A Sign of the Times

Yesterday I ran some errands downtown. In Waupaca, a town of just over 5,000 people,  we are very lucky to have a thriving Main Street with almost everything we need offered by local merchants here and in the surrounding area, no Walmart or other large big box retailers to speak of. We even support three bookstores! I know! It’s unheard of! Unfortunately, in another couple of weeks, that number will shrink to two.

Book World in Waupaca

One place I stopped was Book World to buy a copy of a book I’ve been waiting forever for, Written in My Own Heart’s Blood by Diana Gabaldon, (yes, hardcover, and I paid full price and am so excited to read it!). I did get a 20% discount, however. When I asked my friend Maria, the manager, about it, she told me they were offering a discount because Book World will be closing several of its stores. Waupaca’s store is one of them.

I didn’t ask about profits or traffic or the recession or anything like that. I’ve read enough about what is happening in the publishing world and the economy to know how difficult it is to sell books these days, especially with the competition of Amazon and Barnes and Noble to deal with. As a result, small, independent booksellers are a disappearing breed, even small chains like Book World. Although Dragonwings Bookstore is still hanging on ( thank goodness!) as is The Book Cellar, I am saddened to think that a community like Waupaca will have one fewer choice at which to browse the shelves for books and magazines, calendars and bookmarks. We will have to look elsewhere to find the perfect book for a gift or experience the thrill of purchasing the latest book in a series that has taken years to read, as I just did.

If your community still has a book store, I beg you to support your local independent bookseller, even if it costs a few dollars more to buy from them. The experience of browsing the shelves in peace and quiet as you sample the worlds within the newly inked pages, of smelling the perfume of new paper, glue, and ink  which is unique to books, and of looking for a title and finding several you weren’t looking for but which you, ultimately, can’t live without is priceless. I don’t know anyone who would find going to the Amazon warehouse and browsing the shelves  comparable to being greeted by name and having books recommended by a friend.

 

“I have gone to [this bookshop] for years, always finding the one book I wanted – and then three more I hadn’t known I wanted.”
― Mary Ann ShafferThe Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

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The Book Blogger Test

A Familiar Books Quotes

I follow a blog by Jodie Llewellyn. She is a wonderful writer and blogger. If you don’t know about her blog, you should check it out. For a post the other day she answered the questions to the book blogger test from a blog she follows called Brin’s Book Blog. She liked the questions, and so do I. Even though I am not nearly an expert on books or blogging about them, I decided to answer the test questions for my post. I love answering those quizzes on Facebook that tell you what song was written just for you or what you’d be in the wild west, so I’m approaching these in much the same way! I’d love to hear your responses to some of these questions, especially books you’d recommend!

What are your top three book pet hates?

1. I know books about vampires were really popular, but I hate the whole vampire thing. If I never read anything with vampires, it will be too soon.

2. Reading a book that doesn’t live up to its hype. It’s why I haven’t read The Fault in Our Stars, the Harry Potter series, etc. I know I’m missing out, or so many people have told me, but I haven’t been disappointed either! 🙂

3. I hate when my favorite books are turned into movies and the characters look NOTHING like I imagined them, or they add a scene, or totally change the ending. Things like that lead me to wonder if the people who made the movie even read the same book I did. Case in point–has anyone seen The Great Gatsby?

Describe your perfect reading spot.

My perfect reading spot is on my couch in my living room with a cup of Lady Grey or Paris vanilla tea. I snuggle into a beautiful cream colored throw my friend Kay crocheted, and if it is cold here in Wisconsin and the fire is burning brightly, there is nowhere I would rather be! I could stay for hours happily killing time.

Tell us three book confessions.

1. When I was growing up, I didn’t like to read. I know that sounds crazy for an aspiring author and an English teacher, but I would rather have played basketball or have ridden my bike or my unicycle, anything but be cooped up indoors!

2. I have never read Gone With the Wind. I think I just heard a collective gasp from some of my friends down in Georgia. I know! But I just never was all that interested.

3. I have never read anything by Jane Austen. Okay, I just heard it again. This time I think it was from my English teacher colleagues. One day I will try one of her novels, probably the Mr. Darcy one, but there are just so many books to read and so little time!

When was the last time you cried during a book?

I don’t usually cry when I read books. I cry when I see movies, but I think the last time I cried during a book, I cried because I was laughing so hard when I read The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson. I dare you to read that book and not laugh till you cry!

How many books are on your bedside table?

Currently, only one because my husband’s relatives just came for a visit from Norway, and I didn’t want them to see what a book slob I am. Ordinarily I have a whole pile, sometimes an entire basket full! When the hubby is away for business, they even creep over onto the bed with me!

What is your favorite snack to eat while you’re reading?

I don’t like to eat when I read, but I love to have a hot drink, preferably black tea with honey and milk.

Name three books you would recommend to everyone.

Only three? This is the hardest question of the whole list, I think, so I chose the ones I have reread over and over again because of the magic of being transported through time and place.

The Alchemist by Paulo Cuelho

Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier

The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara

 Show us a picture of your favorite bookshelf on your bookcase.

This is my favorite shelf because it is the one with books by southern writers or about the South. I just reorganized my bookshelves!

 Write how much books mean to you in just three words.

Inspiration. Entertainment. Companions.

What is your biggest reading secret?

When I try to read “classics,” most of the time I don’t finish them. I think I feel obligated to at least try to read what others throughout history have found worthwhile, but sometimes the classics are…boring. I know I am setting a bad example for my students; nevertheless, it’s true. Sometimes I  appreciate classic novels; other times I don’t. Usually when I do, I have read something by an author which captured my fancy and then set off to find other books by the same author. That’s what happened when I read Tess of the D’Urbervilles. I fell in love with Thomas Hardy’s writing and have read every novel he ever wrote. Sometimes that happens for me, and I’m so glad when it does.