My Bookstore: Writers Celebrate Their Favorite Places to Browse, Read, and Shop

Ronald Rice, Editor
Edited by Ronald Rice and Booksellers Across America, illus. by Leif Parsons. Black Dog & Leventhal (Workman, dist.), $23.95 (384p) ISBN 978-1-57912-910-1
Reviewed on: 09/17/2012
Release date: 11/01/2012
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Edited by publishing professional Rice, with an introduction by Richard Russo and an afterword by Emily St. John Mandel, this anthology features essays by 84 writers waxing passionate about their favorite independent bookstores and about the importance of supporting and nurturing these bricks-and-mortar purveyors in an increasingly electronic age. As the tradition of personalized hand-selling is threatened by chain stores and the Amazonian Internet, this cozy collection of love letters to dozens of still-operating independents (from such behemoths as Powell’s in Portland and the Strand in New York to more hidden gems in corners of Kansas, Utah, and Pennsylvania) offers voracious readers hope for the future. The all-star contributors include John Grisham, Chuck Palahniuk, and Ann Patchett, but the true protagonists are the bookstores and the dedicated professionals who bestow them with novel-worthy character. There is Howard Frank Mosher’s Galaxy Bookshop in Hardwick, Vt., the only American bookshop to have once had a drive-thru window, and San Francisco’s Booksmith, memorialized in comic strip format by the author/illustrator duo Daniel Handler and Lisa Brown. Though there are moments in the book in which sentimentality rules, the overall goal prevails: to thank, protect, and preserve these cherished spaces. (Nov.)
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