Science and book lovers alike now have a space devoted to them in the community at The Thinking Spot. A bookstore focusing on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), The Thinking Spot blends reading and science to fill a unique void. “Science-type books are popular in my house and others, but they’re hard to find in stores,” says Rima Parikh, owner and founder.
When people hear about science books, many think of textbooks or other nonfiction books written in a technical style, but there are a lot of science-based storybooks out there. Parikh wanted to feature those books and make them more accessible. To that end, she sells a mix of adult and kids’ books along with both fiction and nonfiction. “I was a big fiction reader growing up, and my husband was a big nonfiction reader, so we kind of combined our library,” Parikh says. “Now, I’m really into nonfiction books that tell a story.”
The bookstore is fairly new for Parikh and her husband, but they’re no strangers to science. Both of them studied STEM computer science in India. Parikh went on to get her master’s degree from the University of Minnesota. She worked for a handful of companies and enjoyed her career but knew she wanted to own a bookstore. She was inspired by actor Alan Alda after seeing what a strong proponent of science communication he is to the field. When COVID-19 disrupted Parikh’s regular work routine, she decided to make the change and opened The Thinking Spot.
While books are a main focus, they aren’t the only facet to the store. There are many STEM-related toys and games for sale in hopes of getting kids interested in the subject areas. Parikh also wants the store to become a spot for people to come hang out for a bit. She has a few rooms that can be used (on a rental basis) as study spaces or places for groups, including book clubs and the like, to meet.
Parikh hosts events in the store, as well. These can vary from book signings to hands-on workshops and more. She’s held 3D printing workshops in the past and is working to line up new events. “I try to highlight people in our community,” Parikh says.
The Thinking Spot also offers membership options, including a book subscription, so members can borrow a book and return it as long as it’s in good shape. Another option allows people to borrow board games instead of purchasing them. Parikh hopes to start hosting family game nights to encourage learning play.
Science and technology is rapidly evolving, so having a place for people to learn about it is important. Parikh feels
if people had a more accessible way to follow along with the changes, they’d understand them more. “[The Thinking Spot is] a space where you’re surrounded by books in our community,” Parikh says. “I just want to make science more normal.”