People have been committing their thoughts to paper (or stone, or papyrus, etc.) since the beginning. But in this digital age, the joy of reading can sometimes get lost. That’s why Arlene Kasselman, owner of downtown Abilene’s new bookstore, Seven & One: A Book Sanctuary, found a way to give new life to the written word.
In the short few months since Seven and One opened its doors, droves of equally impassioned readers have made her book sanctuary a haven of their own. One event was a Meet and Greet with Poetry Author Leah Naomi Green, author of The More Extravagant Feast (Graywolf Press, 2020), which was selected by Li-Young Lee for the Walt Whitman Award of the Academy of American Poets. Guests also enjoyed a presentation about the Enneagram, regular drop-ins from a wide range of authors, or, even, an engagement party.
Seven and One may never have become a reality without the urging of her son, fellow story-lover, Spencer Kasselman, who is pursuing a BFA in acting at ACU.
“Spencer was living in New York and had become quite fond of a certain bookstore there,” Arlene said. “He’d go there all the time. Once, while enjoying this charming bookstore in New York with him, I mused out loud (as I had done many times over many years) about how wonderful it would be to own a bookstore. He basically stared me down and kindly asked, ‘What are you waiting for, mom?’”
Arlene and her husband both have a strong commitment to, “make downtown Abilene a place we’d love to visit.” David Kasselman, her husband, is one of the owners of the beer brewery Grain Theory. Their daughter, Ky Sorley, is the Events Manager for Grain Theory as well as the creative force behind Grain Theory’s Coffee Shop. Making Abilene shine is a Kasselman family affair.
Megan Sorley, Ky’s sister-in-law (also a book-lover and avid reader, works as a bookseller at Seven and One. She has been thrilled at the quick success since opening their doors September 14, 2022.
“We have a tremendous social media following and we met a ton of new people during Artwalks and other downtown events,” Megan said. “And we have tremendous participation at our many events, too – everything from poetry readings to children’s books authors and other special offerings.”
Seven and One Bookstore: A Book Sanctuary is located in the Roberts Studio Building (formerly under the iconic Roberts Studio sign which was recently relocated to South 1st where the old Coca Cola Sign lives) at 1138 N. 2nd Street in Downtown Abilene. It is open Monday – Thursday from 10:00 AM till 8:00 PM, Friday through Saturday from 10:00 AM till 9:00 PM and from 12:00 PM till 5:00 PM on Sundays. For more information, call (325) 261-1148 or send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Andy Holmes
Photos Courtesy of Seven and One Books