Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Full Circle Bookstore - Oklahoma City, OK

Full Circle Bookstore - Oklahoma City, OK
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THIS is where you park, customers of Full Circle! 
I truly enjoy every independent bookstore I visit and the wonderful people I get to meet.  Every indie is great in its own way and they all have something different about them that makes them unique.  For example, how many indies offer reserved parking for their customers, designated by signs?  Or, how many indies have fully functioning and practical fireplaces (yes, there are 3 here and they throw out heat!)?  How about an outdoor patio/garden and a full-service cafe?  And instead of a bookstore cat there is a bookstore buffalo.  All of that is here at Full Circle Books in Oklahoma City.

When you visit bookstores, there is wow and then there is WOW!  This place is a no doubt about it WOW!  If this isn't the best, most complete, independent bookstore in Oklahoma, I'd be surprised.  Full Circle Books has been around for 30+ years under the ownership of James Tolbert.  He and his staff have done a remarkable job.  This store has everything that any thriving and successful bookstore has.  An active events schedule hosted right in the store.  Its own Full Circle Publishing enterprise.  A wonderful cafe where you can enjoy a morning coffee or a light lunch.  They also offer wine and beer which I think is great, especially when hosting events.  And even though there is a cafe, the store offers free coffee to bookstore browsers.  A very supportive local customer base as well as customers from out-of -town.  There are some sidelines here but the books are the thing.

Full Circle is a large, wandering one-level with multiple rooms.  Just when you think you've seen it all you'll discover more rooms and more books.  Many of the rooms have books shelved floor to ceiling, a great look.  They're also active with book clubs (there was one meeting on the morning of my visit), schools, and libraries.  If this store has a defiecincy I can't find it.

This is Pearl.  If you look closely, you can see the pearls.  
As you would expect, the quality of the physical store is matched equally by the quality of the people who work there.  If there are any clunkers on their staff, I didn't meet them!  I met Dana M., the store manager, Mary R., one of the booksellers, and Julia, the events coordinator.  These ladies were the absolute best and very generous with their time to talk to me about the store and the business.  It was encouraging to hear Dana tell me that she thinks the trend is swinging back in favor of the independent bookstores, an opinion shared by many others I visit.

Then there's Pearl the buffalo, one of the store mascots.  Pearl has a display of recommendations of local interest.  And she's made of pearls.  What other bookstore has this?!  This place is a keeper and for those of you who enjoy independent bookstores, it's a must see.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

JUST FINISHED:  Breaking Creed, Alex Kava.  If you like thriller/mystery genres and haven't checked out this author yet, I would encourage you to do so.  I wasn't familiar with her and this book is a good one.  Creed is an Afghanistan vet who trains dogs for a variety of searches.  This book involves Creed and his dog Grace trying to nail a drug ring and child trafficking.

CURRENTLY READING:  What We Talk About When We Talk About Love, Raymond Carver.  Short stories.

Outside window display.  

View looking into the store from the front entrance.  

Looking to the left from the entrance and into the cafe.  

Theater seating!  Great seats for a 5-person book club!

One of the fireplaces in the store.  Originally, all three fireplaces were wood burning.  

A wall of bookshelves.  

Another fireplace and in this room you'll also find travel books.  

More theater seating in case you have a three-person book club.  

Another view of one of the beautiful rooms with a fireplace.  

The bookstore opens into a shopping mall area.  These are some of the displays.  

This is the best view I could get from the rear of the store looking toward the front.  Not a true picture of how big the store is.  

A display of award-winning books.  

Another great way to bring customers (and future customers!) into the store.  

One of the long book aisles.  

This is a view of the ceiling in the children's room which is a mirror.  Very cool.  

A partial view of the children's room.  

The garden/patio area is just outside the cafe.  

A few of the sidelines available.  

With Mary on the left and Dana on the right.  Thanks for a great visit.  


  1. This store looks fabulous! Thanks for posting.

  2. Wow...great review of a great looking store. I haven't been in yet myself, but often get recommendations via friends and family in Oklahoma who are famillar with the place. Quick correction- that's actually Mary on the left in the photo above! Thanks for the post. I have some great reads posted here as well on my lit blog:

    1. DANG I hate when I make a mistake on a name! Of course that was Mary! Thanks for checking my work, Jesse! Make a point to visit this one, you won't be disappointed and allow plenty of time. Thanks!

  3. Being from Oklahoma Full Circle prepared me to love indie bookstores. Best of Books in Edmond, OK, is great, too -- not so fancy, but wonderful staff and events. And now, as a Coloradan I've gotta celebrate The Tattered Cover. It has three locations in the Denver area. Each has its own unique ambiance. Mountain Books in Conifer, Colorado, where I attended a book signing for Diane Mott Davidson, is small and packed to the gills with mostly used books. And then there's Old Fire House Books where I stood in a line winding through Old Town Ft. Collins, Colorado, from 4:15 pm to 11:30 pm in February to get Neil Gaiman's signature. Lots of interesting people in line with me. It was cold as a witches you-know-what, but I enjoyed it thoroughly. Thank you for your review of Full Circle and the great photos. I like Indie booksellers, too.

  4. Great response, Claudia. Tattered Cover is legendary, as you know. Old Fire House is still on my list and now I'll add Mountain Books to it. If you ever get out to Edwards, CO, check out The Bookworm of Edwards. Another great indie and great people working there.