Hyperbole Bookstore: Every book-lover’s dream

(Left to right) Owners of Hyperbole Bookstore, Kathy and Kalena Miller, pose in the Adult Fiction section of their bookstore on Friday, Feb. 2, 2024.
(Left to right) Owners of Hyperbole Bookstore, Kathy and Kalena Miller, pose in the Adult Fiction section of their bookstore on Friday, Feb. 2, 2024.
Ashely Bautista

Kathy and Kalena Miller, a mother-daughter duo of bookworms, brought to fruition every reader’s dream when they opened the doors of Hyperbole Bookstore, the only independent bookstore in College Station.

For Kathy, a former communication professor at Texas A&M, and her daughter Kalena, who grew up in College Station, what felt like an attainable lifelong goal finally became a reality. This transformation was fueled by their shared love for reading and their combined experience in writing, ranging from textbooks and non-fiction to young adult fiction.

“We were living in Minnesota at the time and started looking around and realized that Minnesota is kind of oversaturated with bookstores, and we remembered from when we lived here that College Station didn’t have one,” Kathy said. “Suddenly, we decided we were gonna do it. We moved both of our households down from Minnesota.”

As a young adult and middle-grade author herself, Kalena said it helped to have one foot in the door of the book world when they opened their store.

“I got more into writing in college, and afterwards, I realized my favorite part of every job or every class is always writing,” Kalena said. “At first, I took that as a sign that I should be a grant writer or something, but I eventually found my way back to creative writing. Publishers and books and all of that were familiar, so I think that’s what took some of the scariness away.”

While owning a business with your mom might not be everyone’s dream, it definitely was for Kalena, she said.

“Even before we opened the bookstore, I talked to my mom 10 times a day, so this isn’t anything new,” Kalena said. “But it’s great to have a business partner that you can call at 3 a.m. It’s so much fun. It’s what I always dreamed of. We’ve always been really close.”

Connecting with the community, creating a comfortable space for readers with a wide range of interests and having conversations with individuals about what they love about books is what feeds you as a book lover, Kathy said.

Ameenah Wilson

“We knew that the market really only had big box stores,” Kathy said. “So we really wanted to be a curated collection where people could come in and know that if they asked, ‘What should I read? This is the last thing I loved, what would you suggest?’ We would be able to give them suggestions. We wanted a place where people would feel comfortable and realize that all of these books were selected by us, and not by an algorithm.”

With the goal of creating a space for all types of readers, Hyperbole Bookstore features more books by female authors, people of color, queer authors and even authors who graduated from A&M, Kathy said.

“We’re really open, and I think women, especially young women, come in. I think they feel really comfortable just wandering around and chatting about books and shouting across the store,” Kathy said. “There was a young woman in here the other day who was talking to me about a book by Milan Kundera and said, ‘I read this years ago and I really wanted to understand it more, so then I read it in French.’ So I think we really need to pay attention to all readers.”

Hyperbole Bookstore aims to connect with their regulars, such as a 3-year-old who has his mom bring him later in the week if he misses the Saturday morning storytime, and newcomers alike, by hosting community-oriented events, Kathy said.

“We do story-time on Saturday, we’ll get a dozen kids in here, with their parents, reading stories and doing crafts,” Kathy said. “We do book club. We have a dozen or more folks come down for whatever we picked for the month. We’re doing a new event called Hyperbole After-Hours where we pair a theme with an adult beverage. The first one is in February, and we’re doing Vampires and Vodka, which will be fun. We wanted it to be a place that people would want to come to.”

Being a smaller bookstore with only Kathy and Kalena working at the store, they can work one-on-one with people and meet their needs, Kalena said. 

“Owning our own place allows us to be like ‘Sure bring your dog, bring your kids, I’ll watch them for a minute,’” Kalena said. “A slightly more casual, family-oriented and inviting approach with a focus on accessibility, diversity and all the things we want to see represented in the community.”

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