Friday, August 15, 2014

Quest for Books: Part Two

 After the disappointment at the bookstore that had closed 20 minutes before we got there, we drove into the town of Ellsworth, Maine to look for Lana’s photography stuff. After visiting Radio Shack, we found that the only place we could get what she needed was Wal-Mart. Though not our favorite shopping spot, we seemed to have little choice in the matter. I also felt a surge of hope because I knew that in my part of the world Wal-Mart carried books. Perhaps I could get my fix of fiction there.

Wal-Mart was open. They even had books. They had romance novels, YA novels, and a handful of westerns and thrillers. They had about three SF works. I don’t generally read romance novels, although if it had been all that was available I certainly would have bought some. Most of the YA, westerns, and SF they had were ones I’d already read or ones I had at home to be read. I finally found an Alien tie-in book called Sea of Sorrows by James A. Moore. I quickly plucked that one up, although I don’t typically read a lot of media tie-in books other than Star Trek: TOS.

Between the book on Maine ghosts and the Alien book, I was temporarily fortified. However, I was still a bit worried because I was tearing through the Maine book very quickly. I could soon run out of fiction again. On Saturday, we went to a town called Bar Harbor, which from what I’ve heard was the basis for the fictional town of Collinsport, Maine, from the TV series Dark Shadows. We ostensibly went to Bar Harbor for a whale watching tour. That was mainly for Lana. I wanted to go because I’d been told by a waiter at a restaurant where we’d eaten that Bar Harbor had the biggest bookstore around. I was still asking about bookstores everywhere we went.

However, said waiter was apparently a better waiter than he was a judge of bookstores. We found the store of well repute. It had a few long rows of books and a lot of other stuff I had no interest in. Most of the actual books appeared to be by Stephen King, all of which I had read. The SF section was tiny and mostly consisted of “Game of Thrones.” I found a book called Fun with Kirk and Spock that I bought. I also bought a Jonathan Kellerman novel I hadn’t read. There wasn’t much else, and I finished the short, joke-style Star Trek book within fifteen minutes of getting home.

On Sunday, we went nowhere near anything resembling a bookstore. But on Monday, our last full day in Maine, we saw a sign for a used bookstore as we left Acadia National Park. Four miles down a side road took us to a delightful little place called the Mystery Cove Book Shop, which lies between Bar Harbor and Ellsworth. All my book withdrawal anxiety disappeared and I felt completely at home. I quickly found old friends on the shelves, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Jack Vance, David Gemmell, Robert Adams. But I also found new friends as well. I could have bought half the store but limited myself to four paperbacks because that was about all we could add to our luggage without having to buy a new suitcase. They do ship books, though, so I may end up ordering more from their website.

For my next post, I’ll tell you what I got at Mystery Cove. But for now, just know that I made it three days with only two books to read. I know now that I can face anything.


I just hope I don’t have to.
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26 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

You really had a time finding books. Shame you didn't stumble upon that last store sooner.

Tom Johnson said...

Gads, Charles, you're lucky to find a used bookstore any more. There is only one within a hundred miles of us, and it's mainly romance novels. No ERB, Howard, or much in the way of action and adventure. I do have a huge trade list, however. I've picked up plenty of duplicates over the years to trade with other book collectors and readers. Lots of goodies from Howard, ERB, Haggard, and others. Pulps and digest mags also. My trade list is available to anyone who is looking for trades.

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

Charles, I'm glad you finally found a bookstore with some real books in it. I can't imagine anyone not finding books in your part of the world. We have a few giant malls in Mumbai and not a book to read leave alone a bookstore.

Tom Doolan said...

Seems like your quest to find books was almost as much of an adventure as what you might read IN a book. And I can totally relate to buying books on your last day anyways.

Angie said...

Hah, success at last! Glad you finally tracked down the used bookstore. I remember my husband and I spent most of a cruise stop in Key West at a fairly cool used bookstore we ran across, on a little cross street off the main drag. Not how most people would sped shore time during a cruise, but we both fell upon it like starving folk. :)

Angie

Oscar said...

Anxiety fulfillment, finally.

Charles Gramlich said...

Alex, and we passed the turnoff to it on Saturday. But came by in the dark so we didn't see it.

Tom, cool. I will check it out. I've got some trades too.

Prashant, book stores have been disappearing at an alarming rate here. We seldom see many anymore.

Tom, I've already started reading one of the ones I bought that day.

Angie, starving is a good metaphor for it.

Charles Gramlich said...

Oscar, indeed!

Erik Donald France said...

Scarier than many a horror story~!

p.s. Cool on the Dark Shadows connection.

Angie said...

Re: bookstores vanishing, I haven't seen numbers for 2013 yet, but the economic crash in 2008 took out a bunch. Since then, though, according to the ABA, the number of independent bookstores in the US has gone up every year, from 2009 through 2012. That accounts for the ones that are closing; enough more new ones are opening to maintain the upward trend.

Angie

sage said...

I am envious of your travels in Maine. I once walked through Maine, and have always wanted to go back.

As for bookstores, did I tell you about that great used bookstore I found in Hoi An, Vietnam? Enjoy your travels!

Ty Johnston said...

Concerning independent and used book stores, in my experience it depends upon where one lives. Where I'm at now? Nothing; the closest decent book store is at least an hour away. Where I lived 5 years ago? I could walk to 5 stores within a mile of my place, plus there were another handful of stores throughout the city.

Hmm. Maybe it's time to move again.

Charles, glad you found some books. It sounds as if you and Lana were off the beaten path a little, but I know there used to be good book stores in Portland, Freeport and Bangor, though it's been nearly 20 years since I've been up that part of the country. And Boston was awesome for books.

Randy Johnson said...

Can never get enough can we. I remember one memorable Saturday when I was twelve, I walked a mile to our small town's local library to be there when it opened.

I checked out six young adult SF. That should hold me for the weekend. I set a personal record by finishing the lot before I went to bed that night.

Charles Gramlich said...

Erik, yeah, that was kind of neat.

Angie, that's good to hear. around here we've lost three bookstores and gained one in the last five years. The one is a big one, though

Sage, I remember you mentioning a bookstore you came upon during a train trip once. Don't remember all the details.

Ty, we flew in and out of Bangor but were only there for the transitions. Didn't do any shopping. I did spend some time in Boston and found many great stores there but that was years ago.

Randy, our library had a limit on how many you could check out and I'd take all they'd let me and be done well before I'd get to go back again.

Cloudia said...

you are a print junky me friend!




ALOHA from Honolulu
ComfortSpiral
=^..^= . <3 . >< } } (°>

Charles Gramlich said...

Cloudia, guilty as charged.

the walking man said...

Bah Hahber. Man I spent a couple of months painting houses and changing motel room sheets there in ohh about '79. Did you actually go up the mountain in Acadia and see the sun come up. You know the first place it becomes visible every day in America?

You know Charles I have a tremendous amount of honest respect for you but seriously vacations are supposed to be worry free. If you couldn't find a book or other "necessary thing" you're not supposed to obsess about it. You're supposed to explore and find something else to do, like take the Ferry to Nova Scotia and buy books there.

Glad you had a good time away from NOLA though and walked some of the same streets I walked a long time ago.

pattinase (abbott) said...

This is a reminder of how hard it is to find bookstores almost everywhere now. Very depressing.

Ron Scheer said...

Next time, you might try public libraries for used books. I don't know if this is generally true, but the ones I know usually have a book sale shelf as a fund raiser.

Bernard Lee DeLeo said...

A harrowing and entertaining adventure in literary pursuit, my friend. :)

G. B. Miller said...

The beauty of Upper New England: homogenization of books.

Gotta come down to Southern New England next time as you'll find quite a few books stores, especially the well known R.J. Julia (every major author of the past 20 years has stopped there to lecture/do book signings).

Father Nature's Corner

Charles Gramlich said...

Mark, we did go to Cadillac mountain and see the sun rise. Lana got lots of pictures. I generally find vacations stressful and most of the time don't take them. But there's some tongue in the cheek in this one anyway.

Patti, yep, sad to say.

Ron, they did have lots of libraries up there. We saw quite a few. I actually thought about stopping in there but we weren't particularly close to any.

Bernard, I should get a t-shirt made! :)

G., R. J. Julia. I'm gonna have to look that one up.

Brian Miller said...

ah i am glad you finally found your books...oy i might have been getting desperate by that point ha...

Mas Rooy said...

thanks the info == solusi pasutri

Rachel V. Olivier said...

So, what did you end up doing with your Kindle? Ritual sacrifice? Ceremony? Cremation? Hospital? Witch doctor?

Charles Gramlich said...

Brian, if I hadn't been so tired from all the getting up early and walking I might have been more concerned!

Mas, you are welcome...

Rachel, it's still on my shelves. I have some nostalgic attachment to it.