Last week was a bookstore-hopping trip – which is far more fun than bar hopping! We spent the first two days in central Massachusetts where there are so many good bookstores. Next, we traveled to Chicago where, of course, there were lots of opportunities to buy books, especially about Frank Lloyd Wright! So many miles, so many stores and helpful people who share their love of reading…
I’ll write about Chicago in a few days, but if you’re going to be in Northampton or Amherst this summer, here are a few places to visit.
My favorite store was Broadside Bookshop on Main Street in Northampton. It’s not the only independent bookstore in town, but there’s a certain vibe that I felt in the store. Maybe it’s this sign near the desk, signaling that we were among friends:
Also, when I described a book I’ve been thinking about reading, the woman working there knew exactly what book I was talking about. The cool part of that is that I knew she would be able to figure it out before I asked her. By the way, the book was Beautiful Boy by David Sheff which I described kind of like this: “it was written by that man who’s on NPR a lot and his son went through a bad time.”
A few blocks from Broadside is a gift shop called Pinch. It’s not a bookstore, but a woman can not live by books alone – fun earrings are a plus! Browsing around Pinch, I saw these birdhouses called Literary Lodgings. Of course, the one I like the best is the Charlotte’s Web birdhouse.
And a good friend (who goes to school in that part of the world) told me about The Book Mill in Montague – a store that may have the greatest slogan ever: Books You Don’t Need in a Place You Can’t Find. Thanks to GPS, we had no trouble finding it. It just took us a while to leave since it was a beautiful day and they have a lovely little cafe overlooking the Sawmill River.
One last little piece of joy in Amherst….tucked in a corner on the main street is this plaque honoring 19th century poet Eugene Field’s famous children’s poem, The Gingham Cat and the Calico Dog. If you’re walking through Amherst, see if you can find it…