Saturday, December 23, 2006

Islands of books

I'm writing from Connecticut, where I'll be until a couple days after Christmas. Just got back from one of my favorite used bookstores, the Niantic Book Barn, down by the shore in Niantic, on this foggy but surprisingly warm day. The store comprises one large two-story barn plus a loose collection of maybe half a dozen outbuildings, each of which is packed with used books. The one at the entrance, where books are bought when the weather's fair, is called Ellis Island. Quirky signs and shelf labels are scattered throughout the entire store; for example, the section labeled "That Pestiferous Little Corsican" features Napoleonic history. "Do not place books on the radiator - remember Fahrenheit 451!" warns another sign in the Haunted Barn.

The Book Barn also boasts the floppiest and laziest bookstore cats I've ever seen. They're so tame and used to being petted by customers that they don't even wake up. If you're not into cats, you can head outside (follow the bleating and baaing) to the small fenced-in area and visit with the friendly goats.

I bought two books - Manda Scott's latest Boudica novel (not having read the first two in the series didn't stop me, although maybe it should have) and Wayne Karlin's The Wished-For Country, set in colonial Maryland. Fortunately, Librarything tells me that I don't already own either one. It's an occasional problem.


  1. Anonymous4:49 AM

    Manda Scott's Boudica novels are probably better if read in order, but it's not essential as you get all the backstory recapped in each successive instalment, so you can start with any of them and still follow what's going on. I've read 1-3, but have yet to get number 4.

  2. Anonymous9:29 AM

    Hi Sarah-found your blog via some research on The Thirteenth Tale-This is one of the best books I have read in a long time-it is difficult to tear myself away to take take of my family etc. I recently moved from East Lyme, I love The Book Barn-It was one of our favorite places-I still live in CT-so when we visit I can still stop by. I love historical fiction-two of my favorite things-I lookforward to reading more on your blog.

  3. Carla - that's good to know. I have the first two at home so am probably going to read them in order. I'm hoping I'll enjoy the first one enough to make this last purchase worth it.

    Alisa - thanks for visiting! CT has such a great selection of bookstores. Central IL, unfortunately, doesn't, so I always like to revisit old haunts while I'm here on vacation. I'm heading out to Barnett Books down in Wallingford in a few. Big sale going on through the end of the year, in case you're nearby!

  4. Anonymous7:57 AM

    I'm jealous! I think I went to that bookstore years ago when we lived in CT, but it's been over a decade.