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August 30, 2020
WHAT DO YOU MISS ABOUT BROWSING your favorite store? The mood, music, or aroma? The friendly conversation with staff? The merchandise itself - color, design, whimsy, beauty? In the case of books, the covers that we’re not supposed to judge by beckon us to pick them up, read the flap, and turn the pages.
Browsing online isn’t quite the same, but you can create some atmosphere - brew a pot of tea or coffee, put on some music and log in. Which is what I did the other day when I visited OutWestShop.com’s webpage at bookshop.org.
My sister and I were so excited when we created this page, defining our lists and filling them with books. We felt as though we were unpacking boxes and arranging our stock, getting ready for opening day. We added favorites from our bookseller and librarian days as well as our personal reading. We made new discoveries, too. And we were so excited to share these titles from our NOW FEATURING list with readers, which we now do through Facebook and blog posts.
As I browsed our lists recently I discovered STAGECOACH WOMEN: BRAVE AND DARING WOMEN OF THE WILD WEST, a new release by Cheryl Mullenbach. In a Facebook post from the author she describes her subjects as “...the many audacious women who drove, owned, and robbed stagecoaches.”
How intriguing! I was reminded of books I had added to our Children's Biography and Children’s Fiction lists, books I knew as a children’s librarian that kids loved.
FEARLESS MARY defied the norm. A formerly enslaved woman in her sixties Mary Fields drove a particularly perilous stagecoach route, carrying passengers, supplies and the mail. Claire Amon’s illustrations capture Fields' strength and bravery in Tami Charles’ picture book.
RIDING FREEDOM, Pam Muñoz Ryan’s biographical novel appeals to middle grade readers. A New Englander drawn to California by the Gold Rush, Charley Parkhurst had a way with horses and a stellar reputation. He, too, carried passengers and delivered the mail under dangerous conditions. But Charley kept a secret to his dying day - he was really Charlotte Parker, who dressed as a man her entire career and may even have voted in the presidential election of 1868.
Western songwriter and performer, John Bergstrom's GHOSTS AND LEGENDS album celebrates Charlotte Parker's life in the song, "Charley Parkhurst."
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