Monday, November 24, 2014

Discovering a Great Bookstore

We have a short window between the end of fall soccer and the start of travelling basketball, so Saturdays and Sundays are precious during that time.  I was needing some good quality time with my DD#2 a few weeks back.  DD#1 was still home then, packing and working and getting ready for her (now maybe) move out west, and with limited time for us at home.  We decided to make a city day of it.  There is nothing my younger daughter likes more than books, and put her in a book store is like putting other kids in a candy store.  She walks into one, and there is just a beam of light coming from her face.  She has that same reaction in libraries, and loves to check out new ones whenever possible. She  also picked up my habit of rereading favorite books over and over, so she likes to own the ones that are her favorites.  Not very thrifty, but she could care less about new clothes, hanging out in malls, or other things kids her age spend money on, so at this stage, not too worried about the occasional $10-$20 she spends on books from earned babysitting or gift money.  She is never without a book-you never know when there might be some quiet time. 

This particular early November Saturday I wanted to take her to something more unique than a Barnes and Noble.  In St Paul there is an awesome books tore called "subtext".  Subtext is located in the basement, under an iconic coffee house called "Nina's", pronounced like 9a's, not nee-na's. This is important because that was my grandmothers name, pronounced that way.  I never knew that grandma, so it feels like a connection that I never had.  Weird? I am fond of this coffee house as a place to end my work day when it logistically just doesn't make sense to battle traffic to head back to the office, but I'd miss too much  time being able to respond to e-mails if I headed home since I have a pretty long commute. 

Subtext did not disappoint.  When we first went downstairs, her first impression was it was pretty cool, but not a lot of books of her genre.  There were additional tables and soft reading areas with  side tables, as the book store is an extension of Nina's.  There seemed to be a couple book studies going on, as well as several browsers.  DD#1 looked around, and was about to suggest we go, when I directed her to the "Addendum", the alcove off the main book store, set up brilliantly for teens and children.
DD#1 browses at the Sci-fi fantasy, next to a John Green display.
She plunked herself down and started looking at titles and reading first pages trying to make decisions.  This was not  process to rush.  Down the hall, behind a stone wall was the collection of books on home improvement, decorating, and cooking.  Don't you love how they use the imperfections in the stone walls as book displays? I found a couple decorating and some vegetarian cookbooks, grabbed one of the red chairs, and did some browsing on my own.  I was not going to buy though, as I am still on my buy one thing, throw two, and wasn't in the mindset to declutter when I came home.  That rule has been serving me well.  While the house isn't that much tidier, we at least are slowly getting unused and unneeded stuff out of the house, plus, I think we are getting a little boost in the checkbook.  It is crucial because there have been so many other  costs and budget dings that weren't part of the budget.

After she settled on a book, we paid for it, and headed back upstairs.  There we had a sandwich and coffee/cocoa, and chatted about the book she selected, and other titles by the author.  Nina's was bustling with families, college students, and  small groups of people catching up with each other. Missing from my work day stops were the multitude of laptops and tablets, though still a few.  It was Saturday, so people were looking to recharge with human connections. There was going to be a poetry slam at 2:00, and we debated sticking around. We walked around the neighborhood a little bit, but decided not to stay for the poetry reading.  Maybe another time, and with her inviting a friend along to enjoy it with. We did take our time getting home, making a couple other stops on route.  We were home in the late afternoon, still time to get a few home tasks done-neglected from the week, and prepare a nice dinner for the three of us before the hubby got home from work.  It was a next to perfect Saturday.  What about you?  What ways would you suggest for spending an elusive free calendar day?  Where are your favorite stomping grounds?

                                      Closer view of the Addendum-great light from the street above.                                        That's DD with three titles already in hand and looking at more.

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