Store: Misty Valley Books
Location: Chester, VT
Recommendation: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
I had never been to Chester, Vermont. It’s not very far away, I just didn’t have any reason to travel to the small town. But Misty Valley Books is certainly a wonderful reason to visit!
The store is located “on the common” which almost looks like an old fashion version strip mall, but much prettier than a real strip mall. It’s a line of buildings that house shops and an inn with a restaurant.
(A bit off topic but we ate lunch next door at the Fullerton Inn and Restaurant and they had an amazing barbecue chicken and roasted veggie soup. I love soup. It was almost as good as books.)
Your book experience starts before you even enter the store. There are books outside for you to peruse and handmade “magic reading carpets,” which they also sell. I don’t know what makes them magic, but they were nice carpets.
The store was busy when we arrived on Saturday morning. Many people were browsing and the woman behind that counter was talking with a customer, a regular who said she brought all her house guests to the store.
I can see why. Misty Valley has an extensive inventory of books and sells lots of other fun things too like art (real, hand painted art), magazines and games.
The entry of the store felt a little crowded, but that might have been all the people checking out the best sellers. Once I was in the store, I was able to move around freely and enjoy the shelves at my own pace.
There appeared to be more non-fiction than fiction, but that was ok because I was too busy checking out all the posters of their past author events to spend much time looking at what was on the bookcases.
Although I didn’t attend an event, I feel safe saying that author talks are obviously something this bookstore does very well. The walls were covered with 8 ½ X 11 posters of the authors who had appeared there dating many years back. The posters were especially prevalent in the rest room, where I lingered probably a little too long reading all the names.
I wish I lived closer so I could attend some of the upcoming events!
As the bookseller talked with folks in the store, I overheard her say that she had done a trip of “Southern independent bookstores” and figured that was my cue to tell her about this project.
Jory was on board the minute I started to explain. She told me which bookstore was her personal favorite (Besides Misty Valley, of course) and started out from behind the counter before I could even finish my request for a recommendation.
She stopped halfway to the section though and said, “If I’m being true to myself, I’d recommend a young adult book. Is that ok?”
She said that she is an English teacher and reads a lot of YA, but understands that the label puts some people off.
I have no such fear of YA books, so Jory pulled out one she called “the best book I read last year,” Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz. She told me the basics of the plot and why she loved it so much. Frankly, I was tempted to sit down and start reading right there based on the way she described it.
I think that may be the best thing about independent bookstores. People don’t work there unless they love books. Conceivably folks who work at the big box stores could be doing it just for the money. I’m not saying this is always the case, but you sometimes get the impression that they could just as easily be selling shoes or television sets.
But the people who choose to work for indies are readers and book lovers. They are one of us.
I chatted with Jory for a while although she was also busy with other customers. She asked me to write down my blog address for her and promised not to be upset if I didn’t like the book she recommended.
I really enjoyed my visit to Misty Valley Books and left with a big smile on my face, as you can see below.
Score another win for the VT Bookstore Adventure!