What Color is Your (Independent) Bookstore? Launch Week Round-up

Happy Easter, happy everything! It was a heck of a launch week, with a guest talk in a publishing seminar, two readings, lots of books to sign, a tidal wave of internet promotion, and of course, the holiday, for which we rushed to the country to set up an egg hunt for our gosh-daughter. She’s 8 now, but a wonderful actress, and it’s always fun to watch the gas-lighted become the gas-lighter. It must have been particularly tough for her keep up the act of innocence, especially when she came across a huge bag of Easter stuff in her parents’ car the day before. She’s a terrific, smart kiddo, declaring this year’s egg hunt haul “the best ever,” thereby guaranteeing that the adults will attempt to outdo themselves next year.

The DC launch event at Upshur Street Books was lightly attended—not unexpected for a mid-week rush hour reading—but it was a delightful party made bright by friends Art Taylor, Danny Collier, Lucy Jilka, Joe Killiany, Terry Nebeker, and David Olimpio, who came all the way from Jersey with Rothko, his internet famous dog. The gosh daughter was there too, and she peeled the edible emerald decal off the cake and said, “I know what happened to The Juliet!” Then she jammed it into her mouth and made monster-yum-yum noises. Despite the low attendance, I somehow had a generous wad of cash in my grip when we got back into the car to go home. My husband, Dean, and Art Taylor—who also read from his great book, On The Road With Del and Louise—talked politics all the way home, while I sort of disappeared inside my own happy bubble. The top pic looks like a band pic.

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The Northern Virginia launch at One More Page Books drew a big crowd—it was Friday night, when a lot more people were ready to relax and kick off the holiday weekend. I was joined by Erin Fitzgerald, who read from her exquisite novella, Valletta 78. Erin stayed at our place, and in addition to being a terrific writer, she has the patience of a saint with my dogs. The older pup freaked out every time Erin used hand gestures or took an audible breath, whereas the younger one was smitten, on the edge of obsession. This is her rolling around on Erin’s sheets, followed by Erin and me at our author table:

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The great news about the NoVa launch is that the store sold out of copies they ordered, and had to use some of my copies to meet demand. Erin and I signed a TON of books, and almost missed out on the cake. Terry Nebeker, who attended both readings, almost stole the show though, with her non-ironic cowboy hat and cardboard mustache.

Finally, something that my husband and I found interesting—but you may not—is that Upshur Street Books is green inside, something we referred to as indie bookstore green after the event, remembering that OMP was green, too. But wait. One More Page is blue now. It used to be green. I can prove it. This is from 2014.

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I guess that isn’t super-interesting, but it just goes to show how an author sees the world with wonder and joy when her book is released, lol. In either case, these are great little stores with excellently curated selections, very knowledgeable and clever staff, and a devoted clientele. These are not just shops, but destinations—beautiful models of the independent bookstore renaissance.

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