I remember going to a bookstore in Chennai and getting recognised as the ‘Ahista’ girl. The good thing about the video was the director let me do just what I wanted. And my costar in the video was really sweet. I think it came across well because I portrayed emotions just the way I would in real life. I was just being myself.
I first got really interested in Noh in about 1977. There was an independent bookstore in Bloomington, Indiana where I was going to high school. It was a really nice place. There was a New Directions paperback. It was the Pound/Fenollosa book, ‘The Classic Noh Theatre of Japan.’
I gotta do what I think is right, and if enough people like it, I’m a winner. And if they don’t, I’ll open a bookstore.
Average Americans order nonfat decaf iced vanilla lattes at Starbucks and choose from 1,500 drawer pulls at The Great Indoors. Amazon gives every town a bookstore with 2 million titles, while Netflix promises 35,000 different movies on DVD. Choice is everywhere – liberating to some, but to others, a new source of stress.
After years of practice, I can walk into a bookstore and understand its layout in a few seconds. I can glance at the spine of a book and make a good guess at its content from a number of signs.
I’ve always loved the language of flowers. I discovered Kate Greenaway’s ‘Language of Flowers’ in a used bookstore when I was 16 and couldn’t believe it was such a well-kept secret. How could something so beautiful and romantic be virtually unknown?
Just as it can be addictive to be in a real world bookstore or library, it’s the same on the Web.
Browsing the first editions at my local independent bookstore, I came across ‘Pastoralia,’ a collection of stories by George Saunders. I’d read one of the stories in it already, and several other Saunders stories in magazines and anthologies, and liked them all.
I recommend anybody go to a bookstore, go down the self-help or new-age section, and just walk those aisles. See what book jumps out at you; there’s a good chance it’s a book you need in your life. That’s basically how I find the books that I read.
If you walk into any bookstore, you can look at the newsstands and see which magazines are nationally-distributed, and you recognize certain names. Same with television. With the blogsphere, however, you actually have to dig, and know how to use multiple tools to figure out whom you should be speaking to.
When my kids were young, we used to go to a place called The Shrine of the Black Madonna in Houston. It was an African-American bookstore where they sold paintings, but they also had a room that was an all-purpose center. If you wanted to have a dance recital or anything that was related to the community activities, you could have it there.
Books look handsome and it’s a real singular experience getting to go to a bookstore. I don’t want to not do that.
My dad was the chaplain at Mankato State University, and my mom worked in the bookstore. We lived just off-campus. Then we moved to the suburbs of Minneapolis, to New Hope, which is where I went to high school.
It’s one thing for the people in the industry to know who you are, because they’ve heard about you earlier. I have friends calling me from the Christian bookstore because there’s a poster on the wall. It’s just weird.
I am still a lover of paper books. One of my first jobs was in a bookstore, and I still like to be able to write in a margin and feel the paper. Once inside of a digital device, I end up losing things.
I have this memory of being 15 years old, sitting with a friend on the steps of a little bookstore on Bloor Street in Toronto and saying, ‘I’ll never take money for my writing!’ I had such idealism about this idea of trading your soul for money.
I was that kid with the glasses and the hungry expression who haunted every library book sale and used bookstore in town: the one who always has a book in one hand and is reaching for the next book with the other. There’s one in every town.
I’d never heard of the ‘Lord of the Rings’, actually. So I went to the bookstore and there it was, three shelves of books about Tolkien and Middle-earth, and I was like, ‘Holy cow, what else am I missing out on?’
Writers are stewards of the culture. Publishers, librarians, bookstore owners. We’re all in this together. To write books that are gripping, important, that people want to have, is to keep publishing alive.
I’d park myself in the bookstore and read with one eye on everyone coming in. I remember reading a Robert Bly book of poetry.
The daily quota I’ve set for myself is 500 words or approximately a page and a half double-spaced. Which isn’t much, except that I’m extremely slow, extremely meticulous. ‘Le mot juste’ haunts me. On a good day, I will finally secrete the 500th word at about 5 o’clock, and I’ll reward myself by going to Housing Works Bookstore to read.
Any independent bookstore that has managed to survive is the best place to do a reading.
There is that romanticized idea of what a bookstore can be, what a library can be, what a shop can be. And to me, they are that. These are places that open doors into other worlds if only you’re open to them.
Get your friends together, go to your local bookstore and have a book-buying party.
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