Intrepid former Algonquin intern David Bradley and his trusty sidekick, Lucky the Leprechaun, hit the road this past summer for a tour of (almost all) the coolest, hippest, greatest indie bookstores in the United States. Join us for the journey…
ATHENS, Georgia — Since I had made it back to North Carolina, you might have expected that I’d end The Lucky Tour. But, no. I had one last leg that I wanted to complete: visiting a friend who recently moved into the wild of southern Georgia. And if I was going to keep on driving, I could think of absolutely no reason to stop visiting bookshops. Lucky for me, there happens to be a fantastic little shop in downtown Athens, not far from my slicing southern route. There resides Avid Bookshop, a shop with tiny walls but enough creativity to fill the entire South.
Books aren’t just the product at Avid, they’re also a part of the aesthetic. Near the counter is a a series of hanging book lights that perfectly capture the creative genius running wild in this shop. The book lights will catch your eye, but then you’ll start noticing even more details, like the ironing board converted to a table out front, or the holiday lights adding a little flair to some open air space. Avid Bookshop is a place for your mind to grow and your imagination to lift off (just ask Lucky), and with The University of Georgia a short walk away, Avid is only going to grow as new groups of young people find their way to this wonderful independent.
Events and P.R. Director Rachel Watkins answered the Algonquin Questionnaire (with some digital help from owner Janet Geddis).
When was Avid Bookshop opened?
We were “anti-established” in October of 2011. Janet and many of her friends are big proponents of the Buy Local (We Are Athens) movement, so when she opened the store she didn’t want any hint of the big corporation feel and, thus, we were anti-established.
What inspired the name Avid Bookshop?
It’s a play on the phrase “avid reader” that Janet’s friend Amy Salley came up with. Janet was also playing with the idea of naming the shop Word, but she learned there was a store in Brooklyn that already had that name.
Thankfully Amy let me keep the name Avid Bookshop.
What is the rarest book on the shelves?
This is mostly rare given local context, but we carry the book And the Earth Did Not Devour Him by Tomas Rivera. There’s been a push recently to have the book banned in the Athens school system. We don’t generally support banning books, so we still have this one in the shop.
What is the rarest non-book item at Avid?
We have jewelry made by a local librarian and friend. Her company, Ike & Co, makes beautiful charm necklaces with a musical tilt (since music is a big part of the Athens culture) and with book themes for us.
What is your favorite Algonquin title and your favorite book from the summer?
I’m a big Jill McCorkle fan and I loved her most recent book Life After Life. It’s great to see her back in the new releases. This summer I really enjoyed Colum McCann’s book Transatlantic. He can really be an epic storyteller once he gets going.
Are there any unique talents on the staff that would be fun to highlight?
Final stop: Park Road Books in Charlotte, North Carolina.
*Note: The Lucky Tour posts are not in real time. David and Lucky have returned from their travels with great tales and many, many books. Stay tuned for more road stories…