“My goodness. This week, when a customer’s special order of two copies of Naifeh and Smith’s recent biography of the doomed painter arrived, I was almost overcome by a physical desire to abandon the register, take one of the copies to the back of the store, put on my headphones, and read. It’s a beautiful book—compact but enormous, with plenty of full-color reproductions and the promise of the well-told history of a life I don’t actually know very much about. My heart was fluttering, and as I gave the books to her I felt like someone who glimpses a stranger through the window of a passing train and spends the rest of a life writing a novel about what might have been. Except in my case I did what any bookseller would do: I ordered another copy for myself and one for the store. Soon I’ll have my own, though I’m not sure when I’ll have the time to disappear into it.”
— Tom Nissley, Phinney Books, Seattle, WA
Over at Queen Anne Book Company, I seriously considered making a display of the books on the top of my to-be-read list during the busy holiday season. Now that it’s 2015, booksellers have a chance to catch their breath and open the covers on books they’ve been long-anticipating. If you want to join Tom, you can get Van Gogh through Phinney Books and other indie bookstores.