The best thing about being a writer is the people you meet – other writers, book sellers, and readers. People who love books are people worth knowing.
Yesterday I was the speaker at Who Did It?: A Grammatically Correct Mystery Book Club, an organization sponsored by Moby Dickens Bookshop in Taos, New Mexico. I had spoken to them last year and was invited back to talk about my second book. All of last year’s attendees were there, and even though this was only my second visit, I felt like I was among friends.
Moby Dickens is owned by Art & Susan Bachrach. Art handles rare and out-of-print books which their website notes is a division of the business referred to fondly as ‘Mouldy Dickens’. Susan specializes in travel books and Southwest topic. Susan is a warm and open person. She and Art are a charming couple.
The two owners are ably assisted by several other staff, including Carole who handles ordering my books and is therefore the most important person in the organization, and Ruby, the tortoise shell cat who specializes in customer service and rodent control.
Art is also an author. He wrote scholarly books before he retired and has since specialized in biography. I have read all the biographies of Lawrence, and Art’s D. H. Lawrence in New Mexico is the best of them, in part because Art personally knows the people of Taos who knew D. H. and Frieda when they lived in Taos. But the book also benefits from Art’s background as a scientist. It is meticulously researched and written in a reportorial style free from ax-grinding opinion.
Art’s current project is a biography of Millicent Rogers, a work that has taken him a while to write because he is completely blind and nearly deaf. He will be working with his editor in the next few days on the final edits before the manuscript goes off to the publisher. She reads and suggests, he listens through headphones and decides. Despite the demands of running a business and writing his own books, he has generously assisted me with one of my forthcoming works, The Pot Thief Who Studied D. H. Lawrence.
Despite the challenges he faces, Art is an upbeat and good-humored person, a true gentleman and scholar. I am privileged to count him as a friend.