In a heartfelt article published in Publishers Weekly this month, Linda Kass reflects on her profound connection with Sundog Books, a charming independent bookstore nestled in the Florida Panhandle. The article sheds light on the valuable lessons and inspiration Linda gleaned from the bookstore's proprietors, Bob and Linda White.
The story begins in 1996 when Linda's family discovered Seaside, a burgeoning urban development. It was there they stumbled upon Sundog Books, a beloved hub of the community. Bob and Linda White, the proprietors, welcomed readers to their store that had evolved from a humble shack on the dunes to a thriving space that embodied the heart of Seaside. Over the years, Sundog Books became an integral part of the community, where books and stories converged.
Linda Kass shares her deep affinity for spaces filled with books, highlighting her tradition of seeking out local bookstores during her travels around the world. Her connection to Sundog Books became even more significant as she embarked on her journey to establish Gramercy Books in Ohio. Bob and Linda, with their rich experience and warm presence, were the first people Linda reached out to when the prospect of owning a bookstore in her hometown arose.
Linda's aspirations and Bob's unwavering support intersected as they exchanged stories and insights. Bob and Linda were more than just booksellers; they embodied the spirit and passion that make independent bookstores so exceptional. They shared their journey and encouraged Linda to create a unique space for her community.
The article takes a poignant turn as Linda reflects on her recent visit to Sundog Books. She acknowledges the passing of Bob, a remarkable individual who exuded spirit, generosity, and humor. Bob's influence extended to the naming of the store, which bore the essence of Jim Harrison's novel and a scene from the movie "The Deer Hunter."
In Sundog, Linda found inspiration that mirrored the river's flow, an analogy that resonates with Bob's approach to life. Bob's legacy lives on, not just in the store but also in the hearts of the community he touched.
Linda Kass emphasizes that community bookselling is an art—an art of fostering inclusivity, providing platforms for diverse voices, and creating spaces that inspire education and dialogue. As the founder and owner of Gramercy Books, she continues to carry forward the lessons learned from Bob and Linda. While Bob's physical presence may be absent, his spirit continues to influence and guide independent booksellers to create spaces of joy within their communities.
Read Linda Kass's insightful article "What One Bookseller Learned from a Florida Panhandle Bookstore" published in Publishers Weekly on August 18, 2023 by clicking here. Let's honor Bob White's legacy by nurturing the spirit of community and the love of reading.