Friday, January 25, 2013

Cover of Snow Blog Tour: Love My Indie with author Jenny Milchman

JKS Communications
Visiting today is author Jenny Milchman as part of the blog tour for her debut novel 
Cover of Snow. Jenny is a huge fan of and advocate for independent bookstores and agreed to share one of her many favorite independent bookstores for my recurring feature 

Welcome Jenny!

A My Favorite Bookstore

I had to alter the title of this blog post because in the past three years, I’ve visited more than 200 independent bookstores, and choosing one of them as favorite would feel a little like selecting between one of my kids.

How have I visited so many? Well, for the past three summers, my husband and I have loaded the aforementioned children into the car and driven cross-country, stopping at bookstores along the way. It’s our approach to vacation.

Last year we drove up I4 in Florida and I called out, “Look, kids, there’s the sign for Disney!” as we headed for a bookstore in Georgia. (If it weren’t for the crossed out words, we would almost be a normal family, but no, our kids did miss Disney for a bookstore.)

Although, in a lot of ways, bookstores are better than Disney. They’re filled with real treasures. Spending time in one truly takes you to other worlds.

I don’t have a favorite, but one proprietor said to me, “We’re so small and in such an out-of-the-way place, it can be hard for people to discover us.” Because I would like everyone to discover this magical place, I am going to write about Looking Glass Books for Actin’ Up.

This bookstore is in a tiny town in eastern Oregon that happens to have the best Chinese food I’ve had outside of New York City. A day spent in La Grande, OR can include a lunch or dinner of hand-rolled dumplings, and a trip through the looking glass.

One of the great things about the bookstore is that it sells both new and used books. My daughter was on a Babysitter’s Club kick last summer and discovered an absolute trove of them in Looking Glass Books. She came up to the register with a stack so high that I groaned. I mean…sixty bookstores in one summer. We can only buy so many books without my having to explain to the kids that they’re never going to college.

The bookseller’s name is Jessica and she got into a conversation with my daughter about how she herself used to read Babysitter’s Club. When it came time for tough decisions, I told my daughter to select five books. (She had twelve).

At that point Jessica said, “You choose five, and then seven are on the house.”

This is something an independent bookseller can do—see a spark in a child’s eye and decide the best way to keep it lit. My daughter remembers Jessica to this day. I think she’ll always remember her—and the bookstore, too.

Looking Glass is in a university town and they do events to create bridges between town and gown. Book clubs that focus on the curricula of various courses were one interesting approach we got to hear about. One of the things we discovered while on the road is that while in some ways independent bookstores are struggling, in others they are thriving. Most of the stores we went into were filled with customers and had lines at the register.

I think this is because an independent bookstore has a role to play as a hub of community life, and in this age of increasingly virtual living, that face-to-face connection is more and more valued—and valuable.

For sure, Looking Glass Books has become such a hub, and I feel privileged that I got to experience its welcome.

There is a Neil Young song I’ve always loved, and I think its lyrics sum up the role booksellers have played through the sea shifts that have assailed us as a society:

Long may you run.
Long may you run.
Although these changes
have come
With your chrome heart shining
in the sun
Long may you run.

Thank you, Jessica, and thanks to all the booksellers. Neil Young is not the only one who rocks.

I'd like to thank Jenny for sharing just one of the many independent bookstores that she loves. In addition to promoting Cover of Snow through this blog tour, Jenny will be visiting bookstores, libraries and schools in her Let It Snow 2013 book tour. She'll have a reading and signing at one of my favorite independents, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia. I won't be able to make it to the signing, but I'll make sure to pick up a copy the next time I stop by.

Jenny Milchman is a suspense novelist from New Jersey whose short stories have appeared in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, Adirondack Mysteries II, and in an e-published volume called Lunch Reads. Jenny is the founder of Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day, and the chair of International Thriller Writers’ Debut Authors Program. Her first novel, Cover of Snow, is published by Ballantine.

Jenny can be reached at and she blogs at

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for letting me share my thoughts on bookstores, and this particular favorite one in La Grande, OR, on this terrific blog!


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