Downtown Birmingham shop is part book store, part museum

Downtown Birmingham shop is part book store, part museum
Jim Reed of Reed Books has created a unique shop in downtown Birmingham. (Phil Free / Alabama NewsCenter)

“This is a book store?” the new customer asks in surprise.

“I was just looking at the doodads,” she’s referring to all the collectible and cherished items scattered about to keep the books company.

She pauses thoughtfully, “Well, it’s good to know you have books, too, in case we ever need one.”

Her husband responds when I ask him what his kids are reading these days, “Well, they don’t read. Except on their phones.”

It’s another beautiful day in the neighborhood for Reed Books and the Museum of Fond Memories. Lots of browsers are combing the aisles and examining my foster children, the books. Some shoppers are just along for the ride with family and friends, some are here to dive into other worlds, other times, other lives through the page-by-page surprises awaiting them.

Some shoppers don’t get it – why would anybody read a book? Others cannot imagine living without an abundance of reading matter … because, well, reading matters to them.

I cherish customers who have fallen in love with reading. I cherish those who are beginning a flirtation with literature. I cherish readers who are returning to reading after years of distraction, decades of losing their way. I even cherish this rural husband and wife who do not read at all. I hope they have found something as thrilling and mind-boggling as reading, to while away their years. I can hope, can’t I?

I am about to begin my 40th year as curator/owner/founder/janitor of Reed Books. I operate this lovely calling, this business, out of sheer hope, sheer enthusiasm, sheer refusal to imagine a world that does not know what true love of reading is like.

To paraphrase the fictitious literary character Henry Standing Bear, It’s another beautiful day at Reed Books’ continual soiree. Come on down and drink deep, feast heartily on the best food for thought I can think of: books.

Convince me that you might be the visitor who just found out that you could use a book or two to get through the week.

And tell me where else in the world such characters as William Shakespeare and Rick Bragg and Henry Standing Bear would hang out. And find out how exciting it is to rub rubbing elbows with literati and illiterati with such ease.


The Museum of Fond Memories

2021 Third Avenue North

Birmingham, Alabama 35203

(205) 326-4460

Email: [email protected]






Tuesday through Friday 10:30 a.m. till 5:30 p.m.; Saturdays 11 a.m. till 4 p.m.

Founded in 1980 A.D.

Tours and tour groups welcomed!

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