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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Spring Book Boutique in Visalia

by Nancy Holley

Looking for interesting conversations, pleasant surroundings, and a place to peruse books at your leisure? The Spring Book Boutique at Neighborhood Bookstore is for you.

Twelve authors, a photographer, and an artist from Kings and Tulare Counties are joining together to create a venue that is stimulating and enjoyable.

The first Neighborhood Bookstore event, just before Christmas last year, featuring seven of the same authors and a photographer, was so successful that a spring boutique was immediately planned. When asked about the origin of Neighborhood Bookstore, Irene Morse, one of its founders, explained, “In these days, when a person has a book published, the publisher does very little marketing unless the author happens to be famous. Marketing becomes the author’s responsibility, and the question becomes how to get exposure.”

The idea behind Neighborhood Bookstore happenings is to fill that gap, to provide local authors the opportunity to show off their work and their talents. Each of the participants has a unique background and interests to share. They are thought-provoking conversationalists with many stories to tell.


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The locale for Neighborhood Bookstore – 4416 W. Damsen Avenue, Visalia – occurred by happenstance. When Irene and her co-founder Carole Firstman looked for a site for the first event, they considered many options, but none seemed to fit the bill – pleasant, charming, relaxing, and inexpensive. Then, Irene realized she could move some of her furniture to the garage and make room for seven authors and a photographer to have individual spaces in her home.

The decision turned out to be perfect as visitors could talk with each contributor individually, have places to sit and relax with a book, pause to look at inviting photographs, and partake of refreshments in a delightful atmosphere.

As plans for the Spring Boutique progressed and more authors and an artist were interested in participating, Irene’s home was outgrown, but not her yard. The front, side and back yards of her corner lot home, provide ample room for each of the 14 contributors to have his/her own space with additional shady nooks and crannies for relishing the landscaping and partaking refreshments.



Image source: Irene Morse

The authors represent a wide range of genres. Anthologies filled with local stories and tales of travel adventures await your review. Mysteries and detective series, some based on true events, can be found. Science fiction, non-fiction, essays, and memoirs, along with novels for young adults, will be available.

Talent abounds in our area; meeting some of the most talented is a special treat. Having the authors sign your purchases can make them more meaningful to you and to those for whom you may be buying gifts.

As if all of this isn’t enough, you even have the opportunity to learn what inspired the works displayed. If you are a frustrated writer, they may be able to provide you with encouragement and share nitty-gritty details that might inspire you!

The boutique will be open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, May 17, 2015. For more details, please call (559) 732-6869. As you enter Neighborhood Bookstore, you will be asked to sign a guest register and in exchange receive a raffle ticket. Each hour a drawing will be held with the winner given the option to select a book from those donated by the authors.

Exhibiting their work will be:

Authors: Mary Benton, Jana Botkin, Newell Bringhurst, Stephanie Carroll, Winnie Enloe-Furrer, Carole Firstman, Gloria Getman, Phoenix Hocking, Marilyn Meredith, Irene Morse, Arthur Neeson, and Silvia Ross.

Photography by Jane Thomas and Gourds by Toni Best

Come to Neighborhood Bookstore for a delightful, informative stroll through the works and lives of local talent!


Nancy Holley has been involved in the Visalia Community Players off and on since the 1970s, both as a director and actor. In 2010, she retired from 25 years as a software consultant and has since expanded her role at the Players. She is now Membership Chairman and assists with the Players on-line ticketing system.

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