Book Shop Magic!
"When I say, 'local bookstore,' odds are good the first thing that comes
to mind is not a book you've bought, but a person, a sense of place,
even just a vague cozy feeling," wrote Wendy Welch in a Huffington Post
piece headlined "The Importance of Local Bookstores
Welch, whose book The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap: A Memoir of
Friendship, Community, and the Uncommon Pleasure of a Good Book will be
published by St. Martin's in October, is co-owner of Tales of the
Lonesome Pine Used Books, Big Stone Gap, Va.
"When people come into our 39,000-volume-strong shop, their breathing
changes," she observed. "Their expressions soften, steps slow, eyes stop
darting. Hands unclench from cell phones as they mutter, 'Call you
later.' And then they just stand there, letting their eyes drift over
the shelves while that indefinable bookshop magic does its work....
[I]ndependent bookstores help us find the others like us. Booksellers
hear customers' voices in the shop, and hook them up with the voices
they will value on the printed page. It's so much more than a sale. It's
This is probably the only reason I'd go to Paris, France:
Paris is your best bet
if you're an international traveler looking for a library or bookshop,
according to the World Cities Culture Report 2012. The "importance of
public libraries is explored with Paris coming way out top in numerical
terms. It has 830 public libraries compared to Shanghai's 477, London's
383, Tokyo's 377, Johannesburg's 234, New York's 220, Sydney's 154 and
Berlin's 88. Paris also has more bookshops--1,025 to London's 802,
although Tokyo has the most (1,675); Shanghai has 1,322 and Johannesburg
has 1,020," the Guardian reported.
Last night I watched a wonderful movie that has earned a place on my "Favorite Movies of All Time" list, called "Letters To Juliet."
Though the only real "star" in the movie is the still-lovely Vanessa Redgrave, the movie has wonderful actors who do a fine job in their roles. The story is basically that a young woman who is on the cusp of her nuptuals to a young Italian man goes with him on a buying trip to Italy and discovers that there is a wall in Verona where young women paste letters of grief about love next to a statue of Juliet from Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. A group of 5 Italian women calling themselves the Juliet Society takes down the letters every afternoon and writes letters back to these young women, giving them advice on their love lives, ostensibly from "Juliet." The young woman inadvertantly discovers an old letter, written 50 years ago by an American woman named Claire, who failed to show up for a rendezvous with her Italian amour, and our heroine decides to join the Juliet Society and write back to Clarie. A week later, Claire's snotty British grandson shows up at the society and chews the heroine out because his grandmother traveled back to Italy with him to find her one true love from 50 years ago. Thus begins a trip of laughter, tears and falling in love for the three as they traverse Italy in search of Claire's lost love. Of course, the beautiful scenery of Italy charms the eye as the characters win our hearts and there's a lovely HEA ending. I highly recommend this movie to anyone who adores Italy, romantic movies and a good story, well told.