Monday, October 6, 2014

Booktowne - Manasquan, NJ

Booktowne - Manasquan, NJ

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Absolutely delightful.  Charming.  Terrific.  Fantastic.  Fetch the old thesaurus Junior, we need more adjectives damn it!  Am I talking about Booktowne Books in Manasquan, New Jersey, or am I talking about Rita M., the owner?  Locals in Manasquan know without a doubt that I'm talking about both.  It only took me about the first 10 minutes of my visit to figure it out.

This is small town America located on the Jersey Shore.  News travels fast in small towns.  Before my visit I was down the street eating at The Corner Bagelry.  I was chatting with the owner there and asked about Booktowne, sat down with my order and 5 minutes later she came back to tell me Rita was in the store and expecting me.  She called her (there's a stranger in town and he doesn't sound like us!  HA!) and said I would be coming to the bookstore.

This is a very small, one-level bookstore and it is chock full of everything, sidelines, and books.  Rita's only limitation here is space.  This store has a super location and enjoys devoted support from the locals as well as tourists.  It also draws customers from the other small communities in the Jersey Shore area.  Booktowne has been here for 7 years, a relative newcomer.  But this store space has been occupied by bookstores for many years so there is a history in this community.  Rita would love to expand but is limited by surrounding storefronts.  This place is doing a great business and if it were ever able to expand and still maintain a visible location I think the possibilities would be endless.  Booktowne also has a very active event schedule with authors.  The store can host readings for up to 25 and thanks to a great relationship with the public library, can use space there for larger events.

What can I say about Rita and her staff that hasn't already been said?  These people are 5-star all the way.  Rita was great to talk to and extremely welcoming during my visit.  It seems that the successful bookstores I visit have some of the nicest people to chat with.  There must be a correlation, don't you think?

There's no café at Booktowne but no worries.  Step across the street to Sweet Tease Cafe & Bakery for a latte and high calorie snack.  While you're enjoying that, you can sit and start reading your book you just bought at Booktowne.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

JUST FINISHED:  The Family Fang, Kevin Wilson.  This is one odd family. Some of their stunts in the name of performing art are somewhat disturbing.  Overall, I liked it.

CURRENTLY READING:  10:04, Ben Lerner.  Didn't even make it to my 100 page rule.  Too many really long sentences, too many big words, and too many descriptors.  My pea-sized brain couldn't handle it.

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  Is Your Buffalo Ready For Kindergarten?  Audrey Vernick.  This is the author that wrote the essay for Booktowne seen in My Bookstore.  Booked To Die, John Dunning.  Under The Wide and Starry Sky, Nancy Horan.

Great display in the left front window.  

Great display in the right front window.

View to the right as I entered the store.  Kids don't have to look far to find their area, this is it.  They also have author events in this area after rearranging the bookshelves.  

View to the left as I entered the store.  

Great staff picks.  

Some of the sidelines offered here.  

The kids will like some of these sidelines.  

Great selection of greeting cards.  

Sit in one of these chairs and take a book on a test drive!

This is the book I'm following on my journey and it's available here at Booktowne.  

A better picture of the children's section in the front of the store.  

Rita M., the fine owner here signs my copy of My Bookstore on the page that features Booktowne.   

It's people like Rita and stores like Booktowne that continue to inspire my journey.  And so it continues.   

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