Yesterday while on a coffee date with my wife, we randomly decided to go on a book run. (Bonus, I got a few pages of writing done first) Now in Rhode Island that’s not an easy thing to do. Whatever your feeling of the large uber retailers, Borders and B and N were the only games in town. And now Borders is gone. Oh sure, I bitched about the constantly shrinking genre section and how they didn’t always share my penchant for mass market size paperbacks. But that was our hood. There was one nearby when I lived in Connecticut and then I had the one in Cranston once I moved out here. It was familiar, it was comfortable and most of the books I own came from there.
What’s left for bookstores?
I won’t go to B and N. It was never as good as Borders anyways and I’m not yet at the point where I’ll deal with the staff I know works at the local B and N. There’s a nifty little place in East Greenwich but emphasis on the little and they seem to stick to surplus hardcover and large paperbacks they get wholesale from bigger places. Hard to find the genre stuff I like in there but they do have a wicked sweet kids book section. Someone has reprinted the old Choose Your Own Adventure I read when I was a kid and I got a few from there.
And that’s it for Rhode Island.
Anyone who lives near enough to drive to Connecticut though needs to go to The Book Barn. It is the largest and most epic used bookstore ever. There’s always something fun to find there, especially if you want to check out some older genre stuff. Most of my Zelazny came from The Book Barn. But the Book Barn, just like the place in EG, is for a very specialized need. Fortunately Books-a-million bought up the empty shell of the Borders in Connecticut.
Now we’ve only been there twice now and holy hell BAM is waaaaay out of their demographic. Before they moved into Connecticut, I never heard of them. They’re big in the south. A good 35-40% of the store is nothing but ultra christian stuff. So much so I spent the first fifteen minutes in the store thinking they wouldn’t have a scifi fantasy section. I couldn’t care less what religion people are but BAM is pushy about it. I could easily rant about it for another thousand words but I’m going to cut myself off at that. They’re pushy about church and, even if I agree with your ideas, I don’t like pushy.
But for all the dearth of options to actually hold a book before buying it, I was successful in my book run. Two I’ve had sitting on my To Buy list for a while and three I discovered new in the shelves, which is why I like stores.The Larsson book finally came out in small paperback to match the other two in the series I have. I did see a few other books I want but that whole penchant for mass market size came up again.
- The Quantum Thief by Hannu Rajaniemi
- Discount Armageddon by Seanan McGuire
- Magebane by Lee Arthur Chane
- After the Golden Age by Carrie Vaughn
- The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest by Stieg Larsson
I’ll add these to my To Read pile with a Joe Abercrombie and Benjamin Tate. Now I’ve happily got a few different flavors of the genre waiting to be read. Having options is good. This should tide me over until the new China Mieville comes out.