Lorraine Martindale on Bloomington’s Caveat Emptor

While I focus on things other than blogging this month, I’m running a series on independent bookstores. Below New School MFA student Lorraine Martindale praises Caveat Emptor of Bloomington, Indiana.

I love everything about this place. The mildly cranky, white-haired, bearded guy and the smart, cheerful woman who have both run it for years, who always have intelligent comments about the books I’ve decided to buy, and will keep the store open late if you can’t make an immediate decision (the guy lives in the apartment above the store and walks to campus frequently for opera and jazz shows); the fact that I always find an an out-of-print book I’ve been dying to read for years; the haphazard yet seemingly orderly stacks of good literary fiction and art books, and all the clippings and quotes and cartoons posted around the stacks.

The interior is nothing that exquisite — though the ceiling has interesting molding and the store is a clean, well-lighted space — but that’s what I like about it. It’s a place completely devoted to books. I usually have at least one serendipitous find here — I’ll be thinking about an idea for a story, and the right book with related themes will be at my eye level on the shelf. Or someone will recommend a book, and I will see it atop a piled-up stack, waiting. And the music playing is always jazz, always.

Image swiped from PlanetWetDog. And here’s a July 1975 ad for the place. (If you’d like to see your favorite bookstore mentioned, send email to bookstores [at] maudnewton [dot]com telling me about it. Please include a photograph, or a link to one.)


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