My friend Kit and I spent the day on Sanibel Island on Saturday. We went specifically to visit Gene’s Books where our friend Donna works. Any chance to spend time in an Independent Bookstore is always a treat. After all, there aren’t many of those around here.
First of all, the drive across the causeway to get to the island is spellbinding. It put us totally in the mood to play tourist for the day. How lucky are we to have Sanibel Island in our backyard!
Gene’s is on the main drag: Periwinkle Way. It’s charming. It’s eclectic. We put our body- transmission in idle and slowed way down. Upon entering you immediately get the feel for the place. Someone has put a lot of love into this store. Heart and soul. Stacks of new books greeted us as we took our first steps inside. I felt heaven embrace me from that moment on. Florida books were shelved and stacked to our right and so we began our visit right there. We did not want to miss one darn book.
Gene, who is the owner of this amazing bookselling haven, approached us and introduced himself. He is absolutely charming and we had a delightful time getting to know him. He told us about first thinking the store would be strictly mystery. That is why he has nooks and shelves packed with wonderful mysteries from around the world. And they are marked accordingly. Makes it easy to discover new and exciting authors from unique places. He told us about himself and we told him that we are both booksellers. We had a lot in common.
We perused the music and video area and enjoyed seeing the piano in the middle of the store. Often, patrons sit and play their favorite tunes. How very cool!
John D. Macdonald is featured in the back of the first house. One of my favorite mystery writers who has a great character named Travis McGee who lives on an old houseboat named the Busted Flush that he won in a card game. Most of this wonderful series takes place in a marina south of Miami.
Then, you go out back. Out back on rolling carts and tables are MORE books. Then, when you think that’s it, well, it’s NOT. There’s another building.
Just look at this pretty pink building. It beckons to come in. And, so we did. We strolled around and picked over the stacks, carefully. Didn’t want any tumbling.
We found the literary section at the end of the line. I felt like I had hit the jackpot.
For a true book lover, this novel place is a real find. There is nothing like it anywhere close. The closest I’ve ever come is in Key West and the books were not new and not in great condition. And that was years ago. If you want a great book experience you have to visit Gene’s Books on Sanibel Island, Florida. End of story.
I want to mention that Gene is expanding. He’s adding another house across the street from the current store. They are shooting to open in the spring. All the literature will be moving to the new location. That will certainly alleviate a lot of the floor stacks. And will make the store a bit easier to shop. But we loved it the way it is.