If you had to create a category for David Sedaris's book Naked, you might just call it "Books That Make Milk Come Out Your Nose." And at Mean Jeanine's Bookshop, that's exactly where you'll find it.
Mean Jeanine's is definitely not your typical bookstore, eschewing bestseller lists and sticking instead to customer suggestions. "We ask our customers, 'Who do you like? What is your favorite book of all time?'" says owner Jeanine Smidt. "The lists are pretty cookie-cutter, so a lot of great authors fall through the cracks. It's nice having freedom; we just have fun here."
And Mean Jeanine's doesn't organize books by conventional categories, preferring instead groupings such as "Amy's Chick Picks," which features The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing and "Our Favorite Psychos," offering the true-crime Charles Manson tale Helter Skelter, and "If You Don't Have Anything Nice to Say, Come Sit By Me," which is stocked with Hollywood tell-alls.
If you still can't find something to read, take a look at the quirky quotes tucked inside many book covers. "If you put a quote in a book that says, 'This is the most disgusting book I've ever read,' people are going to take notice," she says. "It gets people's attention, but we do it mostly just to amuse ourselves."
The small, independent bookstore, which left the Platte Valley last fall and is now tucked behind a bright yellow facade at 1226 East Sixth Avenue, also hosts a monthly book club and offers tarot-card and astrological-chart readings on Saturdays; call 720-855-3093 for further information.
As for the store's name, Smidt swears she doesn't torment her customers. "My husband suggested it," she says, laughing. "He probably does think I'm mean, but it also rhymes."