It's been quiet on The Thinking Spot Blog front and you may be wondering why. Like a lot of people in August, we were on our summer vacation - taking time to relax and enjoy family time and the outdoors, before the start of another school year. But, (prospective) bookseller that I am, I couldn't resist sneaking in some bookstore visits. Each place we visited, I dragged my family to at least one independent bookstore. While they weren't too sure in the beginning, in the end, I think they all enjoyed the visits and we came home with a bagful of books that we didn't have room for. Check them out when you are in the area.
1. First up - at the Chicago airport - Hudson books had this small little storefront that at first glance looked like any other bookstore but inside we found this gem - a bunch of curved bookcases arranged to form a circle. The feeling of standing in the middle of that circle, surrounded by books - indescribable! I felt transported - from the airport to some ancient castle's library!
2. Ann Arbor - Visited the award-winning Literati books! What a beautiful storefront and location! The store inside is just as beautiful, a wonderful collection of all genres - 3 floors and bustling with activity on all of them. They even have an old-fashioned working typewriter inside where people were encouraged to leave their thoughts. Independent bookstores are alive and well!
3. Mackinac Island - I was so happy to see this Island Bookstore among the many tourist trap/gift shops. Nice size children's section, beach reads, big local selection about the island, as well as some non-fiction. Glad to think that among the thousands thronging the little island, there were many who'd be happy to take a book back to their room or the beach and either read themselves or read to their kids!
4. Detroit Pages Book Shop was sadly closed due to a power outage but the front looked great and will have to check them out next time we are in town.
5. Gathering Volumes in Perrysburg Ohio a bit south of Toledo. Nice bookstore in a quiet area of town. They even run craft workshops. Big selection of children's and YA books.
6. Loganberry Books in Cleveland Heights. Oh my, what a find! This small-looking space on the outside, expanded - like the magical tardis - into a huge space inside housing 150000 books. Anything you can imagine. The inside evoked old-style libraries - I believe they took over a library space. Also houses a book bindery!
7. Story and Song Bookstore and Bistro - Lastly, after the vacation, I jumped into a 3-day bookstore Bootcamp. This workshop on all things bookstore has been run for many years by Mark and Donna Kaufman of Amelia Island, FL. About 3 years ago, they finally found the perfect spot for their own bookstore and have created this gem on the Island. Great selection of books and local art, amazingly well-presented. The food from the bistro was wonderful and the community and vibe they have created for the locals, as well as tourists, is incredible.
So what do booksellers do on vacation? Now you know - we visit other bookstores! Seven bookstores in almost as many days. Without an exception, every one of them was unique, beautifully inviting, amazing in its own right, and fun to visit. That is what independent bookstores are all about and that is what I hope The Thinking Spot will be one day, for all the good folks of Minnetonka and the greater Minneapolis-St. Paul area.
One last thought -