Wednesday, May 23, 2018

A Room of One's Own

Bookstore: A Room of One's Own

Location: Downtown Madison, Wisconsin

Why I Love Them: A Room of One's Own has been around since shortly before I was born. My early experiences weren't of much note. Known as the feminist bookstore they didn't have much variety when they were restricted by their smaller storefront and therefore really leaned into their feminist bent. But every so often I would trudge up State Street to buy my course materials for the overly PC profs who didn't want the University Book Store getting all the students money and would therefore have either A Room of One's Own or the Rainbow Bookstore Co-Op (RIP) carry the required reading or prospectus. I really gained familiarity with them oddly enough not onsite but at their booth at WisCon, which made me really appreciate how they worked with the convention to support the authors. But they still hadn't reached their full potential, which would happen due to a domino effect. The domino effect started thus: Canterbury Booksellers, which had a phenomenal location on West Gorham Street, went out of business and Avol's Books, a used bookstore that was in the basement of the historic Woman's Building which was built for the Woman's Club of Madison took over the lease on Canterbury's space. The space was too much for just Avol's and they were struggling, A Room of One's Own came to the rescue. The two stores' symbiotic relationship has made them reach the full potential they were capable of, as well as bringing the Canterbury space it it's full potential. A store of new and used and the unique all in a wondrous location.

Best Buy: As for my best buy, oddly enough this will be the second post in a row dealing with the Wisconsin Book Festival. The Wisconsin Book Festival usually has their events in the main branch of the public library downtown with different independent bookstores selling their wares at the events. Occasionally, if you're lucky, the event will be at one of these bookstores. Now this isn't because I have anything against the library, far from it, it's just their rooms for speaking are rather sterile and I love to have my book talks surrounded by books, and not just because if the author talk is bad I can still amuse myself by admiring the shelves, though this is a perk. Last year I was very excited to see that Natasha Pulley was coming to the book festival to support her newest book The Bedlam Stacks. The reason I was excited about this is that her books are slightly Steampunk and she's British, and it's rare to get to see a British author on tour. I do not jest, they are like unicorns whenever they appear stateside and then usually it's only on the coasts. The event was in the middle of the store under the skylight that houses biographies. I have found many great biographies in this section and during this event I found another great book. Through my blog I had gotten an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) or The Bedlam Stacks but hadn't had time to read it yet. Most of the time I actually like going to author events prior to reading their book because you get a little foreknowledge and a little insight that aids you while reading. While I did get this with Natasha's lovely tales, it was her writing that captured my heart. The Bedlam Stacks was easily one of the best books I read last year and is therefore not just a best, but a cherished buy.  


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