Visiting Kramerbooks in DC


In March I went out to visit my brother and his family in Virginia so I could meet my new nephew. They live about 30 minutes outside of DC and it's rare for me to get into the city since the kiddos were born. But this trip, I was determined I would at least go for brunch and hit up a bookstore.

Specifically, Kramerbooks. If a bookstore shares your last name, it means it’s yours, right? 

And then I realized the bookstore of my choice also served brunch. It was meant to be!

My friend Kibibi kindly accompanied me to Kramerbooks. First, we ate at Afterwords Cafe. I got a pot of tea to accompany my meal. We both loved the food and I would absolutely eat there again. And then it was time to browse to my heart's content.









Kramerbooks has been open since 1976, a true institution. The store is well curated, if a bit on the literary snob side. There's some genre fiction but not much and there's no romance section. The main part of the bookstore is crammed with books. They have events there and I'm honestly not sure how that works because there isn't room on the main floor, unless there's a separate area that's only for events. Or maybe they take over the cafe?

In any case, there's tons to look at and I kept doing circuits of the main floor and then the YA/children's book room.








The nonfiction room is no slouch though and I spent just as much time there. It's a much more open space and I suspect it was a more recent addition because it has such a different feel from the rest of the place. I was particularly impressed with the cookbook selection.



I love a good Staff Recommendation section. I've only read one of these and it's one of my favorite memoirs: Blood, Bones, & Butter.

I had a hard time figuring out what to buy. In the end, I went with Samira Ahmed's Internment, Cori McCarthy and Amy Rose Capetta's Once & Future, and a Kramerbooks mug. Kramerbooks is well worth stopping in if you're in DC. There are so many more bookstores I want to visit next time I'm in the area. I can't wait until my niece and nephews are old enough for a bookstore crawl!

Visiting The Bookshelf in Thomasville, Georgia


Last month I had to go to Atlanta for a few days for work. Once the plans were in motion, I wondered how far Thomasville was from Atlanta. You see, I've long wanted to visit The Bookshelf, owned by my internet friend Annie B. Jones, and I figured this might be the closest I'd get.

It's about a four hour drive from Atlanta, which is a little long for a day trip but I was up for it. I reached out to my friend Lindsay who owns Pen & Paint and lives about an hour away from Thomasville. If you follow me on Instagram, you know I'm obsessed with her mugs and totes. We hatched a plan for me to drive to Lindsay and then she'd drive us the rest of the way down. Should I mention this was the first time Lindsay and I met in person? It was no matter because we barely stopped to breathe during our conversation on the drive.

My day in Thomasville was all about the transition from internet friends to real life friends. While I'll argue that my internet friends and I have very real friendships even if we sadly never get to meet in person, there is something undeniably special about being face to face. It's freeing to no longer be limited by texts or Voxer or DMs. The conversation can spill all over itself and you can see the expression on their face as they laugh or cringe or tear up. Whenever I have the chance to get together with one of my internet friends, I take it and I'm better for it.

2019-03-09 20.30.33

Ashley, me, Lindsay, Annie


Before I go into the particulars of The Bookshelf, I want to note Thomasville is a gem of a small town. There's a great vibe, fun shops to visit, and some great food. There's even a wine bar where you can do tastings! What's not to love? Lindsay and I had a great time exploring and then once the bookstore closed, Annie joined us and Ashley for dinner. It was such a treat to have the time together.


2019-03-09 13.56.17


The Bookshelf was as dreamy as I thought it would be. It's a well curated store and there are so many fun details. You can see Annie's handprint all over it, from the design elements to what's stocked. 


2019-03-09 14.19.53-1

2019-03-09 14.09.18

2019-03-09 13.58.18

2019-03-09 14.06.38

2019-03-09 14.48.41-1

2019-03-09 14.00.25


I browsed the store to my heart's content, debating about which book to buy. And then I landed on the best idea: I asked Annie to recommend me some literary fiction. About a week before I visited, Annie and I had been voxing about the definition of literary fiction vs genre fiction. She reads more of the former; I read more of the latter and I was curious about what she thought I might like. I told her a few favorites: A Prayer For Owen Meany, Americanah, and Homegoing. She wandered the shelves and handed me a stack of books to look over, which all sounded promising.

But then our conversation turned to Taylor Jenkins Reid, whom I hadn't read before, and what genre her latest release Daisy Jones & The Six belongs to, which was fascinating. Annie's enthusiasm over the book made me even more intrigued so that's what I ended up buying. About a week later, I read Daisy Jones in one day. I inhaled it and I couldn't have loved it more. (Read my review.)

If you're ever near Thomasville, The Bookshelf is well worth the stop. Tell Annie I sent you.


Visiting The Bookshelf in Thomasville

Bookstore Spotlight: Schuler Books and Books & Mortar in Grand Rapids

A couple of weeks ago I went to Grand Rapids, MI to see friends who were there for a conference. I couldn't let them be in the Midwest without seeing them, especially when I'm a virtual assistant and can work anywhere.

I've been in Grand Rapids twice before for this same conference but haven't really experienced the town. This time around I got to visit not one but two bookstores.


I spent the most time at Schuler Books because they have a cafe. It was the perfect place to work before meeting up with friends. It's also an impressive bookstore, selling both new and used books. They have a wide selection and I could have browsed for hours.




I also love this feature for book clubs! I've never seen this at a bookstore before but it's such a great idea.


They had one of the biggest Blind Date With A Book displays I've ever seen! I was so tempted to buy a few but held strong.


I did snap up a used hardcover copy of The Word Exchange, which is one of my favorite booknerd books. Their used book section is fantastic. I'm not sure how they price the books but you should definitely take time to browse.

And then also be sure to spend time at the cafe. The cookies and scones are amazing but the lunch/dinner menu also sounded fantastic. The Cinnamon Cardamom tea is a great herbal option and I enjoyed British Breakfast tea in the morning. The tea is loose leaf and you get your own French press, which the cafe workers offered to refill with hot water when they noticed I was low. Now that's service! 

All the employees were super friendly and engaging. If I lived in Grand Rapids, I would be at Schuler's all the time!


I was invited to Zondervan's author party at Books & Mortar one night (even though I'm not one of their authors!) and I am convinced bookstores are the best party venue ever.





Books & Mortar is a smaller store but you can tell the selection is highly curated. They're definitely meeting the progressive niche and I'm glad Grand Rapids has that. It was such a cute store and I really enjoyed browsing in between catching up with friends. 

If you're in or near Grand Rapids, definitely visit these stores! You won't regret it. 

Read Between The Lynes (Bookstore Spotlight)


While I was visiting my friend Megan a couple of weeks ago, I asked her to take me to the farmers market as she's raved about it for years. She agreed and said we should also stop by the local independent bookstore and have tea and coffee afterward.


That's how I found myself wandering the town square in Woodstock, Illinois. The famers market was darling and I happily bought cider doughtnuts and honeycrisp apples. I also took a picture with the plaque proclaiming the good news that Groundhog Day was filmed there.

Then we headed over to Read Between The Lynes, which was as whimsical and delightful as I hoped. Part bookstore and part cafe, it more than met our needs. I took so many pictures, I thought I might as well turn them into a post. Maybe bookstore spotlights will be a new feature here.

A note about the cafe: not only can you get coffee and Harney & Sons tea, they also sell ice cream and candy. There's not a ton of indoor seating but if the weather is nice, you can take your treat over to the square and sit there.


Every part of the bookstore has been chosen with care, from the genres they carry to the decor. I loved seeing all of the details unique to Read Between The Lines. They had a good amount of autographed copies and I was delighted by how extensive their fiction and YA sections were. I didn't see any romance titles but hey, no store is perfect. ;)

Read Between The Lynes has been in its present location for a couple of years. It expanded to 1600 square feet when another business closed. In a time when people moan about the dearth of bookstores, it's exciting to hear about the ones that are thriving, especially to the point of needing more space.



A book tree in the children's section. 




I had to talk myself out of buying both of Amy Thielen's books for budgetary reasons but I want them so badly. In the meantime, it's the library waitlist for me.



Blind Date With A Book is my newest obsession and I love the way this bookstore does it. They use Advance Reading Copies! They're $2 apiece and the money goes toward local schools. Is that not the best idea? 


I bought two. Anything for a good cause, amirite? 





Book pages hang from the ceiling throughout the store. I LOVED THIS. I also love how they highlight local authors.


I also thought this was a darling idea: I found love in my bookshop when... cards. How would you answer? 


Clearly this is the best answer!

If you find yourself in or near Woodstock, make it a point to stop by Read Between The Lynes. Browse the books, get yourself a beverage or a treat, maybe buy a Blind Date or two. It's worth it.