I guess even lazy bloggers get a summer vacation. But I didn't take a vacation from reading (heaven forbid!), so I've got a lot of blog-post material just waiting to be written up.
Meanwhile, I'll share two semi-literary things that made my summer sunny.
I spent some of my non-blogging time up in Grand Rapids (thus the big red Calder sculpture) and while I was there, of course, I had to visit one of my favorite independent booksellers: Schuler Books (this is the store on 28th St.).
There are some big chain bookstores that I like (there are very few bookstores that I dislike), but often when I walk into a chain bookstore, I feel that they are selling products, not books. (Yes, cue the "cans of olive oil" scene from You've Got Mail now.)
I become irritated when the front of a bookstore is crowded with only best-selling popular fiction and celebrity biographies. Then I usually end up wandering through a nonsensical shelving system, trying to find the poetry section, which turns out to be smaller than Charlie Chaplin's mustache. Maybe this is due to my living in a smaller, more rural area. A larger population, particularly in a city with several universities, seems more likely to buy a broader variety of books. But I still can't help feeling that some books would do better, if only they were put where buyers could see them.
Back to Schuler Books. When I walk into Schuler, I get that people-here-know-books sense. I immediately see two dozen titles that I've been wanting to read and/or I've heard praised through sites like The Book Studio. Also, the organization of the store is wonderful, with helpful wooden signs hanging from the ceiling (though you can't really see this in my photo).
And the poetry section is actually a section, not a pitiful two and a half shelves.
My favorite part, the part that warms my frugal, little heart: in the center of the store is a used book section, also beautifully organized.
In other news, I placed third in one of this year's Kentucky State Poetry Society contests (see "Street Cred" sidebar). Not really the road to writerly fame and favor, but one of those events that makes you think, Maybe I'm not so very terrible at this writing stuff.
Sometimes having a small victory is enough to give you the courage to spend the evening writing and revising new poems to send out. Or at least enough to convince you to write another blog post.