Notes: Giovanni's 35th; Celebrating Jim Mitchell
As Giovanni's Room bookstore, Philadelphia, Pa., celebrates its 35th anniversary, the Inquirer
noted that "most Philadelphians are unaware that Giovanni's is the
second-oldest gay-and-lesbian bookstore in the country, behind only New
York's Oscar Wilde Bookshop, launched in 1967. Through six owners,
three locations and countless volunteers, Giovanni's has come to
represent far more to the city's gay community than a bibliophilic
"If ever a business was created by a community, this is it," co-owner Ed Hermance said. "People made this place with their blood and guts. The first three years, we were 100 percent volunteers."
MainStreet BookEnds, Warner, N.H., will host a special groundbreaking ceremony this weekend that will honor Jim Mitchell, the former owner of the bookstore who died last June.
According to the Concord Monitor, "One big task that Mitchell had undertaken before his death is on its way to being realized. Mitchell had been dreaming up ways to turn the woodsy area between the store and the town library into a public park and amphitheater. The store will host a groundbreaking for the project Saturday at 11 a.m. It will take place during the Warner Fall Foliage Festival, an event that Mitchell helped organize."
Katharine Nevins, Mitchell's sister and partner in the business, said the groundbreaking is "a celebration of the beginning. . . . He was always putting a positive spin on everything, and that's what we need to do."
Aspiring entrepreneurs will receive advice tonight at R.J. Julia Booksellers in Madison, Conn., during the panel "Birthing the Elephant: Start-up Strategies for Women." Hosting is Karin Abarbanel, co-author of Birthing the Elephant: The Woman's Go-for-It! Guide to Overcoming the Big Challenges of Launching a Business (Ten Speed Press), who will be joined by R.J. Julia owner Roxanne Coady and Fat Murray's Doggy Treats founder Ronnie Fliss--both of whom are featured in the book.
"Today's tough economy is going to impel or inspire more and more women--and men--to look at launching a small business as a way to take control of their futures," said Abarbanel. "This panel is a great way to help people decide if a start-up is a good move for them." Participants will offer tips on topics ranging from avoiding common pitfalls to substituting "brains for bucks."
Abarbanel is considering staging similar events at bookstores in major markets like New York, Houston, and Chicago that would include women business owners profiled in Birthing the Elephant.
"My next-door neighbors in their backyard, reading," wrote Barbara Brotman in a Chicago Tribune
profile of Charles and Sue Wells, whom she described as "marathon
readers. Hours pass, the sun's position shifts, I do the grocery
shopping and two loads of laundry--and there they still are, sitting in
the same chairs next to each other on their patio, in complete silence
and utter absorption. They have not moved except to turn pages."
Brotman's curiosity compelled her to ask them about their reading lives: "They love to read, and have made it a priority in their lives. Reading isn't something sandwiched between the day's events; it is an event itself--many days, the main one. No guilt; no thoughts about what else they could be doing. This is what they want to be doing, so they do it. Imagine reading not as what you do when you have a few extra minutes, but as a day's destination."
Effective immediately, MBI Distribution Services is distributing the following new client publishers to the North American market:
- Peter Morgan Media, Marlborough, England, a publisher of specialist automotive buyer's guides and related histories with an emphasis on sports cars.
- The Good Life Press, Lancashire, England, a family-run specialist publisher that offers a range of books on country living.