#21 Odyssey Bookshop

Odyssey BookshopThe Odyssey Bookshop
9 College St.
S. Hadley, MA 01075

What is it with Pioneer Valley?  The stores here are excellent and keep getting bigger.  The Odyssey Bookshop seems to be the biggest of them all.  5,000 square feet of quality indie book store.  And they’re pleasant and energetic to boot.

I should admit that this posting is going to be a love letter.  I actually got to read at this store thanks to event coordinator Emily Russo and owner Joan Grenier.  They were incredibly nice to me.  Too nice.  Grenier is proud of her store’s longevity and proud of her staff.  Understandably so.odyssey The store has been around for forty five years, and staff knowledge and flexibility are a few of her keys to success.

There’s also the store, the location, the college across the street, the children’s section, the textbooks, the used and remaindered section, the internationally distributed first editions club, a breakout fiction club for debut and midlist writers, events, and the incredible staff that “engage and promote books to readers.”

Everything a book store should be.  When combined with the other stores in the area, for book lovers, Pioneer Valley is worth a weekend trip.

So, this is the last posting about New England, and it’s been a great beginning to this trip around America.

odyssey books

Published in: on June 9, 2009 at 11:14 pm  Comments (1)  

#20 Amherst Books

P1000808Amherst Books
8 Main Street
Amherst, MA 01002

Here’s a recipe that works: Take one indie bookstore in Pioneer Valley, place it across the street from a well-known college, add one of the largest poetry selections in the state, add a strong selection of used books and textbooks, throw in a couple of creative writing programs and author events for good measure.  Oh!  See if you can get Emily Dickinson buried down the street.  Let the mixture sit for a few years.  You have Amherst Books!Amherst Books

Not much to say beyond that.  This place seems to be doing quite well for itself.  It smells nice inside this store.  I also walk in during an author event.  They do a lot of these here: readings, book launches, parties.  One of the owners, Nat Herold is serving wine.  There will be another event in an hour.

It’s a medium-sized store — functional and easy to navigate.  It looks like a fun place to be.

Amherst Books

Published in: on June 9, 2009 at 10:30 pm  Leave a Comment  

#19 Broadside Bookshop

Broadside BooksBroadside Bookshop
247 Main Street
Northampton, MA

My travels take me to Pioneer Valley in Western Mass.  This is my first time here and it’s great.  The area is home to five colleges, making it culturally rich beyond its small town appearance.  Northampton, MA, in particular, with a population of 30k and Smith College nearby, seems to be a magnet for the other hill towns in the area.

Broadside Bookshop has been on Main Street in Northampton for 35 years.  They are locally minded, working closely with their community.  They’ll have an anniversary sale in August and they host many events as well as work closely with The Smith Poetry Center.  The store has a comfortable  atmosphere where people (pedestrian traffic) clearly feel welcome to browse.  Broadside bookshop

Bill Clements, one of the owners, shows me around his store.  They have great sections on sustainability and religion/spirituality.  They carry magazines and puzzles.

Bill is proud of his store and his employees.  “We have a staff of serious readers who can talk about books,” he says.   “People are welcome to browse and there is no pressure.”

This whole region is just super!

Broadside Bookshop

Published in: on June 9, 2009 at 10:27 pm  Leave a Comment