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March 28, 2008


Miz Melly

Ah, Mark I feel your pain! When I lived in France the bookstores were fabulous - they also stocked an amazing array of stationary which fed my paper addicition - but everything was in French and as I wasn't fluent, well it just wasn't the same. I did still get a kick out of smelling the books on the bookshelves - do you do that too, or is that just me? Moving back to Ireland was brilliant from a 'book shop' point of view. You'd love Dawson St in the city centre where no less than three major book stores are on the same street!!!

Nathan Knapp

"You can't get a tan online. Yet." I love that, Mark. lol.

Here in backwoods southeast Oklahoma, I live within a half-hour drive of one used-book store, which is filled with with mass-market paperbacks and a few literary novels - and to top it off, it's in Arkansas. It's a two hour drive to the nearest "book-zoo" (BooksaMillion or Hastings), but that's about it for the entire southeast Oklahoma/west Arkansas area, so I have a strong appreciation for those. I'll be moving to Seattle in the fall - here's to hoping for a wider selection of book store options.

Heather Goodman

I may not have good bookstore options, but I've got a plethora of libraries (pause for a minute while I run the Three Amigos line...). And the libraries do a decent job of stocking with new and old discoveries. Between the city libraries (of which there are half a dozen), the colleges (another half dozen--no, more), and neighboring towns which share library cards (very kind of them, if you ask me), I'm set.
The only problem is they carry too many books, which leaves me with few excuses for buying books.
And Miz--you're not alone with the book smelling. I miss card catalogs--you know, when they actually used cards--for the same reason, the smells.

Christopher Fisher

My business plan for Sioux Falls: A parntership with Year Round Brown renting/selling books. You know, like at the airport? Only "read while you tan" instead of "read while you fly."

Then again, for some reason I doubt Year Round Brown's customers would be the right market for an inter-store book loan business. On reflection of my literary friends and colleagues, I only now realize we're a rather pasty crowd. I wonder why that is.

Susan Meissner

I feel your pain. I lived for 14 years an hour and half east of where you are, in a Siberian wasteland full of charming people but no bookstore for 50 miles in any direction. Going to Mankato to stroll the Barnes and Noble shelves made me giddy. But the Cities? Well, going there to breathe in the books was enough to make me cry.


J. Mark Bertrand

Melanie -- Here's something funny. When I was at the above-mentioned Book Smart, a couple of guys entered mid-conversation. One of them started: "When I lived in France..." And I thought, "You don't hear that too often back in South Dakota. I, too, love the smell of old books.

Nathan -- I feel for you. You won't have any trouble finding good bookstores in Seattle, though, so happiness is on the horizon. Make a note to visit Wessel & Leiberman, which is where I scored a whole set of Mauriac hardbacks that had belonged to Denise Levertov.

Heather -- I miss card catalogs, too. We found one in an antique store, with all those little drawers, and I was sorely tempted, in spite of having nowhere to put it.

Chris -- You'll be happy to learn that Year Round Brown offers a "tan with a friend" package which I imagine could be easily adapted to "tan with your critique group." Imagine workshopping stories and getting a tan at the same time. It could change the very nature of fiction.

Susan -- I'd forgotten about your exile in these parts. Sounds like you really miss it, huh? :) Your Mankato pilgrimages make me downright grateful for what I have, which is an embarrassment of riches in comparison.

Karen Schravemade

I live in a regional Australian city of 60,000 people. We have ONE bookstore, and it's about the size of my smallish living room. Other than that, there's a book corner in the newsagency, or a mass-market selection at Big W. Oh, but if you want a drink, you're spoiled for choice. Rockhampton boasts about twenty pubs and bars.

Look, I'm sure my non-literary town really does have a lot going for it. If you enjoy a good steak, come live in Rockhampton. It's the beef capital of Australia.

And I'm a vegetarian who likes to read. Would someone remind me again why I live here?

J. Mark Bertrand

A vegetarian who likes to read in the beef capitol with hardly a bookstore? You win the Paradox Prize for the week, Karen. I feel downright spoiled with choices! :)

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