Thursday, August 1, 2013

Bookstore of the Month: Fact and Fiction in Missoula, MT

Fact and Fiction
220 N Higgins
Missoula, MT 59802
(406) 721-2881
Fact and Fiction on Facebook
Fact and Fiction on Twitter

It's my pleasure to kick off the new Bookstore of the Month feature with Fact and Fiction, the literary linchpin of downtown Missoula, Montana.  Fact and Fiction was where I officially launched Fobbit with a reading and signing three days after the novel's publication last September.  Let me tell you, there's no greater feeling in the world to a debut novelist than to walk into a bookstore and see The Book prominently featured on a wall display.  It takes a brave and dedicated bookseller to devote that much shelf space to a single title.  Barbara Theroux, founder of Fact and Fiction, is nothing if not brave and dedicated.  She has been championing authors--especially those from the Pacific Northwest (James Lee Burke, William Kittredge, David Allan Cates, and many others) for years.  If Barbara tells you, "Read this," you'd better have that book in your hands and on your way to the cash register within the minute.

Established in 1986, the store's motto is "Books for all ages" and that's certainly true; the children's and Young Adult section of the mid-sized store is as robust as the adult shelves.  You'll also find a great selection of literary magazines and other periodicals just inside the front door as you enter (along with the bright Wall o' Books highlighting the staff's current picks).

Originally located on Main Street in Missoula, Fact and Fiction moved to the historic Bluebird Building on Higgins in 1998.  Using handtrucks, dollys, wagons and wheelbarrows, volunteers from the community helped move the entire store three blocks east to the new location.  As Barbara told me in her Bookstore of the Month questionnaire: "Missoula is a community, the people support local business, local authors and the store in turn supports many local schools, libraries, and community organizations.  We are Family!"

Fact and Fiction maintains an active presence in the Missoula arts scene by scheduling dozens of author readings and signings each month.  When asked about memorable events, Barbara recalled the multi-author celebration of Montana anthology, The Last Best Place: "Twenty authors arrived to sign, but all the books were sold out a week before the event.  It was a grand celebration.  Richard Ford walked in the door and never left the front corner of the store until the party moved to a nearby restaurant."

The Last Best Place is one of the store's most popular titles, along with the Harry Potter books ("especially 4 through 8 when we hosted midnight parties") and, currently, Light of the World ("each new book by James Lee Burke seems to outsell the last one").

Current staff picks of favorite books: In the Shadow of the Banyan by Vaddey Ratner, The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau, It Runs in the Family by Richard Manning; The Keeper of Lost Causes by Jussi Adler-Olsen, and The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers.

Fact and Fiction is the featured bookstore all this month at The Quivering Pen.  By clicking on the links to books mentioned in this month's blog posts, you'll be taken to the store's website where you can purchase the book (or, better yet, several books).  The Quivering Pen is dedicated to supporting independent bookstores.

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