#Bookstrong: The Book Vault in Oskaloosa

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Book Vault, 105 S. Market St., Oskaloosa, IA

I love saying the town name Oskaloosa! The locals shorten it to Osky. So fun. They have a beautiful town square and a bank that that has been transformed to an independent bookshop. The Book Vault is wonderful. Lucky Oskaloosans. I found a classic hardback version of Clifford the Big Red Dog. I had not read The Wonky Donkey and my fellow grandmas/cousins pressed it into my hands.

I also discovered a map of independent book stores: The Midwest Indie Bookstore Roadmap. I was excited to see there were two indie bookshops in Omaha, NE plus one in Des Moines.

I am supporting the arts on this #MiddleAmericaTour. Big time. I mailed an entire box of books home!

#Bookstrong: Parnassus Books in Nashville

This bookstore may need no introduction to readers of novels. Ann Patchett and her husband own and operate a wonderful bookstore in Nashville, Tennessee called Parnassus Books. I was driving from Greensboro, AL to Louisville, KY and needed to break my journey. I’ve been here once before and I knew it would be a good place to stand around for awhile after driving for hours.

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The children’s book section is especially good. The young woman who assisted me hand sold me two YA books I didn’t know I needed to read until I had a conversation with her! I’m reading Maggie Stiefvater’s thrilling¬†The Scorpio Races now.

It was hard to get back in my car and continue my journey, yet at least I knew I had plenty to read. #MiddleAmericaTour

#BookStrong! Alabama Booksmith

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It’s not easy to spot Alabama Booksmith (trust your GPS) and it is off the beaten track, yet totally worth the effort to find.

I’ve launched my #MiddleAmericaTour. I landed in Birmingham, Alabama, picked up my rental car from Alamo, scooped up friends Petrea, Dia, and Romy, and headed to the bookshop, Alabama Booksmith.

IMG_8187It is featured in the postcard collection of best bookstores in the world. The painting on the postcard is accurate–that is very plain. Until you walk in. Then, voila, a beautiful collection of books, all signed by the author. If you look at the top shelf in the photo above you’ll see a blank spot where we bought the last two copies of City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert.

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Kevin¬† provided good book recommendations and shared his favorite coffee place–Revelator Coffee. We made a beeline and it WAS good!¬†

Even though I’ll be going to Parnassus Books in Nashville later in my trip, I bought a signed copy of the book Lambslide by Ann Pachett. I would have gladly bought more! Romy and Dia each separately picked out a YA book by the actor Octavia Spencer. They are sharing on their road trip.

Stocked with books to read, and fueled with coffee, we headed out to Greensboro, Alabama for our next adventure.

P.S. I’ve started the hashtag #BookStrong to support independent bookstores.