Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Toadstool Bookshop - Peterborough, NH

The Toadstool Bookshop - Peterborough, NH

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When I was at Brookline Booksmith a few days prior to my trip to Peterborough, I was talking to Lisa, one of the staffers there.  I was talking to her about some of my upcoming bookstore visits and when I mentioned The Toadstool in Peterborough, her exact words to me were, "top notch in every way."  I think her comment might have understated this independent book store.  More like, "incredible in every way."  All the more impressive when you consider this expansive, one-level bookstore is located in a small town with only 5000+ population.

When you visit here you will be driving through some of the best scenery in the country, especially in October.  After enjoying the great views you'll arrive in a picturesque New England town which is the beautiful vision of what you would expect in this part of the country.  This store truly is top-notch in every way.  Offerings of new and used books, the used books in a large room of their own and impressively organized and inventoried.  Not all indies inventory their used books.  A fairly large music room with CDs, vinyl, and DVDs.  Lots of offerings here featuring local musicians.  Multiple places to sit if you want to get off your feet and try a book.  Photography and art work by local talent can also be found here.  This store has frequent author events, all held on site, and almost always focused on local or New England authors.  There's also a café in the store but it is independent from the bookstore.  This store is family owned and been around for 40+ years.  As with other successful indies the buiness here is largely local.  They draw business from local schools and libraries, a true institution in the community.

I didn't get to meet Willard, or his wife, the owners, on this visit but I had a great conversation with Craig and Steve, two of the fine staffers here.  They were super to talk to and took a lot of time to answer all my questions, even as customers were coming and going on a Sunday morning.  Even though this is a smaller community, there are many professionals living in the area who are an important part of the customer base and value having an independent bookstore.  They have some sidelines here and they are important, but not critically so.

What else?  A very roomy store and a large parking lot, all free.  A great café, Aesop's Tables, but it wasn't open on the day of my visit, my only disappointment.  When the weather's nice you can enjoy outdoor seating.  But I'm sorry to report to the cat-lovers that there is no cat at this indie.  This store may be somewhat hidden or remote for some of you, but don't let that keep you from visiting.  Like maple syrup, apples, and pumpkins in the fall, this is just another gem to enjoy in New England.  Don't miss it!  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

RECENTLY FINISHED:  Dad Is Fat, Jim Gaffigan.  Absolutely hilarious.  A must for any Jim Gaffigan fan and a must for parents with young children.  You will identify and laugh your head off.  If you've never seen Jim Gaffigan live, YOU MUST GO!  He's outstanding.

CURRENTLY READING:  The Boy In The Suitcase, Lene Kaaberbøl & Agnete Friis.  Just started but I think it's going to be a real thriller.

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  The Orchardist, Amanda Coplin.

View from the parking lot where you can park for free.  

Some great seating outside during nice weather.  

Here's the view just inside the front door looking straight to the rear of the store.  

Just inside the front door to the right a great café, Aesop's Tables.  I love the name of this place!

Local and regional interests can be found here.  

The check-out area.  This bookstore in a small community was doing a good business on a Sunday morning.  

Many of the greeting cards are done by local artists.  

A great place to sit and try to read a book.  Just don't let your snoring disturb the other customers.  

Or have a seat here, on a toadstool of course!

CDs, vinyl, DVDs in this room which is off to the right of the main store area.  

A great children's area.  

In the used book room, you can look at lots of accurately detailed model airplanes.  

A long aisle of books in the used book room and model airplanes above.  

A great chair for the young customers at Toadstool Bookshop.  

L-R, yours truly with two of the fine booksellers at Toadstool, Craig and Steve.  Thanks for a great visit, guys!

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