New Feature: Used Bookstores of New England

You can't find this on a Kindle – seriously.

You can’t find this on a Kindle – seriously.

Summer is here, and that means travel season. I obviously take a lot of trips, and one of my favorite things to do when I’m out of town is perch myself at a nice coffee shop or used bookstore – or, ideally, something that’s a hybrid between the two – and read.

I read voraciously growing up. I didn’t realize then that adolescence would be the last time in my life when I had unlimited time to curl up with a good book. As an adult, I’m lucky if I get through a book a month – and that’s more than many people . (According to the Pew Research Center, 24 percent of American adults haven’t read a book in the last year.)

I resisted the e-book trend for a really long time, until I received a first-generation Kindle as a gift four years ago. I was pretty much hooked from then on. The convenience of having thousands of books at my fingertips and being able to slip them all into my purse has dramatically increased the amount of time I spend reading.

But don’t think I’ve given up on my love affair with the printed page. I’m a book collector, and I have shelves filled with the titles I’ve deemed collection-worthy. That’s how I found myself at the first bookstore I want to profile in this series: I was looking for something I just couldn’t find on Amazon or on Oyster.

The Book Rack: Vernon, CT

Definitely go if:
You read primarily popular fiction and e-reading just doesn’t do it for you. Half of the store is dedicated to contemporary mystery fiction – Janet Evanovich, Dean Koontz, etc. Romance and modern fiction and literature pretty much round out the rest of the selection.

But don’t write it off if:
You’re looking for something classic or something rare. One thing the Book Rack has over some of Connecticut’s other used book stores is that you can search its inventory online. Lately I’ve been really into Jean Rhys. Wide Sargasso Sea has been on my must-read list for years, but sadly most of her work is not available in e-book form. Wide Sargasso Sea is available at the Hartford Public Library (yes, although I’m now addicted to my Kindle I still have a library card!), but after reading it I found myself really wanting to add her work to my collection. I found “Quartet” and “Voyage in the Dark” in the Book Rack’s small case of classic literature.

Any downside?
I did feel like the prices were a bit steep. If popular fiction and contemporary literature are your main things, you could probably pick up what you need for cheaper at a local Goodwill or library booksale. But obviously you sacrifice selection that way, and I’m telling you I’ve never seen a selection of popular fiction like what they have at the Book Rack.


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