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The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap: A Memoir of Friendship, Community, and the Uncommon Pleasure of a Good Book
Synopses & Reviews
A book about losing your place, finding your purpose, and immersing yourself in what holds community, and humanity, together—books
Wendy Welch and her husband had always dreamed of owning a bookstore. When the opportunity to escape a toxic work environment and run to a struggling Virginia coal mining town presented itself, they took it. And took the plunge into starting their dream as well. They chose to ignore the “death of the book,” the closing of bookstores across the nation, and the difficult economic environment, and six years later they have carved a bookstore—and a life—out of an Appalachian mountain community.
A story of beating bad odds with grace, ingenuity, good books, and single malt, this memoir chronicles two bibliophiles discovering unlikely ways in which daily living and literature intertwine. Their customers—"Bob the Mad Irishman," "Wee Willie," and "The Lady Who Liked Romances," to name a few—come to the shop looking for the kind of interactive wisdom Kindles don't spark, and they find friendship, community, and the uncommon pleasure of a good book in good company.
The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap will make you want to run to the local bookstore, and curl up in an arm chair with a treasure in bound pages.
"In this beguiling, blog-based memoir, a former nonprofit administrator and storyteller chronicles how she and her Scottish, ex-academic husband found themselves in a central Appalachian town of 5,400 mostly known for Adriana Trigiani novels and a seasonal 'folk opera' based on Tales of the Lonesome Pine. The couple daydreamed about opening a used bookstore, and when they found a suitable five-bedroom fixer-upper, they bought it, moved upstairs, and got to work. With scant experience, they opened their bookstore amid the deepening recession and traditional publishing's general decline. Once the initial local curiosity was satisfied and grand opening thrills faded, in dire need of customers and revenue they reached out to a broader customer base through old-fashioned guerrilla marketing and community events on the way to a 38,000-volume inventory. The author chronicles how their customers taught her and her husband about the human element in small business, bookselling, and life itself. The whole narrative exudes enormous charm and the value of dreams and lives truly lived. Agent: Pamela and Louise Malpas, Harold Ober Associates." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
An inspiring true story about losing your place, finding your purpose, and building a community one book at a time.
Wendy Welch and her husband had always dreamed of owning a bookstore, so when they left their high-octane jobs for a simpler life in an Appalachian coal town, they seized an unexpected opportunity to pursue their dream. The only problems? A declining U.S. economy, a small town with no industry, and the advent of the e-book. They also had no idea how to run a bookstore. Against all odds, but with optimism, the help of their Virginian mountain community, and an abiding love for books, they succeeded in establishing more than a thriving business - they built a community.
The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap is the story of the little bookstore that could: how two people, two cats, two dogs, and thirty-eight thousand books helped a small town find its heart. It is a tale of people and books, and how together they create community.
About the Author
WENDY WELCH is a Ph.D. in ethnography who currently teaches at the University of Virginia at Wise. She is also professional storyteller and the co-owner of Tales of the Lonesome Pine Used Books in Big Stone Gap, Virginia.
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Biography » General