Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Books and ephemera

Everyone should have a favorite used book store. Mine is Nancy L. Dole's Books and Ephemera in Shelburne Falls, MA. I've found the following gems there thus far:
  • The Lady's Book of Flowers and Poetry (1842)
  • The Earth: Its Physical Condition and Most Remarkable Phenomena (1854)
  • A Popular Zoology (1887)
  • Alden's Handy Atlas of the World (1888)
They all contain stunning illustrations, some carefully painted by hand. These four are books that I picked up and fell in love with instantaneously, all for different reasons. Can you imagine how fun it is to look at maps from 1888? A a 150+ year old science book? You can see where I'm going with this.

But back to the store. It's not so much the piles and piles of used books that attract me, but the range of funky, random things you can get there; the store also contains a mind-boggling amount of stuff that has most likely been cleaned out of pack-rat grandparents' attics. Sixty year-old books of postcards, hundred-plus year-old store receipts, salvaged propaganda, pamphlets, out-of-date maps, clothing patterns, old recipe cards, and on, and on. It would be fair to call any of these items junk, worthless. Although now, fifty or one hundred years later, the items have aged enough rendering the junk useful anthropological data, peculiar remembrances, ephemera.

Where are your favorite used bookstores? What makes them so great?

2 comments:

TheLONTEDLibrarian said...

The Book Mill in Montague, MA. Their tag line is "Books you dont need in a place you cant find." What's better than that?

Anonymous said...

Ah, really hard to choose!
but probably Adelaide Booksellers,
Rundle Mall, Adelaide (in South Australia). Heaps of fantastic ancient books and the place is so hidden away that you feel as if you are somewhere completely different. Also, the place actually looks as it would if it were the 1800s!!!
amazing place!