Once a year, my family meets up in Chattanooga, TN to chat, enjoy each other’s company, and yes, usually we wander around in downtown Chattanooga to pick up a cup of coffee and see a movie. It wasn’t until more recent trips that I was able to add shopping at Star Line Books to my list of yearly activities in downtown Chattanooga. Star Line just opened their doors in August of 2015, and they are a welcome addition to Chattanooga’s charming downtown area.
Star Line Books is easy to find. It’s right across the street from the city’s famed Chattanooga Choo Choo. There are many other stores, restaurants, and bars nearby, which makes this area a beacon of Chattanooga culture, and the perfect place for a new bookstore to thrive. Star Line itself is located in a mixed-use building with other stores and condos, but it is accessible from the street.
Walking in for the first time, I was greeted to a well-curated selection of fiction titles and book-related items. Trust me, while you’re there, you’ll want to smell all of their literary candles, inspired by different famous novels. I picked up The Color Purple, but The Great Gatsby also smelled delicious.
But the store has a downstairs area as well. Head downstairs and you’ll be greeted by their excellent selection of nonfiction books. And Star Line Books is very dedicated to their children’s selection, as Chattanooga is a city full of families, so there is a whole section of the downstairs area devoted to children’s books as well. I wasn’t able to get a picture of it, but believe me: there were also toys around the kids section. Star Line Books cares about the kids.
When I stopped in the store last, I had an opportunity to speak to the owner Star Lowe about her vision for her store. While Lowe hasn’t lived in Chattanooga for long, she is very enthusiastic about the Chattanooga community and she hopes that this bookstore can be a hub for culture and conversation. Making good on that promise, Star Line Books has a monthly book club where Chattanooga dwellers can get together and discuss books. For the upcoming August book club, the pick is Costalegre by Courney Maum:
“It is 1937, and Europe is on the brink of war. In the haute-bohemian circles of Austria, Germany, and Paris, Hitler is circulating a most-wanted list of “cultural degenerates”—artists, writers, and thinkers whose work is deemed antithetical to the new regime. To prevent the destruction of her favorite art (and artists), the impetuous American heiress and modern art collector, Leonora Calaway, begins chartering boats and planes for an elite group of surrealists to Costalegre, a mysterious resort in the Mexican jungle, where she has a home.”
In addition to book clubs, Star Line Books provides all sorts of ways for visitors of their store to engage with books in unexpected way. Just check out their Blind Date with a Book display above. As they say, it’s “kind of like a blind date with a human, but way less awkward.” Not sure what book you want? Star Line Books has you covered. Let them surprise you.
Star Line Books is also dedicated to providing a space for other local literary events. Just yesterday, Star Line held a special event dedicated to humor in poetry. In July, Star Line also hosted a night of music and discussion with Simon Tam, founder of The Slants, the world’s first and only all-Asian American dance rock band. For more information on upcoming events, watch this space.
Star Line Book is an ever-growing bookstore in Chattanooga, always looking to do more to help foster a literary community in the city. I look forward to my yearly visits and seeing what Star Line Books has in store in the future.