Used bookstore visit and a reminder

First of all, the reminder: the Slaves of Golconda are reading and discussing their next book soon — it’s Ruth Hall, and posts are due September 30th.  Anyone is free to join the group; just write about the book on your own blog and/or join the discussion at Metaxu Cafe.  It will be fun!

And now for the used bookstore.  I spend a couple hours yesterday afternoon with friends (three of whom have blogs!) browsing in the Book Barn in Niantic, Connecticut.  This is no ordinary used bookstore.  It’s got multiple buildings, first of all, each of which is jam-packed with books, over 350,000, as I learned from the website.  These buildings vary in size and in their holdings; there is the main barn, which is where the store first began and which has all kinds of subjects, from African American studies to women’s studies and woodworking.  There is also an area called Ellis Island, which houses books new to the shop that haven’t yet been sorted.  You can shop here, but nothing is alphabetized.  Then there is the Annex, where the fiction is kept and where I spent most of my time.

There is also Hades, with this sign:

And there is the haunted book shop (horror, mystery, science fiction), the “last page” (travel, sports), and another building about a mile away, with a whole range of subjects.

And that’s not all — there also also sheds and tents and other makeshift spaces that hold books that you can look through on your way from one building to another.  And there were goats!  And cats too, and the shop owners offer coffee and donuts, just in case you tire yourself out from all that browsing.

It was a mix of indoor and outdoor shopping — people sat around on park benches and at tables scattered around the property, and you wandered indoors and out and hardly noticed the difference.  It was lovely!

Of course I came home with some books:

  • Elizabeth Taylor’s A Wreath of Roses.  I love Elizabeth Taylor and want to read as many of her books as I can.  This one is a Penguin edition, but it was also published by Virago.
  • Vivian Gornick’s The End of the Novel of Love.  This is a collection of essays on love in novels by people such as Kate Chopin, Jean Rhys, Willa Cather, and others.
  • Margaret Oliphant’s The Perpetual Curate, a Virago edition.  The store had a lot of Viragos, and I could have come home with a dozen, easily.
  • Rosamund Lehmann’s The Weather in the Streets, another Virago.  This is a sequel to her novel Invitation to the Waltz.

I will certainly be visiting this store again!  After shopping, our group went out to dinner and told stories of bike crashes through much of the meal.  These friends are readers, and they are also cyclists.  Who could ask for a better day, right?

16 Comments

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16 responses to “Used bookstore visit and a reminder

  1. Pingback: More Weight… « The Hobgoblin of Little Minds

  2. What a great place! And you get to shop for not just one or two odd Viragos, but you can Choose! :) I never seem to find more than one or two at once and so snap them up whatever they are. If I ever get back to Dusty Answer (and I will soon), I plan eventually to read the sequel as well. And I’ve been in the mood for another Elizabeth Taylor, but will hold off until I can catch up a bit. Great book choices and it sounds like a fun time! I’ve started Ruth Hall by the way–it’s different in style, but I am enjoying the story. It should be a good book to discuss.

  3. Haven’t heard of any of those books (ulp) but your friends sound perfect (readers, bloggers AND cyclists). As you say, who could ask for more!

  4. I’m so jealous!! I see all of these wonderful used book stores scattered all over the country — most of which I’ll never see. I’ll just have to experience it all through your blogs, I guess.

  5. verbivore

    I’m positively green with envy…why didn’t I know of this place when I lived in New England? Sounds divine. And I can’t wait to hear your thoughts on the Gornick novel, that looks wonderful!

  6. Wow, that sounds like a great book store. I will definitely add a visit to my list of things to do. Not that I need more books right now, but that is besides the point.
    Definitely a perfect day!

  7. How fun! I want to go and check out the haunted book shop area :)

    Sounds like a wonderful day with friends and books.

    And, I need to go pull out my copy of Ruth Hal… I want to wait to have it fresh in my mind to discuss but then I run the risk of not finishing it in time. Seems I can never get it quite right.

  8. Ah, the bookbarn. Haven’t been there in years. I love that place….

    What a lovely post–it brought back great memories for me.

  9. What a wonderful day. That bookstore sounds like so much fun, you could spend the whole day there it seems. Bring your lunch, have a picnic, don’t forget to share with the goats. It is probably a good thing that I live very far away from the place.

  10. Eva

    What a cool store!! I’m so jealous. :D

  11. What a wonderful place! If only we had such bookstores here in England (and we do have a few big used book barns, but they are nowhere near as good). That notice made me laugh.

    And thank you for the reminder about the Slaves. I’m really looking forward to this novel.

  12. And you only came home with four books? My bank manager would never have spoken to me again! All book shops should offer coffee and doughnuts. Or in my case the equivalent, tea and scones. There should be a law passed to that effect. Anyway it would encourage so much more business that they’d soon make up what it cost.

  13. Danielle — I’m enjoying Ruth Hall too — it promises to be interesting! If you visited the Book Barn, you’d come away with a bag full of Viragos — I wish I could bring you out here to visit with me!

    Pete — exactly. I hadn’t heard of the books that long ago myself — it’s bloggers who introduced me to the authors, for which I am very grateful!

    Lisa — wouldn’t it be great to take a used book tour? You’d just have to leave plenty of space in your bags for the books you’d collect.

    Verbivore — I’m very grateful to my friends for introducing me to the place; otherwise I would never have heard of it. I wonder what other local places I’m missing??

    Zoesmom — and it’s not so far from us! We could take an excursion out there one day.

    Iliana — I struggle with getting the timing right too — I try to hit the deadline perfectly, but that’s quite a trick to pull off!

    Anne — I’m glad!

    Stefanie — you really could have a picnic there — it’s the kind of place that would welcome such a thing.

    Eva — yeah, it’s really a great find. I’m sure I’ll be back!

    Litlove — they have a great sense of humor there! It’s wonderful to visit a shop with so much personality.

    Ann — I know, only four books. Truthfully, I was so overwhelmed for a while, that I wasn’t doing very well focusing on individual books. Next time, though …

  14. This is great. Heading to visit daughter in Conn. soon, and now I just have to figure out where Niantic is. Enjoying all of your stuff as usual–great job!

  15. I’m so glad you guys were able to join us and we were able to introduce you to one of our favorite places. We had a wonderful time with you and are looking forward to many more visits!

  16. Pingback: New books! | Of Books and Bicycles

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