Friday, April 23, 2010

Friday Finds from the Best Bookstore

The Best Bookstore in my universe is Northshire in Manchester, Vermont. It has been my favorite bookshop for well over twenty years and is deserving of more praise than a mere blog can bestow. For one thing, it's huge, has two floors and a cafe, and is housed in a quaint late-Victorian building that was once a hotel. I love the way each room tumbles into the next--with books and book-related ephemera neatly stuffed into every nook and cranny. What's unique, though, is the selection. Books from the biggie publishers all the way down to the smallest of independents. Northshire has loads of backlist titles and the classics from every decade. Choosy bibliophiles become manic within its doors, and I do. Fortunately for the family pocketbook, Northshire is a bit longer than a two hours' drive.

On Wednesday, a beautiful spring day, Nancy and I ventured away from wilderness into the pastoral beauty of Vermont. I spent the most at the bookstore--no one was surprised. Here's the loot: Cold Earth a debut novel by Sarah Moss, published in the US by the independent Counterpoint Press in 2010, and in 2009 by Granta in the UK. It is extremely rare for me to insert a publisher's blurb but this one is compelling and is what inspired me:

A team of six archaeologists from the United States, England, and Scotland assembles at the beginning of the Arctic summer to unearth traces of the lost Viking settlements in Greenland. But as they sink into uneasy domesticity, there is news of an epidemic back home, and their communications with the outside world fall away. Facing a Greenland winter for which they are hopelessly ill-equipped, Nina, Ruth, Catriona, Jim, Ben, and Yianni write final letters home, knowing that their missives may never reach their loved ones. These letters make up the narrative of Cold Earth, with each section of the book composed of one character's first-person perspective in letter form. In this exceptional and haunting debut novel. Moss weaves a rich tapestry of personal narrative, history, love, grief, and naked survival. Cold Earth is both a heart-pounding thriller and a highly sophisticated novel of ideas.
The Times Literary Supplement loved it.

My next "Couldn't Put It Back on the Shelf" title: An Australian novel by Kate Morton, The Forgotten Garden, published in 2008.

And my final purchase was a Penguin Classic paperback, with a gorgeous cover, Anne Bronte's The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. I have never read it, though I've read all but one of Charlotte's, even the obscure ones. And of course I read Emily's. Who hasn't? It's time.


  1. That bookstore sounds wonderful! I used to work in a big indie bookstore like that, with a cafe and three beautiful old floors with lots of variety. (I even met my husband there) And then it closed. It's good to know a few are still in business.

    Also have to say I really liked The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, although it's been a while. I really love this comic which shows how Anne may have been a bit different from her sisters!

  2. I still haven't got around to read The House at Riverton. Got a lot to catch up!