WENDY WELCH and her husband (Scottish folksinger Jack Beck) were the former owner and operater of Tales of the Lonesome Pine Used Books in Big Stone Gap, Virginia (now closed and converted into a home). An Ethnography PhD, she rescues shelter animals (SPAY and NEUTER, thanks!) and is one of the world’s fastest crocheters. This is a good thing because between her day job teaching college courses on culture and public health, running special events at the shop, writing about stuff, and chasing kittens out of roads, she doesn’t have a lot of spare time. Wendy Currently resides in Wytheville Virginia.
An inspiring true story about losing your place, finding your purpose, and building a community one book at a time.
Wendy Welch and her husband had always dreamed of owning a bookstore, so when they left their high-octane jobs for a simpler life in an Appalachian coal town, they seized an unexpected opportunity to pursue thier dream. The only problems? A declining U.S. economy, a small town with no industry, and the advent of the e-book. They also had no idea how to run a bookstore. Against all odds, but with optimism, the help of their Virginian mountain community, and an abiding love for books, they succeeded in establishing more than a thriving business – they built a community.
The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap is the little bookstore that could: how two people, two cats, two dogs, and thirty-eight thousand books helped a small town find its heart. It is a story about people and books, and how together they create community.
Chaos. Frustration. Compassion. Desperation. Hope. These are the five words that author Wendy Welch says best summarize the state of foster care in the coalfields of Appalachia. Her assessment is based on interviews with more than sixty social workers, parents, and children who have gone through “the system.” The riveting stories in Fall or Fly tell what foster care is like, from the inside out.
In depictions of foster care and adoption, stories tend to cluster at the dark or light ends of the spectrum, rather than telling the day-to-day successes and failures of families working to create themselves. Who raises other people’s children? Why? What’s money got to do with it when the love on offer feels so real? And how does the particular setting of Appalachia—itself so frequently oversimplified or stereotyped—influence the way these questions play out?
In Fall or Fly, Welch invites people bound by a code of silence to open up and to share their experiences. Less inspiration than a call to caring awareness, this pioneering work of storytelling journalism explores how love, compassion, money, and fear intermingle in what can only be described as a marketplace for our nation’s greatest asset.
Stories from doctors, nurses, and therapists dealing on a daily basis with the opioid crisis in Appalachia should be heartbreaking. Yet those told here also inspire with practical advice on how to assist those in addiction, from a grass-roots to a policy level. Readers looking for ways to combat the crisis will find suggestions alongside laughter, tears, and sometimes rage. Each author brings the passion of their profession and the personal losses they have experienced from addiction, and posits solutions and harm reduction with positivity, grace, and even humor. Authors representing seven states from northern, Coalfields, and southern Appalachia relate personal encounters with patients or providers who changed them forever. This is a history document, showing how we got here; an evidenced indictment of current policies failing those who need them most; an affirmation that Appalachia solves its own problems; and a collection of suggestions for best practice moving forward.