The Last Long Run

September 11th, 2012

Running this store has required a nimble resourcefulness and an openness to quick change and sudden new strategies. Witness the end of our sweet deal on the smuggled-clothes run from McAllen, TX (easternmost of the hideous sprawl at the mouth of the Rio Grande – you know Mexicans don’t call it that, they call it the Rio Bravo?) after this summer’s donations and discount purchases had already arrived there.

So I’m headed up to get them next week, and on my way back to finally set up a permanent stateside maildrop for donations just across the border in Laredo. This – and my book pickers in Seattle and New York – will allow me to make quick, 24-hour runs up the safest and smoothest highway in Mexico and keep the store stocked in a manner far easier than ever before.

Other logistics have been switched around, too: this isn’t whimsy, it’s the enterprise finding it’s way. We went from monthly parties to weekly parties to none at all to, now, some. It’s not that I don’t like having parties here exactly, but they need an event to summon folks around. Just ‘come by and get shitfaced‘ neither helps me sell books or keep on a workmanlike schedule. ;)

Events aplenty are coming up, though. This Saturday we’re having a barbecue for the lead-up to Independence Day Eve, when the president reenacts El Grito, the shout of freedom from the Spanish and the gachupines.  202 pesos at the door will get you a share of my awesome, garlicky gringo guacamole and as many shots of Presidente as you think you can handle, and a regular-sized mass market or trade paperback of your choice.

October 4th is, we’re having John Bilger read in the store. His books on Mexico and the drug trade have been published by City Lights Books and he is a very passionate and knowledgable binational. We’ll get a mezcal table set up for that one and get totally lost.

And you know what’s coming Saturday, October 27th: our 1st Anniversary, with awesome local bands Torrente and Kannski, and a reading by David Lida, author of First Stop in the New World: Mexico City, Capitol of the 21st Century. Pulqueria Insurgentes is going to sponsor us some of their deliciousness. Lots of out-of-town friends will be flying in and this should be awesome.

Meanwhile, the institution that built this store – Facebook – is turning into a swamp, at least as far as business pages are concerned. My own FB use is also a little out-of-control (our kids really are going to regard us as we did our parents with TV) and so I am trying to transfer all the ‘Like’ ers of the Under the Volcano Books page to my personal page, depersonalized and rebranded ‘Utvb DF‘. If you haven’t made the leap please do so soon, and get on our mailing list by sending an email headlined ‘Bookstore list’ to

Times are tough and literature is a life. If you don’t read 100 books a year I can’t take you seriously. ;) So get in here.


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