Monday, February 5, 2007

Bookworms infest St. Paul!

For years, Louise Erdrich has owned and operated Birchbark Books in Kenwood. The incredibly gifted and prolific writer hardly needs the income or the headaches of independent retail. She does it for simple love of books; the heft in the hand, the tooth of fine paper, the gilded letter-forms in their proper setting.

Now her St. Paul counterpart, Garrison Keillor, has done the same. Common Good Books has quietly opened at Cathedral Hill's Blair House on Western and Selby Avenues. The basement shop beneath Nina's Coffee lives up to its name beautifully: It is well stocked with books that are common, good, and frequently address the common good.

The location also speaks to Keillor's perennial obsession with F. Scott Fitzgerald. Can it be a coincidence that the former Angus Hotel once housed Scotty's mother in her widowed years?

We doubt you'll see much of the proprietor himself. He's gracious in public—but Good Lord, the man seems to hold down about twenty jobs at once.

Common Good Books,, 165 Western Avenue, Suite 14, St. Paul, 651.225.8989

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