Protests come in all shapes and sizes. From organized marches (often with debatable head counts) to picketing to online campaigns gone viral, there's more than one way to make your voice heard. Independent Bookstore Day on April 28 is our chance to say up with indie booksellers in Houston, and down with the faceless big box behemoths trying to quash personalized service and one-of-a-kind finds. It's part of a national initiative at indies all over the country, making this one helluva party where anything is possible. (Hint: Drunk coloring is back.)
Author Celeste Ng (Everything I Never Told You, Little Fires Everywhere), is the 2018 ambassador for Independent Bookstore Day. Her love of indie booksellers dates back to childhood; her family loved discovering treasures in out-of-town bookstores (but only after dining at the local Chinese eatery).
Over on what we call booksellers row, Brazos Bookstore is doing it up right with an all-day raffle (a dollar nets a chance to win a book jacket poster of Michael Chabon's Moonglow or Tayari Jones's An American Marriage), events for kids at 10:30 a.m. and noon, poems and coffee with the impromptu Inprint Poetry Buskers from 1 to 3 p.m. and the ever popular drunk coloring from 3 to 5 p.m. where suds from 11 Below Brewing Company turn everybody into an artist. At 7 p.m. meet author Rodrigo Fresan (The Invented Part, The Bottom of the Sky) and Open Letter Books publisher Chad Post.
Literally a hop, skip and a jump down Bissonnet, come say hello to old friends and meet some of the new staffers over at Murder By The Book. At 1 p.m. they'll be discussing their favorite books while visitors nosh on champagne and snacks. Local authors are signing books at 4:30 p.m. and anybody who spends $100 (or more) on April 28 gets a chance to win the highly coveted "first place in line at all signings" VIP pass for a full year.
If you haven't been to 1/4 Price Books lately, then this is the perfect time to drop in, say hello to manager Larry Turk (he's the reading machine juggling four books at once) and check out the improvements they've made to the interior. There's a new high-tech air conditioning system with all sorts of bells and whistles, fancy new lighting and flooring, and an overall ambience that beckons.
At Blue Willow Bookshop in west Houston, expect to see the Big Red Dog himself during the Clifford storytime at 10 a.m. That's followed by a book signing with local author Marshall Cobb (The Promise of the Orb) at 11 a.m., a book basket giveaway at 1 p.m. and, in the category of "it's five o'clock somewhere," the staff mixologists will be shaking up book-themed literary cocktails at 3 p.m.
Katy Budget Books is holding its Spring Market from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. with author appearances, free ebooks and exclusive merch, plus vendor tables with essential oils, skin care, pet supplies, fashion, jewelry and candles.
Be sure to stop by Becker's Books on April 28. They're holding a scavenger hunt at 1:30 p.m. with prizes in five sections of their 90,000 book inventory of biographies, history books, essays, crafts, cookbooks, mystery, politics, medicine, gardening, fiction, Texana and Americana, as well as those leather-bound classics, out-of-print and rare books. Sign up in the store or register in advance by emailing Ann Dunphy Becker at email@example.com.
Not all of the below-listed Houston area indie booksellers are pulling out all the stops on April 28, but they all need your support to fend off those big name dot-com booksellers. So stop by and say hello, pick up a book or two or three, and remember how good it feels to escape into the pages of a really good read.
1/4 Price Books
3820 South Shepherd
Blue Willow Bookshop
11600 Jones Road
Brown Book Shop
1517 San Jacinto
1117 Texas Avenue
3116 Houston Avenue
Katy Budget Books
Lloyd's Book Shop
2360 West Alabama
1520 Sul Ross
Murder By The Book
River Oaks Bookstore
11300 South Sam Houston Parkway East
Shrine of the Black Madonna
5309 Martin Luther King Junior
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The Book Scene
1820 West 43rd
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9112 Bellaire Boulevard