More Than a Fond Farewell —
Thirty years is a long time in any of our lives—not as long as many love affairs, nor as long as a parrot’s lifetime, but still long enough to have a human generation (Belle Epoch or Gen X) or conflict (the eponymous Thirty Years’ War) tagged as significant.
Since MBTB opened in 1983, we at the store and you readers patronizing the store have become a special kind of community—in between chatting about the most recent release by a favorite author or bemoaning the fact that another has stopped writing, we’ve shared our personal joys and triumphs as well as our hardships and losses. We’ve celebrated our marriages, the births of new babies, children growing up to read old favorites (Nancy Drew) and new (Theodosia), hair turning gray (or purple or green, depending on our mood), and new places to live (even to retire to), along with honoring the absence of some old and dear friends, authors and readers alike.
Both of these aspects of bookselling at MBTB—sharing a good book and sharing our lives—are parts of our world we will miss tremendously. After all, who could resist reading some of the best writing in the world, then talking about it with others? Not to mention introducing in person some of the authors who write that prose to audiences at the store? Or putting together Murder by the Bye, Murder by the Month, or the various specialized catalogs we published for a time? Or organizing the seminars and workshops we once shared at venues such as the Flying M Ranch and Sylvia Beach Hotel? Or discussing the merits of a particular book at one of the two reading groups that now meet at MBTB?
Our staff, at least, could resist none of these. Most of us have remained, some an amazing amount of time. Jean, long our store manager and most tenured employee, has been at MBTB for 27 years; Nick, one of our blooming mystery writers (Chuck is the other) and most recent hire, already has been with us for ten years. Both Chuck and Jackie were staffers during the 90’s, went off to other occupations for a time, then returned in the past decade as experienced part-timers. Barbara has been at MBTB for 20 years, and became a partner when Jill, who opened the store in 1983, retired five years ago. And Carolyn, who began as a partner in 1984, is grateful for the amazing contributions of all of them, including alumni not named here.
So now to the “more than a farewell” part. The good news is that the publishing of mystery books, though diminished, continues; we’ll be providing readers with a list of bookstores throughout the metro area which offer a good selection of new and used mysteries. Both the reading groups will continue meeting elsewhere, for now at the Belmont library location. AND our newsletter and web site will continue to be available, courtesy of Jean—readers, be sure to sign up if you haven’t already.
As to the “fond” part, we will miss you all more than we can say, but we’ll be looking and listening for you anyplace mysteries are found and talked about, and wish for you a long, healthy, and prosperous reading life.