Bodies & Bookstores: An Open Letter to Russell Banks

Dear Mr. Banks:

I enjoyed your recent interview with The New York Times. I learned that we share a penchant for poetry, travel books, South Florida, and volcanoes, and that we both call Northern New York home, at least for part of the year. Actually…that’s why I’m writing.

When the Times asked about your favorite bookstores and libraries, you responded:

Six months a year I live in Miami Beach, a five-minute walk from Mitchell Kaplan’s Books & Books on Lincoln Road, where I can buy a book and start reading it over a lingering al fresco lunch and every now and then look up and peruse the passing SoBe parade of perfectly honed and tanned human bodies and tiny dogs. The other six months I live in the Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York where the nearest full-service bookstore is in Saratoga Springs, 100 miles to the south, and honed bodies and small dogs are nowhere to be seen. That’s when I rely on

This answer has me worried that you may be missing out on some of the greatest things about living in the Adirondacks. Have you ever been to Lake Placid during the IRONMAN or the half marathon? I can’t speak to the population of small dogs in town for those events, but I promise you’ll find honed bodies in abundance. Lake Placid is also the training ground for hundreds of Olympic level athletes. They, too, are seriously honed.

When you mentioned that your “nearest full-service bookstore” is 100 miles away in Saratoga Springs, were you talking about the fabulous Northshire Bookstore? You’re right about one thing — Northshire is fantastic. But it’s not your nearest full-service bookstore.

The Bookstore Plus in Lake Placid is practically in your backyard. It’s independent and family-run, and its owners, Marc and Sarah Galvin, are incredibly supportive of local authors. I’ve seen your books on display there, right up front. In fact, I’m pretty sure The Bookstore Plus supplied the books for your reading at the Paul Smiths Visitors Interpretive Center a couple years ago.

Remember when one of our local libraries was absolutely ravaged by flooding during Tropical Storm Irene?


The Bookstore Plus hosted a major fundraiser and benefit auction to put books back on the shelves. It’s truly an amazing independent bookstore, and if you haven’t spent time there, you’re missing out.

So here’s a thought… If I were you, I’d stick with Mitchell Kaplan’s in Miami Beach for the next couple months (It’s really, really cold here this week), but once you come north this summer, perhaps you’ll consider taking a break from Amazon to visit The Bookstore Plus. It’s right on Main Street – the one with the green and white awning.

Inside, you’ll find some of the friendliest booksellers around and a great variety of books, including many of yours. There’s even a restaurant nearby with a porch, where you can sit and read your new books and watch all those Ironman-honed bodies pass by.



7 Replies on “Bodies & Bookstores: An Open Letter to Russell Banks

  1. Well done, Kate! This post hit close to home – became an Ironman in LP, honeymooned in LP (skied miles of the JR trail), saw a Phish show (that I will never forget) in LP, and bought my favorite ski hat at Where’d You Get That Hat. Thank you!