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The King's English: Adventures of an Independent Booksellerby Betsy Burton
Synopses & Reviews
Betsy Burton, owner of The King's English bookstore in Salt Lake City, has been a bookseller for nearly thirty years, and a passionate book lover all her life. Her modestly sized yet widely respected shop has hosted authors such as E. L. Doctorow, Isabel Allende, John Updike, Margaret Atwood, and Sue Grafton, and she has built a reputation as a passionate purveyor of the written word in a world where stores like hers are a dying breed.
Burton now shares her story, including the amusing trials and triumphs of author visits, attempts at censorship, the modern business of bookselling, and the complexities of staying afloat as an independent in the world of chains and superstores.
Burton also offers dozens of "Top 25" reading lists on a multitude of topics, from psychology to poetry, fiction, business, and the best banned books. Burton has also painstakingly collected favorite reading lists from the best independent bookstores throughout the country, including the Tattered Cover in Denver and Powell's Books, in Portland, sharing what some of the best-read folks in the country currently can't put down. Filled with wit, passion, and a strikingly independent message, Burton's story will delight booklovers of all kinds.
"Burton, owner of The King's English Bookshop (TKE) in Salt Lake City, has pursued a simple objective since the store's inception in 1977: 'Pick good books, pass them on. That's all that counts in the end.' Indeed, the fulfillment she derives from reading is matched only by the joy and satisfaction she feels when she pairs customers with quality books. In this lively history of the independent bookstore, she recounts her experiences working with various employees and partners and adjusting to sophisticated alarm systems and computerized inventories, but her anecdotes involving well-known authors are the most engrossing. She describes how Isabel Allende pitched in good-naturedly when the dinner Burton was preparing in her honor got out of control, and how John Mortimer giggled gleefully when Burton encountered troubles getting his luggage out of the car that she had borrowed to pick him up from the airport. It's clear that Burton's life is profoundly and inextricably linked to TKE: she believes her literary recommendations to an old boyfriend, whom she later married, sparked their initial reconnection, and writes that the shop was her 'necessary anchor' when her son was born with brain damage. This delightful book is largely a heartfelt 'thank you' to all who have contributed to The King's English, from gracious authors to friends and colleagues. Avid readers will be charmed by this intimate look at the bookselling business and will especially appreciate the many book lists (25 Thrillers with Moral Heft, 25 Non-Fiction Titles from the West, etc.) included in these pages." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"This is a book of passion, of intellectual integrity, of right ethics — the fascinating story of a woman living a life that has made an indelible difference to all of us who read." Mark Spragg, author of An Unfinished Life
"Part memoir, part literary history, part social commentary, this book is a smart and insightful look at life inside an independent bookstore." Terry Tempest Williams, author of The Open Space of Democracy
"Of its kind, and for all it tells us of today's literary world, Burton's revealing, riveting book has no rival." Jeannette Haien, author of The All of It
"The King's English: Adventures of an Independent Bookseller is for book lovers inside or outside the book business." Cathy Langer, Tattered Cover Bookstore
Book News Annotation:
Burton opened her bookstore in Salt Lake City in 1977, dedicated to her passion for books and to making them available in a welcoming, comfortable space. Little did she know what would follow in the next few decades: vicious competition from national chains and the net, censorship under the Patriot Act, strange twists in reading tastes, and even stranger tastes in visiting authors whose lists of demands read like those of rabid rock stars. With each chapter she includes innovative book lists, such as a list of "psychology and self-help books paired with fiction dealing with like concerns." Although written with an eye to those in the book selling business, Burton also keeps in mind the reason why any books are sold at all: readers with money in hand who are as passionate as she about books.
Annotation ©2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Betsy Burton, owner of The King's English bookstore in Salt Lake City, has been a bookseller for nearly thirty years, and a passionate book lover all her life.
Betsy Burton, owner of The King's English bookstore in Salt Lake City, has been a bookseller for nearly thirty years, and a passionate book lover all her life. Her modestly sized, yet widely respected, shop has hosted authors such as E. L. Doctorow, Isabel Allende, John Updike, Margaret Atwood, and Sue Grafton, and she has built a reputation as a passionate purveyor of the written word in a world where stores like her's are a dying breed.
About the Author
Betsy Burton is the owner of The King's English Bookstore, founded in 1977 in Salt Lake City. An avid reader and lover of literature, she is passionate about keeping independent bookstores alive and well in the world. She was named bookseller of the year in 2001 by Mountains and Plains Booksellers Association, has done countless book reviews for radio, television, and print media, and writes for and edits The Inkslinger, a literary newsletter.
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