Bookselling & Stories

December is the best month to be a bookseller, because it’s the month when people give stories to one another. All day, folks stamp in from the cold and ask for a book for their ancient aunt who enjoys knitting and local history, or a baby not yet born who has a whole world yet to love. My favorite today was the young uncle who bought Roald Dahl for overseas nephews, but went home to reread James and the Giant Peach before mailing the novel.

Today, with the ground finally covered in our familiar snow, the light returned in the solstice kind of way we New Englanders know and love. This evening, a half moon glows on our piece of the earth, the clouds scudding back and forth over its pristine illumination.

Like this light, stories came in all day at the bookstore, not simply flowing out in wrapping paper and bags. We heard stories of the babies on their way, of the old who were babies themselves in this town; one, two, three stories that made me want to weep, the story of a woman buying an auto repair business in the Northeast Kingdom, and many more simply funny and joyous. Taken together, this was a bouquet of stories, all across the human realm. Fitting in a place for literature.

You can speak as though your life is a thread, a narrative unspooling in time, and a story is a thread, but each of us is an island from which countless threads extend out into the world.

— Rebecca Solnit, The Faraway Nearby


Photo by Molly S.

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