I visited family in Orlando for the first time since starting this blog. Game to get on the bookstore visiting bandwagon, each day started with “which stores are we going to today?” Top of my list – Urban Think! I’d seen it pop up on Shelf Awareness and it was in an area of Orlando new to me. We all stopped by, Dad, step-mom, sister and two squirrelly toddlers. Urban Think! is located in a quaint neighborhood, one of the oldest in Orlando (which probably means it’s about the same age as Los Angeles, this isn’t St. Augustine). Surrounded by blocks of old homes with wide front porches, a cluster of restaurants, cute shops and multi-use buildings, the store is airy, compact and comfortable.
The display that caught my eye, and my wallet, was a display of books on books and reading. I wondered what shopping for books about book shopping would be called, meta-bookshopping? I wanted the entire shelf, but I was responsible for lifting my suitcase up into the overhead compartment, so I settled on Used and Rare: Travels in the Book World by Lawrence and Nancy Goldstone (I wondered if they were thinking of me when they wrote this book, it’s not dedicated to me, maybe it should be, but we haven’t met) and Ex Libris by Anne Fadiman. Have I mentioned lately how much I love Anne Fadiman and want to grow up to be her? It used to be Cokey Roberts that I wanted to metamorphosize into, now it’s Anne.
I stopped by the recent events table to see which authors stop by Orlando. It’s not a city I see on many author tours, but with Disney World close by, I would have thought it would be top on the list of any author who was a parent. I found Helen Thomas’ new book Listen Up, Mr. President: Everything You Always Wanted Your President To Know and Do. Helen Thomas has been a fixture of my life, it’s hard to think of a Presidential news conference without picturing her in the front row. She was a tough, no-nonsense woman before it was deemed acceptable. Many women owe her a debt of thanks. The manager of the store, Jim, attended the event and wrote an excellent review on his blog What Can I Say?
While presented as a series of object lessons for presidents, it’s also filled with anecdotes about all the presidents that Helen Thomas has had the opportunity of working with, and Craig’s incisive observations gleaned from working as one of the District’s most intuitive political commentators. It’s funny, yet smart and full of telling little barbs. And not once do the authors launch partisan attacks– they simply state the facts, as good reporters do.
My favorite observation of his: imagine Helen Thomas interviewing Sarah Palin. Just the thought brings a smile to my face.
While my nieces were destroying the children’s section (I love being the aunt and just watching them), I distracted Jim by asking how business was going. Not great. He mentioned how the locals would drop by, pick up a dog biscuit for their pooch, then recommend he carry a great book they loved and bought from Amazon. Ouch! I suggested he try the message I saw from the Capitola Book Cafe – just don’t buy ALL of your books from Amazon. Alas, even before I could post this review, the store announced it would be closing at the end of the month. Bookstore closings tend to trigger terrific sales, so stop by to say goodbye and purchase.
625 E. Central Blvd.
Orlando, FL 32801