Sunday, July 6, 2008

Sunday Salon - Nantucket Bookshopping


My husband and I are spending Fourth of July weekend at my inlaws' place on the island of Nantucket, off Cape Cod, Massachusetts. It's nice here, very peaceful, a nice place to read and relax. I'm still reading Pravda and A Voyage Long and Strange; I have some reviews to write but today though I wanted to talk about bookstores on the island of Nantucket.

Nantucket is an affluent, picturesque New England resort town. It came to prominence as a whaling and shipping center in the 18th and 19th centuries, along with towns like New Bedford, Fall River and Salem, Massachusetts. These days it's home to plutocrats and rich kids from New York and Boston, as well as seasonal workers from countries like Bulgaria, Russia, Ireland and Guatemala. Franchise-free (except for gas and groceries) it boasts some great shopping and eating as well as outdoor recreational activities.

But I'm a book girl, and when I go to Nantucket I just like to curl up and read. I do bring books but of course I like to shop for them too.

The two main bookstores are Nantucket Bookworks and Mitchell's Book Corner. Both of the main stores are in the center of town and since Nantucket is famously un-chain-friendly both are independent.

Nantucket Bookworks on Broad Street is a cozy shop selling a variety of fiction, nonfiction, touristy books and childrens' books, as well as gifts and accessories. This is the place to go for the serious reader. It's open late, until 10:30 daily until December (when the hours shorten slightly to an 8 pm closing time), and has a friendly, relatively uncluttered layout. The staff are great and I almost always leave with some new discovery.



Mitchell's Book Corner is on busy main street, right in the middle of the action, and its claim to fame is having the largest selection of books about Nantucket on the island. It's deceptively small; when you first walk in it feels very tight and cramped but it goes back pretty far and has a huge selection of historical and gift books about Nantucket and Cape Cod. It also has a great selection of children's books at the front of the store and a small selection of fiction somewhere towards the middle. I usually come well-stocked with books when I come to Nantucket but there are have been times when Mitchell's has saved me in some reading pinch.
When I first started coming here I used to think of Mitchell's as just the place you went to buy maps and coffee table books but it's really a unique little place. A while ago they featured a reprint of the 1931 novel Smuggler's Luck, by Nantucket historian Edouard A. Stackpole and featuring a forward by the author's son. This book is exactly the kind of specialty, hard-to-find material you can expect to find at Mitchell's.
The various museums also offer some specialty maritime material although I have to admit I'm not as familiar with them. For more Nantucket book resources and links to museums and some individual author pages, you can click here.
Happy reading and I hope everyone is having (or had) a great Fourth of July weekend.

14 comments:

Iliana said...

I love indie bookstores! So are you planning to do any book shopping at either of those? I bet it's hard to resist :)
Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

sheistoofondofbooks said...

Have you read Elin Hilderbrand's booked based in Nantucket? I think the author lives on the island, too, maybe you'll bump into her :)

wisteria said...

I did the same thing your doing a couple of months ago in South Yarmouth. I just love discovering new book nooks. Thanks for sharing yours with us. Have fun reading and I hope doing some shopping. Let us know next week what you found.

Andi said...

Oh, you make me long for small towns instead of rural sprawl that is moving quickly to suburbinization. . . Thanks.

Amy said...

I love these kinds of bookstores! I've never been to Nantucket, I'd love to go, and now I know where there book shops are .:)

moazzam sheikh said...

All the power to the independent bookstore and more power to those who shop there. I have in the past worked at 3 different independent bookstores in San Francisco, the capital of independent bookstores.

- moazzam

moazzam sheikh said...

All the power to the independent bookstores and more power to those who shop there. I have in the past worked at 3 different independent bookstores in San Francisco, the capital of independent bookstores.

- moazzam

tracy said...

Have fun. It's so beautiful there:)

Marie said...

sheistoofond, no, i haven't read Elin Hilderbrand but I'll have to keep my eye out- thanks!

skrishna said...

I haven't been to Nantucket, but you make me want to go!

Lisa said...

What a wonderful weekend you must've had on Nantucket! I'd give anything for the chance to do that just once! I'll bet its beautiful there! Those indy bookstores are the best, however pretty non-existant where I live. I hope you had a wonderful time. I really enjoyed your post. Oh and thanks for stopping by my blog!

skrishna said...

Haha, the only library I'm stocking is my personal library! The reason I got so many books this week is because I won one of those great Hachette 14-book giveaways, and 10 of them have arrived!

Dave said...

Great to hear about these indies. Over the past month, readers of the Baltimore Sun's book blog (www.baltimoresun.com/readstreet) have been submitting names of bookstores they visit on vacation. We've compiled a U.S. map with more than 100 stores. The link is: http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&hl=en&msa=0&msid=100515186800624771848.00044ef22bd1d720733d3&ll=35.746512,-95.625&spn=55.832856,70.3125&z=2&source=embed.
If you have more recommendations, let me know, and I'll add them to the map.

Andi said...

Love indies! Thanks for sharing. These sound wonderful.