A Barbie Bonanza

Josie Leavitt -- October 22nd, 2010

Wednesday evening we hosted the launch party for Tanya Lee Stone’s new book, The Good, the Bad, and the Barbie: A Doll’s History and Her Impact on Us. Tanya is one of the authors we’re lucky to have just around the corner from the store, so it’s always great fun when she’s got a new book coming out. A large crowd buzzed before the event, buying the book and having some wine.

Tanya’s research was extensive and it seemed that she had a great time doing it and had many humorous stories to share. She said that there was an even 50/50 split of folks who love or loathe Barbie, and everyone had a story about her. One thing I learned that blew me away was Barbie was really a feminist toy. There were many Barbie dolls that were cutting-edge for their time; one of them was Astronaut Barbie, who came out in the 1960s. Tanya explained that Barbie had every career imaginable, careers that were often inaccessible to women. Pretty cool fact.

Barbie collector, Peter Harrigan, author Tanya Lee Stone and photographer Karen Pike all pose for a picture.

On hand to join Tanya were the photographer of the book, Karen Pike, and Peter Harrigan, whose extensive Barbie collection was used for all the photos in the book. Peter has 590 Barbies in his collection and he was a wonderful source of information about all the accessories that the Barbies came with. What thrilled me was, all these people are Vermonters and they all came together to create a really wonderful and fun book.

Tanya really did some great promotion for the event via Facebook. She even beat us to creating an event invitation to send out to the Flying Pig’s Facebook fans. Facebook invitations are really a great way to promote an event. They look great, provide all the details, often with direct links back to the bookstore, and best of all, you can really tweak who among your friends gets an invitation. For the first time ever, I used the number of “I will attend”s to help me plan the refreshments and set up the room to accommodate the large crowd.

This event was loads of fun as all attendees had their own Barbie stories to tell. But perhaps the cutest thing of the evening were the questions Tanya’s young daughter, Liza, kept asking, like what page was Tanya favorite quote? Oh, would that be the page Liza was quoted? Why, yes it was. It was an adorable exchange between the author and her daughter.

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