Monday, September 7, 2009

Two Things that Made Me Happy

I guess even lazy bloggers get a summer vacation. But I didn't take a vacation from reading (heaven forbid!), so I've got a lot of blog-post material just waiting to be written up.

Meanwhile, I'll share two semi-literary things that made my summer sunny.

I spent some of my non-blogging time up in Grand Rapids (thus the big red Calder sculpture) and while I was there, of course, I had to visit one of my favorite independent booksellers: Schuler Books (this is the store on 28th St.).

*begin rant*
There are some big chain bookstores that I like (there are very few bookstores that I dislike), but often when I walk into a chain bookstore, I feel that they are selling products, not books. (Yes, cue the "cans of olive oil" scene from You've Got Mail now.)

I become irritated when the front of a bookstore is crowded with only best-selling popular fiction and celebrity biographies. Then I usually end up wandering through a nonsensical shelving system, trying to find the poetry section, which turns out to be smaller than Charlie Chaplin's mustache. Maybe this is due to my living in a smaller, more rural area. A larger population, particularly in a city with several universities, seems more likely to buy a broader variety of books. But I still can't help feeling that some books would do better, if only they were put where buyers could see them.
*end rant*

Back to Schuler Books. When I walk into Schuler, I get that people-here-know-books sense. I immediately see two dozen titles that I've been wanting to read and/or I've heard praised through sites like The Book Studio. Also, the organization of the store is wonderful, with helpful wooden signs hanging from the ceiling (though you can't really see this in my photo).

And the poetry section is actually a section, not a pitiful two and a half shelves.

My favorite part, the part that warms my frugal, little heart: in the center of the store is a used book section, also beautifully organized.

In other news, I placed third in one of this year's Kentucky State Poetry Society contests (see "Street Cred" sidebar). Not really the road to writerly fame and favor, but one of those events that makes you think, Maybe I'm not so very terrible at this writing stuff.

Sometimes having a small victory is enough to give you the courage to spend the evening writing and revising new poems to send out. Or at least enough to convince you to write another blog post.


  1. love the caulder photo! pretty... I think you should live in schuler's bookstore-with cats...maybe you already do.


  2. hate to burst your bubble, but even we larger cities with multiple universities still have those tantalizing (and yet irritating) bookstores which place only fictional best-sellers and those stupid celebrity auto/biographies at the front.

    however, they also place FUN things at the front, such as games and mind puzzles you don't find many other places, a nice selection of books with enormously slashed prices (so many interesting things there to catch your eye!!), and those wonderfully oversized photographic travel books i'm such a sucker for. it's really quite perfect for those of us who, though organized in every other aspect of our lives, browse both stores and museums like an ADHD kid on crack.


  3. Caitie--I wonder how much Schuler Books would charge for rent?

    Greg and Vanessa--It's been a while since I've been book-shopping in your area. I remember liking Joseph-Beth (though I can't remember if there was something specific I liked about it or if I just liked the fact that it was a bookstore and it existed). I also have a weakness for oversized photographic books. I keep seeing one on something like Cats in Italy. I don't have any good excuse for buying it, but I'm always tempted.