Blog: Discovering a book lover’s paradise near downtown Fort Wayne

With one turn off the busy streets of downtown Fort Wayne, I walked straight into what could be the scene of a movie. Piles upon piles of books are stacked up to the ceiling on shelves just wide enough for someone to fit, leading you through the weaving ways of the bookstore. Silence encompasses you as you make your way to the basement, looking at the drawn maps for guidance inside this beautiful mess.

Even with no other customer in the bookstore, you may feel like there are constant eyes on your every move, which is because there probably are. Multiple litter boxes throughout the shop speak to the evidence of other life in the space: Two cats to be exact.

Hyde Brothers is a popular regional destination for readers of all ages.

I’m a summer intern experiencing Fort Wayne for the first time this year. In most of my travels, I try to find a local bookshop to relax in, people to watch, and an escape inside a random book I might not normally pick up. I’ve wandered through a three-story coffee and book shops in Reykjavík, Iceland; a collector’s book paradise in Tampa, Florida; and dozens of other eclectic shops proclaiming literary love throughout the country. But nothing comes close to Fort Wayne’s Hyde Brothers Booksellers. There’s simply nothing else like it.

The chaos in the mess of pages brings me a sense of peace. The mayhem is absolutely beautiful. I can’t even begin to describe all the different types of books that can be found within this treasure trove. Every single topic you can imagine has an entire section of books devoted to it for you to pick from—classics, comics, jokes, hobbies, and more.

Hyde Brothers is a popular regional destination for readers of all ages.

By chance, I stumble upon a copy of Tuesday’s With Morrie, by Mitch Albom, a novel I’ve been meaning to pick up for a few months now. I couldn’t resist and purchased it with a student discount, paying just over $3.

That is what led me here, to the last days of my summer internship, reading this copy by the pool at my Dad’s condo about 15 miles outside of the city. I’ve found a connection within the pages of this wonderful book and the vibe that I’ve discovered in Fort Wayne this summer.

Growing up in Chicago, it is such a breath of fresh air to be in a city that isn’t so fast-paced and impersonal. In my summer traveling around the Summit City, I’ve had conversations with locals, learning about the different things they do, and everyone is so eager to share and to listen.

I’ve found it fitting that, as my summer in Fort Wayne winds down, and as I pack up my bags for my final year of college in Tampa, I’m reading a book about a dying professor’s last words of wisdom to his student.

Morrie’s words reach out to me from the worn, yellowed pages, and summarize this summer experience I’ve had.

Talking to his student Mitch, he says:

“‘The culture doesn’t encourage you to think about such things until you’re going to die. We’re so wrapped up with egotistical things, career, family, having enough money, meeting the mortgage, getting a new car, fixing the radiator when it breaks—we’re involved in trillions of little acts just to keep going. So we don’t get into the habit of standing back and looking at our lives and saying, Is this all? Is this all I want? Is something missing?’”

He paused.

‘You need someone to probe you in that direction. It won’t just happen automatically.’

I knew what he was saying. We all need teachers in our lives. And mine was sitting in front of me.”

Listening to the unique passions that mash together in this rebuilding city, Fort Wayne and the people I’ve met here have been my teachers this summer.

Thank you for the inspiration.

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