Adventures of an Independent Bookseller

August 25, 2014 at 11:52 pm (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

kings-englishTitle: The King’s English
Author: Betsy Burton
Publisher: Gibbs Smith
Genre: Books on Books
Length: 302 pages

In 1977, Betsy Burton opened a little independent bookstore in Salt Lake City, Utah. The rest is history, captured elegantly and passionately within the pages of The King’s English, a book named after the store it chronicles.

I love books about books and bookstores.  Burton’s passions speak of my own as she details the pleasures of getting the right book into the right hands at the right time.  She breaks up chapters with lists upon lists of must haves for people searching specific genres or moods.  She tells the tale of a store’s life blood, its employees, customers, and ultimately all the people who have made it the world renown establishment it has become.

The store has been molded by dreams, authors, legal battles, and the patrons who have kept walking through the doors.  The book industry, American history, and religious nuances of Utah have shaped what TKE has – through time – chosen to stand and fight for.  It’s been a beautiful life, and to this day it continues through politics, economics, and the ever changing publishing practices.

I loved every minute of it, every word, and I’m a little ashamed to say that a few other titles were put on the back burner for this reading whim when they deserved my full attention.  The experience has been fulfilling and the store has now been added to my places to visit before I die.  Even more fulfilling would be to see one of my own books perched on their shelves, knowing what great care they go into selecting their inventory.

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How I Waste My Time

November 14, 2012 at 8:13 pm (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

I am supposed to be reading The Old Curiosity Shop for HPB Humble’s December Book Club meeting.  I love and adore Dickens so I’m actually very excited about this.  Plus, the weather is perfect for it.  But every time I sit down I find something else has made it into my hands and reading time.  Yesterday I breezed through Unrecounted by W.G. Sebald and Jan Peter Tripp before starting and completing Sarah N. Harvey’s The Lit Report.  Both were short, breezy books, but neither were on my immediate TBR pile.

Unrecounted is a coffee table book shrunk down to the size of a trade paper back, in my opinion.  Housed in poetry, yet I find myself more captivated by the art.  The book is a series of Tripp’s art and Sebald’s verse married together very simply in a manner you might see at an art gallery rather than in a poetry book.  I enjoyed it immensely, but I would have preferred to walk through a perfectly lit hall with the images taking up half the wall, the verse on a plaque nearby, rather than flip through the pages of a book.  Although it would be far less accessible that way, the emotional impact would be far greater.

The Lit Report is a fabulous young adult piece for older teens.  In the style of So Many Books, So Little Time, the story follows a year in the life of Julia questioning the beliefs of those around her and defining her own world view while reading and walking her best friend through a secret teen pregnancy.  Christians are not shown in the greatest light.  In fact I doubt that the ‘Christians’ presented in this book actually are Christians as they tend to be people more focused on beating religion into others or attempting to save themselves from the wrath of God by burying themselves into activities of a highly questionable church, instead of simply believing in the Truth and love of Jesus Christ.  The book is also pretty consistent with how most modern teens live and has its fair share of swearing , misbehavior, and (obviously) sexual activity (after all, one girl is pregnant).  But the novel rings true as a supposed memoir of a girl’s life… while reading it you feel as though this could be someone’s experience somewhere – this could happen.

The Lit Report is something I wouldn’t mind re-reading with the kiddo when she is older and we can discuss the thoughts and opinions of the girls, their actions, and the actions of their parents.  It has valid and necessary topics to discuss: the cruel dogmatic ways of some people who call themselves ‘Christians’ and how they influence the public’s view on what being a Christian means, sexual activity as a teenager, and of course how literature can be a part of your daily life.  It is important to see what someone who ‘walks the walk’ looks like in comparison to somewhat who has hardened their heart and spouts biblical references at people out of context.  It is important to know where you stand as a sexual being and what your expectations and standards are, and finally, how your decisions affect those around you.  The novel really makes you stop to think what the author’s own life experiences with so-called Christians have been.

As for The Old Curiosity Shop, I am a few chapters in and it waits patiently for me on my night stand.  Maybe tonight will be the night… or, maybe I’ll find myself wasting more time.

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How to Buy a Love of Reading… Just buy Gibson’s book

January 2, 2012 at 3:27 am (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Title: How to Buy a Love of Reading

Author: Tanya Egan Gibson

Publisher: Dutton, a member of Penguin group

Genre: Fiction

Length: 389 pages

Buy: http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?lt1=_blank&bc1=000000&IS2=1&bg1=FFFFFF&fc1=000000&lc1=0000FF&t=anakawhims-20&o=1&p=8&l=as4&m=amazon&f=ifr&ref=ss_til&asins=B0058M744A

I cannot begin to count, honestly, the number of times I was brought to tears by this book.  Something that was supposed to be light and fun proved to be something beautiful and amazing, something that moved me more than words can express.

I cannot begin to count, honestly, the number I times I fell in love with Hunter.  Over and over again, reminding me of boys I fell in love with in real life.  Stranger still, reminding me of myself.

I found Carly amazing, and brave, and beautiful, a character who reminded me of people I both love and hate.

I found Gibson reminding me why I fell in love with Fitzgerald in high school and how I cherish every blessed word of Gatsby and every word written about it.

I found myself wanting to share this jewel with a dear friend who has already left this world and lonely because of all the disappointment in his missing it.

I sit here writing the most incoherent review in the immediate moment of completion because I’m blown away, dazed, and I don’t want it to end, even though the ending is so perfectly final.

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The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street

July 2, 2011 at 5:24 pm (Reviews) (, , , , , , , )

A Review of Helene Hanff’s sequel to 84, Charing Cross Rd.

At the end of 84, Charing Cross Rd. when Helene’s correspondence with London bookseller Frank Doel seemingly came to an end – I cried.  Now, in Duchess of Bloomsbury Street when Helene first sees Charing Cross Rd. with her own eyes – I cried again.  Helene Hanff is simple, witty, clever, and utterly enjoyable every time she takes pen to paper.  I enjoy romping through London with her and cannot wait to read what she has to say about life in America when I finally find myself a copy of Apple of My Eye.  And, if I ever visit London, I hope I have even half as many wonderful people available like The Colonel and PB to escort me to all the best sites, and then maybe my trip could be almost as perfect.

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