Bare branches, full shelves

February has never been an easy month, at least for me. The snow, great for skiing during the holidays, is cold and icy and used. I usually catch some kind of bug. The garden and farmers market season will never arrive, it seems. I can see why the season that the Christian church calls Lent came about, with the earth conspiring to give us time to be reflective, to be sad, to be sunk in the depths of the gray and the cold and from which pleasures like fine foods, friends, and fun can barely lift us. If ever there is a time to be absorbed in a book, it is February.

Fortunately, we have shelves full of books, along with wonderful events even during the depths of winter to help us make it through. Just this past week we launched two wonderful and very different books, The Last Vispo Anthology edited by Crag Hill, and City of a Thousand Dolls by Miriam Forster. Back to back but as different as day and night, these events brought new faces and new energy to the store. Seeing all the forms that poetry takes reminded me of the neverending creative drive that makes the world go round...and seeing a young author, at only her second reading, engage her audience so winningly, reminds me that there is an abundance of literary talent, and great stories being imagined all the time. So there is no reason to fear the end of the book, or the printed word.

So spring will arrive, and February is short. And here at the bookstore we have another harbinger of spring: all the new publishers' catalogs for Spring 2013! New books are arriving all the time, and lately we have been concentrating on the gardening section and the travel section. We've added all the Rick Steves travel guides (yes, every single one), and are bringing in a wide variety of Rough Guides, Lonely Planets, and Moon guides to complement our selection of Eyewitness, Frommer's, and Fodor's. You might be giving up chocolate or social media for Lent but fortunately there's nothing to stop us from planning and dreaming our way through these dark, cold days!

Carol Spurling
No giving up books for Lent