Sunday, May 21, 2006

Birchbark Purchases

We spent a few hours at one of my favorite places yesterday: Birchbark Books. It's a barn with style: a labyrinth of wood, paper, fuzzy old chairs, smooth stones, handmade furniture, and the sound of hammered dulcimer. The creaky floors are worn where book-lovers have long stood in deep thought. Some corners are warmer than others on a rainy Saturday; specifically where a pot-bellied stove is digesting its pithy dinner. The clientele is as wildly varied as entries in a card catalogue. The comraderie is clear yet unspoken. Our credo is this: We who love books prowl these prose-laden alleys. We are serious about books. Don't bug us as we peruse unless our pants are on fire.

Here is the list of yesterday's purchases:

The Collected Poems of Dylan Thomas $3.50 (orig. 10.95)
The Piano Shop on the Left Bank (Thad Carhart) $3.50 (orig. 13.95)
Word Mysteries & Histories from Quiche to Humble Pie $2.50 ( ? )
Piano Playing (Josef Hofmann) $6.50 ( ? )

The last book was a bit of a splurge, considering the prices of the others. A hardcover gem from 1912 written by a famous concert pianist, it's chock full of old-fashioned advice. Within the yellowed pages are first-hand accounts of lessons with the incomparable Rubenstein. I love it. What a find. The final selling point: the flyleaf of Piano Playing is lovingly inscribed in spidery ink thusly:

To Gladys
From Pa

I rest my case. $6.50 well spent.


Blogger Lore said...

oh. oh. it's my favorite place on earth.

8:32 PM  
Blogger TrashTidBits said...

I'll be going shopping too this week, but not for books. Cloths!! My niece is playing the piano right now and it reminds me of your house. Miss you and can't wait to sit at your house and have coffee again. See my weblog for the recent news from Iowa. Love you.

9:35 PM  
Blogger kb said...

Are those ALL the books you bought??? ;)

11:26 PM  
Blogger Deb said...

Oh! How quaint!

9:26 AM  
Anonymous abbi said...

The Birchbark will remain one of my favorite bookshops for all time. I loved Ben's pictures of your outing. He captured the familiar feeling so well.

12:12 PM  

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