Monday, December 5, 2022

Cicada Books & Coffee - Huntington, WV


Cicada Books & Coffee, Huntington, WV

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What a sideline!  Animal skulls!

Having now been to 500+ bookstores I've got a pretty good handle on what stores stock for sidelines.  For example, like many of my recent bookstore visits Cicada Books does a great business in selling stickers.  They also have bookstore candles which have sold well during the holiday season.  They're going to begin dipping their toe into board game sales, usually a successful move for bookstores.  But in all my visits, I can't recall ever visiting an indie that sells animal skulls.  Looking for a hedgehog skull?  They've got you covered.  If hedgehogs aren't your thing, consider a snapping turtle skull.  This aligns perfectly with what another bookstore owner told me.  You just do whatever it takes.  Way to go Cicada!  

Cicada Books & Coffee is going above and beyond whatever it takes.  They've been in business for 4+ years, survived the pandemic, and are now enjoying a successful run offering new and used books.  The store has an especially good inventory of books about Appalachia and LGBTQ genres.  Many of those used books are donated but if not customers can receive store credit.  They are very busy with events including three book clubs and a weekly game night in addition to the usual author events.  One of the best parts of the business is the coffee and cafe service located on the left as you enter the store.  An assortment of coffee drinks and outstanding bagels that I understand are hard to find in Huntington.  Cicada enjoys a strong base of regular customers as well as many from the Marshall University community.

To my knowledge, there is no other bookstore named Cicada Books in the United States.  Although, as bookseller Dawn N. told me there is a Cicada Books in the UK and sometimes their mail comes here.  My curiosity about the store name was answered by Madi, who does the coffee service for the store.  She told me cicadas are a very West Virgina thing.  It also represents a chance at a new beginning, a rebirth, a fresh start.  Something that could be said for many bookstores.

Co-owners Dawn H. and Kate N. weren't here on the day of my visit.  Instead, I was welcomed by the Cicada rock stars, Dawn N. and Madi.  A perfect example of owners who have a great talent for hiring the best people.

If you're in Huntington, venture over to the west end antiques district and check this place out.  Lots of places to sit, sip, and sample a book.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

JUST FINISHED:  The Maid, Nita Prose.  An absolutely delightful book, a mystery that is part humorous, part heart-breaking.  Molly is the maid at the swank and upscale Regency Grand Hotel.  She is meticulous about her job, her cleaning, and dependable to a fault.  Utterly honest and transparent, her naivete is taken advantage of by many and she is unwittingly involved in criminal activity with no knowledge whatsoever.  You will love Molly and her quirky character.  Recommended. 

CURRENTLY READING:  The Warsaw Orphan, Kelly Rimmer. 

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  Bookstore Explorer: West Virginia, Matt Browning. 


This brightly colored exterior will catch the eye of any customer. 

View looking into the store from the front entrance. 

Looking to the right from the front entrance.  Plenty of seating for whatever you get from the coffee counter. 

Just inside the front door make a stop at the coffee counter before you begin your browsing. 

Display of new books. 

The perfect chair for anyone who wants to sip and read. 

The cafe offers a variety of snacks. 

At the checkout counter you'll get a chance to browse the many unique stickers offered. 

Creative artwork by talented local artists, displayed and for sale. 

You might have someone on your gift list who would enjoy this game. 

This sounds like a fun book club.  I encourage everyone to get involved with the book club at their local independent bookstore. 

Partial view of the seating area in the front of the store. 

Consider these literary-themed candles for the holiday season. 

Unique and locally crafted jewelry. 

Partial display of books by local authors. 

Remember the leg lamp in the movie, A Christmas Story?  This is kind of the same thing, right?  I can neither confirm or deny if this is the real thing. 

The stores' book pricing for used books. 

There is a front room for the bookstore and a back room.  This is the overview looking into the back room. 

Just inside the back room and to the right is this very comfortable lounging nook. 

Another view. 

Consider reserving the comfortable lounging nook area in the back room. 

Partial view of the children's area. 

One of the book nooks in the back room.

A long line of bookshelves on the right wall of the back room. 

Another great group gathering space in the back room. 

The store has many great areas to sit and read. 

A few of the games available. 

An overview of the back room and looking toward the front and all the way to the front door. 

With Dawn in the back and Madi in the front, two of the fine people you'll meet at Cicada Books & Coffee.  Thanks for a great visit. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Readers' Garden Bookstore - Granville, OH


Readers' Garden Bookstore, Granville, OH

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I don't know how anyone could describe this bookstore as anything less than cozy, genuine, and so, so cute as a button.  The town and the store give off a feel of being much further east than Granville, OH.  This store also takes its name, Readers' Garden, very seriously.  Nature is the main theme found throughout the store with books, sidelines, and even a back patio "readers' garden", a wonderful place to sit with a book during nice weather.  There are beautifully carved birds of many types positioned throughout the store and available for purchase.  The artistry on the walls display colorful nature scenes and among all this natural beauty you'll find a fish tank near the checkout counter.  Bird watchers and nature lovers will thoroughly enjoy this store.  And, of course, readers of all ages and genres!

Readers' Garden is located in the near downtown and has been rockin' it for 20+ years although they've been in this space for less than a year.  Their longevity is impressive given the town's population of approximately 5000+.  But, as assistant manager Audrey A. told me, they have a huge base of regular customers and many of those are from the local college, Denison University.  This includes visits from professors, parents, and grandparents in addition to the students.  

The store is packed with a healthy inventory of new and used books and a plethora of sidelines, especially those created locally.  In addition to the usual greeting cards, puzzles, and bookstore socks, you'll find many nature-related items.  The hand-carved and painted wooden birds and nature-themed book marks sell very well.  There are also some outstanding author portraits painted by a local artist.  Heck, you can even get a unique desk pet made with Lake Erie rocks by Audrey.

It there's someone in Granville that doesn't know about Readers' Garden it would make me shake my head.  Good gawd, what gives?  You've had 20+ years!  Well now you know and there's no time like the present to check out this legendary and successful community bookstore.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

JUST FINISHED:  Godspeed, Nickolas Butler.  Every bookseller in Wisconsin will probably confirm my opinion that this author is fantastic.  Every book I've read by him is a winner and this one is no exception.  A rich female attorney decides to build a million dollar mansion in the mountains near Jackson, WY.  She hires a 3-man crew and demands an impossible deadline for completion but they will be rewarded with an incredible bonus if they can complete it on time.  The challenges are many, and the further they proceed the more they think the project is cursed.  Put this author on your shopping list.  Outstanding and highly recommended. 

CURRENTLY READING:  The Maid, Nita Prose. 

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  O Pioneers!, Willa Cather. 

I met this cute little goat just before I turned the corner and walked into the bookstore.  His name?  Nature!  I took this as a very good sign. 

A very picturesque storefront. 

Upon closer inspection, this sign is actually an oversized book.  Very creative. 

Read the fine print. 

Classic storefront window. 

Looking to the right side in the front of the store. 

Looking straight through to the back of a very long store. 

Just to the left of the entrance a few of the greeting cards offered. 

Immediately to the left after entering is a wall length mirror where shoppers can check their hair.  Indie Bob is captured taking a picture. 

Display of staff picks. 

Throughout the store and in the pictures below you'll see some of the fabulous mural artwork. 

Front room table display. 

The fish aquarium is right across from the checkout counter. 

Well said. 


Not only is Audrey a great bookseller she's also a talented artist.  These are her creations made from Lake Erie rocks.  Available at the checkout counter. 

I like this book nook but also notice the mural on the back wall. 

They do a fine job of filling a small space with lots of books. 

Just a few of the rare and collectible books available. 

How many bookstores have a devoted Margaret Atwood section that is identified by her beautiful portrait?!

Display of sidelines in front of a beautiful mural. 

Keep going.  There's more. 

Overview looking into the back room. 

These stunning portraits found in the store were done by a local artist. 

Edgar Allan Poe and the raven will keep an eye on you in this space, the quiet area. 

Looking out the back door into a lovely patio area. 

Another view of the patio looking at the back door of the store. 

Partial view of the children's area. 

Can you identify these Ohio birds?  If not you better pick up this book. 

All of these birds have been carved by hand by a local craftsman.  What a talent. 

With Audrey, the fine assistant manager at Readers' Garden Bookstore.  Thanks for a great visit.