Tag Archives: caption contest

The Mad Hatter’s Riddle Comes Clear

Alice in Wonderland’s Mad Hatter used to have the monopoly on “most famous tea party ever,” although I fear some political parties may have overtaken him. Or joined him. I’m not sure which.

Anyway, among the Mad Hatter’s famous tea-party riddles is, “Why is a raven like a writing desk?” Like tea parties themselves, this has an update: “Why is Twitter unlike a bookshop?”

The answer makes about as much sense as anything else in today’s speed-and-celebrity-crazed world. Twitter, for those unfamiliar, is that 140-characters-or-less never-ending “conversation” you can have with the rest of the world just by signing up. Think of a very large high school lunchroom, each table seeking to be the “cool kids” and shouting short sentences into the room. No one is listening to anyone else, just making sure they’re heard.

It’s Facebook on crack cocaine: say what YOU have to say, and don’t worry about the rest. There’s even something called a “Klout” score, calculated by how often you Tweet (send a message) and how often your Tweet is retweeted (someone else resends it). Your Klout score goes down if you answer other people’s tweets or retweet others.

In other words, the more you listen, the less Klout you have? Oh dear; perhaps Twitter is not unlike the Mad Hatter’s madcap party, or the world on the other side of the looking glass.

If ever there were a world less like a bookshop, the Twitterverse is it. In the bookshop, conversations need not be short because time lasts longer. And in a bookshop, it’s all about listening. It makes your score go up, not down; customers come back,  knowing they’re not just markets you’re trying to sell to, but humans you’re trying to connect with.

Now that I’ve dissed it, let me say that I’m on Twitter because I wrote a book and got told to “go social market.” And I’ll stay on because I have actually met some fun people, and connected with some friends in the region I never see face to face. It’s like meeting in a Walmart aisle, seeing their Tweets about what’s up with their day. Plus, some Tweeters are genuine, funny, and sweet, being themselves more than pushing an agenda–or a product. Despite my initial terror, Twitter is like the rest of the world–what you make of it.

So I will be myself, and enjoy others doing the same, on Twitter. But until my dying day, I will maintain that Twitter is not like a bookshop, and be grateful for the listening calm that running mine counterweights against Tweetopia, balancing the scales of life.

Care for a cup of tea as we chat?

(Don’t forget to enter Caption Contest V; scroll down to August 14, view entries and leave yours in “comments.”)

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Accordion Roll, Please: Caption IV Winners, Caption V Starts

….and the winner of Caption Contest IV is: Erin Dalton, for her hilarious entry: Pay me and I will put the instrument down slowly. Otherwise, I will try and play. Judges reported smiling, laughing and guffawing.

St. Martin’s Press will send Erin a free copy of The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap.

In second place were Kathye Fetsko Petrie with “Accordion Crimes” and David Volk (father of the accordion-wielding child) with “Best pop-up book ever!” I tried to organize free accordion lessons for them both, but as they live several hundred miles apart, well, David and Kathye, you’ll have to make do with the warm glow of accomplishment, I’m afraid.

Now, on to Caption Contest V: this one closes in just one week, so get your entries in early!

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Contest Closes Monday

Don’t forget that judging begins Monday morning for the photo below. Scroll down to July 29 to leave your entry and view the others. (Put your entry in Comments.) Have fun, exercise creativity, and yes, it is called an accordion.

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Caption Contest IV closes August 12

Today just a quick reminder that you should have fun and exercise your creativity by entering Caption Contest IV. First prize is a copy of The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap. The competition is sponsored by St. Martin’s Press, and they have generously said no matter where you live, they will mail you a copy.

Here’s the photo, but to enter scroll down to July 29 and look at the other entries in “Comments” and leave your own if you’re so inclined. It’s a great way to end a hard work week!

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CAPTION CONTEST IV

Post your captions in comments for this photo, taken in our bookstore this past spring. Contest closes August 12. The winner receives a free copy of The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap and helps judge caption contest V. There will be seven contests in all, thanks to St. Martin’s Press!

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CAPTION CONTEST III WINNER: TIED!

St. Martin’s Press will be providing two books for this round, as Camille Born, a storyteller from Mahomet, Illinois, and Tamra Igo, a Wise County, VA native, have tied for first place in Caption Contest III.

Camille’s winning entry for the sad little face above was “I wish I could read. *sniff*”

Tamra entered, “I only have nine lives to read all THESE?”

Second place  goes to Eleanor Hjemmet, a musician from Tennessee, for her entry, “Isn’t anyone going to read to me tonight?”

And an honorable mention (no prize, but hey, it’s fun) goes to Good Reads Missoula for “I shouldn’t have stayed up all night reading Cujo,” and to Erin Dalton for “Mosley! I wanted Milne!”

My husband and I don’t cast votes in these competitions, but after laughing himself silly at several entries, Jack has decided to create the “Jack Beck Discretionary Award,” which he is sending to Paula Welch (no relation, so it’s not nepotism) of Dallas, Pennsylvania. She entered, “Of all the bookshops in the world, she had to come into mine.” Paula will receive a CD of Jack singing Scottish ballads. (He’s sending Eleanor one, too.)

Thanks for the laughs, and Caption Contest IV will gear up at the end of the month! Meanwhile, blogging, blogging, blogging.

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Caption Contest III

This contest is open to anyone and everyone who visits this blog (even if this is your first time). Winner receives a free copy of The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap: a memoir of friendship, community, and the uncommon pleasure of a good book. Books will be mailed to winners.

This is one of the foster kittens currently resident in our bookstore. Have at! Put your (family-friendly) caption in the comments; contest closes July 20. St. Martin’s Press is sponsoring seven contests in all between now and Oct. 2.

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