Updated: Jan 6, 2020

Before we got so busy there was nothing that I loved more than picking up an interesting book to read. The idea of going into a bookstore and finding what might be a book that you just couldn't put down and you might lose a few hours of sleep over was pretty exciting. And to find a little bookshop where the owner was totally invested in his store was really a treasure. Remember the movie "You've Got Mail" and the children's bookstore in it that Meg Ryan owned called "The Shop Around the Corner"? Who didn't love every part of that place.

There also used to be a tiny bookstore in the basement of a building in Naperville that my brother worked at during summer when he was home from college. It was scary going down those narrow stairs, it was more than a bit moldy smelling and damp, but what interesting finds were there. You could really lose track of time.

So when I saw the below article about this guy in Alabama who was so committed to having one of the most interesting bookstore concepts that I have ever heard of, it really intrigued me. We don't live in his area, but if we are ever near there, you can be sure we'll stop in.

I had the concept for this store back when I worked for BookMarket, at least 10 years before I actually opened the store. It would mentally nag me, and finally I decided that I had to do it. If it failed, so be it. At least I tried. The store has never made a profit in the seven and a half years that it has been open but I love it, so I keep at it.

I can honestly say that I do not think there is another bookstore anywhere quite like mine. For one thing, I am the only employee, and I live in my store. When you come in you are — in effect — in my living room… so I try to treat people like you would treat guests in your house. I have a small apartment in the back of the store. This was part of the original plan because I knew that I could not afford to pay a house mortgage and rent a commercial space. I had to combine the two.

The store is based on time. There are 10 tables in the store, each a different decade, starting with the 1920s on up. Around the tables you will find things from that decade — newspapers, magazines, et cetera. On the walls are photos from that decade, including many personal ones of my own family going back to the late 1800s up to 2010. So the store is like a history museum.

From two p.m. to three p.m., I play music from the twenties, then from three p.m. to four p.m., I play music from the thirties. Every hour I change the music with the decade. You can make requests, but it has to be from that decade. So basically I am a bookstore with a DJ. I also sell homemade pies, which I get from the Mennonites, a homemade cheesecake that I make myself each week, and all kinds of drinks.

Each month we host a music jam with some very fine local musicians. I also do a Kitten weekend each month to help the local veterinarian find homes for stray kittens. And I do many other events, including: Irish classes on Thursday nights, Movies in the Bookstore on Wednesday nights, a poetry contest, a Halloween party, and a St. Patrick’s Day party. I am open to anything that brings people together. They are all fun and I cannot really say I have a favorite. I am most proud of the intergenerational appeal of my store. Little kids, their parents, and their grandparents all find something they like in my store.

Source: BookBub by Emma Cubellis - 51 Bookstores throughout the US

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