Friday, October 2, 2009


You might not know this.  I have a major crush on Garrison Keillor's voice.  I will stop whatever I am doing to listen to Writer's Almanac or Prairie Home Companion.  I have fantasized about him reading a poem to me.  Over the radio, of course.

I had the opportunity to meet Mr. Keillor this past Monday when he presented at Agnes Scott College on behalf of the Georgia Center for the Book.

He is very tall.  He had a stroke a few weeks back, and I am pretty sure its impact was slightly evident on one side of his face.  He looks older than his years.  He wears red sneakers and jeans that are way too short for his long legs.

I have a major crush on his voice.

Here's something else you might not know:  Garrison Keillor is an independent bookseller.  He is owner of Common Good Books in St. Paul, Minnesota.

I was first in line to meet him (Thanks, Joe!)  I had one question for him, and it was this:

"What is life like for you as an independent bookseller?"

He could have given me some pat response, peppered with celebrity-isms like, "Business couldn't be better!"  But instead, he was brutally honest about his very own trials and tribulations of independent bookselling, stating that current business was "marginal" for him, that his store struggled in its location because of poor visibility and insufficient parking.  Sound familar?

Best part:  Garrison Keillor goes to work at his little bookshop every day.  That is, when he's not out touring his latest read.

My conversation with Garrison got me thinking.  It doesn't matter if you are a celebrity bookseller or just a regular old mom and pop bricks and mortar like Little Shop- in the world of big box Chainy McChainy stores, independent bookselling is a hard sell.  We work hard and often see only minimal result.  Yet, we sure make booklovers of all ages happy.  That's what keeps us coming back.

The holiday season is fast approaching.  My hope is that you, dear reader, will remember to support your local indie bookstore this year, whether it's here in Decatur, Georgia, St. Paul, Minnesota, or Elsewhere, USA.  We are community builders, and we are community leaders.  But to continue to build and lead, we need you to support us.  And to tell all of your friends and families to support us as well.

Are you crushing on your local indie bookstore?

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