Monday, March 7, 2022

Cavalier House Books - Denham Springs, LA

Cavalier House Books, Denham Springs, LA

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Well, the bad news here at Cavalier House Books is that I didn't get to meet husband and wife co-owners John and Michelle.  But I was THRILLED to hear why they weren't in the store because it would be the envy of so many indies.  They were hosting a book fair at a local school, a frequent event for them at community schools thanks to a partnership that they've fostered.  And even though I didn't get to meet them, boy could I sense their presence in the store thanks to bookseller Matthieu who was in charge.  I think in addition to bookseller he's also the PR person for John and Michelle.  Matthieu had nothing but rave reviews for John and Michelle at this bookstore founded in 2009.  I also learned it is very much a team effort and the vibe came through loud and clear that John is the mover and shaker with a high energy for this business and the industry.  This is probably reflected in his role as president for the regional ABA organization.  He also is a distributor of books for other indies.  Michelle is the book buyer for Cavalier House Books and I think she's done a super job with that as I browsed through the store looking at titles.  As for Matthieu, you can enjoy talking books with a person who has a degree in English Literature.  All very impressive, Cavalier House.

This multiple-room, one-level shop offers new and used books.  The best thing I like about the used books is they have them on an inventory so they know exactly what they have, something not always possible at other indies who carry used books.  There are a good variety of sidelines including puzzles, stickers, and buttons to name a few.  The stickers and hand-crafted wooden bookmarks have been doing quite well.  Like everybody else, they had to expand their business during the pandemic which is how the store grew into its current model.  

I marvel at a bookstore in a town like Denham Springs with a population of approximately 10,000.  Clearly, there is a strong core of local regulars who support this incredible independent bookstore that would be WELCOMED in a town four times its size.  We need more Johns and Michelles and we need more Cavalier House bookstores.  Keep up the great work, Denham Springs.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

JUST FINISHED:  Educated, Tara Westover.  I finally got to this book and it is every bit as good as everyone says.  A memoir that tells the story of the author growing up in a strict Mormon family in rural Idaho.  As she gets older she wants to see outside of this culture and even though she's never gone to school begins to read to educate herself and eventually she is able to find her way to higher education.  A clash of family and culture with main stream society.  Outstanding.  Highly recommended. 

CURRENTLY READING:  Mycroft Holmes, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar & Anna Waterhouse. 

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  Parade's End, Ford Madox Ford. 

When you see this beautiful mural, you'll find the bookstore right around the corner. 
Beautiful storefront on a beautiful day. 
Behind this store is a spacious area offering free parking. 
A little outdoor browsing to get you in the mood. 
I really like the store logo. 
Enter the store and look to the right, this is what you'll see. 
Looking for autographed editions?  They have them!
Many of my recent bookstore visits have told me stickers are selling really well.  You'll find some unique ones here that can't be found everywhere.  Matthieu is waiting for your order. 
A few of the staff picks. 
If you enter the store and then go left, you'll enter this room which includes children's books. 
Overview of the children's room, to the left after entering the store. 


This is a side nook in the children's room that offers mysteries and suspense books.  There's some store history behind these shelves... there a bathroom?  Yes.  Can you use it?  No.  Can I at least see it?  Well, it's complicated.  Oh the many secrets I've learned visiting bookstores!


Almost every bookstore I visit has fun stuff. 


Some great mural work in the children's room. 


This room is off the children's room and the mystery nook. 


A bookseller I met in my travels told me that southern fiction is "grit lit." 


Partial view of the back room. 


Another example of the creative artistry in the children's room. 


Did you know that this new release by Dave Eggers has different bookcovers?  Check it out the next time you visit an independent bookstore. 


I love it.  Please don't encourage me!


In the main front room, be sure to notice the books displayed above the shelves. 


Throughout the pandemic, puzzles have been huge sellers. 


This works out great.  If you don't have a friend with you, a chair for you and a chair for your books. 


A beautiful display in the front of the store. 


An overview of the front room looking from the back toward the front entrance. 


A great gift or a unique impulse buy at the checkout counter. 

I usually don't go "ga-ga" over bookmarks but these are true works of art. 

With Matthieu on the left, one of the fine booksellers you'll meet at Cavalier House Books.  Thanks for a great visit. 

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