Monday, June 26, 2023

MacArthur Books - Carmel, IN

MacArthur Books, Carmel, IN

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Happy Birthday to MacArthur Books who just celebrated their 1st birthday.  And what a beautiful baby this is, inside and out.  A very well-organized and neat store in a smallish space but perfectly comfy.  In their one year they're already covering every base an established store does.  Events?  Check (heck, their 1st event was before the store even opened).  Online sales?  Check.  Book Clubs?  Check (including a summer reading program for kids).  Bookstore dog?  Check (but Botticelli is a senior and he takes many days off so it was my lucky day to visit when he was in the store).  Sidelines?  Check (a variety of sidelines creatively arranged in a way that doesn't make the store feel crowded).  Experienced and knowledgeable owner?  Check (I'll say!  Cynthia has 20 years of bookstore experience and with MacArthur's, she now owns two stores.  The other one is a children's store, 4 Kids Books, named in honor of her children and her siblings).  And best of all, a very reasonable lease.  

MacArthur Books has a very pedestrian-friendly location in the village of West Clay.  Its location lends itself well to foot traffic and dog walkers which helped generate the stores' growth of regular customers.  A true neighborhood bookstore.  MacArthur's offers all new books and a wide inventory of sidelines including puzzles, journals, greeting cards, and a line of William Morris items.  The book-related candles and vinyl stickers are selling especially well.

Cynthia C. knows her business well and she would be a wonderful mentor to anyone considering opening a bookstore.  Like most of my visits, she and book seller Maddy were fanatastic to meet and visit with.

My favorite thing here (besides Botticelli) was finding out the origins of the store name.  MacArthur was the last name of Cynthia's maternal grandmother.  A woman who was a poet, an avid reader, and a mother who raised a family of four children and for many stretches of time by herself.  What a fitting and lasting tribute to a woman who I think was probably ahead or her time.  

And now Carmel, from a grandmother to her granddaughter and now to YOU, finally, your town's very own independent bookstore.  Celebrate its presence, something that should be "present" in every town.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

JUST FINISHED:  Miss Jane, Brad Watson.  Story of Jane Chisolm, born into a poor, rural Mississippi family in the early 20th century, but born without the proper female anatomy allowing her to be fully a woman.  You can imagine in those times and in this region, a difficult situation.  The story follows her through her life and her many challenges but she was saved many times by the doctor who delivered her, educated her, and maintained his counsel for her throughout his life.  Based on a true story.  I enjoyed this one.  Recommended. 

CURRENTLY READING:  Benediction, Kent Haruf. 

Partial view of the storefront. 

The store is located in the Founders Building.  Enter here and take a left. 

Kids can start browsing before even entering the store.  I think this table display for kids outside the store is an excellent idea. 

Enter the store and look to the right, this is your view. 

Display of bestsellers just inside the entrance. 

If you live in the vicinity consider joining the book club. 

Display of western interests.  I read The Power of the Dog and loved it. 

Attractive table display of new releases. 

I always enjoy checking out the local authors on my bookstore visits. 

All genres are clearly marked with the yellow display atop shelves or the smaller black displays with white print on the bookshelves. 

Men, if you're looking for a gift for your wife or girlfriend, check out this display. 

Head to the far wall from the entrance and start browsing. 

More bestsellers. 

You can come for the books or you can come for this cutie, Botticelli.  I can neither confirm or deny his artistic talent.  I can confirm his cuteness. 

Get involved and join a book club. 

Cynthia does a great job of offering a variety of sidelines displayed throughout the store without making it feel crowded. 

Puzzles have been hot in many bookstores. 

On top of this bookshelf are just a few of the candles available. 

Classic games with a classic look.  I haven't seen these before. 

Poetry fans can come to this area. 

Me, Botticelli, and a book. 

The store features many neat table displays. 

Side room just off the main room on the right side of the store. 

Looking into the children's room. 

Overview of a beautiful children's room. 

Book clubs aren't just for adults. 

Kids will love this place. 

Looking from the back toward the front entrance. 

With Cynthia and Botticelli, the fine owner and assistant at MacArthur Books.  Thanks for a great visit. 

Sunday, June 18, 2023

The Whistle-Stop Book Shop - Genesee Depot, WI

Whistle-Stop Bookshop, Genesee Depot, WI

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Do you live in a town of 10,000 without an independent bookstore?  What's wrong?  Ok, so you're in a town of 20,000, you must have a bookstore, right?  No?  50,000 and no bookstore?  What gives?  How does a tiny Wisconsin town of approximately 7,000 get their own bookstore?  (and small population aside, the town is unincorporated)  I'll tell you how they did it.  In Genesee Depot all it takes is one determined woman and an uber supportive family.  Throw in a knowledgeable son who does all the book-buying and maintains an on-line sales presence and you have a successful bookstore in a small town off to a great start.   

Whistle-Stop Books has a noticeable presence on the main road through town and you'll have no trouble finding it.  Multiple large flags waving in the wind and a large red awning will draw your eyes directly to the store.  And if you get lost, remember it's right by the railroad tracks which is how it came by its name.  Once you get past the exterior you'll enter into a store filled with all used books floor to ceiling, a book-lover's heaven.  They also offer a healthy inventory of vintage and collectibles and if you can't visit here in person they offer online sales.  If you're a collector this store is a must see.  They also stock a robust variety of sidelines including stickers (they're hot), bookstore candles, wacky socks, games, book-cover coasters, and flannel coozies, to name a few.  The store has only been open for less than two years and I'm happy to say, so far so good.

Sue is the mother in charge at the store but it really is a team effort that includes her husband Craig and sons Adam and Matt.  The store grew out of Adam's online book-selling business which is still active and can be found at  

Best of all was meeting and talking to this wonderful family.  Heck, except for a daughter and some grandsons, I met the whole gang and they made me feel like a long lost cousin!  These are the experiences I absolutely love with such nice people and I sure hope many of you can enjoy these as well.  

 Looking for a Wisconsin getaway this summer?   Here you go.  I can guarantee an enjoyable experience when you visit Whistle-Stop Books and the fine people who work here.  It just confirms my belief in "Midwest nice."  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

JUST FINISHED:  West With Giraffes, Lynda Rutledge.  An adventure like no other based on a real event.  It has suspense, a dust bowl survivor, hurricane survivors, a corrupt circus ringmaster, and two innocent giraffes hoping to survive being transported across the country to the San Diego Zoo in 1938.  This author and book deserve much more national attention.  I absolutely loved it.  Highly recommended. 

CURRENTLY READING:  Miss Jane, Brad Watson. 

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  Not purchased but gifted, The Narrow Road to the Deep North Richard Flanagan.  Big Bad Love,  Larry Brown.  Thanks Adam, Sue, and all. 

Right by the bookstore, the Genesee Depot at Genesee Depot. 

Beautiful storefront on a beautiful day. 

Another view. 

The bookcovers trimming on the outside of the store were hand-painted.  Impressive. 

Hand me my book, this is my seat. 

View looking into the store from the front entrance. 

Looking to the right from the front entrance. 

Looking to the left from the front entrance. 

Flannel coozies.  I've never seen these in Florida but they're relevant for Wisconsin!

One of my favorite characters adorns the walls. 

One of my favorite pictures in any bookstore. 

When I'm done sitting on the bench outside I'll move inside to this comfy chair. 

Popular bookstore candles and Tarot cards. 

Wacky bookstore socks. 

The store has several book nooks like this one. 

Make sure to ask about vintage and collectible editions.

Overview of the children's area. 

Quilting fans should definitely visit here. 

Just a few of the games offered. 

Overview in the back of the store. 

View across the back wall. 

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

How many times have you said this? 

A few of the stickers available.  Get 'em while they're hot!

If you know any Plato fans, send them here. 

From L-R: Adam, Matthew, Craig, Sue, and a wannabe in the back.  The fine people you'll meet at The Whistle-Stop Bookshop.  Thanks for a great visit.