The Little Bookstore Of Big Stone Gap – by Wendy Welch (2012)

little-bookstore-of-big-stone-gap

Wendy and her husband Jack were tired of the big city and its fast-paced, high pressure jobs. So they set out to find another kind of life. They stumbled across an old 1903 Edwardian house in the Appalachian town of Big Stone Gap, and instantly knew it was the place of their dreams. Knowing next to nothing about running a small business, they moved into the upstairs, and turned the rest of the house into a second-hand bookstore. The first year was a roller coaster, as they made blunders as well as spectacular progress.

There were two main things I loved about this book:

First, Wendy’s observations about books and the people they are matched up with. Books, whether science fiction, cookbooks, westerns, or travel, fill a need in their lives. When you see a person find that book that makes their face light up, it makes you happy too.

Second, Wendy talks about everyone needing a third space, a place other than work or home, where someone knows you, and you can just be yourself and relax. Wendy and Jack’s bookstore became that third space for many people in town. By the end of the book, I found myself wishing that I was part of this wonderful little community.

(re-posted from April 9, 2014)

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Gray Mountain – by John Grisham (2014)

Gray Mountain

 

The latest Grisham novel begins in Manhattan, where Samantha Kofer is a lawyer in a mega firm, working 90 hours a week. Then the recession of 2008 hits, and the job is gone. She finds pro bono work in the small Appalachian town of Brady. Instead of just doing paperwork in an office, she is now meeting the actual clients – ordinary people who find themselves in desperate situations and need her legal expertise.

I enjoyed reading a Grisham novel with a lead female character, which Mr. Grisham has only done one other time that I can think of (The Pelican Brief). Samantha is someone that everyone affected by the housing crash of 2008 can identify with. You share her sense of dread as she watches things fall apart, her despair as she loses her job, her anxiety as she job-hunts, her resignation to a less glamorous lifestyle, and her adjustment to a new way of life.

Although this is not Mr. Grisham’s best novel (The Testament, Runaway Jury, and Sycamore Row are my favorites), it is certainly a book you will enjoy from cover to cover.

The Little Bookstore Of Big Stone Gap – by Wendy Welch (2012)

The Little Bookstore Of Big Stone Gap

Wendy and her husband Jack were tired of the big city and its fast-paced, high pressure jobs. So they set out to find another kind of life. They stumbled across an old 1903 Edwardian house in the Appalachian town of Big Stone Gap, and instantly knew it was the place of their dreams. Knowing next to nothing about running a small business, they moved into the upstairs, and turned the rest of the house into a second-hand bookstore. The first year was a roller coaster, as they made blunders as well as spectacular progress.

There were two main things I loved about this book:

First, Wendy’s observations about books and the people they are matched up with. Books, whether science fiction, cookbooks, westerns, or travel, fill a need in their lives. When you see a person find that book that makes their face light up, it makes you happy too.

Second, Wendy talks about everyone needing a third space, a place other than work or home, where someone knows you, and you can just be yourself and relax. Wendy and Jack’s bookstore became that third space for many people in town. By the end of the book, I found myself wishing that I was part of this wonderful little community.