Saturday, June 20, 2009

Scaredy Squirrel Sighting (and a love letter to independent bookstores)

"Such a discouraging time for people who love reading. Independent bookstores are struggling, all those magical places built by people who loved books from the moment they could hold one, and wanted to share that love with others. Helen recalls one such store where she did a reading a couple of years ago, how inviting the place was, with its broken-in armchairs and lamps glowing a deep yellow, with the cat named Melville, who slept on his back in the front window. It was a browser's paradise, books so thoughtfully and attractively displayed you wanted everything you saw, whether it was a nonfiction book about cod, or a volume of poetry, or a fat novel with ragged-edged pages, or a cookbook featuring winter soups. It was a time -- the only time, as it happened -- that Helen had arrived far too early for her reading, and she spent forty minutes wandering around the store. In the children's section, she eavesdropped as a mother read Scaredy Squirrel to her son; both mother and child laughed aloud at the inclusion of sardines in Scaredy's emergency kit, and at his first step in what to do in case of emergency: "panic." Helen laughed, too, and stopped just short of asking if she could sit down and listen to the rest of the story." (p.227-228)

3 comments:

  1. Mary Lee-I was just talking about this yesterday. I really miss the local bookstores. The knowledgeable people who would go the extra mile, support budding readers, and cherish the books that I love. I have been running all over town looking for some books for a conference next week and I have been pining for the bookstore from my home town "Taylor's Books and More" in Coldwater, MI.

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  2. From your Poetry Friday post and now this post, I will be running right out to get Berg's latest. Her language is amazing. The fact that she included an independent bookstore AND Scaredy Squirrel in her book is just icing on the cake!

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  3. Karen, I HIGHLY recommend it! Classic Berg. Great mother-daughter themes. (among others)

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