Sunday, July 26, 2009

Wellfleet's Bookstore Specializes in Secondhand Books

The other day a guest asked whether there was a real bookstore in town. “Yes,” I replied. “Right after the intersection of Long Pond and Main.” I was fortunate the guest didn’t ask for details because I had not been in the shop for years. Today I decided it was about time to remedy that. I walked to town for fresh strawberries from Hatch’s for tomorrow's breakfast, took a few photos, and, on the way back, stopped in to check out Herridge Books, “quality used books in a village setting.” When I looked around at all the shelves, my heart raced. How very many volumes to discover! I stood there for a few seconds and imagined all the words, all the turns of phrase contained in those books, as well as the hours and energy involved in getting the books published. Peter Hiller, who was down on his hands and knees, lovingly adding a few recent arrivals to the fiction section, stood up and introduced himself. Peter explained his shop specializes in secondhand books, although there’s a bookcase of recent titles near the cash register. The books come from his larger store in Philadelphia. Lucky I didn’t bring Sven! He would never have wanted to leave. There are books for children, books about Cape Cod. Lots of mysteries. Even SWEDISH mysteries, Peter told me. Books on nature, history, art and many other subjects. Down a windy yellow staircase he led me then. The basement is crammed full of books, too, and has a cozy nook for reading. Herridge Books is definitely a funky place to recommend the next time guests ask whether Wellfleet has a real bookstore!

While on the subject of books, bestsellers can, of course, be found at Wellfleet Marketplace. A couple weeks ago we had guests from Berkeley who told me about AbeBooks, as in Abe Lincoln. And, finally, for everyone who loves independent bookstores, here’s a blog written by Mark Fitten, a writer who is using his book tour to promote independent bookstores across the nation. This is one cool blog. Check it out!