Friday, November 21, 2008
What's up with the donkey?
Indeed, why a donkey? It all began in September 2006 with the movie Au Hasard Balthazar, directed by Robert Bresson, recommended to me by our head-donkey Frank Sanchez, Kepler's frontlist buyer. The story of the donkey Balthazar, in this 1966 film, is the story of human folly and cruelty and the wisdom of the donkeys. Then, there were two surprise bestsellers at Kepler's, The Wisdom of Donkeys, by Andy Merrifield and Donkey the Mystique of Equus Asinus, by Michael Tobias & Jane Morrison (the poster above my desk on the donkey photo is the cover of this book). Both books reveal the donkey's noble and humble nature, "a being who is honest, forthright, compassionate and loving." These qualities reminded me of independent bookstores' noble and humble work, such as Kepler's, and our stubborn hope in sharing the love of books and reading. Well-Read Donkey's name comes from John Fowles' wonderful introduction for the Book of Ebenezer le Page, by G.B. Edwards, published by one of Kepler's favorite imprints New York Review Books, "He more than once likened his stubbornness to that of a donkey; but this was a wise and well-read donkey..."