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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For the love of bookshops!
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...
Published 20 months ago by BLehner

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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Chuck Palahniuk -- Yuck!
This book is a treasured Christmas gift to my wife. She loves it, though the chapter by Chuck Palahniuk largely ruined the experience for her. Just another reminder that there is no decency left in the world, even when you're doing something as simple as reading a book about bookstores. "Boo" to the publisher for stepping into the gutter and attempting to drag the rest...
Published 17 months ago by GoodLookinBook


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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For the love of bookshops!, November 16, 2012
By 
This review is from: My Bookstore: Writers Celebrate Their Favorite Places to Browse, Read, and Shop (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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23 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Ones that Got Away, November 18, 2012
This review is from: My Bookstore: Writers Celebrate Their Favorite Places to Browse, Read, and Shop (Hardcover)
I don't know Ronald Rice, who edited this book. But I've studied the list, and it's curious to me that 9 stores in California and 9 in Massachusetts made the cut, but only 1 in Texas, 1 in Tennessee, and 1 in Mississippi. Even Alabama got 2. I'm curious to know how the 84 authors were chosen to write about their favorite bookstores. What I do know is that only one of my three favorite bookstores made the cut. I was happy to see Lemuria Books, in my hometown of Jackson, Mississippi, included. I went to high school with John Evans, the owner, and was also honored to give a reading at Lemuria in July, along with Wendy Reed, editor of Circling Faith: Southern Women on Spirituality. I loved Barry Moser's essay, especially the part where he explains why he puts Lemuria last on his book tours--so he can enjoy some good bourbon whiskey with Johnny (Evans) at the END of his tour.

So, who are the ones that got away? It's hard for me to believe that at least a couple dozen famous Southern authors wouldn't name Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi, as their favorite bookstore. And how noble of Square Books owner, Richard Howorth, to promote the book in his newsletter and speak so highly of it, although his amazing establishment wasn't included.

Also left off the list was Burke's Books in Memphis, one of the oldest indie bookstores in the country, dating back to 1875. Current owners, Corey and Cheryl Mesler, actually met in the store when they were both employees in the 1990s. The Meslers always go an extra mile for their authors, even renting a larger space on their block for events they don't have room to host in the store itself.

And how could Rice have missed Beauty and the Book, in Jefferson, Texas? Kathy Patrick owns the only bookstore and hair salon in the world (that she knows of) and also runs the Pulpwood Queens Book Club with over 500 chapters worldwide. Every January she brings in several dozen (yes) authors who participate with the Pulpwood Queens in their Girlfriend Weekend shindig. I'm pretty sure that more than one of those authors would have loved to write about Beauty and the Book, had they been asked.

All ranting aside, I love the concept of the book, and have thoroughly enjoyed several of the essays. I just hope Rice is making a list for a second volume which includes these (and more) outstanding Southern booksellers.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great way to learn about all the different bookstores around the country, November 29, 2012
This review is from: My Bookstore: Writers Celebrate Their Favorite Places to Browse, Read, and Shop (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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Loving Approach to A Great Subject, December 17, 2012
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This review is from: My Bookstore: Writers Celebrate Their Favorite Places to Browse, Read, and Shop (Hardcover)
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. It is, almost every little essay, as inspiring as visiting these stores and seeing young and excited clerks whose greatest wish growing up was to work in a book store, one of these stores and the others which we will never hear about unless we live in their town but which mean so very much to their local communities.
We are lucky, blessed, when we stop somewhere and find one open; I think they should charge admission--I'd pay; wouldn't you?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My Bookstore: writers on their favorite places to browse and read, November 14, 2013
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This review is from: My Bookstore: Writers Celebrate Their Favorite Places to Browse, Read, and Shop (Hardcover)
Both my husband and I are avid readers. When planning a vacation the first thing we look for is used book stores in the area. Never leave home without our 'wish list'. This book was informative and fun. Even bought a copy for my husband's sister who is also a bibliophile.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A bibliophile's dream, June 9, 2013
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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).

In "My Bookstore", authors such as Isabel Allende, Jeanne Birdsall, Dave Eggers, Louise Erdrich, Fannie Flagg, Ian Frazier, John Grisham, Elin Hildebrand, Pico Iyer, Laurie R. King, Ann Packer, Ann Patchett, Francine Prose, and many more wax lyrical about why a certain bookstore resonates with them more than most. Albert Goldbarth's pick is the Watermark Books and Cafe in Wichita, KS and he describes the environment in the bookstore as one of "a neighborhood of - you'll know what I mean - unalike like minded-ness". Ahh, yes, I understand well what he means - that shared love of all things books, an unadulterated passion for musty old tomes and new treasures alike. This is a book for bibliophiles, and is a joy to read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Someday I'll Tell You About Mine, February 25, 2013
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This review is from: My Bookstore: Writers Celebrate Their Favorite Places to Browse, Read, and Shop (Hardcover)
Some of the selections were obvious but I enjoyed them anyway. I'd love to read about the really little ones located in out-of-the way places.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Book for those who love bookstores, January 4, 2013
By 
P. M. (littleton, CO United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: My Bookstore: Writers Celebrate Their Favorite Places to Browse, Read, and Shop (Hardcover)
My review as it was originally posted on LibraryThing
Whenever I travel to another city (I live in Denver) I always seek out a local bookstore. They are a great place to spend time and pick up books that I am unfamiliar with. If the store is unique in some way, this makes shopping there that much more enjoyable. I especially enjoy bookstores that have a localized special section such as, nautical books if they are by the ocean; Southern writing from any of the great bookstores in the south like Square books in Oxford MS. or in the case of another country, history or historical fiction for that location. It is wonderful that we have the selection of bookstores here in the USA and that the price of books is not as expensive as they are in England, Hong Kong, and Australia. 95% of the books I read are non-digital; I truly enjoy holding a physical book over one on my Kindle. There were two areas in this book I had trouble with.
1. A number of the authors went to great lengths to explain how wonderful these bookstores were in accommodating them for their needs and especially during readings they held at said bookstore. While this is nice to know, and great for them, most of us will never be in that position, and are not treated as they are, at a bookstore, whether it is one we frequent regularly or not.
2. I fully understand that these bookstores have a lot at stake and that Amazon is the ultimate bad guy, but can we be honest here. Most people have a finite amount of money we can spend on books and at my independent bookstore The Tattered Cover in Denver; the books are NEVER on sale. There is no membership discount like at Barnes and Noble, and quite frankly they seldom if ever have the book I want in stock. Of the 8 books I currently have in my shopping cart with Amazon, none of them are in stock at The Tattered Cover. So if I am to follow the preaching of the contributors of this book, I should order the books I want from my independent bookstore, wait for them to come in and pay full retail price for the experience. For me this is not realistic. I do go to The Tattered Cover at least twice a month, but more often than not leave frustrated that the only books there are; The New York Times top 40, or the most recent edition of an author's book, or multiple books from any author (James Patterson, Clive Cussler, Stephen King, Janet Evonovich, and Sue Grafton) who pumps out one book or more per year. Another all-time favorite is any book by a known liberal, be it a celebrity or politician. These are not the books I want to read.
My bookstore needs more in-store recommendations, more selection and deeper choices from authors from big publishing houses to small press, they might also benefit from having an area highlighting recommendations from other independent bookstores around the country, These are just some of the things my bookstore could do if they want me to continue to buy from them rather than from Amazon, where I get 2 day free shipping and a discount on every book I order.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Who is up for a road trip?, February 1, 2013
This review is from: My Bookstore: Writers Celebrate Their Favorite Places to Browse, Read, and Shop (Hardcover)
My Bookstore is written by many different authors, 84 to be exact. Some I knew and had read their books and others I had not heard of before. In either case it did not take away from what the book is about. It is a very easy concept for a book, short essays of their favorite bookstores. Some of the stories are about a bookstore from their past and some are about a bookstore that they haunt now, because writers are, first and foremost, readers.

I have been savoring this book for a few weeks now; I pull it out to read when I just need something quick to read as each story is only a couple pages long. But I have yet to find a story that didn't make me want to drive over and see that bookstore. The stores are from all over America and I kept thinking that it would make a really fun vacation to travel around the country visiting each of these bookstores. Some are in college towns and some are in neighborhoods where you wouldn't expect a bookstore to thrive. But they each bring their own special character to their area and they are all loved by those that shop there.

Now I have to make a confession, I love bookstores. In fact my husband will tolerate me going into a bookstore when we are on vacation. He enjoys bookstores, but they are not his favorite place. He will go with me if I spot a unique one. He knows that means a few hours of our vacation will disappear with me inside a store. But he does spoil me.

There is a certain rhythm to an independent bookstore. Not to take away from the chains, they are wonderful places also. But an indie has fought long and hard to survive in this age of eBooks, with the ease of two clicks and it is being sent. One of the authors, Wendall Berry to be exact, talks about that in his chapter. I haven't read a ton of Wendall's books but I do enjoy reading them once in a while when I get my hands on one. Anyway, he says, "One can order a book from some distant place and receive it by mail. I confess that I sometimes do that, and so I know by experience that to do so is to forsake one of the most decent and significant literary pleasures." He goes on to talk about how some of what makes a book special to him is the getting it at a bookstore.

I work at a bookstore. It was a job that I never thought I would have and I love every minute of it. Other than a library I can't imagine working anywhere else that I would love so much. So take some time and visit a couple bookstores around the country.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Open MY BOOKSTORE and be prepared for bliss!, March 8, 2013
By 
Bookreporter (New York, New York) - See all my reviews
This review is from: My Bookstore: Writers Celebrate Their Favorite Places to Browse, Read, and Shop (Hardcover)
You would think that getting over 80 writers to set down just a few hundred words apiece on what distinguishes a bookstore as their “favorite” would be harder than herding cats. After all, writers by their very nature are incorrigible free spirits; they’ve earned their stripes by breaking new literary trails, often very alone and for a very long time. Those “overnight” successes on bestseller lists take years (if not decades) to achieve.
Yet after the eclectic reading journey of MY BOOKSTORE, it’s hard to feel anything but wholehearted enthusiasm emanating from the lines as each author captures what he or she feels is the essence of the best a bookstore can be.
Not surprisingly, none of them are those big-box chain names with huge online market shares, and often huge warehouse-style edifices that look and feel more like factory outlet malls than sanctuaries of written art. It’s better to say “Voldemort” over and over again than to mention their names, though a number of the authors do, in varying shades of disdain.
Being a Canadian, I’m blessed with my own affectionate cluster of local bookstores in the southwestern Ontario twinned cities of Kitchener and Waterloo (and fine ones they are too!), so I can claim no preferential bias for any of the 100 or so local businesses that these 81 appreciative Americans praise from coast to coast. I have never heard of a single one, and am unlikely in this life to set foot in any of them. But I can say without a shadow of doubt that each and every one would capture me just as beautifully as it captured the free-spirited writers for whom it serves as a second home.
Some of the recurring qualities that I appreciate as a book-consuming “end user” in a fine bookstore are wonderfully evident in the nearly 400 absorbing pages that MY BOOKSTORE takes to tell its inspiring collective story.
Phrases such as hand-selling and word-of-mouth come up a lot; the reason is clear from the start. It’s about booksellers who are not just purveyors of anonymous merchandise, but true believers in the authors they choose to feature on their shelves; it’s about booksellers who believe in building a supportive community among writers and their audiences; it’s about booksellers who defy the impersonal mass capitalism that’s all around us and make each transaction a personal and fulfilling experience.
Like so many of the authors who bare their literary souls here, I confess quite readily to buying literature online, both electronically and in hard copy. But the experiences I cherish are those timeless interludes of browsing and discovering, conversation and revelation…and, ultimately, willingly parting with cold hard cash for a warm soft book.
Open MY BOOKSTORE and be prepared for bliss!

Reviewed by Pauline Finch
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My Bookstore: Writers Celebrate Their Favorite Places to Browse, Read, and Shop
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