Since 1975, A Room of One’s Own Bookstore has been a staple of downtown Madison. As an independent bookstore, Room has survived countless challenges from big-box retail, online shopping, and a changing city. Through it all, A Room of One’s Own has persevered with its spellbinding selection of stories and a passionate staff. In 2018, employees Gretchen Treu (they/them) and Wes Lukes (they/them) assumed ownership of the bookstore, preparing to launch the next 40 years of memories.
Co-owner Wes Lukes teases what’s in store:
Why did your organization decide to join the Wisconsin LGBT Chamber?
As a queer-owned business who tries to have a unique and curated selection of books, we want to show our solidarity and support with our fellow LGBT owned businesses.
Tell us a bit about what you do.
We are a full-service, independent bookstore specializing in: social justice, women’s studies, LGBTQIA+ (lesbian gay bisexual transgender queer intersex asexual+) literature, and great gifts. We also have a strong selection of local
interest titles, children’s/young adult fiction, graphic novels, and nonfiction sections.
Bottom line: no matter the genre, we want to help you find your next great read!
What do you enjoy most about what you do?
Seeing what new books are coming out and what people are interested in!
As one of the co-owners, I personally coordinate a lot of the events we host in (and out) of our store. A Room of One’s Own has been able to book some incredible talent over the last two years. In the coming weeks, voices like Nadia Bolz-Weber and Sarah DiGregorio will be joining us.
At times, we anticipate such a large turnout that we move to the third floor of the Madison Public Library. As a partner of the Wisconsin Book Festival, we’re so thankful to them for opening their doors.
Given your field of work, I’m sure you get to check out a number of great books over the year. What’s the best thing you’ve read recently?
Well, the best thing I’ve read recently won’t come out until March!
We Ride Upon Sticks by Quan Barry is a great work of fiction. Quan Barry is a professor over at the UW. We were luck enough to get an advance copy of the book and can’t wait for people to read it.
Finally, how would you like people to remember your company?
We would like to be known not only as a world-class bookstore, but as a resource for books that may not be found in general bookstores and libraries. We especially want to known as a resource for stories addressing the experiences of POC (people of color) and LGBTQIA+ people.
A Room of One’s Own is located 315 W. Gorham Street in Madison, WI. Or, see their space for yourself at our Madison Coffee Connection on Monday, February 24 (8am)!