Shop local for Christmas

Corner Bookstore

shelf-sacrifice n: to selflessly give away a book from one’s personal library for another person’s benefit – Powell’s Compendium of Readerly Terms

In our village on the Erie Canal, we have a number of small nonprofit businesses run by volunteers, including a craft shop, a second-hand tool thrift store, and The Corner Bookstore with used and collectible books. All donate their profits to good causes. The bookstore proceeds support programs at our public library.

I love shopping at these small businesses. (The tool shop not as much, but we did buy an old-fashioned push lawn mower there. When my brother-in-law visited us a few years back, we lost him for a couple of hours, only to find him browsing in the tool shop.)

A number of clothing consignment shops are scattered around our village as well. I’ve been thinking about challenging myself this year to buy exclusively (or almost) from stores I can walk or bike to. Our farmer’s market runs from May to November, so it wouldn’t be difficult to purchase a good portion of our fruits and vegetables there, supplemented by our small backyard garden. (Our town has a community garden, too.)

Shelf-sacrifice is what The Corner Bookstore is all about. It’s an elfin wonderland of used and vintage books lovingly displayed in diminutive groupings: children’s books, poetry, graphic novels, history, fiction, local authors, and more.

Vintage Children's Books

The cookbook section has used cookbooks nestled in gift baskets along with vintage ice cream sundae glasses, martini glasses, and miniature ceramic casserole dishes. I found a blank recipe album with Bible verses and beautiful cover art in pristine condition. For my son, I found a Vietnamese cookbook – he loves Asian food.

Cookbooks

In the local authors bookcase, I spotted Reunion in Sicily by Jerre Mangione, a scholar of the Sicilian-American experience, according to Wikipedia. Jerre is the uncle of jazz musicians Chuck and Gap Mangione, who are from Rochester. Flipping through the pages of the book, which was published in 1950, I saw that the author visited Sicily in 1936 when Mussolini and the Fascists were in power. Mangione was watched closely by the police and interrogated more than once as to the purpose of his visit.

Reunion in Sicily

Mangione was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship after WWII so he could return to Sicily to learn more about Italian politics and culture of the times. Reunion in Sicily is not listed in his Wikipedia entry; I’m interested to see what I can learn from the book. My father was Sicilian-American and a WWII veteran with extended family in the Old Country. The war, of course, essentially split Italian and Italian-American families in two, at least for a time.

Another great find was The Fragrant Garden, a beautifully slipcased anthology of garden writing and art, the kind of book you can display open on a small easel. When I noticed the subtitle, Penhaligon’s Scented Treasury of Verse and Prose, I realized that a faint floral scent emanated from its pages. Upon reading the prologue I discovered that, indeed, the endpapers are scented with Penhaligon’s Gardenia perfume. Gardenia is one of my all-time favorite floral scents; I had a gardenia in my bridal bouquet.

Fragrant Garden.jpg

The volume was edited by Sheila Pickles (check out her Goodreads Page) and published in 1992. Never having heard of Penhaligon’s, I had to look that up, too. It was established in London in the late 1800s. There are shops in the US, but wouldn’t it be wonderful to visit the London shop? They have a blog, and here is an enticingly sensuous excerpt from it about the men’s perfume Endymion:

“….a complex blend of sophisticated scents, it opens with the orangy warmth of bergamot and mandarin wrapped in delicate lavender and sage. The dark coffee heart is rich and powerful giving way to the spicy velvet base of creamy nutmeg, vetiver, cardamom and a hint of leather. It is strong and romantic and very masculine.”

I’ve never heard of vetiver, have you? I had to look that up, too.

Wasn’t that fun? All this from a Christmas shopping trip to The Corner Bookstore.

Christmas lights.jpg

Don’t overlook the independent bookstores and shops near you as you go about your holiday shopping. It’s a good way to support your local economy, and you’re much more likely to find unique gifts and treasures.

Do you have any independent bookstores that you like in your town?

Library window with Erie Canal mural

Our public library on the Erie Canal was recently renovated. Since 1938, it has boasted this mural by Carl W. Peters, created as part of Rochester’s WPA Murals project.

Lift Bridge

Our one-of-a-kind lift bridge spans the Erie Canal. It is an irregular decagon (10 sides), no two angles in the bridge are the same and no corners on the bridge are square. It is lifted by a 40 hp electric motor. When the kids were little they loved watching the bridge being lifted so boats could pass through.

 

9 responses

  1. BUON NATALE

    ________________________________ Da: Books Can Save A Life Inviato: lunedì 14 dicembre 2015 05.44 A: pinosansone@live.it Oggetto: [New post] Shop local for Christmas

    Valorie Grace Hallinan posted: ” shelf-sacrifice n: to selflessly give away a book from one’s personal library for another person’s benefit – Powell’s Compendium of Readerly Terms In our little village on the Erie Canal, we have a number of small nonprofit businesses run by volunt”

  2. I had a lovely time visiting your book store, thank you. 🙂 We have a used bookstore two towns over, but it is geared towards bestsellers that might appeal to a college crowd. I have yet to find any treasure there. But I’m not giving up looking for it.

    • Don’t give up. I’m wondering if more towns will adopt this model of nonprofit used bookstore to benefit their public libraries. As for the other nonprofit shops in our town – I LOVE the used crafts shop – great for vases, fabric swatches, old cookbooks, ribbon, etc. etc.

  3. Shopping local is a wonderful thing for an individual and the community. I’m sorry to say we only have two small bookstores left and they are in a neighboring town. I was in Barnes and Noble this week, and the place was packed and the line long. I was there to get a gift card for a grandchild because the big stores have become a place to meet and enjoy a coffee as much as a place to purchase a book. 🙂

    • We have a Barnes & Noble too. Lately I’ve been avoiding Amazon and trying to use B & N instead. It’s ok but not at Christmas it’s a madhouse. I love our small used bookstore, but we actually have almost no for profit independent bookstores left in Rochester. It is a shame but I can understand how difficult it must be to make a profit.

  4. I enjoyed seeing the pictures of your town – it seems like a lovely place to live. We also live within walking distance to most of the things we need, including the children’s lessons. An advantage to living in a smaller town, rather than a city. We have two used bookstores within walking distance, one of which is mostly books and the other is mostly a cafe and gift shop with books in the background. I love stopping in at both to see if they have anything new in. Your book store looks beautiful – I would also find it hard to stay away.

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