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.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

From Big To Big Time

Not long ago I wrote about a "Big" Little Free Library in Hersey, MI. (See post.) Now it seems that these diminutive book-sharing structures have hit the big time. In a recent newsletter from Little Free Library, I learned that none other than the NBC TODAY show has launched a Little Free Library of its own as part of a celebration of reading. During a recent show segment entitled By the Book, TODAY's Jenna Bush Hager gave a report on the state of reading in America, and the show anchors shared some of their favorite book titles. As part of the segment, the new TODAY show Little Free Library at 30 Rockefeller Plaza was unveiled. Visit the Little Free Library website here for a link to video of the segment where you'll also get some great book suggestions!

Monday, June 25, 2018

A Sweet, Cozy Place

The Mitten Word Bookshop
114 W. Michigan Ave.
Marshall, MI 49068

Pure Michigan—the lakes, the rivers, the beaches, the Mighty Mackinac Bridge, Sleeping Bear Dunes. My home state has many beautiful sights as well as a variety of nicknames: Water Wonderland, Great Lakes State, Beer State. And let's not forget the Mitten! The shape of our state affords Michiganders the unique ability to use our hands as maps, much to the amusement of outsiders. For example, the last bookstore I wrote about (See BayBooks) sits somewhere near the little nook where the top of my pinky finger joins the neighboring ring finger. Much farther south, near the base of this “handy” map sits a little bookstore I recently discovered, aptly named The Mitten Word Bookshop. On a perfect June day, I set out from my home in Lowell to investigate this store with the charming Michigan name.

Friday, June 15, 2018


Bay Books
419 N Saint Joseph Street
Suttons Bay, MI 49682

After receiving just the tiniest sliver of spring for a couple of weeks in May, Michigan fell headlong into summer with tropical weather over the Memorial Day weekend. Okay, so it wouldn't feel so tropical to my friends from Florida, but to us up here in the North, 90 degrees with high humidity is sweltering. I found myself wondering if I had somehow missed Memorial Day and gone straight to July. A week later the “heat wave” had fortunately eased off, presenting me with perfect traveling weather, and I had just the destination in mind. A brand new bookstore opened last month in one of Michigan's lovelier spots about 2 hours north of our cottage. So I grabbed a bottle of water, some snacks, and a notebook, and headed for Suttons Bay and Bay Books.

Friday, May 25, 2018

What A Bargain

Scottville Hometown Hardware
115 S. Main Street
Scottville, MI 49454

Places to buy books besides bookstores: library sales, garage sales, flea markets, big box stores, hardware stores—wait, hardware stores? That's right. Let me tell you about a unique book buying experience at a Hometown Hardware Store. I was in the small town of Scottville, about half an hour from our cottage. Not at all looking for books, I was enjoying a pleasant afternoon perusing antique shops and discount furniture stores on the hunt for a small dresser. But as you might expect, I'm always on the alert for books. So when I happened to see a small sign in the window of the Hometown Hardware advertising “Books, Books, & More Books,” I was intrigued to say the least. I soon discovered that there was more to this establishment than I first realized. Half hardware store, half “Mini-Mall,” a sidewalk sign out front advertised a curious collection of shopping opportunities: antiques, woodworking, candles, sporting goods, army surplus, and of course, books. This place demanded a look see, so inside I went.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Big Little Library

Hersey Little Free Library
Hersey, Michigan

April in Michigan—the sound of rakes clearing away the leftover debris of winter, robins hopping about on grass that's getting greener by the day, early spring flowers just starting to bloom, a hint of leaves on the trees, and baseball!! Nope. Not this year. This year April thought it was March, and April showers were snow showers. The April of 2018 gave us school closings, icy roads, and baseball games postponed on account of snow. Winter-weary folks let out a collective groan, and the weather was an angry topic of conversation. This year it was nearly May before we were able to open the cottage for the season. Even then, there was still snow on the ground. We comforted ourselves with the thought that once the real spring weather arrived, the snow and ice would soon be gone.

Once the cottage was open, on a sunny afternoon warm enough to finally cast aside a jacket, I decided to treat myself and take a drive. Last winter I had been made aware of a unique Little Free Library not far from our cottage. I referenced it in a blog post (See Library of Distinction.) and promised myself I would see it in person once the weather was better. Well, if you managed to ignore the stubborn piles of snow here and there, the weather was indeed better, so off I went to the small village of Hersey to visit this big Little Free Library.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Let the Celebration Begin

Long live independent bookstores. It's not just a hope. It appears to be a reality. And printed books are no longer on the endangered species list. That's right. Amazon and e-books may have forced them to reinvent themselves, but independent bookstores are far from dead. Not only are well over 2,000 bookstores alive and well in the U. S., but new ones are popping up more and more. According to the Wall Street Journal, e-book sales have actually declined while printed-book sales are rising. 

E-books have their place. For me that place is on the nightstand so that I can read without turning the light on while my husband is trying to sleep. Or while I'm waiting in the dentist's office. And I'm fine with reading the news online. But for the general pleasure of reading, give me a printed book. I want to feel, smell, and turn actual pages. And I want to buy those pages in an actual bookstore. I don't get individual attention at Amazon. I can't hold a prospective purchase in my hands, leaf through the pages, and read selections in a comfy chair at Amazon.

Independent bookstores are thriving. Let the celebration begin—literally. This Saturday, April 28, is Independent Bookstore Day, a nationwide celebration where bookstores across the country will be celebrating with parties, sales, and special events. There's even an Independent Bookstore Day website. Check it out here. Then go find a celebration at your local independent bookstore.

And check out this recent CBS video about the bookstore boom.

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