Wednesday, September 8, 2010

BookHounding in the Lowcountry

A few weeks ago, my husband and I took a week-long trip to the lowcountry of South Carolina, where we stayed with family in the Beaufort area.

While there, we made a point of visiting the local bookstores- of course!

We didn't get to everything, but we managed to cover a lot of ground in our five days in the area.

My favorite bookstore by far was the delightful Book Lady Bookstore (6 E Liberty St, Savannah, GA) in nearby Savannah.

The Book Lady is a cozy little rabbit's warren of new and used books of every description, as you can see by the description on the door. And they have the best chocolate chip cookies ever.

They also have great comfy chairs amidst the bookish treasures.

I could move in right now!

Also in Savannah was the fun E. Shaver, Bookseller (326 Bull St., Savannah, GA) home to a wide variety of new books.

I particularly liked their fiction section, divided into general fiction, classics and new books.

Further afield on the beautiful Edisto Island is the fun Edisto Island Book Store (547 Highway 174,
Edisto Island, SC)

The Edisto Island Book Store has a small but choice selection of literary and popular fiction, as well as books on local topics like Gullah culture and local authors. They also have a nice section of used books towards the back of the store.

In the Charleston area, specifically the town of Goose Creek, we visited Dreamalot Books (123B S Goose Creek Blvd, Goose Creek, SC) a strip-mall store packed to the gills with romance novels, science fiction and tons of other stuff we didn't have time to look at. If you like paperbacks there probably isn't much that they don't have! They also have a selection of science fiction collectibles from Star Trek and other popular shows.

This little cutie pie, named Purty, was the cat-in-residence at the very nice Blue Bicycle Books (520 King Street, Charleston, SC) in Charleston proper.
When we walked into this long and narrow shop, Purty walked right up to the door and greeted us with a loud meow. I patted her and she proceeded to follow me around for the rest of my visit.

Blue Bicycle has a great selection of local fiction and nonfiction, as well as lots of used books and a smattering of recent new books. They have a fabulous selection of inexpensive used hardcovers, too.

Next up was the ultimate nerd store- or, at least, the best one I saw on my trip.

Here Be Books and Games (4650 Ladson Road, Summerville, SC) is one of those places that just does what it says on the package. First of all, it's packed with science fiction and fantasy and has a pretty impressive selection of games of all kinds. Board games, card games, you name it. They have a weekly game night and even a section of first editions- very inexpensive, I might add.

My husband was delighted to find a game here called Dixit which he's been looking for for a long time.

We both had a great visit to this friendly, beautiful store- one of the best we visited.

Which is not to say that Beaufort itself wasn't home to several terrific shops.

My own favorite was McIntosh Book Shoppe (919 Bay Street, Beaufort, SC) a quiet-looking used and rare bookstore in downtown Beaufort, right near the ocean. McIntosh has all the rare South Carolinia, Civil War and military history you could ever ask for, as well as a plentiful selection of local authors and vintage classics. I scored a neat old copy of Jane Eyre for my collection and my husband eyed some classical-studies books as well; we didn't buy those, though!

Just down the street from McIntosh was the cute Bay Street Trading Co. (808 Bay Street, Beaufort, SC) a smallish new-books bookstore specializing in popular fiction and local books. Bay Street had one of the nicest collections of local books I'd seen, everything from cookbooks and postcards to high quality atlases and slipcased sets of history and local culture. They have particularly nice offerings if you're into Pat Conroy with several autographed books out for sale.

Last but not least was the cute Beaufort Bookstore (2127 Boundary Street, Beaufort, SC), located in a strip mall in a busy section of town.

Beaufort Bookstore specializes in popular fiction and local books aimed more at tourists, or so it seemed to me.

South Carolina authors were, as at most places, front and center.

They also had tables piled high with required reading selections for local schools.

That's it for my tour of Lowcountry bookstores! We didn't get out much past the immediate Charleston/Beaufort/Savannah strip but we had a good time while we were there!