Monday, August 27, 2007

Local Bookstores Make Me Happy


My family vacations on Cape Cod every year, if we can make it, and every year I make at least one trip to the local bookstore in Brewster, which is walking distance from where we stay. It's called The Brewster Book Store, and it's wonderfully eclectic, as all good local bookstores are. They have a marvelous children's section, and a solid fiction area where I can always find something to add to my vacation reading list.

When I visited on this trip, I asked Val, who works at the store, what people were reading this summer. Val (and I remembered her from summers past, though I forgot to ask her how long she's been with the store) mentioned that people are reading A Thousand Splendid Suns in hardback, and Water for Elephants: A Novel in paperback. Local book groups were reading Nicole Krauss's The History of Love: A Novel and Irene Nemirovsky's Suite Fran├žaise.

And people are reading books of local interest. Many have bought Annie Dillard's bestselling The Maytrees: A Novel, which is set in Provincetown on Cape Cod. I'm sure many a Cape Cod vacationer sat on the beach with this book this summer--I know I did. I enjoyed it very much, and will write about it soon.

Another book of local interest is the perennially popular The Outermost House: A Year of Life On The Great Beach of Cape Cod, by Henry Beston, a memoir of a year spent living in a house on the beach at Eastham, on the Atlantic coast of Cape Cod, in 1926. The book is praised as a classic of natural history, and Beston is compared to Thoreau, and even to Proust, in the reviews I read. This one will have to go on my list.

Val also mentioned The Widow's War: A Novel, by Sally Gunning, as another book of local interest. It is a work of historical fiction, the story of Lyddie Berry, a whaling widow who struggles to make a life for herself in 18th century Cape Cod, when widows had few rights. Reviewers liked it and gave it high marks for thorough research and a compelling central character. I bought a copy of this one, and will let you know how I like it.

Thanks Val and the rest of the folks at the Brewster Book Store, for making my vacation reading that much more transporting.

22 comments:

Tara said...

I love finding out what people in other parts of the country/world are reading. The Widow's War sounds interesting - do let us know how it is.

Joy said...

Your vacation and book spot look wonderful. Welcome back!

stefanie said...

What a beautiful bookstore! Glad your back and had what sounds to be a wonderful time.

Robin said...

What a wonderful bookstore! I loved The Outermost House...it really is a classic.

Gentle Reader said...

tara--me too! And I'll let you know what I think when I read The Widow's War :)

joy--thanks--I had a great time but of course I'm happy to be home!

stefanie--it is a lovely little bookstore, and thanks, glad to be back!

robin--ooh, you've read The Outermost House--it sounds really good, I'll have to get a copy!

iliana said...

What a pretty bookstore. I love the big B&N and Borders but I so wish I had a bookstore like this one too so I could get to know the booksellers and visit all the time.

Imani said...

The two local interest books sound really really good. Can't wait to read about your reaction to them.

Gentle Reader said...

iliana--it is a pretty bookstore, as are most of the shops in the area. My husband can barely go inside the store because he's so claustrophobic, and it's definitely crowded, but I love it!

imani--I thought they both sounded surprisingly interesting, too. I'll let you know once I've read them. Btw, like your new picture/icon--cool!

Booklogged said...

We need a great little locally owned bookstore in my town! One with charm. Sounds like you had a wonderful vacation. Isn't it fun to buy local books at a local bookstore. I look forward to reading your reviews of those local books.

Side Note: History of Love is one of my favorite reads this year.

Elisa Taub said...

I love the Brewster Book Store too! Made me sad we didnt' get back to Cape Cod this year.

Gentle Reader said...

booklogged--nothing better than a bookstore with charm! I'll let you know what I think of the local books. I really need to read History of Love...

elisa--isn't it a great store? The bookstore and the Brewster Store (the general store with all the penny candy) are my two favorite places in Brewster. Sorry you didn't get to the cape this year :(

litlove said...

What a wonderful looking bookstore! And a great list of books to check out.

Matt said...

What a great looking bookstore. If I owned a bookstore I wouldn't mind a bit if it looked like this. It has encouraged me to visit independent bookstores on my trip to Seattle next week. The city is fairly well known for having a lot of them.

Heather (errantdreams) said...

I have a bad tendency to find out what 'folks' are reading and then deliberately read something else. *grin* But I'm not always that pig-headed.

Gentle Reader said...

litlove--whenever I travel I like to check out the local books!

matt--it's a really charming place, and I have to say I've fantasized about owning something like it :)

heather--hee hee! I understand the impulse!

Matt said...

The bookstore looks so lovely with big window letting in sunlight.

The one that comes closest to this lovely place is a local bookstore in Stinson Beach about 30 miles north of San Francisco.

Although I shop at Borders because of the perks and coupons, I try to look at the selection of local, independent bookstores first just to show support to our neighborhood.

A Thousand Splendid Suns has been a great hit this summer, although I have yet to read The Kite Runner, which I'm planning to tackle. I enjoyed Suite Francaise a lot and the publisher will release her second this fall.

Gentle Reader said...

matt--I feel the same way about showing support to the local bookstores. I'd love to visit the one you like in Stinson Beach. I love Stinson Beach, but haven't been there in years! Maybe on my next trip north...

J.S. Peyton said...

Ah, the glory and beauty of independent bookstores. A Thousand Splendid Suns and Water for Elephants seemed pretty popular this summer. I'd really like to read both, but they're one of those books I that I always figure I'll get around to one day just as soon as I finish a few other things... : )

Glad to hear you had a great vacation!

Gentle Reader said...

j.s.--gotta love the independents! I read Water for Elephants, and enjoyed it, but haven't read A Thousand Splendid Suns, or the Kite Runner, for that matter, so I'm behind the curve on what most people are reading (as usual!).

Lotus Reads said...

I just love the pictures of the Brewster Book Store, it looks lovely! I have often wanted to ask booksellers what books were flying off their shelves, maybe the next time I visit one I will think of your post and engage one of the sales clerks in conversation!

Gentle Reader said...

lotus--I'm going to try to talk to more independent booksellers! We've been going there on vacation for a few years now and I keep going back to that particular bookstore, so this time I struck up a conversation. And it was really nice! I highly recommend it :)

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