This blog, published free of charge since September 2007, is a way for me to stay in touch with seasonal bookstore visitors from afar and with all customers and friends when I am closed for my annual "seasonal retirement" in the winter. Thank you so much for following Books in Northport and for supporting Dog Ears Books.
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Tuesday, November 22, 2016
Holiday Fun -- AND Treasures!
original subject heading today was going to be “No Big Plan – Just Good
Books.” On Saturday, however, I had a visit from a representative from the
Chamber of Commerce, and plans for the holiday weekend in Northport have taken promising
shape. There will be band music, caroling, evening lighting of the village Christmas tree
lights this year), many other events and attractions, but my favorite, from 4
to 7 p.m., will be the decorated horse-drawn wagon giving free rides through
And the horses this year will be black Belgians! So my new plan is to
keep the bookstore open until 7 p.m. on Saturday rather than closing at 5. Weather, as always, permitting, so cross your fingers!
Schedule for Saturday, Nov. 26, in Northport
I posted on Facebook and asked a few people on e-mail what was the most
memorable book they had ever found at Dog Ears, whether they bought new or used
books, ordered new books not in stock, asked for suggestions, etc.., and here are some of the
answers I received.
My favorite purchase of all
time took place at Dog Ears when I discovered that you had a (used, of course)
copy of a now out-of-print childhood favorite book on your shelf. Flying
Skis is now in my granddaughter's possession.
Another favorite book I purchased from you was one you thought I
would appreciate after you read the early reviews. Ruth Ozeki's A Tale for
the Time Being remains one of my favorites and I might have missed it if not
for your kind suggestion.
Hard to select a favorite. My most recent favorite is Even in
Darkness, which I purchased new having read your review. Another book I
purchased after eagerly awaiting its arrival was Long Arc of the Universe by Kathleen
Stocking, another new book.
You helped me find a book for my husband George--a Mosley book
he really liked! I felt proud to bring my young granddaughter to your store.
She and I both love to read, and you order the books she likes best.
What I have found at Dog Ears is a warm welcome, an open mind and
heart, good and wise advice on books and life in general. I love the author
visits, the chance to sit and listen to an author read, and to ask questions
and buy the books and get them signed. I love that there are so many books at
Dog Ears that have a local connection.
I loved delving into a series of books called Introducing. The
Guardian said that Introducing is a miracle of modern
publishing. For me it really is. The series covers topics from Ethics and
Psychology to Chaos and Quantum Theory and Semiotics and Joyce and
much more. Lots of graphics to liven them up and help explain.
Being new books, Pamela promptly placed my order and they soon
arrived. The experience is much better than online. A visit to the bookstore
can evolve into a wonderful conversation. I have more than twenty of these Introducing books on
my bookshelf, close at hand.
Books are important to me. I am in two reading circles.
Giving Thanks and reasons to head for Dog Ears Books on Buy Local
I’d still have to say the most impactful book I’ve gotten at
my favorite book store, Dog Ears Books, is Donald Lystra’s Season of Water and
Not only was the book itself absolutely captivating and beautifully written,
but Pamela Grath’s recommendation that I read it led to a turning point in my
pathway to authorship, and was a perfect example of why she is a talented
bookseller. She knew I’d become a novelist after a long career doing something
else, and she knew I loved northern Michigan, and split my time between
Northport and Ann Arbor. She also knew Don Lystra had a similar trajectory and
that I would appreciate his work. His successful example and beautiful book
inspired me to move forward, and Pamela was the catalyst.
It’s hard for me to choose among my favorite activities at Dog
Ears (and I decline to leave Sarah out of the equation!!!) a. choosing a
section of the store to browse that I haven’t seen in a while, b. the front
table- the new and often local books to peruse c. chatting with Pamela (and
YES! Petting Sarah!). I must say, however, that my favorite day at Dog Ears,
aside from my own author events, was the day I got to be a bookseller for a
couple of hours! Hunting for a military mystery for a customer, helping a
little girl pick out that best one book, handing off a book club’s books to a
regular customer, and being grateful – again – for Dog Ears and Pamela Grath.
Wish I could be there Saturday … will be up for about 5 days
the first week of December….
1. Over the years, I've purchased many treasured books, from
Modern Library editions to The Legend of Sleeping Bear, books
both new and used.
2. I've asked for help, and have also found things by
3. Books have been ordered on my behalf with never a
problem. They also have been sent in many different directions. They've always
arrived at their destination.
4. Yes, Sarita! I love the peace, comfort, and organized
environment. The selection and the encouragement to dabble in different reading
5. Books revive me. Books open my mind to different
points-of-view. Books are filled with fascination. Book discussions bring
people together. Books fill every nook and cranny of our abodes. Books are in
the rack opposite the toilet so not a minute is wasted. Books are amusing to
Finnie and Bianca [her cats], particularly Ulysses and Finnegans
Wake. Books are vital, as are bookshops.
The best? The most memorable? My most favorite? After 20 years of
shopping at Dog Ears Books in Northport, Michigan, I have to say it's a little
treasure I spotted high up on a shelf called "Love Letters." It was a
small paperback with an old-fashioned drawing on the cover, and for some reason
it caught my eye. It was too high to reach, and I didn't want to disturb the
lovely bookstore owner, so I resisted my first impulse. As I knocked around the
gallery and bookstore, it kept drawing me back. Finally I asked Pamela about
it, just asked, and while my back was turned, she grabbed a ladder, climbed up
there, and brought me that book. I didn't know if it was fiction or nonfiction,
old or new. Inside the charming front cover the frontispiece said, "The
Etiquette of Introduction, Courtship, and Proposals; Also a Large Number of New
and Original Letters to be Used as Models for any Style of Love Letter."
It was just as advertised: Love Letters. So many different ways to say I love
you; I want to make you my own; and also, stop asking, already! Published in
1914, it seems more than many lifetimes old, with sentiments so delicately
expressed they would be unintelligible to today's young men and women. I
couldn't determine if it was old or new; there are no indications of a reprint.
The volume is high quality and so perfectly preserved it seems new, yet it's
hard to imagine a publisher reissuing this. Writers of love letters are not
even a niche market!
If not for Dog Ears Books, I would never have discovered MIchigan
author D.M. Greenwald and his series of books (Frozen Moon; Cody; and The
Wichita Mountain Manhunt) about a man and his search-and-rescue
One of my other favorite meet-the-author/book signing experiences
was with Ellen Airgood at Dog Ears, with her then-new novel South of
Superior, which is a wonderful read.
For keeping up with regional authors - as well as many other
discoveries - Dog Ears is the place to go.
Of course, one smart-aleck (Kirk, you know who you are) accused me of running a bait-and-switch operation, in that I sell only books and not dog toys and treats. Well, thanks, anyhow, Kirk, for being a good regular customer and buying new books as well as selections from the "just a bunch of old books" you wrote to say is all I have. (Why is it, with all you quick-witted, zany guys I always feel like George Allen playing straight man to Gracie?)
no, I am not ignoring or skipping over Thanksgiving! I am deeply, deeply thankful for a
loving, supportive marriage; physical and emotional shelter from the storms and vicissitudes
of life; dear, dear family members and friends; a planet with heavenly touches
like dogs (especially Sarah!) and horses; and my work of nearly a
quarter-century in a life of books, where fellow booksellers are colleagues and
customers are friends.
Thank you all for being part of my world!
Beginning of winter project: organizing photographs!