Bookshop Girl

Don’t you just adore a good book shop? Maybe it’s a familiar favourite or a newfound discovery on your travels but wherever it be, a book-filled emporium always brings instant comfort and a whiff of possibility. The best ones are oozing with charm and characters (and not just in the pages!) along with the tempting titles.

With bookstores treading turbulent waters of late, there seems to be a wave of sentimental tributes populating the shelves. Here are a few I think look entertaining:

My Bookstore: Writers Celebrate their Favourite Places to Browse, Read, and Shop by Ronald Rice

This is a collection of odes to bookstores by writers who’ve formed precious relationships with certain shops. Library Journal describes it this way:

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!

The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop: A Memoir, A History by Lewis Buzbee

Now this book about bookshops actually inspired a new shop to name itself The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop! From the author, Lewis Buzbee:

“I have always and ever been a lover of books and bookstores, and for over 20 years worked as a bookseller. This book is a memoir of my time in bookstores, but also a history of bookselling and publishing, from the great library at Alexandria to today’s City Lights. Mostly, though, the book is meant as a full-on celebration of this common but vital place. If you love the feel of walking into a bookstore and the promise those stacks and shelves hold, well, I’ve got a book for you.” 

The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap: A memoir of friendship, community, and the uncommon pleasure of a good book by Wendy Welch

Adriana Trigiani fans among you will be familiar with Big Stone Gap. It’s time to revisit this charming Virginian town in memoir rather than fictional form.

“Wendy Welch’s memoir, The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap, is a delight. Starting a used bookstore in a small Appalachian town during the decline-of-the-book era may seem like rank folly, but the project—and the book—turn out to be anything but foolish. With warmth and humor, Welch details the small successes and large missteps along the path to finding a place in a community. She shows that, even in the age of the e-reader, there is hope for books and those who love them, and that reading and bookstores still perform an important function in civic life. Her clear prose sparkles with personality in this heartening tale of the perils and rewards of following one’s dream.” –Thomas C. Foster, author of How to Read Literature Like a Professor

Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops by Jen Campbell

Well, this one is likely just as it sounds. Jen Campbell, a bookseller in the UK, began to compile her own list of “weird things said” and then collected a few more from commiserating fellow booksellers. The results have appeared on her blog and in this book. A second version (More Weird Things …) is due for release in the coming months. Here is one of my favourite exchanges –  more of the charming than weird:

Young boy: You should put a basement in your bookshop.
Me: You think so?
Young boy: Yeah. And then you could keep a dragon in it, and he could look after all the books for you when you’re not here.
Me: That’s a pretty cool idea. Dragons breathe fire, though. Do you think he might accidentally burn the books?
Young boy: He might, but you could get one who’d passed a test in bookshop-guarding. Then you’d be ok.
Me: …You know, I think you’re on to something there.
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