By Julie Tollefson
This week, I want to give a shout out to the Raven Book Store in Lawrence, Kansas, on the occasion of its 30th anniversary.
When Borders came to town twenty years ago and built a huge (by comparison) store half a block away from the Raven, there was much trepidation. Could the little store survive in the face of big competition? Short answer: yes. Borders, however, closed as part of corporate bankruptcy proceedings six years ago.
The Raven, which celebrated its anniversary with a weeklong series of parties, readings, and special events, is a tremendous supporter of local authors and the mystery community, even relative unknowns like me. When my first story appeared in an anthology, the Raven ordered copies, indulged my squeee-ing over the display at the counter, and even took my photo for me.
Last year, the store invited me to participate in one of its more-or-less monthly Big Tent events featuring local authors reading pieces of their work, from poetry to fiction to memoir and other nonfiction.
The Raven is also the sponsor of a book club that I joined by accident. Author-friend Diana Staresinic-Deane (Shadow on the Hill) was scheduled to speak, so I dropped by to support her only to find that she was speaking to a book club rather than the public event I expected. I joined that night and have been happily reading and discussing a wide variety of books with the Last Wednesday Book Club ever since.
I can’t imagine our town without the Raven. It’s vital to our quirky, thriving literary scene. My everlasting thanks to the store and the people who make it special.
What’s your favorite local bookstore?