Thursday, 11 September 2014

Bookshop A Day #9: The Odyssey Bookshop, USA

On the run up to release of The Bookshop Book on the 2nd October, I'm going to be blogging about a bookshop every day to celebrate wonderful bookshops and booksellers all around the world. (#bookshopaday). Today I want to tell you about:

The Odyssey Bookshop, MA, USA

I had a chat with their manager, Emily. 

Where can we find you? 

In the small town of South Hadley, MA (USA), across the street from Mount Holyoke College. Also online at

Describe your bookshop in three words. 

Traditional yet playful

What’s going to catch our eye as soon as we walk through the door? 

Our colourful displays of upcoming author event books (and just-signed-recently books).

What’s the best event you’ve ever done? 

We host around 125 events every year, so it’s difficult to choose, but a few that really stand out are Stephen King, Rachel Maddow, Holly Black, Junot Diaz, Helen Oyeyemi, Graeme Simsion, and Mary Robinson (former president of Ireland).

And your best customer moment? 

Every time a child tells me that they never thought they would enjoy reading until they read a book that I recommended.

Recommend a book you’ve been loving recently. 

Ruby by Cynthia Bond. It’s perhaps the most outstanding debut novel I’ve ever read. Think Toni Morrison by way of all of the great Southern writers who know that there’s no place like, or more complicated than, home.

Why did you become a bookseller? 

To make millions of dollars. Obviously.

Why are you still a bookseller?

Because there is nothing, and I mean nothing, more rewarding than being told that a book I’ve suggested to somebody has changed their life. Being a bookseller also practically guarantees that I’m going to have amazing and wonderful and quirky people surrounding me all day long.

If you could open a bookshop anywhere else in the world, where would you open it and why? 

The island of Anguilla in the Caribbean, because that place has become my heart-home over the years.

Sum up what books and bookshops mean to you in one sentence. 

Well, don’t ask for much, do you? Okay: Books and bookshops might be the most important things ever because they mark the cultural crossroads of knowledge and community.

Details of The Bookshop Book are here. You can pre-order signed copies (shipping worldwide) here

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