New Books!

This turned out to be a very literary weekend, although by “literary” I don’t mean that I read much. I haven’t had much time for that. First, on Friday I got to walk by Emily Dickinson’s house (picture here), since I was in the area for a work conference, and then I browsed in one of Amherst’s bookstores, just up the street.

And then on Saturday, Hobgoblin and I met up with She Knits and Suitcase of Courage to go on a three-state bookstore tour. We started off meeting for breakfast at the Wandering Moose Cafe in West Cornwall, Connecticut (Suitcase of Courage knows all the great places to get breakfast), and then we headed a block or so up the road to Barbara Farnsworth’s bookstore. It’s a charming two-story shop with a great fiction section, where I spent most of my time. I didn’t buy anything there, but it’s not because there weren’t good possibilities. Sometimes it just takes me a while to figure out what I’m in the mood for.

Then we drove up to Great Barrington, Massachusetts, home of Yellow House Books, where we spent another happy hour or so. This shop is smaller than Barbara Farnsworth’s, but it also has a great selection, and I snapped up The Essays of Virginia Woolf, Volume 1. I own volume 3 already, so of course I need all the others. I’ll be on the lookout for a nice copy of volume 2 next.

Then, after lunch, we drove over to Hillsdale, New York, to visit Rodgers Book Barn, a shop that’s been a favorite of mine for many years. The store is out in the middle of upstate New York farm country, and you have to drive past barns and on gravel roads to get there, which is all part of the fun. And they have a great selection of books, priced inexpensively. I was fully into shopping mode by that time, and came away with four books (Hobgoblin found ten!). I got Darkmans by Nicola Barker, which has been on my mind to read for a while because it’s long and experimental, and I’m ready to read a long, experimental novel written by a woman instead of the ones you always hear about written by men. I like the ones by men too, but the ones by women don’t get the same attention.

I also picked up another Mary McCarthy novel, Cannibals and Missionaries, for when I next get in a Mary McCarthy mood, which happens fairly regularly. The last two are Viragos, A View of the Harbour by Elizabeth Taylor, and Year Before Last by Kay Boyle. Taylor is a favorite of mine, but Boyle is someone new I’m interested in learning more about.

After a couple hours in the Book Barn, it was time to head home to take care of Muttboy — and to read our books, of course. And that’s exactly what I need to go do now.

15 Comments

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15 responses to “New Books!

  1. What a beautiful weekend you’ve had Dorothy! Emily Dickenson’s house is a character home indeed… love your picture, particularly the color. Trust you’ve had a wonderful conference as well, considering the literary environs in the area. I’ve had a good lit-related weekend too watching Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go the movie. It’s an excellent adaptation of the book.

  2. Oh I am so jealous – really classy book shopping and you came away with some goodies. Looking forward to hearing all about them!

  3. Green with envy over here. Sounds like a marvelous day. Looking forward to when you read Darkmans. I’ve been wondering about it.

  4. What a wonderful way to spend and end a beautiful autumn day!

  5. I’ve never heard of Darkmans, but have often gone in search of big experimental novels by women (as you put it), so a big thanks on that score. It sounds like your weekend was absolutely lovely; your eating and book-buying outings with friends always sound so perfect!

  6. Next to a weekend where you get in lots of reading, this sounds like the next best thing! I don’t often go to bookstores these days, but when I do the choice can be so overwhelming I’m not sure what I want to take home with me! Sounds like you found some great books–and I love the sound of the Wandering Moose Cafe–did you spot any moose? :)

  7. Arti — that’s good to hear about the movie! I’ll look forward to seeing it myself, especially since I loved the book. The conference wasn’t literature-related, alas, but it was fine anyway (about freshman year support).

    Litlove — it was a great day, and I’m glad I let my friends pull me away from stupid schoolwork! :)

    Stefanie — I’m very curious about Darkmans, although it may be a while before I’m up for another experimental novel, once I’ve finished Gravity’s Rainbow. But I’m glad to have a copy, finally.

    Jenclair — yes, it really was wonderful! We drove on some great country roads.

    Emily — I was glad to learn about Darkmans as well. The only other one I have on my shelves right now is Lessing’s The Golden Notebook, if that qualifies. Any others to add to the list?

    Danielle — well, there was a fake moose head on the wall :) That’s probably the closest I’ll get in Connecticut. I think I just need some time when I’m shopping to figure out what I’m in the mood for that day and what seems worthwhile to add to the shelves. I pick up such different things on different days depending on my mood.

  8. Such a perfect day, and some great finds. Very envious here! The Book Barn looks so cool.

  9. Sounds like the day just kept getting better… what a wonderful sequence of visits. And what great finds! I have that Elizabeth Taylor, and keep meaning to get to it…

  10. Thank you for sharing such a great day with us! I’m trying to finish my current books but can’t wait to dive into all the new ones we found. We are so glad you introduced us to Rogers’ Book Barn. It should have a warning label on the door. :)

    My internet connection was finally fixed this afternoon, so I hope to email you very soon.

  11. verbivore

    Fantastic book haul! An entire day of bookstores, that is bliss.

    And I’m curious, I’ve never read Mary McCarthy but would like to, where do you suggest I begin?

  12. Grad — yes, it’s very cool, and I’m happy to say that there are TWO book barns I can drive to that are very cool I love them both!

    Melwyk — I’ve been meaning to read Elizabeth Taylor again for quite a while now. Maybe the time will be soon for both of us!

    Debby — well, I can think you for introducing us to YOUR book barn! Both are great places. They do need warning labels, though — good idea :)

    Verbivore — fun question! I think her best book is Memories of a Catholic Girlhood, her memoir (all her memoirs and essays are good — don’t miss the essay “My Confession”). If you want fiction, I would start with either The Group or the story collection The Company She Keeps (linked stories).

  13. What a wonderful little tour! I clicked on all the links and now you make me want to organize a little book tour of my own — I just LOVE finding these out-of-the-way bookstores in the country!

  14. Darkmans is suppoused to be excellent so I hope you enjoy it. And Hobgoblin got ten! Don’t you feel like the model of restraint right now?;) I always envy your book buying weekends.

  15. verbivore

    Perfect, thank you for the suggestions. I have The Company She Keeps, but will get The Group and start there before heading to her memoir.

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