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…
INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana — Winner of The Most Unique Bookstore on The Lucky Tour has to go to Indy Reads Books. This bookstore has a reason for existing beyond the already great cause of bringing books to the public. Indy Reads Books is a revenue source for the organization which gives its name to the store, Indy Reads. With that revenue, the not-for-profit Indy Reads goes about their mission of improving literacy of adults living in Central Indiana. So, when you buy from Indy Reads Books you get to read and you get to help the rest of the community read as well. It’s a pretty sweet deal.
And speaking of sweet deals, the prices at Indy Reads Books are pretty incredible. They have a fantastic selection of used books at prices that basically guarantee you’ll have a bag full of goodies by the time you leave the store. If you ever leave the store, that is. There’s a simple aesthetic in Indy Reads Books that attracts the eye without overloading the senses. Muted greens, hardwood floors, and painted black columns perfectly highlight the books for sale, and chairs in the central opened area suggest a quiet game of chess while you bask in the glow of your future purchases. This store is a required stop anytime you pass through Indianapolis.
Manager Jenny Dwenger answered the Algonquin Questionnaire.
When did Indy Reads Books open?
What inspired the name Indy Reads Books?
Indy Reads was a literacy organization that worked as part of the library system for 30 years until 2007 when funding ran out. Since then Indy Reads has become its own not-for-profit organization, and we help raise revenue through the store.
What is the oddest book in your store?
Well, we get almost all of our books from donations, so there are tons of odd books in the store. We have 101 Unuseless Japanese Inventions, How to Make Love, The Art of Kissing, and Astrology for Cats.
What is the oddest non-book item in your store?
Great question. So, the donations we get sometimes aren’t books at all. We have a tortoise skull that was donated to us, as well as a tear gas pen and a sculpture. Then we have our Wall of Weird in the back that is made up of the odd things that we find inside the books that are donated. The highlight on the wall is a letter written to the Chilean Ambassador. We don’t know who wrote it or why they put it in a book they donated, but here it is.
What is your favorite Algonquin title and your favorite summer read?
Is there a staff cocktail of choice?
We actually do have a non-official “official drink” on the staff. It’s anything brewed by Sun King Brewery which is a local brewery located a little ways down College Street.
What is the strangest question you’ve been asked while working at Indy Reads Books?
We got an extremely awkward call from a woman once. She sounded a little out of it, and she asked if we had any books about exotic dancing because she was just about to become a stripper and she wanted to gain some knowledge before she started. She never came into the store to get the books though, so maybe she had a change of heart.
Next stop: Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Lexington, Kentucky.
*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…