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 12, 2011

Gem of the North

The Village Bookstore
201 NW 4th Street
Grand Rapids, MN 55744

As we made our way across Michigan's Upper Peninsula (the UP to native Michiganders), my senses were inundated by the breathtaking beauty of the region. More than the quiet splendor of the rolling evergreen forests, more than the wilderness unencumbered by the trappings of urban life, more even than the gloriously rugged vistas along Lake Superior, it was the smell that I most appreciated--the spectacular, fresh piney aroma that permeated my nostrils. Across the UP and northern Wisconsin and into northern Minnesota, the beauty would continue. We were on our way to Turtle Lake, about 40 minutes north of Grand Rapids. (Michigan friends, take note: that's Grand Rapid, MN.) As luck would have it, the area is home to a small mall featuring The Village Bookstore, a shop completely fitting to the region in which it resides.

My son, Culver takes a look at the selection
of classics and science fiction.

The sign above the store entrance sports a hand-carved, rustic look befitting the area. This same feel is carried on into the store where books are housed on knotty pine shelving, a weathered crate is part of one display, and a park bench graces another area. There is a Native American section as well as a large selection of regional materials such as Paul Bunyan volumes and wild rice cookbooks. For those unfamiliar with this area of the country, wild rice is a commonly sold item much like fudge is in the UP of Michigan, and The Village Bookstore is not lacking in this area. But my favorite regional feature is the beautiful, rustic pottery, hand crafted by Anne and David Karakatsoulis in northern Minnesota.

Entering the children's section

Any bookstore enthusiast who appreciates a fine children's section, as I do, will find The Village Bookstore impressive in this regard. At least one quarter of the store is taken up with kids, intermediate, and YA options not limited to books. There are plenty of puzzles, games, and the like. (On my visit, Klutz books were on sale at 20% off.) And any kid will enjoy the substantial collection of mazes, connect-the-dots, and other activity books. In the YA area, I noticed the latest sequels to some of the current hot teen series titles: the newest Maximum Ride title, Angel, and a sequel to Catherine Fisher's Incarceron entitled Sapphique, to name two. While The Village Bookstore may be remotely located, it is definitely in touch with what teens want, and a staff member assured me that children's items sell very well.

Seating is sprinkled throughout the store, and displays of maps, bookmarks, and calendars further grace the space. For my purchase in this bookstore I settled on a fantastic 3-D bookmark and several pieces of the hand-crafted pottery. My husband and son were with me on this trip, and both found items to their liking. The Village Bookstore is truly a gem of the north woods.

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