In hopes to have each of the parts of this bookshelf audit build upon each other, it would be helpful to read through the details of a couple bookcases in this store that I chose to highlight. To address the different voices echoed through these bookshelves, you must look at the details, crack open a cover or two, note the authors, etc.. I am not sure if it was the general perception or chip-on-the-shoulder that lots of English majors go into bookstores thinking that we have an idea of the shelves and where the stores will lack because I assumed (because of the negativity you hear from some literary critics) that the shelves would a more limited selection and mostly contain the voices of white males from times gone by, but I saw the shelves of Underground Books carried a broad variety of voices and catered to a generous amount of audiences.
The “New Arrivals” section included the following authors (and many more not listed as well):
- Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari
- All Over but the Shoutin’ by Rick Bragg
- Worth It: Your Life, Your Money, Your Terms by Amanda Steinberg
- Empire Express: Building The First Transcontinental Railroad by David Haward Bain
- The Hunger Games and Philosophy by William Irwin
- Playground by 50 Cent
- I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
- Bowie A to Z: The Life of an Icon From Aladdin Sane to Ziggy Stardust by Steve Wide
- The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan
- The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
I think this list is a prime example of the diversity in voices that can be seen at Underground Books. From comedian Aziz Ansari to business expert Amanda Steinburg and even 50 Cent, there is variety in race, gender, background, etc.. Through the different lenses each author brings to the table, they also bring a unique voice and perspective to offer their audiences.
Moving on from “New Arrivals,” we have the majority of the back room dedicated to young readers — right up our alley for the bookshelves we like to see! Interesting enough, yet, probably not surprising to those of you who have considered this before, when looking through the books offered on these shelves, we primarily seen female authors. Although there are not exclusively female authors, almost all of the books I noted on my list were female written. From Children’s to Y.A., female authors dominated these genres, but their targeted audiences varied from stories of historical fiction to pirate tales to journeys of heroines.
Underground Books carefully and mindfully curates the book selections they offer in their store. They cover “classic” books (think F. Scott, Austen, McCarthy, Dickens, etc.) as well as trending books. As any business, it is apparent that their customers come to mind when selecting these books for their store. I know from personal experience that my younger sister had a summer reading assignment and (being a literary nerd myself & a strong supporter of shopping local for these sorts of things) we went to check out Underground Books to see if they had this specific book available. After perusing through the shelves for a bit, we asked the worker at the check-out counter if they carried the book, and she informed us that due to the demand from the local students, they were receiving a new shipment later that week; therefore, the customers and local decision-makers of reading lists help to craft what is in the collections of these local bookstore like Underground. This scenario can serve as an example of how Underground goes about catering to the local demand and audiences. Needless to say, Underground Books has the supply and determination to help you and yours find the books on your horizon.