WORD FROM WELLERS | FEBRUARY 2019
A Word from Catherine
So, 700 independent booksellers walk into a room…

That sentence could be the start of a joke or it could be the first day of one of the best bookselling events in the country, the American Booksellers' Association’s Winter Institute . This year I united with 699 of my fellow booksellers from around the US, Canada, and not a few from the U.K., Australia, and New Zealand. We gathered in Albuquerque, New Mexico for three days of seminars, networking, and special events, and were joined and supported in the annual celebration of independent bookselling by vendors, publishers, and authors.

A day at Winter Institute begins with an author breakfast. This year the breakfast everyone talked about was Thursday’s, during which booksellers were treated to a conversation between the esteemed Margaret Atwood and Erin Morgenstern, author of Night Circus and the forthcoming novel, Starless Sea (November 2019.) Atwood’s new book is a follow up to Handmaids Tale titled Testaments and will publish in September. She and Morgenstern spoke about their new novels, under-attended and sad book signings early in their careers, and what a remarkable industry bookselling is. Lunches are spent talking with publishers and fellow booksellers about forthcoming titles, and evening cocktail parties feature the authors themselves. Imagine a room in which bars and food are clustered in the middle and the walls are lined not with awkward losers but with tables at which authors are seated with advance copies of their new books. Lines of eager booksellers fill the room, and not just at the bar. I stood in line for several authors so I could bring back signed advance copies of books for my co-workers and, yes, snag a couple of minutes with the author of a book I’ve been dying to read.
I was especially lucky to attend this year because I was granted a scholarship to pay for my travel and attendance. The scholarships are funded by publishers who know that a nationwide group of savvy independent booksellers is key to the book industry’s success. So, to all the publishers who donated to the pool of money, thank you!

One of the things I heard this year, stated by Morgenstern, Atwood, and many others, as well as in years past is confirmation that bookselling is a remarkable industry. We are all different, and many of us are strange. But we are colleagues, even if we are competitors. My fellow booksellers are generous with their time and their knowledge. They don’t hesitate to lend a hand to a fellow bookseller. They constantly try to make the tent larger so more of us, and those who are different that we are, can not only fit but thrive. The knowledge sharing, the Spanish language book drive to send books to people at the border, the numerous seminars on ways to facilitate conversations across society’s various divides found at Winter Institute make me proud to be a part of this profession.

Your favorite bookseller,
Catherine
Above: Catherine at Winter Institute with author Mary Norris, whose new book, Greek to Me, releases April 2019. Click the link to pre-order your copy!
Tony's Rare Book Spotlight
Sherlock Holmes Chess Set
Old timers may remember when we received a massive Sherlock Holmes collection early in this millennium. Recently, we acquired more ephemeral Sherlock Holmes materials and non-book items including a beautiful pewter chess set with a box that folds open to an inlaid wooden chessboard. The bases of the Sherlock pieces are heroically electroplated in 18k gold, while the dastardly pieces of Moriarty are left plain. The elastic bands intended to secure the pieces have lost their elasticity but otherwise, the set is in very good condition with a few tint scratches. $400
Closed for Inventory
As Winter Institute concludes and January winds down, we prepare for our annual inventory count. This year, we will close our doors, turn off the phones, and post 'away' messages on our online listings Monday, February 4  through  Wednesday, February 6 . D uring these dates we won't be open to the public and won't be able to process orders by website or phone. Thank you for your patience. We will open again with regular hours, 11:00 AM - 8:00 PM, on Thursday, February 7.
February Events
BREAKFAST CLUB - Join our lead new book buyer and raconteuse, Catherine Weller, for book news and conversation every Tuesday morning. The Breakfast Club meets from 10:00 - 11:00 AM at the Coffee Connection.

LIT KNIT - Do you craft? Do you like books and casual conversation? Join our bi-weekly craft circle held the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of every month from 6:00 - 8:00 PM.

COLLECTORS' BOOK SALON - Book lovers of all passions gather in the Rare Book Room each final Friday of the month, January - October for the Collectors' Book Salon. Glasses are filled and socializing begins at 6:30, and at 7:15 an invited guest presents the Collector's Chat on a topic of her or his particularly bibliopassion.
Author Rhonda Stapley survived a brutal attack by one of America's most vile serial killers and wrote about it in her book, I Survived Ted Bundy: The Attack, Escape & PTSD that Changed My Life . Join her Saturday evening for a discussion and to hear her powerful message about believing and supporting victims, a fundamental change needed in a culture of victim shaming that led her to keep her attack hidden for decades.
Our friend Kathy Kirkpatrick returns to Weller Book Works for the fourth book in her series on Prisoner of War camps in America, this time focusing on those in Northern California. POWs were housed, fed, and cared for by local communities, and their stories of inter-marriage and eventual U.S. citizenship speak to how well POWs were treated by Americans under the Geneva Convention. Packed with photos and historical tidbits, Kirkpatrick's presentations are always a delight. Join her for a discussion of American Prisoner of War Camps in Northern California .
In his presentation, “Inescapable Networks: Martin Luther King, Social Justice, and the Necessity of the Grassroots,” Historian Joseph Stuart will explain how everyday people made the civil rights movement possible. Through an examination of the life and career of Martin Luther King, Jr., he shows that the celebrated preacher was most effective when he helped guide already-existing local movements. Stuart also highlights the ways in which King's political goals fell short when his projects expanded beyond the aims shaped and fought for by average people galvanized by grassroots networks. Such alignment with common folks is especially important for social justice groups to remember today.
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 22 6:30 PM
COLLECTORS' BOOK SALON:
TALES FROM THE RARE BOOK TRADE WITH JOAN NAY AND TONY WELLER

Tony Weller began selling books at age 10 and quit reading juvenile books in sixth grade. That year, Sam Weller hired a young woman named Joan Nay to work in his bookstore. For the next four decades, she worked in Sam Weller’s Books/Weller Book Works, mostly in the Rare Book department where she became well known for her expertise in local history, dogged research skills, and as Sam’s right arm. In 2013, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints History Library hired Joan as Acquisitions Rare Book Specialist. We’re proud to have one of our own rise to this important position.

In 2009, the Utah Library Association invited Joan and Tony to make a rare book presentation for members. Only loosely guided, they selected very short stories from their combined six decades of experience and took turns telling them briskly with a theatrical soundtrack. They jumbled together collectors’ tips, great finds, gossip, what-hey, trivia, tales of pursuit, outrageous serendipities, vocabulary and book crimes, creepy book deals and other bookish amusements and tossed ‘em out quickly to show the vast vistas and unpredictable joys of this old work. They utilized a curtain! The librarians seemed to have as much fun as Joan and Tony did. On February 22 nd , they will to do it again. What stories will be told? Which won’t? 
Chelsea B. Tolman is a funeral director, mortician, and embalmer with over 15 years experience. Join her for a discussion of her book, Speaking of the Dead , in which she attempts to provide the balm that allows us to engage in the real world of death’s circumstances and give us a peek behind the curtain at what it’s like to be a professional in the death industry.
Thank you
When you shop independently owned stores like ours, you keep dollars in your local economy, nurture community, and benefit from our expertise. Customers like you know that while you may find an item cheaper and faster from an online retailer, your money would ultimately go to a corporation with an increasing monopoly on goods in our country that provides no return investment in you or where you live.

Thank you for supporting your local, independent bookstore! We celebrate your commitment to our community, freedom and entrepreneurship, and our local economy. To learn more about the ways in which shopping local helps communities to thrive, visit the website of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance .

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Store hours: Monday-Thursday, 11 AM-8 PM | Friday-Saturday, 10 AM-9 PM | Sunday, 12 PM-5 PM