133 W. Main Street
Gaylord, MI 49735
Very early in the morning on Monday, August 6, at 1:31 ET to be exact, the scientific world applauded as NASA's Curiosity Mars Rover made what was by all accounts, a perfect landing. Soon after, it began sending photos back to Earth. By pure coincidence, not 48 hours prior to this magnificent achievement, I experienced my own style of astronomical curiosity when I had the good fortune to visit not Mars, but Saturn--Saturn Booksellers that is. For curious bibliomaniacs like me, this unique bookstore in Gaylord, Michigan, is out of this world.
About an hour's drive from Michigan's beautiful Mackinac Bridge, Gaylord is located in the heart of the northern lower peninsula on the 45th parallel in an area rich with golf courses, ski resorts, and scenic beauty. Saturn Booksellers is a longtime fixture in the town, serving the literary needs of the Gaylord area for the past 20 years or so. Now occupying its second location, the store has one of the most unique interiors I have come across. It's not every day that you find a log cabin in the middle of a bookstore.
That's right. The first thing I laid my eyes on when I entered Saturn Booksellers was a small log cabin, more precisely, the Coffee Cabin, in the center of the store. The small front porch of the cabin sports bistro tables and stools where patrons can relax with a beverage purchased from the full-service coffee bar inside. Elsewhere in the store, whitewashed paneled walls complement the cabin's rustic feel. Behind the cabin a playful and cheery children's section has a wide assortment of games, toys, stuffed animals, attractive displays, and other fun items to spark the curiosity of a child in addition, of course, to a nice collection of children's books.
Everywhere in Saturn Booksellers there is something interesting to look at, from the painted borders along the ceiling to the old refrigerator door covered with, what else? Fridge magnets. In addition to a good selection of books, the store also has a wide variety of other interesting and unique items including reading glasses, bumper stickers, bookends, greeting cards, tea, candy, soup mix, and even some "tipsy" wine glasses with slightly bent stems that make them look as though they are falling over.
|Alex checks the computer for a book title.|
Perhaps one of the greatest attributes of Saturn Booksellers is its friendly and helpful staff. I was barely in the store when Karen, one of the managers asked me if I needed any help. Even though it was a very busy day at the store, she didn't hesitate to stop and answer my questions. Another staff member, Alex, seemed to anticipate my every need and was on the spot to offer assistance while a third staff member, Rebecca, graciously filled me in on some of the store's recent activities. Saturn is a busy place indeed with numerous author events and fun things to do. Earlier on the day of my visit, Kurt Kolka, local comic book author, had done a book signing. And later in the month, Bonnie Jo Campbell, award winning Michigan author and National Book Award finalist is scheduled to be in the store for an anniversary celebration of her novel, Once Upon A River. (One of my recent reads.) These are just a couple of Saturn's full calendar of events.
|Rebecca behind the desk|
The shop's connection with Michigan authors includes filmmaker and writer, Michael Moore, who considers Saturn Booksellers one of his favorite hometown bookstores. Saturn carries signed first editions of his memoir, Here Comes Trouble. The store's connection to Moore extends to his work in the film world as well. At the time of my visit, proprietor Jill Miner was in nearby Traverse City where Saturn Booksellers sponsored the film, Headhunters, at this year's Traverse City Film Festival, an event founded by Michael Moore.
Rebecca also told me about a Where's Waldo event the store recently held in conjunction with 20 other area businesses. Small pictures of Waldo were hidden somewhere in each of the businesses, and participants were tasked with locating the Waldos and bringing them into the bookstore. Those who found at least 16 Waldos were entered into a drawing for prizes given out during a culminating party.
With so much to see and so many fun activities, it's easy to see how Saturn Booksellers could easily become anybody's favorite. Long-time readers of my blog will remember that I make a point to purchase something at every store I write about. This time I went for humor and selected the new Christopher Moore title, Sacre Bleu: A Comedy d'Art. My son has been touting this author for quite some time, but my first encounter with him didn't come until last December when I read The Stupidest Angel (See Brief Reviews). It made me laugh out loud, and I knew immediately that I wanted to read more of his work. Now when I read his latest book, I'm sure I will laugh out loud again, and this time I will remember the great visit I had at Saturn Booksellers.