Booked vacation: Franklin book shop plans readers retreat

When the wind howls and the snow blows, it can be easy to curl up on the couch with a blanket and a good book.

Nasty winter weather makes it hard to get out of the house, particularly if your idea of a good time is getting lost in a book anyway.

But the team at Wild Geese Bookshop has put together an event that no local book lover will want to miss.

“Not everyone wants the wild weekend out, so what if we created something that is a little more relaxing, a little more nourishing? You can rest and relax, and hopefully get inspired,” said Tiffany Phillips, owner of Wild Geese Bookshop

Phillips has envisioned a respite in the icy heart of wintertime, as Wild Geese hosts its first-ever readers retreat. Area bibliophiles and book lovers are invited to escape the cold with full weekend’s worth of activities.

Attendees can sit in and learn about author Ali Hazelwood’s newest book, “Loathe to Love You,” from the bestselling author. People will enjoy coffee and conversation with Anne Bogel, a Louisville-based author and host of the “What Should I Read Next?” podcast.

At different times during the weekend, they can make their own tea light to take home with them.

The entire event is intended to provide a fun book-centric weekend for readers, while also bringing people into Johnson County who otherwise might not make it here.

“We want to encourage literary tourism, where people would come to Franklin, meet other readers, relax and go to different author events,” Phillips said.

Phillips had been hoping to create a readers retreat for years. She had previously been on the board of the Kentucky Women’s Writers Conference, and found inspiration for a retreat from their event.

Attendees gathered together in Lexington, then decide the activities, presentations and author appearances that appealed to them. She had also heard from other local readers who held book club weekends together — centering their meet-up around a certain book, but also staying together for a couple days, going out to eat or shopping.

“That’s the kind of weekend I want to have and encourage people to do in Franklin, because we have this beautiful downtown and you really can come and spend the weekend here,” Phillips said.

Kicking off the weekend will be Hazelwood, who combines her writing prowess and talent for romantic storylines with her knowledge of neuroscience. Not only is she the New York Times best-selling author of “The Love Hypothesis” and “Love On the Brain,” but she has also earned her doctorate in neuroscience.

Her most recent book is “Loathe to Love You,” a collection of novellas featuring a trio of engineers and their love of loathing — a genre that is described as “STEMinist.”

Hazelwood will be reading from her new book and answering questions from readers during an in-person event at the Sycamore at Mallow Run on Feb. 3.

“She has a really interesting story, and we’re really lucky that she agreed to come,” Phillips said.

Wild Geese has also lined up an appearance by Bogel for the morning of Feb. 4. She is the creator of the Modern Mrs. Darcy blog, through which she shares book recommendations and advice on all things literary. Her “What Should I Read Next” podcast is just as it sounds — an opportunity for Bogel to interview guests each week and help guide listeners on their next read.

Attendees to the event will gather at the Barn at Crystal Spring Farm for coffee, pastries and a question-and-answer period with Bogel. Ticket-holders receive a copy of “My Reading Life: A Book Journal,” which includes custom reading lists, charming literary quotes, and plenty of room to record what people have read and what they would love to read next.

“She’ll be having a discussion just talking about all things bookish — what to do if you’re in a reading slump, how she chooses books for her book club, the reading life, that’s kind of her specialty,” Phillips said.

Other activities are planned for the readers retreat as well, Phillips said. Wild Geese has partnered with Middle Davids Artisan Candles for three sessions on the afternoon of Feb. 4, where people can tour the candle-making facility and make their own tea light. An open-house reception the evening of Feb. 4 for anyone who had a ticket to the previous events allows people to shop at Wild Geese after-hours at their leisure.

Another event is hopefully going to come together for Feb. 5, Phillips said.

All of the activities over the course of the retreat can be purchased individually, so people can pick and choose which ones to take part in.

“Unlike some other retreats, there’s not one ticket for everything. I wanted to make sure it was as accessible to as many readers as could come, whether they live in Franklin or are further away,” Phillips said.

Organizers are expecting people from all over the area, and even beyond, to make the trek to Johnson County for the retreat. Phillips has arranged for a block of rooms to be set aside at the Fairfield Inn in Franklin, and has information about local bed-and-breakfasts and AirBnbs attendees can take advantage of.