Skip to main content

People of the Book

This morning, I was reading this moving post by a co-worker of the recently-departed bookseller David Thompson of Murder by the Book, who shares how David's death has taught him to take pride in the career he was once embarrassed to bring up at cocktail parties. "Just a bookseller," he called it.

Just a bookseller? No way, says this author and lifelong reader, remembering so many wonderful conversations and fabulous recommendations from extraordinary booksellers I have met over the years. Like the librarian who turns a child onto the perfect "gateway" horse story, the grade school teacher who smiles and nods when his students beg him to read "just a few more pages" from a chapter book they're sharing, the mothers and fathers who cuddle their toddlers and read Goodnight Moon for the hundredth time, these are the people who induct us into the tribe of readers, who take us by the hand and introduce us to the miracle of story, with its magical power to carry us away and allow us to live richer lives experienced through so many fascinating characters.

This Friday, I am so thankful to all the people of the book. Not only the authors, illustrators, editors, agents, publicists, and so many others employed in their creation, sales, and distribution but those who share a story just because it touched them. Those who share a gift that can forever wrap its arms around us and carry us away from stress and loneliness and worry, carry us beyond our singular existence and make us into missionaries for the books we love as well.

Who do you remember turning you on to great stories? Tell us about the teachers, the booksellers, the librarians, mothers, and so many others who kindled your passion for the written word. We would love to hear from you.


I have to credit my parents and my sisters (I'm the youngest) for my love of reading. When I was about four, they started reading the Laura Ingalls Wilder books to me. I became so engrossed in the stories that I constantly begged for them to be read to me. Of course parents and sisters 5-10 years older than me were often too busy, so I determined to learn to read so I could do it myself! When reading was introduced in kindergarten, I dove in head first, went back home, picked up those Laura Ingalls Wilder books and started reading. I was five. Got my first library card at six. I've never looked back!

Great post, Colleen. Thank you! He sounds like a wonderful person, and I know the bookstore by its (fine) reputation.
I too credit my mother, who stayed up late late at night to read, and who instilled a love of books and learning in me in an early age. And some of my favorite classics are books my father owned as an English major at Wake Forest University. When I was studying for my comprehensive exams, I remember having insights about the classics and then seeing the same insight written down in my dad's almost illegible scrawl. Daddy's getting older now, so I appreciate having these books even more. And that's something I'm not sure a Kindle can replace.

Great post! And how's that work to deadline coming?
Thanks for sharing, Jennifer and Kathryn.

As for the deadline, Kathryn, I'm pretty much on schedule but finding the experience rather harrowing. I don't know how Joni manages these white-knuckle deadlines, but I'm doing my best to muddle through and stay healthy. Off for a walk to the pond now, my sanity break.

Popular posts from this blog

"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button": Did you love it or hate it?

Earlier this week, Colleen and I went to see "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button", the extraordinary movie based on a short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I loved it. Colleen not s'much. (I was sitting there choked in tears at the end of the three hour film, so I only vaguely remember her saying something about "watching paint dry.") I want to see it again, so I'm trying to get the Gare Bear to go with me this weekend, but I won't be surprised if he reacts the same way Colleen did. The movie is long. And odd. It requires patience and a complete suspension of disbelief that modern audiences simply aren't trained for, so you've got to be in the right mood for it. The same is true of the short story, though the story and script have very little in common -- at least superficially. The story is very Fitzgerald (though it's not an example of his best writing, IMHO), and the setting -- Baltimore during the industrial revolution, Spanish Americ

APATHY AND OTHER SMALL VICTORIES by Paul Neilan is only good if you enjoy things like laughter

The only thing Shane cares about is leaving. Usually on a Greyhound bus, right before his life falls apart again. Just like he planned. But this time it's complicated: there's a sadistic corporate climber who thinks she's his girlfriend, a rent-subsidized affair with his landlord's wife, and the bizarrely appealing deaf assistant to Shane's cosmically unstable dentist. When one of the women is murdered, and Shane is the only suspect who doesn't care enough to act like he didn't do it, the question becomes just how he'll clear the good name he never had and doesn't particularly want: his own.