Booksellers Rock! Stan Hynds, Northshire Bookstore


What books recently rocked my world:

The Anthologist, by Nicholson Baker

Year of Our Lord, by T. R. Pearson and Langdon Clay

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Best damn event(s) we’ve hosted: In 2003, after Laura Bush canceled a White House poetry symposium, we held a huge event featuring 11 poets including Julia Alvarez, Galway Kinnell, and Jay Parini. Hundreds of people flooded the congregational church for an inspiring night of dangerous poetry.

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Ken Burns has packed the house twice. Whether he memorizes his speech or creates his remarks off the top of his head I don’t know and it’s impossible to tell. His command of his subject matter is nothing short of awe-inspiring.

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Tasha Tudor signed books for an uncountable multitude of worshipful fans (like 500+) but left early because she had to feed her goats and her sister was coming for dinner. She brought a chicken with her to the signing. A live one.

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Most entertaining author(s) we’ve hosted: Stephen King killed. Bill “Spaceman” Lee and Jim Bouton traded opinions about baseball and many other subjects. Alan Alda delighted. Paul Krugman schooled.

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Strangest question a customer has ever asked: This Christmas a customer asked if we had signed copies of the Mark Twain autobiography.

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Why our store kicks ass: We’re big, versatile and vibrant and we are in a small town in Vermont. I think that’s unusual and therefore kicks ass. We have ownership and management that is not only unafraid but eager to put unconventional ideas into practice. We have an exceptional, book-crazy, handselling staff.

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What makes our neighborhood and customers awesome: What I really like about our neighborhood are my favorite businesses all within a stone’s throw. The kitchen supply store where they remember my mother-in-law’s name. The outdoor apparel store where they know exactly what my wife will like for her birthday. The hot dog stand with the spicy bratwurst.

Our customers are awesome because they love us. Love is the right word. And we love most of them.

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I promise you won’t find this at any other store: Alden Graves. He’s our music and movie buyer.  His expertise in the following areas of interest is total and when viewed as a whole, unique if not chilling: Tammy Wynette, John Ford, Jack the Ripper, Peggy Lee, the Titanic, Alfred Hitchcock, the Donner Party, Elizabeth Taylor. Alden is also handy with oil paints and sings in the church choir.

We also have a set of bronze fruit bats hanging from the ceiling but they’re not for sale.

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Why I do what I do: Seems like sheer luck. Vroman’s hired me when I needed a job. Northshire hired me when it was time to leave California. Almost 20 years in the business and I feel very fortunate to still love a career so much.

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If I weren’t selling books I’d be: Working in a kitchen wishing I were a songwriter.

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Books that changed my life: I know the titles and the authors that are supposed to appear in this space. I haven’t read any of them. I’ll answer the question like this. I wasn’t much of a reader from the time I was a teenager right through college and into my mid-twenties. I was living in Colorado in 1987 when a friend, for no apparent reason, sent me three paperbacks—Shoeless Joe, by W. P. Kinsella, A Short History of a Small Place, by T. R. Pearson and Fair and Tender Ladies, by Lee Smith. That gift of those three books turned me into a reader.

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Top three authors, living or dead, I’d invite to my dinner  party:

Gail Collins, Jon Stewart, Buster Olney

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Top three songs on the soundtrack to my life: It’s tempting to name three very cool songs and call it my life’s soundtrack (Living for the City, Werewolves of London, the Mary Tyler Moore Theme Song). But seriously?

25 or 6 to 4 (the early years)

Lyle Lovett’s If I Had a Boat (the middle years)

Adam Guettel’s Migratory V (the end)

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My last meal request: Fried oysters and stone-ground grits. A fresh peach. A Kit-Kat bar.

One Comment On This Post:

February 3, 2011
1:04 pm
Susan Woody says...

What a fun read! Glad you liked “Year of Our Lord”…thanks for mentioning it in your wonderfully entertaining blog. My daughter’s company published it…she’s an amazing, caring woman who turned me into a reader with “Salvation on Sand Mountain”. She also introduced me to Lyle Lovett’s music. You’d like her. Check her out on Facebook…Ashley Gordon.

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