A Pittsburgh Gem

I absolutely love visiting Independent book stores. There is something nostalgic that happens each time I grab the handle to open the door to a new paradise; it brings up fond memories of visiting book stores with my Grandma, wondering what treasures would end up in my bag, and the anticipation of the journey I was about to embark on.

I have a life goal of opening up my own Independent bookstore one day, so anytime I am on travel, I love to explore the unique stores and take an inventory of what I like of each store.

Our Thanksgiving trip this year started with a trip to Pittsburgh to celebrate ‘Friendsgiving’ with my dear friend from high school and her family. As that visit came to an end and we started our journey across Western PA for our family Thanksgiving festivities, we stopped by a quaint shop down the road from Pittsburgh’s Little Italy, The White Whale Bookstore.

A quaint, small, gallery like store, it was bursting with the excitement that surfaces in every bookstore.

We carefully perused each section, from new releases, to bestsellers, to a feature of Pittsburgh authors. My observant husband found the table of autographed books and enthusiastically browsed each one.

My kiddos quickly navigated to the simple, yet abundant kids section in the store. We have two different readers in the house: a beginning reader and a middle grade reader and the kids section appealed to both.

Oddly, my middle grade reader picked up the new release and adaptation of one of our favorites ‘My (The) Book With No Pictures’ and my beginning reader was enthralled by the graphic novel ‘Dog Man: A Tale of Two Kitties’; he picked it up, found a seat and looked through the pictures.

My oldest was significantly disappointed that his brother chose book 3 in the ‘Dog Man’ series and the two had a serious debate, which amused the other visitors, about why his brother should start at the beginning of the series. Ultimately, my oldest lost the debate, but not without adding the first book in the series to our pile. I was smiling on the inside, pleased with the conversation between the two, and gave myself a silent pat on the back.

As we were checking out, I looked to my left and saw a beautiful display of unique wrapping paper, draped over the rungs of a display ladder. Oh how I would love to receive books wrapped in that paper! And what a clever idea, note to self for my bookstore!

In my visits to Independent Book Stores, I love to look for unique bindings of classic books. The White Whale did not disappoint. As you walk into the store, there is a rustic, ladder bookshelf to the left and on the top shelf, I found exactly what I wanted. I originally picked up ‘Tess of the D’ubervilles’ as I am partial to the name, but opted to go with Emma, by Jane Austen. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the movie will be coming out in February.

The White Whale was a wonderful store, full of Pittsburgh nostalgia, and I was pleased to see the numerous books about Fred Rogers and ‘Mister Rogers Neighborhood’. As a kindness advocate myself, I quickly scooped up the book. I’m only a few pages in, but am loving the story of a man that shaped my childhood and nurtured a love of kindness.

After our travels “home”, I snuggled under a warm blanket (a staple for this Florida resident in frigid PA ), and fanned the pages of the book. I stopped on the following quote at the start of Part II:

“The real issue in life is not how many blessings we have, but what we do with our blessings. Some people have many blessings and hoard them. Some have few and give everything away.” — Fred Rogers

If you happen to be in the Pittsburgh area, definitely stop in to visit this gem. And, if you have any recommendations of unique Independent Book Stores I should add to my list, please comment below! Happy Reading!!

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