The Book Mark
201 South Rath Avenue
Ludington, MI 49431
A curbside lined with tidy red, white, and blue flowers greets me as I enter Ludington, a tourist town nestled along the shore of Lake Michigan. There is much to like about this town, populated with gift shops and stately Victorian bed and breakfast establishments, and of course, a bookstore, but not just any bookstore. Ludington is home to the bookstore which, I'm sure you realize by now, will be the subject of my first blog entry. With a family summer cottage about 30 miles from Ludington, I have visited this bookstore yearly with my son, an avid reader and also a bookstore enthusiast. I thought it only fitting that the Book Mark be my first subject.
On our visit last year, I was dismayed to find that the substantial children's and young adult area which had first impressed me was being dismantled. How could this be? It was here, after all, that I had discovered John Green and Looking for Alaska, which I shared to rave reviews with my son as well as several members of the high school book club I advised. Don't misunderstand me, I do enjoy adult books as much as the next person, but the high school librarian in me will always have an affinity for young adult fiction. If you haven't yet sampled the wares of this blooming genre, I urge you to give it a try. Some of my favorite books are YA novels. But I digress. Last year's dismay was quickly replaced with optimism when I met Bob Kosanovich, who along with his wife Carole, had purchased the Book Mark a little over a year ago. Bob took a break from a drywall project to talk with me about their plans for the store.
What was once the children's and YA area will become a large cafe/multi-purpose room with large windows and a cozy fireplace where patrons may enjoy coffee beverages from a wide selection currently offered at the Book Mark, (I might add that the cafe service was great, and the prices were reasonable. An 8 oz. mocha is just $1.25). Bob told me there are plans to have some local retired college professors in for a series of presentations on various topics of interest, native lore for example. Any others with expertise and the desire to present will also be encouraged.
Adjacent to the cafe area will be a conference room available for meetings, reading, and the like, and adjacent to this conference room a read-and-study room will be created. Bob also plans to use these areas for children's story time events that would include a related make-and-take craft for the kids.
Though the store is currently being remodeled, it still maintains a tidy, bright, and cheery atmosphere. There is a proportionally large children's section as well as toys, puzzles, and games. Patrons will also find adult fiction, nonfiction, magazines, greeting cards, postcards, maps, and a nice selection of books about the northern Michigan area. The Book Mark even sells Kindles. And yes, there is a relocated YA section.
The friendly staff, readily striking up conversation with the patrons, epitomize the pleasant, small-town feeling at the Book Mark. This is definitely a comfortable place to sit and relax a while with a good cup of coffee. In addition to the coffee, you may want to indulge yourself with a home-baked pastry. The proprietor of a local bed and breakfast brings in fresh selections at least twice daily. You can also check your email with the store's free WiFi access.
I have decided to mark my visit to the bookstores I blog about by making a purchase from each one. Since the Book Mark has such a fine selection of books about the area, I decided on a book from the “Images of America” series entitled Lake County, 1871-1960, created by the Lake County Historical Society. Since our family cottage is located near Baldwin, Michigan, the county seat of Lake County, I am enjoying the historical photos and descriptions of the area, and it is an appropriate book by which to remember my visit to the Book Mark of Ludington.