An Unlikely Story

2 minute read

So, out and about last weekend looking at tile for a remodeling project….so….bored…let’s go to a Bookstore! Much better.

Turns out we’re not that far away from An Unlikely Story, an indie bookstore opened a few years back in Plainville, MA by Jeff Kinney, the author of the bestselling Diary of a Wimpy Kid book. I’d been meaning to make a pilgrimage, but had forgotten. Off we went….

We pull into the parking lot, et voilà! They have a charging station for electric cars! A good omen…..We plug in, and in we go.

Walking in feels good. I’m thinking my wallet is going to sustain some damage today. It has a clean, bright feel and instantly suggests some careful curation is going on with the inventory. I start wandering and immediately stumble upon City of Crows, a medieval Paris gothic. Looks tasty. Sold.

Wandering a bit more, I hit up the history section, which is quite small, but packed with interesting and unique books. I’m first tempted by The Viking Wars, a history of the time period covered by Bernard Cornwell’s The Last Kingdom. But then I fall to the same author’s previous work, In the Land of Giants, by Max Adams, a walking travelogue of England’s Dark Ages. Cha-ching. Sold again. The Viking Wars will wait for another day. There’s also City of Devils by Paul French, about the Jazz Age Shanghai. Gangsters. etc. Must…restrain…self.

Whilst plundering the staff recommendations section, I fall prey to Joe Abercrombie’s grimdark series, and grab the first volume, The Blade Itself (the title an homage to Homer — “The blade itself incites to deeds of violence”). OK. Really, that’s enough books now.

An Unlikely Story is a fantastic store. I build a personalized book recommendation engine — and — it works. It finds me great books I’d never have found on my own. But sometimes there is no substitute for the unique tastes of a careful curator or set of curators. And the smell of paper and real books.

AUS is also a bit quirky — at left is the men’s room:

They also have a great cafe — piping hot coffee, great sandwiches, and tasty soup.

If you’re looking for a weekend jaunt to a pretty New England town (Plainville, MA) with a great bookstore, head on down. Here’s my haul for the day (missing is the copy of The Moosewood Cookbook that I went back for because ours has gone missing).