Thursday, December 20, 2012

Bookstores and New Book website

This is the first time I have posted something other than a book review on this blog.  The November 18 Sunday Parade magazine article , "Places of Wonder" by novelist Richard Russo where he describes the first great bookstore of his life, Alvord and Smith on Noah Miles street in Gloversville, NY, the first stop  on Saturday  errands with his mother.  He goes on to tout bookstores and declares while many people love good bookstores, writers lose their heads over them.    Then he discusses his intense dislike of e-books which he believes are leading to the decline in real literary works.  I fully understand and agree, because I have been to events when bookstores introduced new writers.  Thnakfully our local library and librarian have a heart to do the same today though often confined to MN writers who are willing to trek to this small town.  A conversation with an author is stimulating and often insightful, "wow if  she/he can write so can I.   

Here is a link to the website for Good Reads and information about Richard Russo, an author who has a Pulitzer as well as acclaim.  http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7844.Richard_Russo  The Sunday article is an excerpt from a new book, on my wish list at Barnes and Noble (B&N), an anthology of essays by famous writers, "My Bookstore: Writers Celebrate Their Favorite Places to Browse, Read, and Shop"    by Ronald Rice.  

And another thing, those who claim I am hard to buy for, as recently voiced by a relative who chooses to do whatever is easy to assuage any feelings of obligaton, would do well to visit my B & N wish list.  There is always something there.  Often I will spot a book at Sam's, that  I must have shortly after release like "Killing Kennedy" but other times I will wait for awhile for the paperback release or a sale copy at our library book sale.  Another book I'm waiting on is JK Rowling's new adult mystery,  "The Casual Vacancy."  I think if people took a minute  to think they could easily find a book I would enjoy.  But that is another post and for the other blog, inability or refusal to think, part of the culture of flashing plastic and making it easy while it's the thought that is missing.   

Today we settle with Barnes and Noble our chain bookstore at the mall, and while I am grateful we have it nearby while many communities lack any bookseller save the Wal-Mart or grocery paper back stacks, I long for the independent bookstores that we had once upon a time in California. There were three in the  Auburn area near our home.  My friend Roberta and I would spend our lunchtime browsing in the  Beers Bookstore which moved close to my office my last years of work; Beers was famous for  an array of used as well as new books, and for many unusual subjects.  There is something extra satisfying about handling the book and glimpsing passages here and there, before purchasing that is just not the same on line despite features on Amazon and B & N online.  Russo claims that the point and click crowd undermine the next generation of writers by not supporting independent booksellers who were the best resource for promoting new writers. 

My books to read shelf December 2012
While there were no bookstores in our town or  that I knew of growing up, I was a perpetual inhabitant of the local People's Library and checked out as many books as I could at a time, down the hill and up the hill again, carrying a heavy stack of books in the days prior to backpacks and with out regard to the extra weight.  Books that I would read and then make a repeat trek to the library.  We did not buy books and believe me when I got my very own book, I treasured it.  Maybe that is why I have always maintained a home library including a too big of one today, or so commented another relative on a visit, another non reader who cannot fathom what one would do with books.    Much has changed over the years but not my love of reading, however the rise and fall of bookstores across the country proves the dynamics at work, few read and fewer buy books.  I am a book store junkie, an addict to a book sale, and can always find something to add to the shelf in my home library of books to be read.  There is always space for another book.   I do not lack for books to keep me company over a snowed in day like today. 

Over the weekend at a recommendation from the local book reviewer in the Sunday newspaper I logged onto  Storyverse, a website dedicated to literature and books, excerpts of books and  reviews  this is different and interesting to me and likely to other readers.   One small semi annoying aspect is its name, "Small Demons"  I suppose this is cool with younger people and likely of some  significance which I do not get.  Still, the site is worth visiting when interested in what to read next.   https://www.smalldemons.com/books