Friday, June 29, 2012

The Glamorous Life of an Independent Bookseller (or My Adventure with Captain Underpants)

Dear Reader -  You know you got something special goin' on when you say to your dog and cat, "I'll be right back, ladies! I have to go on a mission for Captain Underpants . . ."

Spot and Nellie were riveted at the prospect.

Rewind a tick, I was on the phone with Linda (who was filling in on Wednesday evening for Zac [who's away at an economics conference {you know, I really gotta do a posting on our little biblion family - we have some really-super-cool-not-your-garden-variety-cliched-hipster-snob-bookstore-employees who work with us}]) about an electrical matter when a crisis arose in the shop: a kid who'd been in earlier in the day and had seen two Captain Underpants books was back, only to find them gone - and, you guessed it, some other kid was probably curled up reading them that very moment. He was bummed - and who would be? Captain Underpants is singularly awesome.

I thought I might have more up in the sorting room, so hung up with Linda (who was gonna go search biblion's stacks, just in case), made my aforementioned declaration (I really am in danger of becoming the crazy pet lady when Miss C goes off to school, talking to the pets like that - and she's only been gone a week this time around!), left Nellie and Spot, and headed up to pile through the boxes of kids' books. Sure enough, I came up with two. First I found the classic, Captain Underpants and the Perilous Plot of Professor Poopypants:

And then I found a bit of an outlier - a rare find, so to speak, in the Underpants world, The Captain Underpants Extra-Crunchy Book o' Fun:

And who doesn't want their books o' fun to be extra-crunchy?

I called Linda back. Predictably, she'd had no luck. I told her of mine, but then I confessed my next obstacle: I'd changed from socially-acceptable clothing and was now wearing the most ratty PJs that a respectable crazy pet lady would wear - some Capri bottoms with dubious elastic in the waist and a crew shirt donated to me by my friend Emory. I knew that time was critical (a boy can only wait so long for Captain Underpants), so I scooped up Nellie, walked outta my house onto the streets of Lewes as if nothing was amiss, and drove my ratty-a__ self a couple blocks over to the shop - tossing the books out to Linda as we did our drive by.

Man, it was a here-I-come-to-save-the-day moment if ever there was one - one that deserves a little Andy Kaufman in its wake:

Socially-acceptably, if not glamorously, dressed  - Jenny

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Save the Date: Revere Reed Book Release/Signing

Dear Reader -  On Friday, July 6 from 7-9 p.m., Ann Revere Reed, a biblion regular who grew up in Reho and now lives in Lewes, will be at the shop for the release of her first novel, On a Dime: Senseless in Lewes.

biblion's resident "local author reader," Ellen Hollingsworth, loved this book. I gave it to her one afternoon to review (a member of the biblion family reads every book we're asked to carry), and she brought it back the next day, exclaiming that she couldn't put it down. "It was a real page-turner!" she said.

Like Ann, Ellen has lived here forever, and she characterized the book's local settings as "spot-on." I was thrilled to hear that - love it when we can carry a book in which locals and visitors alike can enjoy reading about places that they recognize.

Keep your eyes out for a great story about the book in the Cape Gazette, and please plan to drop by and show her your support (it takes a lot of guts - and work! - to put yourself out there creatively!).

And if you see her around town, tell Ann congrats and that you'll see her on the 6th!
Sensibly  - Jen

P.S. And while you've got your calendar out, be sure to save the afternoon of September 15 for Taste the Fruit of the Vine from 3-6. This year Chanell and Chris Dagesse, who own Lewes Auto Mall, have kindly agreed to host the garden party/wine tasting/home tour benefit for the Sussex County Community Outreach Program.

Their Lewes home has been completely (I mean completely, from head to toe) renovated, and it's just stunning - their level of thoughtfulness in design and attention to detail is really impressive, with every corner of the home reflective of them (plus they're super sweet people, so that makes it even cooler). So plan to come and enjoy the party - taking a tour, digging some live tunes, and enjoying fine vintages paired with select bites from The Buttery's talented chefs - all for an awesome cause! Just for fun, here're a couple of casual pics that I shot when I was trying to figure out where the best light was for their photo in the Gazette . . .

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

My "year off"

Dear Reader -  I'm not quite sure how it came to this; but, somehow or another, we've ended up with a perception of "real" that connects most tangibly for many of us to the ethereal world of the digital. Things aren't really real unless we feel like we can touch them all the time, no matter where our fingers lie.

Now our little shop is situated on the main street of what's too often called "the first town in the first state." There's a whole'lotta tangible going on here in Lewes. But there's a whole'lotta ethereal, too, what with our grip on history and legend and tradition. biblion skitters around the edges of all that. We live in the only Italianate building here in Sussex County (per Lewes's leading historian, Hazel Brittingham) - a building where a myriad of beloved businesses set up shop, where members of the Coast Guard took their meals during WWII, where the Brittinghams fed Lewes's teenagers in the 50s, and where pre-teens hid behind St. Peter's walls and threw odd things at the bigger kids as they went to hang out at Mitchell's in the 70s (per Ed and Dickie). History happened here - big H and little h.
(photo by Mike Mahaffie)

But mostly we embody the whole present tense, "bricks and mortar" thing. We're all about the magic that can only happen when we're physically together in a space - together with each other, together with books, together with ideas. The five of us who work here see it every day. Magic.

As Ricky Ricardo would say, I've got some 'splainin' to do: it's been a long, long while since I've given much attention to this ethereal, digital world. But I didn't realize just how much our online presence was missed 'till two things happened: I stumbled across our first "review" on the Internet (which kindly apologized for our pathetic Web presence and said that we were cool anyhow - thank you Leah, K, for your kind words and for taking the time to share your thoughts!), and I had a guest all but beg me to come back to blogging (not really sure what I could've been saying that'd warrant that, but it was nice to know I was missed). These encounters made me realize that I'm ready to be "real" on the Internet yet again.

So where have I been? I've been riding through what has turned out to be my 13-year old daughter's last year at home. You see, Miss C is heading off to boarding school next year for her freshman year (or 3 as she'll be known at her high school).

You don't often think of going through the "empty-nest" thing at 13, but here we are. Miss C had an amazing year visiting schools, taking her SSATs, getting into schools, and choosing the one that was most C-like. She's in heaven. And I'm in heaven for having chosen to drop out of everything non-essential (even the things that I thought were essential, like musical performance) and having spent the year with her - mostly doing "nothing" together. Heaven, indeed.

She "graduated" from The Jefferson School a couple weeks back and is spending this week at her other home in Brooklyn, so I have a bit of elbow room to get back into the groove of writing to you. So much has happened and is going to be happening - so much fun, so much good. We're blessed, and I'm looking forward to sharing it all with you.

Commencing (with Miss C)  - Jenny

P.S. And in honor of Miss C's grin at her photo-snapping mama and just 'cause we can't help but share some of the tunes that we love to play at the shop (and I've been playing the heck outta his album), here's some tunage via Mr. Rawls . . .

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