Nothing quite says autumn afternoon relaxation like lighting your favorite fall candle and curling up under a big, fuzzy blanket with a fantastic book in your lap.
For most of us, finding time to do this between soccer practice, dance lessons and ensuring your family that Twinkies do not, in fact, constitute dinner presents a bit of a challenge. Family schedules may relegate our book reading time to snatching snippets of pages off a phone app.
However, true bookworms should put a visit to Full Cirlc Bookstore on the top of thier list. While a good book can be picked up from your favorite superstore, there is something intrinsically more fascinating in finding your next good read at an independent store dedicated to the love of books. Oklahoma City’s own Full Circle Bookstore has been meeting the reading needs of Oklahomans for nearly 40 years.
Jim Tolbert purchased Full Circle Bookstore in 1977. In 1978, he set up shop in the VZD building in Crown Heights. A fire broke out, destroying much of the stock leading the owners to move the store to 50 Penn Place in 1980. The independent bookstore occupied a humble spot on the third floor before growing to occupy its current location on the first floor of the mall in 1985. Its neighbors and building mates have changed several times since then, but Full Circle has stood the test of time while still retaining all the charm and appeal of an inviting corner store.
In an age where everything digital seems to run our lives, books are no exception. Electronic books and readers have been on the rise, taking the bulk of a book and packing it neatly in the palm of your hand. While it might be a concern for some indie book shops that bound books seem to be going the way of the dinosaur, Full Circle has seen no problem.
“Even though you might think they would be a death knell for independent bookstores, the opposite seems to be true,” said Dana Meitzer, events coordinator at Full Circle. “Indie stores have re-invented themselves as a focal point for the community and there are actually more independent bookstores now than 10 years ago.”
It seems avid readers still appreciate the snap of a cover at the end of a good book and savor the sentiment of a bookshelf full of well-loved titles.
If your visit to Full Circle brings you in through the main entrance of the store, you’ll be greeted by Pearl the Bison, one of the 100 bison decorated by Oklahoma artists to help celebrate the state’s centennial in 2007. Her coat shines bright and white as she stands guard over the shop, serving as both sentinel and beloved mascot. Past Pearl’s perch, the floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, complete with gliding ladders mounted to overhead tracks, are packed with titles to appeal to every taste.
A vast selection of Oklahoma authors are featured prominently at the heart of the store. The staff is laid back, enthusiastic and happy to help you find your newest literary obsession. Cozy seating areas and auditorium seats lend a quirky and inviting aura to the store. The store is divided into nooks, managing to feel welcoming and lush at the same time.
The books are not the only draw to this local shopping experience. A quaint cafe called Java Joe’s, rich with the smell of gourmet coffee and homemade deli creations, occupies the far corner if your reading time requires a bit of caffeine. Eats are masterfully created by Eli’s Custom Catering and are available daily until 2:30 p.m.
A children’s reading area includes the latest titles for young readers as well as classic stories. Antsy hands can play with a selection of toys as a quick break from browsing. For parent readers with little climbers, beware; those gorgeous ladders are in the children’s area as well, painted a playful red.
Families can enjoy a weekly reading time at 10:15 a.m. every Saturday at Full Circle with Julie Westerhide. Local authors will join the family fun from
time to time, reading their books and sharing their stories. Rich storytelling experiences help your family develop a life-long interest in reading and literature. Full Circle is always pleased to see teens and college kids visit the store each Saturday to relive their memories of story time with Julie.
Full Circle also invites authors of a more grown-up variety for poetry sessions, readings and book signings. The Full Circle website, www.fullcirclebooks.com, maintains a complete calendar of authors and guests scheduled to appear.
Full Circle Bookstore is more than just a place to stop in and grab a book. While it can serve that purpose with its wide selection of titles, it can also be used as a place of refuge in the hectic life. The atmosphere is calming with its soft music echoing past the pages of books begging to be perused. The winding paths through high-reaching shelves offer shelter from the busy life outside. A tremendous change of pace from the mall just across the street, visitors to Full Circle feel like they can breathe, taking in the distinct scent of bound books and ink on paper. The Oklahoma City shop maintains an old, comfortable feel without being musty or stuffy, just right for that autumn afternoon.