01 Jun The Writer’s Block: More Than Just Books
By Andrea Harward
The Writer’s Block is quickly gaining notoriety as far more than Southern Nevada’s most charming new bookstore. In addition to the wonderfully handpicked, expertly curated selection of books, the retail store is packed with hundreds of unique toys and curios. From birthday parties to baby showers, The Writer’s Block is a one-stop-shop for truly one-of-a-kind knickknacks.
Drew Cohen and husband Scott Seeley’s quaint storefront is located in the rapidly developing section of East Fremont near the brand new 11th Street Records, The Bunkhouse Saloon, PublicUs and next door to Chef Natalie Young’s upcoming Chow restaurant. Aside from its duties as an independent bookstore, The Writer’s Block encourages education through writing classes and workshops using the Espresso Book Machine, a full-service bookmaking device capable of printing, binding, and cutting a softcover book in less than five minutes.
The store is eclectic yet welcoming. Its merchandise stretches to the ceiling where colorful kites soar overhear and artificial birds adorn exposed ceiling beams. Books line the walls, neatly organized into sections by category, and every remaining inch of space is used to display an array of treasures and baubles. Bursting with everything from Venus Flytraps to marionettes to windup toys, it’s hard not to feel like a kid in a candy shop when you step into this out-of-the-box bookshop.
The vast selection of vintage style windup toys is mesmerizing. The windup toys range in price from $5.99 to $14.99. A favorite is the fish-eating whale – wind it up and you’ll fall in love. In the non-fiction section, handmade marionettes gaze down curiously from the wooden beam where they rest. Brought to life in the Czech Republic, these grown-up puppets are pleasantly eerie and range in price from $60 to $107. The store also stocks a collection of familiar storybook characters for the younger puppeteers.
Perfect for medical professionals or anyone fascinated by the various systems of the human body, the human body glassware and coffee mugs are sold packaged in a box and ready to give away. At $15, they are affordable, functional, and educational.
If you find yourself more interested in the inner workings of a polar bear than a human, you won’t be disappointed by their selection of three-dimensional anatomical models featuring reptiles, insects, and various furry friends. The plastic models are made up of dozens of interlocking body parts that can be removed then reassembled then repeated again and again. The giant black scorpion is terrifying. The snail is fascinating. All models are priced at $32 or less.
The charming pie clocks are fantastic. With six tasty pies to choose from and at only $12, you’re guaranteed to find a flavor you love.
Hand-built in the south of France by craftsman Monsieur Morel, the birdcalls on display are enchanting, wondrous works of art. Each birdcall comes in its own wooden box and includes an informational card describing the bird species the call is intended for and a short explanation on how to use it. The starling call is delightful with multiple rubber tubes folded over one another like something out of a Dr. Seuss storybook. The birdcalls range in price from $40 to $60.
Nothing makes a community feel complete like the arrival of an independent bookstore filled with exceptional books, stocked with hand-selected merchandise and staffed by passionate, enthusiastic people who are always eager to extend a personal recommendation. A place where you can sneak away and lose yourself for hours in a good book, a place where you can find a completely original gift for that one friend who has everything, a place where you can sit cross-legged on the floor and play with windup toys and forget for a moment that you’ve grown up. For Downtown, The Writer’s Block is that place.