Last Saturday a tall, serious-looking guy walked into the bookstore with his wife and introduced himself as a criminal lawyer. Then he said, in an ominous tone, “I’ve been here before, and I’ve been meaning to get back to see you for awhile.”
It turns out he had been in the bookstore a couple of years ago, while conducting a case in the federal courthouse across the street. He had been so caught up in the case, he said, that he’d gone through our store in a daze and hadn’t been back since.
He also said that he wrote a weekly column for our biggest local newspaper and that was what had brought him back. In fact he is a member of the Quality Paperback Club, so had gotten a copy of Wendy’s book in the mail as QPC’s July selection–and loved it, so much so that he’d contacted his editor at The Kingsport Times-News to ask if they’d reviewed the book.
“We don’t do book reviews” came the reply. So D. Bruce Shine, criminal attorney, who “doesn’t normally write this kind of column,” decided that the time had come to change all that. He got some facts from me, sat with a kitten on his knee while his wife browsed, and said the column would be in next week.
I am currently teach a class every Tuesday morning at the Higher Ed Center in Abingdon, and Tuesday past I was met with a barrage of “have you seen the column about you?” from just about everyone in the class. Later we had loads of folk bring copies of the paper to us at the bookstore just in case we hadn’t gotten one.
Tuesday and Wednesday we were inundated with customers from the readership area (three of whom were able to check out our disabled ramp and reported no difficulty– woohoo!). The customers, intrigued by our story as described by Mr. Shine, felt they just had to come and see for the themselves. Despite a miserable rainy day they drove for over an hour to get here and then spent lots of time exploring every nook and cranny of the store, all the time plying me with questions – “how long have you been here, what brought you here, where are you from originally?” And, of course, “where’s Wendy?”
Just when I think that the shine may be about to wear off this magical, fun experience that Wendy’s book has catapulted us into, someone else comes along and burnishes it again – Mr. Shine, the man from Malta.
Mr. Shine is also the Honorary Consul General for Malta in the Commonwealth of Virginia. How cool is that?!
Thank you Honorary Consul General.