Dispatches from that Little Bookstore in Big Stone Gap

Dispatches from that Little Bookstore in Big Stone Gap

"Big Stone Gap is truly, madly, amazingly beautiful."

  —Me, in the doorway of the little bookstore of Big Stone Gap

tales of the lonesome pine

Dearest librarians,

I have returned alive and unscathed from my weekend field excursion to the Tales of the Lonesome Pine Bookstore, a magical little mansion-turned-bookstore in Big Stone Gap, Virginia. Well, to be totally honest I'm a little scratched up thanks to an overly-playful kitten (I'm looking at you, Owen!), but below the love-scratches I'm all gushy and glowing inside. 

a zoo and a bookstore

I happen to know the dapper fellow who has been bookshop-sitting while bookstore co-owners Wendy and Jack are traveling the country on book tour. I've been bugging him since day one for pics, updates, and the stories behnd the stories, but eventually I had to haul myself down there and experiece it for myself.

owen!There are few things more satisfying than heading downstairs for coffee in the morning, passing by tens of thousands of books ready for reading, and settling into a big, comfy chair with a lapful of unearned affection from a horde of well-loved pets. The coziness factor is completely out of control! Everyone is so freaking welcoming! There are a suspicious number of cats napping in all the right places!

In fact, the more I remember from my trip, the more I think I never went to Virginia at all. I probably just visited my local REKAL branch and had my perfect weekend getaway implanted in my memory.

Wendy and Jack have admittedly had their ups and downs moving into a small town and opening an independent bookstore. You can and should read all about their journey in Wendy's memoir, but the home/business/animal sanctuary that they live/work/play in today is straight out of a book lover's dream. 

If you're ever in the area, do yourself a favor and stop by. 


UPDATE: This contest is now closed. Congratulations to winner Melissa Gray from St. Paul Public Library!

We're also giving away a signed copy of THE LITTLE BOOKSTORE OF BIG STONE GAP to one lucky librarian and I just extended to the entrance deadline until this Friday. Details here!



The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap Giveaway!

The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap Giveaway!

Last week Wendy Welch, memoirist and owner of the Tales of The Lonesome Pine bookstore, stopped by the Flatiron with her hubby, Jack!

St. Martin's Press recently published Wendy's memoir, THE LITTLE BOOKSTORE OF BIG STONE GAP, about opening an independent bookstore in a small town in Virginia. I was curious to meet the woman who admitted in the first chapter of her memoir that,

"On something dangerously close to a whim, we became the broke and terrified owners of a five-bedroom, three-bath-with-one-working Edwardian mansion, complete with squeaky hardwood floors and a leaking roof. Under the influence of salsa and sangria, we'd decided to turn this house into a used bookstore, or die trying."

Wendy is unsurprisingly just as wonderful and charming as her memoir.

Publishers Weekly said it well when they said, "The whole narrative exudes enormous charm and the value of dreams and lives truly lived." And Booklist called it "a fervent affirmation of the power of books to bring people together." As book people you will undoubtedly connect to Wendy and her decision to live a life dedicated to passing along great stories. 

Autographed Book Giveaway:

Wendy was kind enough to sign a finished copy of her book for us to give away to one lucky librarian! 

UPDATE: This contest is now closed! Thank you for entering.

How to Enter: Leave a comment below with your full name and the library you work for by [UPDATED!] Friday, November 16th to be entered into the random drawing. And make sure the e-mail you use is correct, so we can contact you (it's not posted publicly).

wendy signed

This sweepstakes is open to librarians in the United States. More eligibility details below.



Wanted: Bookshop-Sitter!

Wanted: Bookshop-Sitter!


Bookshop-sitter! Sounds like a job for a librarian, doesn't it? Well, if you're looking for a place to stay in October and November, you might consider bookshop-sitting for Tales of the Lonesome Pine Used Books in Big Stone Gap, VA. 

Co-owners Wendy Welch and Jack Beck need you to run the shop and feed the cats while they're off touring for Welch's forthcoming memoir THE LITTLE BOOKSTORE OF BIG STONE GAP: A Memoir of Friendship, Community, and the Uncommon Pleasure of a Good Book.

Find out more about the position in Shelf Awareness!

A little bit about the book:

Wendy Welch and her husband had always dreamed of owning a bookstore. When the opportunity to escape a toxic work environment and run to a struggling Virginia coal mining town presented itself, they took it. And took the plunge into starting their dream as well. They chose to ignore the “death of the book,” the closing of bookstores across the nation, and the difficult economic environment, and six years later they have carved a bookstore—and a life—out of an Appalachian mountain community.