Been making these regular runs to Ann Arbor going on sixteen years. The past two years, however, it's been much harder to squeeze in a run up north.
This past Saturday, I visited Aunt Agatha's in that city up there — a bookstore I've visited countless times as a patron — but this time as a signing author.
More than a bit surreal, that experience. Had similar feelings at Westerville's Foul Play a few weeks back: another bookstore I've visited for, well, decades, but as a reader/collector.
Very pleased to say that Aunt Agatha's is in fine shape and I'm very grateful to Robin and Jamie for hosting a great event. Also heartfelt thanks to those who came, and to co-signer Mark Terry whose new novel is THE FALLEN. Do check it out.
Apart from below's HEAD GAMES-style display at Aunt Agatha's, behold this shot of Robin with the store's vintage Pocket Books display...the stuff collectors' dreams are made of.
I've always enjoyed my sorties to Ann Arbor: a good walking town...a great bookstore town.
Apart from the wonderful Aunt Agatha's, Dawn Treader and the West Side Book Shop were right were I left them. Books from their shelves line my shelves. A couple of other frequent bookstore haunts are still there, but have moved to new environs.
On the other hand, Shaman Drum's passing has left a big empty downtown there in the smile of State Street.
I knew before I headed up, of course, that bookstore had closed, but it was still depressing to see that Big Empty across from The Red Hawk — a favorite dining destination on each run to the Kindom of the Wolverines.
It was Shaman Drum that hosted James Ellroy on the two occasions I drove north to see/interview him — the last time for THE COLD SIX THOUSAND interview that appears in my book, ART IN THE BLOOD. It was at Shaman, in an upstairs office space, I also interviewed the great Alistair MacLeod.
Now the store is gone, gone, gone....
I've pretty much reconciled myself to the closings of a lot of favorite dining and entertainment venues in the throes of this so-called "Great Recession," but bookstore closings still go down hard and thick.
This weekend was, also, the theoretical wind-down of the road-heavy PRINT THE LEGEND tour, although I am in talks to add one or two more weekend events before the end of April. Stay tuned: having worked the west, it seems time to head at least a bit easterly....
In the meantime, if you're looking for signed copies of PRINT THE LEGEND, you might still find a few in Houston at Murder by the Book, in Austin at BookPeople, in Arizona at Poisoned Pen, and in Michigan at Aunt Agatha's. (The latter also has signed copies of HEAD GAMES, TOROS & TORSOS and ROGUE MALES).
They may even have a few copies left of the now nearly depleted limited edition chapbook containing the short story "COLT" in which Hector Lassiter crosses paths with a famous, Ohio-born writer whose larger-than-life legend ended in mystery somewhere in the Borderlands early last century.
Next Saturday I'll be stopping back by Foul Play in Westerville, Ohio to sign more editions of PRINT THE LEGEND for those who didn't get copies when supplies ran out.
Signing off with an image of a Terry/McDonald cake. More on this craaazzzy confection here.