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The Best Bookstore Visit - Ever!

I emailed about 50 independent bookstores as I prepared to tour the West and Midwest this past month to promote The Rebel Nun. Most of the bookstores never acknowledged my emails.

But some did, and the best experience I had was an immediate response from Dog Eared Books, a new indie bookstore in downtown Ames, Iowa. They already had my book on their shelves, and they were “thrilled” to find out I was a native of Story City (10 miles to the north) and a graduate of Iowa State University. We immediately agreed on a date for a book discussion with some of their customers and made plans for a special cocktail to commemorate the event.

When I arrived at the store, I met Jill, the events coordinator, who had the Clotild’s Cranberry Cider Cocktail all set up with a lovely display (left).

While I cooled my heels and chilled with my first glass of said cocktail, store staffer Peter and I walked through the shelves and shared our thoughts about my favorite novels and his. We didn’t always agree, but he was generous and open, and we had an honest and warm exchange. The bookstore’s collection is impressive, to say the least.

At the appointed hour, we sat around a couple of tables, adding chairs as more guests arrived, and Jill was prepared with excellent questions that proved she had not only read the book, but she had put a considerable amount of time into thinking about it. About a dozen people came to talk, ask questions, and give feedback, including a former nun, whose perspective was fascinating. A couple of staff members of the ISU journalism department were there,

and we talked about possible future collaborations. I’d never been in the store before (I left Ames in 1976!), but I felt right at home the entire evening.

It was the best time I’ve ever had at a bookstore “reading,” and I highly recommend the store, its staff, and its collection to all my friends in central Iowa. It will be hard to have a better experience on a book tour than this one.

Next: More about the kindness of friends

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Elizabeth Van Zandt
Elizabeth Van Zandt

Lovely experience. I love Indie bookstores and always try to buy a book or two when I visit one.

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