Kelly bought The Fountain in January 2008 after managing it since 2000 and she has been a professional independent bookseller since 1989.
Kelly has served many terms on the board of the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance and has served as president for the same organization twice. She works often with the American Booksellers Association serving on various committees and is a regular speaker at bookseller gatherings on topics ranging from brand building to utilizing the newest technologies for bookstores. Kelly is also on the advisory council for Bookshop.org for 2022.
In 2019 she was awarded one of three Booksellers Without Borders fellowships to the Turin Book Festival where she addressed Italian booksellers on the topic of Amazon's effect on the American bookselling market and the potential threats posed by Amazon on international markets in the future. She also toured Italian bookstores of all kinds and met with booksellers, publishers, and media representatives to talk about challenges in the book industry common to both countries.
And she drank a lot of Aperol cocktails.
She loves to talk to folks about books, audiobooks, and the book business, food and bev, business and management theory in general (a real geek about that, actually), cats, overproduced action movies, and life in general. Just ask!!
She's an omnivore of a reader, rarely refusing to at least try reading any category of book. Unfortunately, we also suspect she eats them.
For more on Kelly's history with Fountain and Fountain history in general, see this great article in Richmond Magazine online!
As a reader, I love books that defy categorization. As a bookseller, my feelings are somewhat more complicated. I am struggling to convey the hope for humanity I felt when finishing this biographical essay collection? Memoir? Krasnostein details her encounters with a death doula, a creationist geologist, a neurobiologist ghost hunter, UFO enthusiasts, a woman incarcerated for killing her abusive husband, and a bunch of Mennonites in New York. The deeply beautiful conclusion is that we can always find more in common with our fellow humans than we originally thought. Spectacular!
A crazy time-travel novel that is also a meditation on loss. The main character is mourning the loss of her lover as she tries to hold on to her job as "time cop" that is also frying her brain. I really loved this story with its many and varied villains and exploration of what regular time travel would do to the human brain. The protagonist keeps up her work to catch glimpses of the woman she loves in the form of kind of time-ghosts in the hotel where she works for wealthy people who go back in time and try to mess it up for sport and profit. Sometimes our biggest villains are ourselves as she learns while pushing away the people remaining in her life who wish to help.
The typical human lifespan is a pitiful 4,000 weeks if one lives to be 80. That would be a depressing thought if I had read it in any other book but this one which has been a life-changer. Looking at life that way, why not do things you mean to do? Say the things you mean to say? No. It's not as easy as all that, exactly. The author used to be a time-management guru for The Guardian, obsessively researching ways to find "more time" in the day. Well, guess what? You can't! Once you're over that hurdle, you can get on with living a more meaningful life. I love this book so much!!!!
This unique book approaches cooking from the perspective of self-care. If you’ve ever told yourself you “can’t cook”, if someone else has made you feel that way, or you have difficult feelings surrounding food and cooking of any kind: this book is for you. Be your beautiful, imperfect self in the kitchen and nourish your body and your soul with this wonderful author as your gentle guide.
The title is a statement, as in the fiery damnation of shame that crackles on every page of this soul-bearing memoir for readers of all identities. In addition to shame, Pevsner is an activist against ageism, is pro-nudity, pro-sexuality, and pro-living one’s best life as your true self. Growing up in a conservative Jewish neighborhood in suburban Chicago, he shares the long and vulnerable journey taken to become the self-assured, mature sex symbol and inspiration he is today. Sensitive readers: this title is XXX! Treat yourself to the Libro.fm audio: Pevsner is the BEST road trip companion!
Signed copies while available! Brian Cox plays Logan Roy on HBO's Succession: history's most toxic tv dad. This book is everything I like a celebrity memoir to be: he names the names, gives gracious credit where it's due, and slams idiots with gusto! Not a perfect individual himself, he owns up to his failures and is brutally honest about his vulnerabilities. Emotional, charming, lots of belly laughs. Also exceptional on Libro.fm audio.
NYC is in the throws of the first big COVID wave and Jamie Gray is stuck in a dead-end food delivery driver app job when he is approached by an old friend to join an "animal rights" organization that pays well. Tom is secretive about the details. Turns out this job is not on our Earth. It's on an alternative Earth with giant dragon-like creatures Jamie is now bound to protect. Everything you love about Scalzi is here: the snappy dialog; the biting, gut-busting humor; and the big heart. Loved it!
Stewart O'Nan's books are always so difficult to describe for me. His stories are of ordinary people (usually) in pretty boring surroundings. But within these characters is the capacity for big love and great cruelty, horrific violence and magnificent heroism. But for a twist or turn, they could be me or you. Ocean State follows four women in 2009 working-class Rhode Island. As a love triangle builds to a heartbreaking climax, the fallout devastates everyone it touches. I never, ever miss an O'Nan book.
The best of so many things! It’s a ghost story, a character study, a horror novel, and it’s all in a space version of the Titanic!!!! The author was inspired by visiting a Titanic exhibit in 2017 and features a trauma-riddled captain leading her small crew on a stranded luxury space cruiser full of the rich and famous that had lost contact and disappeared years before. Creepy horror in outer space, really well written. Loved it!
Two Italian lovers are in a volatile relationship and after arguing Teresa suggests that they each tell one another a terrible secret about themselves that they have never told anyone else and that would bond them together. Pietro reluctantly agrees and when they break up shortly after he is haunted by her knowledge of his shameful deed. They both go on with their lives but are forever connected. The opening sentences are swirling and twisting meditation on love that have me reading them over and over again. Trust may not be your favorite novel you've ever read. Most of the characters were not easy to like for me. But the way they twist and turn around issues of love involving loyalty, longevity, and forms of fidelity and types of love itself are fascinating. The translation by Jhumpa Lahiri is masterful and the translator's note at the end is extraordinary. It's a work of art itself.
Don't judge a book by its cover, y'all. This gem masquerading as a Hallmark special holiday movie tie-in cover is one of the most solidly written and depthfully passionate books I have read this year. And it is SMOKING HOT! Grieving ER nurse Grieving ER nurse Nessa Hunt is traveling to what appears to be a Christmas village with her moody teen half-sister, Ivy. Ivy, however is not really her half-sister as her mother confessed as she was dying that Nessa's dad was not her dad. They arrive in Rose Bend and meet the innkeeper Wolf (a Jason Momoa look-alike rawr!), but Nessa doesn't have time for romance.
Ivy has also lost both her parents. While unquestionably the very, very sexy romance is the heart of this story, it's also about how these three characters come to face and accept their individual losses with the help of each other and learn to love again. So rich, so complex, and so, so satisfying. Absolutely perfect!
I truly adored this second chance at romance story set on the stormy coast of England. A restauraneur in her mid-late forties has finally had enough of her compulsively unfaithful husband and business partner. She starts a new life with a temporary lease in a cottage in a small seaside village and quickly feels at home despite run-ins with the grouch nephew of the elderly landlady. He is determined to sell the historic property to a developer for leveling. Most of the first half of the book is spent with our heroine forging an empowered identity with the help of a group of women friends and her adult twin sons. In the smoldering second half, the landlady's nephew and she start sparking and action of all kinds ensues! I truly loved this book. Made me want to cheer!!!
Disorientation is a book to be read slowly and with care. Ian Williams best-selling author of my staff favorite novel Reproduction (remember the amazing cover???). I also really loved his collection of poetry Word Problems from last year. Using his formidably flexible writing chops, Williams invites us to an urgent conversation on race and racism in this collection of essays that draw directly from his experience of life as a Black man. He covers all subjects from the merely annoying to the tragically deadly aspects of racism from a worldwide perspective having lived in Trinidad, Canada, and the U. S. This book is approachable for all readers and is intended to be a civil conversation about the ugliest of subjects. It's illuminating, dizzying, and intensely personal. I can't recommend it highly enough. Also, exceptional in audio: read by the author.
Nimbly translated from the Italian, this slim read features an unlikely heroine in Nives (pronounce KNEE-vus). Nives lives in a very, very small town in Tuscany and recently found her husband of 50 years dead in a pig trough. She doesn't cry when she finds him or at the funeral. Eventually, she does get a bit lonely and takes in one of her farm’s chickens into the house to keep her company. The chicken gets sick and she calls the local drunk veterinarian. The majority of the action takes place almost entirely in one tense phone call in the middle of the night. I've never read anything like it. The closest thing I can compare it to might be Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf except funny. In the course of this call she exposes all the dirty little secrets of the last 60 years in this small town. She rails about the unfairness of love, the limit of her gender, parenthood, aging, and lost opportunities and betrayals. Shocking and raw, melancholy and side-splittingly funny: Nives can be read in one sitting. Great for book clubs!
This is a book written for kids 9-12, but anyone could benefit from this general introduction to these great figures from African history pre-colonialism. I know almost nothing about African history because I had an average public school education in the 70s and 80s. That's true of a lot of people. Expand your horizons with this exceptionally well-written and informative portrayal of 10 figures who lived from ancient history like Aesop (yes, he was African...I didn't know either) to the 16th century queen of Benin. Inventors, scientists, military leaders, and more. Buy one for yourself, sure, but while you're at it, buy another or a couple more to donate to schools, libraries, community centers, or to give to freinds and family. Outstanding book! Beautifully illustrated as well!
I've been struggling with words to describe what a marvel No Gods, No Monster is as a story. It starts as what looks like a simple and all too common case of police brutality and then morphs into a wild and weird tale of monsters of legend living among us disturbed by something enough to reveal themselves. Protests across the globe, an increase in hate crimes and suicides. People are disappearing. It's intense, it's political. I've dog-eared and reread so many pages my copy is broken-spined and fat. There were moments of abject horror followed by passages of surprising tenderness and empathy. Worlds of emotions. Truly impressive. And the monsters! Not since China Miéville have a seen monsters this creative and terrifying.
The latest from one of my favorite authors is a multi-generational saga that takes place in rural Kentucky. It goes back and forth between two characters’ timelines. Carol’s starts in 1933 when she is lost in a poker game by her alcoholic father. The other follows her grandson Samuel. Crossing both timelines is Carol’s developmentally disabled son Rusty, Samuel’s Uncle. Van Booy’s ability to show the depths of his characters in such spare and crystal clear prose never ceases to astonish me. He is one of the most gifted and empathetic writers I've ever read. This novel is alternately beautiful and tragic. It details the lives of the people of Appalachia in a way that neither fetishizes them or turns them into caricatures (a common offense even with writers who are originally from the region which the author is not). These characters are based on actual people the author has known for decades. He has served them well with this haunting novel.