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Boarding House Books in Claremore, OK

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troy-with-books-600.jpgOne of the things I like to do when I visit a new city is to check out the indie bookstores.  It is almost always a pleasurable experience -- especially when the owner is happy to talk shop.  Such was the case at Boarding House Books in Claremore, OK 


Claremore, OK is a really small town in North Eastern, OK. I have lived in an apartment complex with more apartments than there are people who live in all of Claremore.  Its most famous residents include Patti Page and Will Rogers.  Claremore, like the rest of state, is Trump Country.


I actually went to Claremore for a completely unrelated reason and stumbled across the store strolling down their "main street," something I also like to do when visiting small communities.  I just like the idea of a neighborhood that has a strip of indie stores run by local people.  The streets are often named Main Street and are very quaint -- I like them.  


NYC's 125th street was the closest thing we had in Harlem to a "Main Street," but now it is over run with multination chains that have robbed the community of its character.


At any rate, I was surprised to come upon what appeared to be a modest store front bookstore.  I was looking for the book 

Leviathan Wakes by James S. A. Corey and was told to go to room #8 upstairs.  I was surprised the store had a 2nd floor that was twice the foot print of the first floor. The store was actually larger than any bookstore I've seen in Harlem (back when Harlem actually had indie bookstores).  We quickly found the book I was looking for and spent the next hour pouring over the volumes. I had an arm full of books, both new and used. I would have purchased many more books, but I was starting to get carried away 🙂


The owner, a woman about my age, told me she had over 40K books in her store.  She knew exactly how many books she had because she had them all in an database.  I was impressed, so she showed me the software she used.  She also gave us a tour of the store and explained its history.  The owner, Janice Whitaker (pictured with me below), also told me she was had a degree in Electrical Engineering and an MBA.  I was like, "So do I! How in the world did we end up becoming booksellers"  She is also a passionate cyclist (as am I) and I said we need to take a photo together.




I've been all over the country visiting stores like Janice's. I wish the economics, in places like Harlem, permitted stores like Boarding House Books to exist.



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I've been all over the country visiting stores like Janice's. I wish the economics, in places like Harlem, permitted stores like Boarding House Books to exist.


You can make that happen.


You may have to have a few fundraising events if you have the time and energy, but you CAN make it happen.

Tariq Nasheed is trying to build some sort of Black history museum in Los Angeles right now and he's raising money to do so.  You should check out what he's doing as a bit of an outline/blue print of some things you can do.

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Dude, I can't even afford to live in NYC let alone run a brick and mortar store there. 


But I guess if it is going to happen one has to dream big.  Thanks!


I'll peep Tariq's game.



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Guest W {Paul Coates



thanks so much for being our man on the front line reporting back on great finds like this one. i thought he thing with bith you guys have the same degrees was just too much. keep up the good hard work.

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