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.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

"Friends Don't Let Friends Drink STARBUCKS"

The Book Nook & Java Shop
8726 Ferry Street
Montague, MI 49437

My sister Sue in front of the Book Nook & Java Shop--Note: No Jacket.

Noting the tongue-in-cheek sign displayed atop the coffee maker at The Book Nook & Java Shop:  "Friends Don't Let Friends Drink STARBUCKS," I realized that here is an establishment fighting the war of independents against the established commercial giants, not just on the printed-and-bound front, but also on the fashionable beverage front. I like this spunky attitude.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. The date and circumstances of my visit and the charming locale in which this noteworthy shop resides deserve a certain amount of attention.

November weather in Michigan, by and large, is a mystery. You never know what you're going to get. My Michigan friends will bear witness to the fact that it is possible to have howling winds and snow one day and go out sans jacket the next. November 7, 2011, happened to be one of those jacket-free days when the amount of blue in the sky pretty closely equaled the amount of cloud cover. So I called my sister Sue and suggested that she accompany me to visit a bookstore I had heard about that is not far from her home. Getting to be a regular companion on these bookstore jaunts, (She was with me in Williamston.) she quickly agreed, and her husband Ralph suggested we meet for lunch at a local establishment before beginning our adventure. In addition to the Book Nook, the quaint town of Montague on the shores of White Lake just a stone's throw from Lake Michigan is also home to an assortment of galleries, antique shops, and a most enjoyable lunch spot, Lipka's Old Fashion Soda Fountain. I can think of no better prelude to a bookstore visit than a nostalgic lunch in a historic pharmacy and soda shop. It promised to be a great day.

The first thing I noticed upon entering the Book Nook, before I spotted the cluster of comfy looking arm chairs, before I was aware of the significant number and variety of bistro tables sprinkled throughout the shop, before I saw the abundance of small stuffed animals filling shelves and baskets everywhere, before anything else, I noticed the piano. That's right--a piano in a bookstore. I was informed that one of the owners, Bryan Uecker, is a concert pianist who frequently shares his talents at said piano. Doreen, a gregarious and bubbly staff person, went on to describe the many events and activities hosted by the Book Nook & Java Shop, including not just piano music, but guitar, vocal, flute, dulcimer, and even Irish fiddle and drum music. And not just music, but poetry, writing, sketching, and even knitting events are detailed on the full-page flyer of happenings for "November @ Book Nook." There seems to be something or other going on almost every day of the month.

One activity that particularly caught my interest is the book club which meets in the store once a month after hours. I have it on good authority that members see to it that these literary discussions are not wanting in the area of flavorful food and beverage accompaniments. As it turns out, the book club is not strictly limited to the physical confines of the Book Nook. Owner, Bryan Uecker, and his book of the month are featured on a local morning TV talk show in a segment called "Take Five Book Club."

There is much to like about the Book Nook & Java Shop from the children's section embellished with hand-painted artwork by a local artist, to the young adult section occupying a retro room of its own complete with lava lamps and a bean bag chair. The store also features free WiFi, and there is a business center where patrons can make use of a copier/fax machine and a laminator. In addition to greeting cards, bookmarks, mugs, and the like, the store also sells t-shirts sporting the charming store logo. I chose a shirt for my purchase on this trip as well as the current book club selection, Freedom by Jonathan Franzen, which I began reading right away. With any luck I will finish it before the next Take Five Book Club show airs. And you never know . . . one of these days I may take a drive to Montague for a book club meeting at the delightful Book Nook & Java Shop.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ok, that's pretty cool! The music, the full event calendar, the book club--all of these by themselves would be awesome in a bookstore, but to have them all in one place is pretty spectacular! Great to see this bookstore really embedding itself in the local community!