While most bookstores are known for their unique selection of books, Literati Bookstore is known for another feature: its typewriters.
Since it opened in Ann Arbor Michigan in 2013, Literati Bookstore has paid homage to the classic literary days by displaying actual typewriters around its store. One typewriter stands out, a 1930s Smith-Corona which storeowner Michael Gustafson inherited from his grandfather. The vintage typewriter is always filled with paper in order to allow customers to leave messages, insider jokes, and confessions if they wish to do so.
Image Via Literati Bookstore WordPress
The typewriter, which has since become a symbol of the independent bookstore, may be old but it has been used plenty today. In an interview with NPR, Gustafson, who co-owns the store alongside his wife Hilary Gustafson, revealed that the typewriter has been used by so many customers, he’s been able to collect “thousands of pages” of typed messages. And he’s read every single one of them.
“I read every single note because I’m terrified I’m going to miss something. I can’t throw away any of these notes. I’ve got a filing cabinet of just thousands of pages,” he said.
The touching written messages ranged from beautiful poems about childhood to personal reflections of sobriety to eulogies on dead cats to single words and so on. Some personal favorites were even displayed on the store’s exterior brick wall for the public to appreciate.
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According to Gustafson, the typed messages painted on the wall have since gained a ton of attraction. One message in particular, “I will find someone someday” has become a popular background for couples to take selfies, he told NPR.
The large volume of anonymous notes, along with the growing popularity of the messages inspired Gustafson to make a book out of them. Notes From a Public Typewriter will display 300 of the best anonymous messages within twelve short chapters and if the book cover is a tell sign, it will be a hell of a read.
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Notes From a Public Typewriter, published by Grand Central Publishing, is available for purchase now.
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