Tag Archives: Scott VanKoughnett

Eat My Words — A Moveable Feast

Decades ago I had the  experience of helping to move a library – actually the substantial library of the institution formerly known as the College of St. Catherine.  The move was from the basement of Jeanne d’Arc Chapel to a magnificent new facility across the campus.

The operation was masterminded by Sister Marie Inez (aka Alice Smith) with the precision of the Normandy Invasion.  We trudged up what felt like 100 narrow steps from the basement then trekked across campus toting a meticulously ordered and labeled stack of tomes to a pre-determined destination determined on the shelves of the new library.  The rewards were irresistible – time out of class and a cookie/bar at the end of each delivery.  It was a grand experience – and to this day I doubt that a single volume was lost or mis-shelved upon arrival!

All of this comes to mind in vivid detail as I anticipate the forthcoming move of Eat My Words!, my favorite indie bookstore in Northeast Minneapolis.   Proprietor Scott VanKoughnett and his assistant Jennifer Bailey press on with the unflappable spirit of Sister Marie Inez.  Though I’m not privy to the details, I share their optimism for the Grand Relocation, if not for the move per se.  (I suspect Scott has lined up real movers not college students and that their pay will be more negotiable than cookies….)

It’s an upward move – i.e. EMW will be moving about a block up 13th Avenue Northeast to a gracious setting heretofore the home of Two 12 Pottery.  More than ever, visitors will be able to relax and relish the used book selection in the environment described thus on the EMW website: “Spending an hour at Eat My Words is like going to the home of friends – friends with 20,000 books to show you and share with you.”

The relocation setting is well known to denizens and visitors to the Northeast arts community. For many years Two 12 Pottery has been a favorite haunt of discriminating shoppers with a yen for high quality goods at real people prices. Times change, Bob Sorg, the potter and proprietor of Two 12 Pottery, will be exploring other options while EMW will inherit the lovely site and the residual good vibes that Two12 has long emitted.   Learn more about Two12 here:  (http://www.two12pottery.com/about/4590772963)

EMW is not only a bookstore, it is a gathering place of people with ideas.  For example, EMW is is one of the several entities in Northeast that continues to welcome and support community initiatives to engage in civil discourse during these troubled political times.

(https://marytreacy.wordpress.com/2016/11/10/heeding-the-clarion-call-to-civil-conversation/)  Somehow the staff will continue to host their robust calendar of events during and after The Move.  You can check these out here.  http://www.eatmywordsbooks.com/events/?view=calendar&month=June-2017  (Tip: You really want to sign up to be on the distribution list for forthcoming events.)

Personally and selfishly I am delighted that we have been assured that there will continue to be space and a welcome mat for Voices of Northeast, the series of videotaped interviews with Northeast writers and literary artists that we have produced in the EMW “parlor” for the past many months.  (https://marytreacy.wordpress.com/2016/02/06/hungry-for-a-good-read-try-eat-my-words/)

We thank the proprietors of Two 12 Pottery for the many ways in which the unique merchandise and gracious staff have met the wishes of artists and visitors to the shop.  It’s a beautiful hand-off from Two 12 Pottery to Eat My Words.  The Northeast arts community has been and will be enriched by both enterprises and by the customers who appreciate and frequent shops that have

Hungry for a good read? Try Eat My Words

Printed books usually outlive bookstores and the publishers who brought them out. They sit around, demanding nothing, for decades. That’s one of their nicest qualities – their brute persistence. Nicholson Baker

And that’s why we have independent used bookstores.

For the past few months the Eat My Words Bookstore has provided the literary setting for Voices of Northeast, a weekly series of video interviews with bookish folk who enliven the literary arts community of Northeast Minneapolis. The novelists, booksellers, teachers, poets, publishers, storytellers and other interviewees on Voices are seated comfortably in the “parlor” in the back of the bookshop where they are framed by books, books and more books…… Curious viewers are now inquiring about the welcoming set itself!   Glad you asked –Eat My Words is a feast to be shared.

For viewers and visitors alike Eat My Words offers a literary banquet, set in the midst of Northeast’s vibrant arts neighborhood. The cozy shop teases the literary palate with irresistible, sometimes sadly neglected, occasionally weird volumes. The shelves teem with books, pre-owned, even pre-read, at least pre-thumbed. The books exude some irresistible power that absorbs the mind and time of the casual browser who may have dropped in for a snack but finds himself pulling up to the table for the feast of printed words.

Proprietor Scott VanKoughnett plays host to the feast of tomes, many of which once graced his private collection of used, rare and antique books representative of every taste, time and facet of the Dewey Decimal System. The overloaded shelves are conveniently searchable while overstuffed chairs offer the browser a chance to sample in comfort.

Acknowledging that shoppers do not live by good reads alone, VanKoughnett, who has also been known to practice law in the area, offers a tempting banquet of bookish events. There are readings, often collaborative readings, on specific themes, special occasions, signings with visiting authors, and when the Muse drops alights.

And then there are the “Food for Thought” idea forums, what Van Koughnett has dubbed “backwords book clubs.” Instead of everyone reading the same book, participants respond to the same topic “through whatever media that resonate with them.” It’s not the tired “book of the month” or the tasty “fruit of the month” but the “topic of the month.” The get-togethers (aka salons) meet on the first Friday evening of the month, each focused on a word theme – March 4 the theme is “Solitude” – April 1 it’s Spirit. ” On May 6 the theme is “Dream” which will get you through till June 3 when it’s “Pride”. All free and open, of course. (facebook.com/foodforthoughtideaforum”

Learn more about the Voices interviews in an earlier blog post. https://marytreacy.wordpress.com/2015/10/05/voices-of-northeast-minneapolis-captured-and-shared-on-video/ To appreciate the gourmet treat that Eat My Words offers, you gotta take time to visit. It’s at 1228 2nd Street NE, corner of 12th and 2nd Streetss, just a few steps from the iconic Grainbelt Brewery, near Marshall and Broadway in artsy Northeast Minneapolis.

To view an extended Voices of Northeast discussion with Scott, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tumRr08qkrc

www.eatmywordsbooks.com. 651 243 1756 or eatmywordsbooks@gmail.com