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Common Language Bookstore: Uncommonly Diverse

Common Language Bookstore: Uncommonly Diverse image
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Creative Commons (Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share-alike)
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Agenda Publications
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Ann Arbor is famous for her bookstores. In searching out feminist literatura, there are plenty of places to look. Common Language, at 214 S Fourth Ave., s this area's Feminist LesbianBiGay bookshop and will have been in business forfive years come next May. Kate Burkhandtand Lynn Kelly, whoworked together at the People's Wherehouse, bought up a LesbianBiGay store called Common Destinations, which was going out of business. Burkhardt and Kelly have given Ann Arbor a unique and thoughtfully-run resource for Women's Studies, LesbianBiGay Studies and fiction.and Ethnic Studies. Kelly describes these categories as "our heart" She also says "there is a small and growing body of li terature for children of Gay and Lesbian parents." The children's section also contains lots of literatura without race and sex stereotyping. Having grown up in the 1960s, I vividly recall the confusión resulting from such stereotyped indoctrination. For this reason I was moved by the careful selection of materials to be shown to young, impressionable minds. Stepping inside the front door, one is struck by the organized layout of the place. Kelly likes to be able to see nearly all of the sections from the front of the store, and has put up very legible skjns everywhere so that the many categories can be taken in at a glance: Biography. Poetry. Humor. Really cool Art books. Health. Recovery. Spirituality (doesn't need to be a huge section; Crazy Wisdom is just down the street). Race and Ethnicity. Fiction, Mystery and Fantasy, mostly female authors. And yes: Lesbian and Gay ERÓTICA. It's freshing to see this material cheerfully included in the spread of choices. They've also got cassette tapes and CDs (lots of K.D. Lang) magazines, greeting cards, blank books for writing in, and even a small section of books about writing itsetf. They have used books and remainders, with a rental library of books and videos. T-shirts. Jewelty. Two "Ken" dolls wearing bridal gowns, looking just ducky over the humor shelves. There were some beautif ui Lesbian and Gay photos on display near the back, and a local nformation exchange so as to assist in the general communication. A small circle of armchairs.alsoneartherearofthestore.isavailable forgroups to meet in (provided said groups are not charging fees). Kelly took me down to the basement and explained that they'd like for that space to be made available to worthy organizations as well. One idea was that it could become a Lesbian BiGay coffee shop, which would be wonderful and we're waiti ng to see what actually happens in that space. So let it be known we have a bookstore run by two very righteous women who have clearly defined principies regarding sexual politics, that most of the titles in the store are written by women, and that the atmosphere of the place is friendly and supportive towards everyone and especially towards the Lesbian and Gay community. P.S. Common Language carnes most of the titles mentioned in the "Feminist Uterature" essay on this same page.


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