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The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap: A…

The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap: A Memoir of Friendship, Community,… (edition 2012)

by Wendy Welch

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1671671,264 (3.67)29
Title:The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap: A Memoir of Friendship, Community, and the Uncommon Pleasure of a Good Book
Authors:Wendy Welch
Info:St. Martin's Press (2012), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 304 pages
Collections:Read 2013, Read but unowned
Tags:Memoir, Books

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The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap: A Memoir of Friendship, Community, and the Uncommon Pleasure of a Good Book by Wendy Welch



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Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
A wonderful surprise. As a librarian in the region, I am expected to wade through "local writing" that is varying degrees of horrendous, but the writing in this book is a delight. The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap is about much more than starting and maintaining a bookstore, and the fascinations of the bluestocking life in general. It's about making new friends in small towns where outsiders might normally be unwelcome, about how to adapt to and even contribute to a unique culture, and about how--having done the family thing right--to craft a life for your family that fits, even if that life is in a tiny town in the mountains of Virginia. Making a life that answers the cries of our souls is something that few of us are privileged to do.

I have visited the bookstore personally and it is an astonishingly quirky little browser's paradise--like walking into a place you have seen often in your dreams. If you see the bookstore first, the book will seem familiar, and if you read the book first, you'll feel you've already been in the little bookstore. ( )
  JMlibrarian | Mar 3, 2015 |
Subtitle: A Memoir of Friendship, Community, and the Uncommon Pleasure of a Good Book ( )
  Elishibai | Sep 14, 2014 |
Lots of great insights, lots of funny and heartwarming stories, as one would expect from an ethnographer cataloguing her experience setting up shop in an insular Southern mountain town.
Around the Reading Rekindled chapter though, it seemed to drag a bit and thereafter started swooping in and out of pontificating and actual information. Could've been my frame of mind though, too, as I was suffering from allergies and looking for something to distract me from that, while on a moving train, so... About 75% a perfect read, so very worth it! ( )
  margaret.pinard | Jul 24, 2014 |
A pleasant memoir about starting a used bookstore during "the death of the book." Some nice anecdotes, a few head-nodding moments about reading and books, and a handful of laugh-out-loud passages. Enjoyable, but somehow I never settled into the book as much as I would have liked. In the best memoirs of this sort, I start to feel a real kinship with the narrator and become deeply invested in their story. I never did that here, though I'm not entirely sure why, as nothing about the narrator's voice is irritating or off-putting. Recommended (despite my wee reservation) to anyone who thinks bookstores are pretty darn neat and would like to see them stick around. ( )
  lycomayflower | Feb 22, 2014 |
Engaging account of experiences starting and running a used book store. The thematic treatment is at times uneven: at points it is about the bookstore, at others the community in which the bookstore happened to exist. Granting an interrelationship, viewing the bookstore through the community is a different story than viewing the community through the bookstore, and these separate threads were not consistently distinguished.

We're told of financial challenges, but not many details (e.g., the author had outside employment, but we're not told doing what or how much that paid), so it was difficult to follow along on the path toward the store's solvency, and thus empathize with the author's concerns. We hear nothing, for example, about the food aspect of the bookstore's operations, other than that it exists.

I could have done without the last chapter when she lists books she likes and dislikes, which came off as a bit self-indulgent. If she wanted to give a "personal touch," it would perhaps have made better sense to give the oft-mentioned shortbread recipe! But despite these shortcomings, the overall impression is very pleasant. ( )
  dono421846 | Dec 6, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
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Chronicles the efforts of the author and her husband to open and run a small bookstore in a struggling Virginia coal mining community, a pursuit challenged by the difficult economic environment, widespread transitions away from hard-copy books and numerous eccentric patrons.… (more)

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