603. Book Suey – February 4, 2023 – Hamtramck, MI

Book Suey is for book lovers! And for lovers of sweet connection and community.

Housed in the Bank Suey building in Hamtramck, this co-op book shop fosters community by regularly hosting events such as author readings, a flash fiction writing club, a mending circle, and a monthly book club.

Patrons browsed the shelves during my trip to Book Suey, but there were also people just hanging out, reading or chatting. I could see why they found the shop so appealing: it exudes warmth. Twinkle lights, potted plants, and ample sunlight streaming through its several windows – not to mention the gorgeous details it maintains by being housed in a hundred-year-old building – give it cozy, down-to-earth vibes. Written staff recommendations add a personal touch to its offerings, a carefully curated selection of fiction and nonfiction, including a section devoted to Michigan authors and publications.

The warmth of the ambiance is superseded only by the warmth of Book Suey’s staff. I only interacted with one staff member during my time there, but they were lovely, enthusiastically affirming my book choice, Exit West by Mohsin Hamid (the staff-recommended pick piqued my interest!).

A love of bookshops is practically embedded in my DNA; I don’t need an excuse to visit them. But I especially don’t need an excuse to visit Book Suey. Its sweet vibes, staff, and community events make revisiting a given.

10345 Joseph Campau Ave.

Hamtramck, MI 48212

529. 27th Letter Books – October 17, 2021 – Detroit, MI

Books make my heart sing! So it was exciting to visit 27th Letter Books, a Detroit-based, indie-owned bookstore.

27th Letter Books started as a pop-up but opened a permanent location on Michigan Avenue this summer. Its offerings include adult fiction and nonfiction, kid’s books, YA novels, graphic novels, and books in Spanish. Works by authors of color are well represented.

One thing I adore about visiting bookstores is seeing the staff recommendations. 27th Letter Books has those in spades. The two books I left with, Kindred by Octavia E. Butler and Scorpionfish by Natalie Bakopoulos, were because of the recommendation-card write-ups that accompanied them.

I also love when a bookstore feels like its own space, a unique personality. 27th Letter Books feels like that. Its design elements are a mix of contemporary (industrial elements, including peeling paint and exposed brick) and cozy (colorfully patterned rugs, wood-plank floors, and plush antique chairs). It’s an aesthetically pleasing place that has a welcoming vibe – in large part because of the friendly, eager-to-help booksellers at its helm.

Having experienced those inviting vibes, it’s no surprise to me that 27th Letter Books regularly holds community events, including writing meet-ups, artist talks, children’s story times, and its monthly Ampersand Book Club. Check out the Events section of its website for its latest offerings. And check out its shelves the next time your heart sings for a new book.

3546 Michigan Ave.

Detroit, MI 48216

357. Pages Bookshop – August 31, 2018 – Detroit, MI

August2018Pages1 (2)August2018Pages2 (2)After enjoying a delicious cold-brew iced coffee during a visit to Always Brewing Detroit, I continued my recent afternoon in the Grandmont Rosedale neighborhood of Detroit with a visit to Pages Bookshop.

This jaunt was SUPER exciting for me as a lifelong lover of books (shout-out to my fellow bookworms!). Independently-owned bookshops hold a special charm for me, especially in this day and age of online conglomerates and digital over paper. They are doing the good work, keeping physical bookstores and the curated, personal book-buying experience alive!

When I buy from indie bookshops, it feels like a total win-win: I am financially supporting a business whose mission I value, AND I have an excuse to buy new books. How great is that?

And Pages Bookshop, specifically, is a FANTASTIC indie bookstore. Its one-room shop is relatively small, but it’s loaded with thoughtfully chosen fiction and nonfiction offerings – including books by local authors – as well as cute Michigan-centric goods and other items that make great gifts, such as cards and journals.

On the day I visited, Pages was helmed by the owner, Susan, and the shop cat, Pip. Susan was a delight to share my enthusiasm around books with, and Pip melted my heart with her adorably plump frame and sprawling request to be petted (Feline Friends 4L!).

I browsed in Pages for about a half hour and found loads of books I was interested in. Like most indie bookshops, Pages affixes handwritten notecards touting staff recommendations to its shelves (I’m a sucker for those!).

Limiting myself to three purchases, I decided on two novels (The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman and The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin) and one nonfiction tome (Small Victories by Anne Lamott). My fix to the conundrum of being interested in more books than I’ll allow myself to buy, BTW: I text myself the titles and authors of the ones I don’t get so I have a record of them (bookworm hack!).

I left Pages with my purchases in a complimentary canvas tote and the warm feeling that being around books infuses in me.

Once home, I scanned the list of upcoming events that Susan had given me and plotted my next visit. Pages regularly hosts author visits, sometimes several a week; a schedule is available via the Events calendar on its website.

Whether for the purpose of attending an event there or not, a visit to Pages Bookshop is most definitely worthwhile, especially if you love books as much as I do. How fortunate we are to have this indie bookstore in Detroit!

19560 Grand River Ave.

Detroit, MI 48223


314. Vault of Midnight – March 10, 2018 – Detroit, MI

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Comics, graphics novels, and board games: I need more of them in my life, I’m thinking, after visiting Vault of Midnight in downtown Detroit a few weeks ago.

The emporium for the aforementioned items of whimsy and imagination and magic reminded me of how much I love playing board games and how I’m always saying I’m going to host a game night at my house (but have yet to). It peddles an impressive amount of serious board games: intricate, strategic games far from the toy-store game-land of Monopoly, Mall Madness, and Operation that I grew up in.

These serious games are stickered with serious price tags; with many in the $40-to-$80 range, they are not what I’d categorize as an impulse purchase. I assume most people going into Vault of Midnight to procure these board games are doing so intentionally, either because they know exactly what they want or are confident they’ll find something they’ll want enough to buy.

All I know is, I’ve been fortunate enough to play some of these kinds of intricate, strategic games at other people’s houses, and I find them as entertaining as all get-out. Not to trash the $10 ’90s-version of Clue that I grew up with (that game was LIFE to me in the first grade!), but these serious board games are fun to play because they’ve been crafted with care, from their rules to their artwork to the elaborate planning and scheming required of many of them to win.

What I’m saying is that in my experience, these serious board games are worth the serious price tag if you know you’ll be playing them on a regular basis instead of letting them collect a thick film of dust on a shelf in a closet in your basement (cue my copy of Scrabble: Deluxe Edition enduring that very fate). And I think it’s amazing that there’s a place right here in downtown Detroit reminding us of their awesomeness, beckoning us to enjoy some unplugged fun with them for an hour or two.

Of course, the unplugged fun is not only being touted by the serious board games at Vault of Midnight but also by its wide selection of comics and graphic novels.

I’ve never been an aficionado, per say, of either comics or graphic novels, but I did read the Detroit Free Press funnies religiously for years as a kid and fostered a love for Archie comics stemming from the ’60s-era issues saved by my paternal grandparents (and still find myself pondering the latest volume of the Riverdale gang’s shenanigans every time I spy it in a grocery-store check-out line). And I’ve read and enjoyed a few great graphic novels, such as Maus and Ghost World. It’s a genre I’ve long intended to explore more but haven’t. As with the board games in my basement closet, that intention often lies dormant, collecting a thick film of dust in my mind.

I can’t speak to the specific kinds of comics and graphic novels that Vault of Midnight stocks, because I didn’t delve too deeply into them. I looked at a few comics that appeared to be small-batch varieties, possibly even handmade, which intrigued me. I’d like to return and check those out in greater detail.

Maybe it’s time for me to more seriously consider and pursue my interests in board games and graphic novels and comics. Maybe it’s time to actually set a date for game night; maybe it’s time to invite more whimsy and imagination and magic into my life. Certainly, another visit to Vault of Midnight is in order!

1226 Library St.

Detroit, MI 48226

(Locations also in Grand Rapids and Ann Arbor)

195. Source Booksellers – October 6, 2016 – Detroit, MI

20161006_15244820161006_153220Source Booksellers – what a delight!

I am a huge bookworm and library/independent bookstore nerd. I am someone who, when researching a vacation destination, hunts down the coolest bookstore there and persuades any fellow travelers to visit it with me so I can buy books at the likes of The Tattered Cover in downtown Denver (my absolute favorite bookstore EVER) or, more recently, writer Ann Patchett’s shop, Parnassus Books, in Nashville.  Long story short, I love books. And there aren’t nearly enough independent bookstores in the Metro-Detroit area, so I was psyched to discover that this one on Cass Avenue in Midtown is a gem.

Source Booksellers is a small shop, featuring all nonfiction books – and a few select novels. The owner was manning the counter during my visit; I recognized her from a picture I’d seen online. She was lovely – welcoming, eager to interact with us, and very knowledgeable about her catalog of books, which were obviously carefully chosen. This is the reason I love a good independent bookstore (and why I am compelled to buy a few books every time I visit one, even though I’m primarily a devout library patron when it comes to my book purveying), this thoughtfulness and intimacy put into choosing its selection. As Source’s owner explained to us, and is also outlined on the shop’s website, she focuses on representing four primary subject areas with the books she sells: 1) history and culture; 2) health and wellness; 3) spirituality and metaphysics; and 4) women-centric topics. If you have any interest in these areas or simply appreciate a well-curated bookstore, I would urge you to visit Source.

Regular classes and events are held at the bookstore, as well, on such intriguing topics as belly dancing, tai chi, and urban foraging. Check out Source’s website; there are some awesome-sounding events planned for this month!

4240 Cass Ave.
Detroit, MI, 48201

89. The Book Beat – December 19, 2014 – Oak Park, MI


What a little gem this place is. The Book Beat is one of the rare independent bookstores that continues to thrive. Wind through its shelf mazes and browse its carefully curated collections of new and used tomes, being careful to dodge the occasional box of books scattered about on the floor (they just add character!). Several people who appeared to be regulars filtered in and out during my short time here, which made me happy, because it illustrated that bookstores like this are not only places of commerce but places of communion, too (take that, Barnes & Noble!).

26010 Greenfield Rd.
Oak Park, MI 48237

68. Next Chapter Bookstore – October 6, 2014 – Northville, MI

20141006_12065920141006_120851Spent my 30th birthday as a lovely shopping day with my mother in downtown Northville. What an adorable town! This was my first time there, and I loved it. First stop was The Next Chapter Bookstore. I’d been wanting to go there ever since I heard about it years ago, in some news mention that Scream 4 was filming there. I love independent bookstores, and we don’t have enough in the area.

The shop was much smaller than I expected. It’s definitely not a full-blown bookstore; rather, it seems to focus on hand-picking titles. Every book is prominently displayed, and there are only a few copies of each out at one time. At first I was disappointed by the lack of selection, but then I came to appreciate the intention: to make the visitor ponder each of the titles that have been carefully chosen.

There’s a cute café that serves coffee and food inside the store, and some gift items, as well.

Side note: Apparently Northville is located on the border of both Oakland and Wayne counties and so has parts located in both. I tried researching online to figure out if more of it was in one county than the other but couldn’t get a clear answer. For the purpose of counting places visited per county for this blog, I’m counting it toward Oakland County. But I’m categorizing Northville posts in both the Oakland County and Wayne County categories.

141 East Main St.

Northville, MI 48167

34. John K. King Books North – July 10, 2014 – Ferndale, MI


I’m honestly not a used-bookstore person; I’m a major frequenter of my local library, and if I buy books I like for them to be brand-new. But I had to check out this place. I’ve never been to the famous John K. King store downtown and have always wanted to see what it’s about, and being in Ferndale on this day, this location was the next best thing.

Wow, what an impressive place! I’ve never seen such a neatly organized used bookstore. There are tons of categories here and major selection. It was really fun to stroll around and check out the shelves.

22524 Woodward Ave.
Ferndale, MI 48220