Category Archives: Big Stone Gap

Books a Bazillion

In which Jack returns to writing his weekly blog post, and sighs patiently over a subject known only too well to bookslingers everywhere.

garbage-landfill Yesterday one of our cafe regulars asked if we bought books. I explained that we didn’t, but gave store credit if the trade-ins met our needs and standards.

“Oh, I can just donate them,” he said, and headed for his van.

That seemed like a clue that these weren’t going to be top of the line, but I went out to watch him struggle up the front steps with an enormous TV box–the kind I advise folk not to use, as they weigh a ton when full of books.

A better man would have helped, but I admit to you my moral failing: I knew what was coming and just didn’t care.

A quick glance established that most of his donations were older Grishams and Pattersons; to add insult to injury, they were minus their dust jackets. After explaining as gently as I could that  these were pretty much useless to us, I raked through to find eight acceptable hardbacks as well as more (useless) battered paperbacks. At this point he shrugged and said he’d got them from a friend.

(So – a friendship wall?)

This was the third time in as many days we’d had much the same experience, having to explain that we don’t take hardbacks minus their jackets, torn or stained paperbacks, romances including Danielle Steel or kids’ coloring books already colored in. It’s the law of used book shops: people don’t want to dump, so they donate. And they mean well for the most part, but a couple months of that, and customers will have a hard time differentiating your shop from a dump site.

Surveying our store the other week, with its spiraling pinwheels of shelves moving toward the center of every room, eking out the final frontiers of space, I resolved to become even more choosy about what to accept. And perhaps instigate a cull.

After all, folk are generally pretty sanguine when I explain our policy. What I hope is that people will begin to weed out themselves before bringing stuff to us, but in the meantime, I’ll stifle a sigh. And maybe help with the box next time.

Perhaps I can build a garden wall somewhere with all those jacketless Grishams and Pattersons? Wendy would like that….


Filed under Big Stone Gap, blue funks, book repair, bookstore management, crafting, humor, Life reflections, reading, small town USA

The Monday TV Show?

snobsRegular readers know my passions (besides Jack and books) include rescuing cats and crocheting, often combining these in projects such as the SPAY AND NEUTER AFGHAN. (Thanks for the generous support so many of you have shown!)

The calming repetitive muscle movement of crocheting begs for intellectual accompaniment. Alas, I’ve gone through the entire Lonesome Pine Regional Library System’s collection of recorded books, and the fastest way to fall asleep while crocheting is listen to music, so….. hello, Netflix.

Jack and I don’t own a TV, but if he’s busy with a fix-it project around the bookstore – and since our house was built in 1903, he often is – I wind up sitting in front of the computer screen, whipping out kitty butt coasters while binge watching some quality network programming.

Given that readers won’t always admit they even watch TV (bibliophile elitism is not a big social problem, though) it startled me when I put out a call on Facebook for some potential watching, and got 50+ responses.

Here are the winners of the “bibliophilic snobs recommend” thread, with a few snarky comments from me:


Cadfael, House of Cards (US and UK), Downton Abbey, Bletchley Circle, Call the Midwife, Vicar of Dibley, The IT Crowd – LOVED ‘em all

Sherlock  – hated it, watched just to see how they did the Doyle do-overs. Best part was Season 3 playing with itself over Reichenbach Falls. Dear Networks: Please note that decorative men are no substitute for substance.

Jericho and Revolution – post-apocalyptic shows, both cancelled mid-storyline. The well-written Jericho was saved by a fan campaign, while Revolution -heh, who knew 15-year-old boys were writing Hollywood scripts? To paraphrase Mark Twain, of 357 possible plot failings, Rev committed 350.

Orange is the new Black – by all accounts, Season 2 is better than 1. To which my usually gentle husband Jack responded, “That wouldn’t take much.” Oh well….

Wallander – Jack and I tried the Swedish version and gave up halfway through Episode 1. We hear the English version might be better.

Law and Order (original) – not so much watched as memorized. I’m a huge LnO fan.

Northern Exposure – Remember liking it live, may have to try it again as a binge watch

Borgias and Tudors – Historical characters that interesting did not need added sex and violence.

TED talks – I like TED talks, but find the bundles available on Netflix tend to lead with celebrities, segue into duds, then finish with really thought-provoking ideas. So I’ve started skipping to the last three of any bundle. :]


Dexter – Lemme get this straight: you want the Quaker bookstore owners to watch a show about an assassin who only takes out people as need killing, and is really a nice guy despite a couple of problems? Yeah. Everybody has some of The Light inside them…. Pass, thanks.

Hell on Wheels – We might try this. We’d never heard of it and lotsa people recommended it.

Sons of Anarchy – Poor misunderstood lost boy motorcyclists? Sounds a bit like Peter Pan for grown-ups, but okay, we might try it.

Walking Dead – Just say no to Zombies–at least until someone makes them sparkle. Which will happen, mark my words.

Treme – Sounded interesting; gonna try it.

The White Queen – I liked Gregory’s book, and it’s clear that Elizabeth Woodville is her favorite historical character, so I’d like to see it, but Netflix doesn’t care.

LOST and Twin Peaks – Confusing worlds where nothing is as it seems? This is diversion? Sounds like an NPR broadcast.

Sex and the City – Insert penis joke here. NEXT!

The Killing – A cult that worships a lit professor? Sign me up!

Hemlock Grove – Look, anything Netflix is pushing that hard just has to be garbage. Plus, I don’t like it when bad guys leap out of people’s stomachs. Gore makes my stitch tension too tight.

Game of Thrones – Ooooh, you say there’s a fantastic new  fantasy world out there where women get the shit beat out of them and raped and can’t hold onto power? WOW! Gotta check that out;  sounds like real escapism to me…..

Justified – A show that treats Appalachians like real people? PLEASE Netflix, get this for streaming!

Okay, we’ll go back to books next week and pretend this little interlude never happened. But now we know; readers watch, too. And it’s not all bad.

spay and neuter afghan


Filed under animal rescue, bad writing, between books, Big Stone Gap, crafting, Downton Abbey, humor, Hunger Games, out of things to read, reading, Uncategorized, writing, YA fiction