Linda Ramsdell, owner of the Galaxy Bookshop in Hardwick, Vermont, is hanging up her booksellers hat for a few days and donning both author escort and limo drivers caps to add a new dimension to New England handselling. The author Ramsdell will escort, from June 30 to July 3, is Michael Crummey (Book Sense 76 Pick River Thieves, Houghton Mifflin), and the limo is her Subaru Impreza.
Their route will include a first stop at her mothers bed and breakfast in Craftbury Common. Ramsdell, current New England Booksellers Association president, will host a party at home -- complete with a barbecue -- where they will be joined by customers and friends, including author Howard Frank Mosher, who have enjoyed Crummeys award-winning novel. River Thieves was a July/August Book Sense 76 Pick, and in nominating the book Clayton Dudley, of the Millrace Book Store in Farmington, Connecticut, wrote, "I endorse this book highly. Set in Newfoundland, with strong dialogue that enhances the characterizations, here is a wonderful storyteller at work."
The next day, Crummey and Ramsdell will begin a drive to several Vermont bookstores: Bear Pond Books of Montpelier, Norwich Bookstore in Norwich, and Misty Valley Bookshop in Chester. No formal public events will be scheduled, but at all the stores Crummey will sign stock. At the final stop, Northshire Bookstore in Manchester Center, Crummey will hold a scheduled reading and signing event.
Crummeys home is in Newfoundland/Labrador, and despite the growing notice of his work -- River Thieves recently won the Thomas Head Randall Atlantic Fiction Prize and was shortlisted for the Giller 2001 Award and the Commonwealth Prize 2002 -- he is not yet known well enough by most Vermonters to attract a large audience for conventional bookstore readings.
Rather than risk disappointing turnouts, Ramsdell told BTW that she decided to think creatively, "outside the box."
"I had been thinking about NEBAs Read Around New England/New York in October and ways to showcase our stores and help people from the big cities get a better sense of the regions geography," she said. (For a complete story on Read Around New England/NY, click here). Ramsdell noted that "in these small, rural towns we need to create different ways to connect authors with readers
. The drive-by tour seemed to be a way to have fun with it and do something unconventional."
The author and bookseller should have much to talk about during long rides through the Vermont countryside. One of Crummeys recently published chapbook of poems includes some of his favorite discussion topics: "entropy, jazz, love and regret, allergies." -- Nomi Schwartz