Friday, November 26, 2010

Black Friday, Shop Small Saturday and Cyber Monday

Thanksgiving is over.  Today is Black Friday.  It is 7:30 a.m. and I am still in my pajamas drinking a cup of hot tea, a glass of orange juice, taking cold medicine, contemplating a shower and planning my next few days.  We were scheduled to have a reading and book signing featuring Dillon author Joe Drivdahl. Joe now lives in Glendive but was headed to Dillon to spend Thanksgiving with his family.  Due to the severe weather conditions and road closures we have had to postpone this event.  The books are available here and we can send them to Joe to be autographed.  Just let me know how you want the book signed and we will take care of it for you.
Today we will begin decorating the Bookstore for the upcoming holiday season, pulling out the Christmas music and tucking away the fall decorations.  Peppermint hot chocolate and marshmallows will be a popular beverage (peppermint sticks for the younger set and peppermint schnaaps for those of us that prefer that extra zip in our cocoa) and as always there will be a pot of tea.  We will lovingly put out copies of "The Night Before Christmas," "The Polar Express," " How The Grinch Stole Christmas," and other holiday favorites.

As I watch the news and see the frenzied shoppers waiting in line at 1:00 a.m. or 3:30 a.m. or 5:00 a.m. or some other un-Godly hour I shake my head.  Well folks you don't have to be at The Bookstore at an early hour.  We will open at 9:00 a.m. like we always do.  We will offer you friendly service with a smile.  We will go that extra mile to help you find the perfect book for everyone on your shopping list.  We will wrap your purchase (at no extra cost), we offer a mailing service (you pay the shipping, we take it to the Post Office, Fed Ex or the UPS pick up center) we can have your books shipped directly from one of our warehouses to just about anywhere in the world and for a nominal fee you can also have it wrapped and a card will be enclosed.  We don't have fancy plastic gift cards, we have a paper gift certificate that fits into an envelope or card.  We hand write it (and we would even write in colored ink and add a bow if you wanted it to look festive)  We accept credit cards (just like those stores online or down the road)  We also happily take checks and cash, and we have an easy lay-away plan. 
We are a hometown business that knows we are here because of you our customers.  We may not offer deep discounts but we do offer you the best selection, the best customer service and a lot of fun.  We can usually order a title for you if we don't have it, we can make suggestions based on what we read.  Most likely we will know the person you are shopping for and we will have a good idea what they like to read (and sometimes we already know if they have the book you want to share with them)  Our store doesn't look like any other Bookstore out there.  We are unique, we are independent and we are individuals and that is what sets us apart from the chains and according to more than one customer we are AWESOME.

Today is Black Friday, it is the day after Thanksgiving, it is a day for turkey sandwiches and leftovers.  It is a day that kicks off the holiday shopping season.  Tomorrow is Shop Small Saturday.  I appreciate that American Express recognizes the Small Businesses and what we do.  Monday is Cyber Monday.....................before placing that order online call us.  We can take your order over the phone, we can process your credit card (safely), we can wrap your purchases, we can deliver them locally, we can ship them and you can do it all on the phone if that is more convenient for you. 

We have calendars for 2011, Christmas cards, Solstice Cards, Hanukka cards and books, booklights, bookmarks, book plates, gift books, kid kits, art kits, journals, sketch books, books for kids, books for adults, picture books, coffee table books, chapter books:  We have books galore and so much more!!!

Event Schedule:  (check back often as we add events)
November 28th: Sunday hours begin 12:00-5:00
December 3rd: Bookstore open until 8:00
5:00-7:00 Author Signing Featuring Dee & Don Laubach
Dee is the author of Jimmy Jack the Little Christmas Elf
Don is the author of Deer Talk, Elk Talk and Elk Tactics
December 3rd: Christmas Stroll - Santa arrives in town
December 4th: Experience the Magic Button drawing @ The Courthouse
December 5th: Bookstore open 12:00-5:00
December 10th: Bookstore open until 8:00
Parade of Lights
December 11th: Experience the Magic Button drawing @ The Courthouse
December 12th: Bookstore open 12:00-5:00
December 17th: 1:00-3:00 Author Signing Featuring Stan Lynde
December 18th: Winter Festival --Street Fair and Family fun for everyone
Dillon Dunk Polar Plunge
Experience the Magic drawing on Idaho Street
December 19th: Bookstore open 12:00-5:00
December 20th-23rd: Bookstore open 9:00 am to 7:00 pm
December 24th: Bookstore open 9:00-???
December 25th: Merry Christmas -- Bookstore closed
December 26th: Bookstore Closed

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Idaho author to visit Dillon

Genie Monte-Pelizzari a licensed massage practitioner and Reiki Master with over thirteen years of practical experience will be in Dillon November 20th.  She is certified in Myofascial Release, Craniosacral Therapy, Somat Emotional Release and Movement Therapy. Genie is an experienced instructor and curriculum developer for professional licensing programs in massage therapy.

She is the author of the book "A Balanced Life with Source Connection Therapy". Genie discovered balance through a close connection with the Source in her life, God. Following personal revelation and guidance from her Source, she developed a therapy through which others can achieve the same sense of well-being.

The term Source has different meanings for different people. To Genie, it’s a connection with God. For others, Source may be anything in life that provides focus, direction and comfort. Source Connection Therapy is based on the fact that unhealthy patterns can be unlearned and each of us has the ability to adopt new, positive ways of living and relating to ourselves.
Today, Genie is well known as the developer and teacher of Source Connection Therapy, a technique perfected over time and proven through work with hundreds of clients. Motivated by a strong desire to help others attain wellness, balance and harmony in their lives she teaches people to identify the Source in their own lives and then connect with that Source for effective personal growth.
"A Balanced Life with Source Connection Therapy" is Genie’s gift to others; a carefully thought out and meticulously presented book showing each of us how to find the personal Source, and then attain full potential by using the connection techniques presented in the book.
Genie will give a presentation, demonstration and reading from her book on Saturday November 20th from 1:00-3:00 pm at The Bookstore in Dillon.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Thanksgiving and other Thoughts

This time of year things get pretty crazy around here.  As I prepare for our busiest season I wander around the store scratching my head trying to remember where I shelved the extra inventory last year.  Cursing myself for not taking pictures of finished displays as a reminder that all of these books do eventually find a shelf. That we really can rearrange, decorate, add tables and stands to our already overcrowed floor space and still have it look inviting.  I love this time of year, I love the chaos, I love helping people find the perfect book to give to a friend or family member.  I love the glitter and shiny decorations.  I love the excitment and anticipation and I love that this all means that winter is headed our way.
What I don't like is that somehow Thanksgiving gets lost in all the hype.  I have to balance the fact that I am in retail sales with the reality that I don't like all the commercialism that happens this time of year.  I am always in awe when a customer will ask me to wrap a christmas gift for them in July.  I have to wonder are they really that organized, will they actually remember that they bought this gift in December and further more will they remember where it is hid?  I am equally fascinated by people that purchase their calendars for the upcoming year 6-months before January.  The same list of questions run through my mind.

For me Thanksgiving is a day to breathe.  It is a day to reflect on all that is good and to remember not only what we are thankful for but also why we are thankful.  I have a lot of blessings in this life.  I really love my job, I have an awesome husband and family.  I have great friends and good health.  This year my family is celebrating Thanksgiving on Sunday, November 20th.  My nephew, Wally, is home from the Navy and then he will be stationed in New Hampshire.  He won't be home for the holidays this year so we are doing what the government has done many times:  changing the date of a holiday to fit our needs.

For me this date change is perfect.  It has been at least 20 years since I have been to Augusta for Thanksgiving.  That commercial hype I mentioned before has kept me in Dillon.  The store is closed Thanksgiving day but the day after (Black Friday) has me at work going nonstop until we close the store on Christmas Eve.  Travelling for Thanksgiving just never happened.  I love Bill's family and always enjoy time spent with them but that being said I am really excited to spending this holiday up north.

I am looking forward to time spent with family and friends and to a few days off before the whirlwind of activities begin.  We have the festival of trees, 7 book signings, the Christmas stroll, the Parade of Lights, holiday open houses, Christmas parties, storytimes, the Winter Festival, a polar plunge and somewhere in there we should put up some decorations at home.  I love this time of year and equally love when it is over.

But for now I am thinking about Thanksgiving.  I am thinking about taking a moment of quiet and reflection.  I am hoping that the grizzly bear has bedded down for the winter or left the area so that I can walk in the field with my Dad.  I am thinking about playing scrabble and drinking tea and showing my Mom how to put her photos on facebook.  I am thinking about being in Augusta and how I always get re-energized when I am there.  I am thinking about my nieces and nephews and how they make me laugh and give me hope for the future and of course I am thinking about my Dad's prime rib and my Mom's stuffing and pumpkin pie.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Books of the Week

"The Art of Racing in the Rain"  by Garth Stein.

This novel is wonderful. I find myself recommending it to customers all the time.  It is unique, original and thought provoking.   This book speaks to the animal lover in all of us.  The dog (Enzo) narrates the story and talks directly to us.  He observes the people in his life and understands them better than they understand themselves.   He watches TV and is a fan of car races.  He knows things, understands things and loves more deeply than any human.  I have customers tell me how much they liked this book.  It is impossible not to love Enzo and  his humans.

"The Casebook of Sheriff Pete Benson"  by John S. Fitzpatrick

Meet Sheriff Pete Benson a former big city policy detective.  He loved his job it was intense, dangerous and 24/7.  But he had a wife and two kids, he made a choice.  Now he is the sheriff in Rhyolite County, Montana.  Rodgersburg, the county seat is his beat now and it is where he and his family live.  The people (for the most part) are good, honest, friendly and at times a bit quirky.  He knows most everyone and they know him, he gets the daily gossip from the regulars at the Apex bar.  Of course even in paradise trouble sometimes come calling.  Fortunately, Sheriff Pete Benson is on the job. 
John S. Fitzpatrick is also the author of the novel, "Sherlock Holmes: The Montana Chronicles."

"Ranger's Apprentice:  Halt's Peril"  by John Flanagan

The author of the terrific series "Ranger's Apprentice" lives in Austraila.  He began writing an epic fantasy for his son, Michael, in order to encourage him to read.  That story eventually became "The Ruins of Gorlan," book 1 of the Ranger's Apprentice books.  "Halt's Peril" is book 9 the the New York Times bestselling series.  This story continues this action packed fantasy series.  It is fast paced and leaves us wanting more.  I love these books and they are one of my favorite young adult reads.

"Towers of Midnight" by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson

"Towers of Midnight" is book 13 in the Wheel of Time series and to quote a customer "Brandon Sanderson is as good an author as Robert Jordan."  Bear in mind this customer wasn't sure he wanted to read the last books of this series after the death of Robert Jordan.  He was skeptical that anyone would be able to do this saga justice.  But Brandon Sanderson has done just that.  This is the next to last novel in this epic series.  The subplot is reaching some conclusions and we are reunited with characters that have been separated by time, space and several books.  There is also the reintroduction of the minions of the Dark One.  "Towers of Midnight" is a great segway to the rest of this series.

"The Confession" by John Grisham

"For every innocent man sent to prison, there is a guilty one left on the outside"  Such is the case in John Grisham's newest legal thriller "The Confession."  Donte Drumm was a highschool football star when he was accused of abducting, raping and strangling a popular cheerleader.  One lawyer believes in Donte's innocence and another man knows he is innocent of the crime.  Donte is on death row, days away from his execution, hoping for a miracle.  The true killer is suffering from a brain tumor and is maybe looking for some redemption.  In true Grisham fashion this story has you hoping for a miracle, cheering for the underdog and forcing you to face the reality on injustice.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Anniversaries, Hunting Camp and Fancy Nancy

Party dresses, tuxedos, cupcakes, tea, cookies, wedding anniversary, hunting camp, elk, roses and a magic show.  You might wonder if  these things have anything in common.  Well they all happened on the 23rd day of October 2010 right here at The Bookstore.

Bill and I celebrated our 28th wedding anniversary on Saturday.  It happened to be opening day of hunting season.  He left for hunting camp on Thursday leaving behind a note and a card specifically telling me not to open nor read before Saturday. (I was good and  followed those instructions)  The card was beautiful and the words
he wrote even more beautiful.  A dozen roses were delivered to me that morning.   He bagged his elk opening day and slipped back into town to wish me a happy anniversary in person and then just as quickly went back to camp.

We hosted a Fancy Nancy Tea Party and Magic show the same day.  I had no idea what to expect.  I advertised in the local paper and I dropped off 180 invitations to the party at the elementary school.  I also failed to include an RSVP on either the ad or the invitation. 

We were thrilled when guests started to arrive.  Beautiful, twirly party dresses, one Tuxedo, fancy hats, shiny jewelry and big smiles.  Not sure who had the biggest smiles, those of us hosting this soiree or the guests.  I started out keeping track of the attendees.  The first two that arrived were greeted by my fairy princesses and me.  They were taken to the face painting table, shown where stories would be read and where the magic show would happen.  They were escorted to the tea party room, served tea and a cupcake.  I dutifully marked two on my sheet of paper, went into the kitchen to check on something.  I stepped back into the Bookstore and was stunned to see 30 people milling about being cared for by my staff.  According to my records we had 2 people at the party because I never did get back to my record keeping.  My sister, Cindy, was in charge of tea and cookies and she estimates that we had at least 70 children plus their guests (parents, grandparents, aunts.....)

We had necklaces, rings, feather boas, red shoes and of course tiaras to share.  It was an amazing day.  Luke's magic act was outstanding and we were all amazed at the tricks he pulled out of his hat.  The facepainters placed wonderful works of art on the faces, wrists and ankles of the tea party people.  We had parents reading to kids and kids reading to kids.

It was a fabulous day.  Filled with books galore and so much more.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

If I weren't a Bookseller..................

What do you want to be when you grow up?  How many times have we asked that question not only of others but also of ourselves?  I will be 51 tomorrow and I still ponder the question. 

Yesterday we celebrated the 2nd Annual Oktoberfest in Dillon.  We had been planning this since January (along with May Day, Summer Sizzler and the upcoming Winter Festival).  We had worked hard, had fun and even drank a little moonshine in the process.  It rained, it rained hard, it rained most of the day.  I cried, I cried hard, however, I did not cry most of the day.  With the help of my husband, my friends, the vendors, the volunteers and the rest of my crazy party planners I realized a little rain was not about to ruin this party.

                              One of the most popular games that we host at these events is the cake walk.  It is so fun to see the kids excitement as they walk away with their prizes.   I obsess over these events.  I relax by cooking.  I made little cakes and had fun frosting them and decorating them.  One of my fellow merchants was complimenting me and asked how I had time to get them all done along with everything else.  I laughed and said "Have I ever mentioned to you that if I weren't a bookseller I would probably be a party planner/caterer or a psychologist?"  She laughed and said "isn't that what you do now?"

Huh, I'll be darned, she's right.  Through my life as a bookseller I am always planning events and making the food for the party.  We host booksignings, storytime, childrens Tea Parties, magic shows, Harry Potter parties, after hours events, Christmas strolls and poetry readings.  I love the decorations, planning and preparing the refreshments, setting up the displays and hosting the parties.  While doing all of this I get to be surrounded by books and enjoy of the company of people that also appreciate books and a good party.

As for psychology.................................

Every apptitude test I have ever taken has indicated that Psychology is the field for me.  As a bookseller I encouter people everyday, looking for answers, seeking advice or just needing to talk.  I like to think that once in awhile I have the right answer and that I listen well.  As for the advice I may have an opinion or two.  (but just once in awhile........................;o)

So if I weren't a bookseller would I be a caterer?  Probably not.  I enjoy it.  My parents and 2 of my sisters are involved in the bar/restaurant business.  I love helping them when I get the chance.  It is fun and I get to spend time with my crazy family.  But when the day is done I like what I do. 

If I weren't a bookseller would I be a psychologist?  That isn't as easy to dismiss.  At 50 (I won't be 51 until tomorrow) would I want to return to school and obtain this degree?  I am so proud of my friend Katie who did just that.   My sister Lisa is 40, she is a wife, a mother of 2 young sons and teaches full time and in December she will graduate with her masters degree.  They both have proven to me that it is possible.  But the big question is do I want to?

For now I am content planning parties that also involve books.  I get to interact with people on many different levels each and every day.  I am entertained and intellectually stimulated, I am healthy and happy looking forward to celebrating another birthday and just 5 days after that celebrating our 28th wedding anniversary.  Being a bookseller allows me to live many dreams.

So, what do you want to be when you grow up?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Bookstore in A Basket

"Hi, I'm Debbie From The Bookstore" ...... I say this so often that sometimes I am startled when someone introduces me as Debbie Sporich.  We are one in the same, share the same brain and have the same goofy sense of humor.   Although Bill does tell people that there is the OTHER Debbie and she is nothing like Debbie From the Bookstore........ (but that is a blog for another day)

One of the services that we provide is called "The Bookstore in a Basket."  This is a fun, lively presentation that I do for groups or in classrooms.  I enjoy this, it gets me out of the store, I get to share my love of books with others and it connects me to people in the community.  (Of course if I sell a book or two that is an added bonus)

     I recently had the privilege of speaking to a 3rd grade class.  There was a story in their language book about a girl and her friendship with the woman that owned the neighborhood bookstore.  The store was facing closure due to an increase in rent.  I was asked to speak to the class about the importance of supporting local businesses and what happens in a community when stores close.  It was amazing. These young students really understood the story.  I wanted to believe that I was inspiring the dialog that we shared.  But I soon discovered that these young students were saddened by the recent closing of our local bowling alley.  They felt this closure personally,  to quote one young man "Where will I have my birthday parties now?  I have had every party there." Another girl was sad because she was on a bowling league and these kids really wanted to share how they felt.

     I was impressed and humbled by their response.  I read them the story from their language book, we talked about what happened and their questions were thoughtful and insightful.  The conversation turned to books.  They told me their favorites and I shared some of mine.  We looked at the class frog and talked about the upcoming Oktoberfest.  It was an amazing hour (although I think originally they had planned on me being there for 15-20 minutes)

     This past week I was also a presenter at the MACE (Montana Association of Chamber Executives) conference that was held in Dillon.  It was fun -- I wore many costumes (I had them layered and would remove one as I talked about the festival that it represented.....I think they became fearful of how many layers I was planning to remove ;o)  I wore a couple of my crowns, my Christmas tree hat and a few pairs of funky sunglasses.  I told them about our shop local programs and what we are doing to make Dillon a destination.  They gave me 9 minutes.  Those of you that know me well know that I am incapable of saying hello in 9 minutes let alone doing an entire presentation in that limited time.  But you also know that I am capable of talking very fast so I managed to get it all out in about 11 minutes. I was able to convey to them what we are doing, what has worked, what hasn't and why we are having so much fun in Dillon. 

     I am passionate about what I do and to be able to do this for a living makes it even better.  I had a great time but I have to admit being in the classroom was the best.  I was impressed by the thoughts, manners and level of observation these kids shared with me.  I learned much more from them than they did from me.   They renewed my faith that there just might be promise for our future and that for them the possibilities will be endless.  Thank you 3rd graders for a great day.   

Friday, September 24, 2010

I Read Banned Books

I love books.  I love everything about books.  I love looking at them, holding them, reading them and I especially love how a brand new book smells.  I love the sound of the pages turning, I love cracking open the cover and getting lost in the story.  I love how books make me think and how they make me feel.  I have been in love with books my entire life.  I began reading at the age of 4 and not once do I remember being told there was a book that was inappropriate or that I couldn't read something for any reason.  Censorship was a foreign concept for me.
Censorship is real and it happens more often than we realize.  I support anyones choice not to read a book for their own reasons but I will not tolerate someone telling me that I don't have the right to read what I choose for myself.  I have traveled to Helena several times defending my rights as a bookseller to sell books to you and to uphold your rights as citizens to have the choice of what you read be your decision and not decided for you.

I am always amazed at the books that get censored.  I think the most ridiculous one was "Snow White".  I don't recall where this happened but it was pulled from a kindergarden classroom.  The reason:  There was one woman living with 7 little men.........I am sure every kindergardener in that school breathed a sigh of relief that the book was gone and no longer available to them.  Of course every year the banned book list has the usual suspects, "Harry Potter", "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn", "To Kill A Mockingbird", "Bridge to Terabithia", "Of Mice and Men", "Catcher in the Rye", "Lord of the Flies", "The Color Purple", "The Golden Compass", "Go Ask Alice", "The Bible", "Scarey Stories in the Dark", "A Day no Pigs would Die", "Wrinkle in Time", "James and the Giant Peach", "Grapes of Wrath" and "Cujo".  Roald Dahl, Stephen King, Chris Crutcher and Judy Blume are authors that make the list often.  Judy Blume has received letters from readers responding to the censorship of her books.  Often times the writer is a young reader wanting to know where the bad parts were in her books because they read them and couldn't find it.

On Saturday, September 25th, the literary world begins celebrating Banned Books Week in the United States.   The goal is to draw attention to the pitfalls of censorship in America.   So I encourage you to rejoice in your freedom to read and to go forth into the world and read whatever you want.  Not just this coming week but everyday!  Be Free Read.

Banned Book Week sponsored by the American Library Association go to this link to learn more

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Celebrating all that is Good and Appreciating the Rest

Celebrating all That is Good and Appreciating the Rest

September 16, 2003

Seven years ago today I went in for a routine mammogram.    I remember being really busy and fretting that I was having to take time out of my day for something so annoying.  I actually thought about calling and cancelling, then I realized I wouldn't have time until after the holiday season to reschedule.  So I sucked it up, left work and went for the exam. (plus it had been 18 months since the last one)

The mammography tech had warm hands, we chatted, she was professional, and focused.  I didn't pay attention when she took extra pictures.  They always took extra pictures.   When I got home that night she called from the hospital requesting that I return the next morning.  I thought it odd that she called my home after 6:00 p.m. and promptly put it out of my mind. 

Those warm hands from the afternoon before had detected something.  The mood in the room this time was quieter, still professional but quieter and involved more people.  The next week I had a biopsy - it confirmed what the professionals already suspected -  cancer.  The week after that I had a double mastectomy we now knew cancer had invaded the lymph nodes and exactly one month from the mammogram I began chemotherapy.

This isn't about that part of the journey.  This is about here and now.  This is about taking time to reflect on how lucky I am, this is about being thankful for everything and everyone in my life.  This is about celebrating living.  We are all survivors of something and I was just fortunate enough to have my life altered in such a way that I see things differently, more clearly and with a joy that goes beyond a moment.  Don't get me wrong I don't walk around in a Pollyanna state, I live in the real world with real problems, real mood swings (menopause is grand) with real moments of being out of sorts.  Yet I know that I don't take these things quite as seriously as I once did.  But I do take the good times much more seriously and try not to take anything or anyone for granted.

Cancer showed me that I did have time for things beyond the Bookstore.  It showed me that people are amazing and complicated and giving.  It showed me how to say yes and when to say no.  It showed me how to laugh when crying would have been easier.  It taught me to look and think outside of the box. I learned to accept help from people that wanted nothing in return and learned that I have the best family and friends in the world. 

When I looked at my calendar and saw the smiley faces and hearts drawn all over todays square I  paused holding my cup of tea and smiled.  It was 6:00 am and our puppy was bouncing around waiting to be taken for a walk (correction: he walks me we are still learning the rules of the leash) Bill walked by, looked at the calendar, touched my shoulder and squeezed my hand.  He made oatmeal, I took Tonka for his walk and we both went to work. 

Today is just a day, I didn't let cancer define me then and it doesn't define me now.  If I had a choice would I do it all over again? No ( and I hope I am never faced with that choice).  Am I angry that I had cancer?  No.  Am I glad that cancer  introduced me to some wonderful people? Yes.  Am I glad that cancer allowed me to understand myself and those around me better?  Yes.  Do I get sad and angry when others are diagnosed with cancer? Yes.

Today is just a day. I am waiting for the book order to arrive on the wonderful UPS truck, contemplating lunch, knowing I have to go to the grocery store after work because Tonka the Terrible ran out the door this morning with our last roll of toilet paper in his mouth, I will work out at the Y  and when I get home I will be greeted by my husband and our puppy.  I will have dinner and sit in my favorite chair with a cup of tea and finish one (possibly two books)  I will go to bed, say a prayer of thanks and wake up tomorrow morning and start all over again.

Had I had the mammogram earlier would the outcome have been different?   I don't know and I don't waste time asking that question.  But please my friends don't skip your check ups, don't let your wives, your girlfriends, your grandmothers, your nieces, your mothers, your aunts, your daughters, your friends miss a mammogram it just takes a minute.


Friday, September 10, 2010

A Few of My Favorite things....................

Originally this post was going to be about my favorite books.........or rather about me trying to define those books that stand out among my favorites.   It turns out that is an impossible task.  There are those few titles that always rotate to the top, such as Harper Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird", Mildred Walker's "Winter Wheat", Paulo Coelho's "The Alchemist" or Pete Fromm's "Indian Creek Chronicles."  But then I read "A Reliable Wife"  and find myself recommending it to customers daily as well as "The Rabbit Factory" (a funny mystery, first in a series, that is odd enough to appeal to those that appreciate dark humor) right now I find myself captivated by "Cutting for Stone" which is one of those books that I can't speed read, I want to read every word yet there are times I want to avert my eyes because the scene coming off the page and entering my consciousness makes me uncomfortable -- but I can't stop reading it nor do I want to.  Carl Hiaasen always makes me laugh and Stuart Woods tells a great story. I remember the first time I read "Gone with the Wind" and wanted to read only books about the Civil War or the phases I went through reading books about dogs and horses.  I had a Russian History fascination and loved reading books about British Royalty.  Charles Dickens is another favored author as are Dashiell Hammett, Robert Louis Stevenson and Alexandre Dumas.
     I am an eclectic reader gravitating toward books of all kinds.  As a child I read all of the James Bond books (I was in 4th or 5th grade)  I found 007 by accident.  I had just finished "Chitty, Chitty Bang Bang" by Ian Fleming (not to be confused with Chelsea Handler's new book "Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang) .  I went looking for more books by Fleming and I happily discovered the Bond books on the bookmobile.
     I loved the bookmobile.  I anticipated its arrival with uncontrolled excitement.  It was wonderful when my hometown of Augusta, Montana finally had its own library, but I have to admit I missed the bookmobile  visits.   This library on wheels brought me Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys, Old Yeller, Where the Red Fern Grows, My Friend Flicka and books about Scotland and Lewis and Clark.  I read every book by Marguerite Henry and Will James.  In third or fourth grade I devoured "The Mixed of Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler", "Strawberry Girl" and most of the  "Wizard of Oz" books." About this same time, much to the dismay of my parents I also read "Go Ask Alice" and "Alive".  I realize now how fortunate I was that no one, not my parents, my teachers, the librarians nor the driver of the bookmobile stopped me from reading.  I was encouraged by them, no book was off limits these amazing people helped nurture me into the reader I am today.
     I have to admit that I don't read a lot of Science Fiction.  However in high school, a sometime boyfriend and most of the time friend introduced me to some classic SciFi and it is to his credit that I discovered Robert Asprin and his "Myth Adventures" series.  In fifth grade my teacher, Mrs. Tuomi, led me to a love of John Steinbeck.  She gave me my first copy of "Travels with Charley" and she was the one that instilled in me that as long as you have a book you aren't alone.  I may have taken her sage wisdom too far when I had a book with me the night of the senior prom and took 3 books with me to the senior kegger ;o)  You never know those events could have gotten boring!  Usually you will find a dictionary in my purse.
     If I was forced to pick a favorite genre it would be biographies.   "John Adams" by David McCullough is easily one of my favorite non-fiction titles.  It is one of the books that the minute I finished it I started reading it all over again.  I also own volumes of letters written by John and Abigail Adams what amazing people from American History.   I was intrigued with "Guns, Germs and Steel" by Jared Diamond, to the point that I think this book should be required reading in high school.  Along those same lines I think everyone should take a look at "Power, Faith and Fantasy: America in the Middle East 1776 to the Present" by Michael Oren.  I also have to admit that I love to read biographies about old Hollywood film stars, I enjoy peeking inside a world that is filled with glitz and glamour. 
     I tend to avoid horror books and to be quite honest if a book frightens me too much I put it under the bed.  "Silence of the Lambs" spent about 6 months under there.  I have done this since I was a kid. I honestly don't know why but eventually I pull the book out and finish reading it.  One book that didn't go under the bed was "The Heart Shaped Box" by Joe Hill (the son of Stephen King) What a  book and one that I highly recommend but don't plan on sleeping the night you start it.
     I read a lot (average 5 books a week) and I will never have enough time to read all the books that I have waiting on the nightstand, the coffee table nor the floor of our home.  Everyday I hear about at least one book that I have to read.  I get nervous when a customer is looking at a book that I possibly was planning on taking home.  It is not beneath me to strongly suggest other books for fear that they will take the copy I wanted.  I am not ashamed of this behavior (although it horrifies Bill and makes him worry about our businesses bottom line.........)  He wishes I would bring the books back to the store after I read them.  But I can't part with them.  Although he may not understand this behavior he honors it.  So he carefully plans the next bookcase to be strategically placed so that the foundation of our little house remains balanced.  He is an amazing carpenter and a man that doesn't pretend to understand my obsession with books.  He lives with me, honors my quirks and every now and then adds an antique dictionary to my collection.  I am a lucky woman.  Now if I only had a little more time or didn't need to sleep every night I might be able to polish off a few more books each week.


Thursday, September 2, 2010

How it all Began

How it all began
     As I sit down to compose my second writing as a blogger I am in awe as I realize how strongly my life has been influenced by books.  I can't remember not reading.  I can't recall a time where I didn't get a thrill of anticipation at the thought of a new book. 
     For me owning a bookstore can be equated to an alcoholic owning a bar.  When I purchased the Bookstore in 1992 it wasn't for sale.  In fact the owner made it quite clear that it wasn't for sale.  But that didn't stop me from pursuing my dream.  I use the word pursue the former owners called it stalking...........I called, I inquired, they answered, the answer was no.  I called again, again the answer was no.  Not one to give up easily I took one more end run at them and this time I phrased the question differently: "Hi this is Debbie, Wait don't hang up.  I understand that The Bookstore is not for sale but...if it were for sale how would you go about selling it?"  There was a long dramatic pause, a deep intake of breath and a terse reply "We would hire the prospective buyer as a a manager with no guarantee that we would sell and no expectation that they would want to buy."  I quickly said "When that time comes give me a call......."  She called me the next day.
     At the time I was employed with an insurance agency.  I knew nothing about running a business.  I just knew that I loved books and I loved reading and if I was having a bad day I would find myself at The Bookstore.  Where I would embrace the feeling of coming home, where I would straighten the books on the shelves as I wandered around the store.  Where I would daydream about rearranging the window displays and moving the counter.  I just knew that I felt good when I was there.
     My husband had just begun working for the City of Dillon where there were good benefits, health insurance, a retirement plan and a regular paycheck.  All the things needed by at least one of us in our household in order for me to live my dream.  After meeting with the owner, over a 2 hour lunch, we had ironed out a deal.  I had yet to tell Bill about my harebrained adventure.
     I took Bill out to dinner, laid out my plan, he was speechless (for just a moment) Then the comments and questions began:  "Sooooo, you are quitting your job, giving up a regular paycheck, health insurance, weekends off and paid vacations to buy a business.  As their manager your take home will be 1/4 of what you were making, and we both know you will take home Zero dollars because you will owe them at the end of the month for your books........................"  I said "Yes, to all of that" Then he asked the next question -- "on top of all of that you are going to put us thousands of dollars in debt and how are you paying for this?"  I ordered him another drink, smiled sweetly and said they are carrying the balance and I just need to have the down payment up front..................and I thought we could take out a mortgage on the then he needed that drink.
     Hard to believe that was over 18 years ago.  In that time we have paid for the business, bought the building and burned the mortgage.  There have been many changes yet in some ways no changes at all.  I love what I do.  I still get paid in books and that is fine by me.  Thank goodness I am married to a very handy(and understanding) man that builds bookcases almost as quickly as I fill them.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Debbie's First Blog

This is the beginning of something new for me.  I have decided it is time to move The Bookstore forward.  As I write this - a very talented young man (and sometime employee of the Bookstore) is building a website for us.  I have wanted one for years and kept thinking I would get it done, well it is pretty obvious that I wasn't getting it done. When it comes to technology I am a self proclaimed dinosaur.  I still own a typewriter (that I use) I do not own a fax machine and when it comes to computers I know how to turn mine on and find the things that I need to find.  I don't understand how they work nor do I need to.  So I turned to a professtional that understands me and is gentle and doesn't confuse me with unnecessary information to create a place for my bookstore and me on the world wide web.  He sends me a link and all I have to do is click and then I am magically transported to his wonderful creation.
I have no idea how to format this writing so for this first entry the words will be centered on the page.  Who knows I may decide that I like it this way and not bother to figure out how to do it any differently.
For now you just need to know that I am a bookseller, a bibliophile, a collector of words and dictionaries.  I am happiest in my ratty old sweater, with a cup of tea sitting in my special chair reading a book.
I feel that I have the best job in the world.  I spend my days surrounded by books and people that would like nothing more than to do what I do.  Most days I forget this is considered by some a job (I am reminded each year when it is time to assemble the papers for the accountant that this is in fact a job.)  But perhaps now that I have taken the leap of faith and hired someone to create a webpage for me I might consider getting help with the bookkeeping end of things.
One thing at a time and for now I excited to embarking on this new adventure.