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Saturday, April 3, 2010

Finding More Books and Paintings in Florida

Verlyn Klinkenborg wrote for the April 2010 issue of Travel + Leisure magazine (“Book Lover’s London” is the name of the article):
To walk into a London bookshop—and whole streets seemed to be made up of nothing but bookshops—was not so much to go back in time. It was to stand in a place where the past casts up its riches like sea wrack on a tide-swept beach.

The reason we still go to good bookshops is also the reason we have a few friends over for dinner instead of inviting everyone. We like the selectness of select company, the likelihood of sharing common interests, the chance to make discoveries guided by minds and sensibilities we already trust.

A signboard on a Tarpon Springs street invited us around the corner from Tarpon Avenue’s antique shops to Back in the Day Books on Safford Avenue, where bookseller Boe Rushing’s love for antiquarian books, first editions and fine bindings was obvious as soon as we walked in. I also guessed immediately that the shop had not been open long. Introducing myself to the owner, I asked, “Just getting settled in?”
He’d been there about three months, he said. He’d had a bookstore in Ontario and wasn’t sure, when he closed it, if he would ever have another, but when the bug bites--! We commiserated happily, sharing trade experiences (there are no “secrets”), lessons learned and bafflement over the unforeseeable future of bookselling. American literature seems to be the focus here.

Back in the Day Books made my day—but then, finding a good bookstore and a friendly bookseller always makes my day. David wanted only a comfortable chair.

After lunch, ready to relax a while in the sun, we found it easiest just to nip over to Craig Park, bayou scene of the recent art fair, but there something else postponed our planned outdoor time. It was the OPEN sign on the door of the Tarpon Springs Heritage Museum. Florida history, heritage, ecology and art are all on display. We found the video of Christopher M. Still’s murals for the Florida State House of Representatives so detailed in its explanation of the original paintings, and the reproductions themselves so very blue in tone, that we spent only a few minutes on the latter after enjoying the former, but the project was impressive, to say the least. Historic photographs and artifacts of Tarpon Springs were fascinating, but it is so often something small that charms me most. Here at the Cultural Center my favorite display was a small one of pencil drawings of manatees.


Anonymous said...

Book shops are a Gift from the heavens. When God made the world he looked around and said, "What do we need?" and his 8th miracle was the creation of bookshops. Yes. Don't you think?

P. J. Grath said...

Well, coming from me the comment would be self-serving, so thank YOU for saying it!