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 26, 2013

A Most Unusual Book

I only recently became aware of a most unique literary work, simply entitled S. When I had the good fortune to see an interview with its creator, J. J. Abrams, I knew immediately that this was a work that no self-respecting librarian/English teacher could ignore. I had to have this fascinating piece of literature.

I will attempt to describe this complex piece of writing, describe being a more apt verb than review at this point since I have not fully read the book. I have in fact barely begun, not yet having completed the first 50 pages that I usually allow myself before I determine whether or not it will be worth my time to continue reading to the end. I am quite certain I will finish S., but it's going to take some time, not because it is overly long (a bit over 400 pages), nor because the text itself is difficult, but because S. is an incredibly complicated work with more layers than good baklava.

Friday, December 13, 2013

New Take on Classic Authors

Classic literature and female authors? It's no secret that to be taken seriously as writers, 19th century women faced an uphill battle. My favorite classic novel, Silas Marner, provides a great example. Mary Anne Evans obviously felt it necessary to use the male pseudonym George Eliot. Some say these inequities have not yet been completely overcome even today. This video adds a bit of humor to the dilemma of the female author. Enjoy.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Repurposing Books for the Holidays

Kudos to the Menlo school library in California where a makerspace day was held to create some gorgeous decorative items by repurposing old books. Word is they had so much fun that a second day is planned. Take a look at some pictures of the activity that were posted on Pinterest:

Repurposing old books

Interested in trying it for yourself? Just Google "repurposing old books," and you will find plenty of help and information. And if you're squeamish about destroying literary works, think about using old phone books or catalogs.

Have fun.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Imagine A Very Special Place

Storybook Village
560 S. Hancock Street
Pentwater, MI 49449

Attention, all elementary school teachers! Okay, I should also include parents of elementary and preschool children as well as grandparents, aunts, uncles, people with fond memories of childhood, adults who are still children at heart, not to mention all individuals with creativity and imagination or the appreciation of said qualities. And since I believe everyone has some amount of creativity and imagination, I guess I mean attention, everyone! Do I have a bookstore for you. In the small Michigan lakeside town of Pentwater, I recently had the joy of discovering Storybook Village, not just a bookstore, but an imagination store.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Another World Record

Move over Seattle. Your record book domino chain has apparently been broken in Belgium. This one has a pyrotechnic ending.

(If you missed it, here's a link to my post about Seattle's chain.)

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

World Book Night

The 2014 book list is out. You may remember that I participated in World Book Night last year. (See WBN) I enjoyed it so much that I intend to apply to be a book giver again in 2014. Interested? You can find out all about it and apply to be a giver at http://www.us.worldbooknight.org.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Books, Coffee, and People

Local Flavor
125 Water Street
Boyne City, MI 49712

It's been a little over two years since I retired and started this blog. What a fun and wonderful two years it has been. One of the things I most appreciate is how supportive my friends and family have been. Serving oftentimes as roving lookouts, they let me know when they have spotted a bookstore I might be interested in. So one sunny Saturday in September I was not surprised when I got a phone call from one of my favorite scouts. My sister Sue and her husband Ralph were taking advantage of the glorious September weather we had this year by spending the weekend in the northern Michigan town of Boyne City where they happened to notice, as I'm sure you guessed, a promising bookstore. As luck would have it, I was at the family cottage only a couple of hours away. It was a lovely day, and I had an open agenda, so within the hour I was on my way to Boyne City.

Never before had I the pleasure of visiting this small town situated on the shores of beautiful Lake Charlevoix, but by the end of the day, I was in love with the place. An all-season tourist town, Boyne City offers sandy beaches, boating, and plenty of area golf courses during the summer as well as ski resorts for the winter sports enthusiasts. Now I don't have a boat, I can't claim to be much of a golfer, and I am definitely not a winter sports enthusiast, but as you well know by now, I am a lover of bookstores, and Boyne City is home to a charming one called Local Flavor.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Cottage Book Shop Update

Current owner, Barbara Siepker
Okay, so it was more like two weeks than two years since my last visit to the Cottage Book Shop. But I wanted to actually meet the owner, I wanted to find out more about how the historic cabin was moved from its original location, and I really wanted one of those bright yellow shirts that boldly asks, "Got Books?" So once again I made the two-hour drive from our cottage to Glen Arbor. Just so you know, it's a beautiful drive, so other than the cost of gas, this was no sacrifice on my part.

I was in luck. On this visit Barbara Siepker, the owner, was in and was happy to share a few moments of her busy life giving me more information about the shop, in particular the details of how the cabin was moved. I learned that the structure was originally built on the shores of Glen Lake in the 1920's. Although the move to Lake Street in Glen Arbor was only about a mile, it was nevertheless quite a production. Steel beams were placed under the cabin and the entire structure was lifted allowing wheels to be rolled underneath. The whole kit and kaboodle, including its flowering window boxes, was towed down the street with Barbara and many local residents walking alongside.

Even Barbara's car is quaint and charming.
There was some speculation as to whether or not the whole thing might end up as one giant pile of Lincoln Logs. "We had to replace the bottom row of logs," Barbara told me, and that was the extent of the damage. Of course, the plumbing and electrical systems had to be updated and other mechanical and heating issues addressed. Beyond these and other minor updates, the cabin remains as it originally was. What once was a bedroom is now the children's room. The main area of the shop inhabits what once was the living area. And cookbooks line the wall just outside the original kitchen. Kudos to Barbara for preserving this rustic piece of Americana and turning it into a great little bookstore. I can't think of a better use for this charming cabin.  

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Second Time's The Charm

The Cottage Book Shop
5989 S. Lake Street
Glen Arbor, MI 49636

Just beginning the third year of retirement from my life as a high school librarian, I still find that September, rather than January, feels like the start of the new year. Of all the luxuries retirement affords me, I especially enjoy the fact that I can visit tourist areas after Labor Day when the weather is still beautiful, but the summer crowds are otherwise occupied by their off-season lives. Two years ago, early in my blogging career, I set out on an adventure to one such tourist attraction, Glen Arbor and the Sleeping Bear Dunes area, now known, thanks to a contest featured on the Good Morning America show, as the Most Beautiful Place in America. (See previous post.) That adventure, however, did include one small disappointment. The Cottage Book Shop, one of the bookstores I was intent on visiting, was inexplicably closed. It looked so charming from the outside that I vowed to make a return trip to see what lay behind that rustic log door. So on a similar sunny day this past September, I made good on that vow.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

From Book To Movie

At last!!! One of my favorite books in the world is due to be released in movie form this November. I know, the book is always better than the movie. Still, it's fun to see a favorite book brought to life on the big screen. That's why I'm excited for the release of The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. If the trailer is any indication, it should be good. Check it out for yourself:


As if that weren't enough, a movie is in the works for another wonderful book, The Fault In Our Stars by John Green. Fans of this wacky and creative author will enjoy this video of him on the set.


 If you haven't already, you still have time to read these two awesome books before the movies come out, but you'd better get started.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Share: For Those Who Think Paper Is Dead

Have any people in your life who insist that paper books are dead? We live in an eWorld after all? Here's a fun video to share.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

No Skates For This Penguin

Penguin Bookshop
420 Beaver Street
Sewickley, PA 15143

I recently had the great pleasure of meeting one of the Pittsburgh Penguins, but this Penguin doesn't wear skates. No, hockey fans, I'm not referring to a hockey player. This Penguin is a bookstore, Penguin Bookshop, a wonderful bookstore located in the delightful Pittsburgh suburb of Sewickley.

Friends and long-time readers may recall that once a year my family attends the Pyrotechnics Guild International annual convention where we enjoy a week-long extravaganza of booms, blasts, and pyrotechnic artistry. This year's convention was held in Butler County, Pennsylvania, about an hour north of Pittsburgh. It goes without saying that I would seek an area bookstore to visit, and Penguin Bookshop fit the bill nicely. So on a sunny afternoon, I set out on rolling, winding Pennsylvania roads in search of Sewickley. Not accustomed to driving in rural Pennsylvania where street signs are at a premium and traversing the twists, turns, and hills feels somewhat akin to riding a roller coaster, I found myself lost before long. Undaunted even after losing about half an hour trying to find my way, I pulled over, searched the dark recesses of my vehicle, and luckily found my GPS. I have the utmost appreciation for the inventor of this remarkable device without which I likely would have given up. As I drove on through the beautiful Pennsylvania countryside, I grumbled to myself, "This better be worth it."

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

I scream. You scream.

Books and ice cream, I can't think of a better combination. In case you missed it, last month was National Ice Cream month. Now, I love ice cream nearly as much as I love books, so I found these book-inspired ice cream flavors particularly appealing. See what you think. What book-inspired flavors can you think of?

My ideas? How about the Dickens classic, Grape Expectations or the Dostoyevsky favorite, Cream and Peppermint.

Thanks to my son Culver for sharing this.

Click here for more Book Flavors.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Turning Over a New Bay Leaf

Bay Leaf Books
79 State Rd. (M-37)
Newaygo, MI 49337
(231) 652-BOOK (2665)

I have good news and bad news. The bad news is that a bookstore I featured a couple of years ago has closed its doors. Bay Leaf Books in Sand Lake, Michigan, is no more. The good news is that Bay Leaf has moved to the nearby town of Newaygo, with the same quality offerings, the same great customer service, and the same knowledgable owner, Gabe Konrad. So what's different about the new location? About 400 square feet. That's how much larger the new store is. Gabe is happy to finally have enough space to provide chairs for customers to sit and relax while browsing a title or two. There's a table as well, and of course, a lot more room for books. The new location is spacious, bright, and inviting.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

View From The Windowsill

The Windowsill
107 S. James Street
Ludington, MI 49431

It's been two years since I began this blogging adventure, and what a joy it has been. After some initial frustration, I am now fairly comfortable with the Blogger tool and have enjoyed seeing the way this blog has developed. I have delighted in talking to fantastic bookstore owners and fellow bibliomaniacs. I have met several bookstore cats, a few bookstore dogs, and even some bookstore ferrets and chickens. I never would have guessed two years ago that this journey would lead me to so many interesting and unique people and establishments.

I think it fitting that two years after my first post, I returned to Ludington, the small Lake Michigan town where it all began. This time my trip took me to The Windowsill, a small bookstore located only a few blocks from the subject of my very first post. It is also fitting that I was accompanied on this visit by my son, Culver, who was with me on that initial foray. What's surprising is that neither of us knew at that time that The Windowsill existed. Otherwise, it surely would not have taken two years to visit this lovely mom-and-pop shop.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Beach Reading

photo author unknown
The beach is a popular place to read, and this resort in Bulgaria takes beach reading to a whole new level with Europe's first beach library. By all accounts this library is proving to be very popular due to its variety of titles and languages, even including books for kids. And it's FREE!!

Read the full story and see a short video about this fantastic idea at:

Beach Library

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Share: Author Neil Gaiman talks about libraries

photo from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neil_Gaiman

If you're a librarian or a lover of libraries, you will enjoy this. Right on, Neil! Thanks to my son Culver for sharing this.

Neil Gaiman on libraries

And here is Gaiman's web page:

Neil Gaiman.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Delightful Book Cellar

Between the Covers
152 E. Main Street
Harbor Springs, MI 49740

Question: When is a basement more than just a basement? Answer: When it's a book cellar. And when a visit to this particular book "cellar" provides the end to a lovely day along the northern Lake Michigan shoreline, so much the better. I had just enjoyed a stop at McLean & Eakin in Petoskey (see previous post) and decided that my trip would not be complete without a visit to nearby Harbor Springs. As I made my way around Little Traverse Bay and entered the scrupulously tidy lakefront town, I was immediately taken by the well-kept, stately old houses and the overall well-groomed look of the place. I got the distinct impression that Harbor Springs has never known an untrimmed hedge or unkempt lawn. Here perfectly painted homes are graced by meticulously cared-for gardens, and equally tidy business places rest along spotless sidewalks. It was here in beautiful Harbor Springs that I encountered a small, but charming bookstore, Between the Covers.

Monday, June 24, 2013

A Winner In My Book

McLean & Eakin Booksellers
307 E. Lake Street
Petosky, MI 49770

They don't call Michigan a water wonderland for nothing. The state is home to more than 11,000 inland lakes and is the only state to border four of the five Great Lakes giving it over 3,000 miles of fresh water coastline, more than any other state. Stand anywhere in my beautiful home state, and you will not be farther than 85 miles from one of the Great Lakes.* I bristle when I hear people refer to my state as "fly-over country" as though living here were some sort of penance. Such people have obviously never been to Petoskey, an enchanting small town gracing the shore of Lake Michigan's Little Traverse Bay. Beyond its natural beauty, the area has the distinction of being home to Windemere, the Hemingway family cottage on nearby Walloon Lake. Yes, that Hemingway! Petoskey's distinguished literary connection does not end there. Not long ago, best-selling author, Ann Patchett (Bel Canto, State of Wonder), made a reluctant trip to the town and fell in love with it. Read her article for the New York Times, in which Patchett discusses a book tour which took her to the area, specifically to McLean & Eakin, a marvelous bookstore that I recently had the good fortune to visit as well.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

And then there's this:

Hats off to this creative library. This is very cool. Nothing more to say. Just watch.


Thanks to my friend, Bob Galovich, for sharing this.

Monday, June 17, 2013

More Book Art

Check out this article in the New York Times called Discarded Books, Recovered Nostalgia. If you're part of my generation, it may provide you with a nostalgic moment as it did me. If you're part of the younger set, just enjoy these beautiful photos of old, discarded school library books. If you happen to be a librarian, well, enough said.

More of photographer Kerry Mansfield's work appears here: Kerry Mansfield. Her book photos are part of the portfolio titled, expired.

As part of a self-indulgent moment of nostalgia, I thought I would throw in a few pictures (decidedly not artistic, but special to me) of the high school library where I spent 10 amazing years as a librarian. Oh, the memories!

"If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need."     -Cicero

Monday, June 10, 2013

So many books . . .

Recently my dear friend Bethany gave me a lovely bookmark that features a list of must-read books. Well, that got me thinking, and I decided to make my own personal list of "read-before-I-die" books. I now have a long-term bookstore shopping list, and I will post updates of my progress.

This is an evolving list, so I am looking for suggestions. If you have some titles that you think should be  on my list, please leave a comment with your ideas.

My list so far:

War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy
Crime and Punishment, Dostoyevsky
A Farewell To Arms, Hemingway
The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, Carson McCullers
Animal Farm, George Orwell (I know, I know. I should have read this one long ago.)
Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand
The Sound and the Fury, William Faulkner
A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens
Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte
The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde
Diary of Anne Frank
The Giver, Lois Lowry
Grapes of Wrath, Steinbeck

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Triple Bonus

One of my favorite bookstores, one of my favorite books, and one of my favorite authors all at once. It doesn't get any better than that. 

If you've been reading my blog for a while, you will surely remember that the Book Nook & Java Shop in Montague, Michigan, is a favorite of mine. (See previous post.) I fell in love with the store the first time I visited in 2011, so much so that I went back a month later to attend the store's book club and have been periodically making the hour-and-a-half drive ever since.

As it happens, a recent book club selection turned out to be one of my favorite books, Okay For Now, by one of my favorite authors, Gary Schmidt. I was thrilled to learn that Gary would visit the Book Nook to personally talk about the book. Young adult novels, Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy, Trouble, and The Wednesday Wars are a few of Gary's award-winning titles, and I have enjoyed them all. But my current favorite Gary Schmidt book, indeed one of my favorite books in general, is Okay For Now. It was a joy to see Gary in person talking about and reading from the novel. He is every bit as engaging as are his books.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Bookseller With a Social Purpose

Better World Books

One of the most unique booksellers I have encountered, Better World Books is an online bookstore with a social mission. Founded in 2002 by two friends from the University of Notre Dame, this online store sells used books that are donated via drop boxes in a multitude of locations in several states. A for-profit enterprise, Better World Books successfully combines commerce with social goals. In addition to profit, this bookseller is equally committed to people and the planet. Over 100 million books have been reused or recycled keeping them out of landfills, over 9 million books have been donated, and over 14 million dollars have been raised for literacy and libraries.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Missed a Good One

Book House
9719 Manchester Rd.
St. Louis, MO 63119

It always saddens me to hear of a bookstore closing. That sadness is only intensified when the store in question is a beloved part of the community it serves. I was recently made aware of one such sad case in St. Louis. The Book House is a family-owned business residing in an old Victorian house. By all accounts, business has been great for this store, yet it is in danger of closing to make room for--are you ready for this?--an industrial storage facility.

There is currently a petition to save the Book House. I certainly hope it is successful, as this is just the kind of store that I would add to my hope-to-visit list. Check out this blog post by author Cory Doctorow about the potential closing.

I am sad to report that a similar fate recently befell a Michigan bookstore that I had the pleasure of visiting early in my blogging career in 2011. Like the Book House, Brilliant Books in Suttons Bay was not forced to close because of any lack of business or failing on the part of the owners and staff. Sadly, Brilliant Books closed this past March simply because the landlord no longer wished to lease the building to the bookstore. I am glad that I had the opportunity to visit the store while it was still an integral part of the small town of Suttons Bay.

Unlike the Book House, however, Brilliant Books fortunately lives on with a store in nearby Traverse City opened a little over a year ago. Nonetheless, the original store in Suttons Bay will be dearly missed.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Undaunted By Rain

Bag packed and ready to go

World Book Night turned into World Book Late Afternoon for me. Rainy weather forced me to adjust my original plans. I had already kicked around several ideas for possible locations, and some had already fallen through; one more change was not about to discourage me.  Fortunately, my teacher friend Bethany was more than happy to allow me into her classroom to talk about books and the love of reading.

So for the better part of an hour, I shared Looking For Alaska with an attentive and good-natured room full of high school juniors. It was great fun. Hopefully some reluctant readers will be persuaded to give books a chance.

Many thanks to the World Book Night organization and the participating publishers for this opportunity to put books into the hands of potential readers. Thanks also to Rick, the principal, for allowing me to interrupt the school day. And thanks especially to Bethany and her delightful group of students. I am now eagerly anticipating World Book Night 2014. Maybe you should give it a try next year.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Happy Birthday, Shakespeare!

Tonight is World Book Night, and I am looking forward to giving away 20 copies of Looking For Alaska by John Green.

Monday, April 15, 2013

57th Michigan Antiquarian Book & Paper Show

Books, posters, sheet music, post cards, calendars, sports programs and tickets, vintage advertising, maps, magazines, door prizes, live music, and multiple vendors all gathered together in one location--that's the Michigan Antiquarian Book & Paper Show. Twice a year, book and paper enthusiasts come from near and far on a hunt for hidden treasure at this show, one of the biggest in the country and West Michigan's largest. On April 7, I had the pleasure of visiting the show for the first time. I was pleased to run into a few people from past blog posts as well as make some new acquaintances.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

April Is Poetry Month

My first book spine poem
I enjoy poetry, but don't fancy myself a poet by any stretch of the imagination. Then I discovered a fun way to create poetry. It's called Book Spine Poetry and uses the titles of books as displayed on the spine to create the lines of the poem. How's that for a truly unique way to use books! My first attempt is pictured at right.

If you'd like to see more examples, School Library Journal has a full gallery of them. Or simply Google book spine poetry. There is a wealth of it out there, including a Facebook page.

Care to give it a try? Create your own book spine poem, take a picture of it, and email a .jpg to me at marsharedd (at) mac (dot) com. I would love to post more examples on my blog.

Happy Poetry Month!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Share: Interesting Idea

The latest thing in high-tech book sales?

The Monkey's Paw bookstore in Toronto has come up with a unique way to sell old books.

Yes, it's a vending machine.

And it's offering readers the adventure of randomness. Every book a surprise. The idea has caught on and become quite an attraction. I've added the Monkey's Paw to my list of must-see bookstores.

To get the whole story and see a video of the machine in action, check out this article:


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

More and More and More

Books & More
119 N. Superior St.
Albion, MI 49224
(517) 629-7560

I love Albion College, the educational institution in south-central Michigan where my son Culver spent a wonderful four years earning his bachelor's degree. In fact, the first time we visited the college during his junior year of high school, I found myself wishing I could go there. Culver has since moved on to grad school, but he got a great education at Albion and also met a great girl, Alysandra, who is currently a junior.

I have fond memories of my many visits to Albion while Culver was in attendance there. Little did I know that the whole time, only a few short blocks from campus in the town of Albion, there was also a great bookstore. I recently had the good fortune to explore Books & More accompanied by Culver and Alysandra. I cannot think of a more apt title for this appropriate shop. It does, of course, have books both new and used, but there is so much more to this delightful store.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Post-Dental Delight

Argos Book Shop
1405 Robinson Road
@ Lake Drive
Grand Rapids, MI

How can you make a trip to the dentist less painful? Follow it up with a stop at an interesting bookstore, of course. Lucky for me my dentist's office is not far from Argos Book Shop in Grand Rapids, Michigan, so after recently enduring the discomfort and indignity of fingers and dental tools in my mouth, I treated myself to a soothing bookstore visit.

If you have been reading my blog lately, the name Argos may sound familiar. The store came into existence in 1975 under proprietor, Ray Walsh, who also owns Curious Book Shop and The Archives Book Shop in East Lansing. (See previous posts.) Argos is now owned and operated by Jim Bleeker who, after 20 years as an employee, purchased the store from Ray in 2005. Unfortunately, Jim was not in the shop at the time of my visit, but a friendly staff member named Jon, who fills in for Jim during lunch, vacations, and the like, was more than happy to show me around the store and answer my questions.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Read It First

We all know that the book is almost always better than the movie, right? Well, I just took the pledge to read the book before the movie. You can do it too, and subscribe to the newsletter to keep up to date on adaptations that are about to hit theaters. Take the pledge at: readit1st.com. Don't let the movie ruin the book. Read it first!


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Great news . . .

"So I walked back to my room and collapsed on the bottom bunk, thinking that if people were rain, I was drizzle and she was a hurricane."
--John Green, Looking for Alaska

I have been accepted to be a book giver on World Book Night. If you don't remember what that is, see my earlier blog post. So on April 23, Shakespeare's birthday, I will have the distinct privilege of giving away, totally for free, 20 copies of a wonderful book. And it's not just any book. It's Looking for Alaska by John Green, one of my favorite authors. See My Favorites.

My connection to this title goes beyond my love of the book and its author. I first discovered John Green, coincidentally, in the store that would become the subject of my very first blog post. See The Book Mark. It was in this particular store that I first picked up a copy of Looking for Alaska. When I discovered that the story takes place at a boarding school called Culver Creek, I knew I had to give it a try seeing as how my son's name is Culver. (No relation to the boarding school.)

I have shared this book with many other avid readers, and now I will have the opportunity to share it with 20 people who are not bibliomaniacs like me in the hopes that they will be inspired by the enjoyment of this book to do more reading. That's what World Book Night is all about. I can't wait!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Some day . . .

Oh my! I do believe this tops the list of bookstores I would LOVE to visit some day.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Book Nook On TV

I've done a few posts on the Book Nook & Java Shop in Montague, Michigan. I love the store and visit frequently, driving an hour and a half to attend the book club there. Recently Fox 17, one of West Michigan's local television stations paid a visit to the small town of Montague for a series the station is doing called "West Michigan Stories." From their remote location in the Book Nook, two reporters shared highlights of the charming tourist town and provided a video tour of the bookstore. Local author,  Susan Newhof, who was spotlighted in one of my blog posts last year, described some of the finer details of the Book Nook, and I even saw some of my book club friends.

Take a look at this brief video from the broadcast.

Click here:  Book Nook & Java Shop in Montague.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Checking The Archives

The Archives Book Shop
519 West Grand River Ave.
East Lansing, MI 48823

What comes to your mind at the mention of postcards? A memorable vacation? Stunning outdoor panoramas? A favorite tourist attraction perhaps? How about the mention of travel brochures? Or nature guides? If you're like me, these items do not typically evoke memories of a bookstore--at least not until recently. That changed after I had the opportunity to visit The Archives Book Shop in East Lansing, Michigan, where such things are not only available, but abundant.

For the past year and a half, I have been making occasional trips to East Lansing as my son Culver is a graduate student at Michigan State. Sometimes these trips come with added benefits. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree in our family. Culver is a bibliomaniac much like me and is generally up for a trip to a bookstore, so it wasn't surprising when during one of my recent trips to East Lansing, he was happy to accompany me to investigate The Archives Book Shop.

Friday, February 1, 2013

So many books, so little time

Part of my current to-read pile
Do you feel, like I do, that there are just too many books that you want to read and not enough time to read them all? Does your pile of to-read books never seem to get smaller? Does it feel like you add more books to the pile than you take away? Do you find yourself thinking that you'll read those books when you're on vacation, or winter will be the perfect time to catch up, or summer will be the perfect time to catch up, or you'll make headway during spring break? Do you have a hard time walking into a bookstore and leaving empty handed in spite of the already out-of-control size of your pile? Do you have some books that have been in the pile for years? Well, you're not alone. Perhaps this humorous video clip will help you feel better, or at least make you chuckle.

So many books . . .

It's okay. Keep reading. Don't give up on your pile!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Update, Book Nook & Java Shop

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

I've never met a bookstore that I didn't like, but for some I have developed a special fondness. I must really like the Book Nook & Java Shop. Why else would I drive for an hour and a half once a month to attend the store book club meetings. I first visited the store in November of 2011 and was impressed enough to give the book club a try. Over a year later, I am still driving once a month to lovely Montague, Michigan, not to the Book Nook I first visited, however. You see, last June the store moved to a new location just down the block from the original, and it would be a gross understatement to say that the new store is an improvement. I loved the old one, but the new one is fabulous.

Friday, January 11, 2013


One of the things that I most enjoyed about being a high school librarian was graduation. It was so gratifying to be there to see the finished products, as it were, walk confidently across the stage to accept their diplomas and begin their young adult lives, all the while remembering these same students a scant four years earlier when they were timid freshmen with plenty of middle school still left in them. Thanks to social media, I still keep in touch with several former students. It's nice to know what they are doing with themselves and to hear about their accomplishments.

 Matt Miller, a.k.a. Sunflowerman, is one such student. He was a good student, but he wasn't in the book club, nor was he one of those rabid readers who frequented the library on a daily basis. Truth be told, he actually spent much more time in the art room than in the library. What then, you might wonder, is his connection to books? Why a blog post about Sunflowerman?

Friday, January 4, 2013

World Book Night

Do you love books and reading like I do? Want to help spread that bibliomania? Be a participant in World Book Night and be a part of an event that seeks to spread the love of reading, person to person. Apply to be a giver, and you can hand out free books on the third World Book Night this April 23. But you only have until January 23 to apply to be a giver. So you have to hurry!

Sound like fun? For more information go to the World Book Night website:


and check out this video about last year's World Book Night:

Keep reading!!