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 Française.
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.