My Favorite Local Bookstores

You never know what you might find!

6/28/20242 min read

Okay, if you’re in central Ohio, you can visit both of these charming, independent bookstores easily in one trip! That’s what I did one morning, and I found more than my novel waiting for me there.

My first stop was Kicks Mix Bookstore, 38 S 3rd Street in downtown Newark, where I was greeted in the doorway by Edgar Alan Paws, the cat who is designated Chief of Security. One of the store’s mottoes is: Explore our shelves and pet the cat, you might find this or you might find that! This is true.

One thing I found inside was yet another cat, though. Margaret Catwood, to be precise, who lays surprisingly low as Public Relations Manager (the day I was there, she was under a shelf display).

Owner Diana Spain is celebrating a decade of her bookshop being a real community space, filled with new releases, used books, various media, and even book-inspired crafts. The signage and set-up are playful and often funny, which makes for a relaxing and refreshing browse. Follow Kicks Mix on Facebook to see the events the store hosts! It’s open daily 10-7, Sundays 10-4.

[I also grabbed my first-ever mushroom coffee at Roots Wellness Bar, which is just around the corner]

Then I made my way to downtown Granville and to Readers’ Garden Book Store at 115 N. Prospect Street. This store is chock-full of new and used books, stationary, and other nifty gifts. I love their social media presence because it’s mostly beautiful quotes from some of my favorite books.

I found no cats in Readers’ Garden, but I did find one of my favorite former students, Audrey, behind the counter! Audrey has built a life around words and ideas, which is a blessing not just for me but for everyone who visits the store while she’s there.

Readers’ Garden is open every day 10-5, Sundays noon to 5.

All bookstores feel good to me, really, because … well, there are books there. Independent bookstores, though, add that dash of personality that makes me proud to find my work on their shelves and extra proud to recommend them to my friends!

Kim Garee is the author of Pressed Together, released early this summer as the first book in the Together Series set just after WW2 at Buckeye Lake's old pier amusement park. She lives in Licking County, Ohio, home to all the locations highlighted in this post!