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Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Holiday Fun -- AND Treasures!

My 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 (with 4,000 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 the village. 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
Meanwhile, 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 Saturday:

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 Ice. 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….

Susan L.:

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 chance.

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 materials.

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 dogs.

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?)


And 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!


Anonymous said...

Oh, dear heart, there are so many reasons I love Dog Ears and you. Meeting Ellen Airgood - watching Sarah and Miss Sadie trot off for a visit at the neighbors and return happily together as the sun lowered - discovering Sarah Orne Jewett and The Country of the Pointed Firs - and the exquisite Rainbow on the Road . . . hearing Julia's rap! Riches overflowing. Gratitude.

Trudy Carpenter said...

Reading these posts about books--discovering them, reading them, sharing them--brightened my outlook today. Pamela's Dogears is a treasure for so many, and especially for me.

P. J. Grath said...

THANK YOU, Gerry and Trudy! xxxooo I have some more reports coming in and will put them up on a new post. This is FUN! Happy T-Day!

Dawn said...

Wonderful nice to hear how many people love Dog Ears! And for good reason.

Gerry said...

Hmm. This is interesting. I could swear that I wrote the comment as Gerry with the TLV URL. Let's try it again. Maybe Google and WP are not playing nicely.

P. J. Grath said...

Hi, Dawn. Nice to see you here and to be able to respond to your comment with one of my own, though I can do NOTHING ELSE on my OWN BLOG today and am intensely frustrated, because I've gotten several more e-mail responses and wanted to put them up. No dice. My dashboard is inaccessible to me. But never mind that today -- thanks for visiting and reading and commenting.

Gerry, Google is not playing nicely with ME at ALL today, but I don't mind having two comments from you, today or any other day. You see that the Anonymous handle did not fool me. I recognized you from the books you mentioned. Ha! So there!