I know you all are thinking "oh, how fun". But I had 26 on my list! What if all the best books were at the 10 I didn't get to? Especially the two that we stopped at that were inexplicably closed.
Still, it was great fun. Unlike most vacations, I took a small number of books along with me to read (only 4) because I knew I had to leave as much room in the car as possible for books I would pick up along the way. And pick up I did. I purposely have been saving most of my book buying budget for this trip. You may remember I recently spent 10 days in the UK and I didn't buy one single book. I don't even think I went into any bookshops. (I take it back I did go into at least one while I was in Rye.) I was saving up all my pennies for our trip to Maine.
You might be thinking "But, Thomas, you doofus, most of what you love is hard to find British fiction. Why wouldn't you look while you were in England?" Well, first and foremost I knew we were going to a bookstore rich area of Maine for two weeks and I wanted to have some book budget to spend while we were there. Second, carrying books back from England is a lot harder than it is on a road trip. Third, I like the needle in a haystack approach to book browsing. It is no fun when everything you want is right there in front you. I like to hunt for things.
Would I find any of my type of books in the wilds of Maine? Yes.
Since getting away from the DC-Baltimore-Philly-NYC-Boston megalopolis was the main point of our vacation, I purposely didn't want to look for books until we got to Maine. Armed with my list of 26 shops along our projected route I began to realize that Maine used booksellers fall into three general categories:
- Those general sellers who know what they have and price accordingly.
- Those who have stock that doesn't look like it has turned over at all in the past 40 years. And not in a good way either. Most of it was shite 40 years ago and is still shite today.
- Those who have antiquarian books that Helene Hanff would have gotten cheaply from Marks & Co.
We only took pictures of a few of the 16 that we went to. That was mainly due to weather or not we bothered to take the camera out of the car or not. These aren't necessarily the best we came across. (Although they all do fall into category 1.)
|Sarah's Books at the Antique Marketplace in Bangor truly was the best one of the 16 we went to. You may remember last year when we were on Islesboro and I met an artist and bookseller who knew me from my blog and who gave me two lovely books when we met. I can honestly say that her bookstall at the antique market was not only the tidiest, best stocked stall I have ever come across in such a market, but it was also probably the best organized store with the best stock that we came across in Maine.|
|Not only was her stock interesting and varied, but the books, even the cheap ones, were in really good shape. We ended up buying 14 books from her stall, more by far than any other store we went to. And it is no surprise that she stumbled across my blog once upon a time. Her stock was a real My Porch delight, most of you would have loved it as well. There were a few displays on her shelves that seemed to be set up just to entice me. I really wish we had had our camera that day (these are taken from her blog) so I could have taken pictures of some of collections she had highlighted. I am afraid I ruined the aesthetic appeal of one of the Evelyn Waugh display by buying four of his travel memoirs in mataching Penguin editions.|
|Camden, Maine had two used bookstores. This one, on the second floor had lots of great reading copies.|
|I chose a few titles here that left the bookseller unable to discern my areas of interest.|
We had a nice chat about Ambrose Bierce.
|Northeast Harbor, Maine is a more af a wide spot on the road on Mount Desert Island. But what a cute wide spot it is.|
|After re-reading 84, Charing Cross Road, I was in the mood for this truly antiquarian shop. It didn't have much of what I like to buy, but it was still a joy to browse. I ended up buying some expensive ephemera that I will blog about in the future.|
|This was my haul. Including some of John's that aren't in this picture, we bought about 75 books. Time to weed out the library to make room for these.|
|Denis Mackail wrote the wonderful Greenery Street published by Persephone. I was armed with a list of Persephone authors to see if I could find their other titles. I considered finding this one a big coup. Can't wait to read it.|
|Books on books. Can never get enough of these. What's missing is the copy of 84, Charing Cross Road that I bought and re-read on the trip.|
|This will help flesh out my Anglophilia collection.|