Bounds, Gwendolyn 1971–
Bounds, Gwendolyn 1971–
PERSONAL: Born August 29, 1971, in Durham, NC; partner of Kathryn Kranhold. Education: Graduated from University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
CAREER: Wall Street Journal, New York, NY, columnist, 1993–.
(As Wendy Bounds; with Ruth Hanessian) Birds on the Couch: The Bird Shrink's Guide to Keeping Polly from Going Crackers and You out of the Cuckoo's Nest, Crown (New York, NY), 1998.
Little Chapel on the River: A Pub, a Town, and the Search for What Matters Most, Morrow (New York, NY), 2005.
SIDELIGHTS: September 11, 2001 began as a normal day for Wall Street Journal columnist Gwendolyn Bounds and her partner, who were getting ready for work in their home across the street from the World Trade Center. The terrorist attacks severely damaged their apartment and sent them scrambling for temporary housing. Several weeks later, the couple found their way to the Hudson River Valley town of Garrison and a small Irish pub named Guinan's. Bounds began jotting down the stories of the bar's regulars and her own memories of growing up in small-town North Carolina. The resulting narrative, Little Chapel on the River: A Pub, a Town, and the Search for What Matters Most, was published in 2005. In an interview with USA Today contributor Bob Minzesheimer, Bounds shared the inspiration for the book's title: "Coming to Guinan's was something of a religion, with its own customs, community and rites of passage." She further commented that she wanted the book's style to "feel like the pace inside a bar where people are coming and going."
Library Journal contributor Maria Kochis commented that, "in the era of big box stores, chain restaurants, and the proliferation of cloned communities, this debut about a family-owned pub in Garrison, NY, on the Hudson River will be perceived as timely and meaningful." A Publishers Weekly reviewer wrote: "It modestly reminds us that in this uncertain world, when you come to a place that speaks to you, you should hold it dear and treasure it while it lasts." Mary Ann Smyth, writing for the BookLoons Web site, called the book "heartwarming and sensitively told," adding that "Bounds makes the camaraderie that drew patrons to Guinan's—to incorporate the store and pub into their lives—believable and endearing." Kim Hughes, a contributor to the Toronto Star, described Little Chapel on the River as "a tender, heartfelt love letter" and Bounds' writing style as "refreshingly uncluttered." Week magazine online columnist Dennis Smith called it "a beautifully told tale that shows how people come to know one another—talking, laughing, and learning."
In addition to her ongoing column with the Wall Street Journal, Bounds has contributed to numerous North Carolina newspapers, she has also collaborated with bird psychologist Ruth Hanessian to produce 1998's Birds on the Couch: The Bird Shrink's Guide to Keeping Polly from Going Crackers and You out of the Cuckoo's Nest. A guide for the bird owner on controlling unruly pet behavior, Birds on the Couch was described by Booklist reviewer Nancy Bent as "full of practical advice" and "entertaining reading."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, June 1, 1998, Nancy Bent, review of Birds on the Couch: The Bird Shrink's Guide to Keeping Polly from Going Crackers and You out of the Cuckoo's Nest, p. 1694.
Library Journal, May 15, 2005, Maria Kochis, review of Little Chapel on the River: A Pub, a Town, and the Search for What Matters Most, p. 132.
Publishers Weekly, April 25, 2005, review of Little Chapel on the River, p. 46.
BookLoons, http://www.bookloons.com/ (September 22, 2005), Mary Ann Smyth, review of Little Chapel on the River.
Toronto Star Online, http://www.thestar.com/ (September 19, 2005), Kim Hughes, "A Refuge from a Tragic Storm," review of Little Chapel on the River.
USA Today Online, http://www.usatoday.com/ (July 7, 2005), Bob Minzesheimer, "One 'Little Chapel' Beer Changed Author's Life."
Week Online (http://www.theweekmagazine.com/ (September 16, 2005), Dennis Smith, review of Little Chapel on the River.