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Paperback The King's English: Adventures of an Independent Bookseller Book

ISBN: 1423601246

ISBN13: 9781423601241

The King's English: Adventures of an Independent Bookseller

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Format: Paperback

Condition: Very Good

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Book Overview

Betsy Burton, owner of The King's English Bookshop in Salt Lake City, has been a bookseller for nearly thirty years, and a passionate book lover all her life. Her modestly sized yet widely respected shop has hosted authors such as E. L. Doctorow, Isabel Allende, Jon Krakauer, Margaret Atwood, Octavio Paz, and Sue Grafton, and she has built a reputation as a passionate purveyor of the written word in a world where stores like hers are a dying breed...

Customer Reviews

4 ratings

The Joy of Bookselling

Betsy Burton is the proprietor of The King's English, an independent bookstore in Salt Lake City. Since the store opened in 1977 she has had many high and low moments, and in this memoir she ably dsecribes both. I have always had a secret hankering to run a bookstore myself, and The King's English both reassured and alarmed me. Burton has had the pleasure of dealing with many wonderful, charming people as employees, partners, authors, and customers over the years. She has also had to deal with viccisitudes like dealing with business partners she doesn't agree or get along with, authors who really prefer not to waste their time with the vulgar people who actually sell and buy their books, and employees and customers who are dishonest or outright criminals. But even the low points as described in The King's English are enjoyable to read about because Burton is naturally witty and a born writer. Burton waxes most profoundly and enjoyably when writing on three subjects: her private struggle dealing with a handicapped child, the tendency of some people to try to censor/ban books which upset them, and the growth of the superchain bookstores and the dot-coms which have threatened her business over the years. I found this last subject particularly interesting since I am still mourning the loss of one of the great independent bookstores, Oxford Books of Atlanta, which died nearly ten years ago. Somehow or other when I've passed through Salt Lake City I've overlooked a visit to The King's English. Now that I've met the store's proprietor through this book I intend to put it at the top of my agenda, and will hope to see the bookstore alive and well and to find Betsy Burton hard at work within.

A cozy, nourishing read

A comfy chair, your favorite warm beverage and this book makes for a very pleasurable stay indoors on a dreary day. To the author, running a bookstore is a calling, not a career. She chronicles the joys, frustrations, risks and rewards of following her dream with an avidity that effortlessly sweeps us into her world. Her passion is palpable - as if she is taking you by the elbow through her store, excitedly sharing the realization of her lifelong dream with you. The behind-the-scenes guided tour is sure to fascinate customers of independent bookstores as well as those who aspire to own such establishments. How does the owner decide which books to buy for the store and whom to employ? How knowledgeable do the employees need to be and how do they build a rapport with customers of diverse literary tastes? What is it really like to host a famous or little-known author to conduct a reading at your bookstore? How does the management deal with controversial books? Burton addresses all these and many more issues in her book, her narrative deftly covering the intricate interplay of her professional and personal lives. In an age of un-innocence, when writers are all too eager to unburden their existential angst and analyze yet another malaise of modern society, it is refreshing to read a book such as The King's English. It is not only the saga of a bookstore, but a story of a woman's dream brought to fruition by hard work, intuition and faith in her goal.

Books, Community and Betsy

Buy this book for the great lists of books from the last 25 plus years!! If you could read just one list, you would be well read. Betsy Burton not only created the reading lists, but she captures what is best about shopping in your neighborhood stores. As you follow the charming history of this Salt Lake icon, you watch a community grow and change. You see the world through insightful lists of books that reflect the history of the last 25 years. You read personal stories about authors that we have adored. Betsy is a voice for good books, for the power of reading, and for shopping locally! And, I have always gotten great service at TKE!!! The staff actually hand delivered a gift for my grandmother! And they always know the perfect book for all the kids in my life... Betsy has done a terrific job, at the store and in her book.

A great read and a valuable resource!

It is hard to imagine that the story of an independent bookstore in Salt Lake City could be a page-turner, filled with drama and suspense, humor and tears. But "The King's English: Adventures of an Independent Bookseller" has those elements, and more. It is a delicious read, a booklover's feast. Along with tales of the ups and downs of the bookselling business, "The King's English" is chock full of stories about authors and books. Burton whets our appetite for books with "book blurbs," and her narrative bubbles with enthusiasm as she describes authors' visits to her store. That Burton venerates authors is apparent on every page. When a friend accused her of "toadying up" to authors, she acknowledged that she worships at the feet of the best of them. Why shouldn't she? "They can craft words into sentences that make music and at the same time shed light on the human condition, can make the heart and the mind sing the same heady song. They are geniuses deserving of worship." Her hero worship is leavened by her sense of humor, her ability to poke fun at her star struck behavior. There was the time she invited Isabel Allende home for dinner and was so distracted that the honored guest had to take over the cooking if the meal was to be served at all. "The King's English" is also a story spiced by the David and Goliath struggle of the independent bookstore against the mammoth bookstore chains. What are we losing when chains bring us books without the personal touch of those who know and love them, who can introduce us to new authors, who sell books because they are good, even if they never become the next best seller? Though Burton does not challenge her readers explicitly, we need to ask ourselves what our role should be in that struggle. And the dessert of this feast is the lists of recommended books, from The Kings' English and other independent bookstores around the country. I found some of my favorite books among Burton's suggestions, so I trust her guidance. I took her book with me to the library and selected three books by authors I had not read. Each was a treasure. [...]. "The King's English" is a great read, and a valuable resource.
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