Reviews from the road: Charis Books, Atlanta GA

I visited Charis Books in Atlanta Georgia, at the suggestion of many of you readers. It’s located in the Little Five Points Neighborhood, which is a cute area with big old houses and windy tree-lined streets. The little downtown area has a Berkeley feel to it, with thrift stores and coffee shops. Charis Books has it’s own building, painted light purple in true 1970′s feminist fashion. Charis self-identifies as an independent feminist bookstore and you definitely get that sense from spending some time there.
Not surprisingly, I loved the store. I was immediately drawn to the displays in the front, with new books, including a section dedicated to new lesbian fiction. I knew I would like the place when Alison Bechdel’s The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For was one of the week’s top sellers.
The store has a large collection of books with a strong emphasis and feminist and lesbian lit. One thing I appreciated was that the fiction section was integrated–both lesbian and non-lesbian fiction were shelved together. They also had a great LGBTQ young adult section (I have a secret obsession with YA LGBTQ lit).
They host an impressive list of feminist authors and have great writers workshops and events at the store.
Charis has been around for more that 30 years, an impressive accomplishment for an independent bookstore. It definitely does have the feel of a 1970s feminist business–particularly with the emphasis on lesbian lit alongside feminist lit. While I would say that feminists today don’t equate feminist with lesbian anymore, there is something for everyone at Charis Books.
They’ve got an online store, so if you want to support a local feminist business, you can browse the store by section online and purchase something.
Keep an eye out for an upcoming review of Aphrodite’s Toy Box, an Atlanta sex toy store!

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3 Comments

  1. Printmaker
    Posted January 1, 2009 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    Oh! I’m so glad Charis is getting attention. I grew up in Atlanta, and it was a reasonable voice against all the fundies living in the south. Definitely have a lot of my own feminist nature that should be credited to their existence when I was a teen.

  2. Carmen Wiseman
    Posted January 1, 2009 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

    If you manage to make it to Portland, Oregon, in your travels, please drop by In Other Words, another excellent independent feminist bookstore. IOW is currently fighting for its financial life [see Facebook group and the store's website, http://www.inotherwords.org/NASApp/store/IndexJsp, for more info].

  3. tpaperny
    Posted January 5, 2009 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

    I loved it, but my favorite part about this place was the non-profit that’s affiliated with them called Charis Circle. They seem to do a bunch of community work, including book clubs and reading groups held at the store.
    They have one called “Exploring Genders Through Reading” that seems pretty active from what I could tell.
    See http://chariscircle.org/programs.htm

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