Tag Archives: bookstores

Venture forth to celebrate Indie Bookstore Day!

Today’s the second day of May

First-ever Indie Bookstore Day

So browse the shelves, explore the nooks

Talk with folks about the books

Not just the books that grab the news

But those with fresh ideas and views.

Get to know the friendly clerks

Who know the authors and their works.

Today’s a day to celebrate

What makes each indie bookstore great!

Yes, this is a bit tardy, but it’s not too late – because your indie is likely to be within walking distance. And there will be a warm welcome, possibly a cup of tea, waiting for you. There may also be special Independent Bookstore literary gifts available only at indies, gifts including signed prints by graphic novelist Chris Ware and Captain Underpants creator Dav Pilkey, a Roz Chast tote bag, a signed collection of essays by Roxanne Gay, or a set of tea towels with sayings by Lemony Snicket and Pat Conroy – stuff you won’t find online.

Over 400 stores around the country are participating in this new national holiday – each with its own unique panache, of course. The media offer some good points of entry to the many local options — MPR heralded Indie Bookstore Day with a lively discussion on Kerri Miller’s show and nice profiles and photos of some of the area’s indie’s by Tracy Mumford (http://www.mprnews.org/story/2015/04/30/books-indie-bookstore-day)

Meanwhile, the Strib’s Laurie Hertzel provides an informative post about what’s happening at some of the TC’s indies. (http://www.vita.mn/crawl/302245541.html) Laurie offers a gentle suggestion that readers might want to spend the day visiting all of the area’s indie treasures. It’s a fun – if overwhelming – idea.

I’m thinking of an opposite approach – spending a few hours exploring the nooks and crannies –physical and intellectual – of just one neighborhood gem.   Either approach offers a lovely way to learn more about the creative ways in which independent bookstores enhance and expand this community of the book.

James Patterson Ad Defends Books, Bookstores & Libraries

Shared by  Shelf Awareness, April 22, 2013

James Patterson: ‘Who Will Save Our Books, Bookstores, Libraries?’

On the back cover of yesterday’s New York Times Book Review, author James Patterson took out a striking full-page ad that reads in part, “The Federal Government has stepped in to save banks, and the automobile industry, but where are they on the important subject of books? Or, if the answer is state and local government, where are they? Is any state doing anything? Why are there no impassioned editorials in influential newspapers or magazines? Who will save our books? Our libraries? Our bookstores?”

He also listed 38 titles ranging from All the President’s Men and To Kill a Mockingbird to A Fan’s Notes and Maus, saying, “If there are no bookstores, no libraries, no serious publishers with passionate, dedicated, idealistic editors, what will happen to our literature? Who will discover and mentor new writers? Who will publish our important books? What will happen if there are no more books like these?”


Boneshaker Books adds to cities reading options

Think “boneshaker” and bicycles come immediately to mind – unless you’re clueless like me and had to resort to Wikipedia to get a glimmer.  What ignited my curiosity was the quest to understand the origin of the name of this community’s newest bookstore.  First I learned about the bicycle derivation – and then I had the delight of exploring Boneshaker Books, right in the Seward Neighborhood, on 23rd just off Franklin, in SE Minneapolis.

When I arrived at Boneshaker Books I was far more concerned with bone-chilling than bone-shaking.  My arctic trip to their not-quite-new bookshop had left me grumpy and generally impervious to any good thoughts, much less of bicycles and bookstores.  When I left Boneshakers an hour later, after a broad-ranging chat with Clay Beardshear, member of the collective, I was inspired, energized, open to new ideas – I even had a glimmer of the enigmatic name of the shop and an appreciation of the collaboration that’s working to build this unique bookstore.  Not so relevant at the moment, perhaps, is the fact that Boneshakers really does plan to offer a bicycle delivery service, as befits their name.

To understand Boneshakers is to go back to its roots at Arise! where the seven members of today’s Boneshaker Books collective got their start as volunteers, a mix of professionals, craftspeople and all-round bibliophiles promoting the cause, making a difference in the unique role that Arise! once played on the community scene as a source of progressive, non-traditional, unique reading resources.  When Arise! was forced to close, these seven entrepreneurs first considered purchasing the Arise! building to continue the mission.  For several months they hosted the Storefront in a Box programs at their South Lyndale site, maintaining throughout that the demise of Arise! meant an “unacceptable loss” to this community.

At some point, a new idea took shape, the opportunity to create a bookstore born of but not housed at the Arise! site.  Seward neighborhood and the opportunity to establish a new site in an irresistible option.   Boonshaker Books soon saw the opportunity renovate a beautiful building at the same time they could build an independent organization and business, committed to a collection of fiction and nonfiction titles that include  history and politics, economics, race and sexual relations – with a concerted eye to children’s books that escape the made-for-TV genre that permeates the chains.  The building itself is a model of recycling, re-use and environmental concern – the beautiful hardwood floor was once  a basketball court, shelving hand-crafted by Clay Beardshear is as beautiful as it is sturdy, windows, doors, walls – basically everything – is recycled and elegant.

The all-volunteer staff at Boneshaker Books is committed to the power of the printed – and read – word, and to serving the Twin Cities with a unique mix of book stock and creative programming.

A sidebar issue that I hope/plan to explore in greater depth is the fact that one area of tomorrow’s Boneshakers is reserved for the Women’s Prison Book Project, a program that too many of us had assumed was no longer.  I was happy to learn that it was not dead, but only sleeping.

As with other book dealers Clay was far more interested in the future of the printed book and of Boneshakers than he was with whining about the impact of e-books and other technologies, or even the heavy hand of the biggie publishers.  Totally refreshing.

Boneshaker Books is celebrating their Grand Opening with an all-out bash on Saturday, January 15.  They will open their doors to shoppers and explorers at 11:00 a.m. That evening there will be a great blast off, featuring pizza and other treats, free and open to all.

The Seward neighborhood and adventurous readers throughout the Twin Cities have a grand new option.

Minnesotans Reads about Reading

Truth to tell I don’t get to very many author readings or even find time to prowl the local press sections in the areas libraries and bookstores.  I can’t afford the Minnesota Book Awards any more.  Still, I love to just read about what’s happening on the literary scenes — in bookstores, libraries, book clubs and attic reading spaces throughout the metro area and the state.  Mary Anne Grossmann does a great job of keeping the literary flame burning at the St. Paul Pioneer Press.  Though other print media flag a few readings, it’s almost always the out-of-town biggies.  I want to know about the emerging writers, the local folks whose literary works, histories, memoirs, books for children  and more are so artfully created and so often overlooked.

One delightful way to track the Minnesota muse is by following  Minnesota Reads, now celebrating two years of celebrating Minnesota writers and readers.  On the one hand, MR is running commentary on who’s doing. writing and reading what.  My favorite or many treats on MR is an absolutely essential calendar of readings and literary events, often in places I’ve never visited except in my imagination.   That’s MY favorite, but there something for everyone!

Happy Anniversary to Minnesota – Celebrate by checking it out and adding your voice whether you’re a reader, a writer, a publisher or, like me, mostly a lurker.  They also serve who only stand and lurk.