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    Bit to Do

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    This originally appeared in the 2019 Best of Louisville issue of Louisville Magazine.

    By Keith Runyon

    I walked through the doors of Carmichael’s for the first time in April 1978. The bookstore’s original location was at the corner of Bardstown Road and Bonnycastle Avenue, and I lived just a few blocks away on Willow Avenue. The proprietors, Carol Besse and Michael Boggs (hence the name), offered me credit on my first visit. I still use that account regularly. Over the years — including during my tenure as book editor of the Courier-Journal — I’m not sure how many books I’ve accumulated. 10,000? 15,000? Many of them from Carmichael’s. I’ve never had enough shelves.

    The original Carmichael's location at Bardstown Road and Bonnycastle Avenue.

    These days, a weekly trip to Carmichael’s is a must. (Five years after opening, Carmichael’s moved down the road to the corner of Bardstown and Longest Avenue, where it remains to this day. The store operated a branch for a time in Prospect and has for decades owned another one on Frankfort Avenue.) Inevitably, I walk out with something I didn’t know about before, like the recent week when I found E.B. White’s On Democracy, a new selection of his writings from the post-war era that seems especially pertinent in this unstable world of 2019. I’ve been buying his books there since the early days. As I approach 70, I still give younger friends White’s One Man’s Meat. When I need it, Carmichael’s can get it. Quickly. And the staff will gift-wrap it for me.

    This originally appeared in the 2019 Best of Louisville issue of Louisville Magazine. Read more.

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