No doubt about it. It is still winter in this part of Montana. Snow is piling up, a winter storm warning is in effect and so an ideal time to stay indoors doing bookish things. I spend part of the day tracking down venues for the Grand 2018 North Carolina and Back Traveling Bookstore Tour. Some towns seem friendlier than other at welcoming the thought of an amazing pop up bookstore. I am confident that I will have all venues set for this trip when it occurs in April. In between sending out these emails, messages and making phone calls though, I read. Winter in Montana is perfect for that although I suspect I would read just as much if I happened to be in Orlando or Texas or Madagascar.
I imagine others have a habit similar to mine. I don’t read one book at a time. I chose from a pile. Actually two. One pile is next to the bed, the other by my favorite chair in the living room. When I curl up in either place, I peruse the nearest pile and pull out the book that is most appealing in that moment. It could be poetry, it could be nonfiction. It could be the book I need to finish for book club next week or the one Dawn lent me that I promised to get back to her soon. If a particular book stays in a pile too long, I take it as a sign that it should be put back on the shelf, returned to the owner or recycled in the bookstore. Surprisingly the piles never get smaller.
Truth be told, on these snowy days I would rather read then look for venues. Once I am on the road – I am enthralled with the life of a traveling bookstore owner. It’s this challenge though to explain to people hundreds of miles away about the very minimal needs of a traveling bookstore and the numerous benefits of having it set up right there where you can see it, come inside and smell the books. I suspect they think it’s a flimflam operation. There was mention of a criminal background check by a municipality in Illinois. A parking space and a wee bit of pavement is all I ask. I truly don’t need much and look at all you get in exchange! A van full of wonderful used books to brighten the lives of the citizens in your community. An opportunity to try a manual typewriter with a fresh ribbon and to experiment with a solar-powered theremin. Who wouldn’t want a traveling bookstore to set up on your tree lined street? Or in a parking lot adjacent to your wonderful cafe/pub/restaurant/typewriter repair store?
Fortunately I can do both on this snowy afternoon. I send out a few emails, respond to questions (“Will you need to plug into power?” No. “Does your bookstore serve any food or beverages?” No.). Then I take a break in the red chair by the window, watch the snow fall and pull out a book that matches this moment.