One is a treasure trove of incredible used books. Another specializes in a specific genre, and the third is a Charleston institution.
All of these are great places to find the perfect gift for any literate person on your holiday shopping list.
And…even if they aren’t that literate, there are a variety of picture books available.
This wonderfully eclectic bookstore opened earlier this year, and it is the long-standing dream of beloved Charleston musician and librarian, Charlie Tee, realized by his widow, Lynn Rousseau.
When the store opened in August, Lynn told WOWK, “During COVID quarantine, our dream was to open a small bookstore, and he would make little baked goods, and I would run the store. Then, he died of COVID [on] Dec. 18, 2021, I miss him very much. He was my rock and my backbone.”
There are books for everybody. You’ll find novels, art books, hobby books, loads of cookbooks, and there’s a huge section of children’s books, a particular favorite of Charlie’s. It’s a wonderful way to keep the memory of such a sweet, sweet man alive.
The space is really cool. It’s a cozy little bookstore, plunked down right in the middle of a cool, industrial-looking setting.The lighting is great and there are places to sit to rest if the book-shopping overwhelms you. Plus you get the bonus of great conversation with Lynn, who will hunt down any book that you can’t find in the store.
The store is not hard to find. It’s located one block South of Main Street in Saint Albans, snugly nestled on the second floor of the buildig that houses Teays Physical Therapy, on the corner of Kanawha Terrace and B Street. There is ample parking right across the street.
Be prepared to spend plenty of time looking through Lynn’s stock of books. There are new books arriving daily, in any genre you can imagine, and it will take multiple visits for you to see everything. I recommend following the Appalachian Books Facebook page to keep up with the new arrivals and special discounts and events (like the one seen below).
Meanwhile in South Charleston, on D Street to be exact, we have another new bookstore. Plot Twist Books is an independent bookstore located in South Charleston, West Virginia. They offer a curated selection of new and used books and bookish gifts, with a heavy accent on mystery. But they have all sorts of great books from which you can choose.
From their website:
Our new books are priced according to the publisher’s cover price. Used books are generally priced as follows:
Hardback: $7 | Paperback $5 | Mass Market PB $3 | Children’s $1-3
We are a donation-only store, and we offer a discount coupon in exchange for donations. We accept donations of good, quality books that are in solid condition. Acceptable genres include general fiction, non-fiction, classics, recent releases (past 5 years), bio/memoir, kids/teen/YA, sci-fi/fantasy, poetry, short stories, horror, graphic novels and coffee table books.
We are not interested in vintage romance novels, mass market writers (e.g. Patterson, Grisham), encyclopedias, textbooks, outdated technology books, and other items in poor condition.
Co-owned by Matt Browning and Brian Mann, Plot Twist Books is a welcome addition to the literary scene in the region. You want to check out their website, and their Facebook page to keep up with author signings and other special events.
226 Capitol St, Charleston, WV
Taylor Books is a bit of a landmark in Charleston now. Founded years ago by Ann Saville, and currently in new and very capable hands, this combination bookstore, art gallery and coffee shop has become a destination on Capitol Street, drawing fans from around the world.
Since it’s so hard to write about something new about a place as well-known as Taylor Books, I’m just going to swipe from their website:
Since our grand opening in 1995, Taylor Books has become a Charleston institution and a favorite landmark for locals and visitors a like. Featuring a café serving a vast variety of coffees, home baked muffins, scones, cookies, cakes and other goodies, wine, free Wi-Fi, live music every weekend, author events, a fine art gallery featuring local, regional and national artists, board games, a full schedule of classes in our two art studios, rich architectural character, free book club membership, fast special order service, an abundant selection of unique cards and gifts, thousands of books from all genres, including an unsurpassed selection of regional works, and a friendly, attentive staff. Hope to see you soon!
Most of the books I recommend in The 2023 PopCult Gift Guide can be ordered through Taylor Books or Plot Twist Books, simply by using the ISBN number. Lynn might be able to track them down, too.