Books & Books (& Disappointment) Opens in Museum of Art|Fort Lauderdale

"This is it?" I can't help asking the question out loud.
"This is it?" I can't help asking the question out loud.
Photo by Laine Doss

County Grind attends and details some of the finest -- and occasionally subpar -- events from a given week. Rebecca Dittmar crashed the Books & Books opening reception at the Museum of Art|Fort Lauderdale.

I've made pilgrimages to some of the greatest museums in the world -- New York to London to Paris -- but what brought me to the shiny white lobby floor at the Museum of Art|Fort Lauderdale is even better than just art and culture. Books & Books, the independent bookstore in Miami that has become a mecca for bibliophiles and culture lovers, has finally opened an outpost in Broward County. Over the years, you'd hear a whisper from time to time, a rumor of a northern outpost, but inevitably it never came to pass. So when the press release came in about the reopening of the MOAFL lobby with its Books&Books "boutique outpost" and a café with offerings from Chef Alan Susser, it was as if my bookish prayers had been answered. Maybe the word "boutique" should have tipped me off.

My friend Lauren and I check in with the cordial, bespectacled girl at the desk who compliments my friend's glasses. I think to myself, "Yes, these are my people." I excitedly look around for a sign that will lead me to the bookstore. A large sign, "Books & Books," beckons us across the lobby. Wait... there, in the left hand corner of the lobby are, well, some books. I head over to see if the door at the back corner lets through to a

larger room, perhaps the main part of the store. It does not. I stop to cast

a now sarcastic eye up at the metallic letters hanging on the far wall. The "Books & Books" sign is so overly large it now comically dwarfs the

small area of the white lobby floor given over to the "bookstore."

One or two tables boasted some popular novels, but mostly the kind of thing you'd find 30% off at Borders.
One or two tables boasted some popular novels, but mostly the kind of thing you'd find 30% off at Borders.
Photo by Laine Doss

"Is this it?" I'm swimming in

disappointment. All the bragging about the new

partnership between Books&Books and MOAFL for this? The tables house the

usual tomes of art prints you find in museum gift shops. And then I look over my friend's shoulder and oh, no, I spot the café. About ten feet at the end of the long lobby, the counter

juts off at an angle.

A lone espresso machine sits on the shelf behind the counter beneath a sign touting Chef Susser's stamp of approval.
A lone espresso machine sits on the shelf behind the counter beneath a sign touting Chef Susser's stamp of approval.
Photo by Laine Doss

"This

isn't a bookstore. It's a book...area." I suppose the crestfallen look

on my face has my friend feeling sorry for me, so she suggests a walk around

the exhibits. While the British phone booth falling through the floor

does cheer me up a bit, I can't help feeling cheated. Maybe if the changes hadn't been so hyped, so talked up, the reality would not have been such a let down. And maybe the Books & Books sponsored events

will make up for the lack of an actual bookstore. I can only hope. But

for now, my dream of Broward book mecca will have to stay on hold.

The front refrigerated display case containing prepackaged sandwiches and salads. Thanks, Chef Alan Susser.
The front refrigerated display case containing prepackaged sandwiches and salads. Thanks, Chef Alan Susser.
Photo by Laine Doss




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