Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Over 1,000 books, movies, and music for sale at great prices

For the first time in Reading In Montana's history we now have over 1,000 books, movies, and music you can buy now from our virtual amazon store front.  We have recently updated our prices so all items are available at a great value.  Please give us a look and see if we have what you have been looking for at a price you can afford.  We add new titles daily so make us the first (and hopefully last) place you look for great books.

Catherine @ Reading In Montana

currently finishing "The Stepford Wives" by Ira Levin

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Home Office

I was recently inspired by a photo essay,  behind the scenes at Netflix.  I've posted my own behind the scenes at Reading In Montana of sorts. Here are some photos of the spoils of a short trip to Big Timber for a library fundraiser last week. This small Montana town has a beautiful library with very friendly staff. 

Quite a lot of books looking for new readers!  While this only a small snapshot of operations here at the "home office" I do hope you enjoy the peek .  These books will soon each be individually washed, inspected for flaws, priced, and made available for sale on amazon.com

Note, not all of these titles are available at Reading In Montana today but they will be in the near future. 

Catherine @ Reading In Montana

Books in the shots:
"The Last Full Measure" by Jeff Shaara
"Revolutionary Road" by Richard Yates
"Vera and the Ambassador: Escape and Return" by Vera and Donald Blinken
"Among the Impostors" by Margaret Peterson Haddix

If you want more photos from the home office you can see them here at our flickr site


Amazon Sales Rank - Information Management

A quick post to catch up on this important issue:  Here is a well done summary and update of the Amazon sales rank glitch over Easter weekend from Information Today, Inc. "Amazonfail: How Metadata and Sex Broke the Amazon Book Search."  For anyone wanting to get the whole story from an information management point of view and the implications of the amazonfail event this is a required read.  

Catherine @ Reading In Montana
currently reading "Revolutionary Road" by Richard Yates

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Tell Amazon to stop the Censorship

Here is a link to Change.org's petition telling Amazon to stop discrimination against LGBT books.  Here is the letter.  I encourage you to sign it.

Stop Discrimination Against LGBT Books

Dear Amazon,

It has come to my attention that you have recently de-ranked books with LGBT content on the pretense that this qualifies as "adult content."  At the same time, books about heterosexual porn stars, Playboy centerfolds, and techniques on how to "cure" homosexuality remain ranked.

This inconsistency shows overt discrimination and is unacceptable.  It's particularly disappointing coming from a public company that so many people trust, and threatens to permanently tarnish the Amazon brand.

As an Amazon customer, I demand that you end this discrimination immediately.  I also call on you to release a transparent set of guidelines on how books are classified so that the reasons behind the changes made are understood and future conflicts and unfair discrimination can be avoided.

I hope to see you resolve this matter soon, 

Catherine McMullen @ Reading In Montana

Monday, April 13, 2009


I'm not sure what the whole story is on the #amazonfail situation over the weekend. I've been reading the news  and the blogs and cannot figure out exactly what has happened, with what intent, and by whom. Here is a salon.com post and a media memo post about the issue.  

As a librarian and a bookseller I believe that limiting what information people can easily find is a form of censorship. The possibility that amazon.com has limited searchability of titles they has deemed "adult" is frightening.  

As a small business owner who has made the investment and commitment to sell on the amazon.com platform I am concerned about this on a different level.  Reading In Montana is joined at the hip to amazon.com, in terms of marketing, branding, sales, and policy decisions such as this one.  Reading in Montana is not amazon.com.  The decision to remove sales rankings from books because of content is not a good business decision much less a good moral decision. 

I sell on amazon.com because I believed that anyone could find any book one wanted there quickly and without judgement.  Every book a reader, every reader a book. Now I'm not so sure.

This evening when I do a quick search "homosexuality" the first book that pops up on the sales rank influenced results list is "A Parent's Guide to Preventing Homosexuality," I have to wonder what books are not showing up because they have been stripped of their sales rank and if a more queer positive and understanding title might have shown up in that search.   And well since I don't know the title of the book I'm looking for I don't know that I could find it on amazon.  The endless possibilities have been now become limited.

Amazon has issued a statement, an apology of sorts.  The whole situation is now a "ham-fisted cataloging error."  The censorship issue becomes yet another technical glitch.  I hope amazon.com and other such giants have been taking notes.
Catherine @ Reading In Montana

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter from my bunny (see below) to yours! We hope you find all of the brightly colored eggs. Ohh... Chocolate!

Catherine @ Reading In Montana

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Worst-Case Scenario

I've come across a few of these very popular "Worst-Case Scenario", how to books over the last few days in my book hunting.  I believe I may have both the "Survival Handbook" and "Parenting" editions.

Here is a skill you might need while hiking in the Mountains here in Montana:

1 - Lie still and quiet.
2 - Stay where you are and do not climb a tree to escape a bear.
3 - If you are lying still and the bear attacks, strike back with anything you can.

     What to Do if You See a Bear 
  • Make your presence known by talking loudly, clapping, singing...
  • Keep children close at hand...
  • There is no guaranteed minimum safe distance from a bear: the farther, the better.
  • If you are in a car, remain in your vehicle...
Read the whole article on pages 50 - 53 of "The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook" by Joshua Piven and David Borgenicht.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Sustainable Living

I've always been green in philosophy (and in try to be in action)  and I've always been attracted to the Simple Living movement and adopting a sustainable lifestyle.  My first attempt at blogging was a little space called the green librarian.  If you visit you will see I've not posted there for some time.

In today's economic situation anything that can make daily obligations less stressful, save money, and most importantly is friendly to the environment is something worth pursuing.  I've just finished reading Simple Prosperity: Finding Real Wealth in a Sustainable Lifestyle by David Wann. Wann is also the Coauthor of Affluenza, a book and PBS program (1997).  What is Affluenza?

Af-flu-en-za n. 1. The bloated, sluggish and unfulfilled feeling that results from efforts to keep up with the Joneses. 2. An epidemic of stress, overwork, waste and indebtedness caused by dogged pursuit of the American Dream. 3. An unsustainable addiction to economic growth. 4. A television program that could change your life.

Simple Prosperity is a follow up to Affluenza, it provides solutions and answers to the problem of overconsumption with consideration for the environment.  It lays out the benefits of a sustainable lifestyle and gives guidance on how to live this new American Dream.  Wann's quirky humor is peppered throughout.  I really enjoyed this book because it gives ideas and solutions instead, like many contemporary books on the subject, bogging me down with the immensity of the problem and leaving me to find all of the solutions.

"This is a valuable and concise digest of much that we've figured out in recent years, about health, stress, joy, community. The only thing it won't tell you how to do is make more money; instead, it will let you see that you may already have enough." - Bill McKibben, author of Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future and Maybe One (I really enjoyed this book too.)

So give Simple Prosperity a try. Check it out at your local library or buy your own copy.  I'll have my copy up for sale on my website by next week sometime.  And if you have already read the book or are part of the Simple Living movement, leave a comment below.  Tell us how we don't have to keep up with the Jones.  

Catherine @ Reading In Montana

Saturday, April 4, 2009

The Authors You Intend to Read

Many people have books they haven't read, intend to read, would read.  Books that sit in stacks on the nightstand, shelves, and bookcases.  These are some of the authors I haven't yet read, but intend to of course:
Virgina Woolf - I think I have begun Mrs. Dalloway a few different times.  I have read The Hours so I should have read Mrs. Dalloway.  I have always wanted to enjoy A Room of One's Own in well a room of my own.  I have even owned a few of Woolf's books only to pass them on without reading them.
James Joyce - I bought a nice hardbound copy of Ulysses on June 16, 2004, exactly one century after the day in which the tomb of a novel takes place.  I have yet to read any Joyce, including Dubliners or Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man and my copy of Ulysses has been borrowed for a few years now by my brother-in-law.
Barack Obama - I have started Dreams from My Father,  I hope to finish it and get to the Audacity of Hope.  I may listen to both on audio instead.

I have many other authors hidden in my closet of unread books.  Tonight I may start on a Patricia Highsmith suspense novel, but she's not new to me as I've read quite a bit and enjoyed quite a bit of her work.

What authors are on your to read, should read list? Highsmith would do well on any one's list.

Catherine @ Reading In Montana

Friday, April 3, 2009

Oprah's Book Club

What other public personality is such a driving force in America's reading habits today?  I don't know that anyone has move influence than Oprah and her Book Club.  One of the most self-affecting titles that has made her list in the past (February 1999) is The Reader by Bernhard Schlink.  This book was translated from the German Der Vorleser in 1997  by Carol Brown Janeway.  I belive I read it in early 1998. Today it has been made into an academy award winning movie that is coming to DVD this month. It blurs the lines between what is evil and good, who is the enemy and who is a friend.  Nothing is ever black and white like the superhero comics.

What else has Oprah given her stamp of approval to?  The reading is varied and all worth one's time.  Check out what Reading in Montana has to offer here:
Catherine @ Reading In Montana

Thursday, April 2, 2009

When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris

Today I finished reading "When You Are Engulfed in Flames" by David Sedaris.  I actually had this book on hold at my public library since before it came out in June 2008 but I didn't get my hands on it until about a week ago.  I always enjoy Sedaris' dark humor and visual grossness.  What other author would describe in detail an expedition to buy his boyfriend a human skeleton for a birthday gift, only to have the skeleton whisper truths about mortality "You are going to die." from its prominent location on the ceiling in the bedroom?   

If you enjoy Sedaris as I do, you might want to try Ginnetta Correli who wrote The Lost Episodes of Beatie Scareli."  There is a lot of family disfunction here as well.

Catherine @ Reading In Montana

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

April First - Blogging is Back

I'm not one for playing tricks on April first.  I never think of good harmless lies to tell family and friends.  I do enjoy the games of others though.  Gmail is at it again today with the new "Gmail Autopilot by CADIE.

April first is also a great day to announce things that are true, like... Reading in Montana is back to blogging about reading, selling books, Montana living, and more reading.  We just had a wildly successful library booksale weekend and our inventory of great used books at affordable prices continues to grow.

Please consider Reading in Montana for your next book purchase and just think, even though you are shopping on Amazon.com you are still supporting small family businesses like ours.  Thank you and avoid making any big announcements today, at least not any that are true.

Book of the day: Angels Unaware: Quantum Leap #12 a lovely
 1997 mass market paperback.  If you watch Battlestar Gallactica you will recognize one of the men on the cover.

Catherine @ Reading In Montana