Welcome to the first installment of our new ongoing series Staff Picks. Each  week or so the staff here at Imagine Books and Records will select a book and a record to recommend. This week's picks feature the first history book, the debut album of one of the 80's most popular bands, a volume of stories about the world's most famous detective, and a collection of songs by a Middle Eastern guitar legend.
Bishop's Picks: The Histories and Dire Straits

The Histories of Herodotus is prehaps best known for being the first history book, famed for its depiction of the Persian Wars, including the last stand of the 300 Spartans. Herodotus gives a detailed overview of the Greek world with special emphasis placed on tthe cultures and beliefs of neighboring nations, such as Persia and Egypt .We have the venerable Macaulay translation and Selincourt's more modern translation available.

Dire Straits in the 1978 debut album from the British rock band of the same name. This record contains two of the group's biggest hits "The Sultans of Swing" and 'Waters of Love" which are both greats tunes, especially "Sultans." Overall the record had down home feel that comes with Dire Straights particular brand of light rock. This is the kind of music you play while relaxing on the porch during the early evening while drinking your adult beverage of choice.

Don's Picks: The Original Illustrated Sherlock Holmes and Omar Khorshid With Love.

Fans of the recent BBC production "Sherlock" can revisit the great fictional detective in a collection that brings together 37 short stories and the greatest Holmes novel penned by Conan Doyle, Hound of the Baskervilles.  This volume includes all 356 illustrations produced for the Strand Magazine by Sidney Paget.  The Original Illustrated Sherlock Holmes is not the most complete collection, but it does contain most of the truly great Holmes stories, including "A Scandal in Bohemia," "The Adventure of the Musgrave Ritual," "The Red-Headed League," and many more.  Paget's image of holmes in the Strand have influenced every production featuring the great detective so it's quite a treat to see them all collected here.  

What can I say about Omar Khorshid?  Frankly, I am shocked that this record is still in the shop.  Khorshid, who died in 1981 at the age of thirty-six, was known as the king of Arabic Guitarists.  One listen will tell you why.  When I listen to Khorshid, I am reminded of such diverse talents as Dick Dale and Ali Akbar Khan.  Our disc is titled "Omar Khorshik with Love" and engineered by the legendary Nabil Moumtaz for the Voices of Lebanon label.   This is a staff favorite that we will miss when it's gone. 
It's the night before the next installment of Dali's Moustache.  This show promises to be just as great as our first two outings.  One of the things I am most proud of is that so many young musicians are appearing at the bookstore, and at least one young poet, Patrick  Carrillo.  I hoped that Imagine would become a part of the fabric of the community and this has happened.  My son, Ezra, tells me that fliers for the show are all over Warren High School.  That's cooler than the time I found a vintgage Jean Luc Piccard action figure, even though we all know Kirk was the better captain..  And I have finally decided to give in and read a few poems of my own.  This was made much easier by Eric Frias, a really talented musician who will be performing with me and making my poems sound so much better.  I am also thrilled that Genevieve Davenport will perform on solo cello.  I've known Genevieve since she was a small girl and it's amazing to see what a wonderfully talented young woman she's become.  For those who caught our first Dali's Moustache, Genevieve is the daughter of Gary Davenport, who played a memorable set that night.  Our own John Bishop will host the event.  I have it on good authority that Ezra Hurd, plans to read a poem of his own.  Now that will be something!

When I was younger, I remember watching one of those beach movies.  The teenage gang all hung out at a hip joint run by a guy known as the Big Kahuna.  As I recall, and my memory is a little sketchy on this point, the Big Kahuna was this older guy who still retained a little of the coolness he'd established years ago.  Now, when I am past fifty, I wonder if I have not become this man.  I feel that I am constantly teetering on the edge of becoming a square, but even my oldest son, Armand, had to admit my hipster points went up when I opened a record store.  Perhaps.  But as I watch these young, talented kids take over the spotlight, I could not be happier.
I was told last night that I had a kinetic mind, from Jose Vargas a undocumented immigrant who spoke at St. Mary's University. I advise everyone to hear what he has to say.

Getting to the point, I would like to describe what I see and think when I walk around this store. I see the world of possibilities my teachers told me of when I was in elementary, the world where I can be a philosopher, where I can venture into the world of literature and come up with something that may not have been written down yet. I can be a chef if I wanted to by walking five feet from this computer, or learn of the Persian Gulf War or the Civil War, any history!  I could learn how to draw and paint and be the next Leonardo if I put my mind to it. 
So I suppose what I'm trying to get out is, when you come to this book store think of the possibilities the books can bring you.
The Bossman just left to get Ezra, leaving me alone in the shop. What better time to get on the Internet and blog? First I have to clear up some misunderstandings that Don's post may have caused. I only played Neil Diamond to annoy him and he offered me the chocolate, so he has to live with the reprecussions.

Anyways, we have Pink Floyd's first album Piper at the Gate's of Dawn playing at the moment. This is an interesting US edition of the album titled simply Pink Floyd, which cut three songs, added the single "See Emily Play", and slightly changed "Interstellar Overdrive". The result is a unique version of the group's debut album.

Now that I am done plugging product, it's back to work as Don has returned. I will leave you with Insterstellar Overdrive.

Looking out of my office window with a a view of Imagine Books and Records, I see Bishop, our manager, putting another record on the turntable.  Neil Diamond's "I'm a Believer."  I gave Bishop sugar a little while ago (a Snickers bar which he claims is brain food).  Big mistake.  In a few minutes he will be literally bouncing around the store.  It's pouring rain outside and the shop is currently devoid of customers.  Not to worry, for Imagine is definitely on the upswing this month, fueled in part by the addition of some wonderful new vinyl.  More on that later. 

It's been almost four month since we opened our doors, and almost a year since I first broached the idea of opening a used book and record store to my wife, Irma.  To my neverending surprise, she encouraged me to go ahead with this crazy scheme.  It's been an incredible journey.  Today, our little bookshop has become an integral part of our community.  Time and time again, people have donated books to us saying all they wanted from us is that we survive.  As one of our loyal customers put it the other day, "This isn't just any bookstore, it's our bookstore." This is more rewarding than I can possibly express. 

Bishop is putting on a fresh pot of coffee.  Pink Floyd has replaced Neil Diamond.  It's another day at Imagine.



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