Friday, January 28, 2022

Bluestocking Social - Evansville, IN

Bluestocking Social, Evansville, IN

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I'm always curious when visiting indies with unique names where the idea for their store name came from.  When co-owner Annie F. explained that  Bluestocking Social is based on a literary women's club from years ago I figuratively donked my head and said, for sure.  Before I found this out I told Annie my theory about the store name.  Bluestocking has a side door entrance with no store front to speak of and a descending stairway to a lower level and I thought ok, this is Bluestocking Social, like a bookstore speakeasy.  Just mumble the password (Anita Book sent me) and you're in!  But no corny passwords needed so enter the store and prepare to see a beautiful new independent bookstore.  

This is another of many new indies I've visited that opened during the pandemic, August 2020.  And similar to all those others I'm happy to hear that things are going very well.  Bluestocking is located in a basement space and they've done an excellent job of organizing in a way that allows for very comfortable browsing.  The store offers all new books along with a variety of sidelines including greeting cards, puzzles, and bookstore swag.  The tiny book earrings and stickers have been selling well.  One of the coolest sidelines I've seen is a locally crafted bathtub book stand.  You now have NO reason to leave the bathtub.  Best of all, Annie's husband and co-owner Matt offers a good stock of art supplies, thanks to his background in that field.   

Bluestocking Social is conveniently located next to Honey Moon Coffeeshop, a very comfy college-town cafe.  The bookstore is also diagonally across the street from the University of Evansville campus, another advantage.  Now that students are slowly returning to in-person learning, Annie expects more of the community to discover the bookstore.  When you visit, you might also get to meet Eleanor, a very excited and happy 4-legged friend who was helping Annie on the day of my visit.  But take note, Eleanor alternates her bookstore days with a pug and a cat.

Hey Evansville, its time to discover this wonderful new independent bookstore.  A clean, neat space that you'll enjoy visiting.  Tell them Anita Book sent you.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

JUST FINISHED:  I will Judge You By Your Bookshelf, Grant Snider.  A graphic novel that takes a humorous look at all the challenges and pitfalls of writing and reading.  I enjoyed the artful comic drawings and I think aspiring writers might like this one. 

CURRENTLY READING:  The Stranger In The Lifeboat, Mitch Albom.   

Right next door to Bluestocking is a hip little coffee shop you can also enjoy, Honey Moon Coffee. 

Follow the arrow. 

Psst.  Here it is.  Look around, check both ways, and go for it.  Don't forget the password. 

Down these stairs and take a right. 

I always see lots of creativity at the indies I visit.  This is beautiful. 

View looking straight into the store. 

Looking to the right from the entrance and a perfect overview of the entire store.  Notice the good spacing of displays allowing for very comfortable browsing.  Nice job. 

Honestly, banned books have been some of my favorites. 

Attractive table display. 

One of the most intriguing sidelines I've seen and certainly a first.  Made locally and one of a kind.  There are so many things you could use this bathtub stand for.  If you're lucky enough to have someone wait on you, you'll never have to leave the tub.  The obvious book stand use could double as a bath tub meal tray.  Never leave the tub!  Have your aide serve your meals, happy hour, bring another book, additional reading material.  Heck, you could even prepare a meal on this for others.  The uses are endless!

Consider a signed book. 

I've recently visited some bookstores where stickers are a thing.  You'll find them here at Bluestocking too. 

These are really tiny bookcover earrings. 

A long wall of bookshelves to browse just inside the entrance and to the right. 

I think the store logo is absolutely fantastic.  Excellent work by the artist who created this.  This appears on the store checkout counter. 

Required reading?  I know, I know.  The ones that need to read it won't. 

You can find some book blind dates around the store. 

Have you fulfilled your New's Year resolution yet of visiting your independent bookstore?

This is a partial view of the store where you'll find various art supplies.  If Matt is in, you can talk to him about art AND books!

Two great seats to sit and sample a book. 

Just a few of the items of local interest and/or by local authors. 

Partial view of the children's area including a cute little chair for a little reader. 

If you live in Evansville, this would like great in your house or apartment. 

Blind date books with a brief description.  I love these promotions. 

Overview of the store looking from the back toward the front entrance. 

Doesn't this little girl just ooze cuteness?  I hope when you visit Bluestocking you get to meet Eleanor.  She was very talkative at first and then she let me enjoy her company! 

Boy, this is a tough resolution to hang on to!

With Annie on the left, the fine co-owner at Bluestocking Social.  Thanks for a great visit. 

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Eleanor's Bookshop - Tulsa, OK

Eleanor's Bookshop, Tulsa, OK

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Readers who've followed this journey know that I've run into bookstore owners who've come to the profession after leaving a career in teaching.  If there's one thing I know about teachers its that they're good at multi-tasking.  Eleanor's Bookshop is proof positive of outstanding multi-tasking.  You see, the co-owners here are husband and wife Matt and Kelsey.  Unlike others who left teaching to open a bookstore, they are doing both, teaching AND running a bookstore.  Wow, talk about raising the bar for all the rest of the teachers!  Of course, they couldn't pull this off without excellent in-store help.  Carolyn was the bookseller on duty the day of my visit and she was dynamite to talk with.  Now I know Matt and Kelsey also have a talent for hiring top-notch people.

Eleanor's Bookshop is what I call a K-12 bookstore.  All new books for babies and toddlers all the way through high schoolers and young adult books.  There are a few books here for parents but this is definitely a kid focused bookstore.  Other than a few greeting cards and t-shirts, there are no sidelines here so the store's success is mostly books, very impressive.  Eleanor's opened about a year and a half ago, mid pandemic.  Initially, they relied on appointment browsing and online orders.  Thankfully, things are going fine now with continued online orders and in-store browsing.  It's no surprise in this children's store that they have a daily story time.  It's also no surprise in a children's store owned by teachers that one of the store's missions is to improve literacy in the Tulsa area.  I didn't meet Matt and Kelsey but I can tell they're good people. 

Now, here's the challenge for Eleanor's and its customers.  The intersection where the store is located is undergoing major construction.  Never fear, YOU CAN GET TO THE STORE.  There are certain ways you can and can't turn so you might have to make a couple of passes.  Persevere dear readers, persevere.  Free parking is plentiful behind the store so park there.  Enter the store through their clearly marked back door and then let the magic begin (maybe by the time many of you read this the construction will be complete).  Bring your children to his terrific new indie and let them enjoy the  beginning of a long-lasting adventure.  Tulsa, you've got a winner here.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

JUST FINISHED:  The Boys: A Memoir of Hollywood and Family, Ron Howard and Clint Howard.  An absolutely delightful memoir of family, childhood, and the TV and movie industry.  If you're a fan of the Andy Griffin Show, Happy Days, American Graffiti, or Opie Taylor, this is a must read.  Wonderful book.  Recommended. 

CURRENTLY READING:  I Will Judge You By Your Bookshelf, Grant Snider.   

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  A baby book about a refrigerator and an oven.  

Perfectly themed display window. 

Even though the store is a small one-level space, they have super display window space. 

If the front door is blocked by construction or anything else, enter here through the back door.  This is also steps away from the free parking lot.  I would suggest parking here regardless of entrance. 

The beautiful view looking into this children's store from the back door entrance.  Matt, Kelsey, and staff have turned this into a magical space. 

The check out desk and display table.  This furniture multi-tasks just like the owners. 

Attractive table display. 

Lots of book series' available. 

Always ask about gift cards at any bookstore. 

This is a greeting card I could sink my teeth into. 

Lovely store mural near the story time area.  Kudos to the talented artist who did this. 

If you come in the back entrance, this is the wall of books along the right wall. 

A few items of local and regional interest. 

Table display located nearest the front door. 

Books to browse at a child's eye level. 

If you bring a child to the store, have a seat here and read them part of a book. 

This is a great idea for any children's bookstore. 

Another comfy place to sit and sample a book. 

This sliding ladder will come in handy for getting to those high shelves. 

I learn something at every bookstore I visit. 

Introduce your child to a classic series. 

Adult books on parenting available here. 

With Carolyn, one of the fine people you'll meet at Eleanor's Bookshop.  Thanks for a great visit.