Synopses & Reviews
In this enthusiastic, heartfelt, and sometimes humorous ode to bookshops and booksellers, 84 known authors pay tribute to the brick-and-mortar stores they love and often call their second homes.
In My Bookstore our greatest authors write about the pleasure, guidance, and support that their favorite bookstores and booksellers have given them over the years. The relationship between a writer and his or her local store and staff can last for years or even decades. Often it's the author's local store that supported him during the early days of his career, that continues to introduce and hand-sell her work to new readers, and that serves as the anchor for the community in which he lives and works.
My Bookstore collects the essays, stories, odes and words of gratitude and praise for stores across the country in 81 pieces written by our most beloved authors. It's a joyful, industry-wide celebration of our bricks-and-mortar stores and a clarion call to readers everywhere at a time when the value and importance of these stores should be shouted from the rooftops.
Perfectly charming line drawings by Leif Parsons illustrate each storefront and other distinguishing features of the shops.
Contributing Authors and Bookstores Include:
Fannie Flagg--Page and Palette, Fairhope, AL
Rick Bragg--Alabama Booksmith, Homewood, AL
John Grisham--That Bookstore in Blytheville, Blytheville, AR
Ron Carlson--Changing Hands Bookstore, Tempe, AZ
Ann Packer--Capitola Book Café, Capitola, CA
Isabel Allende--Book Passage, Corte Madera, CA
Mahbod Seraji--Kepler's Books, Menlo Park, CA
Lisa See--Vroman's Bookstore, Pasadena, CA
Meg Waite Clayton--Books Inc., San Francisco, CA
Daniel Handler and Lisa Brown--The Booksmith, San Francisco, CA
Dave Eggers--Green Apple Books, San Francisco, CA
Pico Iyer--Chaucer's Books, Santa Barbara, CA
Laurie R. King--Bookshop, Santa Cruz, CA
Scott Lasser--Explore Booksellers, Aspen, CO
Stephen White--Tattered Cover Book Store, Devner, CO
Kate Niles--Maria's Bookshop, Durango, CO
Ann Haywood Leal--Bank Square Books, Mystic, CT
Florence and Wendell Minor--The Hickory Stick Bookshop, Washington Depot, CT
Rick Atkinson--Politics and Prose Bookstore, Washington, DC
Les Standiford--Books and Books, Coral Gables, FL
Robert Macomber--The Muse Book Shop, Deland, FL
David Fulmer--Eagle Eye Book Shop, Decatur, GA
Abraham Verghese--Prairie Lights, Iowa City, IA
Charlie Brandt--Chapter One Bookstore, Ketchum, ID
Luis Alberto Urrea--Anderson's Bookshops, Naperville, IL
Mike Leonard--The Book Stall Chestnut Court, Winnetka, IL
Albert Goldbarth--Watermark Books, Wichita, KS
Wendell Berry--Carmichael's Bookstore, Louisville, KY
Edith Pearlman--Brookline Booksmith, Brookline, MA
Mameve Medwed--Porter Square Books, Cambridge, MA
Henry Louis Gates, Jr.--Harvard Book Store, Cambridge, MA
Simon Winchester--The Bookloft, Great Barrington, MA
Nancy Thayer--Mitchell's Book Corner, Nantucket, MA
Elin Hilderbrand--Nantucket Bookworks, Nantucket, MA
Jeanne Birdsall--Broadside Bookshop, Northampton, MA
Martha Ackmann--Odyssey Bookshop, South Hadley, MA
Ward Just--Bunch of Grapes Bookstore, Vineyard Haven, MA
Ron Currie, Jr.--Longfellow Books, Portland, ME
Nancy Shaw--Nicola's Books, Ann Arbor, MI
Katrina Kittle--Saturn Booksellers, Gaylord, MI
Ann Patchett--Mclean and Eakin Booksellers, Petotskey, MI
Kathleen Finneran--Left Bank Books, St.Louis, MO
Barry Moser--Lemuria Books, Jackson, MS
Jill McCorkle--Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, NC
Carrie Ryan--Park Road Books, Charlotte NC
Laurent Dubois--The Regulator Bookshop, Durham, NC
Lee Smith--Purple Crow Books, Hillsborough, NC
Angela Davis-Gardner--Quail Ridge Books and Music, Raleigh, NC
Ron Rash--City Lights Bookstore, Sylva, NC
Ian Frazier--Watchung Booksellers, Montclair, NJ
Joan Wickersham--The Toadstool Bookshop, Peterborough, NH
Carmela Ciuraru--Community Bookstore, Brooklyn NY
Matt Weiland--Greenlight Bookstore, Brooklyn, NY
Kate Christensen--Word, Brooklyn, NY
Mick Cochrane--Talking Leaves Books, Buffalo, NY
Caroline Leavitt--McNally Jackson Books, New York, NY
Arthur Nersesian--St. Mark's Bookshop, New York, NY
Francine Prose and Pete Hamill--Strand Bookstore, New York, NY
Chuck Palahniuk--Powell's Books, Portland, OR
Larry Kane--Chester County Book and Music Company, West Chester, PA
Ann Hood--Island Books, Middletown, RI
Mindy Friddle--Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC
Adam Ross--Parnassus Books, Nashville, TN
Douglas Brinkley--Book People, Austin, TX
Terry Tempest Williams--The King's English Book Shop, Salt Lake City, UT
Howard Frank Mosher--Galaxy Bookshop, Hardwick, VT
Jon Clinch--Northshire Bookstore, Manchester, VT
Jonathan Evison--Eagle Harbor Book Co., Bainbridge Island, WA
Tom Robbins--Village Books, Bellingham, WA
Ivan Doig--University Book Store, Seattle, WA
Lesley Kagen--Next Chapter Bookshop, Mequon, WI
Liam Callanan--Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, WI
Edited by publishing professional Rice, with an introduction by Richard Russo and an afterword by Emily St. John Mandel, this anthology features essays by 84 writers waxing passionate about their favorite independent bookstores and about the importance of supporting and nurturing these bricks-and-mortar purveyors in an increasingly electronic age. As the tradition of personalized hand-selling is threatened by chain stores and the Amazonian Internet, this cozy collection of love letters to dozens of still-operating independents (from such behemoths as Powell's in Portland and the Strand in New York to more hidden gems in corners of Kansas, Utah, and Pennsylvania) offers voracious readers hope for the future. The all-star contributors include John Grisham, Chuck Palahniuk, and Ann Patchett, but the true protagonists are the bookstores and the dedicated professionals who bestow them with novel-worthy character. There is Howard Frank Mosher's Galaxy Bookshop in Hardwick, Vt., the only American bookshop to have once had a drive-thru window, and San Francisco's Booksmith, memorialized in comic strip format by the author/illustrator duo Daniel Handler and Lisa Brown. Though there are moments in the book in which sentimentality rules, the overall goal prevails: to thank, protect, and preserve these cherished spaces.
A celebration of the independent bookstore by 84 authors who consider them personally and culturally indispensable and who find the ones they favor thriving and vital, despite common impressions to the contrary.
Early on, it might seem that too many of these short pieces are repetitive, praising the stores that have hosted and nurtured them as "home," as the "soul of the community" and other phrases that suggest a bygone era in these days of discount mega-stores and cybershopping. Yet the cumulative impact of this handsomely published anthology is not that of a series of survival stories, holdouts against the tidal wave of technology, but of a literary community that continues to flourish and needs these havens of revelation and sharing. The contributors write of being introduced to the work of other included authors by savvy booksellers and forging lifelong friendships. At least two different authors fell in love and ultimately married because of their interactions at an indie bookstore. Two of the more famous novelists (Louise Erdrich and Ann Patchett)
This is more than just a celebration, more than just a compendium of bookstore kudos. This is like each of your favorite writers (84 of them!) penning a love letter to their favorite bookstore. Names you may recognize include Dave Eggers, Louise Erdrich, Francine Prose, Lisa See, and Simon Winchester. Editor Rice, a publishing professional, has recruited new pieces that illuminate the quirks and many intangibles that make a great bookstore. From the owner who will trek across town to help out at a library signing, to the fierceness with which some owners protect their customers' privacy, to the overall comfort of stepping into a world that you just know is full of compatriots, the beautiful stories in these pages tell of those things that make any neighborhood bookstore great.
VERDICT: There are other collections that focus on bookstores... but this one is a personal peek into the hearts of the contributing writers as well as into the bookstores they love. Sure to please any bibliophile, even if borrowed from the library!
In this enthusiastic, heartfelt, and sometimes humorous ode to bookshops and booksellers, 50 known authors pay tribute to the brick-and-mortar stores they love and often call their second homes.
Authors and bookstores are inextricably tied to one another. The relationship between an author’s local store and that store’s owners and staff can last for years, if not decades, and grow phenomenally close. Sometimes it’s the author’s local store that has supported him during the first uncertain days of his career. It’s the place an author relies upon for word of new releases or a keen recommendation of an obscure work or an up-and-coming writer. The bookstore is a place of community for an author who spends her time pursuing what is generally a solitary existence.
My Bookstore collects the stories, praise, and words of thanks, for stores across the U.S. and around the world, in 50 short essays written by our most beloved authors. Some of the pieces are sentimental, some are hilarious, all are unforgettable and inspiring. Sidebars tell of the history of the store, it’s idiosyncrasies, and little-known secrets and legends. Fifty black-and-white line drawings illustrate each shop’s front door or distinguishing features.
About the Author
Ronald Rice has worked in book publishing, as a sales and marketing professional, for more than 25 years. He began his career at Koen Book Distributors and then served as Sales Director/Small Press Buyer for Bookazine, Co. He was a four-time nominee for Publishers Weekly Sales Representative of the Year and has served multi-year terms on both the New England Independent Booksellers Association and Southern Booksellers Alliance advisory councils. He is currently a publishing industry consultant. He lives in Philadelphia, PA.