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, November 29, 2016

A Nice Surprise

Happy Owl Bookshop
358 River Street
Manistee, MI

I'm not generally a big fan of surprises. I'm more of a planner, preparer, organizer. My husband would probably say too much so at times. But who doesn't enjoy a pleasant surprise out of the blue from time to time? And discovering a bookstore out of the blue? Count me in.

This past October my husband and I decided to take advantage of a lovely fall day and drive from our cottage to one of my favorite places, the scenic overlook on M-22 (see previous post) near Arcadia, the perfect spot for a Christmas card picture. Our trip took us through the summer tourist town of Manistee where we suddenly encountered a halt in traffic while a drawbridge was up to let a large boat pass through a channel on its way to nearby Lake Michigan. Thinking there might be a way around the traffic jam, we veered off course into downtown Manistee. Now, you should know that my husband is afflicted by a neurological disorder that causes him to uncontrollably hit the brake whenever he sees a yard sale, flea market, or antique shop. As he is always on the lookout, I was not at all surprised when he pulled into a parking spot after spying a promising antique shop. I don't share his fascination with rooting through old stuff, but as long as we were waiting for the drawbridge anyway, I agreed to sit in the car while he did some rummaging. After a quick check of my email and a couple games of solitaire on my phone, I looked up and glanced across the street where—Surprise!—I saw, as you probably guessed, a bookstore. Happy Owl Bookshop.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Another Dog Ear

Dog Ear Books
301 W. Main Street
Russellville, AR

Time to add another bookstore to my bucket list. Thanks to Pamela Grath at Dog Ears Books in Northport (see previous post) for turning me on to this one. Dog Ear Books (only one "ear" on this one) is a brand new bookstore, just opened this month, in Russellville, Arkansas. Can't think of a better reason for a road trip.

Monday, October 31, 2016

I Dogear Books!

Dog Ears Books
106 Waukazoo Street
Northport, MI 49670

Fair warning—I'm going to rave about my beautiful state of Michigan again. Why shouldn't I? Once again my fabulous state has received national recognition. One of my very favorite places, highway M-22, has landed squarely at the top, yes first place, in USA Today's Ten Best Scenic Autumn Drives. The paper describes M-22 as “a 116-mile route along Lake Michigan that is absolutely breathtaking come autumn.” Having driven this highway many times, I can attest to the fact that it is quite breathtaking even before the fall color arrives. I am not alone in my admiration; M-22 even has its own website: m22michigan.com.

Up until recently, though, I had never taken the time to follow this lovely byway to its northern peak in the the charming town of Northport on the Leelanau Peninsula. So early in October I decided to make that drive and was happy to discover, as you might have guessed, a unique bookstore, Dog Ears Books.

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.