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October 03, 2019 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily

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2B — Thursday, October 3, 2019
The Michigan Daily — michigandaily.com

Bookstores are more than just retail shops — they are sacred spaces where
profound ideas meet curious thinkers. When I walk into a local bookstore, I’m
overwhelmed and excited by the endless shelves full of new stories and ideas.
I’ve discovered some of my favorite books in local bookshops and often peruse
them when trying to decide my next read.
Independent booksellers have spent years trying to keep their businesses
afloat with the rise of chain bookstores, and local owners are now facing new
challenges as more readers are turning to Amazon or e-readers to satisfy their
literary appetites. Most readers choose these digital alternatives for ease,
but in doing so sacrifice the ambience and community of their local
bookshops. Despite these obstacles, Ann Arbor is still home to a varieaty
of independent bookstores that continue to serve the local community.
Dawn Treader, one of the oldest bookshops in downtown Ann Arbor,
has been selling used books since 1979. While its exterior gives off the
impression of a quaint, nook-sized shop, a walk through the store will
take longer than you might think. With its winding, maze-like aisles
filled top to bottom with books, you can find anything from your long-
forgotten childhood series to your most recent favorites. Dawn Treader
is a time capsule, offering some rare and valuable finds if you’re willing
to embrace the hunt.
Another integral member of the Ann Arbor literary scene is Crazy
Wisdom, a spiritual bookshop that also doubles as a tea room. The
shop offers more than 14,000 books and is largely centered around
naturalistic and alternative spiritual practices. Upon entering the
shop, customers are immediately immersed in the ambience of Crazy
Wisdom: a faint smell of incense and sound of live acoustic music performed
over the noise of brewing tea. The store opened in 1982 and still serves the
Ann Arbor community with events and their community journal featuring
local writers. They’re also the only local bookstore offering a specific, holistic
approach, making organic living more available to the local community.
Although its a far walk for students living on campus, eager visitors still wait
at the doors until the shop opens at noon, welcoming customers into their
natural, serene atmosphere.
One of the newest bookstores in town, Literati, has already seen great
success in the six years they’ve been operating. They’ve earned the 2019 title
of “Bookstore of the Year” by Publishers Weekly and published a book, “Notes
From a Public Typewriter,” which includes blurbs from customers who’ve
left notes on the shop’s typewriter. Unlike Dawn Treader or Crazy Wisdom,
Literati possesses a more modern feel while still maintaining the coziness of a
traditional bookshop. The wooden floors softly creak as customers stroll past
the shelves of colorful titles, and hidden among the large array of books are
handwritten staff reviews of favorite books in each section.

Literati’s welcoming atmosphere extends beyond its physical attributes: the
locally owned shop also gets the community involved in reading with author
visits, book clubs and writing workshops. One of their goals as a business is to
give to local charities, schools and nonprofits while also creating well-paying
jobs for local employees.
Although these local businesses are loved and cherished by students and
Ann Arbor residents, their success relies heavily on the dedication of the
community to their missions. For these local booksellers, the future of their
businesses can seem uncertain as more people gravitate towards quick and
easy means of obtaining their reading materials. The responsibility relies on
us, the consumers, to support our community booksellers and boost the local
Stopping by a local bookstore, whether to purchase an assigned reading or
simply take a look at what the shop has to offer, is participation in a sense of
community that an online purchase just can’t replicate. A special uniting factor
exists within a bookshop, one that sparks conversation among strangers and
draws people in from all backgrounds and experiences. There’s a very specific

kind of fiery passion felt from reader to reader, and while it’s hard to put a name
to, it’s a feeling understood by all bookstore-goers. Even though the future of
online bookstores and e-books looms overhead, there’s a stronger element of
community found amidst the uncertainty of paper, and this collective hope
will be enough to sustain our beloved bookshops.
— Kaitlyn Fox, Daily Arts Writer
I first fell in love with bookstores at age seven in a Barnes and Noble. In our
dingy Monmouth County New Jersey mall, we have — at least, for a seven year
old — a kingdom-sized Barnes and Noble. My mother would often have to lay
out ground rules before we went inside when I was little: Only one hour, no
straying too far into the YA section before you turn ten, you’re allotted three
books or whatever $50 can get you. These rules and those rainy Sundays
in Barnes and Noble made me fall in love with physical copies of books —
holding them, paging through them and, most importantly (and perhaps most
strangely), smelling them.
Going to a new place for me always means visiting a new bookstore. Every
good town has a good independent bookstore. It is the beating heart in the

center of a place, it is the community gathering spot, it is the lifeline to which
towns operate and thrive. I have hunted down the bookstore in every single
place I have ever visited. It’s because I deeply care about paper. It’s because
I deeply care about stories. It’s because with my tiny contribution to an
independent bookstore, I can ensure that I’m supporting a concerted effort to
keep print alive. To keep books alive. When the Kindle and Nook fad began,
I was devastated. I understand the comfort and ease with which we can tote
around our electronic devices, but what about the romance and the infatuation
that comes along with annotating the margins of a worn copy of your favorite
novel? Or reading and rereading a paragraph of an excellent short story, flipping
back and forth through the same pages?
The first independent bookstore I can remember falling in love with is in
Manchester, Vermont. It is called Northshire Books and is the only reason I will
ever go on a ski trip with my family. The promise of this bookstore, about three
stories high, with an appropriately placed coffee bar and the most genuine
booksellers I’ve ever met, make the six-hour drive north worth it. It was here
I completed my collection of all the “Harry Potter” books and purchased my
first ever collection of R.H. Sin poetry.
When I visited Ann Arbor for my first time, my father bought me a
classic bound Walt Whitman book at Literati before I’d even been there.
He was wandering downtown by himself while I was on a tour, and I
remember how excited he was to take me there and watch me discover
Literati myself when the tour was over. Four years later, whenever I’m
having a bad day or something difficult happens to me, I go to Literati.
It has become the cavern of words and stories that soothes and coaxes
my worst of days. I’ve been there so often that sometimes my past self
leaves a surprise for my future self with the store credit that racks up
from every purchase I make. I’d also like to disclose that the coffee at
Literati is the best coffee in Ann Arbor.
My house is on River Road in Fair Haven, New Jersey. Half a mile
walk up River Road is one of my favorite places in the world: River
Road Books. It’s the place that instilled in me the love for independent
bookstores and booksellers. I spent a great deal of weekends in my
childhood leaning up against the counter asking the booksellers, women from
my tiny one square mile hometown, to recommend me books.
After my sophomore year of college, I moved to St. Louis by myself for an
internship. I knew nobody in Missouri and was incredibly lonely. When I
needed someone and nobody was there, Left Bank Books was there. I rode my
bike to the corner bookstore at least twice a week, and next to it was a Jeni’s,
meaning I always left with words and ice cream.
Recently, I took my mother to Crazy Wisdom for the first time. We were
standing in the first floor and I was going on and on about a book display that
featured a few new releases I’d recently read and adored. I was also gushing
over the gluten free treats in their tea room up the stairs. She looked at me
and said, “I don’t know, something in me thinks you’ll aspire to opening your
own bookstore.” I thought about it for a second: How simple yet how happy
I’d be with my very own bookstore where I’d turn on the lights every morning,
prescribe people books all day, and lock up at night. It’s because I care about
stories. It’s because I care about words.
— Eli Rallo, Daily Arts Writer

To all the bookstores we’ve loved before

The sound of a love letter
You know you love someone when you can write them a love letter and
the words flow like a waterfall, feeling by feeling, an unrelenting avalanche
of emotion for another. But life moves fast. Things happen so rapidly, so
haphazardly, it’s hard to pin your feelings for others. Family, friends, lovers
and exes, people who
have brought us joy and
drama, pleasure and pain.
That ambiguous emotion
in your stomach, is it
love, hate, passion, fury,
infatuation or worry?
If your love has no
words, make them a
I have maybe-feelings
for a maybe-someone,
and their maybe-love-
letter is “Sweet To Me” by
Summer Salt, “Dancing
Queen” by ABBA, “I
Wanna Dance With Somebody” by Whitney Houston. Then there’s the
one it was never going to work out with, who made me feel “Saw You In A
Dream” by The Japanese House, “I Feel For You” by Chaka Khan, “Feel Like
A Fool” by Kali Uchis. But it’s not always a romantic love letter that music can
embody. There’s platonic love for my best friend, who I would tell the dumb
excitement we share is encapsulated by “BOOGIE” by BROCKHAMPTON,
“Let’s Go Crazy” by Prince, “Superheroes” by Daft Punk. And for my family,
a love letter that only they would understand: “Friday” by Rebecca Black,
“Don’t Stop Believin” by Journey, “P.I.M.P.” by 50 Cent.
The songs just fall into place. It’s the sequence that so perfectly mirrors
the wavelength of your heart.
Music evokes emotion, sometimes emotion more romantic than the
classic written words of love on paper. To say, “You make me feel the way
this song makes me feel” can be the most heartfelt sentiment (if the song
is right). It can be a hard copy — a series of songs burned onto a CD, the
titles scribbled on the disc in magic marker. Or it could be digital, a Spotify
link at the end of a sweet text. All that matters is the music, the rhythm,
the harmony and the pitch can capture the way that person makes you feel.
The love letter looks different for every writer, the songs that compose
it different for every recipient. There are no words that can capture the
writer’s feelings for everyone or that evoke all recipients’ feelings the same.
A playlist to me with “Come On Eileen” by Dexys Midnight Runners on
it means something different to me if it comes from my childhood friend
instead of my mom. A playlist from me with “I Write Sins Not Tragedies” by
Panic At The Disco on it means something different to my cousin than it does
to my first girlfriend. The music on a playlist — the words in a love letter —
are unique for sender and receiver, an intimate covenant of understanding.
A playlist may not seem like a direct way to communicate love. But that’s
only true from the outside looking in, for a playlist without the context of
sender and receiver. For two people that share something — memories,
experiences, a connection — the message in the music is all too clear. Music
has a long history of millions and millions of songs. There’s no end to the
precision with which to show warmth and fondness. Somewhere, on a
record on a shelf at the back of the thrift store, in a cassette at the bottom of
a box in the basement, on a still-kind-of-working iPod Shuffle in the closet,
there are the songs that make your love letter.

— Dylan Yono, Daily Arts Writer
Dear reader(s),
‘Tis the season of love! No, Valentine’s Day is still a ways away. Yes,
“spooky season” doesn’t exactly spell romance. As for the cold weather
“cuffing season,” there’s still time to prepare for cozy hibernation (although
I would argue that the in-between of summer flings and relationship-
damning family holidays is the perfect time to find someone to shack up
with). Despite this, this is the season of love not because capitalism or dead
saints has deemed it so, but because any day is a good day for love.
And what screams love better than a love letter? Nothing. Except, maybe,
a playlist of musical love letters. That’s right, here at the Daily, the perfect
playlist of love letters has been handcrafted for your enjoyment. Whether
it’s good, old-fashioned romance, platonic friendship or even a dose of self-
appreciation (Hot Girl Fall, anyone?), this playlist has all the bases covered.
ABBA and Patsy Cline bring on the girl-power self-love with tracks like
“Dancing Queen” and “Walkin’ After Midnight.” Both tracks celebrate
finding yourself amidst the crowd; ABBA as an open letter to every dancing
queen out there, and
Patsy as an introspective
serenade for her own
lonely march down the
me.” Elvis, Fats Waller,
and The Black Crows
(to name a few) add a
traditional spin with their
more literal love letters,
thematically focusing on
mourning lost love and
format of a love letter.
Edith Pilaf’s “La Vie en
Rose,” Albert Hammond’s
“It Never Rains in Southern California” and Atta Boy’s “Walden Pond” all
focus on a passionate love for life, regardless of the trials and tribulations.
This playlists balances the old with some touches of the contemporary (but
the Oldies are Goodies) and captures the many sides of love.
No matter the decade, the genre or the artist, love can be found anywhere
and everywhere. Indulge in some lovin’ (in a loveshack, if you can) and some
plain, good music this week.
Signed with love,
[Return to Sender]
The Black Crows, “Girl From a
Fats Waller, “Sit Right Down [and
write myself a letter]”
ABBA, “Dancing Queen”
Edith Pilaf, “La Vie En Rose”
Atta Boy, “Walden Pond”
Elvis, “Return to Sender”
Shirelles, “Please Mr. Postman”
Vera Lynn, “We’ll Meet Again”
Albert Hammond, “It Never Rains
in Southern California”
Bob Dylan, “You’re Gonna Make
Me Lonesome When You Go”
Bon Iver, “For Emma”
Penny and the Quarters, “You and
— Madeleine Virginia Gannon,
Daily Arts Writer
This is an abridged history of
songs I consider(ed) love letters
in approximately three parts. Part
One: male songwriters who didn’t
sound misogynistic. In eleventh
grade, I wrote an essay about

men who “get it.” A significant portion was about The Killers and how
understood I felt by the lyrics of “When You Were Young,” but in retrospect,
I don’t think it still registers as a love letter. I wanted it to be the love letter
I would receive someday from a boy who “didn’t look a thing like Jesus, but
talks like a gentleman,” like I imagined when I was young.
Flash forward to my senior year English class. As some sort of introductory
activity for what I imagine must have been a study of ballads, we were asked
to produce love songs. I picked “Casimir Pulaski Day” by Sufjan Stevens.
While my (hip) teacher, who knew the song, questioned my choice, I think
it brings us to Part Two of the history: (still) male songwriters, but ones who
actually get it. Stevens, Death Cab and Iron & Wine all lured me into a less
prescriptive, idealized, biblical, impossible image of love — I owe them each
love letters for that fact.
Big Thief single-handedly ushers us into Part Three, where you can write
letters to people you love, not just people with whom you’re in love, and
account for all the complexity that comes with that. “Mythological Beauty,”
Big Thief’s moving love letter to a complicated mother figure, opened the
floodgates. Love letters could be addressed to mothers, to hookups who
meant more than you intended, to platonic best friends. Oh, and they didn’t
have to be piano-based or acoustic anymore, either.
Love letters aren’t just for the unrequited love of your life. In fact, your
mom probably deserves many, many more love letters than a classmate
you’re unwisely crushing on. If you don’t believe me, listen for yourself.
Signed, Julianna
— Julianna Morano, Daily Arts Writer
“They say you measure a man by how much he loves.” — Sturgill
This playlist is a collection of love letters. Some of the songs are literally
structured as letters; some just function as such. I admit that some of them
are a bit of a stretch if you’re going to be strict about what constitutes a love
letter, but I tried to keep them epistolary to a certain extent: expressions of
love addressed directly to the object of their affection.
While “love letters” are typically assumed to be expressions of romantic
love, those in the playlist encompass love in its many forms. From the
generative, paternal “Welcome to Earth (Pollywog)” to the playful, platonic
“A Postcard to Nina,” to the fragile yet roaring “When You Sleep,” this
collection of songs is an hour-and-twenty-three-minute-long tribute to the
range of emotions that love can comprise.
— Jonah Mendelson, Daily Arts Writer

Signed, sealed, delivered: From our hearts to yours



Daily Arts Writer

Daily Arts Writer

Daily Arts Writer

Daily Arts Writer

Daily Arts Writer

No matter the decade, the genre or the
artist, love can be found anywhere and

Daily Arts Writer

The wooden floors softly creak as
customers stroll past the shelves of
colorful titles, and hidden among the
large array of books are handwritten staff
reviews of favorite books in each section.


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