As a traveling bookstore based in northwest Montana, I take winter seriously. Travels slow down this time of year and most events are closer to home until early Spring. Yes, there is still sorting books and ordering tshirts, reading because of course talking books is up there among favorite activities, and getting the typewriter repaired after a summer of many children trying it out with youthful vigor. The bookstore will open for Shop Small Saturday (November 24) next to Montana Farmacy in Eureka and then on December 1 at the Holly Faire in Eureka.
But this last week there was such a flurry of activity on the bookstore’s social media I wondered what in the world was going on. Not only ‘likes’ but messages, phone calls, emails and tshirt orders. It took a few days to determine that an article about the traveling bookstore on Bookbub had gotten the word out to many corners of the world. A bookseller in India wrote me about the van, an author in Colorado invited me to visit, and a writer in Sheboygan, Wisconsin offered to send me copies of her books. And these are just a few of the numerous people who wrote such good things to me about the bookstore and the idea of making books available in all sorts of out of the way places.
This could be a very long post but I assume you are busy helping to get the vote out and/or thinking about the upcoming holidays. Let me narrow my thoughts to just a few. This fall has been a challenging one for us all with the elections, decisions made in Washington, and the tragedies in Pittsburgh, Kentucky and Florida. There are many times even within a day when I wonder what I can do to help my community, my country. When the bookstore’s social media started ringing off the wall, I assumed it was something devious but then realized there were good people out there, united around the idea of books and reading, and enthused to see someone with a new bookstore concept (albeit small). To me, it felt like light coming through the clouds. Not that it changed the political situation, but it was a reminder of our shared humanity in a tiny way.
Also I wanted to thank Brittany Shoot who was the first journalist to recognize the wonders of a traveling bookstore. I found this photo from when she hung with the bookstore on a very chilly morning in Woodstock, Illinois. It was in the parking lot of Isabel’s Family Restaurant. Another reminder with Brittany’s cheering the bookstore on through snow and ice and Isabel’s providing awesome pie how despite the miles and countless stops, how much the bookstore needs a community even when traveling.