Tag Archives: Monkey See Monkey Read

Northfield retail sales support global cause

When roaming around for Crazy Daze this morning, I picked up a couple of books at Monkey See, Monkey Read and noticed the very cool bike proprietor Jerry Bilek had on the sidewalk.

No, he’s not going into the bike business; he’s going into humanitarian aid.

In his blog entry about the bike and the concept, Jerry says,

For every two bikes I sell, Kona will donate one to a home health worker in Africa as part of the BikeTown Africa program. This video explains the program better than I can.

This particular bike is a single-speed utilitarian model with “thorn-proof tires”. A three-speed model is also available. Go to Jerry’s blog to get to the tech specs of the bike; I just liked the idea that you can shop local and support an important humanitarian cause at the same time. Jerry, like many of our independent retailers here in Northfield, has a lot of interesting ideas.

Tom Swift’s book (Chief Bender’s Burden) a local bestseller

Tom Swift Tom Swift Tom Swift Tom Swift

chief bender's burdenNorthfielder Tom Swift has a book out titled Chief Bender’s Burden: The Silent Struggle of a Baseball Star. He did a reading last night at Monkey See Monkey Read where he works part-time. Owner Jerry Bilek posted a review to his blog a couple weeks ago. Jerry said last night that the book is his best-selling ever, with the exception of the recent Harry Potter book.

Tom also works part-time at River City Books (see the Tom’s top-ten page there) where the book is the store’s current #1 bestseller. Tom did a book reading at the store last week, too, blogged by The Raven on the River City Books blog. (Full disclosure: I did some contract work for RCB to help launch the blog.) The Raven also blogged about the book on Northfield.org.

Northfield News managing editor Jaci Smith wrote an article a month ago about Tom’s book titled, Swift tells story of oft-forgotten pitcher. (Tom was editor of the Northfield News for a few years earlier this decade.)

You can follow Tom’s adventures on his blog, Tom Swift Writer’s Notebook. (His classy website was designed by LoGroNo’s designer, Sean Hayford O’Leary, who also does contract work for me.)

Newbie questions: Who are these guys, what are they doing and why?

Mystery MenI know these are piece ‘o cake questions for many of you long-time townies and/or regular commenters here.

So for this post, initial guesses (until nailed correctly) should only be submitted by people who’ve not yet commented here on Locally Grown thus far this calendar year, 2008… hence my use of the word ‘newbie.’

Sooooooo…… click the thumbnail to enlarge and if you’re a (relative) newbie, make a guess at one, two, or all three of these questions (attach a comment):

Who are these guys, what are they doing and why?

3/8 update: Jerry Bilek (Monkey See Monkey Read) nails it. See this poster and the comment thread for details.


A literary convergence of the triumvirate

Locally Grown TriumvirateShortly after lunch today, I paid a visit to Jerry Bilek at Monkey See Monkey Read to look for some xmas presents.

About ten minutes later, Ross stopped in to pick up an order. 

About ten minutes later, Tracy stopped in to place an order. 

We handed the camera to Jerry to take our photo, and we soon got to arguing over who got to buy the book.

We Iz Men Uh Ackshun

RealMenRead.jpgWhen Kiffi Summa suggests that we Men of Northfield are passing the time by lying around eating bonbons, apparently in a sugar induced stupor, I must declare, “It is not so”.

We fine specimens of Northfield Manliness are constantly striving for the betterment of ourselves, our friends and families, and our communities.

Taking her thesis that Bruce Morlan is “the most erudite of all” as a direct challenge to my Northfield Manhood (he is of DUNDAS, after all), and responding quickly and vigorously to Jerry Bilek’s offer of Anthony Everitt’s biography of Cicero, I wasted no time in advancing to Monkey See, Monkey Read and obtaining the aforementioned book.

Oh, prepare ye Bruce of Dundas, for a challenge on your knowledge of Cicero…in the very near future. And prepare ye Kiffi of the Westside, to reconsider your rankings of the most erudite in the Valley of the Cannon.

We Men of Northfield are not to be taken lightly…or, sometimes, too seriously.

Reading Recommendations

MonkeySeeMonkeyRead.jpgThis is the inside of an independent bookstore. Not just any bookstore, but Monkey See, Monkey Read.

I had wanted to take a picture of the proprietor, Jerry Bilek. Not that there’s anything particularly interesting about Jerry’s physical appearance, it’s his personal reading list that I wanted to highlight.

Jane McWilliams, former Planning Commissioner, current ARC Committeer, and future Eldercollegium convener, e-mailed me in search of some possibilities for a syllabus for a course on community planning. I told her that I had a few titles off the top of my head but that a number of people have shared recommendations with me over the years and it would be better to generate many ideas.

Jerry Bilek is one of those people with recommendations, so I’ll call him out in this blog posting and challenge him to comment with some titles. Anyone else with some recommendations can join in too.

I’ll start it off. I guess the first book that I read that explored this subject was Lewis Mumford’s The City in History. I picked it up at a used bookstore in Middletown, Connecticut and was quite fascinated with both the book and the topic. The next one I remember was from an alternative bookstore in Madison, Wisconsin. It was Frank Lloyd Wright’s The Living City. The topic of urban planning moved from reporting to visioning.

When I was at ArtSpace Projects in Minneapolis, National Trust for Historic Preservation President Richard Moe was kind of an unofficial advisor. I read his, and Carter Wilkie’s, Changing Places. During that period, I attended a lecture by Witold Rybczynski and followed up by reading his City Life. When I did some consulting work for a developer based in Bloomington, we were considering larger developments and I read both The Next American Metropolis by Peter Calthorpe and Towns and Town-Making Principles by Andres Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk. During my tenure at the NDDC, I’ve read Toward the Livable City, edited by Emilie Buchwald, and Sustainable Architecture, a collection of white papers gathered by Earth Pledge. I’ve also perused A Pattern Language by Christopher Alexander. Finally, for pleasure, I read Ghosts of 42nd Street by Anthony Bianco, which combined both the history of a neighborhood and the chronicles of redevelopment efforts.

The books listed above focus primarily on design and community building, at least in my opinion, is more than just design. I think that it includes, at the very least, culture, economics and people. Jerry Bilek has recommended several books on the redevelopment of local economies to me which could be included in the syllabus.

So Jerry, I’ve called you out, you and any other amateur experts on creating better communities. Suggest some books for Jane’s syllabus and we’ll all read some good books.