I recently had a lovely autumnal book hunting trip with a bookseller friend, Richard Mori of Mori Books, across the New York border to Arlington, Vermont. Home of artist Norman Rockwell, this picture perfect town boasts the classic beauty of a mountainous landscape, lovely older homes and winding streets.
Arlington is also home to Catamount Books, the open shop owned by my book fair buddy John Hess at 198 Pleasant Street.
That's John in the above photo silhouetted on the second floor space of Catamount Books. John used to have a shop along Main Street in downtown Arlington, but recently built this garage/bookshop and moved his 15,000+ tomes upstairs (many more await his ministrations in the first floor storage area).
There's a better picture of John at his Catamount command center, a warren of shelves filled with a terribly interesting selection of books in all subjects. My bookseller buddy went one way, I went another, and we ended up spending three hours combing through the stacks, instead of the hour we had planned for our visit.
John's got a surprising amount of books packed into this well-lit space and there were gems hidden all through the shelves. I kept finding books that I had been searching for myself and for customers, and there were new intriguing titles that were inexpensively priced so that even I, a bookseller fairly low down in the biblio-food web, could purchase them for resale without qualms.
John's got a great eye for unusual subjects, lovely bindings and titles that I've not come across in my years of bookhunting. I picked up three boxes of treasures, including several titles by Gene Stratton-Porter, regional history, illustrated classics, a fun book on spiritualist Eusapia Palladino, children's books, geology titles, and many more for shop stock. Richard found many books in his specialty areas of Scouting and children's literature and we both came away very pleased with our purchases.
Bookshop hours are Monday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 12:30 pm to 5 pm, though John advises that it is best to call ahead (802-282-9769) to make sure of these hours or to set up an alternate appointment since he and his delightful wife Cheryl might be out having fun with their passel of grandchildren (I saw two of them in residence and can verify that they were awfully cute).