Blue Phoenix Books: The Best Independent Bookstore

Alpena is a small town located in the northern Huron coast of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. In fact, if you look your left hand, Alpena would be around the tip of your index finger.

It’s a little different than the surrounding areas. Many of Michigan’s small towns have their charm. But, Alpena reminds me of a miniature Chicago, than a small farming town.

Alpena’s downtown district has a thriving artistic community. The city on Thunder Bay is living up to its nickname Art Town. There are independent shops, art galleries, and great restaurants. One of my favorite places is the small, independent bookstore Blue Phoenix Books.

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The bookstore is warm, cozy, and inviting. It’s the type of place where one immediately wishes to sit down in front of the fireplace (which is convenient for patrons). The books selection is good, and the front table has a timely curated section.

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I spent a while in the store, mulling over all of the possible selections. Finally, I picked up the anniversary edition of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods. I could have spent a lot more time there and a lot for money, But, one of the best features of the store is the doorway to the cafe next door. Above the doorway hangs the famous riddle from The Lord of the Rings. It’s a nice touch.

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But, this is not the only reference to the famous fantastical tale. The is a carved replica of the Mines of Moria door that bears the riddle.

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The bookstore is great. The books are great. I think its important to support independent bookstores. I always make sure to visit when I’m in town.

Matthew Donnellon is a writer, artist, and sit down comedian. He is the author of The Curious Case of Emma Lee and Other Stories.

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