Introducing Myself, Happy to Host

Hello! I’m pleased your founder, Bruce Hollingdrake, asked me to join him and The Bookshop Blog and to host such a fine source for those who love and or collect books, own a bookstore, or want to open one. Although I’ve not owned a shop, I have worked in independent bookstores supporting so-called other professions almost half my life. My first memory of the written word is Mother Goose. Sitting on a window seat within a library whose fairy tale architecture enthralled and amazed me, I would take down the same huge volume visit after visit and chant the rhymes to myself. Graduating to Nancy Drew, Judy Bolton, and Mary Stewart, rarely was there a time I didn’t have a book in hand. By my early teens, tales inspired by the classic story Rebecca absorbed my imagination, which led to collecting the cheapest paperbacks of mysteries I could find.
Although crime fiction has been my major focus in literature, I’ve certainly delved into the wilds of biography, classics, fiction, non fiction, and the stray “Dummy’s Guide To . . .” In other words, I love books. I love reading. I love reading about reading. I love collecting rarer titles. I love illustrated books. I am the type of person who when in a bookstore of any kind, will recommend a favorite to a stranger. I will rearrange out of order titles. I will face forward a friend’s book. Basically, I revert to bookseller mode.
My first taste of the book trade came in the late 1970s early 1980s in a type of bookstore now extinct. One with new releases, old stock, used stock, and wacky stock of various and sundry subjects. My next foray was much later, as a part time volunteer for a store that consisted mostly of remainders and old stock.
I had to take a ‘test’ for Foul Play, a pair of mystery independent bookshops in Manhattan. The one I managed was in the village, small, with a hidden door where the teeny bathroom resided. I parlayed this position into one at another prestigious crime fiction bookstore when Foul Play closed due to the owner’s death.
And later, ran a book club for collectors at the first known mystery bookstore in existence, Murder Ink, a place where years before I ogled the stock and dreamed of what it would be like to be among all those lovely murders.
Even after physically hand selling mysteries was past, I continued to work within the field producing my own newsletter, Dastardly Deeds, chock full of author interviews, upcoming signings, new releases, and articles on collecting. For a couple of years I had the great fun to run a moderated book club for A&E television’s online website A shift in programming led to it’s demise.
Which leads me to now, a bunch of years later and eager to continue discussing my favorite subject, books, glorious books.
As host of the bookshop blog, I hope to join the fun and conversation and to perhaps contribute some interesting observations that may aid those who are eager to start their own businesses. And throw in some offbeat looks at the oftimes difficult but always rewarding world of publishing and selling bound literature.

4 thoughts on “Introducing Myself, Happy to Host”

  1. Welcome Diane! I, for one, am glad you are taking the reins of this website (No offense Bruce. We love you too!) and from what I’ve seen and read of you and yours so far I’m wondering if it might be a wild and bumpy ride. Should we bring a pillow to sit on?

    I too do the rearranging of books at a local thrift shop I occasionally visit and I’m not sure if it is because of something straight or something bent in our brains that causes us to do this. What are your thoughts on that? I do catch other customers at the shop doing it also so I know we are not alone in this. – PRY

    • Hello Prying1
      I’m not sure I have the reins, let’s just say I’m a main passenger on the stage coach.
      Hmm, bumpy ride? Me and Bette Davis, huh? Well, I’m hoping it’ll be an exciting one, not necessarily turbulent, more eventful and enthralling with new info and illuminating experiences, lol.

      I don’t think our brains are bent at all–we like order in our shelves, that’s all. At home my books are no where near alphabetized but in a selling environment it irks me to see books out of place, thrown around per se. How can someone purchase a Margaret Atwood, for example, if she’s sitting next to Eudora Welty? Customers are responsible, and sometimes the bookseller is overwhelmed with other tasks to rearrange a mess.
      So you and I step up and take on the responsibility of righting an obvious wrong, ha ha.

  2. O hai, Ms D!

    Does this mean that we send our contributions to you and not Bruce? If so, what address do we send them to? I do have one here sitting around on the hard drive.

    • I believe Bruce answered your question–you know, it may have been good if I’d made the point that Bruce asked me to host the site, lol, duh!! I think I can go back and edit it in, which I will do so as not to confuse any one else.

      And hello back!

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