Last saturday, after taking a few days off from typing, so my hands wouldn’t fall off or whatever they do – Rebekah from Coelacanth Books, dragged my ass out of the house to discover a little bit of New Hampshire I am ashamed to say I have never visited before.
Nestled (I always wanted to use that word in a sentence) in the bumpy part of NH’s anatomy is Henniker, which if you can broadly describe a book town as a destination with bookstores you can’t possibly finish visiting in one day, is indeed a book town, and a college town and a leaf peeper town and I am sure a bunch of other stuff I am not the least bit interested in.
First we hit, Henniker Book Farm now owned by Gary & Melinda McGrath, (founded in 1964 by Walter Robinson and is the oldest, continuously-operated used book store in New Hampshire) Which is a great introduction to New Hampshire bookselling, which if you haven’t stood in a barn stamping your feet, with your hands stuffed in you pockets, wishing you had peed in the woods before you came in, you haven’t really been book shopping in New Hampshire. Gary has gone to some great lengths to pipe the heat from the woodstove to all the nooks and cranies to make his store tucked into the side of a hill very cozy. I didn’t get to see all the sections I intended to browse because I started flapping my jaws about book cleaning and erasers and no one had the good sense to stop me.
NH Booksellers in their natural environment: Gary and the fellas from Old Paper World in Warner, NH check out a load of books or BTUs depending on the economy.—>
After catching a decent lunch at Daniels a pub overlooking the river which cuts through Henniker’s downtown. We went up the hill to the Morrison’s Old Number Six Book Depot also tucked into the side of a hill, but with a better view from the outside, cause all you are gonna see on the inside is books and maybe an old cat and a pellet stove in a corner, but that’s maybe. Cause you could get the stock from at least 3 used bookstores into just the first floor. Then when you finish wandering the labyrinthine maze that is the 1st floor. You climb the stairs also lined with books to the top floor where to your surprised and amazement there are indeed more books. This time the shelves are 10 shelves tall filling the peaked roof completely. I have been told, that the Morrison’s have moved out of the house because so many books were being stored there.
Somewhere here is the point where I regretted not bringing woolen socks and peeing in the woods before I came. Also not making a list and packing a lunch and starting the previous dawn.
Both of these are ‘destination’ stores, not stores you hit when you are in the neighborhood – but bookstores that before you visit, you clean out the backseat of the car. The kind of trip for us that other people would take to Six Flags.
So needless to say, we are going back, with reinforcements, and lists, and some of those gloves with the fingers that fold back and maybe a hand truck.