Murray Browne
Additional information about The Book Shopper including downloads for book-related marketing materials.

The Book Shopper: A Life in Review 

Browne's take on how books shape our lives is keen, amusing, and ornery."
                                                                                                     -- Booklist

Published in 2009 by Paul Dry Books in Philadelphia, The Book Shopper is for readers who love to browse for books and are always looking for that next great read -- and a good deal.  It is a personal guide to bookstores, online booksellers, and the off-center kind of people who frequent them. The Book Shopper will make you laugh as it guides you through the cluttered aisles of contemporary book culture. Available on Amazon and directly from Paul Dry Books.


Barnes & Noble Review
October 9, 2009
Reviewer: Thomas DePietro

It's always a pleasure to be reminded that reading is more than an academic exercise, or a consumerist indulgence.  Murray Browne, a proud middle-class eccentric, here fashions a modest and very casual book out of his simple love of literature.  And not just what's in the books themselves but all the odd and wonderful consequences of living a life among books: the friendships nurtured, the joys of the bookhunt, the dilemmas of managing one's library.  Browne's no slouch when it comes to matters of taste.  His ideal store includes the many writers he celebrates: Pat Barker, Jim Harrison, Milan Kundera, and Annie Proulx, to name some. No idolater, he's unafraid to point out deficiencies in novelists he admires, such as T. C. Boyle or Richard Ford.  And for all his midwestern humility, he enjoys his Proust and Pynchon.  Browne surrounds his critical opinions with essays and sidebars that chronicle his years of book love, first as a child who read more for quantity than quality, then as a regional newspaper reviewer who slogged through his share of dreck.  As someone who's spent lots of time on both sides of the bookseller's counter, I can confirm Browne's astute observations about the trade, especially his credo: book people are not often people people.  In other essays, Browne makes peace with online bookstores, explains the difficulties of giving and receiving books as gifts, and offers a few suggestions on how to arrange for our libraries after death.  All in good humor, of course.  Browne's critical populism never panders.  Think of him as an all-American reader truly in love with books.

July 1, 2009
Reviewer: Donna Seaman

Browne took to books instead of sports while growing up in a small town in Illinois, reading competitively for quantity instead of seeking the dreamy transcendence most book lovers crave. Or so he reports in this funny and instructive rumination on how we find our way to books and why. Not one for nuance or piety, Browne drolly notes that devoted readers prefer books to people and has few positive observations to share about his stint as a newspaper book reviewer, although he does describe book pages as a 'place of refuge' and his writings about books as his 'citizen papers.' Browne ponders the vagaries of book collecting, reflects on the divide between theory and practice in librarianship, reports on moments exhilarating and dismaying in used-book stores, and dissects the experience. With satisfyingly personal responses to various writers, including Larry McMurtry, Annie Proulx, and Thomas Pynchon, and the declaration that no matter what else is going on, 'reading remains a refuge,' Browne's take on how books shape our lives is keen, amusing, and ornery.

Midwest Book Review
July 2009
Vol. 19 No. 7

The two icon places around which my life has revolved have been community libraries and local bookstores. They've served me as sanctuaries from the cares and concerns of the world at large as private oasis of browsing comfort and intellectual delight. Of special memory are all those used bookstores with their distinctive clutter, aromas, and colorful characters between the checkout counters. Within the pages of "The Book Shopper" I see that I've found a kindred spirit in Murray Browne, a fellow bibliophile and connoisseur of bookstores with their crowded shelves and eclectic collections. This compilation of book and bookstore related observations, anecdotal stories, fond memories, and sage commentaries is a true delight and recognizable for any and all dedicated fans of the written word who have spend hours at a time doing nothing but browsing the bookshelves in search of diverse literary treasures, forgotten tomes, timeless classics, time-lost discoveries, and fitting gifts for friends, families, and themselves. "The Book Shopper" is a terrific read and enthusiastically recommended for personal and community library collections.

Writer Magazine
October, 2009
Reviewer: Chuck Leddy

Reading these essays is like having a relaxing meal with a friend whose passion for books is clear, entertaining and infectious...

July 9, 2009
Reviewer: John Mesjak

Like Lewis Buzbee's book (The Yellow Lighted Bookshop), Murray Browne's The Book Shopper is also a memoir of a life spent reading and a life spent in bookstores. He writes from the outsider's point of view, the passionate amateur. Early chapters describe his initiation into the life of the book lover, his 10-year career as a book critic and even a balanced chapter on the pros and cons of book shopping (which he ends with a recommendation that sometimes you just need to step away from the keyboard and seek out your neighborhood bookstore).

Though his focus is frequently on shopping for used books, his chapters on the prerequisites of what every good bookstore should have make for a great starting point for any bookstore's collection. He doesn't waste time on store cats and mugs of coffee and comfy chairs - he just gets down to brass tacks: the authors that any self-respecting bookstore oughta carry. I doubt you'll disagree with any of his recommendations, and the treat is in the telling. He's a charming storyteller.

Library Journal
Reviewer: Rebecca Bollen Manalac

Browne is a media content analyst, book reviewer, and writer who has turned his passion for secondhand books into this entertaining guide to the world of used bookstores. The book begins autobiographically, as Browne explains how his love for secondhand books grew and was guided by various individuals he has encountered. In the book's second part, he looks at genres of books and particular titles that mark out a great store. Finally, Browne considers what to do with all the books one has acquired - read, give, store, or sell. The chapters are interspersed with "Bookmarks," brief reviews of particular books that have stood out to Browne and have been influential in his own book-shopping journey. VERDICT This is an easy read that would make a good companion for those who share the author's predilection for hunting down secondhand printed treasures.

Past Appearances

Saturday, November 14, 2009
Radio Interview- About Books, WVIK, Augustana College

Friday, October 16, 2009
Reading and signing books at Watermark Books, Wichita, KS

October 2-4, 2009
20th Annual GLIBA Trade Show and Conference at the Renaissance Hotel.
2009 Great Lakes Independent Trade Show, Cleveland, OH

August 3, 2009
Radio Interview, Afternoon Magazine, WILL, University of Illinois

Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Reading and signing books at A Cappella Books in Atlanta, GA
To view online video, visit Atlanta Forum Network.

Saturday, June 27, 2009
Reading and signing books at Carpe Librum Booksellers in Knoxville, TN

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