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.

Friday, August 18, 2017

@Your Sparty Library

What do the gals do when their men have gone away for a guys weekend? Well, if you're three intelligent, book-loving nerdy types, you go to the library, of course. Specifically the Michigan State University library in East Lansing. Apologies to my Wolverine friends, but I am a Spartan at heart. I follow their football team. And the basketball team. Tom Izzo is my favorite coach ever. I even hung a “Sparty @ Your Library” poster in the high school library where I worked. I took it with me and hung it up at home when I retired. I never actually attended MSU, but I lived vicariously through my son while he was in graduate school there.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

A Very Special Writer

Robert Redd--March 14, 1926-August 2, 2017
I'd like to take a moment to post a few lines about a writer near and dear to me, my father-in-law, Robert Redd, Bob to most people. He moved on to another blogosphere last week at the age of 91. 

Like me, he didn't take up writing until later in life after having successful careers in industrial engineering and accounting. When he retired as a partner from a storied career at BDO Seidman, he finally got around to writing. 

His book Achievers Never Quit provides a guide to opportunities that life after retirement offers and was utilized by companies like Weyerhaeuser, Amway, and AT&T in educating their retiring employees. Whimsy, Wit, and Wisdom provided a lighthearted look at the stresses of retirement on marriage. Always the dramatist, Bob later penned books designed for senior theater, writing several collections of skits based on his life experiences. Senior centers around the country are still making use of his scripts today. He also wrote a resource book on writing, Synaps-cercise, Exercise Your Brain. This workbook includes humorous writings as well as exercises to help improve creativity and thinking.

Bob led a full and interesting life. There was never a dull moment with him around. He was a son, husband, father, grandfather, and great grandfather. He was a golfer, an artist, a sculptor, and an avid collector of antiques. And yes, he was an author. He will be missed.  

Shameless plug that Bob would appreciate: You can still buy the senior theater publications online at: seniortheatre.com.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

We Want Books

In past lives I have had various occupations, most notably a librarian and also an English teacher. It's already pretty evident how much I like books. But my undergraduate degree in English actually shared double-major billing with history. It stands to reason then that I enjoy historical literature and learning about history. World War II is of particular interest to me. This summer I had occasion to experience a special exhibit encompassing both World War II history and literature.

Muskegon, Michigan, is rich with special exhibits this year. After my sister Sue and I took in the Edward Curtis display (see previous post), we went on to visit the nearby USS Silversides Submarine Museum where visitors are afforded the opportunity to actually descend into the bowels of a real WWII submarine. What an experience.

“But what does this have to do with literature?” you may be wondering. Well, this summer the museum is hosting a special exhibit entitled, “When Books Went to War—The Power of Literature and the Press in Wartime.” What a historical learning adventure it was.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Intersection of Books, Music, and Art

Bryan at the piano
One lovely November day early in my blogging career I walked into the Book Nook and Java Shop in Montague, Michigan. I saw a piano in the corner and was immediately hooked on this delightful bookstore. Today nearly six years later I am still a fan of the place and once a month make a drive of more than an hour to attend the Book Nook book club hosted by store owner, Bryan Uecker, also a concert pianist. That explains the piano. Since my first visit to the shop, it has moved to a larger location and expanded to include Best Cellars wine bar as well as a small stage where musical performances are now a frequent occurrence. I recently had the opportunity not only to hear Bryan play, but also to witness what I found to be a stunning intersection of books, music, and art. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Allow me to provide some background.

Monday, June 26, 2017

A Sweet Store

23 East Illinois Street
Chicago, IL 60611

What's better than experiencing two great Chicago bookstores (Sandmeyers and Open Books) and one fabulous Chicago library? Well, a third great bookstore, of course. After a special weekend with my husband during which he had agreed to accompany me to the aforementioned establishments, I had a day to myself while he attended a work seminar. As luck would have it, a brief Google investigation turned up a potential shop within walking distance of our hotel. It looked like my nice weekend might be followed by a promising solo trip afterwards. So Monday morning I set out into the heart of Chicago to a bookstore appropriately named after-words.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

The Power of Books

Open Books
651 W. Lake St.
Chicago, IL 60661

Ask avid readers about the value of reading, and you may get varied answers, but I guarantee they will have no trouble rattling off a few advantages: reading reduces stress; reading adds to your knowledge base; reading broadens understanding of the world; reading is a way to relax and escape. Ask an educator, especially an English teacher or a librarian, and you will likely get even more compelling answers: reading improves memory; reading boosts vocabulary; reading improves focus and concentration; reading improves writing. And did you know that reading can reduce your rate of cognitive decline? You probably won't find it surprising to also learn that books in the home have been linked to academic achievement. I think most of us can agree that literacy is not simply important; it is transformative.

There is a bookstore in Chicago that is taking book selling to a whole new level—helping to improve literacy in an innovative and impressive way. The third stop on my Chicago adventure, Open Books, is built on a remarkable concept, the non-profit bookstore.