“Worcester has everything, except a cool used bookstore!” That was what Nicole DiCello and Patrick Warner said when they moved to Worcester in the summer of 2014. At first, they tried to convince some of their close friends (who own independent bookstores in MA and VT) to open a bookstore in Worcester, to no avail. Temporarily deterred, they kept dreaming that someday they’d be in the position to open a store themselves. That time came in early 2018 when Nicole decided she was ready for a career change and wanted to pursue her passion. It was during this time of intense political and personal upheaval that Bedlam Book Cafe was born, and Nicole became the owner of Worcester’s next generation of bookstores. Patrick joined in to collaborate with Nicole. And while Nicole will be on-site operating the store day-to-day, together they will each manage and have input on this new vibrant intellectual and cultural space.
Nicole was raised in Ohio and Indiana, coming to Massachusetts via a 5-year stint in Ithaca, New York where she went to college, lived, and worked. It was in Ithaca that Nicole developed a love for books, frequenting Ithaca’s many amazing bookstores and book sales, and grew an affinity for healthful living. She credits the famous Moosewood restaurant with kicking off her love affair with juices. After 20 years in the corporate world and some time spent at Emerson College getting her M.F.A. in Poetry, Nicole believes it’s more vital than ever to bring the culture of a great bookstore/cafe to the community of Worcester and to make sure that it serves all of Worcester’s diverse population. She currently serves on two boards: the Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Committee for the City of Worcester, and the Worcester County Poetry Association (WCPA). So you can expect a diverse and kickass poetry section with lots of poetry readings.
Patrick is a lifelong Massachusetts resident, having spent many years in Amherst and Northampton where he went to college and lived and worked at legendary used bookstores such as Albion Books. A true bibliophile, he ran a small online business in the early 2000s called Situation Books, among his closest friends are the proprietors of Raven Books in Northampton, MA and Crow Books in Burlington, VT. Patrick’s love of literature and culture runs deep, extending back to his early teens when he became aware of the Beat Poets. As fate would have it, when Patrick was in his early 20s he met Allen Ginsberg. They became friends and traveled together as part of an “invasion of poets” to Nicaragua in 1986 during the Contra War, and remained friends until the poet’s death in 1997. Extensive travels in Europe, Central America and the Caribbean have informed Patrick’s worldview and cultivated an abiding fascination with the world’s cultures, arts, and literature.
Nicole and Patrick have known each other since 1999. They’re passionate about books, community, culture, curiosities, Worcester, diversity, and healthful living. They provide a curated cache of fine used and remaindered books ranging from the academic to the esoteric. Valuing the lived experience, Nicole and Patrick envision Bedlam Book Cafe as a hub of social and intellectual energy, and as a resource for writers, scholars, artists, poets, and interested readers. And with a rotating menu of fresh organic juices & smoothies, Bedlam nourishes the body as well as the mind.
Bedlam Book Cafe actively buys books. If you have books to sell, please check out our FAQS page and then inquire.