Brattleboro Book Crawl

Today Hobgoblin and I joined two our wonderful friends and fellow-bloggers Suitcase of Courage and She Knits by the Seashore to explore bookstores in Brattleboro, Vermont. Living in Connecticut, I tend to think that Vermont is way far away, the kind of place I would drive to only if I were going to stay for a while. But it turns out that Brattleboro is only about 2 1/2 hours from where I live, which isn’t far at all, definitely drivable in a day. So when Suitcase and She Knits invited us to join them, we agreed. Brattleboro is a cute small city, really a large town, snuggled right up next to mountains. It has lots of interesting shops, but we focused mostly on the bookstores, of which there are at least five, all within easy walking distance. First was a used bookstore that I think is Baskets Paperback Palace Book Store, although I’m not entirely sure. Then we went to the Book Cellar, then Mystery on Main Street, then Everyone’s Books (“For Social Justice and the Earth,” as their website says), and finally Brattleboro Books, a used bookstore.

I came home with five books, which seems like not very many at all, considering how great the stores were and how long we spent in them. Hobgoblin came home with eleven, which seems about right. Here’s what I found:

  • Sarah Caudwell’s The Shortest Way to Hades, the follow-up to Thus Was Adonis Murdered, which I read earlier this year and enjoyed tremendously.
  • Elaine Dundy’s The Dud Avocado, a book I’ve considered getting many times now and finally felt that the time was right.
  • Zadie Smith’s Changing My Mind, a collection of essays I’ve been waiting to come out in paper.
  • May Sarton’s The Education of Harriet Hatfield. I’m glad to have something else by Sarton on my shelves as I enjoyed her novel A Small Room so much.
  • David Foster Wallace’s Brief Interviews with Hideous Men. I’m collecting all of Wallace’s work, because he is awesome.

I love taking road trips in search of cute towns and interesting bookstores, and I’m already look forward to the next one!

12 Comments

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12 responses to “Brattleboro Book Crawl

  1. Your weekend book trips always sound so great! It’s nice to have good friends to go bookstore hopping with! I really need to read Sarah Caudwell–I think I would like her. I also have the Dundy book on my shelves–I liked The Old Man and Me, but I’ve heard that later book was not quite as ‘frothy’ and light hearted as The Dud Avocado so now I want to compare. I’d like to read more May Sarton, too. Five seems a nice respectable number of books to come home with–enjoy!

  2. Thank you, Danielle, and sorry to be so absent lately! I love it that we have friends who love to visit bookstores and know so many of them. I think you would like Caudwell too. She is so funny and amusing and smart.

  3. Sounds like a wonderful little sojourn! I love popping into bookstores, wherever I am. It’s always lovely to find tiny, local shops that your own hometown doesn’t have.

  4. What a lovely time you had! And great books. I loved the first two, and the next three are all on my wish list!

  5. Five books seems very restrained, one for each shop is a great ratio. I’m excited to see everyone picking up more books by Sarton as ‘The Small Room’ was so enjoyable and I’m wondering if she might be this years SofG big discovery of wonderfullness, like Dawn Powell seemed to be last year.

  6. I love these literary daytrips of yours, makes me wish to do the same! I’m curious: how did you get to know those bookshops, did your friends heard about it? Did you research them in yellow pages or on the net? Mostly when we visit a new town we only see the chain bookstore in malls, that never has anything new, all the other small indie bookstores are mostly tucked in small streets and we never get to know them…

  7. We had such a great time with you!! I’ve not heard of any of the authors/books you found except for the Sarton, so I’m looking forward to your reviews. I need to continue on with the Woolf book so we can have another discussion of her work.

    Hope Hobgoblin is feeling better too!

  8. Sounds like a fun trip! But then any trip that involves bookstores is almost guaranteed to be fun.

  9. What great finds! From everything I’ve heard I expect the Dundy to be a pure delight. And I keep meaning to explore more Zadie Smith; I’m betting her essays have a lot to offer.

  10. Steph — yes, it is wonderful, and I’m lucky to live in a place that’s crawling with little bookshops — if I don’t mind driving a bit, which I don’t.

    Litlove — it’s great that our lists overlap so much! I’m looking forward to them all.

    Jodie — you may be right about Sarton and Powell; both were pretty much universally popular, and both deserve a wider readership. With Sarton, there is a long list to choose from, which is great. I almost picked up her Journal of Solitude and may still get that one at some point.

    Smithereens — in this case, our friends knew about the stores, and I’m not sure how they discovered them. Debby, any answer? I think it may have been a book or a pamphlet on independent bookstores in the area that they were working from. That’s how they found some of the local stores at least. These days, I think a search on the net would turn some of them up, although maybe not all. I’ve seen flyers or pamphlets with lists of bookstores that some bookstores carry.

    Debby — thank you SO much for introducing us to Brattleboro! I too look forward to another Woolf discussion. She is so fabulous.

    Stefanie — yes, it was an excellent combination — good friends, bookstores, good food, Vermont … :)

    Emily — yes, I’ve heard good things about the Dundy too, and I’ve read an essay or two by Smith in various periodicals that I have liked, so I’m looking forward to the book.

  11. Really enjoyed spending the day with you guys – from the great breakfast to the cool moon over the church steeple. The wonderful bookstores were just incidental :^)

  12. Thanks, Suitcase. Yes, a memorable day for lots of reasons. I’m still trying to figure out what was going on with the sheep :)

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