5 Bookstore Features to Bring Bookish Customers

A poetic reflection

Bookstores—still alive!
Just last week, delightful time

But the world has changed, again
They’re fewer, farther between
Less satisfying to particular need

Bookstall? You’d be lucky to find
On a corner near you

More likely on the end
of a struggling mall

Suffice it to say
It’s crucial today
To know what’s best—  

To bring to be
what people need . . .

Spots to sit, corners to read
Books, preowned & new  

Combo curation means
Independent picks, plus  
Backed, established reputation

Magazine racks, packed
niche selections, stacked

. . . periodicals, too
local, national, global news . . .
spaces with perspective!

Café treats, fresh and warm
Coffee drinks, other selections 

Restrooms, large and tidy, for
Clearing heads, deciding finally
Which titles to bring back home

Finding reads, and things besides
Takes time and energy, requiring
Entry to exit, uplifting notions  

Poems & Poetic Prose

Post prompted by drtanya@saltedcaramel.
Click the link for guidelines/participation.

Desolata est domus by Tiger is licensed under CC-BY-SA 2.0

Writing: Author Word Choice Sample & Discussion

I’m currently reading a modern-day story about a North African beekeeper named Sidi. An unfortunate event has occurred, surprising and alarming the isolated villager. Later, the day is closing and a pensive Sidi ruminates:

Dawn will come, but what will it bring? Will the matinal ode to life be the only song, or will it again have a funereal keen?

Thoughts of Sidi, from The Ardent Swarm: A Novel, by Yamen Manai

I was awestruck by this ultra-poetic prose, obsessed over it for a good amount of time and soon realized that the absorbing story I’d just begun would likely be full-bodied of such beautifully assembled language. I contemplated, wondering how the sentiment might have been conveyed otherwise (simply because the meticulous phrasing prompted my interest in how any other author might have chosen to convey the scene). My interpretation:

Dawn will come, but will the morning song be devastated by wails of misery?

Reconstruction of the phrase as I interpreted it remains quite poetic and lovely, doesn’t it? This is a testament to the deep effectiveness of the original wording. Albeit, my invocation of wailing misery would be likely to leave readers with a distinct dread not experienced via the author’s phrasing, which remains impressively lovely throughout its alternative verbiage in a way that does not instigate more than necessary apprehension in its readers. This would destroy the author’s overall effect of the beautiful place as exhibited through their language . . . and ultimately disrupt an otherwise steady flow.

Nothing I could have substituted would have the same impact, of course.

Now you understand, perhaps, the motivation for sharing my current read with readers I can reach. The Ardent Swarm is a strong literary fiction that richly conveys an epic story of intrigue. The author’s powerfully poetic prose enthralled this appreciative reader. I’m remembering a previous scene now by which I was similarly ensconced, about the bees content in their dwelling . . . well, you’ll see.

Download The Ardent Swarm and other selected titles free, via Amazon/Kindle World Book Day
(only 4 days left).

Book Selection: A Widow for One Year

Perspective Defines Purpose

Recently, in 2019, I read John Irving’s novel A Widow for One Year—over twenty years after its original publication in summer of 1998. The intriguing jacket and fat, hardcover edition I found in a workplace breakroom library appealed to my senses more than others—more than all the previously-read books distributed around the room. It also caught my attention that the dust jacket prominently featured one review quote on front which stated:

“Irving’s most entertaining and persuasive novel since The World According to Garp”

The New York Times
View at Open Library


I’d venture that most in or around my age group have either seen or read (or both, as I) The World According to Garp.

Younger at the time, I remember thinking of Garp (the 1982 film) as a protracted, emotionally-complicated, dramatic event . . . featuring the famous Orkan Mork. It was a little strange. (I was eleven.)

Later, I read the book as well to recall and compare my impressions of the film.

In the eyes of an early 80’s era 11-year old, the idea that some adulthood is experienced in such unexpected and tragic ways and means can have a fairly big impact on a young person’s perception of what being an adult is: not all ‘driving the car’ and ‘doing what you want’ but what it means to affect lives, including the lives of children who often succumb to afterthought.

They are afterthoughts in those tragic and otherwise life-changing moments . . . those scenes in these stories . . . in the way that other people and things may become effectively invisible to us when we are immersed in a state of emotion too great for normal mental capacity.

These are the kind of experiences encased in the covers of these John Irving novels, experiences which bring immense, at times insurmountable challenge and change to life.

If This Then That

Maybe now you have a more visceral idea of my own reaction and reason for picking up this 2nd book by Irving . I stood in the break library, reading the front flap, the back, noticing that specific review on the cover of Irving’s A Widow for One Year and realizing: this novel (written twenty years after Garp) was likely to be another gripping family chronicle set in an ever-encroaching life that must be mastered—a story made interesting, approachable, and digestible through its remote disclosure set in familiar scenes, some which amplify the worst that could happen.

Don’t be deterred by the idea of depressive tragedy all alone. These stories are about coping, as people do. Getting through is the great expectation, and is a promise of humor and hope as these characters—representing real life in fiction—resort to their ways of getting through and finding the other side of life. Essentially, these stories identify with and inspire us.

Subplots are impressive.

Further Reading:

List of books and more at JohnIrving.com

John Irving at Goodreads