Store: The Book Nook
Location: Ludlow, VT
Recommendation: In The Woods by Tana French
The Book Nook is unassuming on the outside. In fact, I’ve driven through Ludlow on numerous occasions and never noticed the store. Perhaps I was too busy making sure I didn’t miss the turn onto Route 100.
But don’t be fooled by the exterior. The first bookstore of my Vermont Bookstore Adventure is cozy, welcoming and comprehensive on the inside.
We arrived shortly after opening and were the only customers other than a gentleman who stopped in to congratulate the bookseller behind the counter on his performance in a local production of A.R. Gurney’s Sylvia.
Feeling shy at first, I browsed the shelves for a while. Local authors were highlighted with special shelf cards (I think that’s what you call them) and were well represented among all the best sellers du jour at the front of the store.
A little further back was a nice fiction section that contained many of the books on my “to be read” list.
The rest of that room was filled with non-fiction, which I didn’t browse as closely.
I was briefly detained by Goodnight iPad by Ann Droyd (I just got that. Ha!). It’s a spoof on the children’s classic Goodnight Moon where everything is electronic.
Then I ventured into the kid’s room. It appeared to have a good selection of books, but I’m not the best judge when it comes to children’s literature.
Eventually I screwed up my courage (This was my first attempt at this conversation, remember) and introduced myself to the bookseller.
When I explained my plan, he seemed surprised.
He said that I was the second customer in less than a week to say they were visiting all the Vermont Indys. But the other couple were limiting themselves to one bookstore per trip. (That sounds like a more daunting task to me, so more power to them!)
Although I knew I couldn’t possibly be the first person to think up such a project –- there is no such thin as an original idea any more, right — I was a little disappointed that they had beaten me to the punch, or at least to this particular bookstore.
I asked Scott, the store’s owner, for a recommendation for a novel. Although a self-professed non-fiction reader, he rose the occasion relying, he said, on his wife’s recommendations.
The first book Scott pulled off the shelf was Jon Clinch’s The Thief of Auschwitz. I was so thrilled that he not only picked a local author but one of my favorite novelists that I almost didn’t tell him that I had already read the book.
But then my inner greedy reader kicked in and I confessed that I was a Jon Clinch fan. (By the way, Scott not only knows Jon Clinch, he knows his Jon Clinch. He asked me if I’d read the book Clinch wrote under the Sam Watson pseudonym and gave me scoop on the next book.)
Scott’s next choice was the fourth book in Tana French’s Dublin Murder Club series. After realizing that I hadn’t read any of the books yet, he switched his pick to the first novel, In The Woods, and that’s what I ended up purchasing.
We walked around the store and he made other recommendations too including Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War by Karl Marlantes and another novel that I swore I was going to remember but didn’t.
The Book Nook boasts a chalkboard (whiteboard?) at the register with a literary quote written on it. If you can guess the author, you get 10% discount on your purchase.
After several generous hints (“He’s a new England author. Writes fantasy novels. Lives in Maine.”) I finally guessed Stephen King and “earned” the discount.
After paying, we chatted for a bit — all due credit to Scott as I am not a natural chatter — about books, this project, the blog, other stores in Vermont. It was a really nice conversation.
I can’t think of a better store in which kick off my Vermont Bookstore Adventure. Scott was friendly, knowledgeable and seemed genuinely interested in my harebrained scheme, which was greatly appreciated.
If all of the bookstores are as wonderful as The Book Nook this adventure is going to be a treat!