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, December 20, 2012

Just Curious

Curious Book Shop
307 East Grand River
East Lansing, MI 48823

Audrey Hepburn on a movie poster, Jesse Jackson on the cover of a 30-year-old Ebony magazine, a Captain Midnight badge, MSU Spartan memorabilia, superheroes on vintage comic book covers, superheroes larger than life on the wall, maps, playbills, National Geographic, Life, and a 12-volume, 1933 edition of the Oxford English Dictionary . . . what do these things have in common? Curious? Exactly. I saw them all at Curious Book Shop in East Lansing, Michigan. In front of the understated entrance in a simple red brick building, a hand-painted sign displayed the specials of the month while the store's wares spilled out onto the sidewalk on book carts of 50-cent and 1-dollar specials. As I grew closer to the door, bright colors drew my attention to the left where a quirky red door stood open revealing a multi-colored staircase leading to "Upstairs" and "More Nostalgia." What fun, I thought. As I entered what already impressed me as quite a unique shop, I was enthusiastically greeted by two gregarious and bubbly staff members, and I knew this would be a pleasurable visit indeed. Curious? Read on.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Long Live Books!

I must admit that when I first began this blog, I had my doubts as to how long I would be able to continue in this endeavor given the rise in popularity of ebooks. As I've said before, I have nothing against ebooks. It's actually very handy to carry a book around with me on my phone, ready for those times when I have to wait for my appointment in the dentist's office, for example. But print books have so many advantages that I can't, or don't want to, envision my life without them.

For one thing, there is just something about the feel and smell of a paper book. And if I drop a paper book down a flight of stairs, I still have something to read. My eyes don't tire as quickly reading a paper book. There are so many wonderful bookmarks that can only be used in paper books. And that antique bookshelf that my husband just refinished--well, I can't fill that with my favorite ebooks.

I don't know about you, but when I take a break from reading a paper book and mark my place with a favorite bookmark, I always turn the volume sideways to get a visual cue as to my progress. A quick glance will tell me when I have reached the halfway point or when I'm nearing the end. I derive a certain satisfaction from viewing my progress as I make my way through the pages. An ebook does not provide the same satisfaction. So I am happy to know that for the time being at least, paper books are still around, still popular, and still filling the shelves of truly special places called bookstores.

I recently came across an interesting short video that shows the complex printing and binding process. Seeing a book actually come to life further cements my respect for a physical volume that I can actually hold in my hand and thumb through. I thought it appropriate to share it on this blog.

I hope you enjoy Birth of a Book!!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Horizon Shines

Horizon Books
243 East Front
Traverse City, MI 49684

What springs to your mind at the mention of J. C. Penney? For me it's my childhood and the annual experience of shopping for school clothes. In my youth, a trip to J. C. Penney, or Penney's as my mom referred to it, meant not a trip to the mall, but to a large, multi-floored, wonder of a department store occupying a single building. Okay, I'll give away my age and admit that malls didn't yet exist during my childhood. These days I still shop at "Penney's" from time to time--yes, in a mall. More convenient, but the experience is just not the same. Whatever your mind conjures up at the mention of this bit of commercial Americana, I'll wager it isn't a bookstore, unless of course you live in Traverse City, Michigan, where an old J. C. Penney store has been transformed into one terrific bookstore. Horizon Books is a large bookstore with a small bookstore feel right in the heart of beautiful downtown Traverse City.

In a recent blog post I mentioned my trip to this lovely northern Michigan coastal city. It was a warm, sunny October day, and I had just enjoyed a visit to another Traverse City bookseller (See Brilliant) where I met up with Tim, my old high school friend and Traverse City resident. I was treated to a tasty lunch at a local eatery, and then the two of us headed off to Horizon. That's right, two bookstores in the same town, on the same street no less. Beautiful town, beautiful day, old friend, and two bookstores . . . it doesn't get any better than that.