I was there right before the folks from Southern Living. Yes, that's right. The store doesn't officially open until this weekend and it's already attracting the attention of Southern Living. They have a lovely blog post full of information about the bookstore and its proprietor, Chuck Beard. (Chuck is also the editor of Number arts magazine.)
Chuck developed the concept for the East Side Story after getting involved with Nashville’s arts and culture scene and realizing the need for a place that brought writers and artists together. Literary journals and self-published novels will line the shelves next to local art. And though the space is small (16 by 16 feet), he’s coming up with creative ways to make spaces for readings and workshops.
The space is small, but there's something about it how it's arranged and the way that Beard inhabits it with a kind of jolly enthusiasm that makes you feel cozy, not cramped. Just in the brief time I was in there, I felt like Beard could have put his finger on five things I might like to read.
Having grown up in the era of the big-box Borders and Barnes & Noble stores, there's something mind-blowing about a store so small. I know this is a weird word to use, but the store feels curated — which I guess it is, since most of the books will be by Nashville authors. But it feels almost as much like an interactive art exhibit as it does a typical bookstore.
I'm curious and excited to see if this model of bookstore works and catches on.