If you are the kind of person that can lose yourself in the maze of book shelves of a book store; who cherishes the physical structure of the book with its artistic covers surrounding the thickness of pages between; who can smell the wood of the shelves you lean upon as you open one, seeing within not merely black-typed letters on a white page, but rather the gateway to a world of new friends and foes; and that a bookstore is a destination wherein hours are freely and joyfully relinquished and dollars willingly spent, then you are like me, and I would recommend that My Bookstore: Writers Celebrate Their Favorite Places to Browse, Read, and Shop is the book for you.
This tome is a bucket-list of book stores to visit; a collection of business success stories based on love, appreciation and mutual respect between bookseller and readers/writers/communities around the art of the book and the writing within them. It is about 84 unique independent book stores around the country, demonstrating diversity and resisting a society seeking monocultural consumerism, by the writers who pay tribute to them.
Two stores I have visited and love are recognized.
Politics & Prose in Washington DC has been a must-stop every visit to the nation’s capital, ever since my first visit when Naomi Klein was reading and signing her book, The Shock Doctrine shortly after its release. At a later visit, I was headed out of town hours before Barbara Ehrenreich was reading and signing her book, Bright-Sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America. I paid for the book, and they shipped it to me after she signed it.
The Book Loft of German Village in Columbus, OH I just discovered this year during an extended visit for a Columbus Crew match. Last year, we added the Columbus Zoo as a planned visit while taking in a match of the closest Major League Soccer team to Detroit, but now the Book Loft is another definite stop while in town.
Through this book, I discovered Nicola’s Books in Ann Arbor, and have since made two visits; the second of which children’s book writer Nancy Shaw was reading and signing her contribution to My Bookstore about Nicola’s Books. The book also introduced me to two other indy book stores in Michigan – Saturn Booksellers in Gaylord and McLean & Eakin Booksellers in Petosky – that are now on the list of places to find my way to.
I hope that My Bookstore is a success, both in steering readers to the indy bookstores that carry on the tradition of book selling as the heartbeat of the community that no online mega-corp or cookie-cutter franchise can ever replace, and to encourage a second volume which left out two book stores that immediately come to mind – Horizon Books and Brilliant Books in Traverse City – and hopefully many more like them.