Posts Tagged ‘bookstores’
February 12, 2013 | by Kelly McMasters
Sitting alone in my tiny bookshop on a cold February morning, I have the sensation that I’ve conjured a dream into reality. The light is crisp and blue through the door. A flight of red paper swallows—a Valentine homage to Chaucer’s poem “The Parliament of Fowls”—hangs from the ceiling, fluttering quietly from the heat whooshing out of the floor grate. The room is small, just shy of two hundred fifty square feet, and an old pickled farm table sits squarely in the middle. The top of the table is covered with books, and the shelves lining two of the room’s walls also contain a patchwork of brightly colored spines.
Valentine-themed woodblock prints handmade by my husband line the farm table and a grid of nature-inspired prints hold a wall. We live on an old dairy farm up in northeast Pennsylvania, and instead of cows in our three-bay English barn, we have two etching presses. Mark carves the images into blocks of clear pine, inks them up, and sends them through the press, cranking the smooth silver wheel like a captain on a ship. This is our store together, a kind of celebration of works on paper. We live on Moody Road, and so we call the shop Moody Road Studios.
An artist and a writer, respectively, my husband and I had both been teaching and working in the city for more than a decade, until a little over a year ago. The idea of running a bookshop never entered our consciousness while in New York, mostly because it never could have happened. Space and funding were impossibilities—as one might guess, a writer and an artist in business together don’t quite make for a crack commerce force. But here, on Main Street in the small town of Honesdale, everything clicked into place. Read More »
February 7, 2013 | by Sadie Stein
- “The ordinary, mild-mannered bookstore had stripped off its everyday shirt to reveal its superpowers, moving with a slamming shift into warp-speed pleasure.” A paean to vanished bookstores.
- How to (if you must) divest yourself of books.
- Here is a trademark lawsuit involving both space marines and superheroes. Yes, I said space marines.
- “The precision and spirit of Austen’s novels derive, in part, from the cherished objects with which she and her heroines were in daily contact—things that might well have been overlooked or spurned by everyone else.”
- Washington, D. C. earns the title of Most Literate City. The Most Romantic crown, however, goes to Knoxville, Tennessee. (If you define romance as only shopping at Amazon.com, of course.)
January 29, 2013 | by James Santel
Nostalgia is a dangerous feeling to indulge. It transforms other people, including old versions of one’s self, into figures whose lone purpose is to lend texture and credence to a diorama of the past. And just as an elementary-school diorama of, say, a Roman frontier fortress, no matter how meticulously researched and constructed, can never convey the totality of what it would have been like to stand sentry in Germania circa 70 A.D., so the version of the past constructed by nostalgia is a distortion, albeit one that relies upon memory (itself a kind of distortion, as neuroscience tells us) and experience to weave what is in essence a fairy tale.
Nostalgia’s refractions aren’t limited to people, of course. Its influence extends to places, too, refusing to acknowledge that places have presents and futures—presents and futures that often don’t involve one’s self, hence the willingness to ignore them—but only pasts: your pasts. Whenever I visit the University of Chicago, for instance, Hutch Courtyard is never Hutch Courtyard, a pleasant flagstone enclave that’s served as a favored warm-weather gathering spot for generations of undergraduates, but instead the place where I sat reading Moby-Dick when I learned that my grandmother had died. That’s it. All of the hopes and dreams, joys and fears toted through that spot by millions of human beings for more than a century, brushed aside by my solipsistic longing for a past that wasn’t nearly as honey colored in the living as it is in the remembering. I recall seeing a picture of Prince Charles passing through Hutch Courtyard during a 1977 visit and thinking, There’s Prince Charles walking right by the spot where I was when I heard that Grandma died. Nostalgia, which presents the past as a meadow of boundless possibility, is actually quite constricting. Read More »
January 4, 2013 | by Sadie Stein
In addition to bringing the world the glory that is the Weird Book Room (plus, of course, the main site itself), AbeBooks curates a gallery of bookstore cats from all over North America. (We imagine international felines are welcome; the current batch just happens to hail from the U. S. and Canada. Certainly the resident orange cat at Paris’s Tea and Tattered Pages is a notable omission!) While a number of the kitties on display have literary names, Booker Fox, of the Book Nook in Mexico, Missouri, seems to be the only one with her own Facebook page, on which she gives literary recommendations. (The Street of the Fishing Cat was a recent pick.)
January 3, 2013 | by Sadie Stein