St. Martin's Griffin
An inspiring true story about losing your place, finding your purpose, and building a community one book at a time.
Wendy Welch and her husband had always dreamed of owning a bookstore, so when they left their high-octane jobs for a simpler life in an Appalachian coal town, they seized an unexpected opportunity to pursue their dream. The only problems? A declining U.S. economy, a small town with no industry, and the advent of the e-book. They also had no idea how to run a bookstore. Against all odds, but with optimism, the help of their Virginian mountain community, and an abiding love for books, they succeeded in establishing more than a thriving business - they built a community.
The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap is the story of the little bookstore that could: how two people, two cats, two dogs, and thirty-eight thousand books helped a small town find its heart. It is a tale of people and books, and how together they create community.
Wendy Welch’s memoir, The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap, is a delight. Starting a used bookstore in a small Appalachian town during the decline-of-the-book era may seem like rank folly, but the project—and the book—turn out to be anything but foolish. With warmth and humor, Welch details the small successes and large missteps along the path to finding a place in a community. She shows that, even in the age of the e-reader, there is hope for books and those who love them, and that reading and bookstores still perform an important function in civic life. Her clear prose sparkles with personality in this heartening tale of the perils and rewards of following one’s dream. –Thomas C. Foster, author of How to Read Literature Like a Professor
Wendy Welch’s memoir is entertaining, informative, and – best of all – big-hearted and wise. A perfect pick-me-up for people discouraged by talk of the death of the book. –Sam Savage, author of Firmin and Glass
“Charming, lively, bubbling with anecdote, incident and insight, Wendy Welch’s animated memoir is any reader’s perfect companion. You read this book and feel you’ve made a friend. By turns comic, and thoughtful, The Little Bookstore at Big Stone Gap brims with joie de livre.” --Laura Kalpakian, author of American Cookery and The Memoir Club
“Amusing, engaging, astute, and perceptive, Welch’s buoyant memoir of an endangered way of life is a fervent affirmation of the power of books to bring people together.” --Booklist
“An entertaining book with a full cast of eccentric characters.” --Kirkus
“Candid and endearing tale . . . Wendy brings a sense of humor and compassion to her story, sharing the trials and tribulations on opening and running a new bookstore. It is a joy to see the transitions that Wendy and Jack experience, and how a bookstore can be a magnet for heartbreaking stories and a hub of community spirit. This books is such a warm and engaging journey, best enjoyed with a cup of tea or three.” –Beyond the Margins
"A heartwarming, cheerleading affirmation of indie bookstores everywhere. Don’t fly those flags at half-staff yet." –Cleveland Plain Dealer