I had Monday afternoon off, so I decided to take myself book shopping in Portsmouth, NH! There are three bookstores there that I wanted to go to, but only two were open. I didn’t take as many pictures as I usually would because both stores were incredibly crowded (it was a Monday–why were people not at work?), but I still had a great time.
First up was RiverRun Bookstore. I think I had been here before, but only once. It’s a really cute shop with a good selection.
The staff picks were on display right at the entrance. This is only half of them, but I didn’t get the chance to snap a photo of the others. It’s nice to see a mix of older and newer books on display. Of them, I’ve only read Educated (which I loved) and The Awakening (which I did not), but I’ve heard great things about The Mists of Avalon.
I actually started really looking at books at the back of the store, which had the YA, nonfiction, and poetry sections. I debated buying this biography of Mary Wollstonecraft for a bit. It just came out this year, and she’s not an author I know much about. But I decided to hold off since I have a lot of biographies of various authors that I haven’t picked up yet.
They also buy and sell vintage typewriters, and they had several on display. There was even one you could try. I didn’t just because there were so many people around, but aren’t they gorgeous?
Once the front of the store cleared out a little, I got to browse through the fiction section. The Comeback grabbed my attention because of the cover. It focuses on a young movie star, her negative experiences as a child star, and her attempt to reclaim her life. It sounds great, and it’s particularly timely considering the #MeToo movement and Britney Spears’ current legal struggle. It’s something I’ll keep my eye out for on audiobook.
I’m trying to branch out a little from my usual American and British literature. One of my favorite BookTubers reads a lot of Japanese literature, which is why Breasts and Eggs in particular caught my eye. And the title. You can’t really ignore that title. It ultimately wasn’t what I was in the mood for, but I’ll be keeping it in mind.
Usually I don’t buy hardcover books by authors I’m not familiar with, but I broke that rule for this book. Murder, academia, Greek Tragedy, and a secret society of girls? Sounds like my kind of book. The cashier said this has been quite popular, and I do remember people talking a lot about The Silent Patient. I was just never interested in it. But The Maidens sounds perfect for me. Hopefully it will be good!
Next, I made my way down the street to Book & Bar. I love this place. As it’s name implies, it’s both a bookstore and a bar. They have great prices, and it’s just a cool place overall. The creative writing MFA program at my university holds monthly readings there.
This is just one of many shelves in the fiction section. I didn’t even look at any of the books on this shelf. It was just the one I happened to be able to get a picture of. I wished I’d snapped more photos, but there were so many people. It just felt awkward.
I always go straight to look for A. S. Byatt books at this store. I’ve bought three of hers there: Possession, Angels and Insects, and The Biographer’s Tale. A Whistling Woman and Babel Tower are apparently part of a series. I came close to buying them, but I still haven’t read The Biographer’s Tale, which I bought the last time I shopped at Book & Bar. I don’t know why, but I tend to feel guilty if I don’t read the books I have by an author before buying another.
Then I cam across my second and final purchase: Belinda. I’ve wanted to read this for ages. Maria Edgeworth was a prominent writer in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, so naturally I’m interested in her. Edgeworth had a major impact on later women writers, and Belinda is even referenced in Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey.
Author, Author caught my eye because it’s about Henry James. It sounds interesting, and I did think about buying it. But I’m not familiar with David Lodge, and I find that a lot of times I don’t like fiction about real authors. I’ve had this problem with Jane Austen and the Brontës. But it may be different with an author I don’t have such a connection to. I ultimately didn’t buy it, but I’ll be keeping it in mind.
This was a successful trip despite the crowds and the 90 degree heat. I bought two books and had a lovely afternoon to myself. Hopefully I’ll get to do another trip soon so I can go to the shop that was closed.