Tag Archives: Fountain Books

Angelic Bookstore Owners

Bookstore owners are the sweetest, smartest people in the world. Trust me on this. ;]

Jack and I had a really busy month in July, with a sick foster cat (TEAM HAZEL FOR THE WIN) and a final push on finishing our basement so we could get moved in and turn upstairs into the SECOND STORY EATERY.  Jack was just back from leading his annual Scottish tour (next year now booking) and he was the wee bit under the weather. Yuppie stress in the grand scheme of the world, but it induced an aversion to doing anything besides sitting quietly on a Friday evening, staring at the wallpaper.

But Angelic Towe, owner of MariaJoseph Books in Wallach House, downtown Eureka, Missouri, had asked us ages ago to come do a book event in her bookstore. The store she started after reading my book. (Does this make me legally culpable?)

And poor Angelic, the week before we were to sojourn at her lakeside house for the event plus an extra day of swimming and sunning, was descended upon by family members under some surprise stress. En masse. Her bedrooms filled, her fridge emptied, and her Mom heart expanded.

We said, “Let’s just reschedule.” She took it bravely, but it slipped out that she’d “done some publicity.” So we said “OK, let’s get ‘er done.”

And when we arrived last night to the hotel she’d booked for us–gorgeous and with a SWIMMING POOL–in the midst of her own stress, she’d left us a chocolate bar and a gift card to a local restaurant. When we went to the first gig she’d arranged, we saw the “publicity”: elegant postcards in lovely color tones with antique script, touting the event at Angelic’s store.

Plus, her kids helped make cookies for today.

On the way home from Angelic’s, we will make a swift detour through Granite City, IL to BSR Used Books. Owner Bruce Campbell coined the phrase TEAM HAZEL FOR THE WIN while keeping up with the saga of our elderly, sick foster cat. He’s been one of her staunchest supporters in her new life in North Carolina (complete with her own Facebook page, as befits a celebricat). We look forward to meeting him.

And we will be stopping off in Indiana as well, but that’s a surprise we’ll keep for a later blog. Suffice it to say we’re meeting some (more) very cool people for a very fun reason.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it behooves us all to make friends with independent bookstore owners: sweet, cool, smart people. They care about cats, and they make cookies.

In fact, I’m pretty sure it is independent bookstore owners and school teachers who form the safety net enclosing the world, keeping it from flying apart.

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Filed under book reviews, bookstore management, humor, Life reflections, publishing, shopsitting, small town USA, Uncategorized, VA, writing

Full-Circle Pleasantness

The day before Thanksgiving, a woman called to ask if we’d be open on Black Friday.

Well, yes. “Oh good,” she said. “I’m from Memphis, and my husband and I will be in Kingsport for Thanksgiving with his parents. And I just read this book, The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap and loved it so I wanted to come up and see the shop. Will the owners be in?”

I laughed and told her that Jack and I would be spending the morning of Black Friday signing books and greeting customers outside Glen Moody’s charming shop “I Love Books” in Kingsport Mall.

“That’s a great store and my in-laws are familiar with it, but we want to come up and see Tales of the Lonesome Pine,” she said, hesitantly.

“You’ll be as welcome as Spring rain,” I replied.

We enjoyed our time at Glen and Deb’s shop in Kingsport–it’s always nice to talk trade with fellow bookslingers–then headed back to home, sweet bookstore. During our chat, Glen said something that stuck with me. “Time was that bookstores as close to each other as yours and mine are would be competitors. But not now. We’re allies.”

Yes, we are.

We’d not been back twenty minutes when the door opened and Debby came in with her mother-in-law. They were delighted to see the bookstore, and Jack was delighted to show them around. Debby had bought my book at Booksellers at Laurelwood, one of our favorite bookshops ever (Hi, Nicole!). There’s just something very full-circle-pleasant about a woman from Memphis making a casual purchase in her hometown bookstore–one that has fought hard to stay independent in its community, I might add–then visiting relatives near our store and driving up to us while we were down in her in-laws’ town, signing at a friend’s bookshop.

Jack and I have much to be thankful for this season, including a circle of new reader and bookslinger friends. Here’s to all the fun, interesting people who read Little Bookstore and searched us out on Facebook to leave nice comments, and to the new friends in the bookslinging world that this week has brought–particularly to Peregrine Books that just opened, and to ReBook out in Utah. We hope your Black Friday has been as fun and filled with full-circle pleasantness.

Wendy will be signing at Fountain Books in Richmond, VA this Monday from noon-2 pm.

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Filed under Big Stone Gap, book repair, book reviews, folklore and ethnography, humor, publishing, small town USA, VA