Though it opened last spring, the novelty of the new novel-purveyor on Snelling has still not worn off for yours truly. Garrison Keillor's Common Good Books, now a tenant and neighbor of Macalester College could not be a more welcome addition to the Mac-Groveland community. In the short time since its debut I have already lost many an hour and a dollar in this independent bookstore whose display windows are synonymous with my literary id: The Price of Inequality by Joseph Stiglitz, The Complete Works of Flannery O'Connor, Ready Player One by Ernest Cline.
The store is a cozy space a cartwheel away from campus where students can pick up some refreshingly non-requisite reading materials. With a small sofa lobby hidden from the cash register by strategically placed booshelves, you don't even have to feel conspicuous when you grab a title, crack it open, and sample from its pages for half and hour (or an hour and a half) without buying it.
There's also a kindred sort of bond between the bookstore and the college. Though not officially a part of the college, the store is nonetheless an outpost for Mac culture. Not only does the thoughtful book selection generally speak to the interests of Mac students, but it is also operated by a Mac alum pedaling books by other Mac alums (Kofi Annan's autobiography is currently front and center in the display window). It's a magnet for prominent authors, bringing both big and local names through its door for in-house readings in an intimate environment, a cozy haven for indulging in bookphilia.