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MondayFebruary 2014

From our perspective, there’s always been something a little bit magical about Literati Bookstore. From the day (a year ago now!) that we learned there was a new store coming to our block, to the day we learned it would be a BOOK store, to the day we first set foot in this new, lovely bookstore, we’ve been pinching ourselves. It seemed almost too good to be true! Not only a new neighbor for our space in downtown Ann Arbor, but a true kindred spirit.

Located just around the corner from 826michigan, at Fourth and Washington in downtown Ann Arbor, Literati Bookstore is a book lover’s dream. Stocked with a huge variety of lovingly chosen titles, new releases and classics alike, and host to an ever-growing number of literary events, Literati Bookstore is also just a beautiful place. The black and white floor tiles! The window display! The friendly staff! It’s a literary oasis in already quite-literary town.

Of course, we know that the magic of Literati is not magic at all but the hard work of its owners, Hilary and Mike Gustafson. We already loved the Gustafsons, but then they answered a general call when we announced that our beloved car (the 826-Mobile) had met an end. As an organization conducting a huge (and multiplying!) number of off-site programs to which we need to transport volunteers, a car is increasingly necessary to us at 826michigan. The Gustafsons donated to us their 2002 Buick Century, which they (and now we) lovingly call “the couch car” because of its large, comfy seats. We’ve already put the couch car to good use transporting volunteers to public schools and libraries all over Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti and will continue to do so throughout the school year and into the summer.

Suffice to say, we’re incredibly glad that Literati Bookstore came to town and we look forward to many more years of collaboration with them! We asked Mike and Hilary a few questions about reading, creativity, and life in our town.

How did you first hear about 826michigan and why did you want to become involved?
 
As an avid Dave Eggers reader and fan, I remember hearing about 826 when I was living out in LA. Then when we were getting ready to move to Ann Arbor, we did some research on 826michigan and we were very excited to open a bookstore in the same downtown region. We’ve firmly believed in 826’s mission statement and we are thrilled to be located so close to 826michigan here in Ann Arbor, just a block away. Though we’ve only been open less than a year, we wanted to become involved with 826michigan in whatever capacity we could. Just the other day I spoke with a 3rd grade teacher who told me, “Kids are not as imaginative today as they were 15 years ago.” Reading and writing are two of the best and most vital ways to embrace, improve, and enhance creativity and imagination, and we believe our store’s vision and 826’s vision align. 
 
What’s your favorite thing about life in Ann Arbor?
 
I love that you can drive five minutes from the heart of downtown Ann Arbor and be in the country. I love that Ann Arbor is a big/small town. It requires that slash. It’s big in the sense that there is great food and culture and opportunity, and small because you still have a sense like you know people in the community. You can ride your bike from your home to the heart of downtown, and you can drive 5 minutes and be completely outside the city. You can hike and bike and kayak and explore more rural places in Michigan, then drive a few minutes and be in one of this country’s cultural hubs. As someone who has lived in Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles, not a lot of places in the country have that kind of unique big/small infrastructure. 
Mike and Hilary, we are so glad to share a town with you! Thank you so much for the couch car, and for all you do with Literati Bookstore.

 

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