SATURDAY AFTERNOON AT THE BOOK HOUSE

We had somber snow predictions for this weekend. No matter how often the forecasts are wrong, they are taken very seriously.  October snowstorms can wreak havoc.  The snow weighing down on tree branches cause serious damage—downed power lines, snapped branches falling on roadways, and generalized ruin when one season makes an unwelcome visit into another.

The October my daughter, Allison, was born had such an event.  I went to the hospital in a dreary, cold rain and hours later, after her birth, I looked out the window and was shocked to see a winter wonderland.  I know it took my husband two hours to make it from our house to the hospital rather than the usual fifteen minutes.  My only real memories of the time were this:  I had forgotten how grueling labor was  (and I thought the first delivery was as bad as it gets!); hospital staff had a tough time getting to work and I had never been hungrier in my life; and how angry I was at the substitute obstetrician who refused to let me stay more than the 24 hours I was allowed, despite the fact we had no power.  On the upside, it was a quiet time for my beautiful new daughter and me.  Even enough time to change her name. A story for another time.

But enough of that.  We escaped this particular storm fairly unscathed. And this is supposed to be a blog on books. Back to the original story.

It was late Saturday afternoon.  The air smelled like snow.  Precipitation of some kind was definitely on its way.  I found myself going to one of my favorite places, the Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza.  It is a wonderful independent bookstore that supports local writers.  When I got there, it was busy. There was a book signing, people sitting on the couch skimming through handpicked stacks of potential books to buy. Interesting conversation drew me to the cash register area.  Marggie, who has worked there a long time, is always in the middle of some interesting book or travel talk.  This afternoon was no different. She was talking to a man she knew (who doesn’t she know??) who had just come back from a trip to France. He’d traveled through the south but Paris is his place. Naturally, I was immediately engaged!  The story exchange resulted in his buying my Woman Sitting in a Café book.  Marggie and I shared a love for the Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann. The fact that she read it on her Kindle and I read it with book in hand didn’t matter. Just a detail.  Different mode of transport to the same place.

There is just nothing like being in the hub of book lovers getting ready for a snowstorm. No batteries required.  Just some light.

I am having a reading and book signing there for Standing on the Corner of Lost and Found next Saturday afternoon. The owner, Susan Novotny, is and always has been steadfast  as an advocate for  independent bookstore and the community they make. When I was a book reviewer for the Time Union, she graciously opened her back room so I could find good mid-list books that weren’t getting the attention they should.  I’m really excited about my reading there.  It’s always been a special place for me.

Wherever you may live, support your local bookstore. It’s a great place to spend a Saturday afternoon with or without snow.

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