Monday, July 27, 2020

Book Haul: Second Story Books in Rockville, MD


Last week I made an amazing discovery. I had to drive up to Rockville, Maryland, to drop off my dog for kenneling, and was delighted to discover it was literally around the block from Second Story Books, a huge warehouse of used books that I'd been meaning to visit since I moved here a year ago. I hadn't been inside a bookstore since January, so it's probably not a surprise that I spent an hour perusing the shelves. All my promises to curtail book buying went completely out the window. 

Here's what I got, in case you can't make out the titles in the photo. From top to bottom: 

The Square Egg and Other Sketches With Three Plays by Saki
The Beautiful Visit by Elizabeth Jane Howard
The Curate's Wife by E. H. Young
Bobbin Up by Dorothy Hewett
Fish Perferred by P. G. Wodehouse
Kilmeny of the Orchard by L. M. Montgomery
Ordeal by Nevil Shute
Emile Zola: A Biography by Alan Schom

And until I got to the checkout desk I completely forgot that everything was 50% off! So the grand total for these eight volumes (plus a book of poetry for my daughter) was less than $23! 

It was so nice to be in an actual bookstore again -- of course masks were required, and we were given plastic gloves, but it was a real treat to browse through the stacks and aisles, and climb up the ladders. Second Story Books is a big warehouse -- not as big as the Strand in New York or John King Books in Detroit, but a big space crammed haphazardly full of books, some on shelves two deep. Some of the bookshelves are probably 12 feet off the ground and I was leery of climbing the ladders that high, but it was an absolute delight to do something almost normal. 

I'm particularly pleased about the two Viragos, which are tricky to find on this side of the Atlantic, and Kilmeny of the Orchard is a beautiful 1910 edition with a lovely colored plate inside. The Saki and the Wodehouse are both from 1929, and the Nevil Shute is from 1939. They all have the previous owners' names inside which I always love, it gives such a sense of history to a book. 

12 comments:

  1. Oh you are so fortunate to visit a large used book store; the one in my town closed about 2 years ago and it was such a great place to browse and buy. You scored some great books, used books have a history to them.

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    1. The Nevil Shute book has the owner's name and is dated January, 1941. The book is about WWII and I wonder what her war experience was like.

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  2. I read Shute's Pied Piper and Reqiuem for a Wren earlier this year and recommend both. I have Ordeal on my tablet. Much of Shutes work is online at Faded Page.

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    1. I read Pied Piper this year too! My library has a lot of Shute online for digital checkout. I also read On the Beach at the beginning of the lockdown which I would not recommend. It's a great book but the timing was pretty bad!

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  3. I LOVE Second Story books and used to visit their Rockville story pretty often (I limited my visits simply because I always came away with so much!). I'm so glad it's re-opened; one of my regrets about leaving the area is losing SSB. If you're interested I did a posting on SSB some time ago, with photos of my own wonderful haul (just scroll past the veggies to get to the books! https://youmightaswellread.com/2019/09/03/monday-miscellany-books-veggies-and-ancient-rome-not-in-that-order/ ). I defy any book lover to visit SSB and not come away with at least a bag of treasues!

    On a related note, have you discovered Politics & Prose? It's in D.C. and is one of the great independent bookstores.

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    1. I loved it and could not believe my daughter only chose ONE BOOK. To be fair, it was hot and we were anxious to get going (we left for a road trip directly after). I have been to P&P several times and ordered from their website. I hope to go to one of their in-store events someday when all this is over.

      Off to check out your SSB post!

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  4. What a wonderful haul, and what a deal! I've been visiting my local used/new bookstore over the last couple of Saturdays, and it does feel good.

    I've never heard of Kilmeny of the Orchard - now I'm curious to find out about it.

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    1. I don't know anything about Kilmeny except that it's a stand-alone story. I wonder if it's something like The Blue Castle, which I enjoyed thoroughly.

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  5. What a lucky find for you. I would have bought all of those books too. I haven't been to a bookshop since February and that is the one thing that I've really missed doing. I might manage to get to the one in St Andrews soon, but it is so small they are only allowing one person in at a time, presumably one couple could get in together though.

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    1. I hope you can go soon! It was the first time I'd been shopping for anything other than food or pet supplies. It was really nice to poke around the shelves.

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  6. The Curate's Wife is one of my favorite books of all time. I hope you will enjoy it, too.

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    1. I still have Jenny Wren to read first, but I'm looking forward to it!

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