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Romancing the Tome

Magic City Books offers a curated, well-lit shop that emphasizes a love of reading, personal service, community events and more than enough books to open your mind and heart.

Article
Lindsay Morris
Photos
Marc Rains
Posted
February 28, 2019

For book lovers, Magic City Books is just what its name implies: a magical place. In an era when it seems that bookstores are a dying breed, Magic City Books breathes new life into the concept of a modern bookstore.

It’s a place where literature, creativity and intellectual conversations are nurtured. It’s a place where lattes, brilliant minds and, of course books, are in abundance.

Magic City Books is an independent bookstore owned by the Tulsa Literary Coalition, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation. Located in the vibrant Tulsa Arts District in downtown Tulsa, Magic City lends to the Arts District the literary aspect that is so essential to a thriving arts community. 

The store, which opened in early 2017, specializes in literary and popular fiction and narrative nonfiction for adults and offers carefully curated sections for children and teens.

Pat Cawiezell, buyer and event coordinator for Magic City Books, says their inventory consists of “books that are going to become the book that you can’t stop talking about.

“What separates us is the ability to put things on display that people did not know they wanted until they see it,” Cawiezell says. “Then they find their next favorite book.”

Magic City Books, which opened in early 2017, specializes in literary and popular fiction and narrative nonfiction for adults and offers carefully curated sections for children and teens. (Photo: Marc Rains)
Magic City Books, which opened in early 2017, specializes in literary and popular fiction and narrative nonfiction for adults and offers carefully curated sections for children and teens. (Photo: Marc Rains)

The staff at Magic City Books is friendly and helpful. You see, they all love to read too. They want you to feel like the bookstore is your “third place,” next to your home and work. You can enjoy a cup of coffee or even a glass of wine from their café, attend a literary program or author event or just check out the latest and greatest books available.

When you buy a book from Magic City Books, you get a warm, fuzzy feeling that you don’t experience when you throw something in your cart on Amazon. That’s because you’re doing something good for your community. Profits from Magic City Books help fund their programs, contributing to the cultural life of Tulsans.

Magic City Books boasts a highly curated selection, relying on many professionals and experts to help sift through the hundreds of thousands of books that are released each year. The staff, all lovers of the written word, offer their own favorites on displays in the center of the store.

Magic City’s commitment to customers is penned so beautifully on its website: “We promise to offer an experience you will value, programs that make you think, and a community gathering place that will feed your book-loving soul. We can’t be all things to all people, but we can be the place where you discover books that will open your mind and your heart, and maybe even change your life.”

Pat Cawiezell (Photo: Marc Rains)
Pat Cawiezell (Photo: Marc Rains)

While sometimes it may seem simpler to purchase a book on Amazon, Magic City Books offers a more personalized experience. “People can give better recommendations than the algorithms,” he says. “When you’ve finished your most recent series or book and are looking for something, that’s when an independent book store can help guide you in the right direction.”

Magic City Books’ co-founder, Cindy Hulsey, died in 2018. Cawiezell says her spirit carries on in the types of books that are selected and events that are hosted. “Even after this time has passed, I kind of expect her to come back and walk through the door again.”

Magic City Books is the home of Booksmart Tulsa, which has been presenting author events for almost a decade in Tulsa. Small events are held in Magic City’s beautiful Algonquin Room, and larger events are held in various spaces throughout the community.

Over the years, Booksmart has brought more than 400 authors such as Stephen King, Salman Rushdie, Krista Tippett, Lisa See, Yann Martel, David Sedaris and Elizabeth Gilbert to Tulsa.

In 2018, Booksmart held its largest author event to date when Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman discussed their book, The Greatest Love Story Ever Told. The event brought 1,250 people to Will Rogers High School Auditorium, Cawiezell says.

Magic City Books hosts several regular events, such as Magic Monday Storytime, every Monday from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Magic City Books also hosts a monthly poetry night called Mused on the last Sunday of each month from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Several exciting events are upcoming in 2019, Cawiezell says. Magic City Books will again host the Tulsa Lit Festival this year April 11-14. One of the headliners will be Stacey Abrams, who ran for governor of Georgia. Other upcoming author events include David Dow, author of Confessions of an Innocent Man, on April 16, Anna Quindlen, author of One True Thing April 25 and Tommy Orange, author of There There May 9.

Magic City Books also hosts regularly recurring book clubs. The group size is limited.

LOCATOR
Magic City Books
221 E. Archer St. | Tulsa
918-602-4452
magiccitybooks.com
Monday-Sunday: 10 a.m.-9 p.m.