Record Store Daze: The Rise and Fall of Music Retail

Black and White Record Store

I worked on-and-off at a record store from ages 18 to 35. That’s a sizable chunk of time—the best years of my life, if you will. I grew up loving record stores. My teen years were the tail-end of the record store heyday; the `90s CD boom and the alternative music explosion all contributed to a great time for music retail. Our clientele was captive (there was no other way to get music but in a store) and the product then was particularly vital. There may never come a time again when we all get behind a single song the way we did with Nirvana’s “Smells like Teen Spirit.” continue reading >>

April Staff Favorites

April Staff Favorites

April showers give you a convenient excuse to hide inside with a good book. Curl up with one of our April staff favorites: continue reading >>

April is National Poetry Month!

Typewriter with Poetry buttons, vintage

April is National Poetry Month, and we can’t think of a better way to celebrate than to introduce a whole new generation of children to the delights of poetry. The Academy of American Poets agrees and has introduced Poet-to-Poet, an educational initiative to inspire the poet in all children. Children in grades 3-12 are encouraged to listen to poems by members of the Academy of American Poets Board of Chancellors and then write their own poems in response. Each poem submitted will be considered for publication on poets.org in May!

All writers need to read, and all young poets need to read poetry. Here you will find poems to entertain, teach, and help your child—even poems to assist with the most difficult of bedtimes. continue reading >>

April is National Autism Awareness Month

Autism Awareness

April is National Autism Awareness Month. Each year, our own Melissa Roush puts together a list of books and resources in honor of Autism Awareness Month. This year, she has gathered a wide and comprehensive list of books ranging from autobiographical tales of autistic children, to memoirs from adults on the autism spectrum, to picture books for children, and workbooks for parents and educators. Keep reading for a list of autism awareness events in Oregon. And for more information on Autism Awareness Month events in your area, visit the Autism Society.

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Mandi’s Reads: Spinster Fun

Surprised girl with books

I turned 29 last week. I have just scant months left of my twenties. And what have I accomplished? It’s almost too late for me to be on any “30 Under 30″ lists. (If you are putting together any “30 Under 30” lists, feel free to add me to them.) My mom has already informed me that she wants to be as far away from me as possible next year for my 30th birthday. She can smell a meltdown 11 months away. continue reading >>

Portland Eats…in Eugene

Made in Oregon Sign

My husband and I are unrepentant foodies. You can infer any number of things from that statement, but the direction I’m heading here is that we happily live in the farmer’s paradise that is the Willamette Valley, in a small city with a variety of great restaurants and food carts, and when we want something new and exciting, we’re just two hours from Portland. In other words, we live in foodie heaven. However, considering the fact that we aren’t in an income bracket that affords us the luxury of going out all the time, we get just as excited about new cookbooks as we do about new restaurants. So when the two things come together—when our favorite Portland restaurant chefs produce gorgeous cookbooks chock full of our favorite dishes—life is particularly good. And let me just tell you, life is golden at the moment. continue reading >>

Gardening for a Lifetime, or: When Mama Ain’t Happy, Ain’t No One Happy

If Mama Ain't Happy

My mother-in-law is a flower gardener. She wouldn’t approve of such a narrow title, actually, because she does grow the occasional vegetable: a tomato here, a few lettuces and spinaches there. But really, it’s all about the flowers. This passion of hers started ten or fifteen years ago, pretty much out of the blue. One day she was the woman who couldn’t keep a houseplant alive, and the next she came home with a flat of summer annuals and a bag of soil. Overnight, she suddenly transformed into the Flower Lady, like mild-mannered Clark Kent stepping into the phone booth and emerging as Superman…if you could imagine him to be rounder and more cherub-cheeked, wearing Crocs and sporting a gardener’s apron instead of a cape. “Ma’s” green thumb has done nothing but grow ever since. Her yard was soon the talk of the block, and this business of getting her hands in the soil has—no surprise—been all around good for her health and happiness.

Unfortunately, a couple of years ago, Ma was in a catastrophic car accident. There have been two surgeries since. Although she is finally, thankfully, without daily pain, her traditional flower gardening days are behind her; the surgeons have put her back together as well as they can, but she will never again have the dexterity to get down on her hands and knees in her flower beds. continue reading >>

Notes from an Insider

W4.1 Joe Notes from an Insider

Thank you, students of the University of Oregon. As you may well know, you make up the ownership, the Board of Directors, and the main customer base for the Duck Store. We couldn’t have existed for the last 94 years without you, and we hope you are better off for having us.

When I was considering the topic of this post, it occurred to me that this is something you might not hear often enough. Thank-yous can sometimes be reserved for partings (the end of a transaction, for instance) and, while offered sincerely, can feel canned. continue reading >>

Mandi’s Reads: Working for the Weekend

Working for the Weekend

I am exhausted. I have been traveling nonstop for the past two weeks. I don’t know what time it is anymore because I have been in several time zones. I’m not entirely sure where I am when I first wake up each morning. What airport am I supposed to be at tomorrow? I don’t know. All I do know is that I have endured turbulence and rough landings and the bad breath of overly flirtatious male seatmates on all my recent (thankfully safe and short) flights.

Jetlag and irritability are my new personality setpoints. I am a nervous flier, which translates into boozy flier, which translates into perpetually hungover. And because I am exhausted, my body is forcing me to devour carb after carb after sweet/savory/salty carb. This (combined with the alcohol) means I am bloaty and my stomach is distended, which led to me having the following exchange with a kindergartener: continue reading >>

Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with Children’s Books Ireland Book of the Year Awards

W3.1 Featured Image

What better way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day than to give a shout-out to the CBI Book of the Year Award winners? For twenty-four years, Children’s Books Ireland has been giving out annual awards to identify, honor and promote the best of the best Irish authors and illustrators in children’s literature. The CBI Awards are the most prestigious in Ireland, and are given to books written in either Irish or English.

Here at the Literary Duck, we hope you’ll take some time on St. Patrick’s Day to explore the amazing world of Irish children’s literature. Check out the CBI website to see past award winners and read about the good work they’re doing to promote childhood reading.

Read on to learn more about some of this year’s English language winners… continue reading >>