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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

An Accommodating Bookshop?



If you are a book lover and are fortunate enough to visit Japan, you might want to consider a stay in an accommodation bookshop. 

The Book and Bed Hostel, centrally located in Tokyo and Kyoto, features semi-private sleeping nooks built right into the bookshelves.  With rates starting at 4,445 yen ($53 CAN) per night, everything is set up dorm style with shared bathrooms.  Each sleeping nook has a personal lamp, a privacy curtain, luggage space under the bed, clothes hanger, and power outlets.  Wi-Fi is free.

Apparently there are about 5,000 Japanese and English books from which to choose.  Unfortunately, they can’t be purchased on site. 

Check out the website for further information:  http://bookandbedtokyo.com/en/.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Visiting Harper Lee's Hometown



I am not alone in listing To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee as one of my favourite novels.  For this reason, I’ve always wanted to visit Monroeville, Alabama, Lee’s hometown, which was used as the model for Maycomb in the novel. 

Monroeville calls itself the literary capital of Alabama because Harper Lee and Truman Capote had roots in the town. 

Apparently, one of the must-see sites in Monroeville is the Old Monroe County Courthouse.  The courthouse is now a museum, with the second-floor courtroom restored to its 1930s appearance.  (An exact replica of the courtroom where Lee used to watch her father in court sessions was recreated in Hollywood for the filming of To Kill a Mockingbird.)  There are two exhibits in the museum, one focusing on Lee and one on Capote. 

In the spring, from mid-April to mid-May, an all-local cast known as the Mockingbird Players, stages a play based on To Kill a Mockingbird.  “The first act of the two-act play takes place at the amphitheatre on the lawn of the Courthouse Museum.  Act II takes place inside the historic courtroom.  Once inside the courtroom, you will see the trial unfold as Finch makes a passionate plea in Robinson’s defense. The members of the jury are always selected from the audience, so you might get a shot at sitting on the jury during the second act” (http://alabama.travel/road-trips/monroeville-the-to-kill-a-mockingbird-experience).  Apparently tickets sell out quickly. 

A self-guided walking tour, known as Monroeville in the 1930s, is available with sites such as the building where Lee’s father had his law office, the building where Capote’s cousins ran a millinery shop, the location of the Boulware house believed to be the model for the Radley house, and the jail. 

Other places to visit include the Budget Inn (where Lee met Gregory Peck), David’s Catfish House (where Lee was known to indulge in the house specialty), and Mel’s Dairy Dream (located on the site of Lee’s former home).  There’s a To Kill a Mockingbird mural, a Truman Capote historical marker, bronze statues of the novel’s young characters, and a birdhouse trail with several birdhouse designs depicting scenes from To Kill a Mockingbird.  You can eat at the Mockingbird Grill or Radley’s Fountain Grille where Radley’s BLT Supreme is featured in the “100 Dishes to Eat in Alabama Before You Die”.


Monday, May 22, 2017

Libraries in Unusual Places



Libraries are not found only in buildings.  Sometimes, librarians have to be creative in getting books to readers. 

BookRiot has had a couple of articles about finding libraries in unexpected places:  http://bookriot.com/2013/10/14/finding-libraries-unexpected-places/
and

In your travels, perhaps you can find one (or more) of these.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Quirky Bookstores



Yesterday, I wrote about some of the biggest bookshops in the world to visit.  If big isn’t your thing, how about “quirky”?  Bookstr made a bucket list of “well-loved and quirky” book stores:   https://www.bookstr.com/article/the-bookstore-bucket-list/777?trr_article_source=related-posts-module.

Of the 20 on the list, two are in Canada, both in or near Toronto:  The Monkey’s Paw, which has a coin-operated vending machine filled with old books, and a self-proclaimed World’s Smallest Bookstore which sells books on the honour system. 

The Monkey’s Paw website is at http://www.monkeyspaw.com/ .

The World’s Smallest Bookstore, unfortunately, is now closed, though here’s an informative article about it and its owners:  http://notesandqueries.ca/web-exclusive/worlds-smallest-bookstore-closes-door-good-by-ray-robertson/. 
At this bookstore, visitors could pick up complimentary handbills titled “Why I Love Books” with the following reasons listed: 
1) Books are silent.
2) Books do not require hydro.
3) Books do not interrupt
4) Books open easily — no switches or remotes
5) Books can be shut up easily anytime
6) Books cannot be offended
7) Books do not talk back
8) Books do not demand T.L.C. — but get it anyway.
9) Books do not require food or water
10) Books will not feel neglected
11) Books will not send you on a guilt trip if you lose interest or ignore them
12) Books never require medical attention
13) Books do not have commercials
14) A book does not go into a snit if you look at another book
15) A book won’t mind if you are reading more than book at a time.

I guess the Pushcart Bookshop in Sedgwick, Maine, (which was mentioned in yesterday’s blog) is indeed the world’s smallest bookstore:  http://www.shelf-awareness.com/issue.html?issue=2579#m29586.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

World's Biggest Bookstores



Biggest is not always best, but there is something to be said for big bookstores:  “there's something pretty breathtaking about a ginormous room full of all the books your heart could ever desire. Even just standing inside one, staring up at the mountains of books that surround you, is enough to give any book-lover serious chills.” 


One of my favourite big bookstores was The Highway Bookshop located on Ontario Highway 11 near Cobalt, Ontario, which operated from 1957 to 2011. Considered a landmark and cultural institution in the region, it was one of the largest and most famous independent bookstores in Canada.  At its peak, the store had over 300,000 titles in stock in a variety of locations, including the main building, on-site trailers and several warehouses.  It has even had a book written about it:  Highway Book Shop: Northern Ontario's Unexpected Treasure by Lois Pollard. 

But if big isn’t to your taste, perhaps you can visit the world’s smallest bookstore:  http://weeklypacket.com/multimedia/photos/2015/aug/20/worlds-smallest-bookstore/#.WLc-gn-RI17.