Friday, August 1, 2014

Bookstore of the Month: Annie Bloom's Books

Annie Bloom's Books
7834 SW Capitol Highway
Portland, OR 97219
(503) 246-0053
Annie Bloom's on Facebook
Annie Bloom's on Twitter

Quick quiz: Would you rather shop at a bookstore named "A Lucid Interval," or one called "Annie Bloom's Books"?  If you said the latter, then you're in luck the next time you visit the Multnomah Village neighborhood of Portland, Oregon; but if you prefer your bookstore more lucid and full of intervals...well, then you might want to get in your WayBack Machine and travel through time to convince Annie Bloom's owner Bobby Tichenor to stick with her original idea for a store name.  Personally, I'm glad she went with the warm-and-cozy "Annie Bloom's Books."

Annie Bloom's first came to my attention through the tireless efforts of its part-time bookseller Jeffrey Shaffer, who writes the occasional column for the Northwest Book Lovers blog.  As Jeff makes clear in his blog posts, Annie Bloom's is the type of bookstore that's focused on good old-fashioned customer service.  By all accounts, the staff is always willing to go above and beyond mere bookselling to help those who come through the front door--even if all those customers want is to borrow a phonebook or for someone to tie their shoes.

The store first opened in 1978 and has been going strong ever since (with the inevitable peaks and valleys of modern bookselling, of course).  "After 34 years in business, we have customers who were raised on kids books at Annie Bloom’s and now bring in their children," Michael Keefe, publicity manager for the store, told me.  "It’s great to see multiple generations of booklovers!"

The bookstore is centrally located in the historic Multnomah Village, surrounded by pubs, salons, a shoe store and a candy shop.  With an event calendar full of author appearances and book club meetings, Annie Bloom's seems like the perfect place to stop in and hang out for a while as you digest your meal.  "The residents of Multnomah Village understand the importance of supporting independent businesses," Michael told me.  "We love being part of a neighborhood that feels like its own small town."

And yes, in case you were wondering, Annie Bloom's does come equipped with the standard store cat mascot.  But not just any cat, mind you!  Meet Molly....

Please note that Molly's staff pick is I Could Pee on This
"Molly Bloom is a six-year-old female American Bombay we adopted five years ago from Cat Adoption Team," Michael said.  "She’s an incredibly sweet and mellow cat.  All the neighborhood kids love to come in and pet her."  Also, the occasional visiting writer....

Dave Eggers & Molly
Here are some other highlights from Michael's responses to the Bookstore of the Month questionnaire I sent:

Current staff picks of favorite books: All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, The Empathy Exams by Leslie Jamison, The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri, TransAtlantic by Colum McCann, The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion, Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo, and The Plover by Brian Doyle.

Bestselling titles: Back in the Garden with Dulcy by Ted Mahar, Wild by Cheryl Strayed, The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin, Where’d You Go Bernadette? by Maria Semple, Ask Me: 100 Essential Poems by William Stafford.

Oddest/funniest request from a customer:  “Do you have that memoir by Seabiscuit?”

And finally, for an in-depth look at Annie Bloom's basement ("some sort of feng shui nightmare"), I recommend this piece by Liz Prato for the Tin House blog.

Annie Bloom's Books is the featured bookstore all this month at The Quivering Pen.  By clicking on the links to books mentioned in this month's blog posts, you'll be taken to the store's website where you can purchase the book (or, better yet, several books).  The Quivering Pen is dedicated to supporting independent bookstores.

1 comment:

  1. Annie Bloom's is my local bookstore, and it's so great to see the staff--and the cat--featured here. Great piece, David!