By Karinya Funsett
CHRIS CODUTO/Arizona Summer Wildcat
Keith Whitten, UA alumnus, browses through one of the sections of Antigone's bookstore. Antigone's, 411 N. 4th Ave., is home to a large collection ranging from children's books to books by local authors.
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
Tucson readers are a lucky bunch. In addition to the two bookstore giants (Borders and Barnes & Noble), Tucson has a good selection of independent, locally owned bookstores, each serving their own niche in the community. Score some good reads (and some good karma points) by supporting them the next time you're feeling literary.
The Reader's Oasis is a little bookstore with a lot of heart. As a general-interest bookstore, it carries a little bit of everything, from children's stories to New Age books, both new and used. One standout feature of the Reader's Oasis is its excellent selection of works by local authors. In fact, the Reader's Oasis would be just about perfect if it had a larger location - the limited shelf space makes for a limited selection, and it can be frustrating if you're looking for something in particular. Still, the friendly staff is helpful and will be happy to special-order just about anything for you (if you can stand to wait a few days). The store also hosts frequent author readings/book signings; call or check out its Web site for upcoming events. Reader's Oasis, 3400 E. Speedway Blvd., is open 10 a.m. 7 p.m. Monday - Thursday, 10 a.m. 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 10 a.m. 5 p.m. on Sunday. 319-7887 . www.readersoasis.com
Antigone's Web site describes it as a "zany bookstore with a feminist slant," and that's the truth. Everyone is welcome in this feminist store, which emphasizes gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender literature. Antigone carries just about any Women's Studies or Gay and Lesbian Studies book that you could want, along with a good selection of current events books and progressive magazines. The staff book picks usually highlight interesting female authors, while the store's music section includes CDs from local and feminist artists. Antigone also carries an eclectic selection of bumper stickers, cards and handmade gifts, which you can browse under the watchful eye of the store's life-sized cardboard cutout of Xena, warrior princess. Antigone Books, 411 N. Fourth Ave., is open 10 a.m. 7 p.m. Monday - Thursday, 10 a.m. 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 12 p.m. 5 p.m. on Sunday. (520) 792-3715. www.antigonebooks.com
Bookman's is an indie superstore. It has three giant Tucson locations, each packed with used books, magazines, CDs, movies and video games. Most books sell for half their cover price, and customers are encouraged to bring in their own used books for cash or store credit (but be warned - don't expect too much for your trade, especially if you choose to be paid in cash, and movie and game prices generally aren't much cheaper than regular retail). Bookman's saving graces are its larger selection (you never know what you might find) and longer hours than those of other local bookstores, which makes it an inviting place to hang out and browse. Each location hosts frequent literary and community events - check individual stores or Bookman's Web site for details. All stores open 9 a.m. 10 p.m. daily. Visit www.bookmans.com for individual locations and phone numbers.
Biblio is probably the hippest of the local bookstores (it's often referred to as a "literary salon"), but it's also the most inconvenient. It's got a central downtown location, which spells parking nightmare. However, the classy and open interior lends itself to poetry readings, and the store is lined with walls of bookshelves full of titles and authors of which you may not have heard. Plus, the owner is a UA graduate. All of this adds up to a great bookstore - when it's open. However, you will want to avoid just stopping by, as I learned on one July afternoon when I waited outside the store for nearly 20 minutes for the owner to come back from running an errand. In fact, the store is currently closed due to summer vacation, so be sure to call before you go. Biblio is located at 222 E. Congress St. (520) 624-8222.