'One for the Books,' 'The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap' and 'My Bookstore'
Several fall releases celebrate books and the writers who love them.
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Welch’s memoir manages to be both cozy and witty at the same time and paints a picture of small-town life that we all want to believe is possible. And her belief that books are an essential part of any life worth living is pretty much irresistible as well.Skip to next paragraph
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Multiply the miracle of the Welches’ store by 80 and you’ve got My Bookstore, a compendium of essays by writers each celebrating his or her favorite independent bookstore. Isabel Allende extols Book Passage in Corte Madera, Calif.; Rick Bragg dotes on the Alabama Booksmith in Homewood, Ala.; and Henry Louis Gates Jr. praises Harvard Book Store in Cambridge, Mass.
It doesn’t matter whether or not you’ve shopped in any of these stores (although if you are a book lover living anywhere in the continental United States, I can guarantee that you have browsed in at least one).
Regardless, however, you will recognize them all. As Kate Christensen says in her piece about WORD in Brooklyn, N.Y., a bookstore “is a state of mind.” But the real charm of bookstores, points out Dave Eggers in his essay about San Francisco’s Green Apple Books, is that they are as “strange and unorthodox as books are,” and just like books, their continued existence is essential. “Anyone who wants anything less is a fool.”
Additional noteworthy titles for book lovers:
The End of Your Life Book Club, by Will Schwalbe. Author and publisher Will Schwalbe and his mother bond over a wonderfully meandering shared reading list during the last months of her life.
My Ideal Bookshelf, illustrated by Jane Mount and edited by Thessaly La Force. This one is both lovely and impossible to put down. Cultural figures from David Sedaris to Alice Waters talk about their favorite books, accompanied by beautiful paintings of their home bookshelves.
Marjorie Kehe is the Monitor's books editor.