Monday, May 22, 2017

Jeremiad: A Triptych, by Phil Fitzpatrick and a Heads Up About Wednesday's Dylan Fest Poetry Event

Phil Fitzpatrick @ Homegrown
Last night's Dylan Trivia Contest at Carmody's included the following somewhat challenging question:

1. What local poet first saw Dylan live while he was attending Harvard in the 1960s?
a. Barton Sutter
b. Stephen Burt
c. Phil Fitzpatrick
d. Louis Jenkins

I'll concede that it was unfair for out-of-towners who didn't know our local poets, but my purpose in asking the question was to set up a couple events for this week's Dylan Fest in Duluth. They are the Poets of the North Country on May 24, Dylan's birthday, and Poet/Dylanologist Phil Fitzpatrick's presentation at Karpeles on Saturday from 3-4 p.m.

Sheila Packa, former Duluth Poet Laureate
Wednesday's Poets of the Northland is a free event from 6:00 p.m. till 8:30 p.m. at the Spirit of the North Theater upstairs at Fitger's, to be followed by the Basement Tapes Band at the Rex downstairs afterwards. The first half hour will be a reception that includes birthday cake, beer from Carmody's and music by Andrew Lipke. The event itself will be hosted by Karen Sunderman of The PlayList. We again have a great cast of poets reading including Duluth Poet Laureate Ellie Schoenfeld, past Poets Laureate Jim Johnson, Sheila Packa and Deborah Cooper and 2013-14 Wisconsin Poet Laureate Max Garland. After a brief break in the action there will also be readings by eight select local poets.

Sponsors for this event include Fitger's, The Boat Club Restaurant & Bar, Duluth Poets Laureate Project and Carmody's (Thank you, Eddie.)

Phil Fitzpatrick will himself not be present to read Wednesday. Instead, he will be at a 50th class reunion at Harvard making a Dylan presentation there regarding the influence Dylan's Northland roots have had on his world-changing career. It's been a privilege getting to know Phil through these Dylan circles. In addition to writing poetry and teaching, he has authored an entertaining book titled A Beautiful Friendship: The Joy of Chasing Bogey Golf.

The following is the poem Phil performed at the May 1 Homegrown Festival poetry event at Sacred Heart.

Jeremiad: A Triptych

Chester Creek fulminates
explodes past mafic walls
repositioned basalt boulders
and brittle uprooted trunks
centuries of hammering
by relentless cataracts in
their gnarly seasonal race
a high-pitched kree
a gull strays inland
glances down eyeing
the shiny object an unruly dawn
unveils on the path below
angry crows gather on a conifer
a four-legged bandit snorts
among refuse in the bracken
from drab twigs
no greening buds yet peek in this
apocalyptic gray expanse

*

an’ a voice says, “Why so glum, Pal?”
this guy’s just standing there;
leaning on a walking stick
looking like George Carlin.
I say, “What?” an’ he says,
“What’s the trouble?”
I’m in a bad mood: “Jesus!”
an’ he gets down like this
an’ says, “How’d you know?” He’s making funny eyes
like George Carlin, too!
“Know WHAT?”
I gotta get going.
“My name,” is all he says.
He picks up
the crumpled Hamm’s can
on the ground
“This what’s eatin’ you, Pal?”
“Yeah.”
“Yours?”
I shake my head
“Bummer, eh?”
“Yeah . . .”
“Well, just pack it out.”
“Wait, who the hell are you?”
“I already told you, I mean - you told me.”
“Yeah, maybe that’s your NAME, but . . .”
“Does it really matter, Pal?”
and he hands me the can.
“And bring a bag next time.”
Then he starts up the trail.
“Hey,” I yell. He turns.
“Um, is anyone else coming?”
“There’s a few waiting,” he says.
“But I jumped the line;
I’d keep my eyes open.”

*

word has just come down today
spring’s been cut back
as a concession, we get to keep
Saturday, April 22, Earth Day
yard work, robins, t-shirts
open windows, laundry on the line
deep breaths and long looks
everything drying out
above the great sapphire lake
nothing at all to compromise
enjoying what’s been given
the earth giveth . . . now, it’s our turn
before the earth taketh away
my bag is already half full, but it’s not heavy;
I hoist it over my shoulder
and head on up the trail
keeping my eyes open

* * * *

Meantime, life goes on all around you. Engage it. 

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Duluth Dylan Fest Continues: Bill Pagel's Einstein Disguised as Robin Hood at Karpeles

Dylan signed this classmate's Hibbing High yearbook.
I like people with a sense of humor. Archivist Bill Pagel may be a serious collector of Dylan memorabilia and iconography, but he can also tweak the funny bone when he wishes. Last night, before the Robby Vee show at Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum, Bill gave me a guided tour of the various display cases and their contents, pointing out what's new and different this year. This was useful because some of what's new is similar to last year and only subtly different. (c.f. the acetate.)

One thing that didn't exist last year at this time was the Nobel Prize that Bob Dylan received this past fall. And so, in one display case you will find a program from the Nobel Prize Ceremony that includes the seating arrangements, an official document from that auspicious occasion, and in that selfsame case there is the Nobel Prize. Bill says to me, "I called Bob and asked if he would loan it to us this week." As I wrapped my head around that, an impish smile crossed his face.

In Dylan circles the players all know one another, just as in magician circles there's an insider's club of sorts, a mutual respect society. I don't know where Bill Pagel's collection stands in the grand scheme of things, but for sure there are some impressive items of note on display here through the end of June. And this is only a sliver of what I've seen, which was purportedly only a slice of what he has collected.

Last year we saw the acetate for Visions of Johanna. 
Here are some of the things you can expect to see if you visit Karpeles. This week is Duluth Dylan Fest and if you find an opening in your schedule I encourage you to make your way to this Duluth treasure.

The Hematite is the name of the Hibbing High yearbook. I was informed that this year's Hematite (top right) is different from the one that was on display last year. If you blow up the photo you will see how Bob used the word "huh" at one point. If you look elsewhere you will notice the "huh" is something of a tell-tale sign of authenticity.

A withdrawn library book becomes home to lyrics for
the Ballad of Donald White.
One of the famous early events in the Dylan saga.

Dylan famously scrawled across all the pages of a Robert Shelton book of photos.
Bill Pagel has collected some of these pages.
Bob's mother Beatty is here seen behind Joan Baez and Bob.
I think she's enjoying herself.
Scarlet Rivera (left) has become much loved in the Northland in her efforts
to support the renovation of the Armory.
The name of the exhibit is once again Einstein Disguised As Robin Hood. If you're a Dylan fan, this is something you won't want to miss. Thanks, Bill, for sharing.

Bob's handwritten Chimes of Freedom atop the printed music.
If you had been there, this is what you would have received.

* * * *

Dylan Trivia at Carmody's tonight was fun. Susan Laing from Australia' Outback came the furthest to be here. And she proved herself to be an extremely knowledgeable Dylanologist. Congratulations, Susan, for the many exciting things you've seen during your Stateside Dylan journey.

Meantime, life goes on all round you... get into it.

Robby Vee Sets Duluth Dylan Fest In Motion with His Rock N Roll Caravan

There's a reason Robby Vee and his Rock N Roll Caravan are in the Rockabilly Hall of Fame. They're just that good. And they make you want to move your feet.

Last night Vee & Company produced mounds of smiles at Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum, the former Christian Science Church building that sits across from St. Luke's. Despite the bitter rains, the house was packed for the kickoff to Duluth Dylan Fest.

The show opened with Nelson French of the Armory Arts and Music Center (AAMC) board welcoming us and giving an update on the status of the Armory for which this event was a fundraiser and awareness raiser. French shared that there is an investor ready to do the renovation once the last hurdle is overcome pertaining the parking. He then introduced three students from the AAMC who did an admirable set of five songs before yielding to the main event.

Robby Vee proved to be the perfect entry into the week. Nearly every hard core Dylan fan is familiar with the Dylan/Buddy Holly connection. What many have forgotten is the Dylan/Bobby Vee connection. You can read the details here and here. Vee's show last night demonstrated how all these events were intertwined in Bobby Vee and Dylan's careers.

The acoustics at Karpeles are second to none. This is a sanctuary designed for effective music appreciation, whether chamber music or last night's rockabilly. The band had perfectly modulated their sound for the occasion. (It would have been easy for them to have blasted us out of the place.) You could tell Jeff "Crash Boom Bang It Out" Bjork on drums had his kit set up so he could indeed bang it out while not blowing us away.

In fact, the show opened with Bjork giving a wake up call that brought to mind the Gene Krupa classic Sing Sing Sing and made you appreciate what drums can add to a show.

Robby Vee and the Caravan are not only talented musicians, they're also professional showmen, as was demonstrated on many occasions during their two sets. The second half of the show featured a lot of music by Vee's father Bobby and the great rock inspiration Buddy Holly, and of course a bit of Dylan along with heartfelt comments showing his appreciation for the Northland's Native Son.

I had an epiphany last night during Robby Vee's slammin' set  of classic Buddy Holly covers, perhaps it was during Peggy Sue, or perhaps it was during one of his father's hits like Rubber Ball and Come Back When You Grow Up Girl. The insight was something like this. I've always felt there was a great divide between the dance music of early rock and roll and the intellectual themes that Dylan injected into the pop music scene. That would not have been so terrible to see two different streams of rock and roll, but what I've done most of my life is to see the latter as superior and the former inferior. As a result I never embraced what Elvis had brought to the table, nor Buddy Holly to the extent that we've since come to call his death "the day the music died." It's apparent that Dylan himself never made this distinction, speaking most highly of these important singers, including Robby's father. Dylan's inspiration came from mining all of the "great American songbook," internalizing it and making it new.

There's no business like show business.
By the second set last night there were a lot of people on their feet, shuffling, potato digging, doing the watusi, and just plain having fun. If you weren't there you missed a great show. You can make up for it, though, as they will be playing at the State Fairgrounds during the Back to the Fifties care show June 24. Classic cars and classic music... a nostalgic walk through time.

I'll write more about the Bill Pagel exhibit soon. Meantime, life goes on all around you. Get into it. 

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Goings On About Town: Three Special Twin Ports Art Openings This Week

Photo courtesy Great Lakes Academy of Fine Art
This is just a heads up for three visual arts events coming up that you won't want to miss. If you've been following along here you already know Duluth Dylan Fest kicks off tonight with Robby Vee at Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum. Every time I mention Karpeles people ask, "Where's Karpeles?" When I say, "It across the street from the entrance to St. Luke's Hospital Emergency Room, just above the parking lot for the Gitch."

"Oh, yeah," they invariably say. "I've been meaning to go sometime."

Well, today might be a good time to check it out. Bill Pagel has donated more of his Dylan collection for public viewing, and it will be there through June. If you've bought tickets for Robby Vee's Rock N Roll Caravan tonight, then go early so you can see all these pieces of history, though actually the museum will be open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. today. If I have my facts correct, the show is again titled Einstein Disguised as Robin Hood, though I have been told this will not be an identical replay of last year's exhibit. I will keep you posted.

As for Art Happenings, here are four to mark on your calendars.

Dylan-Themed Art Show Opening Reception 

In the past our Dylan-inspired art shows have been across the bridge at the Red Mug Coffeehouse. This year, we're in the heart of Downtown Duluth at the Zeitgeist Atrium, one block west of Carmody's where our annual Dylan Trivia takes place. The Monday reception at Zeitgeist is free and will run from 5-7 p.m. We have new work by Daniel Botkin of Chicago, and a couple great pieces based on an original work by Kristi Abbott, an artist from Down Under who now resides in St. Paul. Other contributors include Sue Rauschenfels, Becky Perfetti, Adan Swanson, Tim Beaulier and a blogger who signs his work with an e.

Monday, May 22, 5-7 p.m.

On the Cutting Edge
Papercut Art Exhibit by Ellen Sandbeck

Anyone who has seen Ellen Sandbeck's papercut art is an instant fan. I have been following her career since the early days when she was doing illustrations for Dover Books. Her Buddha-A-Day Series was a remarkable achievement and only showed the first inklings of what she was capable of.

The Opening Reception for On the Cutting Edge will be this coming Friday at the AICHO/Dr. Robert Powless Cultural Center, 212 W. 2nd Street in Duluth. If you have never been to this facility I strongly encourage you to make this your first visit. It won't be your last. 

There will also be entertainment, with music and limericks by Mina Kaiser. Sounds like fun to me. There is a suggested $10 donation to support AICHO's ongoing arts and cultural programming.

This event is Friday from 5-7 p.m. This would be a great way to begin a very special Friday evening of art and music. If you attend On the Cutting Edge, then move westward to the Great Lakes Academy of Fine Art exhibition, you can still get over to Clyde Iron Works for the Duluth Dylan Fest Singer/Songwriter Contest. If that's too much for one evening, the Great Lakes open house is all weekend.

Great Lakes Academy of Fine Art
Annual Student/Instructor Exhibition

This is something I have been especially looking forward to. The Great Lakes Academy of Fine Art is inviting the public to attend their first Annual Student/Instructor Exhibition. According to their Facebook page, "We will be showcasing our students first year curriculum and also lead you through what an atelier style of classical art training looks like. We will have many examples of their work as well as that of our instructors (Jeffrey T. Larson and Brock Larson) on display here at the Academy. We are also excited to be able to show the progress with the renovation that has been made on our building (the old St. Peter's Church)."

May 26th, 5pm - 9pm
May 27th, 1pm - 8pm
May 28th, 1pm - 5pm




SINEW at the Tweed

"Sinew: Female Native Artists of the Twin Cities," will be opening at the Tweed Museum of Art June 1st, 2017, 6-8 PM. Mark your calendars. Come celebrate and honor this amazing group of women artists. Details Here.

* * * *

DULUTH DYLAN FEST IS UNDERWAY. Check out the full schedule of events at BobDylanWay.com.

Meantime, life goes on all around you. Get into it.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Greatest Best Seller of All Time? The Bay Psalm Book

Yesterday I began listening to the audio lectures of Professor Peter Conn on the theme American Bestsellers. It's a set of lectures in The Great Courses Series. If you're not familiar with The Great Courses, I strongly encourage you to consider checking them out at TheGreatCourses.com. Essentially, the series was developed to give people an opportunity to hear great teaching on various topics that they may or may not have heard when they were in college and not paying attention, or perhaps failed to value because they had not had enough life experience to understand the significance of what they were learning.

The first lecture by Prof. Conn lays down the rationale for studying bestsellers. These are not necessarily the best books ever produced in America, rather they are some of the most influential, and for that reason worthy of our study. In this initial lecture he also points out the various ways bestseller lists have changed over time, whetting the appetite for what's to come in the series, including Thomas Paine's Common Sense, Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, Twain's Huckleberry Finn, and a host of other familiar titles, familiarity being the operative concept here.

Which is why the Bay Psalm Book seems like such an unusual first book to dissect, because I suspect very few of us today would add this to any bestseller list of any kind.

The reason Professor Conn selects this starting point is two-fold. First, the little volume could be found in a full one-third of the households in New England. And two, this book of Psalms reveals much about the character of these first settlers in America.*

Can you imagine if there were a best-selling Stephen King book that was in one-third of all homes in America today? That would be tens of millions of copies, and if read regularly it would be one highly influential story.

Professor Conn doesn't really suggest the Psalm book is the greatest. He only suggests in passing that a case could be made, albeit a weak one.

His lecture, then, uses the Bay Psalm Book as a lens to study the mindset of the Puritans, whose ideas were indeed influential.

The book was published in 1640, two decades after their arrival in what is now Massachusetts. The Puritan pilgrims had a number of idiosyncrasies, besides being a bit stiff as regards their devotion. One of the features of this volume is that it is a rigorous attempt at extreme accuracy with regard to translating the "Word of God." If you recall your history, the King James Bible was produced in 1604, and a beautiful translation it turned out to be, despite being produced by committee.

The Puritans, however, found the King James Bible to be a stumbling block. Its aesthetic features might tempt Believers to appreciate worldly literature more. This they deemed a bad thing.

This attitude brought to mind a story I heard in a lecture on St. Augustine, the most influential Christian writer of the first millennium. Augustine was an intelligent man and quite scholarly. He avidly studied Greek philosophy and was especially enriched by the beautiful writings of Cicero, beauty both in the concepts and the language, so much so that when he encountered his first Bible it was such a poor translation that he gagged on it. That is, if this book is really from God how could it be so poorly written?

In short, Augustine was put off by his first encounter with Christianity and he did not return to it for another ten years.

Alas, the Puritans had a mindset quite contrary to Augustine who once wrote "the gold of Egypt is still gold." The stilted translation they created was just the medicine they needed to keep them from becoming worldly. Professor Conn proceeded at this point to compare the beautiful language of Psalm 23 from the King James Bible with the clumsy verses of the Bay Song Book.

Translations do say things about the people. Prof. Conn talked about the Reformation's efforts to undermine Papal authority by means of translating the Bible into the language of the people. John Wycliffe was martyred for translating the Scriptures into Middle English, and a hundred years later the Tyndale Bible resulted in John Tyndale being strangled and burned.

Tyndale's translation took deliberate pains to undo the Catholic stranglehold on truth. He translated the words presbyteros and ecclesia as elders and congregation, as opposed to priests and church. This was a direct assault on the ecclesiastical systems that dominated Western Europe at the time.

All this to say I'm looking forward today to Prof. Conn's insights on another influential book from early American history, Thomas Paine's Common Sense.

For more, check out this Christianity Today article on the Bay Song Book.

Then wash yourself in Dylan's Slow Train Coming and get ready for Duluth Dylan Fest.

*By this we mean first European settlers, no the indigenous peoples who had already been settled here previously.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

A Visit with Robby Vee: Opening Act for Duluth Dylan Fest

There's no business like show business, they say. How many children of entertainers have taken up the occupations of their parents? There are plenty of examples in Hollywood. And in the music scene, Jakob Dylan and Julian Lennon immediately come to mind. This weekend here in Duluth we'll warmly welcome Robby Vee, son of Bobby Vee, to kick off the eight-day Duluth Dylan Fest in a concert sponsored by the Armory Arts & Music Center at Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum.

The connection? A young Bob Dylan briefly performed with Bobby Vee under the pseudonym Elston Gunnn. You can read Bobby Vee's 1999 account here at Expecting Rain. Now the son of Bobby Vee is preparing to visit the town where Dylan was born and was raised till his family uprooted to the Iron Range.

After his father got into show business he moved to Los Angeles where the action was, but once he had a family the Midwest seemed the preferred world in which to raise his brood. As Robby puts it, "I 'm from Los Angeles originally. I live in Prior Lake, MN. Dad was entertainer. Started family in L.A. but felt the Midwest was a better place to raise a family."

"Mom was a show business mother, Robby says. "She met my father when he was 15. Watched him carve out a career in the entertainment business. She tried to deter me (from Show Biz) because it's such a hard business." But the young Vee had opportunities to perform at a young age and took to it. 'My father put me in front of an audience," he explined, and he liked it.

Robby has been playing with his current band for ten years, calling them the Rock N Roll Caravan. "They're truly some of the greatest rockabilly players out there." Vee acknowledged that one of the advantages of having the same team is that you can draw on some of the same music you've worked out over the years and know where you're all going with it.

Vee has produced six albums now. I asked which is his favorite.

"Good question. They're really different. My rock-a-billy albums got me to the Hall of Fame, but the more recent are Americana," he said. His most recent album, Blue Blue Blue, was produced in part for the purpose of raising awareness for Alzheimers, which overtook his father beginning in 2011.

Robby, raised on Eddie Cocker and the rock 'n roll of the late 50s and early 60s, enjoys the light-hearted fun of early rock, yet he also appreciates where rock evolved to post-1965 and beyond. "Rock became more intellectual," he said, citing artists like Dylan, Gordon Lightfoot and Cat Stevens (EdNote: All favorites of mine as well.) "I really appreciate both sides of the fence," he said. "I don't have to be one or the other."

"Here's one you might like."
I also learned that like Dylan Robby Vee is a painter. It began with this statement. "Records to me are like paintings. You should be allowed to push the envelope with experimentation." He then added that, "painting is what I do when I am home." I asked if he had a website so we could see his work, and he said he didn't, but that sometimes he puts them on Facebook. "Painting is an outlet to get away from music."

Robby's website includes praise from a number of legendary names. "Your Caravan show is getting kudos from Dion, Sir Paul and Robert Plant," I said. "What is it that makes your show so special?"

"Dion liked our first couple records, live and from the hip. Not too heavy, recorded live, raw energy.
Paul McCartney invited us over (to England) to play Buddy Holly music... He loves the same kind of music I love. Paul said, 'You guys could play on any stage.'"

Carl Perkins' quote, happened like this. "When I did a show with him once he sat on a chair next to the amp and afterward gave me a pick." That was an honor.

They played together when they were young. 
"What kind of relationship did you have with your dad?" I asked.

"We had a good relationship. We were both painters, guitar players, singers and writers. At a pretty young age he encouraged me to do my own thing and not be like him. My career has been separate and different from him. I took off and didn't look back much. When he got sick I was the one who was with him almost daily and taking care of him with my sister." Vee has a younger sister and two older brothers. All of them do art of some kind, graphic design and production work.

Does Robby Vee have any favorite Dylan albums or songs? Of course.

"I would say there's a handful... The Man in Me, a song my father I played together. And Forever Young. We used to have mass at our house on the lake. We played Forever Young at every mass it seemed like."

When Dylan performed in St. Paul in 2013 Robby took his father to see him. It was his birthday but distracted by other things he forgot to get tickets. He called Dylan's office and they were able to get special treatment. "We watched the entire show from the monitor board. After the show Dylan visited with my dad and it was really great."  Here's Dylan giving the nod to the Bobby Vee, singing one of Vee's signature songs, Susie Baby.



In 2012 I interviewed a attorney who has been representing musicians to help them get better contracts. As it turns out Robby gives a nod to the friend of a friend on his website, Brian "kool-hand" Lukasavitz. Small world, eh?

For what it's worth, Saturday's concert should be killer. Special thanks to St. Luke's for making available several of their parking lots for those who wish to attend.

For more information about this coming week's Duluth Dylan Fest events, see today's News Tribune.

To book Robbie Vee, or follow him in the future, visit and bookmark RobbyVee.net. For what it's worth, you know who else likes rock-a-billy? Bob Dylan does. His 1998 concert at the DECC here in Duluth opened with a zinging rock-a-billy set by David Allen and the Guilty Men.

Meantime, I'm in the mood. How about you? Let's have some fun!

* * * *
Bonus Track: Here's a cartoon about Elston Gunnn's brief stint with the young man who filled in for Buddy Holly way back in time. (Click to enlarge)


Throwback Thursday: eBooks Abound

THIS BLOG POST ORIGINALLY APPEARED IN 2011

Thursday, the Huffington Post published an article by Amy Edelman that called Indie eBooks the "Gateway Drug" to traditional publishing. Here's the opening, Edelman's article in blue, my comments in blood red:

Gone are the days when a writer had to spend hours hunched over a stack of query letters,

>>>Been there, done that<<<

...only to have their hopes dashed months later with the arrival of an unsigned form letter.

>>>I could wallpaper my office with this stuff<<<

Today, thanks entirely to the creation of the e-reader (yay Jeff Bezos!),

>>>Yay, Jeff Bezos<<<

there's no longer a need for authors to deal with middle men. For less than what it costs to buy a book, an author can jump directly to the end game: formatting their titles, uploading them to a sales site and finding actual readers.

>>>You still have to purchase an ISBN, but hey, thatz-ok.<<<

Edelman goes on to explain that for many writers the prize is still out there in the traditional publishing world, but for the time being getting readers satisfies an important need. Not only are eBook authors still looking for conventional publishers, the publishers themselves are combing the ranks of independent authors to find their next round of author heroes.

Edelman is founder of the website IndieReader.com which lists the top selling eBooks each week.

In other news: The Tulare County Library has gone digital and is doing away with late fees — on ebook downloads. If you have a Nook, more and more libraries are making these new digital works available just like regular books. The local libraries here will become accessible on Kindles by the end of the year.

I asked my publisher TJ Lind to write up some instructions on how to read eBooks via other platforms when you don't have the official Kindle or Nook reading devices. Here's a short piece he wrote up, aptly titled eBooks All Around.

eBooks All Around!
In a previous article, “eBook Supremacy,” I had mentioned that part of eBook success is due to the ability for customers to “buy once, read everywhere.” If one were to download a book on a Kindle or Nook they could read the first few chapters on their eReader before bed, then another few chapters on their phone during their commute, another few chapters on their iPad during lunch break, and read some more on their computer during down time at work! Moreover, some readers do not realize that they do not need to own a Kindle or Nook to read books from their respective stores. There is a Kindle app for every major platform; iOS, Android, Blackberry, Windows, and Mac. Chances are the device you are reading this article on is able to download.

The download process differs depending on which platform one is using. Users with Apple products need only to search for “Kindle” or “Nook” in the App store. Same goes for Android and Blackberry users. If one wants to download the Kindle or Nook apps on a computer, simply navigate to the Kindle Store on Amazon, and select “Kindle Reading Apps” in the left hand column.

Once the app is downloaded, it will present instructions to download eBooks
. Now your books will be synced between your devices!

Edelman ends her HuffPost piece with this challenge: So next week, after you've finished the Times crossword puzzle, why not try a new game? See if you can discover (and pass on!) the next great indie book...before a traditional publisher beats you to it!

>>>Hint: The Red Scorpion.<<<