Tag Archives: Twitter

ERICA SUSAN JONES: SEARCHING OUT BOOKSHOPS

So my Twitter friend Erica Susan Jones – she loves books and cats, so it was pretty much friendship at first tweet – has started a blog. About bookshops. ‘Nuff said.

Here it is, copied from her site, which is http://thebookshoparoundthecorner.blogspot.co.uk/

Books are my addiction.

If I see a bookshop I have to go inside, and walking inside means I inevitably leave with at least one book, generally two or three. From fiction to cookery, classics to sci fi, crime to chick lit, I love them all.

But it’s not just about the subject, a book is a true sensory experience. Reading the story, savouring the words, hearing the pages turn, the scent of the paper and ink and feeling its weight in my hands. Each one is unique, with its creases and imperfections, markings in the margin or name inside the cover – recording the journey the book has taken with each individual reader, a memory that no e-reader can mimic.

And the bookshop it comes from is just as important a part of the reading process. Row upon row of books lining the shelves, with central tables drawing our attention to key themes or authors as we browse, looking for inspiration, or perhaps moving with purpose on the quest for something specific.

Then there are the booksellers. Readers themselves, they can be a great source to tap when looking for your next big read – or struggling to find a gift for your Dad/friend/boss. These people help bring the personal touch that very few websites are able to claim.

But all is not well, the bookshop is in decline.

I’m not about to go into facts and figures about how many have closed and when, as I’d probably find it too depressing and that’s not what this blog is about. Instead I’m going to – mostly – ignore the e-reader and internet shopping and focus on the positives.

Just a brief search of the internet reveals a wealth of bookshops to be enjoyed by the discerning reader, all with their own character and charm, all crying out to me to visit. And so we come to the purpose of my writing.

This blog is to be a celebration of the bookshop.

Every entry will be about a bookshop of some kind or another. Generally I plan to visit the bookshops (independent or part of a chain, so long as they’re real I’ll visit) to tell you what’s special about them, or why I want to visit them, but given that time, money and geography will limit me somewhat I’m sure the odd (real) fictional bookshop will sneak in to ensure regular writing.

I hope you enjoy exploring the bookshops with me and maybe feel inspired to visit a few more yourself. Also, if anyone has a bookshop they want to recommend (preferably in the UK unless you want to pay for my travel) I’d love to hear about it with a view to hopefully visiting sometime.

Thanks for reading,
Erica

You can leave a comment for Erica here, or go directly to her blog!

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Filed under book repair, book reviews, bookstore management, folklore and ethnography, publishing, Scotland, shopsitting, small town USA, Uncategorized, writing

The Mad Hatter’s Riddle Comes Clear

Alice in Wonderland’s Mad Hatter used to have the monopoly on “most famous tea party ever,” although I fear some political parties may have overtaken him. Or joined him. I’m not sure which.

Anyway, among the Mad Hatter’s famous tea-party riddles is, “Why is a raven like a writing desk?” Like tea parties themselves, this has an update: “Why is Twitter unlike a bookshop?”

The answer makes about as much sense as anything else in today’s speed-and-celebrity-crazed world. Twitter, for those unfamiliar, is that 140-characters-or-less never-ending “conversation” you can have with the rest of the world just by signing up. Think of a very large high school lunchroom, each table seeking to be the “cool kids” and shouting short sentences into the room. No one is listening to anyone else, just making sure they’re heard.

It’s Facebook on crack cocaine: say what YOU have to say, and don’t worry about the rest. There’s even something called a “Klout” score, calculated by how often you Tweet (send a message) and how often your Tweet is retweeted (someone else resends it). Your Klout score goes down if you answer other people’s tweets or retweet others.

In other words, the more you listen, the less Klout you have? Oh dear; perhaps Twitter is not unlike the Mad Hatter’s madcap party, or the world on the other side of the looking glass.

If ever there were a world less like a bookshop, the Twitterverse is it. In the bookshop, conversations need not be short because time lasts longer. And in a bookshop, it’s all about listening. It makes your score go up, not down; customers come back,  knowing they’re not just markets you’re trying to sell to, but humans you’re trying to connect with.

Now that I’ve dissed it, let me say that I’m on Twitter because I wrote a book and got told to “go social market.” And I’ll stay on because I have actually met some fun people, and connected with some friends in the region I never see face to face. It’s like meeting in a Walmart aisle, seeing their Tweets about what’s up with their day. Plus, some Tweeters are genuine, funny, and sweet, being themselves more than pushing an agenda–or a product. Despite my initial terror, Twitter is like the rest of the world–what you make of it.

So I will be myself, and enjoy others doing the same, on Twitter. But until my dying day, I will maintain that Twitter is not like a bookshop, and be grateful for the listening calm that running mine counterweights against Tweetopia, balancing the scales of life.

Care for a cup of tea as we chat?

(Don’t forget to enter Caption Contest V; scroll down to August 14, view entries and leave yours in “comments.”)

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Filed under Big Stone Gap, folklore and ethnography, humor, small town USA, Uncategorized