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Indie bookstore opens in Glenwood neighborhood in "city of writers" Greensboro NC

timv's picture

A story in today's local paper details a new independent literary bookstore that has just opened in the resurgent Glenwood neighborhood of our fair city.

Pretty good reading. I'll have to pay a visit sometime.

That will change Saturday, with the opening of the city’s first independent bookstore in six years, Glenwood Community Book Shop.

Owner Alan Brilliant, a veteran of the publishing business who trained under the legendary owner of New York City’s Gotham Book Mart and Gallery, had everything ready the other day at his small Grove Street storefront south of the coliseum.

“Everything but the case of champagne I ordered for the grand opening,” Brilliant said as he signed for a parcel, tearing it open to find a 2009 title by Gayatri Spivak, a noted feminist author. “This is what I love about the book business. Every day is Christmas.”

Still. Champagne on Grove Street? Gayatri Spivak? Absolutely. Two doors down from The Hive, the community center that celebrated its first birthday last week, Brilliant’s shop is the latest sprout in a spontaneous, ground-up renaissance for Glenwood, and the neglected blue-collar corridor that was Grove Street.

It might look sparse and iffy from the sidewalk, but serious readers judge a bookstore by its covers. These are discriminating, first-rate — two-thirds new titles on a 20 percent discount, one third used — full of surprises, but also the bare essentials, the books you might like to be buried with.


Glenwood Community Book Shop
1206 Grove Street
Greensboro, North Carolina
United States
36° 3' 12.2688" N, 79° 48' 43.0884" W


eebee's picture

Book Store

Thanks for enlightening us about this new bookstore, Timv. Admittedly I've only heard of the French authors out of the ones the writer mentions, and then only because I had to hear about them to sit for A level French! Hey, at least I learned how to pronounce their names... I like this part of the article, although who knows if that's really the reason, or if Greensboro really does have a lot of 'important writers': "...Why, the bookseller once asked the poet Robert Watson of UNCG, did Greensboro have so many important writers? “Bob said it’s because writers need two things — they need people and they need privacy,” Brilliant recalls. “Greensboro allows you to do your writing, and when you need people, you can go out and party. People treat the writers as workers here.” In any case, you and Blake write some top notch stuff for us all to enjoy for free, so I'm thinking there must be something in the water there :-)
timv's picture

City of writers

Thanks for the kind words about Blake and my contributions here, Elizabeth.

I should note, for those who don't know the story, that Blake and I became friends when we both worked for Compute! magazine something close to 25 years ago. So our connection to writing and love for words has a lot to do with our being here now.

I don't profess to know how the greater Greensboro region compares to other metropolitan areas in terms of the quality of writing output per square mile or per capita, but it does have a long and proud history here. Among other things, UNC-Greensboro (originally NC College for Women) was something of literary hub in the post-WWII decades, a hub for southern literature in particular.

There's a great photo I've seen of a very young Robert Lowell on the campus for a visit, leaning against a tree and looking cooler than James Dean ever did. I'd post a copy if I could find it online.

Anyway, here's hoping that the new bookstore turns out to be a treasure--one that lasts-and that the renaissance of the Glenwood district continues.


roadskater's picture

There's a Bike Co-Op Here Too Methinks Meknows

timv knows about a bike co-op down in Glenwood too and I think he's donated the only bike he could ride slowly enough on to roll along as I slogged on skates (a generous donation from him and one I am happy about for their sake). I don't know much about them, but maybe on a slow news day timv can tell us more here or in a separately titled piece. There are some folk here and in Durham that are trying to recycle (and there's a store named that if they're still going) bikes. Good going I say. I guess the write Greensboro knows the name of most who was from here or lived here is O. Henry, but there are a bunch of folk who worked for one magazine or another, and a few moderately well known and considered writers from 'round here. Orson Scott Card comes to mind, whom I met briefly a time or two and shared some space in classroom a few sessions, both of us as graduate or post-graduate students, whichever term applies for someone with a Master's who's playing at a Ph.D. Hmm. Menotknows! Menotcares to much either. Thanks for the write-up and we'll have to go see about that and coffee nearby. Or I'll brew some Cafe Bustelo yes. Oh I know it's not the best, maybe, but among the cheapest, it is a gift from the universe. See faint praise here... http://www.coffeereview.com/review.cfm?ID=575
timv's picture

Some follow-up links

The bike co-op you mentioned, also located on Grove Street, is Bike Me!, also profiled in the paper earlier this year. My red commuter bike (old steel rigid-frame mountain bike converted to road tires and drop handlebars) was built using a lot of parts from there. I haven't been over to help out working in a while but they do good stuff. It's located in a shed at the back of the parking lot being The Hive, the not-for-profit community space that was mentioned in the bookstore article.

Regarding coffee, I also go for the Café Bustelo Espresso as well as for Café Pilon Espresso carried by the same distributor (or so it seems.) One is described as "the #1 selling Cuban coffee in the U.S.," the other as "South Florida's favorite espresso coffee" and I can't say that I've noticed a big difference between the two. But putting espresso-style coffee in an actual espresso maker makes a pretty challenging cuppa and I think my palate is a good bit more tender than yours. (I can't handle those Atomic Fireballs that you like when you're skating either.) I mix a little bit of the "el gusto Hispano" coffee with some ordinary Maxwell House or whatever and I find that that works well for me.

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