Friday, November 9, 2012

(147) The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap by Wendy Welch

The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap 

Pages: 304
Publication Date: October 2, 2012


Forgive me if you have "heard" this story before, but for as long as I could remember I wanted to own my own bookstore.  I even had (have?) a location picked out in my hometown that I thought would be perfect for a bookstore.  So when I was hired by Barnes & Noble it was truly like a dream come true. So I get the passion and desire to be surrounded by books everyday.

Wendy Welch and her husband, Jack, have recently returned to the States after being in Scotland for years and have decided to move to a sleepy little coal town and open a bookstore.  They weren't exactly sure how to go about opening a bookstore, so they decided to start by purchasing an historic old home and turning the main floor into a used bookstore.  As it would be with any small town across America it took a while for the "outsiders" to be accepted and welcomed, but once they were,  their little bookstore is full of quirky customers, social activities, and of course book lovers galore.

Something I have observed over the years is that there is a special camaraderie among booksellers around the world. That is unless you are bookseller for Barnes & Noble - then you are employed by the devil. Everything I have read by  "Independent" bookstores, whether it be a book, article, blog, or even tweet always has to get a "dig" in at Barnes & Noble.  The "big box" bookstore giant has been labeled "cold" and "heartless" with employees who don't know anything about books.  And you know what, I take GREAT offense at those assumptions, because you know what?  I know many B&N employees who have put in five, ten, fifteen, and twenty plus years of service into the company, and ya know what, they are NOT doing it to get rich!!  They are doing because of the passion they have for books and nothing more!!!  And what is even worse are the people who write books and make comments KNOCKING Barnes & Noble - why knock the people who have the power to make you, the author, a LOT of money?  [/end rant]

Having said that, it was just a very small portion of this book that rubbed me the wrong way, just a small blip that the average non-B&N employee would slide right over, but it was enough to get under my skin.  I found myself enjoying Wendy, Jack, and their little bookstore.  I chuckled when they were getting started and found myself even groaning at a few unwise decision, having BTDT at *gasp* Barnes & Noble.  I also really enjoyed the chapter where Wendy gives some recommendations from her personal favorite books.  I don't remember the last time I read a book where the author gave recommendations, it really warmed my heart to see her do so. I also found myself revising my old dream of owning my own bookstore, I mean, if Wendy and Jack can do it without a high overhead, well, why couldn't I? - OH - and I also enjoyed reading Wendy's viewpoint on E-Books and E-Readers, and her opinion might surprise you!

Bottom line, if you are reading this blog, then you probably have (or have had) a favorite bookstore.  A place where you walk in and are recognized by somebody.  A place where you can go and escape in the stacks, among the sounds and smells that are associated with any bookstore, no matter what the size or the name on the door. The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap will take you back to that place, to those feelings you have when you walk through the door.  Trust me, it is a fun journey you won't regret taking!

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Why I Read...

I remember the carefree summer days when I used to ride my bike to the public library to pick out new books. I would go almost daily to find books to read. I read to learn. I read to explore the world. I read to escape. I read because not reading is not an option.

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