Tag Archives: Independent bookstores

Independent thinker? Think independent bookseller!

When legendary philosopher and social critic Jerry Seinfeld reminds fans that “a bookstore is one of the only pieces of evidence we have that people are still thinking” he refers to thinking about something more than “books about nothing.” I’m sure he’s also not thinking about chains but about the thinking possibilities that thrive in the atmosphere that only an independent bookstore can create.

Often nestled in quiet neighborhoods, indies reflect, shape and create vibrant communities of individual and collaborative thinking about ideas, stories, what’s been and what has yet to be.

This past few days I’ve been so busy hanging out in my neighborhood indies that I nearly overlooked the fact that next Saturday, April 30, we celebrate the second annual Independent Bookstore Day.   In 2015, the inaugural year of Independent Bookstore Day, at least 400 indies participated. Sponsors of IBD have made special efforts this year to reach lesser known and possibly more remote indies that enrich the lives of countless readers who yearn for more access to the written word.

For Twin Cities thinkers Mary Ann Grossman, renowned book editor of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, provides some great tips to local happenings. (http://www.twincities.com/2016/04/21/local-merchants-celebrate-independent-bookstore-day/)  She describes the ten TC’s bookstores that have joined forces to introduce a Bookstore Passport that encourages readers to travel the indie route for intellectual and economic gain.  She also notes the local authors who will be participating at indie bookstores. There will no doubt be further coverage in the local and neighborhood press in the days to come.  Bookstores are also working together and with supporters to create maps and guides to the fascinating mix of indies that the intrepid seeker can find on some unexpected sites ranging from rehabbed commercial enterprises to strip malls.

My recent time spent thinking in and about the atmosphere of two very special indie bookstores inspires my enthusiasm for IBD.    It’s interesting to observe that both of my Northeast Minneapolis neighborhood bookstore favorites, Corner Books and Eat My Words, feature used books. For me, used books somehow enhance the reading adventure – maybe because of the time spent with thinkers who have are inclined to  leave their indelible mark on the volume – by way of margin notes, bookmarks and/or coffee stains. I wonder as I read just what that reader was thinking as she thought about these same words.

One of my most frequent bookish haunts is Corner Books (http://www.cornerbooksmn.com, in the St. Anthony Village mall.  This past week proprietor Carol Urness celebrated her rich life of books with a most wonderful event.  In a three day celebration of eighty years of life Carol  shared a wealth of treasures – etchings, atlases, objects d’art and other fun stuff – with long-time friends, customers, scholars, birders, writers, and librarian colleagues. I couldn’t resist dropping in each of the three days of this unique tribute to the life of the mind.  I will happily share more about Carol and Corner Books when I can corner this unique dynamo for a long conversation and, as soon as she recuperates from the celebration, she will find an hour to guest star on Voices of Northeast. (http://ias.umn.edu/2014/07/29/northeast/)

My other neighborhood indie favorite is Eat My Words where proprietor Scott Vankaughnett has built a community of thoughtful readers not with written words alone but with a rich agenda of creative programs designed to pique the fancy of any thinker. More about Eat My Words on an earlier blog post (https://marytreacy.wordpress.com/2016/02/06/hungry-for-a-good-read-try-eat-my-words/) – or view a delightful interview with Scott on the Voices of Northeast site. (http://ias.umn.edu/2014/07/29/northeast/

Saturday, April 30, 2016 — Independent Bookstore Day

Support this community of thinkers built by independent booksellers, bibliophiles and discerning book buyers

 

 

 

 

Indy First Day/Small Business Saturday, November 29

Reading is such a personal thing to me, I’d much rather give someone a

gift certificate to a bookstore, and let that person choose his or her own books.

Writer & journalist, Erik Larson

A gift suggestion to consider as you work your way down this season’s holiday shopping list.  A best path  to the perfect book – – or the gift certificate — starts with a  visit to a favorite indie bookstores on Small Business Saturday, November 29, 2014 – a day now known to bibliophiles as Indies First day!

 The Indies First campaign was the brainchild of Sherman Alexie who proposed last year that authors celebrate Small Business Saturday by lending a hand at their favorite indie bookstore. Gaiman’s “audacious and imaginative” idea caught on – over 100 writers helped out at their favorite indie. Indies First became an instant Tradition!

This year, Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket) introduced Upstream, an independent bookstore-author partnership that builds on Alexie’s Indies First idea. (http://www.bookweb.org/news/daniel-handler-launches-upstream-initiative-support-indie-bookstores)

And in anticipation of Small Business Saturday 2014 writers Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer joined the campaign. Earlier this year Gaiman and Palmer penned a delightful letter to their fellow authors in which they describe their personal love affairs with indies…. “Neil wanted to be an author when he grew up. But if he wasn’t an author, he thought, the best possible profession would be working in a bookshop, pointing people at books they might like, ordering books for them, divining with some kind of superhuman ability that the book with the blue cover that their granny needed was actually Forever Amber, and otherwise making people’s lives better while being in bookshops.”

Palmer’s affair began with a more casual encounter: “Before she started working on her first book, Amanda walked into the Trident Bookstore on Newbury Street in Boston. She wasn’t even in there to browse books…she was in there to go to the bathroom, like you do…On her walk through the store, she noticed a book called Daring Greatly, by Brene Brown, sitting on the Staff Picks table. Amanda remembered seeing Brene’s TED talk about fear and vulnerability, and picked up the book, which she started reading and couldn’t put down. She bought it.   Two months later, Amanda wrote Brene a fan letter, and then Brene wrote the introduction for Palmer’s new book.”

Gaiman and Palmer conclude that “the Internet cannot make this magic happen. It cannot suggest books you have no idea you want. There’s nothing like the human, organic serendipity of an independent bookshop, where people who read and love books share their love with others.”

The Indie’s First campaign (http://www.bookweb.org/indiesfirst) features an up-dated listing of bookstore events scheduled for Small Business Saturday. Conveniently arranged by author and bookstore the list offers location site and brief description of events. Minnesota Indie First participants include these – be sure to check the listing for more complete information and for last minute updates:

  • An Open Book – Wadena – Activities and authors: story time and free craft activities
  • Excelsior Bay Books – Author Molly Beth Griffin, illustrator Jennifer A. Bell of Rhoda’s Rock Hunt, 1:00-3:00
  • Magers & Quinn – Minneapolis – Will Alexander, Anders Nilsen and Charlie Quimby will be selling books all afternoon
  • Red Balloon – St. Paul –Personal shopping with William Alexander, Michael Dahl, Brian Farrey, Michael Hall, David LaRochelle, Carrie Mesrobian, Stephen Shaskan, Trisha Speed Shaskan and Anne Ursu.
  • Scout & Morban Books – Cambridge – Stan Tekiela, Holly Harden
  • Valley Bookseller – Stillwater – local authors
  • Wild Rumpus – Minneapolis – William Alexander, Michael Hall, Lauren Stringer