WSIRN Ep 77: How to save The Shop Around the Corner

WSIRN Ep 77: How to save The Shop Around the Corner

If you have ever dreamed of opening your own bookstore, you’re about to learn exactly how another reader is making that dream come true. Meet Alison Frenzel, a reader from Waco Texas who is in the process of bringing her bookish business idea into the real world!

In this episode we discuss our nostalgic reading habits, what books and chocolate cake have in common, and the extroverted reader’s perspective. When it’s time to talk bookshop business, Alison has some solid business advice for my favorite fictional bookstore owner, Kathleen Kelly.

Let’s dive in.

What Should I Read Next #77: How to save The Shop Around the Corner with Alison Frenzel

Follow Alison’s soon-to-be bookshop, Fabled: Website | Instagram   
Check out alllll the bookish goodies on Readerly: Shop | Instagram 

Books mentioned in this episode:

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The Betsy-Tacy series, by Maud Hart Lovelace
• The Distant Hours, by Kate Morton
• The Sea of Tranquility, by Katja Millay
• Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, by Robin Sloan
• Commonwealth, by Ann Patchett
• The Woman in Cabin 10, by Ruth Ware
• The Madwoman Upstairs, by Catherine Lowell
• Possession, by A.S. Byatt
• First Impressions: A Novel of Old Books, Unexpected Love, and Jane Austen, by Charlie Lovett
• The Bookman’s Tale: A Novel of Obsession, by Charlie Lovett
• The Lost Book of the Grail, by Charlie Lovett
• Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Brontë
• Wuthering Heights, by by Charlotte & Emily Brontë
• The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, by Anne Brontë
• The Bronte Sisters collection
• Everything, Everything, by Nicola Yoon
• The Sun Is Also A Star, by Nicola Yoon
• Far Far Away, by Tom McNeal
• The Virgin in the Garden, by A.S. Byatt
• This Is Where You Belong: The Art & Science of Loving Where You Live, by Melody Warnick

Bookstores mentioned:

• Fabled Bookshop (Waco, TX)
• Book People (Austin, TX)
• Politics & Prose (WA DC)
• Parnassus Books (Nashville)

WSIRN Episodes mentioned:

• Ep 41: Your TBR Will Never Be The Same, w/Holland Saltsman
• Ep 39: Judging a book by its first sentence, w/ Melody Warnick

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27 comments | Comment


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  1. Kudos to Alison for taking the plunge. Retailers have had such a cultural spot for so long. Places where we all go to get what we need, often turning the chore into an outing, almost a sport. Going from shop to shop and mingling with others. Even in the era of malls, it was a community experience. Bookstores are first among retailers for fostering a communal feeling. Now, people stay “connected” but via their screens, and shop online. The NY Times had an article on Sunday about how Amazon is at the tipping point for destroying physical retailers. Downtowns die, as people order three of everything in order to try different sizes, and then send the rejects back. Think of the waste, the pollution that goes into all those deliveries and returns.

  2. Rebekah says:

    Allison should read “The Revenge of Analog: Why Real Things Matter.” It could be interesting as she launches her business in a world which overvalues digital.

  3. Shannon says:

    I loved this episode! My taste in books is so close to Allison’s, and I’ll definitely be making a trip to Waco (from Houston) to visit Fabled once it’s open. I would also recommend the Shadow of the Wind. It’s maybe a little darker than the books she mentioned but also an exciting literary based mystery.

  4. Caitlin says:

    Loved this episode! I swear my TBR list grows every time I tune in.

    Readerly is also completely adorable! Fingers crossed that they can ship internationally…

  5. First, best of luck with the bookstore…completely worth a road trip from the Poconos when your are up and running. Second, I only read Mr. Penumbera’s 24-Hour Bookstore because it was recommended as a “If you loved X as a child, try Y as an adult” book. The X as a child is The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin, which is my favorite book of all time, and I’ll happily defend it to my death as one of the greatest books written. I’ve read it every year since its publication and take away something new every time I reread it.

    • Stacy in TX says:

      I loved The Westing Game!! One of my favorite books from when I was a child and still fun to reread.

  6. Cristina says:

    So excited to hear about this bookstore! I love about 40 minutes away from Waco and I think like your vision for the store is so needed and perfect for this area!

  7. Sabrina Molden says:

    I wonder if she would feel differently about “Commonwealth” if she knew Ann Patchett feels its the most autobiograpical novels yet. As I have read her life story and listened to her, I think I have picked out she and her father. Many of our real life stories are messy without redemption.

  8. Johnna Davis says:

    I absolutely adored Far, Far Away!!! I will say, if you like to listen to a book, this one is a great choice. The reader is excellent! I couldn’t wait for any opportunity to listen and felt like I had lost a friend when it was over.

  9. Rebekah says:

    After listening, I checked out MR. Penumbra’s 24 hour bookstore and WOW! it is strange and fun. I think I’ll be sad when it’s done.

    • Jamie says:

      Did you figure out that the cover of the book glows in the dark?!!? That freaked me out one night when I put it on my bedside table (er, chair?) and then flipped the lights off, only to find a strange glow emanating from said table/chair. Ha! 🙂

  10. Diana says:

    This was one of my favorites because her tastes seems closest to my own. LOVED The Sun is Also a Star and The Sea of Tranquility!

  11. Brandyn says:

    I’d recommend “Daughter of the Forest” by Juliet Marillier for Alison. It’s more clearly “magical” than Alison’s picks, but very accessible. I didn’t feel like I was reading fantasy.
    Two caveats:
    1) I hate the cover.
    2) The first 100 pages are a little slow. They are very interesting. I get bored easily and had no problem keeping focused, but after the first 100 pages I could not put it down.

  12. Angela Dikes says:

    Hey Anne, I LOOOOOOOVE the podcast and always listen in the car while driving. I often want to add guest’s favorites or your recommendations to my TBR list. So, I make myself a voice memo note to “add 2nd favorite on episode 77”. But then when I get to the show notes, I can’t remember what it was called or what it was about and I can’t tell from the list of books mentioned which one was the 2nd favorite! ack! Is there a place online where you list specifically the guest’s favorites in order and your recommendations in order? If there is, I’d love to know. If not, is that something you’d consider doing? (for those of us that can’t remember the name of the book after we’ve listened to the description and decide we want to read it! Thanks for all you do!

  13. Jill W. says:

    If Alison likes character redemption and being left with hope at the end of a book, then I recommend any of Joshilyn Jackson’s books. Between Georgia is my personal favorite, but they all have great character development.Can’t wait to read The Almost Sisters coming out this summer.

  14. Eva says:

    I loved this episode! My taste in books is so close to Allison’s, and I’ll definitely be making a trip to Waco (from Houston) to visit Fabled once it’s open.

    xx Eva

  15. Amy Marie says:

    I loved this episode…the reference to one of my favorite movies ever…sigh. Kathleen Kelly. I really enjoy literary fiction and can’t wait to check into some of these. Thanks. 🙂

  16. Ellen S says:

    this was an extra great episode! I have a similar taste to Alison so it was great to find a couple more picks that I might enjoy. Oh and next week – Kathleen Grissom? I can hardly wait – you spoil us rotten Anne 🙂

  17. Jamie says:

    When Anne described the books you picked as ‘racing across the country to figure out a mystery that is suddenly of the utmost importance’ (she said it much more eloquently, of course), it immediately brought to mind Amy Snow by Tracy Rees. It has gothic undertones (England in the late 19th/early 20th century), is driven by mysterious, post-humous letters from a benefactor to lead a young woman on a treasure/scavenger hunt around the country to uncover secrets about everyone’s lives. A little romance, a little mystery, a little fun. 🙂
    Also, and this might be a s t r e t c h….but for some reason Stephen King’s 11/22/63 popped in to my mind as well. It’s a commitment (849 pages!) but it’s worth it and not at all the type of books King is known for. If you can get past the time-travel premise (I know!), you might find it surprises you in a good way. Best of luck with your bookshop in Waco!

    • Halle says:

      I think 11/22/63 is a great pick only by the fact that I loved Alison’s three favorites and also loved 11/22/63!

      I would also recommend The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield, if you haven’t read it yet. It is a gothic story, with a bit of a mystery, and is all about books!

  18. Jamie says:

    The Thirteenth Tale was a tad too creepy for me. I loved the bookstore/storytelling aspect but the haunted ghost side was a bit much for me.

  19. Lindsey says:

    Also a huge Kate Morton fan here!!! The Distant Hours had me talking about it afterwards and during more than any book ever!

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