Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Sudden Fiction - Castle Rock, CO

Sudden Fiction, Castle Rock, CO

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There are some bookstores I visit that are situated in an area with little or no other businesses nearby (I'm not talking about neighborhood bookstores which are totally different and usually established).  These are the ones I might have some concern about because it always helps bookstores to be around other businesses.  For Sudden Fiction in Castle Rock, CO, nothing could be further from that challenging picture.  Even though Sudden Fiction is downtown, it feels like a newly developed condensed area of businesses and retail absolutely everywhere.  This town would make a great shopping destination.  On the weekday of my visit the town was packed.  Parking is plentiful but on this day it was hard to find.  Sudden Fiction has been here for three years and things are going great.  And I predict things are only going to get better for them in this community.  

Sudden Fiction is in an old church that has been divided up into several businesses called the Ecclesia Marketplace.  You'll find a combination of new and used books that are split approximately 2/3 to 1/3.  Many of those used books are donated but customers can receive store credit for their books if they choose.  There are few sidelines of note here so it is quite impressive that their success is based mostly on book sales.  Although, an additional part of the business includes draft beer and coffee.

The thing that pestered my mind was the store name, Sudden Fiction.  Did that mean they only carried fiction and nothing else?  Maybe some token non-fiction?  I'm happy to say that shortly after entering the store I found a well-marked and well-stocked non-fiction section.  Good news for those readers.

On the day of my visit I met 66% of the ownership team.  I didn't get to meet Gina but I had a great time talking to Christi P. and Joe D. who were fantastic to welcome me to the store.  Unsurprisingly, on the day of my visit the store was very busy, just like every other business in town.

If you're in Castle Rock or visiting, this is the place to be.  A vibrant, energetic business district with a bookstore poised for a great future.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

JUST FINISHED:  The Council Of Animals, Nick McDonnell.  A council of animals convenes after The Calamity to decide the fate of the remaining humans.  Eat them or let them live.  The leader of the council of animals is an orange baboon.  Convening after The Calamity.  I see some parallels.  Recommended. 

CURRENTLY READING:  The Power Of The Dog, Thomas Savage. 

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  Carry On, Jeeves, P. G. Wodehouse.  The Love Songs Of W. E. B. DuBois, HonorĂ©e Fanonne Jeffers.  

Sudden Fiction is located in the Ecclesia Marketplace, a large old church that houses several businesses.

I love the stores' slogan, "Bookmarks Are For Quitters."

The bookstore is located on the lower level so its window display space is minimal. 

Beautiful mural on the inside entryway. 

Trade policy. 

Looking into the store toward the right from the entrance.  Once inside, the space is deceptively large. 

Looking around the corner and to the left from the entrance.  Head this way for the children's section. 

My kind of chair.  Settle yourself in and sample a book. 

Beautiful display of new releases. 

Book tote bag from Captain Obvious. 

I can confirm that in addition to sudden fiction, the store also has sudden non-fiction. 

Just a tiny portion of Colorado themed material. 

The chair pictured up above was just the warm-up.  This would be my main event. 

One of my favorite things here were the candles used to light some of the book nooks.  Very cool. 

Talented artists can create anything from a slab of wood.  Impressive. 

There were some great bargain books on this spinner. 

Looking for cute book lights?  Here they are!

It's always fun to see what the book clubs are reading. 

The store carries lots of books by local authors and local interest. 

Overview of the store looking across the space from the checkout counter. 

Creative packaging. 

Partial view of the children's area. 

Another reason to visit the bookstore. 

A few of the journals available.  Some of the most unique journals offered can be found in bookstores. 

I always love seeing the staff picks displays. 

With Christi on the left and Joe in the middle, two of the fine co-owners you'll meet at Sudden Fiction.  Thanks for a great visit. 

Thursday, August 11, 2022

Twice Told Tales - McPherson, KS

Twice Told Tales, McPherson, KS

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How is it that a wonderful town like McPherson, KS, population approximately 14,000, can support a thriving bookstore like Twice Told Tales?  First of all with a great location smack dab on the busiest street in downtown McPherson.  Secondly and most importantly, a strong and loyal customer base of regulars.  But it starts at the top and these people might not be so regular without the store's congenial and friendly owner, Libby M.  And when it comes to regular customers I doubt that few are more loyal than local English teacher, Rebecca.  It was my pleasure to meet Rebecca, a walking, talking advocate for Twice Told Tales, Libby, and independent bookstores everywhere.  Honestly, Rebecca could be the PR person for Twice Told Tales.  McPherson, listen to Rebecca! And me!

Twice Told Tales has been here for almost 8 years and Libby is the second owner for this store.  Twice Told offers mostly used books and is gradually increasing its inventory of new books.  Libby is working to find those right new books for her readers.  Many customers will simply donate their used books to the store which is a big plus for the business.  Otherwise, they can receive store credit in return or possibly cash depending on the books.  They have a tasteful assortment of sidelines but they don't overrun the store.  Stickers, pins, greeting cards, and candles can all be found here.  The uniquely created coffee mugs by local artists are particularly attractive.  I was especially impressed with the children's section, its space and decor.  A very open area for kids.  This is complemented nicely with a weekly story time. 

I was really happy to hear that the local school administration feels strongly enough about supporting local businesses that they have a partnership with the store.  Oh, how indies across the country would enjoy having this cooperation in their communities.  Well done, McPherson.

As the newish owner of Twice Told Tales, Libby is off to a great start.  Now its up to you, McPherson.  Get it together and get yourself to this terrific store.  If you're a regular, bring a friend.  If you're a teacher, tell your kids.  Embrace this great indie and its owner and experience the joy of your own independent bookstore.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

JUST FINISHED:  The Swimmers, Julie Otsuka.  A short, quick read that I could really relate to due to the subject.  The first half of the book is about a community of swimmers who go to an underground pool on a regular basis.  Lap swimmers with all their quirks, their special lanes, their routines (something I do regularly when not on the road!).  The 2nd half of the book is about one of the swimmers dealing with dementia and her adult daughter who must help her.  I really liked this book but can't tell if it would be for everyone?

CURRENTLY READING:  The Council Of Animals, Nick McDonell. 

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  The Swimmers, Julie Otsuka.   

Beautiful storefront as well as beautiful used books. 

Creatively designed display window. 

There's still time to make it to a Saturday story time. 

Budget browsing before you even enter the store. 

The display window art is excellent. 

 View looking straight into the store from the front entrance. 

You can find talented craftsmanship and art in almost any indie.  This is what you'll see at the checkout counter. 

Looking to the right from the front entrance. 

Looking to the left from the front entrance. 

Just inside the front entrance you can snag a couple of seats and try a book. 

Varieties of journals. 

One of the neat and attractive book nooks in the store.

Table display of new releases. 

The store offers grab bags filled with books of different genres and authors, a great promotion. 

Just a few of the LBGTQIA+ books offered. 

One of my favorite promotions offered at many bookstores.

Just a portion of the Black history books available. 

Bookstore candles and locally crafted coffee mugs. 

Two of the coffee mugs from the previous picture.  Unique and one of a kind available here. 

Go through the archway and enter the children's area.  Wonderful decor. 

Lots of bargain children's books. 

Overview of the children's area.  I think this picture shows just how incredibly neat this store is. 

Tiny readers will enjoy going into this tiny tent. 

View looking from the children's area in the back of the store to the front entrance. 


With Libby, the fine owner at Twice Told Tales.  Thanks for a great visit.