Contented Reader

just point me toward the nearest library

Neverending Stories Books, Franklin, PA

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Some people, when they go on vacation, look for natural beauty – where can they go hiking, and experience trees and plants different from the ones at home?  Probably one walk in the woods is about as pleasant as another one, but somehow, doing it in a faraway woods seems more exciting than doing it in the park five miles from home.  And maybe it is – you might see some new plant or animal you’ve never seen before.

Some people, when they go on vacation, look for shopping destinations.  In the age of the internet, there’s rarely any reason to actually leave home to go shopping, but still, going shopping in new stores feels like increasing the chances of discovering some new treasure in a way that browsing on Etsy doesn’t.

Me?  I rarely travel without visiting a bookstore.  Some trips have destination bookstores, like The Strand in New York, or Forbidden Planet in London, or Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash in Red Bank, New Jersey – two of those are bookstores that I went to considerable inconvenience to visit.  But even when there isn’t a destination bookstore, I always keep my eyes open.

A person might think that, in the age of the internet, there’s no reason to seek out new bookstores, but there’s something special about a bookstore that you can’t get online.  Sure, yes, I can log onto Amazon and get whatever book my internet friends just told me about.  I can even get it delivered electronically by Kindle or Overdrive, and be reading it within minutes of wanting to read it.  But it’s often in a bookstore that the serendipity happens, browsing with an open mind and stumbling on some new favorite that I never knew I needed until I saw it.  Besides, I like being in bookstores.  Being surrounded by books makes me feel safe and relaxed and happy no matter where I am.

On my vacation to visit family in Pennsylvania, I stopped at Neverending Stories Books, in Franklin.  What a great town Franklin is.  It’s not big, but a person could have a very pleasant day browsing around in its shops.  We had just the morning, so we looked at alpaca socks and hats at Hatched, and had tea and coffee at Bossa Nova, and bought delicious snacks at the Corner Cupboard.  The highlight, as usual for me, was the bookstore.

Neverending Stories startled me somewhat by being in the basement.  I walked in the door, and at first, there was no bookstore.  It only took me a moment to work out that I should follow the broad wooden stairs down, and the first thing I saw was the ‘free books’ shelf.  Then the store itself, a quirky, long shape in which the space was used well.  To the left, used fiction and children’s books, with books hanging on the wall in bookbox picture frames as well as neatly arranged on shelf.  To the right, used nonfiction, and a good comic book section.  In the middle, local authors and new books. There was a display table front-and-center that I suspect might have housed the summer reading assignments for the schoolchildren of Franklin, PA, but I didn’t ask.

The young person on duty was friendly without being pushy, and I didn’t even really need to ask to know that she wasn’t just a hireling, but the proud owner whose personality shone through all the little touches that make a locally owned bookstore so much more fun to visit than a big chain.  We chatted briefly, then she showed me to the day’s treasure – a ginormous pile of back issues of Lapham’s Quarterly,  She was selling them for the astonishing bargain price of $1 each!  Don’t go to the store to look for them, I bought all of them except a handful that I already have.  I am so excited!  In a summer when I don’t have much money to spend, new books I couldn’t otherwise afford!

I’ll definitely make a point of heading down to the basement bookstore again when I am in Franklin.

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Written by Contented Reader

June 30, 2015 at 9:52 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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