Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Word on the Street columnist in Boston Globe wrote about Vacation Guide’s personal touches

Jan Gardner writes the Word on the Street column for and in a January edition stated that A Vacationer’s Guide to Rural New England Bookstores was “…a good one to keep in the glove compartment.” I really enjoyed seeing that comment because it goes right to the heart of how and why the guide book came to be. I wrote it with the notion that a book shop visitor would keep it with them as a handy guide, regardless of where they end up in New England. What better place than in the globe box? If it’s handy, you can thumb through it and find the independent full-service, or used and rare book shop nearby.

You can read Jan’s full commentary at She also points out that the writing in the guide book is “folksy.” When I read that, it occurred to me, again, that I intended it to be casual and conversational, rather than clinical and analytical. I read a lot of guide books and they tend to be informative, but somewhat dry to read. I deliberately tried to avoid that. I’m glad that Jan felt it was “folksy.” The folksy part comes from sharing bits of information that go beyond whether certain types of books are on hand.
If famous authors have a preference for a shop, (Vermont Book Shop in Middlebury) or the owner has rearranged the shop to accommodate music recitals, (Pleasant Street Books in Woodstock), I like to share that information. While admittedly, that’s “folksy,” it’s my feeling that it helps readers decide it’s the kind of place they should visit.

Coincidentally, the Crow Bookshop in Burlington VT was highlighted in the same column as my guide book. Later that month I received a note that the shop was stocking my guide book. That’s what a writer loves to hear. The book was on another shelf. It keeps us going. Thanks to Jan and Thanks to the Crow Bookshop.

Monday, March 18, 2013

About the Hampton Union article on Drake Farm Books

Drake Farm Books - No. Hampton NH
I enjoyed reading the article by Nick Reid, a reporter for the Hampton Union, commenting on the selection of Drake Farm Books by Yankee Magazine as one of the Best 5 Used Bookstores in New England. What I liked about the article was that he took the time to interview the folks at the bookstore, he looked into the guide book I wrote that included a commentary about Drake Farm Books, and he contacted me to get some direct comments.

That’s more effort on a small story than I see on much larger stories that may be more significant. As a former newspaper reporter, I understand the pressure placed on writers to get something into print and the tendency to short-cut the research to meet a deadline. But, in this case, Nick did the most you could do with the simple story. He probably started with a press release from Yankee Magazine, but he made the effort to find the points of interest that his readers would appreciate. I know I did.

The article led with the news about the selection of the book shop by Yankee Magazine as one of the 5 Best Used Bookstores, then went on to justify the selection based on the author comments and other published comments. He followed that with comments from the owners and a description of the bookstore’s history, its unique characteristics, and that at this point in its life, that the shop was for sale. That’s great news for some reader who wants to get into the high-stress world hand-selling used books! Is that you? Let me know.