Playing For Keeps
Not to toot my own horn but (toot toot beep beep) I’ve been doing an amazing job at finding great places for date destinations for Danny and me.
When you start with Basquiat, you had better have a good plan to keep the standard high. Before Basquiat the best I could come up with was an impromptu romantic picnic in the park.
Recently, we went on a Family Day Date, Malachi and stroller in tow.
Our destination was inspired by several different factors:
Danny has been collecting books written by Black authors. (We’re going to need a home library with all the books we have between us.)
I’ve been seriously contemplating homeschooling Malachi because I want to have control over the type of curriculum and history he is exposed to, especially in his early and formative years.
Danny and I both love books…and turns out, so does Malachi! At one year old he already has a few clear favorites.
I majored in English as an undergraduate and took so many African American literature courses I may as well have minored in it, and I went through a phase where I was completely obsessed with the Black Arts Movement of the 60s. Literature For Us By Us.
Rare bookstores are a luxury these days, and a bookstore that exclusively features classic and rare works by Black authors is…well…even rarer!
With all that in mind, when I came across the For Keeps Bookstore instagram page, late last year, I knew it would be the kind of date destination Danny would enjoy.
We went on a Friday, and when we arrived it was still early afternoon.
The owner and curator, Rosa Duffy, greeted us warmly. Aside from a friend of hers who was also present, we were the only ones in the store.
The bookstore has a light, airy aesthetic and has a good amount of open space. So, we let Malachi roam carefully under our watchful eyes. He did well! I only had to rescue one or two JET magazines from his tight, curious grasp.
We found Rosa to be genuinely kind and welcoming. The conversation flowed easily.
This bookstore is truly a gem in its own right. For one, it has made rare and collectible books by Black authors accessible. You don’t have to have a large spending budget to walk out of the store with an amazing find. Prices start at $5.00 and Rosa does a good job at listing items at market value.
Of course, the rarer and more popular the book, the higher the price tag.
I spotted an autographed James Baldwin (how COOL is that!?), and at only half a stack (a little more than $500), that’s unheard of for a SIGNED copy.
We took our time perusing the store’s offerings. We spent a good two hours there, maybe even more.
Rosa actually opened the bookstore on historic Auburn Avenue in November 2018 with the hope that people would linger. Her desire is that For Keeps Bookstore would emerge as a space where the community can gather, and be a place that will foster stimulating conversation, especially among those with an interest in Black literature.
Which brings me to another key distinction—some books are for in-store reading only! In the center of the store is a round table featuring rare collectibles—books and magazines—from Ms. Duffy’s own personal collection.
It was meant to be a treat for Danny, but Malachi was the one who came out on top. We left with three books for Malachi—Martin’s Big Words, African Mythology, and an introduction to Black art work for children. All children’s books are $5.00 each!
Make no mistake, Danny left with a few treasures as well—To Die For the People by Huey Newton and a vinyl recording of Martin Luther King Jr. speaking.
For Keeps Bookstore is the kind of place you will want to visit again and again to see what books are in stock.
I’ll definitely be returning to seek out some more treasures, especially for myself. Theses two titles caught my eye, reminding me of two of my undergraduate courses: Race, Religion and Rebellion and (of course) African American Literature.
If you’re a book lover interested in playing for keeps when it comes to classic Black literature, this store is a must visit!
For Keeps Bookstore is open from 11a - 5p Thursday -Saturday and 12p - 5p on Sundays and is located at 171 Auburn Ave, Unit H1 in Atlanta, Georgia.