Originally posted on The Algonquin Books Blog.
Intrepid former Algonquin intern David Bradley and his trusty sidekick, Lucky the Leprechaun, hit the road for a tour of (almost all) the coolest, hippest, greatest indie bookstores in the United States. Join us for the journey…
AUSTIN, Texas — If you walk into BookPeople, look immediately down and to the right, you’ll see an odd little coffee mug that asks you to “Keep Austin Weird.” Weird in itself, this mug captures the atmosphere of Austin perfectly. Walking around the city I stumbled upon a dirt BMX park that swings beneath a bridge, an amazing café called Flipnotics built into a steep hill and occupying four different levels, a swarm of spectators watching an even larger swarm of bats exiting their nightly home under the Congress Avenue Bridge, and innumerable students and other citizens rocking their own personal styles with no concern for the normal.
And BookPeople is the Keep Austin Weird cornerstone. Resting right in the heart of the city, BookPeople is the place to go when there’s a book you know you need. Or a book you don’t know you need because they have so many recommendations lining their shelves. Occupying two floors and offering up a café and plenty of oddities beyond their wide selection of books, BookPeople can and will keep you busy for hours.
BookPeople Marketing Assistant Grace Lawrie answered our Algonquin Questionnaire.
When did BookPeople open?
BookPeople first opened in 1970.
What is the oddest non-book item you have on your shelves?
We have this hilarious pizza cutter that I love. It has a monkey pedaling on top of the pizza cutter like it’s a bicycle.
What is your favorite summer book recommendation and your favorite Algonquin book?
We actually loved Amy Stewart’s The Drunken Botanist for Algonquin and the summer. We had a great event with her at BookPeople where we got some other local businesses involved and it was a lot of fun.
Is there a staff cocktail of choice?
I think Lone Star Beer is the drink of choice around here. We all like to gather at the Tiniest Bar in Texas, which is just next door, and sit down with some Lone Stars.
What is the most visited area of the store?
What is the strangest thing that’s happened to you while working at BookPeople?
One day around Christmas a man dressed as Santa — complete with a full, real beard — came into our store looking for a very specific erotica title. It was a pretty bizarre experience.
Next stop: Antigone Books in Tucson.
*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…