Tying Up Loose (week)Ends

Today’s post is just pulling together a few loose threads to tie into the weekend.

First, let me remind everyone that CAPTION CONTEST III (scroll down to July 8) closes next week. If you haven’t entered yet, take a look at the winsome photo of a kitten surrounded by books, and have fun. First prize is a free copy of The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap: a memoir of friendship, community and the uncommon pleasure of a good book.

(BTW the kitten in question, who was known as Mr. Edwards while with us–from our Limited Edition Little House Summer Series Foster Collection–has been adopted and is now being spoiled rotten under his new name: Karl Pilkington. His forever family said their permanently-worried facial expressions were too similar to ignore.)

Second, I blogged a list of fun bibliophile sites online last week, and then found another that night. Goodwill Librarian is on Facebook, posting great photos and memes. Kimberly–the GW–also runs Good Reads Missoula, a website dedicated to books and book lovers. (Google it as for some reason it’s not posting right here.) They’re great places to visit on a Friday–or any day! Pretty and erudite at the same time.

Next, for those who looked at yesterday’s “I’m looking for a book” hints: nice job! I guessed Life of Pi too, for the first customer, who said “It’s about a guy in a lifeboat.” But of all things, he was looking for Jerome K. Jerome’s Three Men in a Boat! (This is a comic novel about a boating holiday, published in 1889.)

Customer hint:”All these people are mad at each other, because their dad gave away his land.” Jane Yolen got closest with her guess, King Lear. The lady was looking for A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley. (Her next statement actually abbreviated a frustrating search: “It was a movie on Lifetime.” Well why didn’t you say so? Now we can skip a few false trails.)

“It’s about a woman whose husband dies, and she writes it all down.” Joan Didion, A Year of Magical Thinking, is what the customer wanted. I must admit to bookstore keeper snobbery here, because I thought anyone with literary sensibilities suited to Joan Didion would be able to ask for her by name. Instead, I suggested first  The Geography of Love by Glenda Burgess, then Carole Radziwill’s What Remains.

The woman shook her head. “This man keeled over at the table, and his wife was already a writer.” At that moment I began to suspect she was toying with me, because anyone who knew that much MUST know Joan Didion’s work, but in fact the lady just couldn’t remember the book’s name. C’est la bookselling vie.

“It’s about a girl who gets raped, except everybody blames her.” Speak is a great book on this subject (which as comments point out, is all too frequent) but the customer wanted We Were the Mulvaneys by Joyce Carol Oates.

It’s about this guy’s dog. Easy Peasy: Marley and Me. But just to separate it from the rest of the pack, I asked the gentleman requesting the book, “Who dies, the man or his dog?” This eliminated London before the search started.

Now, see that zombie thing? We went several rounds. I started with graphic novels; let’s face it, the kid was a goth and we do judge books by their covers. Nope. I won’t bore you with all the other wrong guesses. Believe it or not, what the lad wanted was I, Robot by Isaac Asmiov. His teacher made it an extra credit reading assignment, saying something about (remember, this came via the kid’s filter) people not caring about their feelings and letting machines do all the work and sort of living while being dead while the machines were coming to life.

Yes, it’s a new description of a classic text, but hey, I’m just glad the boy was willing to do an extra credit reading assignment. I do kinda hope his teacher never tries to describe Moby-Dick to him, though, because he’ll come in asking for Jaws.

And the final loose end: WETS FM is rebroadcasting a Community Forum interview I did about bookstores, at 7:30 Saturday morning and 2:30 Sunday afternoon. If you want to hear it, go to www.wets.org at these times and click on the listen now button at the top of the screen. The page that opens has all their channels (3 or 4 I think) and you just choose your preferred listening software. I think you can also download it via the website, but these programs are not archived.

Have a great weekend, everybody.


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

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