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Thursday, March 22, 2012

One More Note

I didn't want to comment much more on the video, since it's not really what I think about it that matters, rather whatever you take out of it. However, there was one clarification I felt was important to make, which was with regard to the low number of non-white authored books in our video. As a Mexican-American woman, I felt a responsibility to respond to this, and did so in a forum to one commenter's, and thought to share it for anyone else who had the same concern. Thanks!

Hey ----- ,

I just wanted to express that I was also bummed about that being the case. It was one of my concerns towards the end of editing the video.

We aimed to shoot at over 10 locations in one day and were on foot (driving in NY is much more of a joke than that video). The way we shot this was SUPER quickly, in one day (to reconcile everybody’s schedules alone was a challenge), so each of the snippets were takes we had to get right in one go. So, the majority of the books we are holding are arbitrary because of the way in which the video was filmed.

I was literally schlepping a mini laundry cart of books around NYC that day, and my trusty little trolley also contained some Lorca plays, Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, Jorge Luis Borges, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Maya Angelou and Colson Whitehead’s Zone One, to name a few, but unfortunately with how fast we had to capture our shots, not much thought went into diversifying the book selection (I’d basically just hand whomever a book, take the shot, and go).

The editing was also a factor in this final catalogue, where the ratio of author backgrounds ended up being more disproportionate than I would’ve liked since we did shoot other close ups at the bookstore, I remember Khalil Gibran’s The Prophet (our camera guy’s favorite) being one of them. Perhaps, if more people are conscious enough to have the same type of reaction as you have, publishing companies can react accordingly.

Anyway, if it’s of any consolation- in the upward pan of books fading over my face in the breakdown, Jorge Luis Borges’ El Aleph (one of my favorite books ever) is on top of the stack and he is above Vikram Seth’s Equal Music, the guy in front of the basketball courts is reading Salman Rushdie’s Midnight Children and at the very end LaShea reads a book about the tragic Rwandan genocide in 1994 as I close Robert Bola├▒o’s Savage Detectives, both books that were in our purses at the time.

Respectfully yours,
A Quezada


  1. Hey Annabelle,

    Congratulations on all positive press and thoughtful conversation your video has brought up. A San Francisco friend randomly posted it on FB and I recognized you immediately after all these years. It was incredibly well done and hearing that you all had to run around and do that in one day, I'm really impressed. I had a similar thought about wishing their were a broader range of books chosen but then I came to your blog and realized how obviously well tuned you seem to global perspectives. I chalked it up to editing constraints. Maybe a part 2 will come to pass? ;-)

    Also, I should say I credited knowing you ever so briefly years ago and thus assumed you're in fact incredibly thoughtful in putting a project out there. Happy to see good things have come your way after "It's a bright Day at Bright Child!" Not sure if you'd even remember me from then. Take good care and I'm happy to find your very interesting blog.


  2. Dear Annabelle,

    Thank you for the fantastic video, it just made my day! Although you've written that you don't want to comment more on the vid, I would like to ask you whether you could answer some simple questions via email: I'm from Budapest, Hungary, studied literary studies and feminist literary criticism, and would like to write about you and B*tches in Bookstores! I'm really curious about how this started and so on... Thanks for the answer in advance, have a nice day! Bye, Eszter from the sunny Budapest :)


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I'm an LA transplant now living in Brooklyn. I develop film projects by day, write at night, and have a dangerous predilection for vintage Robinson Golluber scarves- this blog serves as a tiny window to everything else I do when I'm not satisfying those first three passions. I'm trying to blog more and tweet less @annabelleqv. What about you?


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