In East Nashville’s Five Points, Nashville’s first all-local bookstore—East Side Story—presents Nashville writers to the community in inventive ways.
“East Side Story is an idea—a blank canvas for all local literary ideas to help make Music City more of a book town,” said Chuck Beard, owner/founder.
Located in the IDEA Hatchery, a collective of businesses on “The Row” at 1108 Woodland Street, East Side Story offers books by local authors in all genres, including fiction, poetry, Nashville-area history, children’s literature, and audio books. You’ll find everything from Ridley Willis II’s Nashville Streets and Their Stories to Ricko Donovan’s novel Sunnyville (a humorous must-read for potential retirees to Florida), to Jamie Givens’ collection of poems, Never Offer a Chair to a Dancing Girl. New to the East Side Story shelves are Mark Sloniker’s “The Search for Sugar Puff Hollow,” a children’s book about three runaway bees, and the latest audiobooks from mystery writer J.T. Ellison.
East Side Story also stocks word-related merchandise (“Words + Shirts”) and wearable art (“Words + Art”) and sells art by Nashville-area residents—including Jeff Bertrand’s portrait-paintings of famous authors. Beard hosts readings, word game nights, creative workshops, and other events in the store and on a stage just outside its doors.
The literary/creative sidewalk doesn’t end at the physical property of the bookstore. For example, Beard has hosted 58 editions of “East Side Story Tellin’,” a bi-monthly event held on the first and third Tuesdays every month at area restaurants and venues. “East Side Story Tellin’” pairs a local author/writer with a local musician/songwriter. Upcoming shows include No. 59, May 5 with Chance Chambers (reading) and Lilly Hiatt (singing) and No. 6, May 19 with Matthew Leavitt Brown (reading) and Dewveall (singing). The sessions begin at 7:00 p.m. at The Post East (1701 Fatherland Street).
“I am working on a few options that may lead to some very interesting news for East Side Storytellin’ in June,” said Beard. “I’m currently working on several major local projects involving Nashville authors and artists of all sorts. Things are great and just getting better, like the Nashville literary scene in general.”
If you’d like to join in the storytelling, you may check out Beard’s “Express Yourself”, to learn about contests and receive prompts for creative writing/essays on various themes. Submitted work is eligible for possible online publication. In the meantime, mark your calendars for a couple of other happenings:
May 22, The Wolf’s Bane, the first publication from the Nashville Limited Edition Club will be released. Formed by Beard and book artist Jennifer Knowles-McQuistion of Brown Dog Bindery, the Nashville Limited Edition Club is publishing collaborations between local authors and artists. The Wolf’s Bane, written by Betsy Phillips, features illustrations by Platetone Printmaking, Paper and Book Arts members Bryce Coatney, Jessica Crouch, Carrie Cox, Megan Kelley and Lesley Patterson-Marx.
On June 15, East Side Story will host a concert at Belmont University’s McAfee Hall for the release of the anthology Based On: Words, Notes, and Art from Nashville, published in partnership with the Arts & Business Council of Greater Nashville. “The project is a special collection of short stories, songs, and visual art prints which are all inspired by one another and blended together into the fold of a single book with a CD of the music included,” said Beard.
When you purchase The Wolf’s Bane, Based On: Words, Notes, and Art from Nashville, or another book from East Side Story, you also can join in the collaboration of readers and writers through the store’s “Book Me!” program.
“Book Me! is the heart of what East Side Story is about and what makes us more than your average bookstore—anywhere,” said Beard. “Think Pizza Hut’s ‘Book It’ Program but with a twist: “[It’s] for kids of any age (meaning as long as you are still alive basically).”
“Book Me!” participants earn credits toward appetizers or entrées-with-purchase at local restaurants by sharing feedback with the authors of the books they buy at East Side Story. “The four restaurants participating, one from each direction of Nashville, are all locally owned and not a chain: Lockeland Table in the east, Burger Up in the south, The Tin Angel in the west, and Germantown Cafe in the north,” said Beard.
East Side Story is open Tuesdays through Fridays from 1:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. and Saturdays from 11:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. For more information, call 615-915-1808, write Chuck here, or visit them online here.
You also may find these shops at The IDEA Hatchery on The Row:
—Moss (contemporary women’s clothing)
—Crescent Moon Jewels
—John Cannon, Fine Artist
—Fat Cow Press (hand-made items including lamps, fabric, pillows, children’s clothing, and hand-pulled prints)
—The GoodBuy Girls (contemporary clothing and vintage boots)
—Alegria (leather goods, accessories, art, and gifts)
—Haulin’ Oats (artisanal, organic oatmeal)
—Hello Boys! (men’s vintage and contemporary clothing)
—Paper Moon Crafts
—Art & Invention Gallery.