Sunday, June 06, 2010

Serendipitous books in New York

Wednesday night I drove back to camp from lighthouse hunting. I crossed over the canal into Brockport, saw a book store and did an emergency parallel park maneuver (not quite James Bond style, and no pedestrians were harmed).

Brockport is one of those small towns that has a revitalized, active downtown with people walking around and sitting outside at cafes. The Lift Bridge Book Shop was reminiscent of a mall book store, with mostly new books and diversification into board games and gift products. One unique aspect, though, was that they actually sold a few used books. Only a few - a library edition was displayed in the middle of a new-books history aisle. Another neat thing was the regional collection. I was tempted by a historical novel set at Niagara Falls, but I didn't succumb, this time. I spent my money on take-out New York pizza in the next town, Hamlin.

My source for bookshops in Rochester (and for Buffalo, earlier in the week), was an outdated but free online index. So Thursday, on my way to the Eastman house, I looked for a couple of shops that don't exist anymore. But Rick's Recycled Books is still around, and has been for 12 years.

I walked into the small shop on Monroe St. and noticed lots of paperbacks, especially in mystery and sci fi. Hard covers appeared in the history section and other places. Bummer - I found a nonfiction book I'd been looking for but paid full price for it just last week. Everything I picked up to look at was less than 4 bucks, so bargains abounded. But you have to hunt; most topics are loosely arranged, at best. I overheard Rick tell a customer he had given up on trying to file the history section.

Other snatches of conversation revealed that Rick probably knows a lot more about books than I would have given him credit for, from the haphazardness and low prices. He was planning his third buying appointment that week, but I don't know where he'll put the hundreds of books he usually picks up. The place is crammed with books. There's not even a counter - when I bought a couple of mysteries, Rick gave me change from his haphazard office in the back. It works.

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