Tag Archives: Irvington

Why I “Love” Bookmamas

Me and Kathleen     On this Valentine’s Day, I want to give a shout out to a very special someone who has been and continues to be an absolute hero in my life: Kathleen Angelone, owner of Bookmamas at 9 S. Johnson Avenue in Irvington.

Now most of you know I am not one to get overly sentimental, but on this day in which we celebrate what we love I feel compelled to point out that not only does Kathleen own a real honest to goodness independent bookstore, but it is literally a shop-around-the corner from Washington Street and Ritter Avenue. Nestled in the heart of this historic neighborhood is a treasure trove of beloved classic, recent titles and old favorites. She specializes in local authors, eclectic gifts for the book lover and has recently taken on a partner in Irvington Vinyl which boasts a huge collection of LPs, 45’s and fan rags for the music freak in us all!

In a day and age where emporiums like these are exceedingly rare, I want to point out that they are not important from a nostalgic perspective, but they offer something to the community a big box store or online warehouse cannot and that is personal service and attention. When you go into Bookmamas, you can be rest assured that Kathleen will take the time to get to know you. She has answered her customer’s call that they want to read and support local authors. They want books about Indiana or set in Indiana and she works TIRELESSLY to provide that. Not only is she in the shop, but she can be found at a number of farmer’s markets, craft fairs, and bazaars throughout the year bringing along the authors who need her as much as she needs them.

Bookmamas      When Kathleen launches one of my books, I do my best to go above and beyond to ensure that she has a good turnout because she goes above and beyond for me! I will promote the signing on social media, I will bring treats, I will write press releases, etc…because without her, I. Am. Nothing. Her shop is the most convenient for many of my readers to get to. She has built relationships with a number of local entities including the library, several senior communities, schools…I don’t know what all, and I don’t know of another independent bookstore nearby who can say that. I’m not saying its impossible to get into the bigger chain, and I have done several wonderful signings for them, but this woman knocks herself out to get her authors’ name out there and I am thrilled to come along for the ride.

What can you find at Bookmamas? Well books obviously, both new and used as well as Doctor Who gift items, magnets, mugs, pins, finger puppets, magazines, paper dolls, book marks, pens, music, and so much more. Every time I am in there I am surprised by what I discover. (Including a picture disc 45 of the Beatles’ “Please Please Me” and a stack of vintage Doctor Who fan magazines!)

As if that weren’t enough, last December my son was helping her out for the holidays and she casually asked him if he had gotten my present yet. When he said no, she said, “Well, I think I have you covered.” Kathleen showed him a book written and signed by the late tennis legend Arthur Ashe. Knowing how much I loved the game, she knew  how much I would appreciate it (as well as the rare signature) and my son readily agreed. He got the book, wrapped it and gave it to me Christmas morning. With all due respect to the folks at Amazon, I don’t think they could have pulled that one off…only Kathleen.

Bookmamas2    Look, we talk a lot about buying local, shopping local and I know everyone loves the bargains that we can find online. However, before hitting the one-click check out button for that special book item, do yourself a favor and see what Kathleen has to offer at Bookmamas. If your kid needs a treat, take them to the shop with the nice lady behind the counter and find them something they will love. If your teenager has to read War and Peace…buy it through Bookmamas. She probably has a few copies already in stock. If you want to support your favorite local author, shopping there is one of the BEST ways to do so. It helps the local economy. It helps Kathleen and it helps us because we get to meet and talk with you! She keeps us going, people. I’m not too proud to say it.

Today is Local History Day and I will be at Bookmamas from 1-3 p.m. signing copies of all of my local history books, as well as my young adult novel Fifteen Minutes of Fame, and my latest release, The Idiot’s Guide to Catholicism. Stop buy if you can, enjoy the music of Irvington vinyl (pick up an LP to set the mood for a romantic dinner) buy the book lover in your life a new title (trust me, it’s a HUGE aphrodisiac!) and meet Kathleen. You won’t regret coming into her shop and once you come in once, you’ll be back again and again!

 

 

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Naptown Nostalgia: Let the Music Play On

used_records      I miss music stores. I’m not talking about the places loaded with the “if you break it, you buy it” signs on the guitars and some Jimmy Page wannabe plucking out the opening notes of “Stairway.” That’s an instrument shop. (OK fine, it technically qualifies as a a “music store” but I will make my point in a minute so work with me here.) I’m talking about music stores, the kind of place where you can find every album, tape, CD, rock music trade rag, t-shirt and popular sheet music one could ever want. The MUSIC store.

Once upon a time they were everywhere: There was Swann’s on 10th Street, the Listening Booth, Camelot, National Record Mart, a few places in Broad Ripple, etc…all staffed by people who knew all of the latest artists and knew exactly what you were looking for before you even asked. Sometimes it seemed that the employees of these emporiums had nothing to do all day but talk about the lives and careers of the music gods and debate the merits of Freddie Mercury vs. Robert Plant, but in reality, those conversations built a loyal customer base that lasted until digital downloads put the last nail in the coffin of the music industry as we knew it.

Don’t get me wrong. I love to stream my music. I’m as guilty as the next person, but I miss unfolding a double album jacket to see the central photo on the inside. I miss  reading the lyrics and liner notes as I listen to a vinyl album for the first time. I miss the work that goes into the art on the cover (some of those albums were truly iconic) and I miss flipping through the poster rack to find that black light Zeppelin poster that I knew my mother would never let me hang in my bedroom.

I tell this story because tonight, I was able to reach out and touch the past. Irvington Vinyl inside Bookmamas is EXACTLY the kind of place we used to have but don’t anymore. From the moment I stepped inside and breathed in the musty smell of wax and old cardboard, I was a goner. (Thank God my purse was in the car or I would be BROKE!) I saw the familiar faces of the Fab Four smiling out from the Meet The Beatles album, a seal copy of Led Zeppelin II and III (they are probably reissues, but who cares?) There was a signed Brian Wilson Smile framed on the wall and I was drooling over some of the old magazines featuring some of my favorite artists.

“Funny thing about old albums is that sometimes the goodies inside were worth more than the actual disc,” I commented offhandedly.

“Very true,” he replied. “Some of that stuff is worth a lot.”

“KISS excelled at that including stickers, tattoos and other things that ended up being the real collector’s items,” I went on. “Of course then there is the bummer of buying an album three or four times only to find out that you still don’t have the rare version. I found that out the hard way with Heart’s Magazine.”

“Oh yeah, if you don’t have the original from the legal dispute when the songs were in a different order it’s not the same,” he confirmed.

Was I really having this conversation after all of these years? Who would have ever believed it? Sure on occasion I see some of these old album covers but usually it is somewhere that people are using them to make attractive tote bags (which feels sacrilegious  to me somehow) or in places like Urban Outfitters who wins brownie points for trying but you KNOW none of the employees know what is supposedly so significant about Paul’s bare feet on the Abbey Road cover.

While I know that this is not the only “music” store in the city, it is the closest one to me and I am begging all of my fellow Indy residents to support these businesses who “Keep the Faith,” who “Don’t Stop Beliveing” and who at times are “Livin’ on a Prayer” in order to make sure that the music goes on and on and on and on….

Until Next time, Keep Rockin’,

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Buy It, Borrow It or Bag It-Special Edition

Hey Everyone,

I am super excited about a special event coming to the Indy area this Friday night from 5-6:30 at Bookmamas in Irvington! Scholastic is presenting “Common Core: Nothing Common About It” The famed book publishers are getting excited about Nonfiction and showcasing a presentation and title talk by Indiana’s own Carl Harvey. Carl Harvey is the school librarian at North Elementary School in Noblesville, Indiana as well as the 2011-2012 President of the American Association of School Librarians. He has been published in several trade magazines and has won several awards for his library program!

Each attendee wil receive a gift and a $5 off coupon for their next purchase at Bookmamas…the most wonderful independent bookstore in the Indianapolis area. Refreshments will be served as well.

Bookmamas is located at 9 S. Johnson Ave in Irvington and is 1/2 block south of Washington Street and 1/2 block east of Ritter Avenue. For more information, call (317) 375-3715.

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