My Favorite Place in Winston-Salem

Over the weekend, I decided that it was time to get off campus and explore downtown. I’ve mostly been downtown at night with a clear purpose of where I was going in mind. On this particular Saturday afternoon, I decided to head there solely to wander, without any of the constraints and stressfulness of homework looming over my head.

Tucked away on Fourth Street, I discovered Bookmarks Independent Bookstore. I walked down a brick outdoor corridor painted with a mural of many different literary characters (Dr. Suess, Harry Potter to name a few!) until I came to a building shared by both Bookmarks and a coffee shop called Foothills. The adventure was already off to a good start when I noticed the funny reading themed message displayed on the easel outside. It read: Do I Need Another Book? The answer “No” was circled in blue and lead to—wrong answer obviously! This bookstore has a sense of humor!

Bookmarks began in 2004 as a literary nonprofit. They work with the community of Winston-Salem to host a variety of events (book talks, book clubs, author visits) every month. Since their founding they have brought over 700 authors, illustrators and storytellers to talk at their shop.

Once I stepped inside the shop, I was immediately transported into a literary world that no commercialized Barnes and Noble or Amazon Books can provide. I walked through the rows and rows, grabbing books that looked intriguing and read their blurbs. I loved reading the staff summaries of certain books and watching fellow Book Worms find enticing reads of their own.

In addition to a fabulous selection of books, Bookmarks also has a great selection of book themed gifts. I kept coming across them and thinking “This would be great for my grandma or sister!” They also have many quiet nooks to curl up and read, and with Foothills connected right to the store your reading can be fueled by caffeine!

When I found the book I wanted to purchase I went to the register and told the lady at the front that I couldn’t believe I had been here all year and never stepped foot in Bookmarks. She proceeded to give me a copy of their calendar of events for April 2019. I scanned the page, noting many awesome author visits and one event in particular caught my eye: Threatening Property: Segregating Neighborhoods in the Camel City, Public Discussion. I noticed this event in particular because I wrote an article about the architecture of Winston-Salem for my journalism class last semester. One man I interviewed first introduced me to the city-wide problem of the gentrification of historic neighborhood such as Boston-Thurmond and how it needs to be addressed.

What impressed me the most about Bookmarks and noticing this event was how connected the store is to the town of Winston-Salem. They aren’t some corporate giant who swoops into a city and lacks connection with its residents. They are trying to incite change and healthy discussion with their community through reading.

Whether you are an avid reader, or someone who enjoys a relaxing environment or both, I encourage you to check out Bookmarks. They have a great selection of books to put on a summer to-read book list! I will make it a mission to introduce this haven to all of my friends so that they too can enjoy this piece of Winston-Salem.