The Nighttime Novelist...accomplishes more in about 240 pages than a dozen other "how to write" or "craft your novel" books have ever done.

--Helen Gallagher/Blogcritics




Monday, November 15, 2010


Yesterday I pretty much hit the wall--I've been frazzled, stressed, way behind in everything--and spent the majority of the workday sitting in front of the computer, staring. Not much going on with my writing. In fact not much left in the old tank for anything. (I did manage to put a search bar atop this, you know.)

Finally I left the coffee shop, had a bite to eat, and then decided to go browse a bookstore for a while...and it was just what I needed. I picked up the new Poets & Writers and made a list of other purchases that'd look good in my Christmas stocking, took a couple of books off the shelf and thumbed through them in a comfy chair, and left feeling much more human. It'd been a while since I'd been out to a bookstore--busy-busy, like I said--and stopping in for 45 minutes reminded me of something important:

Superman's got the Fortress of Solitude.

Batman's got the Batcave.

Writers have bookstores.

This reminder is made even more important, and more urgent, given the sad news last week that Cincinnati-based Joseph-Beth Booksellers--a fantastic chain that's run more like a string of related independents, including Nashville's Davis-Kidd bookstore--filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy citing the economy, changes in the publishing industry and sagging book sales. Joseph-Beth isn't going away forever--the filing will allow them to restructure, and the one close by will remain open, though others across the region aren't as lucky--but it should be a little bit of a wake-up call for writers. Can you imagine your spirits being down, needing to rejuvenate, and then browsing an online bookseller to do that? Online stores are fantastic, don't get me wrong--I use them constantly--but they in no way approximate the feeling of a leisurely hour spent browsing the shelves. Or the renewal I always feel leaving a bookstore with a purchase under my arm.

So go to your local bookstore, look around, leave with something under your arm. And feel your powers restored.


  1. Joseph-Beth started as a single bookstore in Lexington, Kentucky.

  2. I'm happy to see the Lexington store is staying put--and, selfishly, mine in Cincinnati--though it pains me to see some others closing up.

    And I didn't realize it was Lexington-based! I know some of Jo-Beth's offices are up my way...their former head bookbuyer was nice enough to come speak to my Literary Marketplace class last spring.

    The whole thing depresses me.