Friday, July 8, 2016

It's All About The Books........................The Books (with apologies to Meghan Trainor and Cameron Zane Freebury)

 In spite of my crazy schedule I am able to finish 4-5 books a week.  Some are a delight, others I feel obligated to read and every once in awhile I am reminded of something my Mom said years ago.  It was during the heyday of "The Bridges of Madison County".  My little bookstore had sold over 100 hardcover copies of that book. (Harry Potter books outsold Bridges by a large margin) I had not read the little novel by Robert James Waller and finally sat down one evening and polished it off.  It took all of 2 hours and I was underwhelmed and thought to myself well......maybe Mom would have a different take on this since she was from a foreign land (Scotland) and found herself married, the mother of 4,  living on a ranch in Montana.  I shipped it off to her a with note saying I would love to get her opinion.  She called before reading it and said "Thanks, I have heard a lot about this book."  We spoke the next morning she didn't even say hello before stating "Why did you have me waste 3 hours of my life on this tripe?"  "I am here to tell you the last thing a wife and mother is going to do when her husband and kids head off to the county fair is hop into the bathtub with a traveling salesman."  (she didn't care that he was actually a photographer) she continued by telling me,  "You dream of being able to take a bath with the door open, a drink in one hand and a book in the other, all the while being uninterrupted."  So every now and then I do come across a book that my Mom would consider tripe.
          I have spent many wonderful hours disappearing into a world separate from my own, into the pages of a book (many books) discovering pieces of me as I respond to the words.   I love recommendations from my fellow readers.  "All Things Cease to Appear" by Elizabeth Brundage, was a novel shared with me by a favorite customer and is a story with twists and turns that left me stunned.  After reading that book I binged on a couple of her other titles:  "The Doctor's Wife" and "Somebody Else's Daughter" with "A Stranger Like You" waiting in a stack of books on my nightstand. 

I am savoring "First Women" by Kate Anderson Brower, a look at First Ladies from Jackie Kennedy to Michelle Obama.  I devoured Fifty-Six Counties by my friend Russell Rowland.  I have been in trouble the past 2 days because I am reading at my desk -- I should have warning lights on my shoulders to alert customers to approach with caution.  (I try to avoid eye contact and sigh heavily if it turns out I must set the book down and take their money..............not a good plan if I want to be in business another 24 years.)  "A Shooting in Bannack" by R.J. Harrison (also a friend) is beckoning me from beneath a pile of papers.  I am reading a cookbook manuscript penned by local women and will get my hands on the real book soon. 
      I still have warm feelings when I think about any book by Sarah Addison Allen.  The book "The Girl Who Chased the Moon" made me wish I could glow in the dark..................I suggested to Bill that we should paint our house in luminous paint (he ignored my request probably to the relief of our neighbors) I have many books waiting to be read:  (these are just a few of the titles in one of the many piles in our home)
Waltz Against the Sky - Glen Larum
Book That Matters Most - Ann Hood
Barkskins - Annie Proulx
Nest - Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney
For a Little While - Rick Bass
Genius of Birds - Jennifer Ackerman
and I can not wait to get my hands on the New Harry Potter book.

and sooooo many more.  It really is All about the Books!

Monday, July 4, 2016

      Here I am................................... It has been awhile since I have visited my blog.  The last entry dealt with the death of my Mom and my  friend, Pansy.  Time has passed and as my Dad said "I don't know if gets any easier but it does get different." 
     When Bill and I had been married a few years his Mom was helping us move from an apartment to the home we still occupy. (this was at least 30 years ago)   I was in a different room filling boxes when I overheard this conversation. "Mom we will pack all of them."  "Mom, seriously we have to box them up exactly as she instructed."  by now Bill's voice was starting to sound a little bit panicked.  Then his final argument was "Mom if we don't pack her books and move them you may as well put my stuff in your car and move me back in with you!"  I have a feeling she decided it would be easier to move my books than live with her 30 something year old son.

Recently a couple of friends have pointed out that I love what I do.   One observed that I never seem to burn out and another very matter of factly stated that the difference between so many others and me is the  that I really love my job.  Bill recently retired after 25 years of working for the City of Dillon.  A job that provided well for us, a job that allowed me the freedom to be self-employed without the worry of bringing home much of a salary.  (But we are rich in books)  He now has the freedom to explore other things.  He wasn't retired very long when he went to work for Roxi's Greenhouse and Nursery.  He was in heaven.  People were happy to be there.  He was fueling his inner gardener and our yard looks amazing.  (we are now almost as rich in flowers and trees as we are in books)  As things began to slow down there he was able to begin a new journey as a shuttle driver for Frontier Anglers.  He is referring to the summer of 2016 as his endless summer.  Life is good as we adjust to a different schedule and we are ready for this new adventure. 

     My friend, Tim, loaned me a book that made my soul open up and sing with joy.  It was a memoir by
Wendy Welch.  This book, about a couple daring to open a bookstore in a town that had never boasted a bookstore mirrored my experiences,  it may be a different town but the people, the relationships the joys and the sorrows remain the same.  "The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap" was a wonderful read.  The author was on my shoulder observing the past 24 years of my life as a bookseller.  She beautifully put into words what I get to feel everyday.  It was a simple reminder that as a small independent business owner I don't just occupy a place on the street but I am part of a community.