Thursday, February 16, 2006


Book towns

I think Bangor would be an ideal location for a book town. We've got a great old brick downtown with oodles of character and relatively cheap rental space, a few good eateries within walking distance, the primary campus of the University of Maine just a few miles away, Acadia National Park less than an hour away, and an international airport. Oh, and the world's best-selling author lives here for a good part of the year. I keep encouraging bookish friends to set up shop near me, but no one's taken me up on it, yet. My little shop is a few doors down from a much larger antiquarian bookshop, then across the street is a children's bookstore (new books, games, and toys) and a comics/graphic novels shop. At the end of our block is a fine independent bookstore (new and some used books mixed in), and around the corner a new age/spiritual bookshop is moving in as we speak. We are all only two blocks from the library. There is a big chain bookstore out in our mall-sprawl area, and the fellow who manages it once was a used bookshop owner himself, and is a very good poet. Bangor is a very bookish town, with a lot to offer, if any other aspiring booksellers want to join us. All we need now is a literary festival (and someone to organize such a thing, someone other than me, because I'm too busy reading), and perhaps a castle, and we can be the next Hay-on-Wye. Who doesn't want to go there? The books, the books.

Have you read Paul Collins' Sixpence House about the year he and his family lived in Hay-on-Wye? It's a wonderful read,not just for the book lore but the townspeople themselves. All those BBC shows about eccentric yet interesting country folk become all too real after you read this:)
Yes, I have read it, and I loved it. I frequently press copies into people's hands. Paul Collins's blog is on my small "links" list (click on "Weekend Stubble").
I've never been to Hay-on-Wye but i would happily live in Wigtown, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland. Think pig, think clover.
Lesley, I'm adding this to my travel wish-list, it looks like heaven - thanks for the link and for your comment...
Hay-on-Wye isn't what it's cracked up to be and the 2 other UK book towns aren't doing so well either. but I do agree that Bangor would make a splendid book town. I think a town that HAS an excess of bookstores would be dandy..but a town trying to surivive by adding a few bookstores is taking a chance.
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