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Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Top Ten Reasons to Read “Books in Northport”

Frequent star of the show

10. It’s free!

9. You are a family member.

8. You are an old friend.

7. You are a new friend.

6. You stumbled onto it by accident.

5. You can skim quickly or just scroll for pictures.

4. There is usually at least one dog image.

3. Occasionally you’ll find something about books.

2. [Make up your own reason.] 

1. You get everything you paid for. (It’s FREE.)

Check it out today -- Books in Northport! (Coming to you this winter from Cochise County, Arizona!)

Arizona cows

Friday, November 4, 2022

Looking Ahead to 30! Yes, THIRTY!

Waukazoo Street, 1993


As my annual seasonal retirement from bookselling begins for 2022-2023, my bookstore buttoned up and closed for the winter, already I wonder what next winter will bring. I know, however, what next summer will bring: the 30th anniversary of Dog Ears Books and my 30th anniversary as a bookseller Up North. Incredible!


When my husband and I rented the little sheds on Waukazoo Street in 1993 (now long gone, along with Woody’s Settling Inn next door, also remembered fondly, for its old sign, as Hotel Bar), little did either of us imagine that I would still be selling books 30 years later. That first summer what we had for stock was the overflow of our combined personal libraries, all the books we decided we would probably never re-read. (At home, the bookshelves were still full, but we had eliminated boxes full of additional books stacked on the floor.) Our little starter bookshop experiment was so well received, however, that we attended the Interlochen Public Library book sale that summer and bought more used books for the shop. It wasn’t a yard sale. It was a business. Run by a couple with little business sense or experience but a deep love of books.


That was the beginning. As for the name, my husband came up with it. I had adopted a little mutt in the spring, and we were selling only used books that first year, so Dog Ears was a natural. Although if we had been able to look ahead 30 years, we might have come up with something more dignified, still – as David observed that first summer, overhearing people murmuring as they walked by -- “People love to say the name.” Dog Ears, Dog Ears, Dog Ears....

Nikki in her old age, 2007


I remember my delight when someone would walk through the door and ask, “Do you have a poetry section?” Yes, I do! So glad you asked!


Many of you who have become lasting friends I met that first year: Julia was one of several who asked for poetry. Mark bought a Simenon novel. George chose The Last Time I Saw Paris, one of my all-time favorite books.


Those first years were trial by fire. So much to learn! At first, it was only used books, our own, but how did one tell a first edition, what was the value of a dust jacket, and what books were worthy of shelf space, when shelf space is limited? (And shelf space is always limited!) Old books are like violins, I tell people now: age alone does not equal value. There must still exist a market for the author’s works. And then – condition, condition, condition!


Oh, the challenges of those early years! Not only learning the market but the daily trial, difficult for a shy, bookish introvert, of having to greet and converse with strangers! Gradually – it took me about five years – I realized that most other people feel shy, too, and that when they come into what they perceive as my space, it’s up to me to put them at ease. In that way, my bookstore helped me grow as a person.


A few years into the game, after sending people day after day to other bookstores when they wanted field guides I didn’t have in stock, it occurred to me to add new books to the mix. Those were the days of Partners Book Distributing, and it was always a joy to phone in an order from those friendly people. They stocked the nature field guides I initially wanted, and a treasure trove of Michigan and Great Lakes titles, fiction and nonfiction and illustrated children’s books. I was one of their happy “partners” for years and still miss them.


Not to get too deeply into reminiscence, however – I’ll save some of that for next year -- eventually, like other booksellers who fell into this strange, somewhat marginal career more by happenstance than by plan, as years went by I seemed to have found my niche. I also see, looking back, that my husband’s career as a working artist and my work as a bookseller dovetailed into a very rich life for the two of us, giving us opportunities to meet interesting people from all over the country, even the world, who appreciated art and books.


And so, now, as I keep repeating -- more out of astonishment than boastfulness, believe me! -- next July will mark 30 years of that little bookshop born one summer in a modest shed. It took a village but more than a village. It took a willing daily partner (“a donkey for literature,” he used to call himself, carrying boxes of books for me -- while I called myself a "handmaid to the arts" as I helped shlep large paintings), a long list of marvelous Michigan authors, and the material support of local and visiting customers, year after year, buying both new and used books in my shop. My heartfelt thanks to you all for helping keep this dream alive!


I’m already thinking about how to celebrate the 30-year mark of Dog Ears Books, and I have a couple of ideas, but if my customers have suggestions for me, too, I will be happy to hear them. Please share! And again, thank you!

Book pup Sarah, 2008

Thursday, October 20, 2022

Time to Plan Ahead


Everyman's Library Children's Classics

Only Friday and Saturday this week, and then Wednesday through Saturday next week, because Saturday, October 29th, will be the last day of the 2022 Dog Ears Books season! We'll be back in May and celebrating 30 years of bookselling next summer, but please visit if you can before we close for the winter, especially if you're thinking ahead to holiday gifts. 

And thanks for a better 2022 season than I expected. It was difficult personally, in a lot of ways, but I was helped along with support from bookstore friends and customers -- two groups that certainly overlap! Thank you!

Thursday, October 13, 2022

Seasonal Closing


October is the last month of business for Dog Ears this year!

The bookstore closing is only seasonal, not permanent. I will be back before next Memorial Day to celebrate my 30th year in business (1993-2023), but at the end of this October 2022 I'll be closing until May 2023 for my seasonal retirement. I plan to remain in contact over the winter through my main blog, Books in Northport.

Because not everything on my to-do list can be accomplished on Sundays and Mondays, starting next week the bookstore and gallery will only be open Wednesdays through Sundays, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. That is, Wednesday, Oct. 19, through Saturday, Oct. 22, and then Wednesday, Oct. 26, through Saturday, Oct. 29.

Thank you for 29 years of bookselling and a gratifying 2022 season. I look forward to celebrating three decades next summer in Northport. 

Friday, September 16, 2022

We always have a good time with Lynne Rae Perkins!


Lynne Rae at Dog Ears Books, August 2012

She has been here before, and now she's coming again, and I couldn't be more pleased. I hope you'll be able to join us on Saturday, October 1st, when Lynne Rae Perkins will be signing her new book for Dog Ears Books customers from 12 noon to 2 p.m. And this one is a mouse story! 

In the spirit of her squirrel book, Nuts to You!, this new one, Violet & Jobie in the Wild, takes a pair of house mice on a series of adventures, beginning when they are caught and transported to the wild. It wasn't a life they chose, but Violet and Jobie learn there is much more to the world than traps baited with cheese and peanut butter. 

Violet & Jobie in the Wild is an illustrated chapter book, perfect for middle-grade readers but too good not to share with the whole family!

Hardcover with dust jacket, $16.99

Monday, August 29, 2022

At Last! At Last! Big News!

Sorry I've been so lax about posting to this blog, but it has been a very strange summer. Now, however, I have BIG NEWS! Sarah Shoemaker, Northport resident and author of the acclaimed Mr. Rochester, has a new novel coming out on September 6, and Dog Ears Books is getting together with Sarah and the Leelanau Township Library and Friends for an open house-signing-launch at the library in Northport! You can read about the book here, but mark your calendar now, because the event is the Tuesday evening following Labor Day, and you don't want to forget. Doors will open at 7:30 p.m., books will be available for purchase, author will be happy to sign books. There will be no formal presentation, so just drop by whenever you can make it, and we will be there -- probably not past 9 p.m., but you'll want to come before refreshments run out, anyway. Hint: Think Greek. 


Monday, July 11, 2022

Bookish Northport News for July -- TOMORROW!!!


Author talk on Tuesday, July 12, 7:30 p.m. at Leelanau Township Library

There are no Thursday Evening author events this summer at Dog Ears Books, but the township library is going forward with its summer author series in July. The first author gave his talk at the Willowbrook, Elizabeth Emerson will speak at the library tomorrow evening, and Greg Nobles will tell us all about Betsey Stockton at the Willowbrook next week, July 19. His talk was originally scheduled to take place at the Northport Arts Association building, so don't be confused. Best plan is to come to the library tomorrow evening, hear Elizabeth, and get the rest of the schedule straight on your calendar. 

Letters from Red Farm is subtitled The Untold Story of the Friendship between Helen Keller and Journalist Joseph Edgar Chamberlin. Helen Keller's autobiography, The Story of My Life, was just about my first foray into nonfiction, and I've never forgotten it. Not only did Ms. Keller accomplish more than most sighted and hearing individuals in a lifetime, she also touched many other lives and was an example to the world. Joseph Chamberlin was her mentor for over 40 years, and the author of this book, Elizabeth Emerson, is Chamberlin's great-great-granddaughter, s tomorrow's library talk promises to be fascinating in every respect.

I'm not usually in the bookstore on Mondays but made an exception today, because I was unable to purchase a great number of Emerson's book and wanted to make it available today, as well as tomorrow, so don't miss out! Come on down!