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, March 17, 2016

Leap Day, Part I

Reader's World
194 S. River Ave.
Holland, MI 49423

The world is filled with glass-half-empty people and glass-half-full people. I have recently made a conscious decision to be a half-full person. Case in point, after more than a week of fighting off a head cold, I am admitting defeat. The head cold is winning. However, though I acquiesce, I am not feeling defeated. Everything is relative. This year it's only a minor head cold, the first one I have had all winter, whereas last year I was the victim of a vicious chest cold that was with me for at least six weeks. Besides, having a head cold gives me a good excuse to spend more time in my comfy reading chair--without guilt.

This past February I was provided with yet another opportunity to cement my half-full attitude when the 29th of the month rolled around. The half-empty winter haters among us will likely view Leap Year as an unbearable lengthening of the already longest, shortest month in the year. I must confess that until recently, I would have counted myself among those. But with my new, half-full attitude, I take a broader view and choose to look at Leap Year from a 366-day perspective. WE GET AN EXTRA DAY! A whole day. Twenty-four extra hours to do, to make, to enjoy, to create--or perhaps to visit bookstores. I'm sure you saw that coming. Yes, I took advantage of my extra day to visit not just one, but two bookstores, the first of which was a delightful store in Holland, Michigan, called Reader's World.

Audrianne processes a magazine delivery.
Just a little over an hour's drive from my home in Lowell, the charming town of Holland is well known for its annual Tulip Festival and its beautiful Lake Michigan beaches. This year on Leap Day, I was pleased to discover another asset of the town, Reader's World. Located on a convenient corner right downtown, the store has been a part of Holland since 1967. Bookseller, Audrianne Hill, warmly greeted me as I entered and was more than happy to provide information about the store. I discovered a kindred spirit in Audrianne, who is also retired from education and has since been a member of the staff at Reader's World.

I was surprised to learn that the building in which the store currently resides was an opera house in a previous life. According to Audrianne, after the opera house, the building had yet another life as Peck's Grocery Store until it was purchased by Chris Hungerink and his son Bob. Locally owned and operated by the Hungerink family since 1967, it survives as the only bookstore in downtown Holland, outlasting four others. Sorry I missed those.

The store is small, but what it lacks in floor space, it makes up for in customer service with special orders, book club discounts, and community Big Read discounts to name just a few. The shop seems to have built personal relationships with local customers. I was impressed to see Audrianne not just recommend a gift book, but personally gift wrap it.

The magazine aisle
What perhaps contributes most to the viability of Reader's World is its vast selection of magazines. The entire center aisle of the shop, both sides, is dedicated to periodicals of all kinds, including many from the U.K. and Australia and many hard-to-find publications. During my visit, a large magazine shipment came in, and Audrianne began to process these items while she continued talking to me.

The shop also stocks a large selection of Michigan books and has selections for children and young adult readers as well. As a former English teacher, Audrianne is expert at suggesting titles for customers. I enjoyed conversing with her about books and authors as well as other Michigan bookstores and libraries. I was thrilled to purchase a brand new title that had been on my wish list as well as a couple of additional books that looked interesting.

The problem, it seems, with loving bookstores is that I just keep adding to my to-read pile. My glass-half-full self considers that a happy problem. And my trip to Reader's World was a happy way to spend part of my Leap Day.

Stay tuned. A post about my other Leap Day bookstore visit is coming soon.

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