Thursday, March 29, 2012


Waking up early is not a part of my balanced breakfast, so when Quaint informed me that we were going to trawl yard sales I groaned, dragged my carcass out of bed and said we could head out at 9:30.  Five minutes later she asked, “How about a compromise...we leave at 9:15?”

“Compromise this!” I cried, pulling on shoes, grabbing keys, wallet and phone and storming out the door.  “Goodbye Husky!”  I patted him on the head, briefly berated him for existing, and before I could process the morning’s events I found myself in the car with Quaint bouncing up and down, grinning like a maniac in the driver’s seat.

“Which way should I take?” she asked.  “I was thinking THIS way.”

“I was thinking
THAT way.”

THAT Way,” the GPS intoned.

“Really,” I said, “either way is probably more or less the same.”

“No no,” Quaint said, “I’ve been outvoted.”

“I didn’t know the GPS got a vote.”

Post-Singularity Historians would later determine that simple act of giving that humble GPS enabled phone the vote is what would prevent a human/machine war.  But that is a story for another time.

The trip was going poorly.

We hit three yard sales.  One was a bunch of old person furniture and a chainsaw.  Another didn’t even exist.  The next had overpriced art, but Quaint ended up with a Art Nouveau style print of some classy looking lady drinking from a long straw.  That way people will know that Quaint is a fancy lady who only drinks from long straws.

Having exhausted our local options we settled down for lunch at a small diner on US Route 340. The atmosphere was quaint.  Walls covered in Redskins memorabilia.  A friendly, heavyset waitress.  Toothless locals sitting on stools at the counter.

As we were leaving Quaint noticed an advertisement on the cork board by the entrance.  GIRL SCOUT BOOK SALE.  The advertisement intimated heavily that this was its last weekend.

The Girl Scouts of America had been given a storefront from which to run their operation.  Hardbacks for $1.  Paperbacks for .50 cents.  Oh yes, we thought.  OH yes. We came away with around seventeen books.  Lots of first editions from the 1930’s and 40’s.  Some really neat Korean language books of Hans Christian Andersen fairy tales.

My personal favorite of the is R.v.R. by Hendrik Willem Van Loon.  Here's the full title of the book:

Yikes...this man has a way with words!


Monday, March 19, 2012

A Titular Title

I was reading Tom Sawyer one day during my third grade year.  It was spring.  Bright, wet and humid.  Billions of gnats clouded the air with their fleeting lives.  I was curled up in a corner of the living room reading.

“Go outside,” my mother said.  “It’s a beautiful day and you shouldn’t just be sitting inside reading.”

Sure, because there’s nothing nicer than having gnats trying to swim their way in to my tear ducts by the thousands.  But I went outside.  My autonomy was somewhat limited as an 8 year old.  After a while my mother came to check on me.  “No!” she cried, “I wanted you to play, not sit on the porch reading!”

And then there were 20 or so years after that where I read a lot of books, went to a lot of school and had a lot of jobs.

I’ve worked for video game stores, book stores, financial companies, warehouses, software developers, video rental stores (remember those things?), and department stores.  I’ve never had a job I liked.  Working for myself at least cuts out the middle-man.  I can make myself miserable better than any boss or monolithic corporation!

So we'll see what happens.  Quaint has the enthusiasm, the brains, the looks, the energy, the drive to succeed and the dream...whereas I have a Siberian Husky.

He's not as smart as he looks

We obviously make a good team.


The First

I never know how to start a blog. I’m not a writer, that’s more Curious’ thing. I’m a reader. I love to read. And I’m very set in my ways about reading actual books. None of that online reading or Nooks and iPads for me. Don’t get me wrong--I love technology--but to me there is nothing better than having a book in your hands. The feel of it, the smell of it, the font, and the weight, all combined with the story. That is how I get lost in a book. And do I ever get lost in books.

I’ve been reading ever since I can remember. Normally fiction, with a focus on fantasy, science-fiction, or the classics. Pretty much all of my favorite things have something to do with books one way or another. My favorite movie is even You've Got Mail (and let me tell you, if anyone deserves the title “Quaint” it’s Kathleen Kelly). I go into every used bookstore I come across, even if I don’t buy anything. I just love the atmosphere for the stores.

I know that I love books, but the rest of my life has always been a bit of a mystery to me. I’ve never known what I wanted to do. There are so many things that I could do, but nothing that I’ve desperately wanted. One thing I have always dreamed about (even though I never thought it would be an actual possibility) is owning my own used bookstore.

It’s not the money, obviously. You’d be hard pressed to find a small used bookstore owner who’s rich. It’s about doing something you love. Being surrounded by books, communicating with fellow book-lovers, bringing the joy of books into others lives. That’s why you become a bookstore owner. My ideal store would be a little shop in a quaint neighborhood where I have regulars who come in, children dropping by after school, a book club for the stay-at-home parents, and a pot of coffee (and tea) always on. Unfortunately, I don’t have a large supply of money that I can invest into a store. 

But one thing I can do, the closest thing to my quaint little used bookstore, is sell books online.

It all started when Curious and I were sitting around one day. To be honest, it was not a good day. The most recent of the many not-good days this year. Curious said “I have this much money in the bank. How could we start our own business with it?”. The rest is history, or rather, present. It started March 11th. We sat down and started thinking about what we needed to do to start selling books online. For me, it was to fulfill my dream of owning a used bookstore. For him, to be self-employed.

We don’t expect things to be easy. And there are no illusions about our guaranteed success. But we really want to try. We know we can do this and do it well. All we need to do is try.

Which brings us to this blog, and to you. This blog has many purposes. We’ll be writing about our adventure of starting our own online business, about the lessons we learn, and the cool things we find. About life, and of course about all things Quaint and Curious. We hope that you enjoy our writings, maybe learn something new, and most importantly we hope it makes you smile. Please drop us a comment or an email ( about things you’d like us to write about, about questions you have, books you are looking for, or just to say hi.

"What better way to get to know someone than through her choice and treatment of books?" 
-Diane Setterfield, The Thirteenth Tale