Rushing, a Florida native and a former lawyer who received his degree from Stetson University's College of Law, is the owner of Back in the Day Books, a bookstore in Dunedin that features a large selection of antiquarian books as well as new offerings. Rushing, 45, first opened the business in Tarpon Springs in 2009. He has been in his current location since June. He and his wife, Emily, live in Odessa with their daughter, Holly.
What's on your nightstand?
I always have 10 or 15 books out because I'm exposed to books constantly. I admit, though, that I start them and I get interrupted, so I don't finish a lot. Also I mainly read nonfiction. I think it's because my little girl interrupts me so much. I've got My Book Store: Writers Celebrate Their Favorite Places to Browse, Read and Shop. It's edited by Ronald Rice with an introduction by Richard Russo. Different authors talk about their one favorite bookstore. It's been great because my work is a passion, a labor of love. This book has given me ideas. I'm also reading Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv. It's about kids not being outdoors, not outside enough and how it's hurting everyone. My little girl is 9, and the whole idea of the book makes sense and is important to me, that kids are not spending enough time outside and instead they're inside on computers. I've also got another great book, The Complete Guide to Easter Island, published by the Easter Island Foundation. I've wanted to go to Easter Island ever since I read Paul Theroux's The Happy Isles of Oceania, which is one of my favorite books of all time.
The last book I have out is Evel: The High-Flying Life of Evel Knievel by Leigh Montville. Evel Knievel was one of my childhood heroes. I ran in to him a few years back when I was living in a condo in Feather Sound. He lived there too, before he died. One night I heard a person yelling, and it turned out to be Evel. His motorcycle had fallen on top of him. I ran down from my second-floor condo, and I lifted the motorcycle off of him. He appreciated that, and a few days later I got his autograph.
I'd be remiss if I didn't ask a bookseller his thoughts on the current state of the book industry.
I've always refused to believe there's not people out there who appreciate the written word and would not support a store like mine. The Wall Street Journal had an article within the last six months that revealed that something like 75 percent of the population has no interest in e-readers, and that a large percent, I forget the number, still buy physical books, and we find this to be true. So, yes, the market has shrunk in recent times, but bookstores are not going away.
Piper Castillo, Times staff writer, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.