Sunday, November 10, 2019

Because I Love Bookstores: Curiosa, Purveyors of Extraordinary Things

This delightful store in Toronto did have a wide collection of absolutely fun books, as well as the promised extraordinary things, so I will include it in my log of bookstore finds though it is high on novelty offerings. If you are, like me, a fan of stationary, cards and games, or occasionally tempted to entirely redecorate your house... You will like this store too.

Our haul included everything from books and stationery to candlestick holders and a wick trimmer!

"Curiosa aims to uphold the statutes of The Curiosa Society by stocking a diverse selection of eclectic curios, vintage reproductions, quirky novelties, and licensed magical goods. Curiosos Heather and Stephen Sauer founded Curiosa to be a place of marvels – a space in-between; a magical retreat; a fantastical world on the other side of the door." 

They succeeded, by the way. I came away wondering what possibilities existed for opening a branch in my own hometown!

This was a fun novelty at the Curiosa Shop
(my sister and I reflected in the mirror above).
I personalized a "lucky token" for the hubby.
Because everybody needs a black cat stamp
for the black cat journal (the journal
is from my local indie, Ellen Plumb's City Bookstore).

Website: Curiosa
Location: 1273 Queen Street West - Toronto, ON, Canada

Would I return? That's a big Y-E-S! Heck, I'd live there!

Bonus: Bathroom pictures! Because who doesn't love a public bathroom filled with so much heart and inspiration?


Sunday, November 3, 2019

Because I Love Bookstores: Last Exit Books & Coffee House

I am often surprised that not every bookstore has a coffee house. Books and coffee go well together. It's true that I rarely skip a bookstore; if books and coffee are involved, you had better be prepared for me to sit a while.


My middle kid spent the summer working at the Porthouse Theatre in Kent, Ohio, and we arrived the morning of her last day of work, so we had plenty of time to enjoy the lovely independent bookstore.

The bookstore features lose-yourself shelves of new and used books.
It's my favorite kind of bookstore layout.
Books? Coffee? Books?   Why yes, please. And thank you!

Location: 124 E. Main Street - Kent, Ohio
Would I return? Again, and again, and again. Kent is a sweet little town with a lot of charm. The same can be said for its bookstore.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Because I Love Bookstores: Another Story Bookshop

Another Story Bookshop - Toronto, Canada

You might think that browsing too many bookstores in one day would lead to "been there, seen that" fatigue. Not usually a problem for me when it comes to books, but when I walked into Another Story Bookshop, I quickly noticed just how standard my typical book browsing has become. There were so many titles in this bookshop that I had never seen before. I could have spent a ton of money and/or simply stayed there all day reading book descriptions, falling in and out of text, and making lists of books to read.

"Another Story Bookshop sells a broad range of literature for children, young adults and adults with a focus on themes of social justice, equity, & diversity."

This was probably my favorite bookstore of the day for both purposes of browsing and buying. I made quite a list, but ended up purchasing only one title, Beyond Guilt Trips: Mindful Travel in an Unequal World,  by Anu Taranath. I should have made a list of the books purchased by my daughters. I know they came away with some titles new to us, as well.

Website: Another Story Bookshop
Location: 315 Roncesvalles Ave., Toronto, ON, Canada

Would I return? This is the bookstore I would likely start with if I made a return trip to Toronto. I could station myself here for a while and easily center a reading vacation around its contents. Another Story Bookshop is a trove of heart-opening, eye-widening, passion-building books.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

You are Invited! Book launch for Valentine in Topeka, October 22

Cover Image: Valentine, poetry book by Ruth Maus

Tuesday, October 22nd, 5:15 p.m.
the Rita Blitt Gallery, Washburn University
“Wry and rue---it sounds like the recipe for a craft cocktail. But those are really the main ingredients in Ruth Maus’s sly wise and expansive book . . . Most of her poems are short—and a lot bigger than they seem, poems marked by gallows humor and a poker face, and with just a twitch of a tell that reveals how much lies beneath their surface.”
-- Michael Gorra, author of Portrait of a Novel: Henry James and the Making of an American Masterpiece

“Witty and contemporary, Maus’s poems are an energetic delight. She seems to blend the magic of the folk tale with the cutting crackle and static of modern life. The results are like blasts from the radio, when you turn the dial—each unique, each with something different to say.”
--Kevin Rabas, author of Like Buddha-Calm Bird, Poet Laureate of Kansas, 2017-2019

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Nelson Poetry Book Award and Martin Kansas History Book Award Presented to Meadowlark Authors at 2019 Kansas Authors Club Convention

Two books by Emporia publisher, Meadowlark Books, received honors at the annual convention of the Kansas Authors Club held this year in Wichita on October 5-7, 2019. Both the Nelson Poetry Book Award and the Martin Kansas History Book Award went to Meadowlark titles.

photo of Roy Beckemeyer and Duane Johnson
Roy Beckemeyer receives the Nelson
Poetry Book Award from Duane
Johnson, VP Kansas Authors Club,
for Stage Whispers (Meadowlark, 2018)
Stage Whispers, by Roy J. Beckemeyer, was the recipient of the Nelson award. Judge Paul Hawkins wrote, “The scope of subjects covered in the collection of poems is engaging and interesting. Each of the 90 poems is an invitation to read, speak, listen and see. Topics range from the Anderson Creek fire in Barber County, Kansas to the psychology of bullying to the civil war in Syria. Beckemeyer’s adeptness as a poet is illustrated through word choice, image and dialogue. He generously shares his experiences and understandings about life. Through his poems a sense of trust and honesty is conveyed to the reader.” 

Since 2002, a Kansas poet has been honored with Nelson Poetry Book Award. The prize was started by Dr. Raymond and Margaret Nelson in 2002. The couple served the organization in various offices, including terms as president for each of them, beginning in 1979.

The Martin Kansas History Book Award went to Golden Rule Days: History and
photo of Cynthia Ross and James Kenyon.
Cynthia Ross (Gail Lee Martin Family)
presents James Kenyon with the
Martin Kansas History Book Award
for Golden Rule Days
 (Meadowlark, 2019)
Recollections of 109 Closed Kansas High Schools
, by James Kenyon
. This is the second history book award for the author, who also received the Martin in 2018 for his first Meadowlark book, A Cow for College and Other Stories of 1950s Farm Life.

From the judge, Virginia Allain: “A remarkable amount of research went into compiling Golden Rule Days. Just the collecting of personal stories for each school and weaving them into the history reflects several years of work. There are tidbits from yearbooks, memories from former students, and other bits of information collected by the author. A brief history of each locale is followed by notable graduates, memories of teachers, activities and events, athletics, triumphs and tragedies plus the reason the school closed. This is a solid Kansas history reference title for public libraries and makes fun browsing for students seeking memories of their school days.”

The Kansas Authors Club has been recognizing books for excellence in preserving Kansas History for decades. The family of Gail Lee Martin donated funds to continue the award in 2018 when the Ferguson family, supporter since 2001, retired from the task. Martin was a more than 25-year member of the organization and served in the position of State Archivist from 1995 to 2005.

photo of Jenn Bailey, Grant Overstake, and James Kenyon
Jenn Bailey, author of A Friend for Henry, recipient of the Kansas Children's Book Award.

Grant Overstake, author of The Real Education of TJ Crowley, recipient of the J. Donald and Bertha Coffin Memorial Book Award and the "It Looks Like a Million" Design Award.

James Kenyon, author of Golden Rule Days, recipient of the Martin Kansas History Book Award.

Three additional awards for published books were given at the annual convention. 

Grant Overstake, author of The Real Education of TJ Crowley (Grain Valley Publishing), was the recipient of the J. Donald and Bertha Coffin Memorial Book Award for best Kansas book, as well as the “It Looks Like a Million” Design Award for the same title. The young adult historical title takes place in 1968 Wichita and addresses racial conflict and civil rights during a time when integration laws were taking effect.

The Kansas Authors Club Children’s Book Award was given to Jenn Bailey of Lenexa for her children’s book, A Friend for Henry (Chronicle Books). The illustrated book is told from the perspective of a boy on the autism spectrum.

The Kansas Authors Club has been supporting writers since 1904. Each year the organization honors the best in Kansas books, as well as holding contests for adults and youth in prose and poetry writing. Information in membership in the club can be found at


Sunday, September 22, 2019

Because I (also) Love Libraries: Advanced Learning Library, Wichita, KS

Wichita has a new library as of Summer 2018 and the hubby and I took the opportunity to explore a bit on a recent trip to to the city. It's a beautiful building that appears to be built with the idea of making it one heck of a community space and resource, as well. If I lived in Wichita, I would definitely spend a bit of time there. As it, I see a few road trips in my future. There are plenty of spaces for a writer to tuck away and work the craft, including an outdoor terrace on the second floor. The windowed building is two stories high with a computer lab, an audiovisual studio, collaborative and various other meeting spaces, and a copy/fax/print center. It seems to be a gold mine of resources for the person who does not have access to such things at home.

The hubby models at a work cubby.
These chairs provide plenty of space for privacy.
As well, they turn easily and have footstools that
accommodate. I would likely elect for seating
with a table, but I could see this being a
comfortable solution for someone who just wants
some space to read.
This touch screen device is in the history research and archives room. I almost immediately found photos from the Stearman
Aircraft Company, as featured in the Pete Stone novel, To Leave a Shadow

I enjoyed watching books go in through the book return slot to be automatically sorted into bins. It's awesome that they thought to design this building so that the whole return process was transparent.

And I think it's very cool that they have a local coffee company operating in the library instead of a chain. It's great coffee! 

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Because I Love Bookstores: Type Books

On bookstore day of our summer trip to Toronto, our second stop was Type, a store that is as lovely as its name promises. There are three Type bookshops in the city, and we were drawn by the fact of two female proprietors. We only visited one of the stores, but noted another as we were walking by its window.

"Type offers an extensive collection of contemporary fiction and non-fiction , small press titles, art and design, and children’s books."

This shelf tag made me think that perhaps I've been going about my own fiction
efforts in entirely the wrong way...

Website: Type Books
Location: There are three locations in Toronto, 883 Queen St. W., 427 Spadina Rd., 2887 Dundas St.

Would I return? If I lived in Toronto, there is a good chance that Type would become a home-base bookstore for me. It was a lovely shop.