Month: December 2014

Bookseller’s Valediction (Carol B. Chittenden, Eight Cousins, Falmouth, MA)

carolchittendenDear Readers,
If everyone had a job as absorbing and rewarding as mine has been at Eight Cousins, the world would be a far happier place — and that’s not even counting the chance to play with stickers on gift wrapping. In answer to the many questions about my future plans, l have decided not to go blonde and change my name to Peaches, pending the issuance of my NASCAR license. But then there’s that window-washing job at Buckingham Palace, the offer of a goldmine in Hong Kong, the opening for a roller-coaster tester at Six Flags Over Anywhere, or the chance to join the Very Senior Rodeo Team in Oskaloosa. Possibilities abound, but none could match the fun I’ve had at Eight Cousins for the past 28 years. I’ve loved every single week of it, loved watching children, parents, and grandparents move through each other’s lives, enjoyed the opportunity to read great literature and meet amazing authors and illustrators, valued the chance to participate in the community, and had the honor of working with smart, caring people.

But the world is not always a clean and friendly place. It’s more exciting than that, even as it can be cold, confusing, stressful, even violent. It can wear love away, crush efforts, and betray hopes. It can drown us in data, but deny understanding. And in the end, each of us dies. That is where stories come from, and why there are books. Even in desperate times, good books take us beyond our own lives and cast light upon the bigger picture. They lend vicarious excitement to the dull moments. They reveal sources of courage and humor and unexpected love. They offer us art, language, and the wisdom of the world. It has been a privilege to bring them to you.

My motto is, I have discovered, “Use what you have and do what you can.” Nobody has everything; no one can do it all. I had the opportunity to make a bookstore, and I have done what I could, with all my heart. With your help, the business has grown bigger and busier as I have grown older and slower. Luckily, three intelligent, industrious women have stepped forward, eager to use what they have and do what they can to keep Eight Cousins healthy and growing. Mary Fran Buckley, Sara Hines, and Eileen Miskell are all longtime participants in the life of the store, and they will be listening carefully to your requests and responses. I hope you will take a chance on them just as you took a chance on that tiny enterprise that Eight Cousins was in 1986. And now, I believe my hot air balloon is ready for me to step aboard and rise into the starry future. Thank you for everything.


Shoplifter by Michael Cho

shoplifter-michael-cho-pantheonThis is a wonderful graphic novel about a young advertising copywriter Corinna Park who five years into her career remembers that she wanted to be a novelist.   She is trying to overcome the distance she feels from her work and those around her. Her most intense relationship is with her cat. None of those she interacts with draw her any closer to her career. Not the confrontations with her boss at the agency who quotes Kahil Gibran, not her coworker, who goes out partying all the time, not even the photographer who she is attracted to, She realises that she is out of place, but uncertain where to go. On occasion she justifies shoplifting magazines from stores, but in the end she comes to realise that it is time to move on and find what she really wants to do.  The drawings are black and white and pink and Cho creates characters who look out of the pages, and the scenes of what I presume is Toronto are vivid and perfectly reflect the mood of the story.  A master at work.

Everywhere Antennas by Julie Delporte draws with coloured pencils, so there is a softness to the images here that go along with the story of Lily who, as the story progresses becomes more and more isolated from the world around her.  She becomes obsessed with the effects of electromagnetism from power lines and other objects and eventually move out to the country where she stays with her friend, and feels some relief from the natural world and the animals around her. The story ends with Lily calmer but still unsettled looking for a place where she can “sleep in the same place every night.”