About This Blog

Don't get me wrong. It's not that I'm not on board with the whole ebook thing. I enjoy books in all their formats. But there is nothing quite like a bookstore with its neatly arranged shelves of books and artfully created displays of new arrivals, best sellers, and suggested reading. I especially enjoy discovering small, independent bookstores and have made it my mission to visit and report back on as many of these gems as I can. That is my focus, but there is really nothing that is off limits as long as it is about books or reading. Hope you enjoy my blog and come back often.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Old Building, New Shop

Books & Mortar
955 Cherry Street SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49506

Independent bookstores will soon be a thing of the past. Do you remember those dire predictions? Amazon and e-books will drive them out of business. That's what we were told. Yeah, right! And by now we were also supposed to be living in a paperless world. How has that worked out? Apparently the readers of the world didn't get the message. The American Booksellers Association has reported growth in their membership for a straight seven years. Rather than dying out, new bookstores are opening, and existing bookstores are thriving. It seems that people still want print books and the personal touch of a brick-and-mortar establishment. In keeping with this trend, Grand Rapids, Michigan, now claims a brand new independent bookstore called, appropriately, Books & Mortar, and I had the pleasure of visiting this shop shortly after its grand opening.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

He Who Sits Quietly

Public Library
1576 Straits Highway
P.O. Box 266
Topinabee, MI 49791

Ahh, September, the best month of summer. That's right. If you are a retired high school librarian, September is the best month. Don't get me wrong. I loved my job. But as a retired educator, I enjoy the luxury of an additional month of summer. Wonderful weather without the heat and humidity, and beautiful summer days without the crowds. Schools are back in session, and much of the regular population is absorbed with kids and fall sports. The perfect time for a road trip!

So on a beautiful Friday in September, I set out for a small dot on the map, a place far up north in Michigan. In fact, if it were much farther north, 30 miles or so, it would be in the UP. (That's Upper Peninsula for those of you not familiar with my fair state.) On this particular September day, a few hours' drive took me to the shores of beautiful Mullett Lake and a town called Topinabee. What brought me to this remote speck on the map? You see, this lovely town is home to one of the most charming little libraries I have ever set foot in.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Books and More

Griffon Bookstore
121 W. Colfax Ave.
South Bend, IN 46601

What could be better than a pleasant drive on a sunny summer afternoon when the destination is a bookstore? When the destination is two bookstores? Even better! In a recent post I wrote about my visit to South Bend, Indiana, where I discovered Idle Hours Bookshop. (See Luck of the Irish.) As luck, Irish or otherwise, would have it, I was able to drop in briefly on another area bookseller that same afternoon. Griffon Bookstore is not your run-of-the-mill book shop, however. Like its well-known mythological namesake, this shop is a unique amalgam--part bookstore, part game store.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Luck of the Irish

Idle Hours Bookshop
212 South Michigan Street
South Bend, IN 46601

I've mentioned my fascination with Scotland in previous posts. A visit there is tops on my bucket list. Of course when I eventually get there, I will also want to visit nearby Ireland. (If you give a mouse a cookie . . . right?) My son Culver and daughter-in-law Alysandra have a love of the Emerald Isle that was recently cemented when they spent part of their honeymoon enjoying Irish scenery, Irish food, Irish beer, and Irish landmarks. The closest I have come at this point to an actual trip to Ireland is a recent visit to a different brand of Irish town, South Bend, Indiana. That's right, South Bend, home of the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. The luck of the Irish was with me on a sunny August day when I discovered that South Bend is also home to a small used bookstore, Idle Hours Bookshop.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Back Where It All Began

The Book Mark
201 S. Rath Avenue
Ludington, MI 49431

Hard to believe that it's already been five years since I started this blog, and what a delightful five years it has been. It all began on the beautiful Lake Michigan shoreline in the town of Ludington. The Book Mark was the first stop on my blogging journey, and as I contemplated this anniversary, I felt it only fitting that I revisit the store that kicked it all off.