Book Store Tours – A Little Beach Reading

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Our favored little shore town offers a few options for the procurement of enjoyable printed word, but none (perhaps) as quaint, nor satisfying, as this.  You might miss it if you happen only to stroll the main thoroughfares; it’s around the corner… and then around the corner again.  Local bookworms consider it a most precious resource.  It’s a bit larger than a mere hole in the wall, but cozy indeed, and is bursting with second-hand treasures.  Long ago, when I first resolved to read as many timeless classics as I could, I found some ideal candidates here. Like many used book stores, you sometimes feel as if you’re robbing the place blind, casting a mere dollar or two down on the counter for a charming (albeit slightly tattered) hardbound copy of Island of the Blue Dolphins, or Robinson Crusoe.  And if that weren’t enough, there’s a sportingly suitable sci-fi fantasy section where you might find a David Brin or a lesser-known Asimov among the GRRM’s and Terry Brooks volumes you’ve likely already read. “In fact, is that my old copy of The Ilse Witch there?” I asked myself during a recent visit. I’m glad others will get to enjoy it, though I’m not one to often let go of any book from my collection. There is also a nice children’s corner with picture and chapter books for the little ones, and us adults with youthful tastes every now and then–give me A Cricket in Times Square any day of the week, my friend.

The best part of this one I’ve found, however, is it’s extremely close proximity to the beach.  It’s almost too much joy to handle…

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Book Store Tours – A Walk along the Strand

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We made sure to duck into the extraordinary Strand bookstore at 828 Broadway, New York, NY, and it was every bit worth the stop during our visit to the big city. I have a bit of an obsession with book stores, I’ll admit. There’s just something so inspiring about being ensconced in all that glorious literature. And the Strand might have provided the most impressive mixed offering of new, used, vintage, rare, and just plain fantastic books I’ve seen in a while.

Like most storefronts downtown, you instantly find yourself, along with all the many other patrons browsing the aisles, in likely violation of the fire code, but you don’t much mind the bustle because it’s the books that everyone is there to see, and as such, a sense of polite respect for one another flows unspoken through the space. I was immediately on the lookout for the Science Fiction, Fantasy section, as I’m always wont to do, but our group heads upstairs, where there are childrens’ chapter and picture books—great stuff; fantastic selection. I’ve got a thing for vintage hardbacks of sci-fi classics, and found a great copy of Jules Verne’s The Mysterious Island, featuring illustrations by N.C. Wyeth. I’d been trolling eBay for a copy of this edition for some time, so I couldn’t resist, and the famous art works of the Wyeth family are treasures to us Philadelphia, Delaware Valley folk. What an excellent addition to my collection.

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Back downstairs, I finally find the Science Fiction and Fantasy sections, all the way through the length of the main floor, into the depths of the back left corner. It’s a glorious, cavernous area lined with makeshift shelves from floor to ceiling, built around old radiators and utility pipes, and packed to the gills with Lackey and Brooks, Asimov and Bova, Jordan and Heinlein, ahh yes, the good stuff! All my dear friends. I could troll these bindings all day. No matter where I’ve traveled, I’ve always been able to find a little slice of home in the SF/F aisle of any book store. Do you ever just slide out a book on your TBR list from a shelf in a book store, just to read the first paragraph? Ever do it with two, or three, or, ohhh, fifty of them? Yeah… me neither……..

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I have a feeling this won’t be my last post on book store destinations.

If you’re in the Union Square section of the big city, take a walk along the Strand. You won’t be disappointed.

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(Also worth a quick peek is the quaint Alabaster Books, just a bit around the corner.)

Not far around the corner is Alabaster; cozy and inviting

Not far around the corner is Alabaster; cozy and inviting

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