Did I become the punchline of bookseller’s joke?

You may have seen the cartoon where a customer comes into a bookstore asking for a book, “I don’t know the title but it has a blue cover.” I wasn’t quite that bad, but I had a definite …

I wasn’t wearing a mask. Neither was she. Were we beyond the Pale?

I was brain dead. My mind was mush after 50+ weeks on the road and even more stores with countless shelves full of books whose titles kept me constantly tilting my head from side to side. Barbara saw …

Familiar places, faces and feelings – in places I’d never been before.

Go west, old man – said my list of stores to see and books to buy. So just before we locked ourselves in our homes, I locked the car’s seat belt and hit the road for Kerry and …

The isolated man – surrounded by family yet far from home

For better or worse, St. Patrick’s Day has become an international celebration of all things Irish and pseudo-Irish. But not all Irish émigrés found that crock of gold. Here’s the story of one of them, who happened to …

Remembering Dublin City in the Old Times

Let’s admit it. Our memories are selective. We may not remember what we had for lunch yesterday, but there’s a good chance we’ll remember the good deed someone did for us many years ago. Here’s one of my …

When someone’s more than a Valentine

Let’s forget the candy and ignore the hype. Here’s a glimpse of a couple I encountered a few years ago. I haven’t seen them since, but occasionally wonder whatever happened to them. https://jpmaney.com/private-selves/

Hopping into my déjà vu time machine

Castlebar. In an otherwise familiar store I discovered a group of students who made Castle Bookstore memorable.  They were talking, not texting. They weren’t asking adults to do something for them. They were doing it for themselves – …

Is this the year to unchain yourself?

How many children’s sports teams or church events or arts presentations in your town does Amazon support? Or Starbucks? Or any of the other chains that homogenize the world with their standardized goods and services while investing their …

Have you survived Black Friday?

An American shopping phenomenon is metastasizing around the world. Whether you believe that it’s a glorious sign of the season or an abuse of the season’s reason, have you ever paused to look at things from the retail …

Between covers or not, stories make the world go round

Ennis has always given me stories, even before I paid any attention to its bookstores. While I remember De Dannan playing a wonderful pub set many, many years ago, I’d forgotten that most of the pubs featuring trad …