Sunday, May 31, 2009

Phoenix Books, Freeville, NY

I owe it to Nigel Beale of Nota Bene Books to know about Phoenix Used & Rare Books outside Ithaca, NY. Last fall when Nigel went down to Ithaca for a huge annual book sale, he mentioned this great book store just north of town, and posted photos. (Nigel's ongoing photo series of bookstores can be seen here.) So, when I was driving by, on the way out of town, heading north on Hwy. 13, I recognized it, slammed on the brakes, and just had to stop in for a visit.

Imagine, if you will, a huge barn converted into a warren of small rooms which one winds through, all full of shelves of used books. An entire barn converted into a book store! What treasures abound! Each section is well-labeled and well-stocked. Some rooms are darker than others. Some contain things you might find anywhere, but many are those rare books hidden in amongst the familiar that are found with all the heart-pounding enthusiasm of uncovering buried gold.

It's the sort of place one could spend hours in. And some back corners do have chairs for the reader to sit and peruse the day's discoveries. There's a great literary criticism section, a huge fiction section that goes deeply into obscure titles by authors you know.

The poetry section is also good; a little less deep in the unknown titles, but I did find a hardcover copy of The Selected Poetry of Robinson Jeffers, the "mid-career" 1930s edition that Jeffers himself selected as representative. This was when his fame was at its highest in his lifetime, attested to by the fact that this copy is from the sixth printing, and around the time his likeness appeared on the cover of Time Magazine. The book is in very good condition, and being able to read Jeffers' Introduction to his poetry in this edition is itself alone worth the purchase.

Naturally I did not escape unscathed. I had a time limit, as I needed to drive on today, so I allowed myself only an hour for browsing. In that time I found several titles valuable to me, all quite reasonably priced.

So, thanks to Nigel. I owe it all to you. I takes one bibiliomane to know another, I guess. Ithaca and surrounds is well-known for its many excellent used book stores, and annual used book sales. Another good reason to enjoy visiting this region.


Here's a little piece of Photoshop banner art, featuring the front porch of Phoenix Books, that I've made as a series marker for when I post short book reviews. Acknowledgments to Phoenix not only for their books but for their setting, in rural upstate New York, and their scenic exteriors.

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Blogger NigelBeale said...

Beautiful post Art.

8:59 PM  
Blogger Art Durkee said...

Thanks (again!), Nigel. :)

1:58 AM  
Blogger George said...

Thanks for the pics, my store has never looked so good.

3:47 PM  
Blogger Art Durkee said...

Hi, George, and thanks in return. It was my pleasure, and I'm glad you liked the pics.

Your store has become a Destination for me, which I am sure to enjoy visiting again next time I'm in the region.

Any bibliomane in the region really ought to drop in there. It's a great bookstore.

10:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Book Barn of the Finger Lakes is in Dryden, and is also good. TONS of books there, too!

10:13 PM  

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