Essays by Various Authors
Edited by Ronald Rice
2012 / 378 Pages
My Bookstore is subtitled “Writers Celebrate Their Favorite Places to Browse, Read and Shop.” But this collection is much more than a celebration of independent bookstores. It’s an accumulation of personal, and often emotional responses to books, bookstores, and booksellers all across the country. From Francine Prose’s musings on New York City’s famous Strand Bookstore to small town literary tributes by authors like Fannie Flagg, Charles Brandt, Rick Bragg, and Lee Smith, My Bookstore has something for everyone. Who can’t relate to the experience of walking into an independent bookstore and feeling right at home?
I was personally thrilled to see Adam Ross’s essay about Parnassus Books, which is located in my home town of Nashville, Tennessee. Parnassus arose out of Ann Patchett’s desire to see her city’s literary community flourish and thrive. In a city that gets trendier and more fashionable by the minute, how could we NOT have an indie bookstore? Sure, Nashville had Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, and several cozy used bookstores, but the community was void of any independent book retailers. Thank God for Ann Patchett, who partnered with Karen Hayes to open the small, but potent indie bookstore in the heart of Nashville’s Green Hills neighborhood. I only manage to visit my home town a few times a year, but when I do, I try to make a trip down to Parnassus to support a business that fights for our literary community. Have you supported your local indie book retailer today?
In Jon Clinch’s essay about Northshire Bookstore in Manchester, Vermont, he writes:
“the instant you stepped inside the door you knew that this was a place where books were honored.”
This sentiment is exactly the heart and soul of My Bookstore – not just to showcase places where books are sold (Wal-Mart even sells books), but to feature institutions that honor and cherish literature. Reading this book may inspire you to plan a Pan-American bookstore tour, and to be honest, that sounds like the best road trip ever! A big thanks to Goodreads and Black Dog & Leventhal for the opportunity to read this wonderful title!