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Work, Travel, and Inspiration

Do you travel for work? If so, is it a pleasure or a burden? Seems to me that most people who do it a lot find it a chore, but for those of us who do it rarely, it’s kind of a treat. That’s true for me, in any case. Independent booksellers usually stay hunkered down in our stores focusing, as we should, on local concerns, but once in while there’s a reason to look up at the horizon and light out in that direction.

Last month’s occasion for mixing business with pleasure was the annual Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Fall Trade Show in Portland. It’s a three-day event that includes educational panels where booksellers can discuss best practices, visits from publisher representatives talking about their upcoming holiday releases, and appearances by authors both famous and yet-unknown. The schedule is crammed with activity from breakfast until late in the evening, and I could probably write a year’s-worth of blog posts about all the interesting books I discover there, not to mention all the interesting people who produce them ...

What I was most inspired to tell you about, though, was a ... speech by a writer named Jane Kirkpatrick. I’m a bit embarrassed to say that I wasn’t previously familiar with her work, given that she’s authored more than thirty books over the past three decades and is for many a fixture on the Northwest literary scene. Her chosen genre is not one I normally follow closely, but she was so impassioned and articulate about what she writes and why that I had to find out more ... continued