Friday, December 31, 2021

Dickson St. Bookshop - Fayetteville, AR

Dickson St. Bookshop, Fayetteville, AR

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I drove by this bookstore a couple of years ago on my way to another bookstore.  What I saw when I drove by was a massive bookstore on a prominent corner location in a very busy retail/restaurant/bar area of a college town.  I decided I was going to turn around and visit it and that's exactly what I did.  A few years later.  The impression it made on me a few years ago from the outside was multiplied through the roof when I finally made it inside.

Quite frankly, this bookstore is a book-lovers dream and I would encourage all who travel to bookstores to put this one on their list.  Don C. and Charles O. opened this bookstore 44 years ago.  Charles passed away in 2019 and now Don is the sole owner of a bookstore that has floor to ceiling books in an 8000 square foot space.  I asked store manager Suedee H. if she had any idea how many books they had.  Impossible to know and I'm not surprised.  In addition to the store space, the store has a warehouse, also 8000 square feet and equally packed with books.  Overwhelming doesn't even begin to describe it.

To enter a store like this is to enter a museum.  To see the many historical artifacts and articles throughout the store and navigating the narrow book aisles is a joy.  Like a museum I'm sure people who come here often can see different things on every visit.  This store has the same used book store college town vibe as  The Bookhouse In Dinkytown. in Minneapolis, both terrific indies.

Suedee, April, and the rest of the staff were wonderful to talk to and hear about the store.  I was glad to hear from Suedee that even though they were closed for 6 months due to the pandemic, they've rebounded from that tough time and are showing growth.  It definitely helps that this is the home of the University of Arkansas and the university offers a writing program.

Ok bookstore travelers, pay a visit to this renowned Arkansas bookstore but don't plan on a quick 10-minute stay.  In fact, you might want to carve out an entire weekend just to get a start.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

JUST FINISHED:  Twilight, William Gay.  The bizarre story of a brother and sister who suspect something odd happened with their buried father and discover that the undertaker has taken liberties with their father's burial as well as oddities about many other deceased.  The undertaker is a kook who hires a criminal to hunt down the brother and sister who have comprising information.  Southern gothic fiction.  If you want something different, you might try this one.  The author has a distinct literary style that takes getting used to. 

CURRENTLY READING:  The 1619 Project, Nikole Hannah-Jones. 

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  The Afterlife of Billy Fingers, Annie Kagan. 


The view from the side of the building.  Imagine all the books crammed into this space. 

On the corner and across the street. 

Beautiful storefront. 

Great bargains before you even enter the store. 

Wearing a mask at any business's request is no big deal.  Just do it!

More outside browsing. 

Here you go, readers. 

Looking into the store from the front entrance. 

Just inside the front door.

Looking to the right from the front entrance. 

Step right up and enjoy the display of new arrivals. 

I love these aisles. 

Ask about the vintage and collectible editions available. 

Proceed to the left after entering the store and you'll come to this room. 

A few of the genres you'll browse in this room. 

Looking to the right in this room. 

Many bookstores create a variety of book-themed Christmas trees. 

Heading to the back of the main room. 

The Lemony Snicket series, A Series Of Unfortunate Events.  I enjoyed these. 

Discover the history of the store's space. 

If you're new in Fayetteville, you might want to bone up on Razorback football. 

The store has floor to ceiling books.  You're going to need this. 

The back room.  But honestly, this picture is just about the same for every room and every book aisle. 

Lots of Hardy Boys offered and these are just a few. 

These long aisles will require lots of browsing time. 

It might be a good idea to consult the store map. 

With Suedee, the fine store manager at the Dickson St. Bookshop.  Thanks for a great visit. 

Sunday, December 26, 2021

Dog Ear Books - Russellville, AR

Dog Ear Books, Russellville, AR

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When I visited this bookstore I didn't really give much thought to its name, Dog Ear Books.  I just thought of dogs and let it go at that.  There's a definite dog-theme throughout the store, but that's not the true meaning behind the store name.  As a reader might fold a page corner down to return to the same spot in a book (the bane of all librarians), the owners hope that their store name, Dog Ear Books, will help customers remember to return to the store again.  A clever name for a store that is a huge hit in a community that has come to embrace the store's importance to Russellville.

This indie is a true family owned bookstore.  Emily Y., along with parents Pat and Garry and sister Katie are the ones running things at Dog Ear, located in the heart of downtown Russellville.  Emily also owns the coffee shop right next to the bookstore, Retro Roasts, a great arrangement for both businesses (and I can confirm their lattes by the one I enjoyed.  Thanks Pat.).  The store has a long narrow space with an inventory of mostly new books and a few used.  Back in the day this space and the display windows look like it could've been a department store or shoe store.  Customers who bring in books can receive store credit in return, but many simply bring in the books as donations.  They have a wide array of sidelines including greeting cards, t-shirts, and this year's popular item, advent calendars.  Events have been slow to resume since the pandemic but will do so in time.  However, they already have weekly story times in place on the schedule.

The local community is fiercely loyal to Dog Ear as demonstrated by some people who have simply written a check to the store.  Russellville is home to Arkansas Tech University and one of the English professors felt so strongly that he wrote the store a sizable check.  He thinks of the bookstore as his church and I couldn't agree more with this label for any bookstore.

I couldn't have had a better time than what I had at Dog Ear Books.  A wonderful family who shared their love of books and their bookstore with me as I continue along this amazing journey.  I can see why this store is so important to the community.  Keep up the great work, Russellville, and keep supporting this terrific independent bookstore.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

JUST FINISHED:  Home Front, Melinda B. Hipple.  The true story based on the WWII diaries of Velma Beckerdite and the many letters between friends and family.  A heart-breaking account of all the sacrifices and difficulties of those serving the country during WWII and of all those who are at home.  This book is a stark reminder of how incredibly difficult and agonizing those times were for so many.  It reminded me of my parents, uncles, and grandparents and what they endured.  I thoroughly enjoyed this first hand account and this book deserves more national acclaim.  Indie owners, check with Imperium Publishing.  This one deserves a place in your store.  Highly recommended. 

CURRENTLY READING:  Twilight, William Gay. 

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  Pig Hearted, Alex Perry. 


I saw this sign on the corner one block away.  I knew I was headed the right way.


Beautiful storefront on a gloomy day.  This is the bookstore's second location. 


Consider bringing your kids to the weekly storytime. 


Festive decor outside the store.


Seasonal themed display window. 


Beautifully crafted chair painted by a local artist.  This picture doesn't do it justice. 


View looking into the store from the front entrance. 


Attractive display just inside the entrance. 


Display of a few of the books by local authors. 


Looking to the right from the front entrance. 


Browse your genre preference by following the arrows but take the shopping basket with you, you'll need it. 


Browse the left side of the store for these bookshelves.


We need directions to do this?


Consider a Dog Ear mug for your home coffee. 


Just a few of the cooking books offered. 


Books for every budget. 


A few of the greeting cards available. 


You can find Deb dogs throughout the store. 


Beautiful display. 


A great setting in the middle of the store. 


Overview of the children's section. 


I love the Deb dogs. 


There are lots of places to have a seat and sample a book. 


Bring your Harry Potter fans to the store.


Lots of plush buddies to choose from and they're all looking for a home. 


Go to the back of the store and to the right to find some bargain used books. 


Not available on Amazon. 


Looking from the back toward the front of the store.  The decor and lighting give it a magical quality.  The thumb in the upper left hand corner destroys the magic. 
I haven't seen this often but I wish it were offered by more indies. 
Occasionally I'm at the bookstore when their shipments arrive.  No supply chain issues here. 
When you visit the bookstore, you also must visit the coffee shop, Retro Roasts, right next door. 
This would be a great family photo if not for the interloper on the left.  L-R: the interloper, Emily, Garry, Pat, and Katie.  Some of the fine people you'll meet at Dog Ear Books.  Thanks for a great visit.