As the proprietress of The Voracious Reader, an independent bookstore for young people with an appetite for books, Francine Lucidon’s favorite part of running a bookstore is seeing someone’s eyes light up when she finds the perfect book for them. It’s something she’s done since the store opened in the spring of 2007 – and Lucidon remembers it as if it were yesterday.
“We opened our doors to throngs of book lovers, wave after wave of young families, teens, grandparents, all thanking us and saying how much the town needed this. It was such a heartfelt welcome. We knew we’d done the right thing,” said Lucidon.
In the nearly seven years since The Voracious Reader opened, Lucidon has hosted dozens of events, with names like Julie Andrews, Libba Bray and David Levithan backing them.
“Sometimes the event is great because it supports a group of talented debut authors who people might not get to meet if indies didn’t get them out there. Really, each event is so memorable to me,” said Lucidon.
Those exciting events include midnight releases, which are some of her favorite things to do.
“Midnight parties are so much fun! The excitement of getting an embargoed book in your hand – even I am not allowed to open the boxes before their lay down date! – at 12:01am is thrilling,” said Lucidon.
The next midnight release on the horizon for them is for Veronica Roth’s Allegiant on October 21, complete with contests and prizes – including a giant Allegiant poster. Lucidon has banned crazy faction initiation stunts, though.
“There will be no zip lining off tall buildings,” said Lucidon.
If midnight releases and normal fun events weren’t enough, The Voracious Reader hosts a Teen Night on the last Friday of each month for those 12-years-old and up. For a $10 fee – to cover pizza and lemonade – the group gets together and chats about books at 6 p.m. every Friday.
“We talk about what we’re reading, upcoming events we’d like to see and all things book related. Then everyone gets to pick a free ARC, which they return the next month. Anyone who brings a written review gets first pick at the next batch of ARCs. We’ve also had author visits some of those nights, as well,” said Lucidon.
Lucidon and The Voracious Reader are also launching a new program called YA Alliance. Almost an extension of their Teen Night, members will help promote YA books and authors, generate event ideas, and review books. There will be ARCs and discounts to the store involved for those who participate – plus a whole lot of fun.
Though Lucidon’s dream event involves Lemony Snicket (The Series of Unfortunate Events) visiting, she loves hosting her local authors and her indie authors. To her, the relationship between smaller authors and their local bookstores is something special.
“We see the others good and bad days, not just what the publicist wants us to see. We understand each other’s struggles and triumphs and a real bond is forged,” said Lucidon.
For instance, Kristi Cook (Haven), who signs at the bookstore on September 13th, used to be a bookseller with The Voracious Reader.
In fact, the only thing missing from The Voracious Reader is more bloggers.
“Bloggers are such a great way to get the word out and I love their passion for books. I think Indies and bloggers are a perfect match – especially when it comes to YA, said Lucidon excitedly.
Bloggers understand book culture. Authors understand book culture. And readers, most importantly, understand book culture. At the end of the day, after all the events and the authors, that’s what Lucidon wants her customers to take away with them: an understanding of the importance of book culture.
“It’s that strong inner world that gets us through the rest of life and that can be forgotten with so many external distractions. We are all learning and creating ideas all the time and books are one of the most important tools in that endeavor. Books and book culture matter,” said Lucidon.
Upcoming events at The Voracious Reader include Kristi Cook (Eternal) on September 13th, and Lauren Oliver (Delirium) and Elizabeth Miles (Fury) on October 20th.
Photos courtesy of The Voracious Reader.