US Indies Open in Hidden Nooks and Sleepy Hollows

From hidden nooks to sleepy hollows, US independent bookstores continue to find locations in which to open as the world gets back to normal – mostly – after the pandemic.

A children’s bookshop called Hidden Nook Booksellers has just opened in Grayling, Michigan, while Sleepy Hollow Bookshop has recently opened in the famous upstate New York village of the same name.  Sleepy Hollow is of course also the title of a famous supernatural short story by the US writer Washington Irving.  Many versions have been published and it was also filmed by Tim Burton in 1999 and starred Johnny Depp. 

Interestingly, although Irving’s story brought the town worldwide fame, the name ‘sleepy hollow’ predates the story.  It seems that in 1655 Adriaen Van der Donck, a Dutch colonist first published a work which referred to the nearby Pocantico River as Slapershaven or, literally, Sleepers’ Haven.  ‘Sleepy Hollow’ appears to be a later, Anglicized version of this name and actually applied to the valley of the Pocantico River. Today it serves as the name of the incorporated village.

The new shop’s owner Leah Bloom, a former librarian, has plans to start serving coffee and pastry as well as host a variety of community events. She told the local River Journal that she wants to bring in authors to read to children and illustrators to draw with them. She also hopes that the bookshop becomes a place where children and families naturally gravitate and interact with each other.

“For me, if I had tried to do too many things all at once, I couldn’t have done any of them very well in a small space.  So, I thought, here’s something I love – I love getting books into kids’ hands. In a store that’s not this massive space, I can actually do that very well, and be able to provide recommendations to people.”

Meanwhile, the hamlet in which the shop sits still has a reputation as the most haunted part of the US – but also the safest!