New Reads for a New You

As the new year unfolds, I’m trying to make better habits. Be more productive. Do the dishes more often. Figure out how to schedule a few miles on the treadmill into my week. And of course, commit to sharing more of the great books I’ve been reading with you all here. So, here’s to (hopefully) updating this blog with a bit more regularity. But for now, I’ll tell you about some of the latest books I’ve read or am currently reading. Also, if you want to follow along on goodreads, you can find me here

The Immortalists, by Chloe Benjamin

It’s a little premature to say this is one of my favorite books of the year, but I’m inclined to say I might still feel that way when the year closes. I loved the initial concept of this book: four siblings visit a woman who predicts when they will each die. The book is written in segments with each of the four siblings as the primary character, and it explores how knowing when they will die effects how they live their lives. There is romance, and magic, and a very real portrayal of sibling relationships. This book will break your heart and put it back together so many times. I give this one five stars for sure.

The Hazel Wood, by Melissa Albert

Although I’m not constantly read Young Adult books, I like to keep my finger on the pulse and read some now and then. I mean, how else can I know what to recommend to my customers? This fantastical novel is a bit further from reality than a lot of the YA books I read (I adore John Green, for one), but I was curious about it after hearing a ton of buzz from other booksellers. Plus, that beautiful cover beckoned. In the story Alice romanticizes her grandmother, an eclectic fairy tale author whom her mother has never allowed her to meet. She’s never even gotten to read the book her grandmother wrote aside from a few stolen lines. But then her mother goes missing and a page from the book appears on her bed. This book was full of adventure and mystery, and I am now quite excited for the other books in the series, which are set to be published in the next few years. (this one releases on January 30th)

The House on Mango Street, by Sandra Cisneros

This is a book that I’d heard about for years but somehow never read, so I finally took the plunge. It’s a quick read as it’s just over a hundred pages, and it’s a collection of short vignettes not more than a few pages each. Cisneros brings the life a low-income Latino neighborhood in Chicago. The narrator Esperanza is young and somewhat naïve, so doesn’t always see the ugliness of what is happening around her. The vignettes in this book illustrate the inconsistencies across race and income lines.

They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us, by Hanif Abdurraqib

I’ve had the please of seeing Hanif read twice in the last year, and if you ever see his name on a poster, GO. Although Hanif has a poetry collection, this latest is a collection of essays, at least according to the publisher. Hanif likes to describe these essays that intertwine music and race as “longer poems.” Although the language is poetic, they are formatted in a way that’s not alienating for those who aren’t fans of poetry. What I love about this book is the vast array of music that is analyzed through the lens of Black identity. Hanif writes about musicians like Prince and Bruce Springsteen, but also ones like Carly Rae Jepson. Often the essays seem tangential, but somehow he always brings things together to bring you his message, and every piece ends with a line that makes your heart beat harder in your chest.

We Want to be MORE than a Bookstore.

A lot of our customers know that Justin and I (the owners) don’t currently live in Lafayette. Though Justin is from Frankfort, and we met and fell in love in Lafayette, we moved to Indianapolis shortly after for our jobs. But now, we’re happy to say we’re moving back to town, and because we’re moving back, one of our goals is becoming more important than ever.

We want to become a bigger part of the Lafayette community while also acting as one of many community centers.

Sure, we sell books. But we also like to talk to you about them. We like to hear what book kept you up all night–or which book you’re recommending to your closest pals. We want you to know that we’re open to you–as much as we can be!

Do you have a book club? Why not try meeting in our store?

Do you have a business? Let us know how we can work together to promote one another!

Are you part of a non-profit or charity? We’d love to host a book fair and give you part of the profits!

Do you want to meet more people who love books? Why not come to one of our readings, book clubs, or other events!

Just want a casual place to chill with your friends? We’ll put the coffee on for you.

Have other great ideas for how we can help make Greater Lafayette even greater? We want to hear them!

Some of you have already come into our store for our reading with Roxane Gay, one of our many sales, or our Blackout Poetry Party, but we’d love to see you again! We’re hoping to see you this weekend when we have our Girl Scout Cookie Weekend, but check out ALL our upcoming events on our Facebook page.

Let’s build a better, brighter community, together.





What I’ve Been Reading

Hi! Laura here.

When you own a bookstore, people wonder what you read. They ask if you’ve read certain authors and are sometimes incredulous when you tell them, no, you haven’t read anything by Clive Cussler. Or Fern Michaels. It just hasn’t happened yet. For the most part, I like to read books that take me outside my experience a bit more—books that help me empathize with humankind as a whole. So here, for your enjoyment is a list of what I’ve read—or started reading—in the past month or two.

Lost Men, by Brian Leung (2007)

I love to know and read the living authors around me, so it was only natural that I would pick up some of Brian Leung’s work. He’s currently the director of the MFA in Creative Writing program at Purdue, a group that I’m excited to have in the Greater Lafayette community. The protagonist here is Westen Gray, a man who was left parentless as a child when his Caucasian mother died and his Chinese father abandoned him to relatives. That story in itself would be compelling, but as readers we get to meet Westen as an adult, after he’s grown up tinged by loss—by the fact that his father never returned for him. But then his father does. This book relays the journey—literally, as they travel to China together, and emotionally, as they both try to heal from their past—of both father and son. It recounts the reasons why they separated in heartbreaking detail and then shows them coming back together. Leung also deserves applause for using a metaphor about a puzzle that was miraculously not a cliché.

Durable Goods, Elizabeth Berg (1993)

I’m obviously a bit behind in reading Elizabeth Berg’s first novel, the first of three books that follow 12-year-old Katie Nash as she is forced to grow up too soon. This semi-autobiographical novel sees Katie dealing with the loss of her mother, an abusive father, and an older sister who wants to do anything but stay. This was my first taste of Elizabeth Berg, and I’ll likely read more of her work.

Take Me Home, Brian Leung (2011)

What can I say? I loved my first taste of Brian Leung, so I picked up another of his books. While Lost Men keeps the reader in relatively modern times, this novel takes us into a mining town in the 1880s. The racial tension between the white and Chinese people is so prominent you might say it’s a character in itself. Though I didn’t love it as much as I loved Lost Men (see above), it was a timely read because of the current racial climate, and I enjoyed learning about the Rock Springs Massacre, an actual historical event from which this story was inspired.

Underground Airlines, Ben H. Winters (2016)

I’m perhaps a bit spoiled in the fact that I’ve gotten to see Ben read several times, and I’ve chatted with him on a few occasions, due to his involvement in the Butler MFA program, which I was a part of. Although I’ve only become familiar with his work in recent years, I’ve grown to love it. I read his Last Policeman trilogy, a series of apocalyptic mysteries, a couple years ago, and I was more excited for this conceptually cool read. Underground Airlines is speculative fiction where the story takes place in modern day Indianapolis—but the Indianapolis that would exist if Slavery had never been abolished in the South. The alternate history inherent in this book is especially poignant during a time where race relations have been highly politicized.

Fates and Furies, Lauren Groff (2015)

I’m not sure how it’s taken me this long to read this book. Two years ago I read Lauren Groff’s short story “At Round Earth’s Imagined Corners” in Best American Short Stories 2014, and I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I read the entire book of the year’s best, but hers was the only story that shook me enough to stay with me. It made me feel this beautiful melancholy that I can still conjure back.  When I started seeing the reviews appear for Fates and Furies—all wonderful—I was incredibly excited. And so, finally, after more than a year of this book being out, I started reading. The book explores the intricate workings of a marriage through two sections, Fates and Furies, and I’ll let you guess at why they’re titled that way. I was drawn into the story through Groff’s character development, but sometimes I also found myself pausing to revel in the poetry of some of Groff’s sentences. Sentences like this these:

“Between his skin and hers, there was the smallest of spaces, barely enough for air, for this slick of sweat now chilling. Even still, a third person, their marriage, had slid in.”

Or these.

“The ones made for music are the most beloved of all. Their bodies a container for the spirit within; the best of them is music, the rest only an instrument of flesh and blood.”

Clearly, I adored this book.

Room, Emma Donoghue (2010)

This book got A LOT of buzz when it was adapted into a film that debuted last year. I had also had several people recommend this title, so I finally sat down with the book. Room tells the story of a woman who was abducted and locked in a single room for years by abductor. During that time she becomes pregnant, and then she and her son, Jack, live in the room (a converted shed) together. This story is heartbreaking, but because it’s told from the perspective of five-year-old Jack the reader is spared some of the more terrible details. This was a quick read. I sat down for the evening, and before I knew it I was halfway through. If you somehow missed this book, I’d go back and read it!


What I’m currently reading:

Difficult Women, Roxane Gay (2016)

Duh! Roxane will be IN STORE reading on February 4th, so of course I’m reading her newest collection of stories about women who refuse to be passive in their lives.

Truth and Beauty, Ann Patchett (2005)

Ann Patchett’s latest novel Commonwealth has gotten a ton of positive buzz this year, but we’re harking back to this older work that biographies a friendship between the author and her friend Lucy (now deceased). I picked it up to read the first few pages and two chapters later I finally looked up!


Here are a few books other members of our team have been reading:

Justin (co-owner)

In the Garden of Beasts, Erik Larson (2012)

The Last Policeman Trilogy, Ben Winters (2013-2014

Player Piano, Kurt Vonnegut (1952)


Lacey (clerk and shelver extraordinaire)

Lexicon, Max Barry (2013)

Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins (2015)

Lisey’s Story, Stephen King (2006)

Our First Holiday Season


As of yesterday, we’ve been open for three weeks, and we’re already feeling SO grateful.

In three weeks we’ve sold books to over 200 people. In three weeks, we’ve made a lot of new friends. In three weeks, we’ve learned a lot about running a bookstore!

We had a grand opening, and we celebrated our first Small Business Saturday, and both were amazing. We’ve had one customer come see us four times already! We’ve loved meeting other small business owners as well as staff from Greater Lafayette Commerce. We’ve been visited by Indiana authors like the lovely Sarah Layden. We’ve had friends and family come from far and near to see our store. Thanks to everyone who has made these first three weeks feel like a blessing.

This weekend we decked out the place with holiday cheer, and we’re hoping to have a successful first holiday season. As today is the beginning of Advent (for those who celebrate Christmas), we wanted to highlight some of the best gifts to give and share this year, no matter your beliefs. Follow along on our Facebook and twitter (@2ndflightbooks) as we show you why we’re stocking stuffer central!

Here’s a peek at our first highlighted item, the library card winter scarf!



Why I’m Opening a Bookstore

When you tell people you’re opening a bookstore, you get a lot of interesting looks. You get big-eyed reactions and unsuccessful attempts to hide fear and anxiety for your plans. In a world of smart phones and ebooks, a lot of people think our population has stopped reading print, but they haven’t. I’m a millenial–part of the generation that people assume live on screens–and I want a solid book in my hands. I want the smell of paper, of dust even. I want a tactile thing to curl up with. I want dog-eared pages and the ability to scribble inside them if the words merit scribbling about. And this is why after years of working a “safe” government job I’m opening up my life to a store full of books.

If you look at recent data, printed books aren’t doing badly at all. Sales at independent book stores are up six percent this year, and ABA (American Booksellers Association) has reported a 25 percent increase in memberships since 2009. So, while opening a book store is a gamble, like starting any business is a gamble, I’m willing to take that chance to do something I love, and that’s reading (and talking about) books.

I was raised on books. Our house had shelves of picture books that I read and re-read. My mother read us The Hobbit before bed, giving each character their own voice. We took frequent trips to the public library, where I read the entirety of the Babysitter’s Club series and every book written by Lurlene McDaniel. I remember being enthralled by the used book store in my hometown and using what little spending money I had to purchase a romance novel where the protagonist was romanced by a genie. I was never happier than when I had a book in my hands, and I want to spread that joy to my customers at Second Flight Books.

We’re opening in just a few days. So come on in, say hello, and find something that makes you happy.


Opening Update!

Opening a business is a tricky process which involves lots of little details, but we’re excited to say we’re almost ready! We’re hoping to open our doors sometime next week, with a grand opening celebration to follow later in November. Stay tuned for more.