors and artists, and offers a wide variety of books under all genres. Check out their insanely beautifully curated window displays!
Flow Books – Hong Kong
Image via Hong Kong Free Press
This book shop opened in 1997 and, in the past twenty-one years, have seen more than half-a-million books flow through!
Featured Image via The Book Man
Ever wanted to browse a bookstore filled with nothing but mystery novels? How about romance novels? Now you can! These six bookstores from around the world carry just one, sometimes very specific, genres.
1. Sleuth of Baker Street – Toronto, Canada
Go-to bookstore for fans of mystery, Sleuth of Baker Street has been thriving since 1979. This store carries everything mystery from noir, spy and thriller novels, to Sherlockiana – a genre that is based within the Sherlock Holmes universe.
2. The Ripped Bodice – Los Angeles, California
This female-run Los Angeles bookstore prides itself on being the “only exclusively romance bookstore in the United States.” Started on Kickstarter, The Ripped Bodice boasts a vast and diverse selection of romance fiction, with their owners, Bea and Leah Koch being named Booksellers of the Year by the Romance Writers of America in 2017.
via Culture Honey
3. Transreal Fiction – Edinburgh, Scotland
Opening in April of 1997, Transreal Fiction is a shop dedicated to science fiction and fantasy books. What sets them apart from other sci-fi and fantasy bookstores like them is their commitment to bring in books from authors not published in the UK. Transreal Fiction has the biggest range of imported science fiction and fantasy titles available in Scotland.
via Library Thing
4. La Liberia del Mare – Milan, Italy
Milan’s La Liberia del Mare is exactly what it sounds like – a library of sea. More specifically, sea books. All the books La Liberia del Mare stocks involve the sea with books ranging from boats and ships to fishing and various forms of sea life. Aside from the shop being stocked with sea-faring books, the shop itself is decorated from floor to ceiling in boat photos, nautical maps, and other aquatic decor.
via Max Guide
5. Dark Delicacies – Burbank, California
If your horror section at your favorite bookstore consists only of Stephen King, Dark Delicacies in Burbank, California will surely exceed expectations. The shop stocks everything from classic horror like Dracula to non-fiction about horror writers and creators. Along with books, Dark Delicacies also carries magazines, posters, and other dark and twisty items.
via Stephen H. Provost
6. Persephone Books – London, UK
This London bookshop reprints and stocks 128 fiction and non-fiction works by mid-twentieth century women writers including novels, short stories, memoirs, diaries, and cook books. All books cost £13 ($20 USD) and although a bit drab in the slate grey spines and covers, the books still add elegance and beauty to any shelf or table.
via Very English
Featured image via Pinterest.