I can’t remember where I originally heard about the new Olivewood bookstore. It may have been in the Bloggernacle somewhere – perhaps FAIR. In any case, I had heard enough about this store that I decided that I had to visit it. It is located at 3330 N University Ave. Suite C in Provo, next to Magelby’s Fresh. I had some spare time a couple weeks ago, so I stopped by. I’m glad I did!
This bookstore is the most elegant that I have ever stepped foot into. No bookstore that I know of compares to it. Imagine a very fine restaurant, like Chef’s Table or Ruth’s Chris, with bookshelves and exquisite fine art lining the walls. That is Olivewood, minus the fine dining (discounting lecture refreshments, of course). The bookshelves are made from rich dark wood, and are moderately filled. Framed fine art is everywhere you look. Beautiful temple photography by Robert Boyd is included. The lighting and music adds to the overall effect of this high-class bookstore. There is even a Neal A. Maxwell Reading Room, with a fireplace, dark leather couches and seating, and a bookcase with enough Hugh Nibley books to fill a lifetime. A bookcase in the middle of the store showcases some rare Church artifacts such as replicas of the death masks of Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum, an original 1830 Book of Mormon, genuine signatures of Joseph Smith and other early Church figures, and a reproduction of the gold plates. This is a one-of-a-kind bookstore.
The most fantastic thing about the store is its high caliber collection of books for sale. Nowhere will you find the sentimental and flowery books that are sometimes found lining LDS bookstore shelves. No. This bookstore delivers only the best LDS literature from the top scholars at BYU and abroad, as well as other top LDS authors and General Authorities. The bookstore is a representative of The Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship at BYU, and as such only contains the top-notch scholarship and writing that you would expect from this organization.
Not only do they provide high quality books, art and media, they also sponsor monthly lectures by well-known LDS scholars. I had the fortunate opportunity to attend Br. Daniel C. Peterson’s lecture a couple of weeks ago, and was not disappointed. He delivered one of the best talks on Book of Mormon evidences that I’ve ever heard. You can now see this lecture online on YouTube. They have Mark Alan Wright (a scholar in Mesoamerican archaeology) scheduled for May 15th at 7:00pm, and John Gee for June 19th.
There was an article in Thursday’s Deseret News “LDS Newsline” about the store, which reminded me to post about it. If you get a chance, I highly recommend stopping by.