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.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Most Beautiful Place in America, Part III

Leaving the delightful Leelanau Books (see Part II), I set off across the Leelanau Peninsula (see map below) on the third leg of my bookstore discovery trip through "The Most Beautiful Place in America" (see Good Morning America video) and headed toward the small town of Suttons Bay.

Brilliant Books
305 St. Joseph Street
PO Box 550
Suttons Bay, MI 49682

Over the river and through the woods to Grandmother's house we go. OK, so I didn't actually cross a river, and if I were to be really accurate, neither did I go through the woods, but when I arrived at Brilliant Books, I felt for all the world like I was paying a visit to someone's friendly and inviting grandmother. The phrase "warm and cozy" is cliche, I know, but it is nonetheless an appropriate description for this comfy shop, located in what looks to be a converted two-story house with an interior that incorporates wood floors and stained wood shelving with many homey touches like a self-serve coffee pot and a small nook for food, cooking, and wine books, aptly called "The Pantry."

But it isn't just the appearance of the shop that is inviting. The hallmark of Brilliant Books is the way in which the establishment seeks to build relationships with its patrons, evidenced not only by the friendly, conversational manner of the staff, but also in their unique, inclusive way with patrons, such as the extensive email list which keeps customers up to date on happenings in the shop. Also available for patrons are store memberships which can be purchased at three levels: individual, family, and student. Members receive a markdown on books as well as advanced notice of events and new items. Brilliant Books also stages frequent author events, featuring wine and cheese in an intimate gathering with the author. Knowledgable and authoritative, the friendly staff members are, nonetheless, approachable and unpretentious and will be happy to do special orders which can be shipped anywhere with no shipping charges.

The substantial children's area at Brilliant Books offers high quality picture books with oversized stuffed animals that can be used as seating for young book lovers. For older readers, chairs and ottomans are sprinkled throughout the space, which is much larger than the storefront indicates. I was pleased to discover a satisfying young adult section including the latest by some of my favorite authors, John Green, Gary Schmidt, and Markus Zusak. I noted immediately a book new to me, the latest
Zusak book, Underdogs, which became my obvious Brilliant Books purchase.

In addition to notecards, small games, calendars, coffee mugs, and tote bags, Brilliant Books also offers a book-of-the-month plan as well as ebooks online through the store website. Also worth noting is the number of signed editions available. On display during my visit were signed copies of The Paris Wife, a novel about Hemingway that I am currently reading. And I have since learned that the store is one of the very few to receive signed, first-edition copies of the new Michael Moore book, Here Comes Trouble: Stories from My Life. Brilliant Books is reportedly one of Moore's favorite Michigan bookstores, and it is rapidly becoming one of mine.

I thoroughly enjoyed my one-day, whirlwind trip to bookstores in "The Most Beautiful Place in America." The rustic Cottage Book Shop was a fitting appetizer, Leelanau Books provided a tasty entree, and Brilliant Books afforded a sweet ending to this lovely day.

NOTE: Since the time of this post, Brilliant Books has closed this location and moved into nearby Traverse City. To read about the new location click here: Absolutely Brilliant.

1 comment:

KHS Principal said...

Very cool shop. What a great time of year to tour Northern Michigan!