The Bookish Life

The Only Bookstore in the County: The Book End, Blackstone, Virginia

This musing on The Book End, a used book shop in Blackstone Virginia, highlights the importance of a local bookstore, even a modest one, to a town’s cultural life. Contributed by Tyler Scott:

Two years ago my husband and I realized we needed a change. We had grown tired of city life after raising our children in Richmond, Virginia, our hometown, so one Sunday we drove southside to go antiquing in Blackstone, where my mother-in-law spent part of her childhood. Read More→


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Bluestockings — A Radical Bookstore Treasure in NYC’s Lower East Side

Do you remember feminist bookstores (for those of you old enough to remember, that is)? Oh, and do you remember independent bookstores in Manhattan? As of this writing, there are only 13 feminist bookstores in North America, down from about 120 in the mid-nineties. And there are only a handful of indie bookstores left in Manhattan, though mercifully, there are a bunch in Brooklyn and Queens (see this great listing).

One of Manhattan’s few independent bookstores (and only feminist bookstore) is one of my favorite places, Bluestockings, located in the lively Lower East Side.

It’s more than than a repository for feminist thought; their shelves are filled with a beautifully curated selection of more than 6,000 titles on queer and gender studies, resistance/liberation, capitalism, climate, race, and a selection of rad children’s books. Also on the shelves are zines, journals, and poetry collections. Read More→


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Books for Book Lovers: Bookshops, Libraries, Reading, & Bibliomania

For bibliophiles, it’s not enough to be so obsessed with books that we’re reading four or five works of fiction or nonfiction at any given time. We also love books about books, bookstores, libraries, bookish places, and even books about reading. This might seem eccentric at first glance, but for the devout book lover, it makes perfect sense.

Here’s a slew of books for book lovers that celebrate the passion for the page. At left, Bibliophile: An Illustrated History by Jane Mount, which kicks off this list.

In this list you’ll find a book about so-called “book towns” around the world; a celebration of libraries; a musing on the art of reading itself; a collection on the thrill of finding rare books; a few books on bookshops, and a book on the joy of  bibliomania. What perfect gifts these make for the book nerds in your life — or for yourself, if you fit that description!  Read More→


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Women’s Writing Conferences and Retreats in the U.S.

Why should you consider attending women’s writing conferences and retreats (including, of course, women-identified writers)? Pretty much the same reason a lot of us enjoy women-only reading groups.

Dudes just bring a different energy to the room, and sometimes we just need to be in a setting where our voices are sure to be heard, where we feel supported and valued.

There are lots of benefits to attending writer’s conferences, not the least of which is networking. You’ll meet writers in all stages of their careers; learn to pitch yourself and your work efficiently, hone your skills, get constructive critiques, and more. It’s a rare attendee that doesn’t leave a conference feeling energized and inspired. Read More→


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Themes and Tips for a Successful Book Club (when you need a change of pace)

These days, I know as many women as not that belong to a book club (or book group, as it’s often known). While book clubs can be rewarding for anyone, male or female, single or part of a family, they’re perfect brief respites from the stresses of life, especially for busy women.

Book groups can form strong bonds and have surprising longevity, becoming somewhat of an anchor as the world shifts beneath our feet. There’s something about the combination of good books and good friends that feels quite timeless, and comforting.

Whether your group has been together for two years or two decades, it’s possible to fall into a rut. Are you squeezing out 30 to 45 minutes of discussion on who did or didn’t like the latest novel you chose before digressing into idle chit-chat? If so, you might need a change of pace. Read More→


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