Monday, April 14, 2014

You Gotta Read This Book

Two weeks ago, Barb Aronson, one of my favorite sales reps dropped off this book saying "You have to read this.  Everyone is talking about it."  Turns out, this book got more recommendations for the American Booksellers monthly flyer than any other book...ever.  I get why booksellers like it.  It's about a bookstore and a cantankerous bookseller named A.J Fikry.  Fikry has been angry since the tragic death of his wife and bookstore partner, but despite that, I found him charming and fascinating.  As a bookseller, Fikry's palette is narrow.  He does not like postmodernism, or postapocalyptic works.  He won't read celeb bios, ghost written books, stories with post mortem narrators.  Books must be more than one hundred twenty pages but less than four hundred fifty.

That's the first info we learn about Fickry when (oh how ironic) a sales rep drops by with a book that he just "must read."  Beyond the title character, I found the book simple, predictable and overly sentimental.  It wasn't until I got the final pages that I learned why so many hold this book tightly and with great fondness.

Bookstores attract the right kind of folk...good people...
And I like talking about books with people who like talking about books. 
 I like paper.  I like how it feels, and I like the feel of a book in my back pocket.  I like how a new book smells, too
....this to me is as close to a church as I have known in this life.  It is a holy place. 
 With bookstores like this, I feel confident in saying
 that there will be a book business for a very long time.

I kind of get that.  When I first opened LaDeDa I switched my full time teaching job with a part time teacher.  It worked for both of us and for the school.  Eventually, a time came when class sizes increased and I was again needed full time.  From a practical standpoint it made no sense to own a bookstore and have someone else run it for me.  I had to choose between teaching and the store.  The thought of closing the store clutched in the pit of my stomach, making the decision easy.  I knew I was giving up benefits and a great pension plan, but that didn't matter.  Still doesn't.  

Spend some time with A.J. Fickry.  You can breeze through it quickly and maybe it will make you feel better about a risk you have taken....or one that has been on your mind for a while.


Last weekend I watched a strong but troubling film called Iris, about the author Iris Murdoch and how she lost her being to Alzheimer's.  Hugh Bonneville.  Dame Judy Dench.  Kate Winslet.  You can't find a much better cast than that.  This film will stick with me for a long, long time.  I wonder, has Kate Winslet ever stayed clothed through an entire movie?

There's still time to get Heart-A-Rama tickets.
Tons of fun and good will for only $15.00
Manitowoc Piggly Wiggly and Inman's in Two Rivers

Thanks for stopping by.