This being Derby Week, Louisville is abuzz with parades, riverboat races, hot air balloon glows, and many, many beer delivery trucks.
The spotlight is on the city for this Saturday's 141st Run for the Roses. I tend to avoid the hoopla but am glad for the visitors who come from all over to watch the 'greatest two minutes in sports'.
Instead of sipping mint juleps at Churchill Downs, I will be celebrating Independent Bookstore Day on May 2. Apparently independent bookstores have made a comeback - not believing the doomsday forecasts of their futures from a few years ago. This year's celebration is an expansion of last year's California program and, according to The Washington Post, four hundred stores across the nation will be celebrating their independent selves with programs and giveaways.
Here in Louisville, there are two fiercely independent bookstores within a mile of each other. Carmichael's Bookstore has three locations - they just recently opened a children's bookstore - and has been around since 1978. According to its website, the stores will be giving away and selling literary stuff available only on Saturday: letterpress bookmarks, tea towels featuring bookish quotes, and an intriguing Literary Map of the Seas.
Judy Fout, owner of A Reader's Corner, told me her store will be celebrating both Derby Day and Independent Bookstore Day with 25 percent off all books and a drawing for a $25 gift certificate. The store sells mostly used books but also keeps a selection of new books on hand and can special order anything. It has been around since 1997.
So while horse racing fans are placing bets on horses, I will be browsing bookshelves.
If you have no other plans for Saturday - it's OK to let the grass grow another day - head out to your nearest independent bookstore and thank them for hanging in there.