My favorite locally-owned bookstore just happens to sit next to my favorite movie theater. It’s a match made in heaven for me—and a time-and-money sinkhole from my husband’s perspective. I can catch the latest blockbuster or an off-the-wall foreign film and enjoy free popcorn refills at the Laemmle Playhouse 7. I just saw and recommend the film Woman at War, which tells the story of a quiet Icelandic woman who leads a secret life as a daring environmental activist. I don’t want to give anything away, but suffice to say, her motto was a far cry from my “the small things we do matter.”
The most direct way back to the parking lot sends me through Vroman’s Bookstore in Pasadena. While there, I may as well peruse . . . and, yes, stop to admire their copies of my own book, Love Earth Now, sitting on the shelf. Though they’ve been sitting there for a year now (and I do pray these are not the original two), the sight of them still gives me a heart-stopping thrill.
Love Earth Now is also on the shelf at my second-favorite, sort-of-local bookshop, Chaucer’s Books in Santa Barbara. It’s near where our beloved Aunt Kathy lives, so I get to check on their copies from time to time. And it is supposed to be on the shelf at the great Powell’s City of Books in Portland, Oregon, though we never spotted it. If you haven’t been lost in Powell’s maze of books before, well, let me assure you that it’s easy to do. Which gives a book lover all the more excuses to peruse, because who can find the exit?
People often ask me if publishing a book was my life’s dream, and I confess it’s not something I ever thought I’d do. Sure, I’d been writing all my life, but I truly believed I lacked the focus and . . . what was I saying? Oh, yes, the attention span to see an entire book to fruition. Especially now that book publishing requires authors to invest so much more time in marketing, networking and social media. One fateful day in September 2016 in San Francisco, I announced to my writing-conference mate that I was absolutely not interested in publishing a book. That was minutes before I met Brenda Knight, my publisher. #famouslastwords
So it’s always a surprise to me to see my name printed on the spine at a bookstore, the library, or, frankly, even my own bookshelf. There was a morning just last week when I walked by a copy and collapsed to the floor out of sheer amazement. Luckily, I was at home. This time.
But discovering my book at a locally-owned shop gives me a particular thrill. Perhaps because I once owned a small book and gift store, myself. Knowing how tough it was to keep our doors open, I admire the tenacity of the small shops able to compete with the corporate behemoths. Just stepping inside one feels like I’m rooting for a beloved underdog, and honoring my commitment to lessen my environmental impact by shopping locally.
So, in honor of local book shops everywhere, I now announce . . . the MARCH ECO-MADNESS Contest. Email me a photo of Love Earth Now sitting on the shelf at your local bookstore, and you will win! Be sure to include your name and the name of the bookstore. This contest is so MAD that it never ends.
What’s the prize? Your photo will be shamelessly plugged across the social media universe, along with my heartfelt thanks!