Fort Worth, Texas – As the economy reopens and bookworms slowly return to their happy places — bookstores — Shelley Lowe, owner of Monkey and Dog Books, gives us a little insight into her store and shares some of her favorite reads.
Questions: Shelley Lowe
1) Tell us a little bit about yourself, Shelley. I’ve been a reader almost all my life. Being able to escape into a book has been a catharsis for me in so many situations (the present one included). I’ve always enjoyed learning, and my love of reading has been essential for my autodidactic personality. I have a Bachelor of Arts in Latin and a Master of Arts in teaching English as a second language. I’ve been lucky to get to teach Latin and English to many outstanding students.
2) Where does the name Monkey and Dog come from, and why did you want to open a bookstore? Growing up, I always wanted to do three things: teach, be a mother, and own a bookshop. I used to “play bookshop” with my father’s books; I had a library with my own books. Monkey and Dog Books got its name from my two amazing sons who had these nicknames growing up. Starting as a children’s shop, I felt the name would be something children would like and remember.
3) What are you reading right now? I nearly always have three or more books going at a time. I’m reading a middle grade survival novel, 96 Miles, by J.L. Esplin; a light novel, The Sweeney Sisters, by Lian Dolan; and a work of history, Author in Chief, by Craig Fehrman. I’ve noticed that since the world seemingly turned upside down, I’ve had to stick to lighter reads.
4) If you were stuck at home with only three books, what would they be and why? Stuck at home with only three books? I suppose Bill Bryson’s At Home (for its incredibly interesting information about one’s house); E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web (sentimental reasons — first book I ever read and favorite children’s book); and Jane Eyre. This question is incredibly hard … it’s Stryon’s Sophie’s Choice in a way! Also — to me, having a Bible is just a given … not counted as one of the three!
The Sweeney Sisters by Lian Dolan
After their mother’s death, sisters Maggie, Eliza, and Tricia Sweeney drifted apart, held together only by their famous literary lion and college professor father. When he also unexpectedly dies, the girls gather back together in their childhood home, only to encounter a fourth, previously unknown sister.
Lost Children Archive by Valeria Luiselli
“The boy” and “the girl” set out on a cross-country trip from New York to Arizona with their two sound documentarian parents, who are working on separate projects that shed light on immigration, displacement, and the children lost in the midst of it all. But as the trip progresses, a fracture between the parents begins to reveal itself.
The Valedictorian of Being Dead by Heather B. Armstrong
A powerful memoir about a mother’s choice to undergo an experimental procedure in an effort to “reboot” her brain with the hopes of eliminating her debilitating, suicidal depression. The experiment administers anesthesia to quiet all brain activity for a full 15 minutes and then brings her back to life from a flatline.