Gayle's March 2017 Letter

Dear Bookstore Friends,

Gayle Shanks The sun is shining, I just cleaned out the shelves in my pantry, and I have a plan to clean the garage and all the cabinets in my house. Lately I'm feeling the necessity of doing something productive, keeping myself away from incessant emails and reading or listening to the news, which usually depresses me. It all seems to be getting worse. We once again subscribed to the New York Times and The New Yorker, after having allowed both to lapse last year when they piled up so high that I felt continuously guilty for not getting to them. But now more than ever I feel obligated to support both with more than online subscriptions. I want them to be in our world even if I don't always have time to read them. NEW YORKER RADIO HOURSpeaking of which, I think I have a serious crush on David Remnick and love listening to his weekly New Yorker Radio Hour podcasts. As to the NYT, I must confess to reading the Styles section first when the Sunday Times arrives. Something about Modern Love and Vows that draws me like a magnet. Puts me in a much better frame of mind to read the Op Ed pages!

Our staff at both stores have done some amazing things in the last two months, including reading and researching books that offer insight into how we got here politically and how to cope with it all. On Presidents' Day we announced we were donating the day's net profits to IRC Phoenix, our local chapter of the International Rescue Committee (IRC). So many of you walked through our doors. You made it such a heart-warming day for everyone—the other good folks who came, our staff, the IRC, and the refugees they support. This event followed a great NYT article about independent bookstores all over the country whose mission is to inspire, inform and educate, who are standing up to and resisting ill-conceived policies by featuring the work of writers who were banned from entering the U.S. as immigrants and refugees.

IRC Phx ROSENWALDIf you think one person or one company can't make an enormous change in the world, you should see the film Rosenwald which was screened recently at the AZ Jewish Film Festival. I had no idea that one of the partners at Sears & Roebuck, Julius Rosenwald, the child of immigrants from Germany, helped so many African Americans in the early part of the twentieth century by funding some 5,000 elementary schools in the southern states. He also founded and backed the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. Why, you ask? Because he believed that those who have should help those who do not, and it was his responsibility to do good and help repair the world with the wealth he'd acquired. If only that were the 'golden rule' everyone adhered to, what a different world we might live in today.

So, I'm off to clean my garage, refill the ever empty bird feeders in the yard, and enjoy my day off. Do come visit us at the bookstores. We love talking with you and sharing what we've read and what we're thinking about in these challenging times. Let's enjoy the comforts of the written word and our amazing springtime weather.


Questions or comments? Email Gayle at