In Garrison Keillor's new bookstore, you can find the historic novel "Mary, Called Magdalene," but not "The Da Vinci Code." You might spot the latest John Grisham work, but it could be placed on a table set aside for "Quality Trash."
Keillor's latest enterprise, Common Good Books, opened quietly Wednesday morning in a surprisingly airy basement nook at Selby and Western avenues in St. Paul's Cathedral Hill. The literary prince of public radio wasn't there, but his reading tastes were evident on the shelves.
Booklovers hardly need reminding that in recent years, even long-established and well-loved indie bookstores have been folding left and right, but the article goes on to say that
Keillor is starting up a bookstore in a cruel time for such ventures, having seen four St. Paul independent booksellers fold in the past decade. In a move to distinguish his shop from the national behemoths, he and his staff are placing special focus on local and regional authors and poetry endorsed by Keillor, host of "A Prairie Home Companion." Works by St. Paul native son F. Scott Fitzgerald fill an entire shelf.
While I'm disappointed (but not surprised) that Keillor chose not to stock romances in his store, I kind of like his low-key approach that calls fiction fiction instead of trying to slap a genre label on every book:
"Reading is reading. Fiction is fiction," said assistant manager Martin Schmutterer. "We're not so intent on categorizing good books."
What do you think? Will this store thrive? And if it does, how much of its success will be due to Keillor's celebrity?
Technorati Tags: Garrison+Keillor, bookstores