Shout out for book stores

On the eighth day of Christmas…

Having tossed the original idea of the twelve days of Christmas away, I’m counting down the twelve days before Christmas to offer my gratitude for the people and things that make the writing life possible for me.

Today it’s the book shop.

The whole world is in a book store. Maybe not every book store—but I’d be willing to find out! All the places, all the history, all the stories are right there on the shelves. Neatly arranged most of the time.

If a book shop carries my book, I love it all the more. If a book store has invited me to sign my book there, meet with your book club, or give a talk, then it’s probably one of my favorites.

And I do have my favorites.

I can tell a story on one of them, because sadly, it has closed. When my first book came out, I took it around to all the book stores in my area. Greetings and Readings was one of the biggest in town. I loved that place even though I had to go out of my way to go there. But the clerk who I approached about my book snarled at me. She took my information with an exaggerated sigh and I thought I’d been dismissed. Forever.

But the next week, she called me back. Told me she had an enormous amount of work to do that day and hadn’t meant to be so harsh. She invited me to a book signing. On a lovely Sunday afternoon. Right in a prime location where people had to walk right by me. It was a huge success for a novice novelist. I sold every book.

Another bookstore that I will be eternally grateful to is Turn the Page. Bibliophiles in the know recognize this as best-selling author Nora Roberts‘ bookstore in the little town of Boonsboro, Md. I was invited to bring my first book to a Nora Roberts signing right before Christmas. Not only did I sell out of my books that day, I handed out previews of my second book (sorry, still unpublished) and met hundreds, yes hundreds of people. My position was the very first in a long row of authors. I got to greet everyone and tell them who I was and where Nora was–at the end of the row, of course. Because everyone waited in a queue that would last through the day, I chatted everybody up, took pix, admired Christmas sweaters, asked where they had lunch or shopped while they waited for their number to get in line was called. (Nora Roberts book-signing days are intense but very orderly. No one gets mad or impatient. The wait which snakes through the book store, past lots of interesting books, is part of the fun.)

I consider the Greyhound, an independent bookstore in Berlin, Md., my home base. All of my books are on their shelves and I’ve launched three of them, plus the re-release of my first book, here. Yes, I mention this place a lot. And always will.

What bookstore do you love?

One of the cozies spots in Annapolis is Old Fox–I did a reading there during Nanowrimo and enjoyed that very much.

In the heart of the Shenandoah Valley is Winchester Book Gallery. Another really good bookstore.

Even if I didn’t sign my book in these bookstores, they are so worth a visit:

Shakespeare and Company in Paris. Had to visit here as much as the Louvre.

The Strand in New York. With 18 miles of books, I got lost there once.

Baldwin’s Book Barn in the suburbs of Philadelphia is a cozy barn full of treasure—and near Longwood Gardens.

Livraria Lello in Porto, Portugal, is one of the most beautiful libraries in the world. Its staircase alone is enough to stop you in your tracks. It’s also packed with tourists, but no photos are allowed.

I’m sure I’ve left out plenty.

Tell me your favorite. I’m always happy to go to a bookstore.

I love to read about them. (Just finished The Little Bookshop on the Seine by Rebecca Raisin. Sweet and full of books. And watch movies about them. You’ve Got Mail anyone?

Thank you, book shop owners, for loving books and authors the way you do.

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