This weekend, a close friend and future bridesmaid of mine invited my fiance and I to a weekend away in Milwaukee for Irish Fest with her and some of her family. I’m a lover of all things Irish, almost to an obsessive level, and hadn’t seen her family in a while, so I quickly said yes. We spent our Friday evening enjoying Irish food and music and spent the rest of the weekend exploring Milwaukee. We parted ways earlier today in the afternoon with my friend and her family heading to a Brewers game and my fiance and I heading back to Chicago. Tired and satisfied, we made our way down through Wauwatosa, Wisconsin a quaint suburb of Milwaukee and stumbled upon one of the cutest bookstores I’ve seen in a while.
Little Read Book Inc. is a one-room bookstore with forest green awnings and a classic gold leaf window decal highlighting the company’s current year in business (currently on year 37). When you step into the store’s vestibule your greeted by sales titles which, in my opinion, is a rarity for your standard indie bookstore.
The actual store has the essence of a lakefront cabin with, what I can only describe as, a wooden wizard standing guard over current reads. The walls are lined with your standard floor-to-ceiling shelving units, filled with cookbooks, poetry, and sporting titles. The more recent publications can be found on shorter shelves or in the store’s front window. A lovely display of pressed flower bookmarks stood out to me.
I have recently become a rather regular attendee of a virtual poetry club put on by some of my friends, so I found the store’s tiny poetry section quickly. I was soon distracted by the second installment of Julie Andrews memoir hovering over a Mary Oliver book I was about to pick up (I can honestly say I didn’t realize there was a first). My late maternal grandmother babysat me regularly before my family moved from New York to the Midwest. Our days were often filled with the lyrical joys of Julie as she skipped around as Mary Poppins or gallivanted through the hills of Austria in The Sound of Music. We watched Mary Poppins so frequently that I started to lovingly call the movie Pop-Pop.
My grandmother has been a constant presence in the back of my mind while I plan my wedding. As the only granddaughter out of her four grandchildren, we shared a special bond and I miss her terribly. She’s the woman that taught me how to correctly blot red lipstick; she’s why I love a classic strand of pearls over any other piece of jewelry. Looking at that book brought all of it– every memory with grandma– flooding back. I picked the book off the shelf with complete conviction and have it at home with me now.
My fiance has become a real trooper when it comes to my indie bookstore escapades. He’s not a book guy by any means, but he likes a good cookbook or Steven King novel. While I was deep in my Julie Andrews nostalgia he found The Fourth Turning: An American Prophecy. An article he shared with me early on in the pandemic is based off the book, and he remembered how much the theory of The Fourth Turning had fascinated me. He knows me better than I know myself sometimes, so I obviously bought the book as well. If your in Milwaukee consider adding the 15 minutes trip to Wauwatosa for a homey book-filled experience. It was the perfect way to finish out a truly heartwarming weekend.
I’ll be back next weekend with my review of Chicago by Brian Doyle. See you then!