Wednesday, October 09, 2013

OCTOBER? Already?

Tonight I had time to notice that I haven't updated the blog since April. That April post included a (then) up-to-date visitors guide to Dayton, Ohio's Historic Oregon District. In these few short months that guide has changed quite a bit. With HAUNTFEST on FIFTH drawing near, and Holiday shopping around the corner, I figure I'd better set things right.

Oregon Shop Guide Update:
16 Brown Street remains home to Color of Energy Gallery, but is now shared with 2 brand new businesses: Hicks' The Bearded Barber & Spice Paradise. But what of The Record Gallery and Sew Dayton?

Never Fear! Sew Dayton moved a couple of blocks and around a corner to 261 Wayne Avenue, near PRESS Coffee Bar; and The Record Gallery joined forces with ReCreate Music Shop next to Feathers Vintage.

New to the scene are Lily's Bistro, Salar, and Wheat Penny restaurants, and Toxic Brew Company brewery.

Also, I've just noticed that our friends at Clash Consignment were neglected in the April guide, as well as Found Treasures 4 You. Corrected.

AND, as the April guide was aimed at a younger crowd, I intentionally left off Exotic Fantasies, Gem City Tattoo Club, and Glenn Scott's Oregon Tattoo Team, as well as the local bars known more for party-fun than dining: Pulse Nite Club, Club Vex, Newcom's Tavern, and Ned Pepper's!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Winter Guard International World Championships in Dayton

Winter Guard International (WGI) World Championships return April 11-20, 2013!

Info for Daytonians:
What is Winter Guard? Winter Guard Championships are really two separate competitions. Flag Corps and Drum Corps. I lived near a hotel as a kid and used to enjoy watching teams practice in the parking lot. If you really want to know about Winter Guard they'll explain it best themselves. Just visit!

Info for Visitors:
There are plenty of great things to see and do in the Dayton, OH area. Too many to list them all! Here are some highlights in the immediate vicinity of our shop, Bonnett's Book Store (our Facebook profile -we're also active on Twitter and Foursquare (check-in here for a discount)!

Our neighborhood is known as the Oregon District, the O.D. for short, the Oregon Historic District, and/or the Oregon Arts District. We're Historic for being Dayton's First neighborhood, and we're Arts for being home to a concentration of Galleries, Craft, Vintage, and Thrift shopping. Add to that numerous one-of-a-kind Taverns and Restaurants only found in Dayton, and it all adds up to one great way to exercise free time and grab a bite to eat!

What's here?
In order by geography, West to East - entirely walkable in good weather.
All parking is FREE in lots and streetside, but be careful not to park in a private lot. 
Bold listings may be of special interest to WGI visitors.
Italic listings represent places to eat.

130 E Fifth St - The Neon Movies - An independent cinema; the place to see quality films you won't find at the multiplex. I like to enjoy a beer with my popcorn!

120 S Patterson Blvd - Hauer Music - New and Used Drums, sheet music, and just about any musical instrument you might want. Brass, strings, keys, you name it!

200 E Fifth St - Smokin' BBQ - If you like barbecue you've gotta give this a try. Homemade sides and sauces! My favorite is the pulled pork sandwich.

225 E Sixth St - Jay's Seafood - Fine dining, steaks, and Always Fresh Fish!

318 E Fifth St - Omega Music - A huge selection of New & Used music on vinyl and more!

336 E Fifth St - The Oregon Express - By Day, a great place to take the family for the O.D.'s best pizza. By Night, a fine music destination. In warm weather, visit the deck for a nice view of downtown Dayton.

11 Brown St - Thai 9 - Excellent Sushi and Thai food. 9 levels of spicy hotness. Pad Thai is my favorite, and level 4 is hot enough for me.

16 Brown St (shared space) - The Color of Energy Gallery -  A Mike Elsass Art Gallery

16 Brown St (shared space) - The Record Gallery - Collectible Vinyl, CDs, Posters, Memorabilia, and more!

16 Brown St (shared space) - Sew Dayton - Fabrics, Classes, Accessories, Alterations, Repairs, and vintage flair! 

416 E Fifth St - 5th Street Wine and Deli - Fabulous sandwiches, a great selection of soft drinks, carry-out craft beer and wine, candy, gum, chips and more!

101 Pine St - Wiley's Comedy Niteclub - Dayton's First and Ohio's Oldest Comedy Club!

430 E Fifth St - Blind Bob's - Excellent specialty hamburgers, waffle fries, and more. Great place to have lunch or dinner during the day, and a fun place for drinks with friends at night! 

438 E Fifth St - ReCreate Music Shop - Used Musical Equipment, Service and Repair of Instruments, Amps, and Electronics.

440 E Fifth St - Feathers Vintage - Clothing, knick-knacks, memorabilia, toys, records, and more!

464 E Fifth St - Brim - Awesome hat shop! No ball caps found here.

501 E Fifth St - Goodwill - Need something cheap in a hurry? Belts, blouses, ties, shirts, and much more! I mean, everyone knows about Goodwill, right?

502 E Fifth St - Bonnett's Books (our Facebook page) - Discount used books, YA, manga, box sets, music books, DVDs, classics, comics, vintage magazines, and more!

504 E Fifth St - Practice Yoga - See their site for schedule and pricing. Drop-in beginner classes available!

506 E Fifth St - Derailed Salon - Need a haircut while you're in Dayton? Mindy and Austin can help you out.

508 E Fifth St - Gallery 510 & Peace on Fifth - Art, hand-made gifts, cards, accessories.

510 E Fifth St - Eclectic Essentials - Decor and more!

511 E Fifth St - Sterling Studio - Jewelry, gifts, originals, custom work!

520 E Fifth St - Lucky's Taproom and Eatery - Great food, beer battered fish - you choose the brew!

524 E Fifth St - Roost Modern Italian Restaurant - The most recent addition to the Oregon District's culinary extravaganza!

530 E Fifth St - The Trolley Stop - Pitas, burgers, quesadillas, tacos, soups, and vegan menu, and a great patio dining area!

601 E Fifth St - Ohio Budokan - Martial Arts and Japanese Culture Center - one free class for visitors!

605 E Fifth St - Jimmy Modern / Vintage - Great selection of mid-century modern decor, furniture and more!

300 Wayne Ave - The Dublin Pub - Last on the list, but definitely not least, outstanding food and great atmosphere!

Three blocks of awesome! And this is only a partial list! We hope you enjoy your visit to Dayton. Good luck to all WGI competitors from Bonnett's Book Store!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Literary Fiction vs. Genre Fiction

Via we recently received an invitation to join a small group-discussion board concerning Literary Fiction vs. Genre Fiction. I've read some of each, but I lean toward the Science Fiction genre, or works becoming known as Speculative Fiction. The invitation to that group inspired some thought on the subject, as follows:

Many now classic works have been labeled with a genre which were composed prior to the existence of that genre. Clearly, without a genre for which to write Frankenstein is a literary work by default - not horror or sci-fi, just Lit.

Perhaps I'm jaded, but these days it seems difficult to find Genre fiction written with Literary intent. I don't blame authors. Few authors would spend the vast amounts of time and effort required for publication if they didn't have a strong desire to write, or an idea they simply couldn't contain. I'm sure responsibility falls primarily on the shoulders of publishers, who buy what they think will sell. Author's, then - to make a living, must write what publishers buy, becoming 'jobbers' rather than 'artisans' out of necessity.

The most prominent examples of Literary Genre fiction which come to my mind are hardly current: Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, George Orwell's 1984, Anthony Burgess' A Clockwork Orange, Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow, and Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale are good examples. Of this group, only Bradbury might be branded a genre writer.

In my opinion one of the most well-known spec-fic writers, Philip K. Dick, was not a very good writer, but neither was he a sell-out. His concepts and ideas are the stuff of legend, in print and on the big screen, but he doesn't seem, to me, to have been an artisan. He was more a philosopher than a writer, driven to share his ideas and concepts. Rather than explore the craft, he needed to expel demons. So, rather than Lit or Genre, it's Fascinating Ideas which have sold his works.

Two fellows whose skill I admire greatly today are Michael Chabon - a true literary artisan, and William Gibson, also a craftsman - though perhaps not as widely recognized as such.

Gibson is almost single-handedly responsible for inventing the now-fading sub-genre of Cyberpunk Sci-Fi in his novel Neuromancer. He and Bruce Sterling co-wrote The Difference Engine, which was crucial to the rise of modern Steampunk. Furthermore, Gibson's literary contributions since have helped lead to the current trend of re-designating much of what had been known as science fiction with the term I used above, Speculative Fiction. Gibson puts the writing first, to better convey his ideas, and seems to have only been grafted with the sci-fi moniker as a side effect of the success of his early works, which were indeed sci-fi.

He's since become far less a science fiction author than he is the teller of well-written and interesting stories. His latest books likely wouldn't be considered science fiction at all to those unaware of his earliest works, though I'm not sure what tag I would apply.

My point in all of the above is really just to say that the writing of Lit and/or Genre begin with the intentions of the writer. One must choose to be Literary first. Applying a Genre to one's work is simply the vehicle used on a great Literary road-trip. Whether or not it will sell is anyone's guess.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Modern Age of Super-Hero Cinema

I've mentioned before, we can't help but love movies. So many Books serve as inspiration for Films that it's a near impossibility not to enjoy both, sometimes.

My brother and I grew up in the age of pre-super-hero cinema. I count Tim Burton's Batman as the birth of the super-hero age of film. Certainly, others would disagree, calling out Christopher Reeve era Superman, but there's a distinct difference between that Superman (1978) and Batman (1989), aside from the decade-plus span between them.

Superman was a wonderful movie in it's time, but it was a film made of Hollywood rather than of Comics. I'll try to explain...

Film, being a visual medium, has lent itself, since it's silent-film beginnings, to offering up spectacular new worlds. A Trip to the Moon (1902) by Georges Méliès and Fritz Lang's Metropolis (1927) are two prime examples of the earliest silent-film spectacles, and prime examples of movie-making as well! A Trip to the Moon was a present-day (at it's time) frolic of fun, fantasy and frivolity, while Metropolis delves into societal woes and political commentary in a stunning future world... To help bridge the rather distant topical gap between those two movies, let me include F.W. Murnau's Nosferatu (1922) - a horror fantasy both thoughtful and fun, in the way that scary movies are fun. Each of those were visual spectacles.

There's no denying the hundreds of great films which have lacked high-levels of Spectacle, but they're not often easily recalled. Even the great real-world dramas in film history have been spectacular in some way or another. Alfred Hitchcock had a remarkable ability to spectacularize the mundane. His movie Rear Window (1954) is one of my very favorite movies, and it's entire story takes place from the viewpoint of one room in an unremarkable apartment building, featuring characters who were just regular people that any of us might know; yet, it was spectacular in its filmic ingenuity.

The point of all this is that Spectacle is not a bad thing. It's what makes us want to go to the movies, even when a movie is billed as "The Greatest Love Story of ALL Time!" A great romance, then, IS the spectacle.

Now, getting back to the Christopher Reeve Superman... the tagline for that movie was "You'll Believe a Man Can Fly!" The spectacle was the thing selling it. Cinema had reached a turning point in visual innovation. Maybe it was technology, maybe it was studio greed, maybe it was an audience clamoring for MORE! Probably all of the above. The years leading up to Superman included big hairy fistfuls of effects heavy classics. From Jaws and the first remake of King Kong - for robotic special effects, to the Planet of the Apes movies and Logan's Run - for unusual sets and make-up effects, to Star Wars, Close Encounters, and Indiana Jones for new uses of miniatures, mattes, and some more make-up and physical effects. Superman came out at a time when Hollywood needed the most spectacular spectacle available, a being from another planet "who came to Earth with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men!" The risk in making Superman was the same risk as in the making of any other big-budget picture, but thesubject was no risk at all, having been mostly popular since his inception nearly 4 decades earlier. And so, the big-red "S" smashed it's way into our hearts all over again.

And, then what? Three sub-par sequels... Meanwhile, Star Wars rose to galactic popularity, and multitudes of copycats followed. Science Fiction films blossomed beyond their previous pinnacle in the 1950s. Alien crept from the ductwork, Jason, Freddy, and Michael Myers slashed at us, and Indiana Jones dug into ever more treacherous tombs. All of this Flash Gordon-y pulp horror and adventure caused some older viewers to reflect on things they'd grown up with... Reflection led to nostalgia, leading to more reflection, then rediscovery, and finally a realization that some of the most memorable stories ever sold had come from movie serials and 10-cent comic books. Indiana Jones, archaeologist and tomb raider, helped us rediscover our own entertainment history.

Coincidentally, during this same period of time, comics were going through some growing pains of their own. Year after year of declining sales wasn't helped by rising competition from TV toy-cartoons, and the birth of video games. Also, a budding industry of Indie Comic publishers had been whittling away at the major publisher's market share by releasing grittier, bloodier, and sexier comics, many of which also had intriguing stories with more mature elements than the major publishers could print - thanks to the Comics Code Authority (CCA).

The CCA was established in the 1950's after a big stink rose from the bowels of one Dr. Frederic Wertham. His book, "Seduction of the Innocent" made claims that violence in comics was corrupting the youth. He included in the book the results of interviews with problem youth, whom he claimed had pointed the finger at comics, TV, and movies as their inspiration for doing bad things. It has recently been discovered that Wertham intentionally skewed some of this information in the effort to prove his misguided point.

Major comic book publishers voluntarily submitted their works for CCA approval for about 45 years, until the indie publishers started to gain popularity. At this time, in the 1980s, Marvel and DC began experimenting with edgier stories, re-packaging older stories into large volumes of collected works, and so, the Graphic Novel was born.

Many of the newer edgy stories were new works with all-new casts of characters. But some stories featured our favorite heroes in times and places previously unknown. The first of the Great Graphic Novels in this new age of comic publishing was "The Dark Knight Returns" by Frank Miller. Frank Miller had been working in comics to great acclaim in Marvel's "Daredevil" series and had built up enough klout to get a chance at a darkly futuristic Batman story with "The Dark Knight Returns." In DKR crime is rampant throughout Gotham City following the retirement of the Batman. Able to stand it no more, old man Bruce Wayne dons the cape and cowl once more. Along the way he picks up a new Robin - a girl Robin! - and crosses paths with multiple gang armies, and Superman even makes an appearance. The Dark Knight Returns is beginning to feel a little dated, but is unquestionably one of the greatest works in comic-book history, not just for it's great story, but for introducing new ways of presenting a story in comics form. I re-read it often, and I recommend it, highly.

The astonishing success of The Dark Knight Returns is the root of modern super-hero cinema. If not for Frank Miller and DKR we never would've had the Tim Burton "Batman" which borrowed a number of story-telling elements directly from Frank Miller's DKR. Burton made this "Batman" his own, but this movie existed, not as a Hollywood showcase, but because it had become clear through DKR that comics could have compelling stories and boatloads of spectacle at the same time. And that's why Batman begins the modern super-hero movie era, instead of Superman.

Following on the heels of Batman came a flurry of other pulp and comic-book-inspired movies: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Mask, The Rocketeer, The Shadow, and more; through more Frank Miller creations like "300" and "Sin City", all the way to our most-modern and greatest super-hero movie yet, "The Avengers."

I'll add some interesting and fun links to this later, but I thought you should know, this piece was inspired by the Oscar win of Jennifer Lawrence for "Silver Linings Playbook." Jennifer Lawrence played the young Raven Darkholme (aka Mystique) in "X-Men: First Class" which reminded me that Halle Berry, who played Ororo Munroe (aka Storm) in X-Men, X2:  X-Men United, and X-Men III: The Last Stand... which in turn reminded me that Ellen Page, who played Rogue throughout X-Men I-III had also won*. Considering their male co-stars - Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, and Hugh Jackman - one is almost forced to wonder "What's up with that?"

*Corrections/additional info (via
  • Ellen Page did NOT win, but was nominated for Best Actress in a Leading Role for Juno.
  • Ian McKellen has had two nominations, 1st for Actor in a Leading Role for Gods and Monsters, 2nd for Actor in a Supporting Role for Fellowship of the Ring.
  • Halle Berry won Best Actress in a Leading Role for Gods and Monsters and is the only Oscar winner to have portrayed multple 'supers' - Storm in X-Men 1-3 and Catwoman.
  • Jennifer Lawrence has been nominated twice for Best Actress in a Leading Role, 1st for Winter's Bone and receiving the statuette for for Silver Linings Playbook.
The intent was to illustrate that only female X-Men have won Oscars for Leading Roles, albeit in other films.
Many other Oscar notables have appeared in super-hero films (non-acting awards have not been included here):

Jack Nicholson and Kim Basinger appeared together in Tim Burton's Batman and have each won Oscars - Basinger as Actress in a Supporting Role for L.A. Confidential and Nicholson as Best Actor for Cuckoo's Nest, Supporting Role in Terms of Endearment, and Leading Role in As Good as it Gets.
Michelle Pfeiffer - Catwoman in Batman Returns has 3 nominations, 2 of which were for Leading Role.

Tommy Lee Jones - Two-Face in Batman Forever - has had 3 Supporting Role noms, winning for The Fugitive, and one Leading Role nomination.
Uma Thurman - Poison Ivy in Batman & Robin - was nominated for Supporting Role in Pulp Fiction.

There are many more items like these, but too many to include here. I'll leave it to you to look up your favorites. ;-)

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Singles Awareness Day is S.A.D.

I've only just learned of Singles Awareness Day. It's not about one dollar bills. I'm sure we're all well aware of each and every $ingle we have. Singles Awareness Day is about relationships - singles as opposed to couples... or grouples, if that's your thing.

Wikipedia describes Single's Awareness Day, or SAD, as a humorous holiday; hence it's bespoke three-letter-acronym. In the wake of Valentine's Day, discovery of this "holiday" inspired in me some reflection, which almost always includes an exploration of our shelves. That which follows was found in our Humor section.

Most guys are OK with bachelorhood. We like being free and single and enjoying everything life has to offer, with nothing to tie us down and no one to hold us back... well, that's what we tell ourselves, and some of  us believe it. But, if the truth were known, nearly everything we do is directed toward the goal of trying to impress a partner. Often, like a game of chess, we're working out future moves ahead of the next turn, and some of us don't know we're doing it. That's how it is for teh average guy.

Dave Barry, Pulitzer Prize winning author, can serve as a decent example of an average guy. I hear your protestations, "What?! He's not a regular guy! He's a famous writer!" Well, I'm here to tell you that some guys, Mr. Barry included, earn their fame by being a regular guy, an "everyman". And, I'll let you in on a secret. ALL guys are famous... in their own minds. Work with that idea, not against it, but don't let us get out of hand.

OK, Guys. Don't think I'm selling out our secrets. Truth is, the Ladies figured out how to keep us in check millennia ago. We're not that tricky, really, but we can be exasperating. As proof I offer into evidence the book "MEN!" filled with the feminine point of view on men from some great ladies, including Dayton's own Erma Bombeck!

Some guys get lost on the path to finding a partner. They are called "Dudes". Dudes get so wrapped up in the trappings of impressing a partner that they lose sight of the goal. Too much Coolness, or Swag - in today's parlance, is really nothing more than B.S. Few potential partners are willing to wade through it to find the Guy inside. Furthermore, Dudes tend to be the kind of guys which inspire women to write books like "Picking On Men". Seriously, Dudes, you aren't doing the rest of us Guys any favors, but nice car! Is that a hemi? Where'd you get those rims?

HEY GUYS! I'm still talking to you. This is serious. You may think you're King of the Hill, Top of the Heap, but somewhere there's a lady who knows better, 'cuz she's the one who's been trying to give you the boost up there. On the other hand, there's a whole spectrum of ladies out there, just like the men, ranging from "I don't need a partner" to "I must be in a relationship at all costs!" Here are some extreme examples. Don't stop reading here and let these ideas get you down... Keep reading...

Extremes are like the slices of bread at either end of a Dagwood Sandwich, easily avoided while enjoying all the wonderful variety in the middle.

Now here's Lewis Grizzard. From the books below you might think he was an expert in relationships. He's really another "everyman" who's had the decency to try and help us see the humor in our partnership pursuits, all along the route, from the start, to the highs, through the lows, and back into the game. His "Advice to the Newly Wed" and "Advice to the Newly Divorced" are contained in one handy flip-book. Every "everyman" appreciates such convenience.

But one person can't possibly live through and share every kind of love and romance. There are plenty of other voices out there with other viewpoints and tales of sexual adventure and foible, as seen below...

Frustration, the folly of youth, and the journey forward all contain innumerable stories of woe and/or wonder. Enjoy the journey, because, as with most things, if you're not having fun you're doing it wrong.

All the books above and many, many, MANY more are available now at Bonnett's Books. Get one for a single friend. ;-)

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Catching up...

I didn't give up blogging for lent. We've had a lot to do which kept me away from the blog. Here are some touchstones from the last two weeks.

A) February 13th is the unofficial birthdate of Bonnett's Books. I don't know the exact date our store opened so I chose 2/13 to honor our Grandma Ruth, without whom we wouldn't be here today. February 13th was her birthday and this year she would have turned 100 years old. Thank you, Grandma.

B) We're still enjoying movie-awards season. So many of our books and comics have become movies that it's natural to be movie fans as well. You can find many past award winners and your personal favorites here, in print and/or on DVD!

C) We've been putting out a lot of reading-copy comics and cool inexpensive stuff from the '70s-'90s.

D) Some debate has arisen regarding the difference between retro pin-ups and vintage pin-ups.

The word "vintage" refers to items genuinely produced in their time. Think of the phrases "1920s vintage fashion" (Flapper clothes), "1950s vintage photography" (Bettie Page), "1960s vintage furniture" (Eames chairs) or "1976 vintage philatelics" (Bicentennial Stamps). The word "vintage" indicates that such things are actually products from that time or type which they represent.

The word "retro" means that something is produced in modern times which harkens back to a particular time or style which has had it's turn in cultural history. If something is described as "vintage style" or "vintage look" it's really a "retro" item. And, there's nothing at all wrong with retro.

There's some really awesome retro stuff around these days, but if you're looking for original items of any kind you need to know the difference. I hope these last few paragraphs have helped. Don't get me started on "reproductions".

E) And now, here's a list of other ways to keep up with Bonnett's Book Store:

1) This very blog! This is our online hub. We're active on other sites but this is where you'll find the meat on our social media bones. If you know us on other sites you may notice that activity sometimes points back here, to Penciled Margins ~ Feel free to add us to your RSS feeds, link to us on your own blog, and recommend us to friends.

2) Twitter! - Real-time, live-action, up-to-date, late-breaking Bonnett's Book Store, downtown Dayton, and Oregon District info can be found by following @BonnettsBooks. If you're in the area during special events like First Fridays, Urban Nights, or the NCAA First Four you'll want to keep an eye on our Tweets. You may hear about events or get on-the-street useful info you won't find anywhere else.

3) Foursquare! - This one's for your smartphone. Here's our page, and here's our profile. Foursquare is an app that let's you "check in" when you go places. There are many reasons people might want to do this... One is for private life-tracking. Some folks like to keep tabs on and analyze every aspect of their lives, from calories and weight to time and travel costs. Foursquare can help with the time and travel part. But we like Foursquare because it can be used to send updates to friends and family about where you are and what you're doing. Going out for drinks? Shout out to your friends and they can join you! Find an awesome little shop like Bonnett's Book Store? Tell your friends where they can find their vintage birthday issue of Playboy! And here's the best part... Foursquare is built to let shops like ours offer special deals to you when you check in! We currently offer 20% off your purchase price when you check in and tell your friends on Twitter or Facebook. Also, Foursquare is something of a game as well... you can earn badges for things you do and become "Mayor" of your favorite places. Curious? This site can tell you more.

4) Flickr! - Flickr is a photo sharing site owned by Yahoo! We use it to share large collections of currently featured items. You can browse Flickr without signing up, but you can only upload if you join.

5) Pinterest! - Pinterest is fun. It's a place to collect and organize your interests, be they recipes, fashions, cool cars, vacation spots, whatever you want... and share them with your friends - or not, by using "Secret Boards". We use it to highlight some currently available items and to share some interesting things we find online. But be careful, you can easily kill a night just looking around.

6) Facebook - I don't think I need to tell you about Facebook. Here's our profile, and here's our page.

7) Google Plus - aka Google+ or G+ is a darn fine social site. Our profile is under my name, Kevin Bonnett, and our page is Bonnett's Book Store. I haven't found easy and effective ways to share to and from other social sites, except for this blog (Blogger and all sites are owned by Google). But G+ does one thing better than any other site... privacy! The first thing you do on G+ is organize your contacts into "Circles". A musician can make a "Circle" of bandmates only, for planning rehearsals and gigs. We can make Circles for different customer interests... like Comic Books, or even narrow it down to specific characters, like Spider-Man... this way, we can share with interested parties when something new comes up without bothering people who aren't interested in that particular topic. For example, Western fans wouldn't have to be bothered by Paranormal Romance information, and vice versa. If you join Google+, please look us up. It's a great place to be if you get totally fed up with Facebook.

If you use any of the above sites, apps, or services feel free to look us up and share with us!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Golden Age Comics batch 201302a

A new photo set on Flickr features some things you may not know you can find at Bonnett's. More to come! Other items available. Any questions? Please ask!
Action #90 & Airboy Vol 4 #1Airboy Vol 4 #5 & Vol 8 #1Air Forces #3 & Boy Illustories #44Classic Comics (Classics Illustrated)Classic Comics (Classics Illustrated)Crack Comics #9 & Dick Cole #6
Famous Crimes #7 & Fast Fiction #1Feature Comics #40 & Feature Films #1Girls' Love Stories #3 & Heroic Comics #30More Fun Comics #94 & #97More Fun Comics #103 & Popular Comics #94Public Enemies #8 & Target Comics Vol 9 #10
True Sport Picture Stories Vol. 3 #9 & True Comics #34Whiz Comics #23 & World's Finest Comics #20World's Finest Comics #20 & #33Prize Comics #1 & Sure-Fire Comics #1Dick Cole #3 & Heroic Comics #27Real Life Comics #10 & Spotlight Comics #2
Doll Man #1 & World's Finest Comics #39

Golden Age Comics 201302a, a set on Flickr.
Via Flickr:
A selection of Golden Age Comic books available from Bonnett's Book Store in Dayton, Ohio; dealing in back issue comics and magazines since 1939. -- All items sold separately. Prices shown are negotiable. -- Contact BonnettsBookStore on Flickr or Gmail for more information -- This collection includes Doll Man, Superman, Dick Cole, featuring Ace, DC Comics, Fawcett, some with Jordan's store stamp, L.B. Cole art, pre-code comics used in Seduction of the Innocent, sports, civil war, world war two, air war, love, romance, adventure, cowboys, naval battles, police, crime, criminals, law, action, thrills, spills, humor, funnies, gags, super heroes, movie stars, classic stories, motorcycles, mysteries, murder, suspense, and more!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Touchstones for a Week

It's been a busy week in which nothing much happened at Bonnett's Books. Bitter cold and snow have kept in-store traffic to minimum. Chilling effects of an esoteric nature have likewise burdened the hearts and minds of our circles, to the point of making weather woes meaningless in comparison. The clocks are still working, Klaatu hasn't made the Earth stand still, and there are indeed a few things I have remembered that can be shared here.

Books about the arts of film-making/history, photography, and illustration have been simmering for some time. To be honest, they're pretty consistent topics around here, but they seem to be nearing a boil, bubbling to the surface. I anticipate a good deal of high-caliber creative activity in 2013. Keep in mind, the results of this activity may not be seen until the end of the year, or a year or two hence. The best roasts cook the longest!

History itself, both fictional and non, from the whimsical to the technical*, has also been in the air - as well as on our shelves. It's the books, after all, which primarily spur store discussions into a full run.

And last, but certainly not least, there's been a sudden and unexpected upswing in comic book interest. I'm not talking about super-collectibles, just regular comics. Of course, any comic-lover will want to take a peek at the good stuff, but interest has been trending toward titles and characters of the common kind.

In the back of my mind I wonder if all the newly-published and revamped variations of our classic heroes are less than satisfactory, thereby building nostalgia for the "good old days." It's funny how "good old days" shift with the passage of time.

Today's "good old days" comics seem to be from the early '70s to the early '80s, but when I started working here (in the 80s) the "good old days" spanned the '40s through the '60s. The older "good old days" are still quite well-regarded but tend to be difficult to obtain, which shifts the focus to newer items of more recent vintage. And current comics are changing so often it's hard to follow what's going on - but you can try.

It's a bit like the TV shows "Happy Days" and "That 70s Show". Happy Days was a hit in the 70s, 20 years after it's setting. It was the same way with That 70s Show. The big difference was in my own perspective. I lived through and remember the 70s. Things didn't seem so different between then and now. But Happy Days was of a time immemorial to me, and seemed very different than the 70s in which I watched them.

Here we are now, approaching the middle teen years of a new century, and it's just about time to do another flashback TV show (or streaming on-demand web series?) about the wacky 1990s, full of cartoon/toy references, gags about the dial-up-age internet, and grunge music. There's my pitch, Hollywood. Let's get this rolling so I can start getting paid for my big idea [I've got key episodes and the series finale in mind as well - gotta have an "exit strategy" in the '90s, you know.]

It's interesting to note that things are in fact a LOT different now than they were 20 years ago, by leaps and bounds! Comparing the 2010s to the '90s is a far bigger stretch than comparing the '90s to the '70s, or the '70s to the '50s... Wow... and Hey! Why do odd-numbered decades(1.) get to have all the fun?

Until next time...

*History book examples (available here now):
  • Historical Fiction - Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
  • Historical Non-Fiction - A Bridge Too Far by Cornelius Ryan
  • Whimsical History - Esquire's Bad News: Greatest Bloopers, Goofs, & Scoops of Modern Times 1961-84
  • Technical History - Field Guide to Contemporary American Architecture by Carole Rifkind
  • Fake Histories (a twofer!) - 
  1. The 90s: A History of the 1990s Before They Happen, edited by Tony Hendra & Peter Elbling
  2. Our Dumb Century: 100 Years of Headlines from America's Finest News Source by The Onion

Thursday, January 17, 2013

PSA: Lost and Found: Forgotten Gloves, Books

We've had a rash of forgetfulness in the last few weeks. The stuff is below. I've left out some details so only the rightful owners will be able to ID and claim their items. I hope this post will be helpful to them.

  • We're keeping a pair of gloves safe for a regular who left them on his last visit. 
  • A P.J. O'Rourke's book forgotten by a fellow who was looking for Gene Stratton-Porter's "Girl of the Limberlost."
  • "The Road" by Cormac McCarthy and another book were left by some folks visiting Dayton with "Shrek: The Musical" at Victoria Theatre.
Come and get 'em!

Where to begin to continue...

I truly don't know where to begin, or how to go about explaining it all, so here it is, briefly as possible, just to get caught up. Also, I'm trying to get this done quickly, so will not include links. If something here sparks a desire for more info just search for it. I'll probably come back to this post in the future and add links... just because. Up, up and away!

On Saturday I forgot to mention an odd trend of Superman. For a few weeks now we've had what seems to be a Spanish version comic book of Superman, Super-Homem. I'm not fluent in Spanish, but I think this book may be Portugese. Something about language looks other than Spanish to me.

Anyway, It's printed in a smaller format than a typical comic, but it's thicker, like a graphic novel. I guess it's closest print comparison would be thick squarish Japanese manga books that have been steadily growing in popularity. So, yes, I said it's been around for a few weeks, but it was specifically noticed and mentioned by a customer a few days ago. This Spanish/Portugese language Superman book collects a number of stories following the Death and Return of Superman, as evidenced by his longer hairstyle during that time.

And that leads me to a customer request for the Death of Superman comic. They're not expensive or hard to find. In fact, they're so abundant that it's one of a few comics for which we seem to have many multiple copies on hand at all times. Almost everyone who wants one already has it, and that's what made the request something of a surprise.

So, after those two incidents, and in the middle of the VR conversation I mentioned in my previous post, Superman by The Kinks played on the radio.

To wrap it all up, another customer traded in a 2004 issue of The Adventures of Superman. Superman trade-ins aren't uncommon, but I rarely notice them. This one caught my eye for containing a promo poster from Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow - a personal favorite film, with certain similarities to a Superman cartoon from the '40s. The poster was one in a series of six available at the time in various DC comics. I hadn't known of the posters until seeing this comic. I would have collected them.


OK, nothing unusual about Disney in Bonnett circles. We love the Disney! The thing that's odd is when we're suprised by Disney. In October 2012 Disney surprised EVERYONE by taking over Lucasfilm. A deal that huge shouldn't have come out of the blue as it did, but it seems they really wanted to keep it under wraps until it was done. The Star Wars themed ride Star Tours has been a Disney fixture for quite some time, so we knew there was more than a passing connection.

About two weeks before this huge deal we acquired a pair of Mickey Mouse ears for our in-store toy collection. A stray Darth Vader helmet had been sitting around for some time and I thought it would be fun to put the ears on it. Little did I know that I was divining the future with our toys:
A few things to note about this photo. It's second of two I shot with my phone. The other had glare on the Mickey Mouse Club logo, so I moved the shot to this spot, suitably in our science fiction section. Note the fish toys on the right. I put Flounder from The Little Mermaid in this photo because he happened to be handy. The other fish (tail-only) is a squeaky toy of the fish from Disney's Pinnocchio. I promise it's all true. That helmet would not forgive the growing nose of a liar.

Then, at the beginning of this year, my son and I visited the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, OH to see some collections of the photography of Annie Leibovitz. At that time there was a question of whether we would go to the Leibovitz show or another photo show at the Cincinnati Art Museum featuring the photography of Herb Ritts.

In making the final decision I image searched both photogs to get an idea of which show we thought we'd enjoy most. Our final choice turned out to be our original choice, Annie Leibovitz. Both photographers are great, but Leibovitz has shot more of what we felt we wanted to see. The Disney surprise in this case was my discovery of A.L.s Disney Dream Portraits which feature celebs as Disney characters.

My car radio is tuned to 24-hour Classical WDPR 88.1 FM, Dayton Public Radio, but I frequently listen to a variety of podcasts while I'm driving. The chances of hearing any particular thing are slim, and since I keep irregular hours I hear different bits of programming with little anticipation of hearing certain types, styles, or composers which might be featured by the show hosts. However, since just before Christmas I've heard at least one piece every week on WDPR that has been featured in a Disney film. The Nutcracker Suite was featured in the original Fantasia, Rhapsody in Blue was a highlight of Fantasia 2000, Night on Bald Mountain from Fantasia, Pines of Rome from F2K, and the amazing Sorcerer's Apprentice which appeared in both films.

This past weekend I was graced by a visit from my son. We didn't have plans. We were just hanging out on Sunday, did some shopping, visited some friends, played some Uno, watched some Disney. We were going to watch Robin Hood but we didn't seem to have it handy, so we watched Fun and Fancy Free instead, which is really two separate stories shown as a single film. The surprise (for me) was that we ended up watching Disney. I had expected a night of video games or adventure movies, but I'm glad we picked what he did.

The first cartoon in Fun and Fancy Free is Bongo, from a story by Rudyard Kipling Sinclair Lewis about a circus bear who finds freedom and love. The story is narrated by Dinah Shore. Where's the Disney surprise? Well, this bit includes some very Fantasia-esque scenes as Bongo falls in love with a lady-bear. Watch the heart shaped clouds, there's an unintentional surprise there as well. A further surprise the next day was finding a DVD of the old Carol Burnett show... one of the guests being Dinah Shore. Strange how things happen sometimes.

The second segment is Mickey and the Beanstalk starring the famous mouse, Donald Duck, and Goofy. This story is told by famous ventriloquist Edgar Bergen with the help of his "friends" Charlie McCarthy and Mortimer Snerd, and includes some segments of mixed live action and animation.

All in all a very entertaining picture. And as I was typing this stuff about Disney a commercial for Disney Cruises aired on TV. The Disney machine keeps rolling and rolling.

Honestly, there's more to all this, but I'm spent, and I realize this hasn't been my best post. If you've read this far I thank you. More and better posts coming soon, and check back for links. I'll probably do some editing on this post as well, when I return to add the links. Right now it's a 1st printing of the 1st edition. Collect them all! Links have been added and some minor editing has been done, including a rather major correction... Sinclair Lewis wrote Little Bear Bongo, which became the cartoon "Bongo" in "Fun and Fancy Free," not Rudyard Kipling. I honestly have no idea how I switched those two names. Be well!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Future Shock in the Here and Now

1/11/13 - My imaginary dinner lark of two days ago, crafted due to a 2-day lull in activity, has been immediately followed by a 2-day downpour. I recall the following...

Yesterday included more cyberspace with a discussion of the game Shadowrun and a return mention of William Gibson, as well as some chat about manga and anime. This included a brief detour concerning the impact of a networked world on reality, the old ideas of virtual reality, and the burgeoning world of augmented reality. These fairly in-depth concepts breezed by as mere mentions thanks to a shared prior basic understanding of the concepts.

However, all of this brought to mind the book "Future Shock" by Alvin Toffler which discussed the idea of information overload and how society copes with unrelenting progress. It was written way back in 1970, at least a generation before any form of internet put the pedal to the metal on the advance of technology.

Much of Future Shock dealt with the idea of technology isolating people from one another, thereby destroying community and neighborhoods, but the viewpoint of 1970 could not foresee advances in personal communication, which have enabled the rise of virtual communities. And now, many of us have smartphones with access to a multitude of web sites and apps that specifically encourage a return to local interactions in the real world, while still allowing us to connect with the world like never before. Tech created information overload, but it also came up with tools to help us manage in this new world.

Funny how "information overload" so quickly became an in-store subject - and included here; a series of posts specifically about the nearly overwhelming variety of ideas exchanged at Bonnett's Books. But, wait. There's More! That was Thursday. On to Friday.

Today there was a candlelight vigil outside hosted by our neighbors at Peace on Fifth, inside Gallery 510, to raise awareness for victims of Human Trafficking worldwide. They were outside and I had to stay in the store, so there were no interactions to report. However, local news interviewed some of the attendees as they stood in our doorway.

Inside the store, there was more chat about manga and anime, discussions of local history, local TV, the advance of cable TV in the '70s and '80s - with sidebars about personal experiences* with cable in its early days, and remembrance of favorite cable programs of yore. Ah, memories.


*featuring the VERY awkward teenage event of seeing naked ladies ride bikes while sitting with a girlfriend and her parents as we waited for Capricorn One to air on a movie channel. I'll avoid linking to keep the blog SFW, but you can see it if you wish on by searching for Queen - Bicycle Race - Uncensored.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

How to segue from Spies, to UFOs, to Poetry? I don't know. I'll cook something up.

1/9/13 - The ideascape has been less than fast and furious for a couple of days... it seems we found an eddy in the thoughtstream. Might as well enjoy the moment of calm. How about dinner?

On the table is a steaming platter of Spy stories and intrigue. The menu includes a side of Ufology with a Jungian glaze served on a fresh bed of Men's Adventure and a Victorian Poetry sorbet for dessert.

Oh, I almost forgot... we're seeing a lot of cookbooks lately. Could you tell? Stop in to see the latest arrivals!

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Spy Lit, Puzzles, and Conspiracies!

1/7/13 - Again, I've discovered a shortage of inventory for a requested author. I'm not diggin' this trend.

Granted, the authors in question are popular and collectible - making them slightly more difficult to find than the average book... this time it was Leslie Charteris, creator of "The Saint" series among other things. Yes, we take note when we're out of something popular, and that fact, perhaps, turns the spotlight away from all the things we DO have. No one reports news on an intersection without a traffic accident, right (or do they)?

The 1997 film of "The Saint" starring Val Kilmer is not one of the great films of all time, but it's fun and has one of my go-to soundtracks. It's a great movie to "watch" when you're doing something else. ;-) I jest. It's actually an excellent movie to watch, if only to see the many faces of Val Kilmer. The guy is very good at putting on a persona.

So, let's look at the brighter side of the day... We hooked someone up with a Scrabble dictionary. Scrabble dictionaries have always been uncommon around here, especially since the National Scrabble Tournament was held in Dayton back in 2009, and in fact, it was our last one, for now. Herman Melville's Moby Dick and a collection by Robert Louis Stevenson were also in the plus side of the mix today. Adventure on the high seas! Always good stuff - though, personally, I might be more enthusiastic about salt-water in the months when salting ice on sidewalks was less of a probability...

What amazing new adventures await in tomorrow's exciting episode of The Chronicles of Bonnett's Books?
Tune in next time!

Sunday, January 06, 2013

How was 1/5/13 at Bonnett's Books?

If yesterday was a perfect example of why I'm blogging daily highlights at the shop, today was a perfect example of why it's NOT a good idea.

1/5/13 - Yesterday's lightbulb-changing activity apparently took it's toll on my upper back and neck muscles, which are not accustomed to working in an arms-above-the-head configuration. I didn't mention the fact that I had also labored on my shower head at home before work. In short, any discussions that may have taken place were conducted through a manageable but persistent, distracting, and wearying haze of pain.

What I remember is vague... There was some talk of local jazz venues and musicians, an observation of wide-ranging variety of sports available this afternoon - on broadcast TV alone (meaning no cables or dishes or other forms of paid TV), some passing commentary on the state of the Union, and Greg's Black Bean & Garlic chili.

I'm sure it was all more interesting that I was capable of perceiving. Sunday, being a day of rest, will be used for same.

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Science Fiction Day?

I'm glad to know there is a National Science Fiction Day and I'm a bit disappointed in myself that I hadn't learned of it until now. For the record NSFD coincides with the birthdate of Isaac Asimov, every year on January 2nd. In any case, the themes around the shop today included a good dose of Science Fiction.

1/4/13 - DK Publishing's "X-Men The Ultimate Guide: Updated Edition" from 2003 has found it's way here and began the Sci-Fi trend of the day. The X-Men universe of comics have always seemed, to me, to be the most science-y of the entire Marvel Universe, which (to me) always seemed the most science-based comic books. Granted, it's difficult to find a superhero comic that is NOT rooted in science fiction. The mystical and supernatural characters of comics typically play in a different sandbox, yet often cross paths with our super-science tinkerers and wünderkinds. And why not? As another giant of Science Fiction, Sir Arthur C. Clarke, famously wrote, "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." But, let's not forget that Mark Twain's "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court" used that very concept nearly a century before!

So, today a customer asked for John Kennedy Toole's "A Confederacy of Dunces" - another title I was disappointed to find we currently lack (and one I should find for my own reading purposes). We looked in a number of spots in the store; A) 'the rack' - a place we put popular titles, near our Classics, which will likely deserve a spot in the Classics section, one day, B) 'across from the desk' - a place we put books that are very popular, hard for us to find, or slightly more expensive than the norm (I've equated this space to the 'top shelf' liquor in a bar), and C) the Humor section. During all this searching I seemed to recall hearing of a "Confederacy of Dunces" movie and suggested we might look in the movie-books, but my wise guest informed me that it's been tried many times and the lead actor keeps dying off. My current internet search on the topic indicates another film attempt has recently been considered.

While at the 'top shelf' books we found "The Crying of Lot 49" by Thomas Pynchon. He's another fellow I've yet to read, and I mentioned "Gravity's Rainbow" as being high on my to-do list. This became a short diversion to William Gibson, who is frequently thought of as a Sci-Fi writer but has lately delved into stories of a far more real-world nature - I'm partial to "Pattern Recognition", which has been considered for filming (like "... Dunces" and "... Lot 49") and was produced as a 5-part radio play for BBC Radio in 2007. Further broadening the thoughtscape was talk of publishing and then a mention of Cory Doctorow, who insists that many of his works be made available for free, at the same time his publishers are offering them for sale.

To wrap up the search for "... Dunces" we glanced through the aforementioned Humor section. While failing to find "A Confederacy of Dunces" we did stumble upon P. J. O'Rourke's "Parliament of Whores" and shared a quick laugh about bundling the two books as a double-feature.

That's a lot for one day... all of this idea-volleyball occurred in the space of a mere 10-15 minutes! I also changed a lightbulb (it takes just 1 Bonnett to do so), helped our First Friday visitors, created Slushy, the Snow Blob, typed all of this, and more. It's a perfect example of why I wanted to begin chronicling a year of ideas in the shop. Such mental parkour is de rigueur and, being whelmed and overwhelmed in this manner is like a workout, leaving the brain all sweaty and catching it's breath. Some would casually call all this chit-chat trivia; we sincerely do not. A used bookstore isn't a graveyard of old information. Used bookstores are the original culture mash-up, the birthplace of the mental remix, and a seed bank of future ideas. Just the kinds of things Dayton is known for... inspiration, invention... and now Slushy, the Happy Snowblob. Caption him at will.

Friday, January 04, 2013

The Wide World of Bonnett's Books 2013

On a whim, I thought I'd try to chronicle the diversity of topics dealt with on a daily basis here in the shop. I hope to do this regularly throughout 2013. The name of our blog, "Penciled Margins" was inspired by the fact that almost every day here brings in new and interesting items, experiences, and information. That's the nature of this place. Old, new, classic, modern, off-the-wall, mainstream, and on and on...

The links below are not as simple as they appear. Don't ignore them. Some are basic links to Wikipedia info or official sites related to the linked item. Other links might be thought of as "bonus features" or "easter eggs" which will lead to news, videos, behind the scenes stuff and other amazing things. No "Rick Roll" links*, I promise, except maybe on April 1st.

Who knows, you may even want to save some the links and sites for the future!

So, let's get caught up...

1/1/13 - We were closed for New Years Day. No in-store discussions, searches, etc. My wife and I enjoyed a day at home together and watched Pulp Fiction. After she went to bed I watched Sin City. I'm not sure where the inspiration to watch either film was born, but they're both highly entertaining films and merit a repeat from time to time. Happy New Year!

1/2/13 - A customer request for comedies by Aeschylus led to an online search and the discovery that he's known more for his tragedies - learn something new every day. Then, while checking our shelves for works by Aeschylus (to find we're a bit low at the moment) discussion turned to Shakespeare, acting, film-making, and my glib suggestion that Quentin Tarantino's lengthy scenes of dialog might one day, far off, be studied by students of dramatic arts as Shakespeare's use of language is studied today. As you may have guessed, if you're paying attention, the comment was driven by my entertainment choices from 1/1/13. We finally wrapped up the discussion when we found something from Aristophenes, who, after all that, is a Greek comedic dramatist and happened to appeal to that particular customer.

1/3/13 - What a square date, daddy-o! Many things crossed our shared thoughtscape today, from the recent Bruce Wayne morph to super yachts and action films. Bruce Willis [I almost typed "Bruce Wayne" again], Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Arnold Schwarzenegger figured prominently. Willis was in both my movie choices from the First of the year, but I was not the one to bring him to the conversation. However, I mentioned Gordon-Levitt and Ahnold due to our Batman related discussion. Schwarzenegger chat lingered as I searched for some online images by Annie Leibovitz, whose "Master Set" and "Pilgrimage" curations were recently on display with more of her work at the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus (Ohio), which my son and I had attended just days before.

So that gets us caught up on current ideas floating around the bookstore. What's next?

Concepts flow around here in the same way our books, comics, and movies do. There's really no way to know what will turn up, until it does. Please check back often - both in the shop and here at "Penciled Margins" - the official weblog of Bonnett's Books.


*after this one.