Store: Next Chapter Bookstore
Location: Barre, VT
Recommendation: Are We There Yet?: Adopting and Raising 22 Kids! by Sue & Hector Badeau
I admit that I’ve been procrastinating writing my next two Vermont Bookstore Adventure posts.
It’s not that the stores were bad. I was just disappointed in the recommendations the booksellers made and it’s colored my judgement.
Or maybe I was just having a bad day.
Or perhaps the other stores have been so great that I had the expectation all Vermont bookstores are exceptional.
Either way, I’ve put off writing about Next Chapter Bookstore.
Like many of the towns I’ve visited, I haven’t spent any time in Barre. The streets were quiet when we arrived except for the occasional bubble that floated by from the bubble maker outside the party store down the street.
Next Chapter was quiet too. Although I think we had just hit the post-story hour lull.
The store is long and quite narrow with a door on either end, like a “shotgun house.” (I’ve always loved that term.)
Near one door is the cash register and a cozy seating area with chairs.
The side walls contained long fiction sections, with lots of romance and science fiction selections. There were also paperback and hardcover best seller displays.
The center, and what seems to be the majority, of the store was the children’s section with tons of books, toys and art supplies. There was also a play area with a ladder and a cave.
I was tempted to climb up the ladder, but resisted. Maybe I would have if there had been more people in the store.
I’d guess that over half the store if kid-focused, but that could have just been the way it was laid out.
The other end of the shop had non-fiction books and a small sale section.
Cynthia, the store’s owner, was behind the counter. She was pretty friendly but seemed a little distracted and had only a passing interest in the project.
(Side note: I don’t expect every single bookseller to drop everything and gush about this adventure. But in general, the response has been great, proving my theory that independent bookstore’s have staff that are truly interested in books and readers.)
When I asked for a recommendation, Cynthia didn’t pause or come out from behind the counter. She handed me a copy of the book displayed in front of the register, Are We There Yet?: Adopting and Raising 22 Kids! by Sue & Hector Badeau. The authors had been in the store for a reading, so the book was autographed.
The book is about a couple that, as the title says, adopted 22 children, many of them with special needs.
The topic doesn’t really interest me and it looks like there is going to be a fair amount of God talk, which also doesn’t interest me, but I fully expected to not like at least a few of the recommended books so that’s not why I was disappointed in the selection.
First, I have been specifically requesting “a novel” or “fiction” because I don’t read a lot of nonfiction. Cynthia either wasn’t listening or didn’t hear me when she offered Are We There Yet.
Second, I felt like the recommendation was made by rote. Cynthia didn’t rave about the book. She didn’t even say she had read it. Whether or not it she read and loved it, it appeared like she simply picked up the closet book and handed it to me.
I feel pretty guilty writing a less than glowing review of a bookstore. Even the worst independent store (and I’m not saying that Next Chapter is the worst) is better than most box stores and it’s wonderful that Barre has one.
This just wasn’t my favorite stop on the adventure.
While I didn’t walk out of Next Chapter raving about the store, I did walk out with a book about twenty-two kids and God.
I might not actually read it, but if the Badeaus have 22 kids they can probably use the money from the sale.