Signs of Life

Kansas / April 16, 2012 / by Amy
Signs of Life

Signs of Life is a lovely shop on Massachusetts Street in Lawrence, KS. What makes Signs of Life different to the other cafés I’ve been to this year is that it is also a bookshop and has a gallery upstairs. 

The bookshop is brightly lit with the books spaced very nicely. It has a very good selection even though it isn’t the biggest of book shops. It also has a lovely selection of journals and other such things that would make lovely presents. 

I was very excited to find a book that told the story of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice for very young children. I’m rather the Austen fan and I loved seeing the story so imaginatively brought to life in a way that would, hopefully, get children hooked on great literature as soon as possible. 

The book was beautifully designed and was extremely simple. It consisted of just ten double pages, with a number on the left hand page and a drawing on the right. The plot is told, very loosely of course, by going from the number 1 through to 10, each with a plot point connected to that number. I don’t want to spoil it for those of you who haven’t read Pride and Prejudice (which you most definitely should if you haven’t!) but the fifth page showed the ‘5 sisters’.

But, back to the café. I had a chai (somewhat predictably now), which tasted lovely and was nice and warm. They had a selection of unique drinks to choose from as well as some lovely-looking cakes that I just about managed to resist. 

It has very large windows that let lots of natural light in to the front of the café and the back is nicely lit. There is also a sofa for people who prefer slightly ‘squishier’ seating. 

A very cool feature is the vault that is at the back of the building. I’m not sure what the building used to be but it’s always fun to see the original features.

Signs of Life is open until 11 on most nights, too, which makes it a very popular spot for students trying to get some late-night work done. 

There is also a baby grand piano at the front of the bookshop, adjacent to the coffee shop, which can be played by any sufficiently proficient musician. When we were there, two young women came in and played some lovely hymns. One played the piano and the other brought along her violin and it made sitting in the café all the more enjoyable. 

It was a very lovely place to sit and work or read for a while. The bookshop is extremely tempting whenever you look up so make sure you go with just enough money for a coffee - otherwise, you’ll probably be tempted into buying one or two books while you’re there.