Friday, May 21, 2010

Rebecca Wells and Liberty Bay Books

One of the blessings of living in a small town is that people really get to know each other. You may know families for generations, and you get the opportunity to support their business enterprises, whether it's a restaurant, a grocery store, a coffee shop, a shoe store or a bookstore.

Gregg's maternal grandparents had a farm in Poulsbo, and his mother is one of their nine children, who went forth and multiplied. Gregg knows the history and ownership of many of the buildings and businesses in town. Many of his aunts, uncles and cousins eventually moved to other towns, and his mother is the last one living of her nine siblings, but Gregg still has a lot of memories, relatives, and friends here.

It's one of the reasons that we decided to settle and raise our children in this town.
We have two bookstores in Poulsbo: one is a used-book store called The Book Stop, and it's wonderful. I have found some real treasures there. You can trade books in for credit, and then use that credit to buy more. Perfect business model for a biblioholic like me!
The other is Liberty Bay Books, and it's owned by our former neighbor, Suzanne. It's on the corner of the main street of our town and a pedestrian-only alley, which is shared by the quilt shop and other local businesses. Suzanne runs a cozy, well-lit store filled with the latest books, as well as classics and lots of local-interest books - and she even has a latte stand set up in the back. It's a great place.
I was invited to attend a small gathering of friends at Liberty Bay Books to meet Rebecca Wells (the author of the "Ya-Ya Sisterhood" books, which - I confess - I haven't read) and to discuss (and hear her read from) her latest book, "The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder." Rebecca Wells once lived in our neighborhood, but I didn't know that for a long time, and I never met her (our neighbors are very respectful of one another's privacy - love that!). So I borrowed the book from a neighbor who does know Rebecca, and read it. I loved the book.

On Tuesday night, Suzanne closed the store, and put out some appetizers, chocolate and wine. There were 10 of us, plus Rebecca and her husband. We visited, ate and drank, and then Rebecca started to talk about the writing life, and about her book. After a little while, she stood up, and read aloud to us, in character, and the story came alive before my eyes.
Rebecca (seated, in Liberty Bay Books) is a great story-teller, actress and playwright. With her are Heidi, me, Julie and Wendy (in the background).
Heather & Rebecca
I love this photo - it captures her energy!

Pictures and video were taken as Rebecca read aloud, and then we talked about what the book meant to us - what we thought about the characters and the story. I bought two copies of the book, and Rebecca signed our books for us - even the one I borrowed! We all went home richer in friendship and in spirit.


Mary Potts said...

My group of friends and I have often referred to ourselves as the "Ya-ya's" after Wells' book, while having some of the many adventures that are special among girlfriends.

How exciting that you got to actually visit with her and hear her read the latest book. I'll put that one on my list! Thanks Karen.

Elizabeth said...

Oh, those bookstores! Other than those three words that I've just written about your town, I have this to say: ENVY! (and that's mine!)

Tracey Axnick said...

LOVE this post! We only have 1 independent bookstore nearby and I bend over backwards to shop there.... rather than the big mega-stores...

I love the idea of attending a reading..... what fun!

Busy Bee Suz said...

What a wonderful and rich experience for you and your friends.
This sounds like so much fun Karen...I wish I lived in your town.
I am getting back on the bandwagon of reading this summer...I should start with her newest book!!!

Truth Ferret said...

This country might be large and expansive, but we truly are new neighbors. I live in South Texas and found your blog. I blog here on blogspot, under Truth Ferret and welcome your reading.

Absolutely love Rebecca Wells' writings and views on what creates our characters as she creates her own.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts of your beautiful gem of a town.

Warmly, Ferret

Lynda said...

I am so jealous!!

I first read Little Alters Everywhere years ago and have been a huge fan ever since. Absolutely loved her latest book. Can't believe you got to hear her read a passage! Hope you can post a video.

Karen-I've tried to e-mail and don't know if I succeeded. Turns out we have two random mutual friends.

Keep writing! I enjoy your blog on so many levels.

Kay said...

Love your book stores. We have a used book store. It's a chain, but we love it. I'm always hunting for a bargain or selling back to them to buy more too. Constant cycle. : )

Such a rich experience to meet and spend an evening together.

Busy Bee Suz said...

Awesome photos!!!!!