Archive for the ‘Our front porch view’ Category

It’s Wednesday, November 25, early on what promises to be a frosty morning. As you know, Peter and I are selling the bookstore and the transfer takes place next Tuesday, Dec. 1st. I have promised my friends at the Valley Citizen that I would not “scoop” them by revealing the buyer’s name here on the Dark Horse blog (the story will be in this week’s issue) but of course there’s more I feel I MUST communicate.

First, THANK YOU to all of you for making our two-year experiment into a 14-year-old business.

It has been because of your support, your encouragement and your friendship that we have, as Lewis and Clark used to say, “proceeded on.”  We’ve been proud to be YOUR source for books, reading information, and more. Your purchases, your humor and your loyalty have been instrumental in the store’s ability to continue to operate. 

Hopefully, that won’t change. I personally hope you will continue to see Dark Horse Books as a community hub and THE spot to connect with literature and people.

Of course  I will miss encountering you from my usual spot behind the counter!  But there are so many other ways to connect (and I’ll likely be exploring all of them!)

One thing I know, the new owners are bringing a HUGE dose of passion and creativity and community spirit to the bookstore.

Someone, flatteringly, said we would be a tough act to follow. (So many people have said so many nice things, it seems!)  The good news is that the Dark Horse Books show will go on….. like a play with a new director, it’ll have a bit of a new interpretation, lots of fresh ideas and energy, carrying on the traditions we’ve established but perhaps with a new (and better?) twist.  I hope you share my excitement! 

Lastly, I’d like to remind you all that ALL our local businesses need your support.  Head to downtown Driggs (and Victor and Tetonia, too) rather than to Idaho Falls or shopping on-line — you might be surprised by all that our stores have to offer. 

And if you don’t believe local retailers and restaurants are commited to this community, check out JUST HOW MANY (including Dark Horse Books) are once again participating in the “Shop Local for Schools” day on Saturday, Dec. 5th. We put our money where our mouths (and kids!) are — won’t you too? Not just that day, though — do it THROUGHOUT the season!

As for us, on Friday we’ll be decorating the store (have always liked to do it AFTER Thanksgiving!) and throughout at least some of December, I’ll be assisting with training and wrapping up all details on the transition.

So, once again, thank you, on this Thanksgiving. Have a safe and blessed holiday, and hope to see you soon!


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My sister Judy Uphoff was quite impressed when she heard about Teton Valley’s “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” event this May (it was a fundraiser for Family Safety Network here in Driggs) and carried the idea home to Cheyenne.

To celebrate October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Safehouse Services is holding their own awareness walk — and it happens this week, Wednesday, October 28th at 4pm, at Holliday Park.

Judy’s connected to this because of various friends’ connections on the board, and they supplied me with this poster. Gotta love it!

Besides these governmental leaders — and isn’t it great that the Governor is part of the effort!? — a 30-member military team from Warren Air Force Base is participating. I also heard that someone who needs a size 15 shoe has to wear something smaller…. too bad Tony Liford’s red stilettos were broken during our event here this spring!


PS. If you’d like to see photos of the Teton Valley event — with a huge CONGRATS to Susie Fenger and crew at Family Safety Network — I posted a couple of them both here on the Dark Horse Books blog (see the post called “Thanks for Walking”) and on my personal FaceBook page…. FB members, the easiest way to find it is to search for Dark Horse Books, then choose my name as administrator of the DHB FB page (it’s on the lower left side) — then go to page 4 of my photo albums and select the one called  “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes”.  (Lastly, friend me!)

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One more note on this gray morning:  I’m traveling across the state later today, for a writing workshop tomorrow presented by author Teresa Jordan (Riding the White Horse Home, Cowgirls) as part of the American Folklore Society’s annual conference being held in Boise.

Then on Thursday, I’ll be participating in the annual retreat of the Idaho Commission on the Arts — the first meeting in my third term of service to the ICA, a role I am extremely honored to fill.

Liz Alva Rosa, just back from a quick trip with her children to see her father in Portugal, will be holding down the fort at Dark Horse Books for the next couple of days.

Pop on by and say hello and check out the HUGE assortment of Halloween things we have in! Also, there’s still plenty of bargain books to check out, and at super $$-saving prices.

I never mind being gone with such good help.

Liz is a better recommender than I am on many fronts — she’s  super familiar with kids books, parenting titles and just about everything literary, too (she’s even read the entire Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan, which definitely qualify as big books — see earlier post from today) — so enjoy having someone else behind the counter!

I’ll see you Friday! — jeanne

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I always love it when I see something that talks about the fact that in spite of all our technological ways to gather information, people still like to READ, and that independent bookstores around the country are still thriving.

Thanks to Bob Heneage, who gave me a copy of a recent issue of The Economist magazine, which discussed “the rising vogue for shopping near home” and the tale of two bookstores in Austin, Texas, BookPeople and Waterloo Records, who successfully fought against the city subsizding a new Borders which would have been located directly across the street from the existing stores. The two competitiors called in a consulting firm (Civic Economics) to show that more of the money spent at their stores stayed in Austin.  This piece is worth reading (click here for the on-line version.)

If the concept sounds familiar, it’s similar to what the folks at the 3/50 Project have found out, and that we practice when we recommend that shoppers at Dark Horse also head over to Habitat, Guchiebird’s, Yostmark, Big Hole Music, the Wardrobe, Corner Drug, MagPie, Mountain Knits, Peaked Sports, and all over our favorite local restaurants.   

In another encouraging article Peter spotted for me, Newsweek magazine recently had a list of “25 Things You Need to Know Now” — number two on the list is the fact that “Books aren’t dead” which details two things: that the number of books in print is up (it’s risen 38 percent each of the last two years in comparison to the previous year) and that a number of major universities (i.e., University of Michigan, Cornell and the University of Pennsylvania) are all selling publishing rights to the contents of their own libraries. (Most will be available “on-demand” and yes, some of them may even be in digital format.)  It concludes: “Publishing’s obituary may be, much like Mark Twain’s, premature.” You can read the full piece by clicking here.

Lastly, someone asked me yesterday why we didn’t have a link to the New York Times Sunday Book Review on the Dark Horse Books blog — so, this seemed like a good time to post it as well.  Click here to read the most recent reviews (or to find an archived review.)

Happy reading!  See you at the store soon — and do call if you want us to save a seat for Saturday’s event with Leland and Lynna Howard.

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This week’s edition of Valley Citizen will include an article about my decision to actively seek a buyer for Dark Horse Books, sometime between now and when our lease is up at the end of the next January. Within a few weeks of first telling anyone (the ladies in the Book Club), we had attracted two promising prospective buyers, and a third has joined their ranks since. (And the pool might widen after this week’s coverage?)

As you might guess, this is not something arrived upon lightly — but I have come to it clean and clear in mind and heart. 

I feel strongly that a new owner can provide some fresh ideas and fresh energy — allowing the bookstore to carry on as the cultural hub of the community.  A common thread binds those interested in the purchase — so far they are all community-minded, smart, passionate about reading, and enthusiastic about the place and its possibilities!   

And I’m looking forward to see what the next chapter of my life will hold…. writing and editing, volunteering, artwork, more time for friends and family — a chance to hike and be in the great outdoors more often, maybe even go out to lunch and hopefully be creative in many new ways.  Peter supports this move 100%.

I have been trying to tell you all in person and face-to-face, but of course, I have not been able to do so with everyone. Thus, I wanted to post this note here on the blog prior to Hope’s story appearing…..  

I promise to keep you informed as we all move into this exciting transition!  Meanwhile, the store remains open, well-stocked, with some great events planned and plenty of good things to come — stop on by!

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GL&PPPS_coverI just finished reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. It’s a wonderful epistolary tale (told all in letters) about a British author who travels to the Island of Guernsey in 1946 and the people and stories she learns about the Occupation by the Germans there.

It’s one more in a long list of books I’ve read over the past year that were about World War II.  I’m not exactly sure why I’m so fascinated with that time of history and the people’s lives then. Perhaps it started  because of my own parents’ wedding — in August 1942, my mother had gone out to California see him at Camp Roberts, the army base  where he was stationed (she was a USO girl) but they had, literally, no room for her in the guest lodging, so they were married, somewhat shotgun style, at a nearby Mission Church — it was, conveniently, a holy day of obligation, so a Mass (held infrequently at the Mission) was already scheduled, and my Uncle Dick happened to be also visiting (a handy best man) and of course she had a handy maid of honor (a fellow USO girl.)  I always loved that story — and according to Annie Barrows, her aunt Mary Ann Shaffer loved that kind of story, too, and that was what started her on writing this book.

I digress.  Anyway. This one will stick with me.

I wanted to share at least part of the afterword by children’s author Barrows — who finished the co-authoring of this book because of her aunt’s failing health (you should also know that Barrows is the creator of  the lovely Ivy and Bean series — a new favorite series at the bookstore), because it struck me so profoundly,  as a reader, as a book club member, and as a bookseller:

“The wonderful thing about books — and the thing that made them such a refuge for the islanders during the occupation — is that they take us out of our time and place and understanding, and transport us not just into the world of the story, but into the world of our fellow readers, who have stories of their own.”

Further down the page (287),  regarding the “new version of the Society:” 

“Its members are spread all over the world, but they are joined by their love of books, of talking about books, and of their fellow readers. We are transformed — magically–into the literary society each time we pass a book along, each time we ask a question about it, each time we say, ‘If you liked that, I bet you’d like this.’ Whenever we are willing to be delighted and share our delight, as Mary Ann did, we are part of the ongoing story of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. ”

PS. Before I break my 500-word limit on posts:  I’ll  put together a list of my WW2 readings — with more about each of them — and post it on the Recommend page (if anyone’s interested.)

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It looks like a glorious one out there today! I’ll be in the bookstore, probably setting up our air conditioners, if it warms up that much. Stop on by!

I’m super-psyched about today’s meet-and-greet (from 5 to 7) with Aprilynne Pike.  Just finished WINGS this morning — WOW, what a debut!   I can highly recommend it for young-adult and fantasy readers of all ages.  I’m hoping she’s gentle on us for the fact that her maiden name’s been wrong in some of our publicity — it’s RUBERT not RUPERT. 

Summer, with its sensational sun and serious storms, seems well upon us, doesn’t it?

It’s been quite a week, between losing Joe and traveling to Boise for two days. There, I attended and took part in the convening of more than 50 arts groups from Idaho,  all of us intent on learning more about the distribution of stimulus-money funds through the Idaho Commission on the Arts.

For me, it provided a wonderful chance to (finally) put faces to names of arts administrators and their organizations, as well as a wonderful night at the Idaho Shakespeare Festival.  Comedy of Errors was terrific (as are ALL their productions)!  

A big thank you to everyone who attended (including Christine Leusch of Teton Arts Council), to Mark Hofflund of ISF for making the magical night there possible, and to Michael Faison, special presenters Richard and Anna Linzer, and the entire ICA staff  for their incredible work on seeing that these one-time funds are SHARED throughout the state.

I’m definitely trying to add more links to this blog. So, click here to learn more about Idaho Shakespeare Festival, and here for more about the Idaho Commission on the Arts.

There’s much more to talk about on this glorious morning, but not more time! Remember the Tin Cup Challenge  is just around the bend, with plenty of opportunities to volunteer and participate.

Have a GREAT weekend!

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