Monday, November 19, 2012

Bittersweet Bounty

About two years ago, a small used bookstore opened in my hometown. This was cause for both excitement and disbelief on my part. Excitement because, well, it's a bookstore. Disbelief because my hometown isn't exactly the kind of place where you would expect a bookstore to open and thrive. In spite of that (and in spite of being located in a unit adjacent to an auto repair shop), the owner turned it into a very cute place, with cozy decorations, comfortable chairs, and a decent selection of books. I was therefore really disappointed when I recently stopped by and discovered a sign announcing that the shop was set to close in two weeks. It's always sad to see a book business fail to make it. I felt especially guilty in this instance because I had only been into the shop three or four times during visits home, and usually traded in more books than I bought. To assuage my guilt a little, I entered the shop determined to find a few books to buy as a way of bidding it farewell.

Turns out, I didn't need much determination at all because the shelves seemed to be stocked with books directly from my To Read list, including two Barbara Pym novels, a Murakami novel, and Cecelia by Fanny Burney. And as if these finds weren't enough, the owner insisted on taking the entire payment out of my past credits for trade-ins, so I ended up not paying a penny for any of them.

Second only to my windfall in Maine this summer, this was one of my luckiest used-book shopping experiences ever, albeit a very bittersweet one.


  1. I am happy for your loot but I feel sad for the closed book shop too. It always bums me out when book shops don't make it anymore, especially the cute local owned used book stores. I am sure it's because of people like me who stalk Amazon and read on a device :(

  2. That was a lucky day! The Barbara Pyms are exciting - I love the Plume editions.

    It is so sad that bookshops don't survive. My town doesn't have one and I'm sure if one opened it wouldn't last for long. It's a shame.

  3. I am so sorry to see another independent book store close. It is very sad. I'm happy for you that you got some very good books, but I know that you are disappointed that the book store didn't make it. I feel so lucky that my neighborhood still supports our local book store, but who knows for how much longer...I have seen so many favorite book stores close here in Los Angeles. I miss them very much, I spent many happy hours browsing in the stacks.



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