By Amanda Cleary Eastep
There is a scent. Sometimes it makes me sneeze.
The smell of books:
One like a door closed on a dusty attic that, when opened, overwhelms you with its secrets and want of discovery.
The other like all things new . . . new car, new baby, new day . . . and new ink, so fresh that breathing it in makes you a little dizzy.
And my favorite place to breathe that all in is in indie and used bookstores.
In honor of Independent Bookstore Day, which is celebrated on April 27, right on the heels of International Children’s Book Day (April 2) and World Book Day (April 23)–you can’t have too many book days, right?–I’m sharing my favorite pictures from my favorite indie and used bookshop visits over the past year.
Please share your favorites in the comments! Because, after all…
Where is human nature so weak as in a bookstore? –Henry Ward Beecher
Barter Books, The Little Apple Bookshop, and the British Museum Bookstore
Shopping for books in my second favorite country in the world? Brilliant. Plus the fact that I was visiting the UK with my father, an avid reader during most of my life, made this an even better experience.
The famous Barter Books is housed in an old train station, and toy trains run on tracks overhead. Little Apple is tucked into “the Shambles” area of York, and the bookshop manager, with her funky glasses and animated personality, seemed to have walked straight out of a children’s story. I had planned to visit the British Museum to do some research on my YA fantasy and was blown away by their bookstore, a wonderful surprise.
The Old Bookshop
Whenever I travel anywhere, I search out three things: hole-in-the-wall restaurants, coffeehouses, and bookstores. My family and I popped into this shop in Rice Lake, Wisconsin while on vacation.
The highlight wasn’t the book selection but realizing the little boy I used to read to each night is over six bookshelves tall.
Unfortunately, this bookstore was closed when we were in Daytona for the morning, but given the mysterious vibe of this shop, the name of which means “an ancient charm composed of Greek letters . . . believed to have magical powers,”* I suppose it was fitting that it was a dreary and rainy day and we had to look through the barred window to see inside.
New Hope, Pennsylvania; Lambertville, New Jersey
As much as I enjoyed discovering a few indie and used bookstores in my husband’s old stomping grounds, that experience was a small joy compared to meeting my husband’s family for the first time and seeing the people and places that make up his story.
Your turn. What are your favorite indie/used bookstores?