Tag Archives: wild books

Why I’m not Blogging this Weekend

Driving back from Mt. Heritage Literary Festival, where I had taught a laughter-filled and successful workshop, the sun was shining, the buffalo were out (no really, there are some on that back road) and bees were humming among the blooming hillside clover. A perfect ending to a good day.

I had decided, since I would get back to the bookshop just before closing, to blow off the evening as a responsible adult, forget the laundry and the overdue writing, and kick back with a glass of red and a few episodes of my secret vice, Say Yes to the Dress. Then I’d write a nice cheery blog about my time at Mt. Heritage, take a cool bath with some scented talc, and pile into bed (while it was still daylight, maybe!) with a novel.

Pulling up in front of the bookstore, I watched a man exit and walk to a large pick-up, parked backwards so the bed faced the shop stairs. He scooped a he-man-sized stack into his arms and headed back up the stairs–just as my shopsitter exited the shop and went to the truck, where he performed the same actions.

A small sinking sensation gathered in my chest and worked its way down to my liver.

You guessed it: some 600 books, mostly hardbacks, had to be triaged, and quickly, as the shop’s front room floor had disappeared under the deluge. I began sorting and stacking, while faithful shopsitters Wes and Rachael trotted back and forth to the romance shed, the free book bin, and the bargain basement. I am proud to say that we got through this first round of sort-n-sift in about ten minutes, clearing some 200 books from the floor, but by then it was closing time, when Wes and Rach resume their normal lives.

No no, don’t worry about me, go on, I’ll be fine. Nothing planned this evening anyway.

book stacksGood thing. Fortunately, I’ll still have help.

Owen helps with books large book stacks It’s gonna be a long night…..


Filed under animal rescue, book repair, bookstore management, humor, publishing, shopsitting, Uncategorized

Book Orgies

“Second hand books are wild books, homeless books; they have come together in vast flocks of variegated feather, and have a charm which the domesticated volumes of the library lack.” –Virginia Woolf

Jack and I have different ideas of what our bookshop should look like. Left to my own devices, I would alphabetize the spice rack in three subcategories: Asian, Italian, and Other, while he would put all the paperwork in the house in one room and call it “the office.” (Come to think of it…)

However, we do agree on a few basic principles:

  • the books should be on shelves
  • there is some vague sense of separating fiction from non-fiction
  • the shop bathroom should be free of personal laundry

Beyond that, we have to negotiate.

Lately, though, the books seem to be fighting our best efforts, bent instead on mayhem and madness. Perhaps it’s the holiday spirit; they could just be gearing up for their office party (after all, tonight is St. Andrew’s Night). Still, every time we turn our back, the neat rows of Science Fiction and Fantasy leap from their shelves, race across the room, and jump into Christian fiction before we know what’s happening. We hear the flap of pages, and when we turn around, there’s a little pocket-sized Amish romance lying inside the covers of a Stephen King hardback. Looking smug.

That ain’t right, I tell ya.

Last night I went to bed secure in the knowledge that Mysteries and Thrillers had been tidied to perfection; this morning, there were three vampire paranormals lying in the floor, entwined with a John Sandford.

“Have you no shame?” I asked them, picking them up by their corners with a good hard shake. “Look at yourselves, pages splayed in lewd display, your covers bent backward. Where is your pride, your sense of decency?”

I’m pretty sure one of the paranormals belched.

So there it is: every day I go through the stacks, straightening, shelving, putting O’Brien back in front of Roberts, forcing Jack to separate Historic Fiction from Cookbooks, and at night when we head upstairs, we hear the noisemakers, the champagne corks, the swing of the chandelier as the Norton Literature volumes do somersaults into the punch bowl. {Sigh} Books today. What can you do?

Don’t forget today is the last day for the November Caption Contest. Scroll back to the photo in the blog and leave your caption under Comments.


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