by Paul Constant for The Seattle Times
Once upon a time in Kingston, Kitsap County, a little girl fell in love with books. Annie Carl was born with a rare spinal birth defect called a lipomyelomeningocele — a fatty deposit at the base of her spine a little bigger than a pea. It’s a condition that affects only one in 4,000 children, and in those predigital days, Carl’s medical file at Seattle Children’s hospital took up “like an entire bookcase,” she says, laughing. Carl had her first spinal surgery at 2 years old, and a series of others over the next dozen years found her alternating between crutches and wheelchairs for most of her school days.
Books were a welcome diversion. Carl loved Peter S. Beagle’s “The Last Unicorn,” “The Hobbit,” the “Animorphs” series, and — most especially — Michael Ende’s novel “The Neverending Story,” about a bullied boy who finds himself drawn through a book into a seductive magical realm called Fantastica. To describe Carl as “bookish” would be an understatement: She wanted to devote her life to books.
When she was 14, Carl started visiting downtown Kingston used-book store Mr. B’s Bookery with one goal in mind: “I went in once a week and asked them to hire me.” A year later, they finally acquiesced, bringing her on at six hours a week. Carl always kept books close: She published a books column in the North Kitsap Herald, and worked at Third Place Books for four years. When she finally decided to open her own small bookstore in downtown Bothell, Carl didn’t have to think twice about what to name it.
This month marks a double anniversary for The Neverending Bookshop. It’s been four years since the store first opened, and one year since Carl moved it from Bothell to a bright new space in a shopping center in the Edmonds neighborhood of Perrinville, just across the Lynnwood city limits.
. . .
Be sure to read the full store profile on The Seattle Times website. It has a charming photo of Annie in her shop and includes some wonderful recommendations. Don’t forget to go visit the shop in person; whether you’re there for an event or just to browse the books, you’ll be glad you stopped in. The store is located at 7530 Olympic View Drive, Unit 105 in Edmonds, WA. It’s right around the corner from Mel & Mia’s, a tasty, locally-owned bakery.