I tried a new bookstore the other day. It was delicious.
Porter Books and Bread is located on the grounds of the old Fort Harrison and features fresh-baked, homemade breads and desserts. Sandwiches are named for literary figures. I had a Dumas, if I recall correctly. (Which wasn’t a Monte Cristo, curiously.) I took home a gothic tale which I haven’t started yet.
That puts me at three of the five on this Best Bookshops of Indianapolis list. It begs the question: What makes it a “best” bookshop? Selection? Service? Side quests, like tasty sandwiches? Tell me your favorite book haunts and why. (Can be shops, libraries, readers’ groups, whatever!)
That’s a photo of the print version there on the left. Isn’t it pretty? You can join us if you like for the official release party, in the hip space at Well Done Marketing in the heart of historic Fountain Square in Indianapolis. The party starts at 5 pm on February 5, 2016 — or the party starts when I walk in. Whichever comes first.
First, a bit on the Lilly Library itself. Lilly Pharmaceuticals is of course a household name (you’ve heard of Prozac, right? Or Cialis?), and the Lillys have traditionally been generous. Josiah K. Lilly was a collector of stamps, coins, rare books, and more. In the late 1950s he donated more than 20,000 books and 17,000 manuscripts to the university, which became the foundation for what is now a major rare book and manuscript library.
Inverted Jenny (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I took notes because my brain couldn’t retain all the fascinating facts being explained. J.K. Lilly’s stamp collection was so large and so significant, at 77,000 pieces, that since its breaking up and sale, there’s not a major collection in the world which does not contain Lilly stamps. To give you an idea of the caliber of the collection… You’ve probably heard of the Inverted Jenny, the 1918 stamp on which the plane was printed upside down? Only 100 of these erroneous stamps were recovered and they are among the most prized. Mr. Lilly had a corner block of four. Continue reading
I respect books. I hate to see books damaged, even — especially — in the name of decor. At a decorators’ show house recently, my sister, mother, and I looked in horror at shelf art made of cut up books. “Oh, thank goodness,” my sister soon identified, “they’re just Reader’s Digest Condensed Books.”
Walking through a decorating fair using vintage books and paper as disposable materials makes my blood run dark. The current trend of tearing up old books to get aged or interesting paper is infuriating and wholly unnecessary. My mother has decorated her bathroom with delightful antique book illustrations, everything from Sinbad to Sherlock Holmes, all color-copied from the originals for a neat aesthetic with no damage.
A while back I wrote a humorous post about goals which would let me know I’d “made it” (whatever that means) in my writing career. Since then I’ve passed some pretty impressive personal milestones, and while I wrote that post primarily for my fiction writing, it would be wholly ungrateful of me not to acknowledge the great things which have come my way thus far in my non-fiction work as well.
Sometimes we achieve goals we didn’t even mean to set, and it’s good to find the joys of these surprise achievements. So here are some awesome things which have really happened, some of which I hadn’t even thought of as goals until I was delighted by them.
I remember laughing when Patrick Rothfuss confessed to book-signing performance anxiety. (I suspect he’s rather over that by now, by simple necessity.) I hadn’t ever practiced my autograph, either. But I did read Pat’s final word on the subject: