Wednesday, November 30, 2016

One more of my favorite things...BOOKSTORES! by Mrs. Schwinden

"What I had that day was self-reliance and a book, which, as I would later learn, was all I really needed." 
Ann Patchett, Collecting Strays at the Thanksgiving Dinner Table, New York Times, 11/18/16

Patchett's shop in Nashville, TN
I know I'm probably not alone in listing Ann Patchett, the award winning novelist, as one of my favorite authors.
I love everything she has written, from her many novels (RunBel Canto), her collection of essays (This is a Story of a Happy Marriage), and the number of other pieces she has written for various publications. I was recently reminded of how much I enjoy her while reading an account of preparing a dorm room Thanksgiving meal, armed with just a healthy dose of confidence and a book (Collecting Strays at the Thanksgiving Dinner Table).  I highly recommend anything she has written! In addition to Patchett's novels, I also love the fact that she is the owner of an independent bookstore in Nashville, TN. Who doesn't love a bookstore?  When Nashville's only bookstore closed for business, Ann and two other community members jumped in and opened the store despite warnings that "bookstores were dead" and that they would soon be out of business. On the contrary, Parnassus Books is thriving and they now even have a bookmobile (and you know how I feel about bookmobiles...). Click here to read more about this fascinating story.
Toad Hall Bookstore, 47 Main Street, Rockport
We're fortunate to live in communities that support bookstores. One favorite of mine is Toad Hall, Rockport's own independent, non-profit bookstore. Open since 1972, the shop features books for all ages and interests. Toad Hall is a faithful supporter of RES and our annual Kimball Prize awards. Dogtown Book Shop on Main St. in Gloucester, where you can find all sorts of books, used and unusual, is also worth a visit!  
 I don't have plans to visit Los Angeles anytime soon,  but when I do a trip to "The Last Bookstore" is definitely on the agenda! The owner, Josh Spencer, opened the space despite warnings that bookstores were disappearing. Take a minute to read Josh's inspiring story and tour the space labeled "one of the 20 most beautiful bookstores in the world".
What about you? Do you have a favorite bookstore to recommend? Fond memories of browsing a "gone, but not forgotten" space? Share your comments below!


  1. A bookstore is indeed a special place to visit! Banbury Cross in Hamilton was my favorite children's bookstore for many years before it closed. My daughters often comment with nostalgia how much they enjoyed their visits to Banbury Cross!

    Thank you for sharing.

  2. One of my favorite spots in my hometown is Barnes and Noble. I know it's big and commercial however there is something to be said for a place where you can grab a chocolate croissant and a good book all at the same time! It's a great place to go to read and relax.

  3. Bookstores have always been a favorite place of mine. Even though many people enjoy the convenience of E-readers, there is just something about having a book in your hand. Locally, I really like The Bookstore in Gloucester on Main Street. But my favorite all time bookstores have comfy furniture and a coffee bar... I could spend hours deciding which books to buy in an unrushed place. This past weekend, we went to Brown University's bookstore on Thayer Street. Coffee, books, students, comfy chairs....heaven!

  4. "You may have heard the news that the independent bookstore is dead, that books are dead, that maybe even reading is dead—to which I say: Pull up a chair, friend. I have a story to tell." For the rest of Ann Patchett;s story, check out this Atlantic article: