By Cassondra Temmer
Picture this; you’re sitting by the fire with your favorite holiday drink and your most comfortable clothes. Then you reach over and pick up a book. This is not just any book its one that you selected just for the holidays and you begin to read, not wanting to put it down for anything. For Tom Lyons, the owner of Thomas A. Lyons Fine Books, he has a list of five books that are great for the holidays, number one on his list for holiday reads is A Consultation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra. Lyons says that this story has the pure craft of writing and story telling. Lyons thinks that for Anthony Marra’s first book that it was an amazing start. He didn’t want to put it down and absolutely didn’t want the book to end. Lyons owns his own bookstore in a quaint little building among other shops. His store is located at 124 W. Wisconsin Ave, STE 140 Neenah, Wisconsin. In Fine Books you will walk in and immediately you will be hit with a number of scents such as: new book smell, old book smell, and candles. On the shelves in the store you find books selected by Lyons that he thinks to be good reads or books that people should pick up. Not necessarily the bestselling books but ones that he has read and touched him in some way. This is one thing that makes his store a little different than others. Another difference is that there are new books mixed in with the used books, but when I say used books, these are in impeccable condition. There are also books that are great collectors with signatures from the authors themselves, some of these books date way back. Lyons tells me that lots of collectors like their books in great shape just as he keeps his and since he is a collector himself he knows what other collectors are looking for in books.
Being open for just over a year now Lyons has quite the collection of books he said he was lucky to have quite an inventory before opening his bookstore, so that he could use some of those books in the store. Now that the store has been open a little while their Internet business is starting to take off. This is where buyers can browse their inventory to see what they have in stock. This is also nice for book collectors as well, because then they can find exactly what they are looking for. On occasion the bookstore does signings for new and upcoming authors or authors that have already been published. Not only does the town of Neenah get to see some authors but Lyons get to meet a crowd of new people.
Lyons runs the bookstore with his daughter Meredith. He laughs when he says, “She does all the book keeping things, all the stuff I don’t know anything about.” Lyons likes to call himself a recovering neurosurgeon and when asked if he has written anything of his own he explained, “Anyone who is a serious reader in their heart of hearts wants to write.”
Going into Lyons’ bookstore you could just see his heart behind every thing, you could see the way that his face would light up when he talked about books. It was like he was destined to open up this bookstore so that people would be able to come in and he could tell them what is a good read. The way that he showed all the different collectors items and all the books that he chose for the shelves it would gush out of him and just warm the entire room. The way that Lyons talks about books would make anyone want to read, even if they said they never liked reading before. You can tell that he is passionate behind what he is doing and that he likes reading himself. He talked about people coming into the bookstore and he could have long conversations with him about authors that he hasn’t even read before, then giving them a shot because the person he was talking to said it was good. Lyons stated, “Mans greatest endeavor is writing and we are trying to preserve it.”
Tom Lyons List of Holiday Books
A Consultation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri
The Maid’s Version by Daniel Woodrell
Brown Dog by Jim Harrison