Two years ago, when sisters Linda Brower and Karen Barringer discovered that the bookstore on Lopez Island, Wash., was for sale, they took the leap to purchase it and to move there with their families.
Sisters/booksellers Karen Barringer (left) and Linda Brower.
Locals and tourists feared the Lopez Bookshop would close when veteran bookseller Phyllis Potter put it up for sale. Brower and Barringer credit Potter and the local library for nurturing the love of books in this small community in the San Juan archipelago. "We've had some wonderful and interesting discussions about writers, writing, and the value of books in our lives," Brower said. "It's so rewarding to know that our customers, whether children or adults, still appreciate books and how they open up a world of wonders."
Barringer, who previously owned a bookstore near Seattle, and Brower, a former elementary school educator, continued Potter's tradition of carrying books for all ages as well as featuring local authors. New programs include a Bonus Book Card, discounts for book groups and the addition of used books to the inventory. The biggest attention-getter, however, is the chalkboard beside the shop's front door that lists a literary question each day. "It's a great conversation starter," Barringer said, "and it's fun to see customers' excitement when they get a candy treat for answering the question correctly." Once inside the shop, another blackboard behind the counter offers inspiring words from authors.
Among recent questions:
Home of Mrs. Dashwood and her three daughters in Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility?
a. Chatsworth House
b. Barton Cottage
c. Thornfield Hall
In William Steig's book Amos & Boris, Amos is a and Boris is a ?
a. Bear, dog
b. Cat, turtle
c. Mouse, whale
"I'm an idealist. I don't know where I'm going, but I'm on my way."
a. Robert Frost
b. Langston Hughes
c. Carl Sandburg
--Iris Graville, an author and publisher who lives on Lopez Island