14 November 2011

It's My Party and I'll Blog What I Want To...

Or, October: In like a lamb, out like a lion

Or, Ode to a Bookish Month

Today is the anniversary of my natal day, which means instead of beating myself up for not writing this post when it would have been more timely, I'm just going to post it and let timeliness be damned.  

October in New England is usually my favorite month, but this time around it threw a wrench (or several) into people's lives.  My DH and I had a lovely time in the Caribbean with our granddaughter during that month, and it's entirely possible that the good weather we had there during the height of hurricane season came back to bite us in our collective ass by the end of the month.  
Our driveway, complete with deer tracks (not taken during this storm)

Our house, buried behind the snowy trees

On the Saturday of Halloween weekend, the first snowstorm of the season hit us with a vengeance.  We had 12" of snow in about 8 hours, and because most of the trees still had their leaves, it wrought all kinds of damage.  We lost roughly one hundred small trees on our property and a handful of very large ones from the weight of the snow.  We even had one tree split into two parts, one of which hit our house, but we were extremely fortunate not to have house damage from that.  Unbelievably, our driveway (which is nearly half a mile long and has three switchbacks) only collected branches and debris that my husband and I could clear out on our own.  We lost power for four and a half days, but worse than that, we lost our running water.  

Here be books

Grey Matter & Troubadour are housed together in this old mill
But aside from our trip to the Caribbean, October was full of other joys, too.  My husband and I spent part of his birthday weekend exploring bookstores, including the best used bookstore in Massachusetts: the combined open shops of Grey Matter books (which, let's face it, should update its website more frequently) and Troubadour (which doesn't have its own website, but this will take you to a groovy blog post about the store).  Full disclosure: I used to work at Troubadour in its Hatfield location, the one shown in the above blog post, so I am not evaluating these places 100% objectively.  On the other hand, I've been working in the book business since 1997 and I've been an avid reader all my life, so I have a large enough sample set to speak authoritatively on the subject. Here are some reasons why Troubadour/Grey Matter together comprise the best used bookstore in the state:
Great selection of LPs, plus a listening station

I mean, come on.  Look at this awesome davenport!

They *always* have some kind of snack on hand for customers
This *entire* section is all poetry, all the time

Seriously--they must have the largest poetry section in the northeast, outside of The Strand.  They even have an entire bookcase labeled The Beats & The Offbeat.  LOVE this place!  And in what other bookstore can you find a bookcase labeled The Circus, Etc?
My DH, rounding the corner next to the chess section

An entire room of art books

Need some medieval art?  Here's an entire case of it!

have you been looking for Loeb in all the wrong places? Check out Troubadour's classics section!

Yes, this is an amazing bookstore.  I can't recall what my DH picked up that day, but I bought a beautiful hardcover edition of Miss Welty's One Writer's Beginnings, Murakami's Dance, Dance, Dance, which I confess I'd never heard of, and in preparation for a 2013 trip, The Reader's Companion to Ireland.  So, dear reader, if you are a book lover of the highest order and you find yourself within a day's drive of this biblio-Mecca (almost rhymes with biblioteca, no?), do yourself a favor and make the pilgrimage to Troubadour/Grey Matter books.  I guarantee that no matter what you like to collect or read, you'll find something here to please. 

In other bookish October news, my friend and boss Joan and I drove to Albany, NY, one day to talk about books on the regional NPR affiliate, WAMC.  Every Tuesday morning, God bless 'em, they host independent booksellers to share their favorite titles across the radio waves.  And if you're absolutely twisted and sick and have too much time on your hands, you can listen to us here

Though we had to get up *really* early to drive to Albany, we were rewarded with these views.  Technically this is part of the interstate system, but this is an exceptionally pretty stretch:

Heading west on I-90

Not bad, eh?
And in still yet other news, October was the month for the NEIBA fall tradeshow for New England Independent Booksellers.  I love seeing my friends and colleagues that I only get to see a few times a year at these sorts of things.  I lucked up because Broche of Wildly Read (it's a great bookish blog) shared her hotel room with me, which meant I could get books signed by Chad Harbach for our First Editions Club and then stay to enjoy the author cocktail reception. Two out of my three sales reps named Ann(e) promised to buy me a drink, which gave me leverage over the third one.  Gosh, I love bookselling!

Seated: Harbach. Standing: Odyssey Booksellers
 And afterwards, Broche and I were lucky enough to snag an invitation to Algonquin's dinner party, featuring authors Martha Southgate and Hillary Jordan.  It was an intimate venue and smashingly fabulous in every way.  Oddly enough, I don't have many photographs to commemorate it, except this one of author Hillary Jordan and bookperson (and soon-to-be-chef) extraordinaire, Megan (aka Bookdwarf).  Here they are on the streets of Providence, RI:

I love my job.  And I love October.  And that's all I have to say right now.



    Also, DUDE, how big is your property?? Pictures! I demand pictures! And those highway pics make me envious of your environs, as Illinois highway driving is corn and flatness and nothing else.

  2. Obviously first things first: HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

    Secondly, thanks for the shout-out!

    Thirdly, IRELAND??? IN 2013??? WE NEED TO TALK.

  3. Well, Happy Natal Anniversary!

    So did you sleep in October at all? I would positively drop from exhaustion if I packed my schedule as tightly as yours reads. But I suspect that when I did put head to pillow, I'd sleep hard and happy!
    Perhaps the blizzard was gods-conjured respite for you and DH? (No theory on how lack of running water might support your recuperation from an ultra-active month though...)

  4. thanks, y'all!

    Rambo, we have a few acres, but our property is on a hilside, so the acreage is vertical, too, and except for the lawn around the house, we live in the woods. So there are lots of trees. LOTS. I'll try to post a photo or two when I get home tonight to show the snow & broken trees.

  5. Look at your picturesque house/driveway!! I am a snoopy, nosy person and like looking at other people's lives, so HURRAY.


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