Store: Green Mountain Books and Prints
Location: Lyndonville, VT
Recommendation: Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough
Green Mountain Books & Prints is not my kind of bookstore.
First, although it advertises new and old books, most of the books are used. The few new books were scattered throughout the store, on tables and small displays.
Used books make up the vast majority of shop’s inventory and they are everywhere. Novels fill the bookshelves along the walls, sitting vertically and horizontally; a basket of 10 cent paperbacks sits on the floor. Long tables are lined with history books, political biographies, memories and old text books.
One of the most interesting areas was the religion section, which is located in a small, dark, triangular room with an actual door.
I don’t know what the building’s history is, but this room almost looked like an old monk’s cell. Which is fitting for the religion section, I suppose.
(Confession: I didn’t go all the way into the room because I was afraid I’d get lock in there and forced to read religious tomes.)
While the store’s sections were clear and well-labeled, the books within the sections did not appear to be the same. That’s the other reason I wasn’t enthralled by Green Mountain Books and Prints. It was kind of messy.
Why are so many used bookstores disorganized or at least appear disorganized?
Maybe it’s because used bookstores have less control over their inventory. They don’t know what’s going to walk through their door and they might not have the space to shelve it.
Or maybe used bookstores tend to have smaller staffs and have less time to file books away neatly.
Whatever the reason for the mess, it’s one of the reasons I tend not to like used bookstores.
Along with a crazy number of books, I also found a half-full jug of juice, a couple of dirty coffee cups and several creepy looking puppets and dolls in the stacks.
But I was clearly in the minority at Green Mountain Books and Prints because the place was hopping.
There were older gentlemen browsing in fiction, college-age people sitting on the floor reading old philosophy texts and a young woman entrenched in the extensive theater section.
I got a pleasant surprise when I introduced myself to the bookseller.
I was halfway through the story of the Vermont Bookstore Adventure when I realized the woman behind the counter looked familiar.
I stopped mid sentence and said, “You look really familiar.”
“Do you live around here?” she asked.
I responded that I did not. After a bit of conferring we realized that Jennifer and I had been casual friends for the three semesters she attended the college I had graduated from.
We hadn’t seen each other since 1989 and I think we were both still a little in shock at the coincidence with I left the store.
After catching up on the past twenty-four years between customers, I completed my spiel about the project and asked Jennifer for a recommendation.
Her husband was in the store and after conferring with him about the name of a book they read for a bookclub, suggested Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough.
Because it was a young adult novel, she also recommended The End of Your Life Bookclub by Will Schwalbe. I had already read that book and met the author at last year’s Booktopia, so I went with the YA book.
When I started this project, I thought I’d read some different books and explore some cool shops. It never occurred to me that I might run into a long-lost college acquaintance.
So even though Green Mountain Books and Prints doesn’t top the list of stores, it was certainly a memorable trip!