The Art of Sports: Hurry Up


Books and more books

Books and more books

The Art of Sports: Hurry Up
and Enjoy Ann Arbor

By Mark Lewis

Hurry Up.

That sums up the philosophy of Fielding H. Yost, the University of Michigan football coach from 1901 to 1926. That also became Yost’s nickname as his “point-a-minute” Wolverine squads ran roughshod over opponents.

According to University of Michigan legend, Yost grew so impatient with his sluggish players, he barked: “Hurry up! … If you can’t hurry, make way for someone who can!”

Why do I know this? Bookstores.

On an impromptu trip to Ann Arbor, Michigan, my wife and I stumbled into more mom and pop bookstores than you can shake an original edition at. I saw my fill of Yost lore, along with indigenous history and even a book on the history of newspapermen. 

The Literati Bookstore featured new books as did the Crazy Wisdom Bookstore and Tea Room. Dawn Treader Book Shop, Motte & Bailey Bookseller, West Side Book Shop and Aunt Agatha’s New & Used Mysteries, Detection & True Crime Books all include that wonderful smell of hard-to-find books and the uplifting sound of browsers turning pages.

Each carved a niche in a surprisingly crowded market, even for a college town.

Dawn Treader and West Side conjure thoughts of every quaint book emporium portrayed in movies and television shows.

Stacks of various heights surround proprietors and customers alike and finding something you are interested in may seem like an improbable act.  But if you ask someone who works there, the book will likely be in your hands within seconds.

Dawn Treader’s website says the store is particularly interested in scholarly books in the sciences and humanities; modern first editions, including science fiction, fantasy and mysteries; and early travel and exploration. Maps, ancient artwork and prints are scattered throughout.

West Side promises “inventory that changes often and a knowledgeable staff that consists of readers and book lovers who genuinely care about our customers’ reading needs.”

The other businesses might be a bit more orderly, although Crazy Wisdom offers tea, of course, along with music and astrology readings. Store owners also publish the Crazy Wisdom Community Journal, Ann Arbor’s holistic magazine according to the cover.

Aunt Agatha’s has its own niche. The store earned the 2014 Raven Award, presented by Mystery Writers of America. Established in 1953, the award recognizes outstanding achievement in the mystery field outside the realm of creative writing.

Motte & Bailey’s bailiwick is American and European history, books about books and children’s books. Literati, the newest entry, makes a point of being very local: the bookshelves were purchased from the Borders Store No. 1 and the tables came from Ann Arbor thrift stores and consignment shops.

Ann Arbor boasts more than bookstores. One of our favorite stops included Downtown Home and Garden. Built as a livery stable in 1908 (the same year Henry Ford put the mass-produced Model T on the streets, oops), the store offers city folk a full stock of kitchenware and organic gardening supplies.

At night, the store’s parking lot transforms into Bill’s Beer Garden with a vast array of craft beer and wine from Michigan. A few steps away, eight food carts provide culinary delights.

And there was the obligatory visit to Michigan Stadium, the 109,901-seat home for the football Wolverines where I covered Michigan’s 70-21 drubbing of Illinois in 1981

I enjoy college towns to no end.  And Ann Arbor jumped to the top of the list, a spot previously held by Madison, Wisconsin. Sorry, Badgers.

Aunt Agatha’s New & Used Mysteries

Crazy Wisdom Bookstore and Tea Room

Dawn Treader Book Shop

Literati Bookstore

Motte & Bailey Bookseller

West Side Book Shop

Downtown Home and Garden

Bill’s Beer Garden



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