Tuesday, January 18, 2011

New Leaf

The Chapter One blog: hmm....

The first, best and most important Chapter One news for 2011 is that Mara Lynn Luther has become a co-owner of Chapter One Book Store. Her passion for books, her knowledge of them, and her ability and willingness to share these is old news to those who have engaged her at the shop during the past six years. That she will be here for a long-term future is marvelous news for the reading community that haunts Chapter One and for me personally as she is both a savvy business partner and a dear friend.

Less newsworthy, but nonetheless an omnipresent fixture of soul-searching in the bookselling industry is the eBook conundrum. The spectrum of commentary on the issue is breathtaking in scope, as crystal balls are rubbed, polished, and scrutinized. One well-known writer, Simon Winchester, was quoted in ShelfAwareness as arguing that since he no longer used the printed OED, but rather utilized its on-line edition, the book was essentially destined for the rubbish heap of History. Others see e-readers as nothing more than gadgets, with which people grow tired rapidly, and will soon fill our closets and attics alongside Palm Pilots and Walkmans.

A more reasoned assessment concluded that the same debates probably consumed Europe after Guttenberg printed his bible--scribes would soon be cast aside, bemoaning their fate as they cried into their mead--or fabulous beers brewed by Czech monks. As it turned out, those scribes continued to write--for hundreds of years. I wrote the draft of this blog with pencil on paper.

I am a book lover. Reading is a consuming, tactile experience for me--the smell of ink on paper; the texture of the cover; rag-edged paper; stitched signatures. I write in the margins as I debate with the author. I book dart. There may even be a coffee stain or two hidden between the covers. More importantly, I share books with friends. Recently a customer bought a paperback copy of book to give to his friend—a book the customer had on his e-reader, but was unwilling to loan. I am, however, not so egotistical as to think my passion is everyone's. There are many who do not share these feelings for books, but do share a love of reading. A number of our customers embrace both. Eventually, an equilibrium will be reached. In this dual reality, Chapter One will stock thousands of physical books to give those who walk through its doors a unique and unforgettable book shop experience. For those who want the digital version of those titles, a few clicks on our website will allow you to download whatever eBook you desire.

To conclude this initial foray into the blogosphere, as you ponder what to read next, here are a few titles we at Chapter One consider to be the best books of 2010:

The Collected Prose 1948-1998 by Zbigniew Herbert

The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton

The Lonely Polygamist by Brady Udall

The Golden Age by Michal Ajvaz

The Girl With Glass Feet by Ali Shaw

To the End of the Land by David Grossman

Note Bene: What best of 2010 would be complete without mentioning that SPAIN WON THE WORLD CUP!!!!