Asylum on the Net

Asylum Books, the used bookstore on South Lamar, (sort of) closed its doors on July 5. For over three years, says Asylum co-owner Bob Wolfkill, the used bookstore has been doing 40-60% of its business through the Internet via sites like Bibliocity and Bibliofind, where customers can find links to any number of used bookstores that offer old, quirky, or hard-to-find titles. "We're in essence just shifting our business down the road a bit and moving from a 3,000-square-foot place to an 800-square-foot place," Wolfkill says. A dispute with a neighbor over noise essentially gave Wolfkill and wife/business partner Lissa Alspach the out they needed from their lease, since Wolfkill says his property manager opted to let Asylum out of its lease rather than ask the noisy neighbor to lower the volume. "We're going to lose that personal contact, which is a big part of the business, so that will be the real downside to it," Wolfkill says. "It seems to be the trend especially in independent used stores; more and more of them seem to be going online and closing up shop." Customers still have the option of making an appointment to view the store's inventory in Asylum's new location; call 441-9445 for more information.

Making Old Turtle Sing

Old Turtle, the exceptionally popular 1991 children's book that is now in its 29th printing, is now a piece of music. Last week, Song of Wisdom From "Old Turtle," commissioned by Dallas' Turtle Creek Chorale and composed by Austin musician Joseph Martin, was performed for the first time and labeled an "impressive finale" to a evening of song by the Dallas Morning News.

That notice is bound to please Don Tubesing, the publisher of Pfeifer-Hamilton Publishers in Duluth, Minnesota, who has been actively fielding proposals to turn Old Turtle into a work of music for some time. "We really wanted a world-class piece, and for obvious reasons the book really fits that but also it would really help make this thing a classic, like Peter and the Wolf," Tubesing says.

"That was kind of my mandate from the publishers," Martin said. "They wanted it to have that kind of power and recognition, something that would appeal in terms of its musical integrity to adults and children." Martin seems to have had no difficulty creating a lyrical piece of music from Old Turtle author Douglas Wood's text: "His metaphors are very tonal," Martin remarked. "They engage all of the senses, but particularly I feel like he's sensitive to the sounds of things and that's very evident in that book."


Austin author Don Webb will read from and sign his new novel Essential Saltes: An Experiment at Adventures in Crime and Space on Saturday, July 10, from 5-7pm. Darryl Wimberley, another local writer, will read from and sign his new mystery A Rock and a Hard Place at Barnes & Noble Westlake on Thursday, July 15, at 7:30pm (see review page 40). On the same day from noon-1:30pm, Congress Avenue Booksellers hosts a Roky Erickson Birthday Salute-Tribute with Jack Ortman signing copies of his "scrapbooks" Roky Erickson Story, Roky II -- The Sequel, Roky III -- Son of the Sequel, and Roky IV -- Roky and His Friends. The event is free, but any donations received benefit the Roky Erickson Trust. Will Erickson himself be there? Ortman says it will be a surprise if he shows up.

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More Postscripts
The last time we heard about Karla Faye Tucker, she was being executed; now, almost four years later, there's a new novel about her. Or about someone very like her. And Beverly Lowry's classic Crossed Over, a memoir about getting to know Karla Faye Tucker, gets a reissue.

Clay Smith, Jan. 18, 2002

Not one day back from vacation and the growing list of noble souls who need to be congratulated is making Books Editor Clay Smith uneasy.

Clay Smith, Jan. 11, 2002


Asylum Books, Bob Wolfkill, Lissa Alspach, Joseph Martin, Old Turtle, Song Of Wisdom From Old Turtle, Don Tubesing, Don Webb, Essential Saltes: An Experiment, Essential Saltes, A Rock And A Hard Place, Darryl Wimberley, Roky Erickson, Jack Ortman

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