Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Chick Lit Cheerleader: Where there's a bookstore, there's a Jen

Introduction by Melissa Amster

How many people can say that they get to spend their entire day hanging out with books? I know that would be a dream come true and I'd even have a blast recommending books when I didn't have my nose buried in one. 

Chick Lit Cheerleader Jen Tucker has a lovely story about her friends opening a bookstore and what happened when it switched owners and locations. If you cried for Goodnight June by Sarah Jio, have some tissues nearby for today's real life offering.

The Little Bookstore That Could

It’s no secret I’m head over heels in love with my Kindle. I can read it during road trips whereas print books make me a tad queasy. If you ask my engineer minded father, he’ll lecture in his professor voice that it’s the way my brain processes the contrast of the colors due to the blah, blah, blah versus the blah, blah, blah of the brain digesting book print. From time-to-time an insomniac invades my body in the wee hours of the night (Who’s with me? Anyone?), and reading by the light of my Kindle let’s my hubby continue to saw logs while I remain in bed with a good book. Yet there’s nothing like a good book, a good print book, right? You hold the weight of it in your hands; smell the freshly printed ink or perhaps the scent from years tucked away on a bookshelf and get lost inside its pages. Books are beautiful. The stores that lovingly stock them are beautiful too.

I spent part of my Saturday morning helping a friend move her bookstore. Robots & Rogues Books is a gathering place for avid Sci-Fi enthusiasts, lovers of zombies, and for those who shop local. It’s also my favorite place in town to meet readers, sign books, and hold owner Tricia’s little boy, Mal. Tricia and her buddy, Kevin, opened the store together when our local Borders closed and left them wondering what was next after their employment there ended. “I so didn’t want to get a ‘real’ job. I just wanted to play with books all day,” Tricia once shared with me. And that’s how "the little bookstore that could" was born. At a time independent stores seemed all but a fond memory, Kevin and Tricia made it happen.

Caffeinated, I carried shelves down the street to Robots & Rogues new home just a block away from the old store. I walked in and spotted Tamzin. She’s the new key holder and owner. A fantastic woman, lover of books, and she directed my son, Ryan, in a youth production (13) at our local civic theatre. So she’s a wrangler of teens which puts her tops in my book.

“Jen Tucker!” Tamzin said. She smiled as I crossed the threshold fumbling with a wire book rack. We exchanged big hugs, I gave my hearty congratulations, and Tamzin walked me through how the warm brick walls and whitewashed tin ceilings would transform into Main Street Books, a place where book lovers will fall head-over-heels for a new read just as they did down the street. Tamzin will expand the store’s genre offerings, yet is keeping the niche alive that Kevin and Tricia created for their loyal patrons. I love that.

As Main Street Books prepares to open its doors, I’m excited for what is to come. There be a bookstore remaining in downtown Lafayette, Indiana and that’s golden in my eyes. Books will depart Tamzin’s tender loving care and make their way into a reader’s hands. What a beautiful thing.

With Robot’s and Rogues closing its doors for the final time, I feel a twinge of sadness. A brightly painted store filled with fantastic people who welcomed this inside-out panty girl into the fold as an author and friend.

Kevin, I’ll always remember you asking me, “Now, is this your first signing you’ve ever done?” If I laughed at you, I’m so, so sorry because you know I meant it with love. We are the book dinosaurs who strolled down Waldenbooks memory lane together.

Tricia, I don’t have words. So strange for this extrovert, right? I have messy tears though and I already miss holding Mal with one hand and signing books with my Raspberry colored Sharpie in the other.

 Tamzin, thank you. Thank you for taking the leap of faith, grasping the bookstore’s keys into your sweet hands, and believing in the little bookstore that could.

Jen Tucker is the author of the funny and true stories, The Day I Wore My Panties Inside Out and The Day I Lost My Shaker of SaltIn September 2012, she had her children's book, Little Pumpkin published as an e-book. She also blogs monthly for Survival for Blondes. She currently lives in Indiana with her husband, three kids and two dogs. You can find her at TwitterFacebook, her blog and on her website. And in case you missed them. check out her previous Chick Lit Cheerleader posts here.


Anonymous said...

This makes me think of You've Got Mail and the Shop Around The Corner. If I could do anything I wanted, owning my own little bookstore would be it.

Janine said...

I don't know of any indie book stores in my area. There might be some in the city, but where I am, it's even half an hour to get to Barnes & Noble. I have been relying on my Kindle app on my Ipad to read a lot lately and I agree, it is nice to read at night without having to turn on the lights.