Last week, the “Awesome Literary Thing” we focused on was bookstores. I think we can all agree that bookstores are awesome and that you should support more of them in your community if you want them to stick around. But what about the people behind those bookstores? What about the booksellers themselves?
Through BoingBoing, that great internet repository of awesome, I found a photo series by photographer named Steve Kenward. The series is called “Literally” and Steve has taken photographs of many booksellers among their books and inside their bookshops. On his website Steve says, “Independent bookshops are great places to spend time in. These portraits are some of the lovely people who can help you find something special. You really can’t beat the smell of fresh ink in a new hardback or the excitement on discovering a copy of that out of print classic. So next time you are passing a bookshop, pop in. You might be surprised what you find.”
I love the way Steve describes booksellers here, as “the lovely people who can help you find something special.” Yes, sometimes you go into a bookstore with a prepared list, all ready to find what you’re on a mission to find. But other times you come in less prepared, and you need a helping hand. These are the folks who can recommend, locate, and research for you.
These photos are fascinating because each one of these booksellers is completely surrounded by their wares. Steve has also collected each bookseller’s favorite book, which is a great way to get some insight into these folks.
I encourage you to check out the photo series, “Literally,” and do some reflecting on the booksellers that you’ve come into contact with on your book-hunting adventures.
— Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan