Raven Book Store: Looking back at 35 years serving Lawrence, and looking forward to events all month long

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Post updated at 2:27 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 1:

Over the course of three and a half decades, The Raven has overcome odds that have been insurmountable for many other book stores.

And this September, it will celebrate 35 years serving the Lawrence community.

The Raven Book Store began as a small store specializing in mysteries in 1987. It has expanded both in physical size and in its footprint in the bookselling world, and it has taken root as a cultural hub in downtown Lawrence.

The Raven recently shared images chronicling some key moments in the store’s history — from its earliest days in the summer of 1987 to memorable author visits over the years and awards the store has won.

Here’s an interactive timeline of some of the many events along its journey from then to now.

Click here to open the timeline in a new window.

35th anniversary events

The Raven has planned a wide variety of events this month to celebrate its anniversary. It’s also marking one year since its move from Seventh Street to Massachusetts Street in the heart of downtown Lawrence.

“The employees at the Raven want to commemorate these major milestones with the community they’ve been a part of for so long. As a result, they are celebrating by hosting an anniversary events series, which runs through all of September,” according to the news release. “There are a wide variety of events sure to appeal to readers of all ages and interests, including regionally-relevant events with Monarch Watch and the Jayhawk Audubon Society.”

All of these events are free and open to the public. Masks and proof of vaccination against COVID-19 are required to attend events that are on-site at the Raven.

Here’s the lineup:

All information is courtesy of the Raven.

An Evening with Mia Mercado, author of “She’s Nice Though”

7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 1 at the Raven

For those craving their next hit of Samantha Irby or Jia Tolentino-style comedic cultural comedy, Kansas City author Mia Mercado’s book will hit the spot. Mercado is bringing She’s Nice Though: Essays on Being Bad at Being Good to the Raven for a reading and book signing that will have you in stitches.

Learn more at this link.

A Fun Run with Adventure-Sport Writer Christopher McDougall

6:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 12, at the Lawrence River Trail — just south of 8th and Oak in North Lawrence (updated time and location).

The Raven is partnering with Ad Astra Running and Pinole Blue for a fun run and talk with bestselling adventure-sport writer Christopher McDougall in advance of the December publication of his title Born to Run 2: The Ultimate Training Guide. Attendees are invited to join the run, talk to McDougall about his new books, sample drinks from Pinole Blue, and shop a selection of thematic titles provided by the Raven at the end of the route.

Learn more at this link.

A Virtual Family Event with Jordannah Elizabeth, Author of “Astrology for Black Girls

7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 13, on Crowdcast (online only)

With full-color illustrations and a comprehensive look at sun, moon, and rising signs, Astrology for Black Girls is set to be the perfect book for young Black girls to begin learning about astrology. Young astrology-lovers are encouraged to join the Raven for a virtual event with the author, Jordannah Elizabeth, as she discusses her creative practice. She will be in conversation with Raven Book Store co-owner Nikita Imafidon. This is a child-friendly event

Learn more at this link. Register at this link.

Book Signing with William Kent Krueger

Noon Wednesday, Sept. 14 at the Raven

Shoppers will get to meet award-winning mystery and crime writer William Kent Krueger at the store. He will be signing copies of the latest release in his acclaimed Cork O’Connor mystery series, Fox Creek—in addition to any of his numerous other titles.

Learn more at this link.

Discussion with Sarah Dykman, Researcher and Author of “Bicycling with Butterflies” in Partnership with Monarch Watch

7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 17 at the Raven

The Raven is not the only Lawrence org with a September birthday — Monarch Watch is coming up on 30 years at KU, and the bookstore is hosting an author talk as part of Monarch Watch’s own 30th-anniversary events series. The visiting author will be Sara Dykman (Bicycling with Butterflies: My 10,201-Mile Journey Following the Monarch Migration) who will discuss monarch butterflies and her historic two-wheeled journey to track their migration patterns.

Learn more at this link.

Book Launch for “The Unbalancing” by R.B. Lemberg

7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 20 at the Raven

Attendees are invited to celebrate the launch of Kansas-based author R.B. Lemberg’s title The Unbalancing, the first full-length novel set in their Birdverse fantasy world. The evening will feature a reading and Q&A, with the chance to get copies of The Unbalancing signed by Lemberg.

Learn more at this link.

Sarah Kendzior, Author of “They Knew,” in Conversation with Sarah Smarsh

7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 21 at the Raven

Missouri-based journalist and anthropologist Sarah Kendzior is is visiting the Raven to discuss They Knew—an exploration of the dangers of conspiracy theory culture—in conversation with acclaimed Kansas journalist Sarah Smarsh. They will lead an evening of incisive political critique while discussing how they approach writing critical nonfiction analyses of America today.

Learn more at this link.

Release Party for the 2nd Edition of “How to Resist Amazon and Why” by Danny Caine

7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 22 at the Raven

How to Resist Amazon and Why has remained one of the Raven’s top weekly sellers for multiple years running. Written by Raven majority owner Danny Caine, it has been hailed as the start of a David vs. Goliath show-down in the fight against Amazon. Now, three years later, as this former ‘zine reaches a broadly-expanded and up-to-date third print iteration, the Raven couldn’t be happier to celebrate this book launch. Attendees are invited for an evening of reading and discussion with Danny Caine, culminating in an audience Q&A.

Learn more at this link.

A Discussion with Lucas Bessire and the Jayhawk Audubon Society

7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 26 at the Raven

Attendees are invited to spend an evening with author and anthropologist Lucas Bessire and the Jayhawk Audubon Society. Bessire will be in conversation with members of JAS about his book Running Out: In Search of Water on the High Plains. Running Out is a National Book Award finalist and Kansas Notable Book award winner which explores the depletion of the Ogallala aquifer while offering ways forward into a more sustainable future.

Learn more at this link.

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Mackenzie Clark (she/her), reporter/founder of The Lawrence Times, can be reached at mclark (at) lawrencekstimes (dot) com. Read more of her work for the Times here. Check out her staff bio here.

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