Friday, August 3, 2018

The King's English Bookshop

Bookstore: The King's English Bookshop

Location: Salt Lake City, Utah

The Official Patter: "The King’s English Bookshop opened its door (there was only one, to start) in 1977. Betsy Burton and Ann Berman, book lovers and aspiring writers, thought they had it all figured out. They rented an old building with several rooms, thinking they’d write their Great American Novels in the back, emerging to sell a book or two whenever the bells on the front door jangled to announce the arrival of a customer. The women soon realized the jingling bells were not a distraction from their writing life but a welcome sound, signalling the opportunity to meet new friends and talk books. The bookshop became a full-time labor of love."

Why I Love Them: The interesting thing about Utah is this was the epicenter for the rise of the YA movement. Just look at all the authors who write in that genre and still live there: James Dasher, Ally Condie, Shannon Hale, Brandon Mull, Brandon Sanderson (in a one-two Brandon punch), and Jessica Day George. If we go back to those who've since left we'll see the darling of the YA genre, Stephenie Meyer, was also a member of the Utah literati. Having that many big name authors is a boon to an independent bookstore, and that boon was 100% there for The King's English Bookshop. But it's friendliness to YA authors meant it also became a hub for authors on tour, so you could catch everyone from Marissa Meyer to Leigh Bardugo stopping by.   

Best Buy: For more years than I can remember I've been a fan of Shannon Hale. I was lucky enough to meet her once at a bookstore here in Wisconsin and another time down in Illinois. But in recent years as her proliferation as a writer has grown her author appearances outside the sphere of Utah and it's environs has waned. So needless to say the reason I first became away of The King's English Bookshop was because she was signing there. Since then all my Shannon Hale books have come from The King's English, in fact I'm impatiently (very impatiently) awaiting two books at this very moment! But of all her books there is one that I view the most important, the true best buy. When the fourth book in her Bayern series Forest Born was released in 2009 it had a cover that broke with the look of the previous three books. The previous three volumes had simply gorgeous covers by the amazingly talented Alison Jay. These covers are in fact why I picked up the series. But then artistic covers were no longer in vogue and instead we got a picture cover with some YA waif instead of Alison Jay artwork for Forest Born. I was no happy. Shannon Hale herself didn't seem that happy with the change and saw that her fans weren't happy and did something about it. In 2011 a "special edition" of Forest Born was released with an Alison Jay cover and I didn't think I could be happier. But then Shannon was doing a signing at The King's English and I was able to get a signed copy of this much hoped for edition. Therefore it is easily my best buy, and a book lovers dream come true to have all the covers of a series matching!  


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