Kitty Wan-Kenobi ~ Keeper of the Books

“I love walking into a bookstore. It’s like all my friends are sitting on shelves, waving their pages at me.”  Tahereh Mafi

Sandman Book Store

A wall of books. Right in front of me.

Shelves of books everywhere, of course, but this was truly a wall of books.

I stopped at Sandman Book Co. yesterday, a place I haven’t been to for quite awhile. What a pleasant surprise. The used book store had expanded its space, quadrupling its size and was unrecognizable from my previous visit.

Out came the camera.

How unique. How artistic. How did they do that?

Sandman Book Store Sandman Book Store

There was a gentleman standing in my view finder and I asked him if he wanted to be in the picture. He said, “No”, and moved back a few steps.

He marveled at the structure, took out his smart phone and took some pictures, then said,

“It saddens me to see all these books used this way. No one can read them.”

When I studied the construction, I noticed no covers or book spines visible, nothing to indicate who is next to whom. But the arch way was so inviting, an old world charm, beckoning me to walk through into a world of fiction, memoir, travel books and beyond.

Sandman Book Store-3 Sandman Book Store

Looking at the arched construction, I began playing with metaphors:

~Walking through the arch is like entering a world of other’s minds.

~Books are the foundation of knowledge.

~Open a book and you open the mind. A closed book is a closed mind.

~ The unfinished arch represented for me all the books still left unread.

I walked around the categorized sections, fingering books and admiring how bright and open the space is, yet it felt intimate.

When it was time to leave I noticed the sign.

Sandman Book Store

Meet Kitty-Wan Kenobi.

Sandman Book Store

The next day, I looked at my photos and then called the book store. The owner, Heidi graciously answered my questions.

4,000 books were used to assemble the “bridge of knowledge”. Her husband Scott, co-owner, built it himself, taking a month to complete. Plywood, 2X4’s, staples, adhesives and 25,000 nails hold it together. His inspiration came from a temporary art sculpture he had admired.

This is South Florida’s largest independent bookshop and they obviously deal with thousands of books. The books used for the project are damaged, have pages or covers missing and basically unsellable. Heidi says she likes to think of these as recycled books and part of a “rescue effort” to be used in this final way.

I agree.

I have included a direct link to their face book page showing how the wall of books was constructed. Take a peek.

“Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. They are the destination, and the journey. They are home.”  ~ Anna Quindlen, How Reading Changed My Life

Sandman Book Store


About travelerlynne

Traveler. Writer. Retired Educator.Traveling on and off the beaten path with my photographer husband. Volunteering locally as well as in Haiti and Tanzania, an enriching and humbling experience. A sun lover! Shelling, boating, fishing and watching sunsets. Growing mango, banana, key lime,and pineapple.Making smoothies and chutneys. Enjoying family and friends! Savoring each new day!
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24 Responses to Kitty Wan-Kenobi ~ Keeper of the Books

  1. Your photos are really superb, Lynne. What an amazing place, and the design is so creative. I read that Kitty-Wan Kenobi is a rescue cat. She’s so gorgeous, and I’m sure loves living amongst all those books. 🙂

    • She’s a perfect bookstore cat…independent, respectful, curious, studious and a pleasure to be around. It’s a great place for cat watching, reading and coming home with more books than planned. 🙂

  2. restlessjo says:

    What a totally amazing find, Lynne! I could move in and die happy. I’ve yet to look at the Facebook page but I will. Brilliant share 🙂

    • Now that’s a comment the owners should adopt…”move in and die happy”. My sentiments, too. I was so enamored with the wall of books, I felt it deserved a post. Neat experience. 🙂

  3. Wonderful to see not all the bookshops have been swallowed by the internet – and especially such creative spaces as Sandmans – terrific post Lynne 🙂

    • My sentiments too, Meredith. This place may have enlarged, but they have a sense of community, supporting local authors while hosting their events. Sandman carries books for every reader’s tastes and budget. We’re lucky to have them. Besides, I can look for Kitty Wan-Kenobi and catch up on the book store gossip. 🙂

  4. So creative and poetic!

  5. Kings On the Road says:

    Love Kitty Wan-Kenobi and the bookstore too

  6. Thanks to you for putting this day trip together. Hiking the trails, stopping at the bamboo and pottery farm and finally, Sandman’s. I think we can all agree, we need more time at each. Love the kat, too.:)

  7. A great tribute to one of my favorite places.

  8. Letizia says:

    This bookstore looks like it came straight from a child’s imagination; how delightful! It’s good to hear that the books were damaged books and they found a way of repurposing them, a way of celebrating books and the word again. I’m sure the authors would be pleased. You must have been enchanted with the place; great photos!

    • Thanks, Letizia. Yes, I did love this place. A great way to spend some quality time and the children in the store didn’t appear bored. Perhaps they found it enchanting, too.

  9. Gigi Galore says:

    Fantastic Lynne! I was totally there! How gorgeous!!! Thankyou! 🙂

  10. Thanks, Gigi. Glad you enjoyed the tour. 🙂

  11. vbholmes says:

    Hi Lynne, what a great store. I checked out their Facebook page and am so impressed that they finished the project in a month–an ambitious undertaking. I really ike your clever metaphors and Kitty Wan-Kenobi looks just like Sammy the Cat so, naturally, she’s a winner. Thanks for a fun read.

  12. Hi VB. I was grateful to the owner for sending me the direct link to the Facebook page to see how it was done. Thanks for taking the time to check it out. The young couple who own this place have energy and talent and from what I can tell, a community spirit. I wish I lived closer. Am glad Kitty-Wan Kenobi and Sammy the Cat have met. 🙂

  13. Tahira says:

    Lynne, how utterly amazing & creative! I would love to visit one day. Thanks for sharing. Books inspire me as well and this post is definitely inspiring!

  14. I could spend hours here just soaking in the peace, quiet, and listen to the authors trying to speak to me. I just have to slow down to hear. Glad you liked it, Tahira. Creative energy here. Young owners with enthusiasm.

  15. Madhu says:

    I adore the unfinished bridge of books!! What a creative use of damaged books! A fantastic share indeed Lynne. Thank you 🙂

  16. Thanks, Madhu. The only thing missing was Dr. Seuss not hanging from the bridge reciting a fanciful story. 🙂

  17. So fascinating. I’m glad you called the bookstore owner to find out how they constructed the book wall. It is an incredible feat of imagination, ingenuity, and recycling. And, I love your metaphors. Thanks for sharing this, Lynne. I am in awe!

  18. The blog didn’t seem complete without the facts about the construction. I’m glad I called, too.the owners are young and full of energy and creativity. Books truly are the window to the world. Thanks, Debbie for your comment. 🙂

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