BATAVIA – Looks are deceiving when it comes to the diminutive exterior of The Book Shop at 15 N. River St. in Batavia, which stands ready to float some big ideas to match the seemingly infinite subjects contained on its bookshelves.
While reading may be a solitary pleasure, co-owner James Stickling knows books are key to building human connections, and said he hopes this fall will see the launch of a discussion group series on all sorts of topics. The programs celebrating an exchange of ideas would be offered in partnership with the store.
Among his collaborators is the Waterline Writers group based at Water Street Studios, which draws crowds to its monthly Sunday night readings by multiple authors. Its programs will resume Oct. 21, with details at waterlinewriters.org.
Stickling credits the group for helping the launch of The Book Shop.
Anne Veague and Kevin Moriarity, who just stepped down from leading Waterline Writers and announced they are passing their baton to Stickling and Cathy Borders, owner of The Republic of Letters in Geneva, call The Book Shop "a tiny, mighty bookstore" that finds "book-crazy customers dashing in and out."
It's all part of the activity on North River Street, which impresses Stickling, whether it's the Batavia Farmers' Market crowds on Saturday mornings to people visiting destinations for yoga, tacos and burgers or the benefits of relaxing in a salt cave at The Salt Escape.
He said other activity is being stirred as people armed with maps hunt for the Bulldogs Unleashed sculptures on an art tour this summer.
City officials, who had a vision for the possibilities, know what a "beautiful thing … they have here on North River Street," Stickling said.
He and his wife, Lizzy Evensen, are the creative force behind the used bookshop. People can trade in books for store credit to keep their home shelves manageable. Other folks simply donate items. The couple also acquire works from estate and library sales as well as bookstore bargain bins.
The $1 books at their shop's outdoor rack are meant to entice readers inside where they will discover discounts for educators to like-new children's books. The well-organized shelves range from Dante to divine contemporary works in plentiful genre including recent whodunits.
Special hardcover works, such as John Updike's "Rabbit" books collection and Great Books of the Western World, a 54-volume set, sell for more but still at a bargain.
The shop's current hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday; 2 to 9 p.m. Friday; 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday; and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday. To learn more, visit facebook.com/thebookshopbatavia or call 847-337-3876.