About This Blog

Don't get me wrong. It's not that I'm not on board with the whole ebook thing. I enjoy books in all their formats. But there is nothing quite like a bookstore with its neatly arranged shelves of books and artfully created displays of new arrivals, best sellers, and suggested reading. I especially enjoy discovering small, independent bookstores and have made it my mission to visit and report back on as many of these gems as I can. That is my focus, but there is really nothing that is off limits as long as it is about books or reading. Hope you enjoy my blog and come back often.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Just for Fun

Attention all readers who have read and loved Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights or any title by one of the famous Bronte sisters. This YouTube creation is for you. Actually, you may have already seen it. It's fairly old. I'd say it qualifies as an oldie, but goodie. As a matter of fact, even if you haven't read any Bronte books, this is still fun. I love it when the classics inspire fun. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

More For The Bucket List

NYT photo of Patchett in her bookstore, Parnassus
Family and friends constitute one of the great blessings in life, and I am extremely blessed in both regards. Since I started this blog, I have received strong support in my pursuit of bookstores, and not just in terms of praise and encouragement for the blog itself. My son Culver, just one example, provides unflinching editing advice whenever I request it. Several family members and friends have been on the alert for bookstores I might like to visit and happily passed pertinent information on to me. Many of them have accompanied me on bookstore visits, some have facilitated such visits, and most importantly, my husband has been willing to put up with my many road trips. I am blessed indeed.

Recently, my friend Paula brought to my attention a wonderful article in the New York Times by Ann Patchett, author of Bel Canto and State of Wonder among many other notable titles. The article, “Ann Patchett's Guide for Bookstore Lovers,” provides suggestions from her own personal favorites, some of which can already be found on my bucket list, and others which I am lucky enough to say I have already visited.

One of her “knockout stores that sell nothing but children's books,” Wild Rumpus, I had the pleasure of visiting and writing about, and I can attest that it is indeed a knockout. I have also enjoyed one of the stores that she calls “The Venerables,” Politics and Prose in Washington D.C. as well as one of her personal favorites right here in Michigan, McLean & Eakin Booksellers in Petoskey. Patchett's own store, Parnassus Books in Nashville, has been on my list for a while now. There are many others in this article that I gratefully add to my list.

And speaking of my bucket list, here is a preview of a potential coming attraction: Next month my husband is scheduled to attend a conference in San Francisco, and yours truly is planning to accompany him. A quick online search shows that this beautiful city is rich with bookstores, one of which, City Lights, has been on my list from the beginning. Needless to say that I will have plenty to occupy my time while my husband is attending conference seminars.

Stay tuned.  

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Books to Movies, 2017

cover art obtained from GoodReads
I realize that some book lovers have no interest in seeing titles they have enjoyed give birth to film counterparts. Some are chagrined at the very idea. I, however, am not one of those people. I enjoy seeing characters and events that have moved me translated to the big screen. With that in mind here is advanced notice of just a few of this year's crop of celebrated books due to be released as movies.

Most notable to me is Wonder by R. J. Palacio, due in theaters in April and starring Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson. This book for young readers tells the story of a boy with a facial deformity trying to live a normal life. I found Auggie's story to be touching, uplifting, and moving. If you haven't read this one yet, I highly recommend it. It's a short read, and there's still plenty of time before the movie comes out, but I suspect there may be waiting lists for library copies.

Another book I recommend is the Jeannette Walls memoir, The Glass Castle, which details her upbringing in a dysfunctional family. Due in August, it stars Brie Larson, Naomi Watts, and Woody Harrelson.

Part action, part adventure, part love story, The Mountain Between Us by Charles Martin just began production in December and stars Kate Winslet and Idris Elba.

Idris Elba also stars in the July release of Stephen King's The Dark Tower. Other actors include Katheryn Winnick and Matthew McConaughey.

Additional titles to watch for:

-Captain Underpants by Dave Pilkey, June, animated with the voices of Kevin Hart, Nick Kroll, and Ed Helms.
-The Dinner by Herman Koch, May, stars Richard Gere and Laura Linney.
-The Shack by William P. Young, March, stars Sam Worthington and Octavia Spencer.
-A Dog's Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron, January 27, stars Britt Robertson, Josh Gad, and Dennis Quaid.

and, yes, another installment in the Fifty Shades saga will come out this year.

Happy reading and viewing.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

In A Country Shire

Northon's Shire Bookshop
110 N. Main Street
P. O. Box 31
Evart, Michigan 49631

Once again I find myself in the annual interim between Christmas and New Year's, the perfect time for introspection and review of the year about to end. In 2016, I reached a milestone—my fifth year of retirement from my job as a high school librarian. I am only now just beginning to actually think of January, rather than September, as the start of a new year. It's hard to believe I have been doing this blog for five years. When I began, I really had no idea that I would still be finding new bookstores to write about. Part of me expected to find that brick-and-mortar bookstores would be scarce by now. Happily, quite the opposite is true.

Quite by accident I happened upon the last bookstores I visited in 2016. On a drive through rural central Michigan, my route took me through the small town of Evart. Now, I have made it my habit when passing through any unfamiliar town to drive slowly along the main street just in case the community might be home to a bookstore. You never know. In the case of Evart, the main downtown street runs perpendicular to the two-lane highway on which I was traveling, a fact which I noted only after I had already passed through the intersection. As the afternoon was waning, I debated for about a quarter mile as to whether or not to take the time to turn around. Evart is but a small country town after all. Of course my bookstore curiosity got the better of me, and I did indeed turn around. Thankfully. For low and behold, I did indeed find a bookstore in this country hamlet, Northon's Shire Bookshop, and there was still about half an hour before closing time.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Imbibing books! Literally!

I know plenty of bibliomaniacs who devour books, figuratively that is. Now thanks to The Book Nook and Shelf Awareness, I have learned that it is possible to literally imbibe books. The Columbia Room, a cocktail bar in Washington D. C., has created a drink that literally uses pages from old books as an ingredient. This creation, served in a flask inside of a book, is called "In Search of Time Past" and is part of a three- or five- cocktail tasting flight. Don't expect happy hour prices for this concoction. The three-course option is $79. I guess that's to be expected when pages from a 100-year-old book constitute a key ingredient. For more on this literary cocktail, see this article from Washingtonian.