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December 03, 2016
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Kelly McMasters; Reader, writer, independent bookstore owner

Beyond having “an addiction for books,” McMasters explained that the original idea for the store was a “celebration of paper.” The woodblock prints are by her artist husband Mark Milroy.

I know that some people just aren’t readers and that’s fine—no actually that’s not fine, but you know what I mean. And that’s why I partner here with First Book, and for every book that I sell, we give a book to a kid in Wayne or Pike County. Last year First Book did their book gifting around the holidays… and they’re planning their Christmas event again this year. They focus on pre-K. These are the very first books that these kids will ever own, and then they’re going home and reading them to their parents, because in some cases their parents can’t read, and that act—I mean I have a two year old and a four year old and we’re constantly reading together. With the two year old, he’s just now asking for the books, and he’s really excited in choosing his books, and now the four year old is starting to read to me. It’s this really interesting capsule in time where… we’re sharing a story and sharing physical space. I mean they’ll both be on my lap, and it’s such an amazing time together. And that’s what I think will translate into a love books later on. I mean that’s why I love books, because they were such a huge part of my childhood.

I grew up in the Catskills for those first pre-reading years. Probably very similar to a lot of your readers, we were in a little house where we couldn’t see any other houses. There were just me and my mom at the end of this long driveway, so what we did was read. I don’t even remember a TV, though we must have had one. We listened to the radio and we read. It was just part of our everyday [life]… and then once could read to myself—I’m an only child—so it was a huge companion for me. I would say the first series where I started demanding books was the Nancy Drew series. I loved [those]. I was obsessed. And then I started getting really into Christopher Pike, which was like teen horror where you scared yourself a little (laughter) and Judy Blum, of course. I mean I would say probably my first book that I was obsessed with where I read it and I couldn’t’ stop thinking about it even when I wasn’t reading it was “The Secret Garden,”

TRR: Tell me about running a small independent book store.