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My Bookstore: Writers Celebrate Their Favorite Places to Browse, Read, and Shop Hardcover – November 13, 2012

4.1 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

One could do worse than to plan a road trip based solely on the bookstores featured in this unabashed paean to what may be a vanishing part of the American landscape, the independent bookstore. “May” because the art of bookselling seems to be experiencing a Darwinian resurgence. If it is, then it is thanks to the valued works and even more valuable support of a host of writers who recognized that bookstores are more than places to sell their wares. Bookstores can be the soul of a neighborhood, the heart of a city. There are places with resident cats (like Brooklyn’s Community Bookstore) and places without (Birmingham’s Alabama Booksmith). Places where three-year-olds can cajole the owner into opening early, and others where fledgling writers find solace and inspiration. Publishing professional Rice invited 84 outstanding writers to contribute to this essay collection. And the fact that Richard Russo and Tom Robbins, Francine Prose and Ann Patchett, Wendell Berry and Rick Bragg take such a sincerely humble and exuberantly proprietary interest in their local bookstores speaks, well, volumes. --Carol Haggas

Review

This is more than just a celebration, more than just a compendium of bookstore kudos. This is like each of your favorite writers (84 of them!) penning a love letter to their favorite bookstore. Names you may recognize include Dave Eggers, Louise Erdrich, Francine Prose, Lisa See, and Simon Winchester. Editor Rice, a publishing professional, has recruited new pieces that illuminate the quirks and many intangibles that make a great bookstore. From the owner who will trek across town to help out at a library signing, to the fierceness with which some owners protect their customers' privacy, to the overall comfort of stepping into a world that you just know is full of compatriots, the beautiful stories in these pages tell of those things that make any neighborhood bookstore great.

VERDICT: There are other collections that focus on bookstores... but this one is a personal peek into the hearts of the contributing writers as well as into the bookstores they love. Sure to please any bibliophile, even if borrowed from the library!

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 392 pages
  • Publisher: Black Dog & Leventhal; 1 edition (November 13, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1579129102
  • ISBN-13: 978-1579129101
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.4 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #182,915 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Is there anything that readers and writers of all trades love more than roaming bookstores? In My Bookstore authors share their memories and appreciation for their favorite bookshops, those magical places that those who live and breathe books will often call a second home.
Time for a little confession - I only knew few of the eclectic mix of authors who contributed to this charming compilation though you may rest assured that lack of having read books by all of them does not diminish the delight of being able to explore all those bookstores through their eyes. From Isabel Allende to John Grisham, from Ann Patchett to Carrie Ryan, I was enthralled by the stories and anecdotes shared.
What I found especially fascinating was the opportunity to catch a glimpse of how different the narrative voice of some authors can be when you compare their actual books to these essays, sometimes bordering on the dull while at other times full of sparkling wit. It goes without saying that learning more about authors you've always been fond of, being able to get a closer look at the person behind the writer, is a real treat.
How could a bibliophile not love this book? Makes me wish I had a decent bookstore I could brag about, alas I haven't and that makes me really sad now.
Last but not least, the adorable illustrations depicting the featured bookstores only add to the charm of this book.
In short: For the love of bookshops!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the NetGalley book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
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My love affair with bookstores began when I was about eight years old. I accompanied my mother to a used bookstore to browse and I remember spying an old copy of one of the Nancy Drew mysteries and I've been hooked since, not just on books but the whole experience of browsing in bookstores, book sales, and finding books to fill my ever expanding collection at home. Several decades later, the joy of going into a bookstore and just absorbing the atmosphere is still indescribable and is an experience I will never tire of.

"My Bookstore" is an engaging read which allows readers to get a glimpse as to which bookstores 84 well-known authors like to browse in. Every author has his or her particular favorite and though I'm not familiar with all of these authors' works, I can certainly appreciate their love of books, bookstores, and the craft of bookselling. Many of these writers explain that their choice of a favorite bookstore leans heavily on how well-read and friendly the booksellers are and this is true in my case. Nothing turns me off more than walking into a (usually) chain bookstore and being passed around from one purported bookseller to the next, who has no clue as to where I might find a certain , less popular title (but boy do they know the bestsellers!). No, like most of the writers featured here, my favorite bookstores are those where I can walk in and ask about an old, less familiar title and be directed to it or given helpful hints as to where I might find it. In this digital age, finding hard to come by titles is much easier, but that personal experience of engaging with a bookseller is altogether priceless(though I admit online book shopping has its advantages).
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Format: Hardcover
Reading My Bookstore will make you want to go to various independent bookstores and shop around. I think I bought about five books while reading this book. My Bookstore makes me excited to travel the country, or even the world and experience all the great bookstores. I thought it was kind of ironic, the book kind of bashes e-books, I got my copy from Netgalley and read it on my Kindle. It was very interesting hearing about all the different bookstores around the country. Although every bookstore was different, they all had one thing in common, every employee not only sells books but loves them as well. My favorite story was the story by Chuck Palahniuk, author of Fight Club. The comic that Daniel Handler and Lisa Brown made about The Booksmith was also very funny. This was a great book. I was happy to learn about more bookstores across the country. I can't wait to visit them all one day.
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At a time when the indiy booksellers are closing without many others replacing them, it is great to read these guides to the different neighborhood Thinking Centers and Info Shops still going strong. I know so many of them from visits in my time trying to place my modest product (visited almost all of these stores and more than 2,000 booksellers in the US and Canada in all!), and there was not one I did not love whatever their always reasoned response to my entreaty.
From my own local Portland's Powell's, the most voluminous and in many ways the greatest bookstore in the English speaking world to some tiny ones like my town's Artifacts--Good Books and Bad Art where I volunteer without pay, I always assumed that like me, the founder had entered the world of books as a calling to educate and serve fellow readers who might come to share their own love of Truth and scrupulous factuality; I may be mistaken, but I cannot remember being shown I was ever wrong about that much.

Many of these stores, like Artifacts, have to sell "rubber chickens" to be able to get $4 Grapes of Wrath to high school kids, and many have suffered outright attack by predatory chains and now uncaring price cutters, but they soldier on as long with new enthusiasm every morning to spread their love of books and of reading.

They, WE, believe that good reading makes good thinking and we can make the world better by means of the only tool that has been successful in improving thinking for the last 500 years. (A customer at Artifacts, Kelli, said, "There's a reason they burn books you know.")

I bought this book as soon as I heard about it--couldn't get it fast enough.
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