Supporting Independent Bookstores

I care very much about independent bookstores staying in business, so it only makes sense to buy books from independent bookstores as frequently as possible, right? Right. I thought so. So while on our way to visit friends in Vermont for Thanksgiving, Hobgoblin, the baby, and I stopped in Brattleboro to visit a couple stores. From Mystery on Main Street, I bought Sarah Weinman’s anthology of stories Troubled Daughters, Twisted Wives: Stories from the Trailblazers of Domestic Suspense. The book includes stories by Patricia Highsmith, Dorothy Hughes, Shirley Jackson, Margaret Millar and others. Troubled Daughters From Everyone’s Books just around the corner, I found How to Read a Novelist by John Freeman, a collection of profiles of contemporary authors.

And then later, in Manchester, we stopped by the fabulous Northshire Bookstore and I got a few more things. First is Maureen McLane’s book My Poets, which Stefanie wrote enthusiastically about. How could I resist? It’s a book of experimental prose, combining memoir, criticism, and poetry, and it sounds beautiful. My Poets I also found My 1980s and Other Essays by Wayne Koestenbaum. I’ve never read Koestenbaum before, but he seems to write the kind of book I admire — idiosyncratic cultural criticism. And finally, I picked up From the Mouth of the Whale, a novel by Sjón, an Icelandic writer. A.S. Byatt wrote glowingly of his work, so I thought I’d give it a try.

When I arrived home, I found this waiting for me, a non-independent bookstore purchase (I’m not perfect!): Hallman The Story About the Story II, edited by J.C. Hallman. I loved the first volume Hallman edited. The book collects  essayistic literary criticism — criticism of literary works that is literary in its own right. As a lover of literature and of the essay form, I had to have this, right?

To further support independent bookstores, I hope to stop by my local bookstore (one of my local bookstores, I should say — I’m lucky!), Byrd’s Books, which is hosting Mark Slouka as part of “Small Business Saturday” and Sherman Alexie’s Indie’s First idea, where authors act as booksellers for a day at their local stores. It should be fun.

I’m just here doing my duty!

10 Comments

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10 responses to “Supporting Independent Bookstores

  1. I read Troubled Daughters Twisted Wives awhile ago–it is full of deliciously creepy stories! I especially liked the older ones. Enjoy!

  2. You live near enough to actually be able to shop at Northshire Bookstore? I don’t think I have the words to express my envy. I hear so much about them on the ‘Books on the Nightstand’ podcasts and they sound simply perfect. I would give anything to have any sort of local independent bookshop, but that one!!!!!!! I think I might be going into an almighty sulk :-)

    • Well, Northshire is four hours or so from my house, but when I visit my friends in Vermont, I can get there in about 15 minutes. And I visit those friends once or twice a year, so I’ve been there quite a lot. Yes, I know, lucky me! I’m so sorry you don’t have a local shop. I’m blessed with them and will make sure I appreciate them properly.

  3. What a wonderful harvest you’ve reaped during Thanksgiving! I wonder if the indie bookstores too are involved in the Black Friday craze? We here in Canada are catching this phenom even though our Thanksgiving was last month! Some interesting titles you’ve got here. Happy reading!

    • Well, this year, they have been a big part of Small Business Saturday, with lots of authors visiting their local stores to sell books. I think some of them benefit from the Black Friday craziness as well. I certainly hope they do!

  4. Now this is my kind of Black Friday shopping :)
    I would love to visit a bookstore like Mystery on Main. I didn’t get a chance to support any indie bookstores this weekend but I did support an indie press. Enjoy your finds!

  5. What wonderful finds! I hope you really like My Poets! I look forward to hearing more about all of them!

  6. Hurray for independent books, and an extra big cheer for your support of them! I feel the same – I want them to stay very much and shop from them whenever possible. I can’t wait to hear what you think of My Poets! I have a copy on my shelf that’s been waiting a year for me to get to it. And I really DO want to read it!

  7. Nice work, Rebecca! I love shopping at independent bookshops. Used to have some really good ones near me in north London, but now I live in Greece, and don’t know Greek well enough to read local books. So I am sadly dependent on online booksellers and ebooks for now. Good to live vicariously through you for a while though.

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