31 March 09 | Chad W. Post

As you can see on the right side of the page, our featured indie bookstore for the month of April is Shaman Drum Bookshop in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Karl Pohrt and I are good friends (he’s actually on the advisory committee for Open Letter as well), and worked together to help launch the Reading the World program.

Although Karl and his store have been mentioned on Three Percent dozens of times, I really wanted to specially feature Shaman Drum this month to bring attention to a few different things, both good and frightening.

First off, as you may have heard, Shaman Drum has run into a bit of trouble. Back in February, Karl wrote a letter to the Ann Arbor Chronicle detailing the plight of the store and the fact that textbook sales were down $510,000 from the previous year and that the store might not survive.

After a trip to Nicaragua, he wrote a second letter saying that he would do all he could to keep the bookstore going.

During that trip he met Ernesto Cardenal, whose Pluriverse came out earlier this year from New Directions. Cardenal is going to be in Ann Arbor later this month, and we’re planning on running info and interviews from that event here on Three Percent.

Also in terms of good news, not everyone knows about this yet, but it looks like instead of a traditional Reading the World program this year, we’ll instead be having a RTW party at Idlewild Books in NYC on Thursday, May 28th in honor of Karl. Soo Jin and Declan from New Directions have been working on this, and I’ll make a special post with all the details in the near future. We’re hoping to have someone interview Karl about his life in bookselling, and we’re also planning on having a raffle to benefit Shaman Drum, RTW, and Idlewild.

In addition to linking all book titles to Shaman Drum’s online catalog, we’re hoping to post more information about the store, its history, employees, etc. Since this is one of “those stores” that people remember fondly for years and years, if any of you have any stories about S.D. that you’d like to share, please e-mail them to chad.post at rochester dot edu, or simply post them in the comments below.


Comments are disabled for this article.
....
This Life
This Life by Karel Schoeman
Reviewed by P. T. Smith

Karel Schoeman’s Afrikaans novel, This Life, translated by Else Silke, falls into a genre maybe only noticed by the type of reader who tends toward Wittgenstein-type family resemblances. The essential resemblance is an elderly narrator, usually alone—or with one other. . .

Read More >

A Dilemma
A Dilemma by Joris-Karl Hyusmans
Reviewed by Christopher Iacono

In Joris-Karl Hyusmans’s most popular novel, À rebours (Against Nature or Against the Grain, depending on the which translated edition you’re reading), there is a famous scene where the protagonist, the decadent Jean des Esseintes, starts setting gemstones on the. . .

Read More >

Walker on Water
Walker on Water by Kristiina Ehin
Reviewed by P. T. Smith

There are books that can only wisely be recommended to specific types of readers, where it is easy to know who the respective book won’t appeal to, and Kristiina Ehin’s Walker on Water is one these. What makes this neither. . .

Read More >

The Nightwatches of Bonaventura
The Nightwatches of Bonaventura by Bonaventura
Reviewed by J. T. Mahany

Imagine the most baroque excesses of Goethe, Shakespeare, and Poe, blended together and poured into a single book: That is The Nightwatches of Bonaventura. Ophelia and Hamlet fall in love in a madhouse, suicidal young men deliver mournful and heartfelt. . .

Read More >

Pavane for a Dead Princess
Pavane for a Dead Princess by Park Min-Gyu
Reviewed by Christopher Iacono

In 1899, Maurice Ravel wrote “Pavane pour une infante défunte” (“Pavane for a Dead Princess”) for solo piano (a decade later, he published an orchestral version). The piece wasn’t written for a particular person; Ravel simply wanted to compose a. . .

Read More >

Tram 83
Tram 83 by Fiston Mwanza Mujila
Reviewed by Caitlin Thomas

Fiston Mwanza Mujila is an award-winning author, born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, who now, at 33, lives in Austria. From what I could find, much of his work is influenced by the Congo’s battle for independence and its. . .

Read More >

Twenty-One Days of a Neurasthenic
Twenty-One Days of a Neurasthenic by Octave Mirbeau
Reviewed by Lori Feathers

Twenty-One Days of a Neurasthenic is not a novel in the traditional sense. Rather, it is a collection of vignettes recorded by journalist Georges Vasseur in his diary during a month spent in the Pyrenées Mountains to treat his nervous. . .

Read More >

Sphinx
Sphinx by Anne Garréta
Reviewed by Monica Carter

Founded in 1960 by such creative pioneers as George Perec, Raymond Queneau and Italo Calvino, the Oulipo, shorthand for Ouvroir de littérature potentielle, came about in when a group of writers and mathematicians sought constraints to find new structures and. . .

Read More >

Morse, My Deaf Friend
Morse, My Deaf Friend by Miloš Djurdjević
Reviewed by Vincent Francone

There’s little to say about a series of prose poems that willfully refuse to identify pronoun antecedents. Or perhaps there are a million things. The poems in Morse, My Deaf Friend— the chapbook by Miloš Djurdjević published by Ugly Duckling. . .

Read More >

The Crimson Thread of Abandon
The Crimson Thread of Abandon by Terayama Shūji
Reviewed by Robert Anthony Siegel

The Crimson Thread of Abandon is the first collection of short fiction available in English by the prolific Japanese writer and all-around avant-garde trickster Terayama Shūji, who died in 1983 at the age of 47. This collection would be important. . .

Read More >

The next few events from our Translation Events Calendar: See More Events >