Indie Bookstore Tour: Little Shop of Stories

One this stop of our Independent Bookstore Tour, Bonnie and I found ourselves in Decatur Georgia. Home of the annual AJC Decatur Book Festival, which has become the largest Independent book festival in the country! So, this amazing and vibrant city square was the perfect location for our next visit.

In order to set the stage properly for this particular visit, I must tell you . . . it was freaking freezing. Just to prove it, within 48 hours of our visit, all of metro Atlanta was covered in snow. So, I’m not exaggerating.

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As Bonnie and I walked, briskly, through Decatur Square, we marveled at all of the restaurants and shops. All of them looking incredibly inviting as the sleet bounced off our faces. But we were on a mission, and when we finally arrived at Little Shop of Stories and I peeked inside, the deep chill melted from my bones.

Sunny bright yellow walls surrounded me, every square foot covered in autographed illustrations from authors and illustrators. This store was not only the largest we’d visited so far, but the most colorful and brightly lit. Almost as though the store was sparkling against a grey winter backdrop. Like a shiny new penny. (Seriously, part of the floor is gorgeous mosaic pennies.)

For those of you who know me, I love two things: color and themes. So Little Shop of Stories checked many of my boxes. Especially considering everywhere I turned was another corner of the store dedicated/curated from a different children’s book. Including everything from murals, to furniture, to complete rooms! My favorite? Why, Platform 9 3/4 of course!

On par for our tour, we met the super helpful Justin, store manager. He walked us around, showing us the different sections, the loft area for parties and book clubs, answered our questions and gave us some history behind some of his favorite books at the moment.

A fantastic characteristic I noticed about the store, and Decatur in general, was the support for other local businesses. Justin was quick to tell us other indie bookstores in the neighborhood we should put on our tour. Even signage around the store encouraged customers to buy and read local. Supporting community authors, artists, and businesses is very important to me . . . especially as a local author. 🙂

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One of my most favorite features of this particular bookstore was the little handwritten notes I found scattered everywhere. The owners encourage staff to write reviews of books they read and display them on the shelves with the books. How amazing is that?

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While this is absolutely a children’s bookstore, but I highly recommend you visit if you enjoy whimsical enviroments or want to revive your childlike joy and enthusiasm for reading. This bookstore is everything you want from a local, indie business – it’s unique, has a helpful and knowledgeable staff, and the overall feel of the place is incredibly personal. And if you have kids, wether they like to read or not, you need to bring them just so they can get lost in their imagination. I can’t wait to visit again next August when I attend the Indie Book Festival.

If you want to learn more about different events and author readings Little Shop of Stories host, make sure you click here. My tour buddy, Bonnie Clark, is a children’s author herself, so if you want to read her take on our visit, click here! Thanks again to Justin and Little Shop of Stories for being such a warm host on such a frigid winter day.

 

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Sunday Pinning: Cozy reading nooks.

So this week on Pinterest, I found myself drifting into the cozy reading nooks. Maybe it’s the cold weather fast approaching or losing daylight savings time. Either way, the idea of curling up in any one of these nooks with a book, fills me with the warm and fuzzies.

So what makes a reading nook cozy? For me, it breaks down into 3 reasons, sometimes 4. The first and most important requirement?

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Like this pin

  1. Mood lighting. Ah yes, candles, twinkle lights, or in the case above, lanterns. Low lighting may not always be conducive for reading, but it is essential in finding the balance so you feel cozy and relaxed.

(Note: the only exception to not having mood lighting, is to be by a fire, which technically provides the same thing.)

2. Your cozy nook must include soft cuddle-able material such as blankets and/or pillows. Preferably both. In my opinion, a pair of pillows and fleece blanket can transform most any space into a perfect reading nook. There is nothing better than your feet being tangled in a blanket, getting lost in a book.

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This pin.

3. Speaking of feet, mine have to be up. Wether they are propped up on an ottoman, or curled up underneath me, in order to consider myself in a cozy position, my feet have to be up in some way. Now, I know this is technical and I’m getting very obsessive about this, but there are several things I take very seriously and being warm and happy are two of them. The only exception to my feet being up rule, is if I’m swinging. If I’m in a swing, like the one pictured below, I can totally over look my feet touching the ground.

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Reading nooks for nature lovers pin.

The above pin still checks most of our boxes: mood lighting and soft material. Plus, it opens the door for our 4th bonus box that is much harder to check, a gorgeous view.

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Go to this pin.

Now, the above reading nook checks off every box on our list, including our bonus one. It’s difficult to achieve the “nook” feel with a view because most nooks are in little corners, tucked away. But on the rare occasion, like the one above, you can tuck yourself away into a corner of windows and still stare off into the beauty around you while mulling over your fantasy book’s plot.

Do you have a favorite spot to read? What is most important for you in a cozy reading nook?

This is the kind of writer I want to be:

When I was a kid and teenager, I loved to read. Obviously I didn’t enjoy all the school assigned reading, but I loved to read fantasy and romance and all the seemingly unattainable things of my youth.

But getting married young, having special needs kids, and attempting to find my career path; I managed to forget that I enjoyed reading. There were WAY too many things that needed my attention and money: changing diapers, therapies, work, sleep, actual clothes (not pajamas) and the occasional date with my husband.

Then one day, in my later twenties, I picked up a book y’all may have heard of . . . Twilight. Suddenly, my mind and imagination sparked in a way it hadn’t in years, and I remembered I loved to read. How much I’d missed the magic, escape, and all the imaginary worlds beyond this one.

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the kind of writer/storyteller I want to be. Who is my ideal reader? Who do I want to focus my marketing towards? Who are the people who I want to actually read The Door Keeper?

A couple days ago, I texted with a friend who had just finished the book on her vacation, and she said something that affirmed my answer. She said, “Yea, it makes me want to keep reading too . . . I kinda fell off the reading band wagon but I’m back on . . . It’s so good for your soul.”

Jordan is mom with two kids, a husband, and a career she enjoys. She is busy juggling a lot, but on a vacation, she read The Door Keeper and it reminded her how much she enjoyed reading.

I want this series to be that kind of series. I want to be that kind of author.

I want to be that fun, easy, whimsical read that reminds you how good it feels to pick up and get lost a book. How wonderful it is to be taken on an adventure outside of your own life, and explore other worlds. I want to reignite the imagination we had when we were younger, before real life overwhelmed us with chores, obligations, and work.

That is who I want to read this story. That is who I want to write for. Do you know someone like that? Are you them? Well, then THIS was written for you.

Please share this post with your friends and if you’ve read the book already, give it to a friend to borrow who may need reminding they love to read.

Help me spark our imaginations, reengage our minds, and reignite our passion for reading, because Jordan is right: It’s good for the soul.