10 July 2006 by Published in: Civil War books and authors 8 comments

Susan’s sister from Pittsburgh came into town today to see an old friend who’s about to move to Arkansas. She brought the twins with her, and we all went out to dinner tonight. After dinner, the four women decided that they wanted to go shoe shopping.

That was an activity that was about as appealing to me as getting my teeth drilled without novocaine, so I took my leave and wandered over to the local Barnes & Noble store. Now, this is the one that I swore rather vehemently I wouldn’t go into since they won’t carry my books. It’s a matter of principle with me, but I went tonight because there wasn’t much else to do to pass the time. It was the better of two bad options.

Having said that, I was very pleasantly surprised when I got there. If anything, this store’s selection of Civil War books is even smaller now than it was the last time that I was in it. They had maybe 25 Civil War books in the history section, and I was stunned to find four copies of my Monroe’s Crossroads book there among the 25 or so Civil War books. I was so stunned that I had to call Susan and tell her.

I gathered up the four copies, took them to the counter, and asked if they would like me to sign them for them. The guy behind the counter looked at me like I was brain damaged, so I told him that yes, I am the author of the book, and yes, I live in Columbus, and that I would be very pleased to sign the books if they wanted me to do so. He blinked stupidly a couple of times, and then what I was telling him finally sunk in. At that, he grabbed a Sharpie and asked me if I would mind signing all four. I said sure, and did so. I prefer a fountain pen with a medium nib when signing, but on this occasion, I would have signed with anything. I gave him a business card and told him to call me if he needed any more signed.

I was so tickled by finding my book there that I actually spent some money in the store. I bought a dirt-cheap ($5) copy of the Mary Chesnut diary (hard to believe, I know, but I never owned a copy of it before tonight) and a magazine, spending, all told, about $9.00. Considering that it’s been over a year since I last spent anything in there, that was pretty remarkable.

I MAY actually go back there again some time soon. As long as they continue to carry my books, I will gladly go back. The minute my books disappear again, so do I.

It’s my own little futile gesture. I realize it’s meaningless in the big scheme of things, but it makes me feel better. Ultimately, that’s what really matters here.

Scridb filter


  1. Mon 10th Jul 2006 at 10:23 pm

    Perhaps you should seek the manager of the store and convey this. I bet he or she would have more of your books availible.

    I need to read one of your books.

  2. Mon 10th Jul 2006 at 10:32 pm

    I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried that sort of thing and have it turn out to be a waste of my time and breath, which is why I decided on a one-man boycott of the store.


  3. Tue 11th Jul 2006 at 1:36 am

    I’ll admit it as well. I don’t own a copy of the damn Chesnut diary either!

  4. Tue 11th Jul 2006 at 6:35 am

    That’s a shame General. Not utilizing a willing author to promote more books seems bad buisiness to me.

  5. John D. Mackintosh
    Tue 11th Jul 2006 at 8:10 am

    Don’t feel too bad about not owning the Chesnut diary, as I ought to feel worse. After all, I work at the SC Archives, am a South Carolina native and my life constantly intersects places that were familiar to her. Sad to say, I don’t own the bloody thing either. But if our local B&N has it for $5.00, perhaps it is time! What is the quote someone sadly said about scripture–“Often quoted, but never truly read.” Perhaps that holds true for the DIARY FROM DIXIE as well.

  6. Harry
    Tue 11th Jul 2006 at 9:10 am

    Just be sure to get the Woodward edition – “Mary Chesnut’s Civil War”. Otherwise you could make the mistake of assuming it really IS a diary.

  7. Tony Ten-Barge
    Tue 18th Jul 2006 at 7:48 pm

    Not sure which B&N you were at but Polaris has Monroe’s Crossing or at least it did a week or so ago . When in Richmond check out B&N at Chesterfield Town Center great Civil War selection .

  8. Joe Grau
    Mon 30th Dec 2013 at 12:45 am

    Along with the edition Harry suggested, get “The Private Mary Chesnut” — the “raw” (1860s) version of the diary.

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