Summer is just about over. Today is my last day as a Fox Cities Magazine Editorial Intern, and this week I’ve been finishing up my last few assignments, packing for study abroad, and reminding myself that it’s not always going to be this warm in the UK and that I really ought to bring along a few sweaters.
One of my favorite parts of this summer has been the bookstore blog series I’ve been writing. Aside from giving me a chance to write for this great publication (shameless Fox-Cities-Magazine-plug alert), it has given me an opportunity to get to know the area better. The Fox Cities Area is becoming more than just the city I go to school in–it’s turning into a community I am part of; a community too full of stories and people to ever fully know. However, I hope you have been able to learn a little more through these blogs, as I have.
All right! That’s enough mushiness for today. Next topic: I screwed up.
See, I had really hoped to visit more bookstores than I did. Life happened (as it does), and I was able to visit four bookstores. But, to be quite frank, I’m okay with it.
After all, what’s the point of my blogs waltzing into your facebook timeline or Fox Cities Magazine website browsing session if they could tell you everything there is to know about bookstores, or literature, or stories? Or if they gave a full picture of the community that makes up the Fox Cities? No, I’m just hear to give you glimpses. My blogs this summer are a sort of book jacket, or a movie trailer. There are hints and pieces of stories, and springboards for your own curiosity, but I’m not giving you a full story.
Several of these interviews have been more than fifteen minutes long, and I’ve chosen strands of stories and ideas to weave together into a six- or eight-hundred-word post. There are things I didn’t include! I found out that there’s a whole subculture focused on book jackets during my conversation with Thomas Lyons. Paul Shenandoah has a whole philosophy about personal independence and interdependence that he was eager to share with me. Laura Brinkman has been a writer as well as a reader. For Pete’s sake, Shelly Baeten owns an entire coffee shop that I didn’t focus on.
Therefore, I’m not going to end by wrapping up the series with a neat little bow. Nope–I’m going to end it with a dare. I dare you to go beyond where I went. Maybe you’ll pick up a book about a setting totally foreign to you, or one you disagree with. Maybe you’ll write something from someone else’s perspective. Maybe you’ll hear words from someone else, and lean in, and say, “Tell me more,” even if what they have to say is complicated and unexpected. That’s the point. And there’s a reason it’s a dare–it’s scary, and you don’t know what will happen when you go further. It might turn out really well, or really horribly. You might learn a lot, or you might be able to teach someone else. It’s a risk. It’s inherently human.
It’s almost like buying a book,
one you’ve never seen before,
in a bookstore.
And from all my experience with those, I’m here to say it’s worth it.
“We read to know we’re not alone.”
― William Nicholson, Shadowlands
―By Katie Nelson
P.S.Here are a few more bookstores that I’ve found in my research, if you’d like to check them out:
The Reader’s Loft in Green Bay, which has a few bookstore cats. *ahem* Bookstore Cats. Why are you still here reading and not actively driving there?!?
The Attic Corner in Green Bay, which is an espresso bar, tea shop, and used bookstore rolled all into one!
Dragon Wings, a positively magical children’s bookstore in Waupaca.