Although my wife and I went to western Massachusetts to visit my youngest daughter at UMass, I think my daughter has her doubts about my purpose for the trip. I’m pretty sure she’s convinced I only went there to watch a college hockey game and find bookstores. In fact, at one point, she commented that it was kin to being on a bookstore tour of New England.
Truth be told, I was actually fairly well behaved. I hit six bookstores between when we arrived late Thursday afternoon and when we left Monday morning. And I only came home with four new (to me) books, all from independent bookstores. Still, my daughter (herself a book addict) thought the slogan of the Montague Bookmill, located in a more than 165-year-old grist mil lon the Sawmill River, fit me perfectly: “Books you don’t need in a place you can’t find.” And showing she’s as guilty as I am, while I bought a book there so did she.
Not counting the two chains I wandered into, a bought a book each at the two used bookstores, the new and used bookstore and the not-for-profit, workers’ collective bookstore. (Because the last is struggling a bit, I bought a full-priced new book there and also made a donation to help support it.) So, as my daughter noted at one point, I’d had a near perfect 24 hours in which I got to three bookstores and saw a hockey game. I should also probably mention that with airport and travel time, my Nook got it’s heaviest use to date.
And, yes, we spent a lot of time with our daughter. In fact, we also had dinner at the home of the instructor for whom she’s a teaching assistant this year, met friends and professors and had an enjoyable time seeing her in what has turned out to be the perfect college fit for her. Oh. And did I mention bookstores and hockey?
By the way, not only did I find the Bookmill, I did “need” the book I bought.
What I say is, a town isn’t a town without a bookstore. It may call itself a town, but unless it’s got a bookstore, it knows it’s not fooling a soul.
Neil Gaiman, American Gods